Growing up in Baudette, Minnesota as a fan of the Minnesota Vikings, no matter where his NHL travels have taken him, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Lyon could always get the better of the local NFL fanbase when it came to pain and suffering.
“I can usually one up the misery of the team where I’m at,” said Lyon, who played in Philadelphia, Carolina and Florida before signing with Detroit last summer.
“This is probably the first time in my career where I can’t one up the fan angst. It’s kind of tough for me. Usually I’m like, ‘Oh yeah the Vkings are way worse than your team.'”
GREAT DAY FOR DETROIT! 🙌 https://t.co/ArfkyO4oEJ
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) January 15, 2024
This season, however, the same, old Lions are no more. They won the NFC North, their first division title in three decades. On Sunday, they edged the Los Angeles Rams for the club’s first playoff win in 32 years.
“Now it’s like Detroit’s better than the slogs for a while,” Lyon said. “It’s awesome that they’re coming out of it. Extremely happy for the Detroit Lions.”
Lions Knock Red Wings Off Mantle
By beating the Rams 24-23, the Lions were also replacing the Red Wings as the most recent Detroit professional sports franchise to win a postseason game. Prior to Sunday’s victory by the Lions, the Red Wings had clung to that honor for nearly eight years.
On April 17, 2016, goals by Andreas Athanasiou and Henrik Zetterberg and a 16-save shutout performance from Petr Mrazek gave the Wings a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference opening-round series. That had held forth as the last Detroit pro sports playoff win for many years.
Now it’s the Lions who are suddenly two wins from going to their first Super Bowl. They’ll also be playing Tampa Bay – the Buccaneers – at home in the NFL Divisional Round playoffs on Sunday. Oddly enough, on the same day the Red Wings will be playing host to the Lightning.
“The fan support here is insane,” Lyon said. “Whether it’s the Red Wings, whether it’s the Lions, it’s pretty incredible. Not every place is like that.
“I try not to take that for granted. To have people caring about the team and actively rooting for it on a day to day basis – Lions, Red Wings, go down the list – Detroit is a great sports town.”