Harrison Mooney’s latest piece on Puck Daddy is titled: “Five reasons the Detroit Red Wings might actually be this bad“. Not “Five reasons the Detroit Red Wings are struggling right now”. Not “Five reasons the Detroit Red Wings have lost six in a row and could lose more”, etc.
Go read his piece and keep that in mind.
Mooney’s five reasons:
- Ian White is not Brian Rafalski
- Lots of other veterans have moved on
- Henrik Zetterberg’s not looking so hot
- Perennial Selke winner Pavel Datsyuk’s(notes) got a scary plus/minus too
- Normally, the Red Wings score goals
A response to each in turn:
1. No kidding. White is a definite step back and though he’s not a complete bum by any definition, the defense is on paper a weaker one than it was with Rafalski. The hope is that other guys on the blueline have improved enough to at least somewhat offset the loss, but it’s still early in the season and that hasn’t quite happened. So yeah, this is a valid point in the case against the Wings maintaining the excellence we’re used to beyond the current stretch.
2. This is not a new point. But it is another valid one: losing the veterans the Wings did this off-season has obviously taken a toll. How big a toll remains to be seen. A six-game streak is a time to point out that with those veterans, they might have pulled out of it by now, not necessarily time to suggest they’ve lost their edge long-term. But it is clear there will be a difference in how they handle adversity. So I’ll grant Mooney this one.
3. Zetterberg isn’t producing like he should be, but citing his plus/minus during a team skid is a little much. In general, he’s one of the brighter spots in these losses, either when he’s been with Datsyuk or on his own, creating chances. The numbers should come. Without further evidence, this can only be called a temporary aberration.
4. Same argument for Datsyuk.
5. Yeah, they do. And they will. Again, without further evidence, this is just a temporary aberration. They’re certainly extremely unlikely to go the rest of the season scoring only a goal or so a game.
So we’ve got a list of 5 reasons why the Wings “might actually be this bad” that consists of two lasting items and three that are temporary. Hardly a strong case for the angle suggested by the headline: that the Wings are on a fast downward slope or already at the bottom. There’s no denying the Wings maybe aren’t the team suggested by their 5-0-0 start, but I wouldn’t say a six-game losing streak makes them “actually” a 0-5-1-type team. Doesn’t have to be either/or.