With the 2013-14 regular season less than a month away, a familiar storyline is starting to emerge for the Detroit Red Wings. After seeing nearly every player on their roster miss a game last year, the Red Wings were hopeful that a longer offseason might allow everyone to get back to full strength. Darren Helm appears no closer to returning to the lineup, and after a handful of preseason games many of his teammates have been bothered by injuries as well.
Patrick Eaves could be out up to a month with an MCL sprain, and while that may be good news (temporarily) for the one or two forwards fighting for a roster spot, the loss of him and Helm weakens the third and/or fourth line(s). In addition to Eaves, Daniel Alfredsson, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl and Johan Franzen are among the players who have missed or will miss time with various groin, hip and other injuries. Forwards Jordin Tootoo and Mikael Samuelsson have an ability to seize this opportunity to cement their places in the lineup, while youngsters Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist may get a chance for more playing time if injuries continue to mount. So far, Eaves’ injury is the only one that looks like a long-term setback, which puts the team in much better shape than they were in before the 2013 season started.
There was no preseason last year due to the lockout, a fact that forced veteran players with the Wings into action at less than full strength. The situation is much different this year, and while no one likes to see players listed as day-to-day or on the injured reserve, as of now there is no cause for panic in the Motor City.