Red Wings Going in the Wrong Direction
By Patrick Hoffman
For what seemed like forever, the Detroit Red Wings were one of the most consistent clubs in the NHL.
This team won Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002, and 2008 while also losing in the Final in 1995 and 2009. Year in and year out, this team made the playoffs and had success in them and did so with strong defense, a solid offensive core, and good enough goaltending.
Fast forward to now and things are much different. This season, the Red Wings missed the playoffs for the second straight season and two years ago, missing the postseason snapped 25 straight years of making it to the postseason dance.
There is currently not a lot to like about this hockey club. For starters, this team has no sizzle.
For years, it was guys like Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Tatar, Brian Rafalski, and others who popped out on the roster. While Zetterberg is still around, the rest of the team's lineup just isn't as exciting as it used to be.
Secondly, the Red Wings play in one of the toughest divisions. This season alone, the likes of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs all made the playoffs in convincing fashion. It would have been four teams in the Florida Panthers found a way to squeak in as they finished just one point behind the team that had the second wild card spot, the New Jersey Devils.
Each of the teams mentioned above are only going to get better. Their cupboards are stocked, they've all made strides in the last few seasons, and they all have rosters that can help a team make the playoffs, which is something the Red Wings do not have.
Speaking of the cupboards being stocked, this is something that Wings' general manager Ken Holland needs to work on. Because they were so good for so long, they rarely ended up with a good first round pick.
The club has the sixth pick in this year's draft. No one is quite sure who they will get, obviously, but the team needs to hit close to home run here to give this franchise some hope for the future.
Times are certainly tough in Hockeytown, but hopefully, the Wings will do what they need to do at the draft and over the off-season in order to get their shipped turned around and headed in the right direction.
Previously, Patrick has covered the NHL for Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, About.com, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.