Tonight, as the Detroit Red Wings fell 4-1 to the Carolina Hurricanes, their streak of 25 straight seasons making the playoffs has come to an end. The streak of 25 seasons was the longest active streak in all four major U.S. sports (hockey, football, basketball, baseball). From 1991-2016, the Red Wings were a staple of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, appearing in 6 Stanley Cup Finals over that stretch, and winning 4 of them.
Many hockey fans have seen the end of this streak coming, as the Red Wings have been on their last legs for the past few seasons, and this season seemed to be the straw that broke the camel's back. While a rebuild is clearly in the future, and hopefully for Detroit, the very near future, this streak is still quite an accomplishment that the franchise can attempt to build off of. This season has been what seems like an omen for a fresh start, with the streak coming to an end, the Red Wings moving out of the Joe Louis Arena, and with the death of long-time owner Mike Ilitch, this season is the end of a chapter in Detroit's history book.
Having not won their Division since the 2010-2011 season, it is clear that the Red Wings are in need of some change, and hopefully under new ownership, and under a new roof, they can find some sort of building ground. As one of the "Original Six", the Red Wings are a cornerstone of the NHL, and I fully expect them to be clawing their way back into the playoff picture within the next few seasons.
The next Franchise who will look to take over the streak? None other than Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs who have made this season their 20th straight playoff appearance.