Maria Stuart

Maria Stuart
Howell, Michigan, USA
February 17
Maria Stuart is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer. She lives in Michigan with her husband, their teenage son, and Ted, the hyper labradoodle who keeps her from sitting at the computer too long. You can check out her website at or Follow @mariastuart on Twitter.


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Editor’s Pick
JUNE 5, 2009 11:14AM

The Stanley Cup: A tale of two rust-belt cities

Rate: 11 Flag


I know I am making too much of this Stanley Cup series, but I can’t help myself. The re-match that has the champion Detroit Red Wings defending against the powerful Pittsburgh Penguins holds allegorical fascination for me.

In my heart, this series has nothing to do with hockey and everything to do with a tale of two rust-belt cities.

Pittsburgh, the former steel capital of the world, brilliantly reinvented itself after the collapse of the steel industry in the 1980s. It was a time for that city every bit as heartbreaking and tragic as the collapsing automotive industry is today for Detroit. Since then, Pittsburgh has moved forward, grown and prospered, its renaissance a lesson in rising from ashes.

Detroit is struggling to wrest itself from the death grip of economic tragedy and political foolishness; it finds itself balancing shakily atop a tightrope with no safety net below and the winds of change blowing fast and furious. There is nothing certain about its future.

A Stanley Cup win again this year would mean so much to Detroit, the once-great city known as the Arsenal of Democracy during World War II. The Stanley Cup would bolster its confidence, help its balance and give it hope. If there ever were a city in need, it’s Detroit: Consider that the nation’s unemployment rate hovers at about 7 percent, and Michigan’s just below 13 percent; Detroit’s clocks in at a staggering 22 percent, over three times that of the national average.

But the truth is fate doesn’t hand lifelines to those who need them most; if it did, there would be no starving children in the world.

So, I continue to watch these grueling, brutal, nail-biting games in the privacy of my living room, where no one except my husband and kid can hear me cheer and wail. For me, it’s difficult to separate hockey from reality, power plays from unemployment lines; new wave from old school; Sidney Crosby from Henrik Zetterberg. Sports, a co-worker once told me, are important because they’re all about life; finally, I think I know what he meant.


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Go Wings! The next game is Saturday night.
It's a game, a great game, but no longer an especially populr game. It is not by any means the sports equivalent of a Marshall plan. It's effect on the city fortunate enough to house the winner will be pleasant, fugitive, and superficial.
"But the truth is fate doesn't hand lifelines to those who need it most."
Beautifully written piece. I'm rooting for the Tigers, too.
Born and raised in Detroit, I feel deeply for the city and hope that they triumph once more for Lord Stanley's Cup. I remember fondly the joy we al felt in '68 when the Tigers won that year, especially after the uneasiness of the year before. Libertarius is right that a Red Wings' victory won't do anything for the long-term survivability of the city. But it will lighten everyone's mood, and that's gotta help. After all, here in the Delaware Valley, nobody firebombed the Eagles' offices after they blew another NFC championship game in January. That can be directly attributed to the Phils' success in October. Otherwise, Andy Reid was would have been up in smoke.

Yes, athletes are just gladiators without having to pay the ultimate price. But they do affect the mood of a fan base, and God knows, the people of SE Michigan need a mood-lift.

So, Go Wings!
libertarius; laurel, not lauren; and AtHomePilgrim: I am counting on you sending good vibes Detroit's way on Saturday.
Given that game three was stolen from them, I hope they trash Pittsburgh in game five. However, they will have to elevate their play WAY above last night's. I know Osgood has the stones to do it, hopefully the guys in front of him do, too.

I think maybe a Gordie Howe hat trick would help. ;-D
Missed it because I'm contracted (in my mind) to a SYTYCD re-cap. But you know I'm rooting for you. I'll be there Saturday.
I'm pulling for the Wings too. Born and raised there but left in 1967 to go off to college and never returned to live. Get "home" once or twice a year to see 85 year old father. Our weekly phone calls always include updates on the Wings, Pistons, Tigers, and lowlights of the Lions.

Gordie Howe was my boyhood idol and we went to many a game at the old Olympia - the place where we paid neighborhood kids to "watch" our cars. If you didn't pay, you usually had no tires after the game. But it was worth it everytime for streetside parking.

Detroit just needs so many things since it began its decline in the late 60's. Go Wings.
I don't mind seeing the Red Wings win and give the folks of Detroit something to be proud of. I just hope the bad element that seems to view such an occurrence the opportunity to do mischief (or worse) are able to refrain themselves. I still remember the violence that occurred after the Tigers last won the World Series. I can't remember if there was similar trouble following the Pistons' victories back in the late 1980's.
As long as Pittsburgh has that crybaby whiner Cindy Crosby, I hope they lose. And lose big. I'd like to see Cindy lying on her ass bleeding after a nice clean hit from a big defenseman that cleans her clock and sends her into next month.
Way to take a hockey match ( of which I'm not a fan) and make me care about it! Give Detroit something to cheer about !
This said so much, so well, with so few words. I hope whatever team you're rooting for wins. I hope both cities do.
I grew up in Pittsburgh in the 80's. There was nothing like clinging to the Steelers to bring that town out of despair. We have had a hell of a year with Santonio's feet inches inside the line. Detroit is going through hell. I think they need the S. Cup more than Pittsburgh does this year. (Shhh - don't tell my family I said that.)
Bill and Grif -- If Gordie could, I know he would. Olympia was something, wasn't it? I remember going to concerts there, too. Go Wings!
Juliet -- Now that you've turned me on to SYTYCD, I'm thinking it falls right in there with sports and life. Thanks for the vibes.
Procopious -- No trouble last year.
Tony -- I am at a loss. But go Wings!!! (There's a really funny video someone posted on Facebook of a photo of Crosby with someone else's mouth superimposed. He's got a pacifier and then goes on to complain about the game and cry. I'm not tech savvy enough to know how to post it here, but keep an eye open for it. It must be making the rounds.)
Melissa -- You can lead the cheer on the other side of the state! ; > )
Cartouche -- Thanks. While I'm rooting for the Wings, Detroit the city can probably learn a few things from Pittsburgh the city.
Kairol -- It will be our secret, but your message means the world to me. Unless you're living in or near what's going on, it's hard to comprehend it. Thanks for understanding.
Go Hockey! I don't have a dog in the fight, but the games have been awesome!
Minor trivia: A "Gordie Howe hat trick" is recording a goal, an assist and a penalty (usually a fight!) in a single game. Gordie actually only did it twice himself!!
My Dad is a Detroit fan, but through a cruel twist of fate and geography, I am a Leafs fan. Going to be a great game tonight!
Good Luck!
Laid off?

guess being good at what you do doesn't matter much these days.

but........ I'm hopin' for Sydney.
I'll try to send a little mojo Detroit's way. I used to go to the Atlanta Knights games at the Omni when local the team played in the IHL, an atmosphere somewhere between a rock concert and a WWE wrestling event. But I haven't been able to get behind the Thrashers for some reason. Probably because they stink most of the time.
I can't believe I am saying this, but I sort of feel sorry for the Penguins. It's the end of the second period of game No. 5 and the Wings are up 5-0. The Penguins are playing desperation hockey, and getting lots of penalties in the process.

The tide has definitely turned. Go Wings!!!
I don't feel sorry for the Penguins at all. I wish that Detroit had pummeled them more.

By the way, the penalty on Cindy showed exactly why she's a whining crybaby. What a punk ass penalty. If you're going to slash someone, do it like a man. Make it hurt or leave a mark.
So, here's the question: Will there be a Game 7?

The Wings and the Penguins are headed to Pittsburgh for Game 6 on Tuesday. If there is a Game 7, it will be in Detroit on Friday.

Did the Game 5 whomping delivered by the Wings on Saturday seal the Stanley Cup deal, or will the Penguins rebound in Game 6, forcing a Game 7 in Detroit?
My Mother found her 4 year old granddaughter rooting for the Penguins because she liked the white jerseies. Horrified, my brother promptly sent her to her room.

We may live in Scottsdale, LA, SF, and New York now but Detroit blood runs hot and deep.

I just wish they left Tiger Stadium