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It’s Detroit Red Wings day on PHT

Aug 27, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Henrik Zetterberg Getty Images

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Detroit Red Wings.

The Detroit Red Wings finally got what they wanted last season with the league’s realignment: A move from the Western to Eastern Conference. That gave them a far more favorable travel schedule and the chance to play against some classic rivals more frequently.

Now in the new Atlantic Division, Detroit got off to a 6-2-0 start, but they hit some rough patches, due in large part to injuries. Forwards Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Stephen Weiss were among those that missed substantial chunks of the season.

In the end, it was the rise of promising young forwards Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Riley Sheahan that helped the team squeak into the playoffs and extend the franchise’s streak of postseason appearances to 23 seasons.

Detroit didn’t do much once it got to the playoffs as Boston dismissed the Red Wings in five games, but the campaign can still be viewed as a step in the right direction as far as their rebuilding effort goes.

The larger issue at this point is if the Red Wings will be able to lure talent to help compliment their rising young players and have at least one more serious playoff run with 33-year-old Zetterberg and 36-year-old Datsyuk before they’re slowed down by age.

Detroit used to be a choice destination for free agents, but that hasn’t been the case in recent years and this summer was no exception. Detroit wasn’t able to sign a single noteworthy defenseman and instead brought back Kyle Quincey at a cost of $8.5 million over two years.

With the Red Wings largely unchanged from 2013-14, they will enter the season as contenders for a playoff spot once again, but some serious question marks remain.

  1. jinx21fan - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    “With the Red Wings largely unchanged from 2013-14, they will enter the season as contenders for a playoff spot once again, but some serious question marks remain.”

    Only because of the switch to the East are they playoff contenders again. The Wing fan’s are going to crucify me, but it’s true. One guy not mentioned in the article up top is Howard. For the first time in a long time the Wings really need to have big time goaltending performances. They have some really good kids, but health and Howard are going to be keys for the streak to continue.

    • bcsteele - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:27 AM

      You are correct whether Detroit fans want to admit it or not. Compare the depth of Detroit with the Central division, which is where they were before the move east. Then you consider the three powerhouses out in the pacific…Detroit would be a bubble team at best if they were still in the west.

      • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        Avtually they would not have made it last year and could not make it this year if still in the central. The central is going to place 5 teams in the playoffs again this year, and i can’t see the Wings finishing higher that the Stars or Wild, who both look to have improved over the summer.

      • hockeydon10 - Aug 27, 2014 at 6:56 PM


        You sure Detroit’s 93 points would have been edged out by Dallas’ 91 points?

      • jinx21fan - Aug 29, 2014 at 2:10 PM

        Yes, but would they have gotten those 93pts playing in the west?

    • polegojim - Aug 27, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      All speculation,,, if if if if…. Yada Yada yada yada

      Be real you two… with largely the same team, the Red Wings made it to the playoffs in the West, against the same competition that exists today… with key injuries.

      • dueman - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        If you want to ‘be real’, remember that the only reason that the streak isn’t already over is because Toronto went on a 14 game losing skid at the end of the season which put you in the playoffs. If Toronto would’ve even won 5 of those games, the streak would have ended…So be happy that my team fell apart at season’s end, but you really need to look at the reality of things. Toronto, Washington, the Islanders, all improved this off season. What did Detroit do, well, besides resigning Cleary, and possibly losing Alfredsson?

      • bcsteele - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        Thank you to @dueman for making my exact point for me.

      • polegojim - Aug 27, 2014 at 6:28 PM

        @due and steele… it’s ok when more than one person is wrong at the same time… we’re used to it.

        If Toronto hadn’t melted down… and if the Wings had NOT… but won ALL the games they needed to… and if the moon, Jupiter and Mars hadn’t aligned… more Yada yada yada…

        The Wings did EXACTLY what they needed to… it’s called HOCKEY.. and they earned it… no excuses, no apologies… except yours perhaps.

        I guess we’ll see what they have… it’s why they actually play each season and don’t just listen to us bicker!

    • mstadium - Aug 27, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      The playoff streak is a point of SERIOUS pride in Detroit for several reasons:
      1. Fewer than a handful of teams in the NHL, and a select few more in other pro sports, have been able to accomplish that kind of consistent success. The Wings are the most successful NHL team in the past 20 years, and one of the most for the previous 5.
      2. Most teams just hope to make the playoffs. In Detroit, the Wings EXPECT to make the playoffs and contend for the Cup EVERY year. That is why the organizations is one of the most, if not the most, envied in sports.
      3. No team in Detroit wants to be the squad that ended the streak.
      Some folks have said here that making the playoffs is different from contending for the Cup. That is true to an extent. Some teams have better chances — on paper — than others. But the Wings are perennial Cup ‘contenders’ because of how well their system works. The template is there because of Ken Holland and the unparalled team of scouts.

  2. pjblake2redwings - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:59 AM

    Holland is going to hurt the development of players like Mantha, Tatar, and Jurco by him keeping that bum Cleary another year. The wings trade a young stud of Calle Jarnkrok and a 3rd rd pick for 20 games of David Legwand but wont make any trades for a right shooting Dman that Babcock said he wants.. I guess we can say this is Babs farwell season with the wings

    • jmcurran28 - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:13 AM

      Holland gave all the available right-handed d-men the terms and more than the amount of money they wanted they simply chose to play somewhere else. As for Cleary if he produces he will play, if not Babs will scratch him.

      • pjblake2redwings - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM

        you are right, he tried to get them and failed so now is a time to TRADE for one.

    • clefty1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      If Jarnkrok was such a stud then why was he never called up with the rash of injuries? I believe Jarnkrok was taking about returning to Sweden…

  3. patthehockeyfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    I like the Red Wings, and I like Mike Babcock. I do have to comment on Detroit’s making it into the playoffs this past season (their 23rd straight playoff appearance).

    Had it not been for a controversial goal in a game against the LA Kings, Detroit, most likely, would not have made it into the playoffs – which they did by just one point.

    With 37 seconds left on the clock, and with the Kings having a one-goal lead, a Detroit shot deflected off a King stick, flew up into the protective netting, dropped back down onto Jonathan Quick’s back, and bounced off his back and into the net. The officials called it a good goal. That missed call resulted in a tie game that Detroit won in a shootout.

    I don’t have a problem with Detroit’s getting into the playoffs. With the injuries they suffered this past season, it’s amazing that they did as well as they did. I wonder, though, whether we’d be reading a different analysis of their season had the caption on the lead page read: They missed making it into the playoffs for the first time in 23 seasons.

    Go, Wings!

    • bsaures - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:14 AM

      Its a 82 game season some calls go your way some dont. Who is to say that had the play blown dead that they wouldnt have scored in the last 30 seconds.

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        I wrote that I didn’t have a problem with their getting into the playoffs. The Kings could have scored in OT in that game to win it. Calls go all different ways. It was a ‘what if’ comment, that’s all.

      • bsaures - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:51 AM

        The kings also could have lost game 4 against the sharks and instead of getting to write stupid comments for another year we would have got to laugh as blomfeld cried himeself to sleep with his Jonathan quick body pillow. Looking at all the possible outcomes is impossible because every play every bounce could be different

      • blomfeld - Aug 28, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        *** earlier today at a linen shop ***

        Bsaures: hi asshole ! … listen, do you idiots sell pillow cases ?

        Clerk: reckon we might ?

        Bsaures: good, cause I want one ‘right now’ with a picture of Ovechkin on it ! … ya dig ?

        Clerk: oh I’m ‘digging’ alright …

        Besaures: say what ?

        Clerk: too bad I’m ‘digging’ your grave, asshole ! .. KAPOW !! .. KABOOM !! .. KAZAAM !!

        summary: Jonathan Quick is the ‘best’ and anyone who begs to differ does so at their peril …

    • buffbry - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:49 AM

      you do understand that the exact same play happened against Detroit and San Jose got the win like 2 years ago right? Stuff like that happens in a season, a ref misses a call that leads to a goal, a bad bounce goal, puck ricochets off of the backboards hits a players skate goes off another players stick and the goalie puts it in himself. There is no way you can go back to 1 goal of 1 game in the middle of January to say if they would have made the playoffs or not.

    • hockeydon10 - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      A few things wrong with your post. No, I won’t crucify you at all.

      Wings were on the power play with about 30 seconds left and the empty net making it 6 on 4. So, yes, LA could have put it in even on the PK, though perhaps less likely than in a normal 5 on 5 situation.

      More importantly, the Wings got 93 points in the regular season to secure the final wild card spot over Washington that got 90 points. Had they gone to OT, 92 points still gets 8th. Had they lost in regulation 91 points still gets 8th.

      I also don’t feel sorry for the Kings on this one as I distinctly remember watching some bizarre goal go the Kings way later in the season or in the playoffs. In this case the idea that it all evens out ended up correct.

  4. clefty1 - Aug 27, 2014 at 9:44 AM

    The defense is still the weak link and there was no improvement made during the off season, I would rather see one of the kids come up and play then see Quincey fumbling around, Howard is going to have to stand on his head some nights. Resigning Cleary was a mistake all he does is take up a roster spot and he brings nothing as far as improving the Wings roster.

  5. claymanv - Aug 27, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    As a Wings fan I am confident we’ll make the playoffs again.

    The thing about last year is that we had 3 very big problems.

    1) Cascade of injuries, to key players such as Datsyuk and Zetterberg.
    2) Mediocre goaltending by Jimmy Howard/ mediocre play (and lack of, due to injury (see above)) by Stephen Weiss
    3) Inexperienced/weak D-core.

    However, this upcoming year should see most of these issues addressed, if not solved.

    1) Datsyuk/Zetterberg will be healthy to start the season, and we now know we have more than sufficient young-guns primed and ready to step in when need be (some should even be starting now, in my opinion). Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Kronwall can all carry this team to the playoffs if need be- they’re that good (i’d even say unquestionably so, but I have some bias obviously), when they’re healthy. Also, again, I hear a few guys named Tatar, Nyquist, Mantha, Jurco, and others are salivating at the notion of top 6 minutes..
    2) Howard will likely bounce back- that was his worst season in recent years and I honestly think the Olympic possibility of him being on the US’ roster got to him a bit. Even if he only get’s say a ~.916 save percentage (which is still a starters numbers), roughly halfway between his numbers in the shortened season and last season, we’ll fare MUCH better and win MANY more games.
    2a) Weiss was injured starting last season and tried to hide it so he could play for his home-team and not disappoint.. As it turns out that wasn’t a good idea, as it lead to poor play and him sitting out most of the season. However, he is now healthy and really there’s no reason why a consistent 50-60 point getter on a poor team like Florida can’t recreate those numbers on the Wings. Also, he now has motivation to prove himself. I see him bouncing back this year too, and if not- Sheahan played excellent in that 2nd line slot, and Zetterberg could always anchor it if need be.
    3) Our D-core is arguably our biggest weakness, and we have not done anything to address that unfortunately. We needed a good, at least top 4, right handed D-man and havn’t gotten one. However, promising young D-men DeKeyser and Smith should do well with more experience under their belt. DeKeyser played great last year, and Smith showed flashes of the great player we hope he’ll be when he was paired with Kronwall. I expect both to play top 4 minutes (maybe top 6 for Smith as he is still learning to be a bit more stay-at-home, but I can still see top 4 for him especially when/if Quincey falters or him or someone gets injured) and to play well. Kindl could even rebound too, but he’s still a question mark for me, infact i wouldn’t mind seeing him as a part of a trade. The Quincey signing I hate, especially for the money and for two years (1 year at $3.25 I can see I suppose, but not 2 (when we have young’n’s pretty much ready) at only $.5 mill less than Kronwall..) but who knows, maybe he’ll impress me. If not or injuries occur, Marchenko, Sproul, Oullet, etc. are all itching to get into the line-up.

    Now obviously, there is no guarantee. I even had similar things to say last year (Weiss will be a good second liner, Howard will continue to be good, young-guns (D and O) will play more and already have more experience), but those ended up falling through due to many different things.

    But, if everyone performs how they should, we should actually be a pretty potent and challenging team.

  6. endusersolutions2013 - Aug 27, 2014 at 4:45 PM

    One distinct possibilities is that the Wings acquire a right handed d-man near the trade deadline as a “rest of the season rental”.

  7. ronniethec - Aug 27, 2014 at 8:28 PM

    Bsaures You are correct. The Kings could have lost to the Sharks. BUT THE DIDNT. Scoreboard.

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