Could loss to Nashville be the last dance for the Captain?
No Red Wings hockey in May. It sounds like a bad dream right? For the past 20 years a trip to the second round of the NHL playoffs has been a foregone conclusion here in Detroit. Not this year. Wings fans, I understand your anger at this point, but what is all the fuss about?
This is your new NHL. Mr. Bettman's new league is one that does not care about playoff streaks, or perennial dominance. Here, parity rules.
That is not an excuse. Anyone who watched the Wings during the last few weeks of the season probably saw this coming—whether they will admit it or not. Nothing has changed. The only thing that has transpired is that your suspicions were confirmed in no uncertain terms. There is no argument to the contrary.
The team is not good enough anymore, period.
Significant additions must be made. Whether they come via trade, free agency, waivers or call ups, it better happen.
The same problem this team had against Nashville is the same problem they have had all year. They needed a significant addition to their Top 6, not Ruutu, Gaustad, Kostitsyn or any other tweener forward. They need a genuine goal scorer—something they have lacked since Hossa left for Chicago. For the Wings to be true contenders again, this offseason needs to feature a big addition.
The team needs speed. The entire roster lacks NHL speed, specifically the Top 9. Outside Flip and Helm, no one else is considered "fast" by NHL standards (this includes Pavel and Hank).
Age is an important factor, yes, but I still think speed is the single biggest problem for this team.
Vets who are fast? I am on board with that sort of thinking. But speed is usually associated with youth for a reason. I am all for giving young, promising players like Nyquist, Tatar and Mursak the opportunity to lock down a spot on this team next season. They all bring something to the team that your Cleary's and Bertuzzi's do not.
I am not particularly "upset" about losing to the Predators. The better team won. Congratulations to them. More importantly, they exposed the Wings weaknesses in painful clarity. I have moved on from the 2011-12 season. It's time to look forward.