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The Red Wings are just a 'normal' team

Mar 10, 2010, 6:45 AM EDT

I wasn’t very popular among Wings fans this past week when I brought
up the notion that the Detroit Red Wings might suffer a bit of a let
down season after years and years and years and years of regular season
domination, but the cracks are definitely showing this season.

It’s
true that the majority of the issues this season start with and revolve
around the massive amount of injuries the team has to deal with.
But Red Wings cannot deny that the team this year is not the same as
the one that went to two straight Stanley Cup finals, and they’re going
to be fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot this year. That’s a
completely new concept for this team and it’s fans, but it’s reality.

Never
before was this more apparent than in last night’s loss to the Calgary
Flames. For the second game in a row the Red Wings folded in the third
period, nearly letting a three goal lead get away from them in Chicago
and then allowing three late goals against Calgary. This is a Red Wings
team that is not only vulnerable but is stumbling when the pressure is
on in the playoff hunt.

Nicklas Lidstrom realizes that things aren’t
like they’ve been in the past
.

“In certain games,
we’ve played well
with the lead, we kept going after them, kept the third player high but
got pressure on their defensemen,” Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom
said. “We haven’t gotten that consistently this year.

“I think
we’re
caught taking a step back instead of being on our toes and being more
aggressive. I think we’re a little hesitant and that just invites the
other team to come after us a little more and get a lot more pressure
on us.”

There’s no doubt that if the Red Wings do
make the playoffs, their talent level and experience makes them a
dangerous foe that no team wants to face.

I understand that Red
Wings fans have been hearing their team is too old and is bound to
stumble at any time, yet they’ve still been able to maintain a high
level of competitiveness. I contend that we are seeing that stumble
right now in front of our eyes; forget the injuries from earlier this
season, this is a mostly healthy Red Wings team that is 3-2-0 since the
break (not bad) but is far from perfect.

This isn’t to say that
the Red Wings are suddenly a bad team, in fact they are from it. But
they are a normal, middle of the road team that struggles from time to
time and from game to game. It’s not anything to be ashamed of, it’s just
something that Red Wings fans will have to get used to.

  1. Jordan - Mar 11, 2010 at 6:48 PM

    Mr. Worley,
    That is certainly a fair assessment of this years Red Wings. Even when considering the almost 300 man games lost to injury, and the mass exit of UFA’s in the offseason, this is still virtually the same roster, minus a couple of players, that won the Stanley Cup in 2008. I think their current struggles have to do more so with the struggles of Henrik Zetterberg than anything else, which has been well covered by the local media in Detroit. The third period letdowns have been a constant struggle for this team throughout the entire season, and that was showcased again against Calgary. The Red Wings are among the least penalized teams in the NHL, yet one of the most penalized teams in the third period. I think there’s a direct correlation there as well. This season has been disastrous in many ways for the Red Wings, injuries, inconsistent play, the demise of Chris Osgood, and then throw on top of that the giant distraction the Olympics created for this team, often playing back-to-back games TWICE a week, with a coach and front office staff, who essentially were doing twice the amount of work trying to get prepared for Vancouver while also maintaining the Red Wings. Just a lot of negative factors this season that could lead to a major letdown should Detroit miss the playoffs.

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