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NHL Detroit Red Wings

Five Reason Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Shouldn’t Panic

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Five Reason Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Shouldn't Panic

Five Reason Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Shouldn't Panic
Scot Rovak - USA TODAY Sports

After a 6-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on opening night, the Detroit Red Wings have cause for concern. While likely more of a reflection of the parity of the league than the downfall of their team, the loss showcased many flaws the Wings will need to work on this season.

There are still many reasons why fans in Hockeytown should not panic, especially since one game is a small sample size. The Wings still have one of the best coaches in the NHL in Mike Babcock, a top goaltender in Jimmy Howard and a lethal top line of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner. Saturday night’s loss was not due to poor play by Howard as much as it was to defensive struggles, and the young goaltender can be a huge difference maker for the team in this shortened season. The Wings also face a favorable schedule for the next month, with 12 of 17 games taking place at Joe Louis Arena. Last season saw the team set a league record with a 23-game winning streak at home. The fans in Detroit seem to fuel the team to a better performance, and they will get their first chance to cheer their team to victory when the Dallas Stars visit on Tuesday.

The other bright spot to focus on is the young talent in the Wings’ organization. Defenseman Brendan Smith will continue to see increased ice time, and Swiss import Damien Brunner will try and keep his scoring chemistry with Zetterberg going now that he has come to North America. As injuries continue to mount, the team may turn to Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan to log big minutes in Detroit. While this season may be a drop off from previous ones, the future still looks bright.

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5. A Favorable Home Schedule

Joe Louis Arena
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings set an NHL record last season, winning 23 straight games at home. The fans at Joe Louis Arena give the team an enviable home-ice advantage, and starting with a Jan. 22 meeting with the Dallas Stars, 12 of their next 17 games are at home.

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4. Young Talent

Brendan Smith
Scott Rovak - USA TODAY Sports

The Wings will also turn to some of their young talent this season, looking to Brendan Smith to be a contributor on the defensive end and Damien Brunner to chip in scoring on the offensive end. Prospects with the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins that could see time in Detroit include Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar and Riley Sheahan - all capable of having an impact if given an NHL shot.

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3. Coaching

Mike Babcock
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Mike Babcock remains one of the best coaches in the NHL, and was able to add former Edmonton Oilers head coach Tom Renney to his staff in the offseason. Babcock has only missed the playoffs once in nine seasons of coaching the Wings and Anaheim Ducks, and has three Stanley Cup Finals appearances and one championship.

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2. Goaltending

Jimmy Howard
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The opening night loss to the Blues was not Jimmy Howard’s fault. Howard has been a proven winner for the Wings in each of his three NHL seasons, winning 37, 37 and 35 games. If he can stay healthy and get help from his defensemen, the Wings will be fine. The addition of Jonas Gustavsson (currently day-to-day with a groin injury) will also help, giving Howard days off when needed.

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1. A Top Notch Top Line

Datsyuk-Zetterberg
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Even though they failed to score in the season opener, the Wings still have a lethal top line that most other teams should envy. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are established scorers, and Swiss import Damien Brunner should provide a spark to the line while showcasing the chemistry he developed with Zetterberg during the lockout. Being named captain was an honor for Zetterberg, but comes with the added responsibility of being accountable for the team’s ups and downs.