The highlight of the Detroit Red Wings season so far is that they’re not Ottawa. Sorry Ottawa fans, but that’s really all we’ve got left to hold onto as Detroit fans. That said, I’m not stressing over it.
This NHL season has been madness so far, and isn’t likely to last much longer, only the Canadian teams seem to be holding it together. Were this a typical season? I’d be losing my mind. I’ve no idea what coach Jeff Blashill is doing with the skaters he’s putting on the ice, or the coaching that’s going on between games. Nothing makes sense anymore.
Red Wings and a Prayer
Dylan Larkin, Givani Smith, Mathias Brome and Filip Zadina are all putting in phenomenal efforts, and I’ve seen moments in games that have made me incredibly proud. Unfortunately there are many more moments where bad decisions are made, or skaters are playing like they don’t want to be there. Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch against Florida for reasons only Blashill knows. He’s also in the top trio of scorers on the team. Were this a regular season and the Wings were this bad? I’d be upset. But I’m not. Not even when I look at Detroit’s power play percentage.
2020-21 is not the season where Detroit challenges for anything. It’s the season where, it seems, that as part of the rebuild, the coaching staff are just gonna try anything and everything, and see what works out. Twenty-five years of constant playoff hockey has essentially ruined the team. The rebuild is going to be one of the deepest we’ve seen in the NHL for a long time.
Reasons for Hope
There are promising signs: the Troy Stecher experiment seems to be working, while the Darren Helm experiment isn’t. The goalies are playing well too. Mostly. Being able to test partnerships and line-ups against proper opposition presents a good opportunity, and hopefully, one that the Wings are taking advantage of, not just using a Magic 8 Ball to picks lines and tactics.
It’s clear that the Wings aren’t tanking, and that’s always promising. When the team is a point down and there’s two minutes left in regulation, those on the ice are always looking for that goal. Just generally not scoring them. Those loser points aren’t going to count for much this time.
This season will teach Detroit, and its fans lessons about the team that can be learned from, and used to strengthen the future Red Wings. For that reason, I’m pretty chilled about the box score. Just gonna look at the individual moments of brilliance that the team occasionally offers.