There was a time back in the day when your mother would’ve hit you with some constructive criticism were you dealing with a scenario similar what the Detroit Red Wings are currently enduring.
Suck it up, buttercup.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” agreed captain Dylan Larkin.
As they face the Jets in Winnipeg on Saturday, Detroit has lost three in a row. The Red Wings are 1-5-1 through their past seven games.
Wednesday in Winnipeg. 💼 pic.twitter.com/uc4IGvRZTr
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 20, 2023
Larkin is just back following a four-game absence due to an upper-body injury. Unless he wins his appeal, David Perron will sit out the sixth and final game of his NHL suspension tonight.
“We’ve had some unlucky injuries and guys coming in and out of the lineup,” Larkin said.
Then factor in that following last month’s Swedish excursion, Detroit is playing 15 games during December.
Sure, that’s a lot to ask one team to endure, but you know what? Over the course of an NHL season, it’s almost assured that every team will find themselves dealing with this level of adversity.
The good teams, the ones that prosper and thrive in the long run, find ways to battle through such stuff.
Red Wings Must Deal With NHL Grind
“It’s just part of the NHL grind,” defenseman Ben Chiarot said. “There’s not really a way around it. You gotta find a way to stay consistent in your game.”
That the Red Wings aren’t finding that path to victory right now may be a sign that this is still a not ready for prime time team.
“I think that’s part of the maturation of a team, is being able to be successful when you don’t have your A game, or maybe don’t have your best legs under you,” Chiarot said. “The good teams, the best teams do it.”
Detroit Has Lost Its Identity
Here’s another old saying that’s popular in the world of sports: Don’t forget what made you famous.
The Red Wings appear to be taking a divergent path from what makes them work as a team.
Scored by Radko Gudas with 17:37 remaining in the 1st period.
Assisted by Brett Leason and Adam Henrique.
— NHL Goals (@nhl_goal_bot) December 19, 2023
“Nothing has changed, pretty clear from Day One we have to be on completely to be successful,” coach Derek Lalonde said. “This three-game losing streak, we’re playing some solid defense at times, but we’re not able to get to the net. We score a few goals, we give up some easy looks.”
If there’s a cause for optimism in this current slide, it’s that no one in the Detroit dressing room is feeling hopeless, or downcast. Optimism abounds. They know as a squad they are much better than they’ve shown of late.
“I still feel like we have a chance to win,” Larkin said. “It’s a completely different feeling than in the past. We’re in a rut but there’s ways out of it and it’s the guys in the room.”
Chairot even believes that the lessons they’ll gain from getting through this struggle will only offer benefits down the stretch drive of the season.
“You get into a playoff type grind almost in December,” Chiarot said. “It’s good kind of scar tissue for us building for going forward in the season.”