Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Devils, Red Wings Both Have Strong Thirst for the Cup

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Devils, Red Wings Both Have Strong Thirst for the Cup

Article excerpt

The New Jersey Devils twice have fallen one game short of going to the Stanley Cup finals. But Detroit Red Wings fans will tell you that's a mere blip on the frustration meter.

The Red Wings haven't won the Stanley Cup in 40 years, and haven't been to the finals since 1966.

Detroit can end the National Hockey League's longest drought by defeating the Devils in the best-of-seven finals, which begin Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Tuesday night after beating the Philadelphia Flyers for the Eastern Conference title, the elation of the moment made the struggles of the past worthwhile for Devils veterans Bruce Driver, John MacLean and Ken Daneyko.

They had been there since the Devils' second season in New Jersey and they had seen the follies of the first few years, the growth to respectability and the frustrations.

They lost Game 7 to Boston in the Wales Conference finals in 1988, and then lost Games 6 and 7 to the New York Rangers in the conference final a year ago.

"I was just thinking, `We'd finally made it to the finals,' " Daneyko said Wednesday. "We'd never been there before and we had been through a lot together in the last 10, 11 or 12 years. We went through a lot of ups and downs, stabilized the organization and now it's nice to go through the up with a couple of guys I have a lot of respect for."

Detroit will bring an even more special brand of experience to the finals. Defenseman Paul Coffey has four Stanley Cup championship rings.

He has company. Mike Krushelnyski has three rings, Bob Errey has two, and Mike Vernon has one.

But they all depend on Coffey, 34.

"In the playoffs, guys like Coffey are the guys you go to. You look for the guys with the experience," said Detroit coach Scotty Bowman, who is trying to become the first coach to win a Stanley Cup with three franchises. Bowman won five titles with the Montreal Canadiens and one with the Pittsburgh Penguins. …

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