Red Wings

Why Detroit fans shouldn’t sleep on the Red Wings

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Detroit Red Wings Winter Classic Practice
So what’s going on with the Wings? I know, I know, we’ve talked about it on the message boards, we’ve talked amongst friends and argued about it on social media.
But what is it?
Well it’s a couple things. Obviously you look at the overtime losses which has been an issue all year but why can’t the Wings get themselves out of regulation or the shootout for that matter? Simply put they can’t score. But the underlying issue with that is it’s hard for a team that relies on passing to have chemistry with lineup changes game to game because of injuries. If the Red Wings gained frequent flyers miles on groin injuries they would be able to take a trip out west and come back with for free.
Here’s a list of Wings on the injury report this year so far; Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Weiss, Franzen, Helm, Ericsson, Smith, Alfredsson, DeKeyser have all missed time for a total of 110 games missed. I ask fans to find a team close to missing that.
So now the gloom and doom is over, Franzen looks to return over this current road trip, Ericsson should be back in about 3 weeks from now while Dekeyser and Helm are in a little more of a gray area. With that said here’s a list of reasons to be optimistic moving forward.
  1. Detroit isn’t losing a ton of ground moving to the East. The conference is busy leaving itself wide open. There are currently nine teams in striking distance to be the No. 4 seed or the No. 8 seed.
  2. By the time the playoffs role around this team should be healthy and the younger guys will have gained more valuable experience.
  3. Jimmy Howard… Look he has his critics this year and rightfully so. He signed a new deal and with his last four years the fans are going to raise expectations. But cut the guy a break, he battled injuries the whole first half and after these past four years I’d say he deserves the benefit of doubt.  He has had a strong Winter Classic, strong game against Dallas so I would expect a strong second half as well. Plus for all the fans pulling for Gustavsson, his numbers aren’t much better and that was with a real strong start to the year.
  4. The Wings have a lot of negative players on the roster right now that will not be the case in April. If you are not playing smart hockey, you will not be playing. The kids can afford to make the mistakes now, but the large negative numbers from Cleary, Bertuzzi, Glendening can’t happen late in the year. Babcock doesn’t play favorites, he is in the business of winning games. I would expect the Wings to look at making a move for a D’man as getting solid play from Quincey and/or Kindl has been an issue.
  5. Shootouts don’t decide playoff games. Let’s face it, Detroit stinks in the shootout, they have 7 losses in the shootout for a 1-7 record. But again it doesn’t matter once you’re seeded in the playoffs.
I’m not telling Red Wing Nation to ignore the current play. I will freely admit it’s a tough watch some nights and I get the same “we already lost” feeling once O.T. starts too. But what I’m saying is be patient and keep an eye on your Wings. I’ve given a pretty solid case to expect a good closing and the end of the season should be a lot better than the beginning.

About Jason Bray

Detroit Sports Columist. Joined The Majors staff in 2012 covering the Detroit Lions.

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