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Not The Red Wings You Knew and Loved

May 5, 2010

Let me start off by saying, this is not a bashing of my beloved Detroit Red Wings, but more of a reality check. At the beginning of the season, my mom and I were talking about the Red Wings. She would get score updates on her phone and look hurt every time the Wings would lose. Which in comparison to the last few seasons, was a lot. Then and there I told my mom not to be upset. Her reply was ” these are still the Red Wings! They are better than this!” To which I responded “but mom, that’s just it, they aren’t THE Red Wings”. I went on to explain that perhaps later in the season, or next season, or even the season after next that they quite possibly would be again, but right then, they were not.

My reasoning came from the fact that there had been several players on last years and the year before’s roster who had not returned. Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, and  Jiri Hudler left. Hossa being a leading scorer for the team had 40 goals and 31 assists alone!  That’s a big deal to lose a player like that,  especially when you combine it with all the injuries and newer players having to be brought into regular season play who may have only done spot duty  last season.

“But it’s still the RED WINGS!”

No, mom, they aren’t!

Missing players. Key injuries, age, rookie goalie. All of these things have to be taken into account.

I think my mom ( as well as a lot of fans) looked at it from an organization standpoint. I think she, like many fans, have become spoiled and expect anyone wearing the uniform to be able to be great at the drop of a hat, or octopus. The mystique of the organization of the last 10 years has permeated the fans way of thinking and they can not comprehend failure. They have lost all sense of reality and fear being accused as a bandwagon fan if they say anything that doesn’t paint the Wings as perfect. Or they take the complete opposite stand and curse them for being a horrible team.

A horrible team that made it to the second round of the playoffs after being counted as dead before the Olympic break.

A horrible team that fought its way to a fifth seed and won a game 7 with a rookie goalie. Oh yea!! Did you forget they had a rookie goalie?? I think many of you did!

If the wings are horrible (even if they get swept by the Sharks which is quite possible now down 0-3) then their horrible is still better than many others teams “great” days. Everyone does not get into the playoffs, but the Wings did, again. 19 Consecutive playoff appearances.

Is it possible that the old heads aren’t as hungry as some of the players on these other teams? I suppose. But I would credit the issue of not being dominate more to the change of personnel and the injuries during the year to the seemingly averageness of this team. And, I must say it, they have not gotten the better breaks when it comes to calls this playoff round. Have the Wings played great? No. Would a great team have been more in control of their own fate by scoring more goals so that they could combat bad calls with a powerful offense? Absolutely.  But I also think that if you take a team that is probably more good than great this season, and put them up against a young team and horrible officiating, that can cause problems. Close games should not be determined by the refs and I don’t know any team that can be in the box that many times and not get tired. And let us not forget these players are human. Having bad calls consistently has GOT to play a part in an athlete’s psyche.

It all adds up.

And still, we are here. In the playoffs. Where many teams are not.

I am excited that with all the adversity, we are still in this position. Still in an exciting place for NHL hockey. The Red Wings organization is indeed Still The Red Wings, even if the current team isn’t. I am confident we will return to that mystique we all know and love next season or the season after that (depending on if Howard grows or not)

Don’t worry. We will be back. After all, we never really left.

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2 Comments
  1. The Wings biggest problem has been defense. Too many turnovers in their own zone and blown defensive assignments. The future is blurry since Lidstrom has lost at least a step, if not two or three. Kronwall has been terrible and even Stuart and Rafalski have struggled plenty. If our top four defenseman are either too old and not able to elevate their games then this team is in trouble. Defenseman are not growing on trees, and finding one if not two top four defenseman this offseason seems unlikely. I do agree that you can never count the Wings out, but their defense this year and in the future is not looking promising right now.

    http://huebnerj.wordpress.com

    • Hey Josh, thanks for stopping by.

      The way things have looked, even when not being called for penalties has not looked great, I agree. I think that with the way this organization has continued to find depth throughout the years can continue. At least I hope it does. It’t not far fetched. In the past, players have taken salary cuts in order to play here. I think Babcock and the Wings still are a destination players want to end up at. If this is indeed the case, we should be ok. It may take a few seasons though.
      I still wonder how much better this team might have played if they didn’t have to spend so much time on the PK. I am not putting it solely on the refs, but it did play a part.
      I also think that this team very well could have overachieved the second half of the season. I didn’t expect a LOT from them at the beginning. The second half of the season was a pleasant surprise.

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