NHL Detroit Red Wings

Five Reasons Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Should Panic

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Five Reasons Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Should Panic

Five Reasons Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Should Panic
Scott Rovak - USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings' season opening loss to the St. Louis Blues showed many things the team needs to work on moving forward. It may be unreasonable to jump ship this early in the season, but in a time of immediate reaction some fans have already begun to abandon ship. For a team known for over two decades of excellence and consecutive playoff appearances, a 6-0 loss on opening night is seen by most as unacceptable.

There certainly are causes for concern: the team has some serious weaknesses on defense, which could lead to more goals allowed than in previous seasons. A slew of injury concerns has also threatened to derail the Wings’ plans to return to the postseason. Heading into just the second game of the season, no fewer than eight players had missed practice time or game time due to injury. For a team whose star players are nearing the end of their prime playing years, age is also becoming a concern. There are many young prospects that will make an impact with the Red Wings soon, there just isn’t a place for them yet on a crowded, veteran-filled roster.

The special teams issues that plagued the Wings last season once again reared their head Saturday, as the Blues scored on four of five power plays. New associate coach Tom Renney will hopefully be able to improve things in this area, but as of now it remains a major cause for concern. Every point matters in a shortened season, and many games could be decided by a one-goal margin - making special teams play even more vital. The Red Wings have a rich history and a successful run of late that would make most fan bases jealous. They face lower expectations this season, and have given fans and critics alike reasons to think their 21-season streak of playoff appearances may be ending.

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5. An Aging Roster

Todd Bertuzzi
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson are both 35 or older, Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Niklas Kronwall and even Henrik Zetterberg are all in their 30s, getting close to, or pushing past the prime of their careers. The window for the Wings to do something with this core group of players intact is closing fast.

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4. Power Play Struggles

Henrik Zetterberg
Rick Osentoski - USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings had the NHL’s 22nd ranked power play last season, and only two other teams allowed more shorthanded goals. Neither of these statistics improved in Saturday’s loss, as the team failed to score in four power play chances and gave up a shorthanded goal to the Blues.

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3. Penalty Kill Struggles

Ian White
Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings ranked 18th on the penalty kill in 2011-12, and that was with Brad Stuart and Nicklas Lidstrom. Allowing four goals on five opportunities in the season opener did not instill much confidence that this season’s will see an improvement when playing a man (or two) down.

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2. Questionable Defense

Kyle Quincey
Scott Rovak - USA TODAY Sports

The Red Wings defense suffered two huge setbacks in the offseason as Nicklas Lidstrom retired and Brad Stuart departed via free agency. The team’s roster is thin on defense, and injuries have further depleted it. Kyle Quincey looks shaky at best, and Niklas Kronwall, Ian White and Jonathan Ericsson need to step up fast to help this team succeed.

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1. Injuries, Injuries and More injuries

Patrick Eaves
Matt Kartozian - USA TODAY Sports

Injuries continue to plague this team, a major concern in a shortened season. At least eight players have missed time in training camp or games due to injury, with Jonas Gustavsson, Jakub Kindl and possibly Jonathan Ericsson now finding themselves at less than 100 percent. Todd Bertuzzi and Jan Mursak are expected to miss a large chunk of the season, cutting into a deep group of forwards and possibly leading to the recalls of several AHL prospects.