It's April and the Red Wings' season is over. That doesn't happen very often and it sucks every time it does, but there were some positives to take from this year. And if I ever remember what they are, I'll write a post about them.
Jump for the full season recap:
The season started out promising as the Wings won their first five games, but then lost their next 6 after getting blown out by Washington. It was hard to tell if the Wings were the 5-0 team or the 0-5-1 team because both showed up at some point in every game this season. They would either start strong and crap the bed in the third, or they wouldn't show up until the end of the game. Still, they were able to win more often than not and had the best record in hockey in February.
Then the trade deadline happened. I was excited to get Quincy back because I felt that he would give us great depth on the blueline, even though it cost the Wings a first round pick. Who needs a first round pick when it's probably going to be used 30th overall? Then when the deadline came and the media kept saying that the Wings were done dealing despite having millions of dollars available, I didn't believe them. Surely this was a ploy by Ken Holland to get people to forget about the Wings while he worked some back alley deal and landed a top-six forward who could actually score goals. But no. The Wings made no moves. I'm sorry, that's not true. They did give away that depth that I thought we had gotten by giving Commie to Tampa Bay for a conditional 7th round pick.
Naturally, right after the Wings gave away a defenseman, guys started dropping like flies. It was 2010 all over again. The Wings were losing a player almost every game, and not just for a game or two. Helm was out for weeks, and so was Lidstrom and Pavel. It was depressing.
But we found out how awesome Nyquist is. For me, he was the guy who the Wings "got at the deadline" who would be the difference maker. He was getting a point per game on the top line and seemed comfortable there. But for whatever reason, he didn't stay there and he didn't play the the PP at all. At. All. Just remember that the next time you want to claim that Mike Babcock just didn't have the skilled players needed to go far.
It was hard watching the Wings lose their lead in the standings. Their huge lead over St. Louis turned into a neck and neck race with Nashville and then into the Wings barely finishing ahead of Chicago. We all thought that the team would get back to normal when everyone came back from injury, but that wasn't the case. I'm still baffled as to why that happened, but it did. Did they lose team chemistry? Did they start reading blogs and then get depressed about what we were saying about them? Never knew I had that kind of power...
And then the playoffs started. "They'll flip the switch!" And then the playoffs ended. "WTF!?"
Looking back, I'd like to see Howard continue to improve. He's still an awesome goalie, but he was outplayed by Rinne. He was money in the regular season and great in last year's playoffs, but just wasn't good enough this time. I'd like to see the Wings get an actual sniper and not just rely on Mule to score when he's mad at the world. I'd like the Wings to replace Stuart with just about anyone. The cardboard cutout of himself that Stuart left behind after he flew to California in March just wasn't what we needed against Nashville.
I'd like the Wings to get back to having special teams that scared people. Our PK used to break the will of teams and our PP used be our greatest enforcer. Speaking of an enforcer, the Wings stopped winning hockey games around the time Abdelkader stopped dropping the gloves every other night. He wasn't a great fighter, but he tried. Not sure what happened there, but if the Wings could find a guy who can score 8-10 goals a year, win a fight sometimes and not be a liability 90% of the time, that would be nice. Make that priority #6 or so.
- 23 straight wins at home. An NHL record. Fun fact: The Wings also own the record for consecutive road wins. Emo fact: That record setting team also lost in the first round (2006).
- A lot of people wanted to see Filppula have a breakout season and he did. He struggled in the playoffs, though. Then again, who didn't?
- Howard's all-star ballot write-in campaign was awesome. Wings fans showed that the ignorance of the NHL can be beat if we all put in needed effort.
- Shanahan makes me mad.
- Smith and Nyquist are highly skilled players that will make an impact next season.
Favorite Non-Pavel Goal(s):
Favorite Non-Jimmah Save(s):
What were your favorites from this season?
Well, I suppose that's all I've got. We'll be sure to keep you all informed of all Red Wings developments in the offseason, and we really hope the offseason will be one to remember for years to come. Until then, have a good one.
Is it October yet?
I'm actually not as disappointed as I expected to be at the end of this season/post season. It's weird, but I think it was easier losing when I knew the Wings just didn't have it compared to something out of our control. I think it's also easier, because I'm not surprised and it seems like every decent team is getting knocked out in the first round. This team was like night and day most of the time, with inconsistency being the only consistency. They managed to beat the home record, but after those injuries they just blew a tire. It really sucked having Ken and Mick talk about "so and so hasn't won a game at JLA since 199X", only to know in the back of my head that meant the Wings weren't going to win that game. Also with Vancouver, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and, San Jose losing in the first round, we've got some good golfing buddies.
I'm actually really excited about the off season, as we finally have some cap space to play with, we have a pretty good idea who is staying and who is going, and there are some big names becoming UFA that have expressed interest in playing here. LGRW!
@thebiglachovsky This is my feeling as well. I had a brief moment of despair after the final loss but at the same time I didn't get a feeling that any of the players were even confident in their victory.
Something no one else pointed out is the Babs was talking about and trying to publicly convince Lids to come back before the series was over. Isn't that the same thing we speculated cause Mikey Mo to be sat? Talking about next year before this year is over....
I do hope Lidstrom plays another one. This year should be pretty exciting with the Winter Classic and what looks like it could be a refreshed roster. Especially, with a refreshed roster.... they guys will need his leadership.
I am going to be severely disappointed if there are not some big changes or at least big pick ups.
Who is rooting for the Panthers to beat the Devils tonight?
Here's to hoping some personnel changes are made! If in October the same lineup as this year (and the 2 previous years) steps onto the ice I might cry.
Great post. I hope to see us learn from history (last 3 years) and make the necessary changes, rather than repeating that history. Also, I wonder if Yzerman would give us our 1st Round pick back for Quincey?
The year of elation as well as frustration. We all saw what this team could do and in the end they beat themselves. My favorite moment wasn't huge but it was meaningful to me. I went to the season opener at the Joe for the first time at it was one of those positive feelings like "hey this is going to be a great year." Just the excitement in the air. Aside from the game itself at the opener they had the moment of silence for Rusty, Brad, and Stefan. This what really struck me, and really brought everyone down to earth. Hockey can be life but that right there was "real" life. They will be missed.
Good Season, as always LGRW.
There were a lot of positives this year, and a lot of goalies, defensemen and forwards embarrassed. The switch was never flicked, but I see this season as the apex of a transition. Big things will happen this offseason, big things.