Tired of same old, same old

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 12:22 PM ET

 DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have heard all the criticisms.

 All the pot shots.

  They're too old.

 They're too fat from all their past success.

 They're not as hungry as the gritty Flames.

 Not up for matching the work ethic of their opposition, or what Calgary will throw at them with a relentless forecheck and constant stream of body checks.

 To a man, they'll tell you it's all bunk.

 The Motor City's collection of all stars used Thursday night's win to prove their point in that debate.

 Plus, they'll point out, experience will play its part in the rest of the Western Conference semifinal that's tied at two wins apiece heading into today's matinee in Motown.

 "We have a lot of confidence in this dressing room," said Kris Draper.

 "Everyone wrote us off last series and we're fine with that because we came back and played two great hockey games.

 "Everybody realizes what has to be done. There's not anybody in this dressing room that doesn't know what's going on. The luxury we have is you don't have to have guys stepping up and saying things. Everybody realizes the situation we're in."

 Which now is a chance to parlay the momentum from Thursday's victory in the Saddledome into a hammer.

 Make no mistake about the Wings' ability to stomp on their opposition's throat.

 Even if Father Time is hanging over their shoulders like the Grim Reaper, they know the thrill of victory and how to get the job done when the opportunity is there.

 "You get a taste of winning, it's the best thing. It's the ultimate thing," said Draper, who has three Cup championships in his pocket. "Everybody realizes what we're playing for, the Stanley Cup, and nothing gets old with that.

 "Nothing gets old with winning and that's why we're here. If you can't get up and play these games, it's not a good sign for this club but we're not getting up for that."

 Besides, Draper pointed out, there are Wings who are approaching this post-season with a similar attitude as the upstart Flames.

 Robert Lang has no Stanley Cup rings. Nor does Ray Whitney. Or Curtis Joseph.

 You don't have to be on an underdog, without at least 30 candles on the cake, to be hungry.

 "We've had guys who have been around the league and haven't won -- guys who've played a tremendous amount of hockey at an all-star level and haven't won the Stanley Cup," Draper said. "That could be a storyline you could play into, too."

 As much as they like the position they're in, the Wings know the Flames are far from snuffed.

 Though they dispelled of Nashville in seemingly easy fashion after their first-round series with the Predators was tied at 2-2, the Wings will tell you Calgary has proven an even more relentless foe.

 There's no expectation the Flames will finally admit they're overmatched by the big-budget Wheeled Wings.

 "We knew what Calgary's all about, they play with a lot of enthusiasm," Draper said.


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