Desperate Times in the D
This week things in Hockeytown have gone from bad to worse. No, that’s putting it way too lightly… From brutal to flat out absurd!
The Red Wings are without so many players that Sunday’s injury to Justin Abdelkader forced defenceman Brendan Smith into a 4th line LW role on Tuesday night. But that experiment didn’t last long, as Smith was returned to the back-end mid-game after Jonathan Ericsson took a shot off the hand. He’s now out for 4-6 weeks with a broken finger. Coach Babcock was noticeably frustrated after the game. When asked about Ericsson’s timeframe to return he said “We get someone hurt every day and they never come back, so I guess he’s out a while”.
As if the injuries haven’t been hard enough for the team, Red Wings fans owe their team an apology for what went on in Tuesday nights game against the Maple Leafs. The Toronto fans drowned out the home crowd, taunting and booing Jimmy Howard and Daniel Alfredsson IN THEIR OWN ARENA! Let’s hope our fans get more engaged the next time the Leafs come to town. Maybe Detroit fans forgot that there used to be a rivalry between these teams. I can’t imagine anything like that happening with the Blackhawks in town.
Ok, ok, let’s look at the bright side of all these injuries. The Red Wings organization has had a good chance to see just how ripe their prospect crop is. Landon Ferraro’s NHL debut this week marked the 7th player to do so for the Wings this season. Opportunity has been created, and players like Tatar, Nyquist, Jurco, and Sheahan have all made strong enough impressions that they could become regular players, even in a healthy lineup - and with the way Detroit likes to take their time with player development, these guys wouldn’t have gotten their chance if not for all of the injuries.
Remarkably, this team is still finding a way to hang in in the standings. With only 14 games left in the season, and sitting 1-point out of a playoff spot, that coveted 22-year playoff streak is on the line each and every night. Can our AHL squad manage to steal enough points down the stretch to get them into the dance and preserve the streak? … As of right now, I’m sorry to say, but I’m one of the doubters. Thursday night’s meeting the Pittsburgh Penguins will be a challenge to say the least - and with James Neal and Chris Kunitz returning from injury, it could get ugly for the Wings.
Detroit Redwings Correspondent
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