Thursday’s Thoughts returns after a two-week hiatus due to Thanksgiving and home obligations.
The Red Wings are staggering and are at a critical point in the season.
Right now their standing is OK—in third place in the Atlantic Division, which is a guaranteed playoff spot under the NHL’s new playoff format (top three teams in each division make the playoffs, plus two at-large wild card teams per conference). But it’s a tenuous third place, with the struggle to win at home and in shootouts still plaguing the team.
All that, plus an injury list that is growing like Pinocchio’s nose, and you have the makings of uneasiness.
The Red Wings got Pavel Datsyuk back the other night after seven games missed due to concussion-like symptoms, and Pavs celebrated his return by scoring a goal. But his EuroTwin, Henrik Zetterberg, is out until at least December 28 after the team moved Z to the long-term injured list.
Stephen Weiss is out indefinitely with a groin, Darren Helm remains out with a shoulder, and goalie Jimmy Howard “tweaked” his knee. Don’t forget defenseman Danny DeKeyser, still out with a separated shoulder.
You can crack all the jokes you want about Weiss being out (2g/2a), but his loss still impacts the team from a depth perspective.
The Red Wings are a perfect sample team for the age old question: Are you a glass is half-full, or half-empty person?
Half-full: The Red Wings can’t win at home, but the second half of their schedule is more road-heavy, where they are 10-3-2 so far this season.
Half-empty: The road success can’t possibly continue, and thus the Red Wings have squandered an opportunity by blowing so many games at home.
Half-full: The team has been able to stay in the playoff race despite a so-so season from their starting goalie.
Half-empty: Howard still hasn’t shown any real signs of coming out of his slump (despite a recent shutout on Long Island), and now he has a knee situation to deal with. And it’s almost Christmas.
Half-full: It’s good to get the injuries out of the way now.
Half-empty: What if the injuries don’t stop?
Half-full: The power play has been mostly good. Same with the penalty kill.
Half-empty: Special teams go in spurts; the team is due to slump in both areas.
Half-full: They’re still in third place, for goodness sake!
Half-empty: Other teams in the division are due to get hot.
So…what does the Red Wings’ glass look like to YOU?