Wings 3, Blues 10

When I read comments like the QotD from Zetterberg or what I consider to be the runner up here, I can shove down my anger and replace it with something resembling hope that this time they got the message. Unlike last time.

The February 9 loss to the Predators was the equivalent of a guy who never thought of himself as out of shape or in bad health having some chest pain that made him realize he should eat better and exercise more.

So, we got a five-game winning streak.

Then the Big Macs and deep fried cheesy bacon sticks became too much of a temptation. It started out with just that one lunch, then that other indulgence. Then we got March. Then most of any pretense of caring about eating right and exercising went out the window in the past week and a half.

And then, the full-blown heart attack, the ambulance ride, the shaming beat-down from the doctor, the whole bit.

Last night was an extreme symptom of systemic problems that have been evident in the Wings’ game all season. More often than not, they are able to ignore those problems and come out on top by sheer force of offensive ability, which is why they’ve been able to hold down the second seed in the West. But occasionally, the pond hockey act doesn’t work.

Getting thumped by the Blues, in an ideal world, should have the effect of shocking the Wings out of defensive complacency into a realization that they’ve got to get it together or face a short post-season against teams that can beat them in will even while they can’t match them in firepower.

Taking it back to the analogy, it’s time to start eating right and exercising, for serious this time. Or we’re headed for another heart attack and the likelihood of that one being fatal (to any hopes of a long run) is pretty high.

Zetterberg knows it.

It’s two weeks before the playoffs and we should be playing a lot better than this. If we play like this in the playoffs it’s going to be an early exit.

Lidstrom knows it.

We got embarrassed at home. We got embarrassed in front of our home crowd and booed off the ice and rightfully so. We were just awful tonight.

It will be a real mark of the leadership of those two men how they respond to this in getting their teammates going.

Also, part of Lidstrom’s comment needs addressing. When the captain approves of booing, that ought to be good enough for anybody. But I understand if it’s not, even if it is for me.

Though I will say I don’t need Nick’s say-so to get pissed with the team. To take it back to the analogy one more time, is the family of the guy doing him any favors supporting his bad eating and lethargy? I doubt you could make that case. Part of loving something is holding it to a standard of accountability. And that may mean being critical or pointing out possible areas of improvement. For a fan base that has no other way of communicating to a team, booing has to be the means to convey that feedback.

It can be taken too far. But booing in and of itself is not some kind of betrayal of the team. An apathetic response would be.

To be clear, I’m incredibly disappointed in the team for last night’s offering. But the basis for that disappointment is my faith that they can do so, so much better. This team has by and large coasted to second place in the West. Imagine what they could do if they hit the gas.

I hope that last night is a night the Wings look back on and say “Never again. We will be better,” with the understanding lesser blowouts with a similar lack of effort are no less unacceptable. I believe they will.