Many great teams have had slumps in their seasons. The Detroit Red Wings can look into their recent past for evidence of this.
The 1995-96 unit was a great team. They set the NHL record with 62 regular-season wins. That record still stands today, which is particularly impressive in the age of shoot outs rather than ties.
Though they were one of the greatest teams in league history, they did have a slump. Unfortunately, that slump took place in the Western Conference Finals against the Colorado Avalanche. Younger fans, or those with selective memory loss, can Google “1996 Stanley Cup Playoffs” or “Kris Draper shattered face” for more information on that wonderful series.
The 2001-2002 Wings were also one of the best teams in hockey history, but not by the standard of wins or points. The squad boasted ten future locks for the Hall of Fame. That’s almost half of the roster. (And that does not include rookie Pavel Datsyuk.)
Just to give perspective of how incredible this teams was, every once in a while, head coach Scotty Bowman would put Steve Yzerman, Luc Robitaille, and Brett Hull on the same line. That means there was 2,000 goals on the Red Wings side of the face off dot whenever this line took to the ice.
But they did have a slump, and that slump was a serious cause for concern (at the time). In April, the soon-to-be Stanley Cup Champions were winless in nine straight games, two of those games being in the first round of the play-offs against the Vancouver Canucks. Fortunately for the ’02 team, they were able to overcome the two games to none, eye-opener and won 16 of their next 21 games.
The Wings have all the right gears this year. They just have not got them turning in the right direction yet. Can the 2011-2012 team get through this early season four game losing streak to win the Central Division? President’s Trophy? The trophy that matters?