Red Wings redefine meaning of playoff consistency

Wed Apr 15, 2015 3:49pm EDT
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By Tim Wharmsby

(Reuters) - Jimmy Devellano often has been asked what feat he is most proud of in his 33 years in the Detroit Red Wings front office.

"People think it's the four Stanley Cups," the 72-year-old senior vice-president told Reuters. "But I'm most proud of the fact we have missed the playoffs only three times in my 33 years.

"It's quite an accomplishment to make the playoffs these days. Almost half the league (14 of 30 teams) does not make the playoffs."

Detroit, who open their first-round series against Tampa Bay on Thursday, have made the NHL playoffs in 24 consecutive seasons. It's the longest active streak in North American professional sports.

The NBA's San Antonio Spurs, who are about to make their 19th consecutive postseason appearance, own the next closest active streak.

Detroit, whose remarkable run has produced four Stanley Cup titles in six trips to the final, will begin the playoffs with seven players on their roster that weren't even born the last time the club missed the postseason.

Owners Mike and Marian Illitch, Devellano, current Detroit general manager Ken Holland as well as European scout Hakan Andersson have been the steady influences in this ride.

"Hakan is our Hart Trophy winner," Devellano, referring to the award given the to NHL's most valuable payer, said. "He's been our lifesaver."   Continued...

Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) with teammates during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports