Some Red Wings still rapping Demers

October 19, 1990|By Knight-Ridder News Service

DETROIT -- How quickly they forget.

Only a few years ago, the Detroit Red Wings were the laughing stock of the National Hockey League. The winged wheel on their chests instilled nothing but confidence -- in opponents, that is.

Enter the Frenchman who talked incessantly in fractured English. Coach Jacques Demers taught the Red Wings how to win again.

Demers restored dignity to an organization that had little in the previous 20 years, and his players were grateful. Said one at the time, "I'd step in front of a bus for that guy."

Four seasons later, some of the same players were ready to push Demers into the path of a bus. When owner Mike Ilitch polled some of his players after the team failed to make the playoffs last spring, he got an earful.

Demers lost his job, but it doesn't seem to be enough for some of his former players.

Two weeks ago, injured goaltender Greg Stefan told the Toronto Globe and Mail that the players lost respect for their coach after the way he handled the curfew-breaking incident at an Edmonton night club during the playoffs in 1988. Steve Yzerman said the team stopped believing when the Red Wings traded Adam Oates and Paul MacLean to St. Louis. Shawn Burr said the coach's firing was best for everyone involved, including Demers.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.