I’ve been hard on the Red Wings. I’ve called for the blockbuster trades, the elimination of their goalies from hockey and I’m pretty sure I may have taken more than one personal attack at Doug Houda. But this week, there will be no complaining.
While the goalies are still suspect, there’s really nothing to complain about. Six days ago the Red Wings beat the Blackhawks (who are currently in the midst of a seven-game losing streak) 12-0. And it wasn’t even that close. In the Red Wings’ last six games they are 4-1-1. They’re on top of their division, no matter how weak it is. Brent Ashton has provided some secondary scoring. Somebody named Murray Eaves not only played a game, but recorded a point.
Doug Halward and Darren Veitch both contributed multiple points and — get this — provided some goals from the blue line. Hell, Doug Houda even chipped in a goal. Everything I said the Red Wings needed to fix, they fixed.
Can they win the Cup? At this point, I would say no, but as teams within their own division falter (Minnesota, St. Louis, Chicago) the Red Wings have stealthily moved up a tier.
They’re at the bottom of the group, but 26 games into the season, I feel comfortable in saying if things go right, Detroit has a chance to beat Calgary or Edmonton (36 points each) should the teams face off in the conference final.
In the other conference, Montreal and Boston still remain in a group with themselves, but the Islanders and Devils are two very beatable teams for Detroit.
We all knew the playoff streak wasn’t going to end. The NHL puts too many teams in the playoffs for that to happen. But there is a reason you’re feeling that relief as we head into the new year and it’s not the fact that it’s getting really cold again so you can gain weight while wearing really baggy clothes and no one will judge you because you know that’s what they do in the summer time, especially that girl who gives you your morning coffee. It’s not that at all.
It’s that despite all the changes, the Red Wings haven’t dropped a rung and become one of the many good but not great teams. They’re still elite. There’s still hope. Let Murray Eaves show you the way.
DETROIT POINT LEADERS
Steve Yzerman, C: 39
Gerard Gallant, LW: 26
Bob Probert, LW: 26
Petr Klima, RW/LW: 18
Darren Veitch, D: 18
DETROIT GOAL LEADERS
Steve Yzerman, C: 19
Petr Klima, RW/LW: 14
Bob Probert, LW: 11
Brent Ashton, LW: 11
Gerard Gallant, LW: 10
DETROIT ASSIST LEADERS
Steve Yzerman, C: 20
Gerard Gallant, LW: 16
Darren Veitch, D: 16
Adam Oates, C: 15
Doug Halward, D: 12
|Norris Division||GP||PTS||Smythe Division||GP||PTS|
|Prince of Wales|
|Adams Division||GP||PTS||Patrick Division||GP||PTS|
FULL RED WINGS STATS