My entire life, I have always loved hockey. Growing up, I played both roller and ice hockey and I was a member of my high school varsity team. It is easy to love a sport like hockey when you grow up watching the Detroit Red Wings. During my teen years, they won three Stanley Cups in a period of six years (1997, 1998, 2002) and have been the most dominant team in the NHL for the last two decades. However, it was not always so. 1967-1982 was known as the "Dead Era" when the Red Wings only made the playoffs twice.
However, after drafting Steve Yzerman in 1983, the Detroit Red Wings quickly became the most skilled team in hockey. They were so powerful that the city of Detroit acquired the nickname "Hockeytown". The Red Wings have now been to the playoffs 17 years in a row, the longest current streak of post-season appearances in all of American professional sports! Even after his retirment, the Red Wings are still on top of the league after winning the Stanley Cup last year. Aside from all the records he holds, Stevie will forever be known as "the Captain" because he ushered in an era of unparalleled success and "retired as the longest-serving captain of any team in North American major league sports history."
In my last blog, I overcame an article discussing Steve Yzerman potentially leaving the Red Wings. This article was really short (only a few paragraphs) and didn't reveal much, so I decided to search for more news about it. I decided I would first try AltaVista, a site which I had never heard about . My initial search brought back 37 search results. I was afraid to be too specific in my search, in fear that I might miss a useful source. To specify my search further, I sorted the results "by date" (since the initial site that led me to this topic was very recent) and in the top five I found one site that answered my search, and it was exactly what I was looking for.
Here is a tribute video to Steve Yzerman, the greatest captain to ever live.
Google News Archive
All of this got me interested in going back and looking up more info about Stevey. I used Google News Archive to search for past articles about Steve Yzerman. The bars represent the number of articles/sources online that correspond to that year. Looking at the bars and the headlines listed below, we can see a timeline of his life! Starting in 1965 when he was born, to 1983 when he joined the NHL to his post-retirement life, we can follow each year! I decided to specialize my search between the years when he started playing (1983) and the year he retired (2006). One interesting thing to note is that there were virtually no articles about him in 1982 (the year before he joined the Red Wings). His most hits came in 2002 (his last Stanley Cup) and 2004 (when he obtained a very serious eye injury in the post-season, forcing him to sit out a series against Calgary that the Red Wings went on to lose).
Analyzing 2002 more closely, we can see that the majority of articles came in May and June (when the Red Wings were in the post-season). It's interesting how there are still a ton of articles between October and April during the regular season. This is because the Detroit Red Wings had a record-breaking year. "With so much talent on one team, including the first time three 500-goal scorers were on the same team, they quickly got off to a great start, winning 22 of their first 27 games. They finished with 116 points and the best record in the NHL."
The amazingly high number of articles in 2002 (compared to Steve's other Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998) are most likely because of the Red Wings amazing post-season. They dominated every series except their Western Conference Final against the Colorado Avalanche. At this time, the Red Wings-Avalanche rivalry was the best in sports (parallel with Michigan-Ohio State). Tied 3-3 going into a highly anticipated game 7, every single sports fan was on the edge of their seats. And the Red Wings did not disappoint, dominating the Avalanche 7-0! I will remember this game for the rest of my life, as one of the most fulfilling and happy moments of my life. Not only did we win, we absolutely crushed them. I decided again to use Google News Archive to find an article reviewing this game, just so you can see for yourself the magnitude! "Perhaps it was fitting that a series considered one of the best in NHL history should end with a spectacular fireworks display."
As you can see, using these resources I was able to compile memories and facts that were very useful. I was able to create a timeline of Steve's life and follow all of his accomplishments. Imagine how many different purposes this could serve! Before learning of these resources, it would have taken me hours to find all this information! Check it out for yourself!