Fans of the Detroit Red Wings are used to being near the top of the NHL Western Conference. It seems as though year in and year out, the Wings are top contenders and are always around to cause problems come the playoffs. It is what they do, it is who they are, and this season will be no different.
Detroit falls below .500 after losing to the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night, giving them a record of 4-4-1. It marked the first time they suffered back-to-back losses this season. They lost 4-1 to a team that had been struggling with opponents on their own home ice, but were able to come into Joe Louis Arena and make the score board look like they had simply dominated the game.
That just wasn’t the case. Detroit got into a 2-0 hole early and chased the rest of the way through. They had plenty of opportunities against the Flames, they just were not able to capitalize. Honestly, how often have you seen Pavel Datsyuk miss an open net from a foot and a half away? Exactly. It was just one of those nights.
The loss puts the Red Wings in fourth in the central division, a place they are not all too familiar with. There has been plenty to cause the fans concern, including a 6-0 thumping they took on their home ice in the season opener against the St. Louis Blues. It has not been pretty at times, but that is no reason to freak out. Not just yet, anyways.
The Wings have one of the best coaches in the NHL in Mike Babcock, and Jimmy Howard has been deceptively good in goal all season. They still have a core group of guys that would be highly coveted by the rest of the NHL. Johan Franzen scored Detroit’s only goal against the Flames on Tuesday night, and he is currently a top ten right wing and a problem for the Wings opponents. Henrik Zetterberg, who just collected his fifth career hat-trick last week, is third in the league among left wings and is an over-all top ten talent. Datsyuk, is an artist on the ice, and does things with the puck that leave you wondering what it was, exactly, you just saw.
We could sit here and break down the entire roster if we wanted to, but there is really no need. The Red Wings have more known players on their roster than maybe any team in the NHL, and it is simply because of the consistency with which they are around in the playoffs. That is where the names are heard and remembered as they are repeated over and over, year after year.
It is this consistency, in both the players on the ice, and the post season appearances, that should give the fans of Detroit a sense of confidence. Sure, the Red Wings have started a bit slow, much slower than their division rival Chicago Blackhawks, but they are by no means out of it just yet. And with the guys they have on that roster, it is doubtful they will be out of it any time soon.