The Detroit Red Wings have really been having some consistency issues with their second line of late.
With no real solution to the inconsistency in sight and the season drawing closer, Red Wings fans, coaches and management might start to feel a bit antsy. Fortunately, this is just the preseason.
Here are some reasons why these consistency and chemistry issues are not yet cause for serious concern.
Patience Is Key
At face value, it seems like a double standard to say that some players (i.e. prospects) are entitled to only one or two preseason games to showcase their skills before getting sent down while others will get more.
This is not the case.
Even though the preseason is a setting where team management can see what it has in the lineup, exhibition hockey is a place for a player to form chemistry with future linemates.
These linemates should ultimately have ample time to figure out what works and what doesn't.
Patience is required when combining players that haven't played together before. Daniel Alfredsson, Stephen Weiss and Johan Franzen have never skated on the same line.
Some extra grace for improvement will be required.
While it may slip the mind, preseason hockey is different from regular-season hockey in a number of ways.
Fans following the Red Wings' preseason games will realize that, on the nights when the "second line" played in the preseason, it was actually playing as the No. 1 line.
This was because the Red Wings' projected second forward unit of Weiss, Alfredsson and Franzen was alternated in different games with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Justin Abdelkader.
This shouldn't serve as the basis of an excuse for being a no-show offensively, but it is something that should be kept in mind when wondering why there has been limited production.
The players on the second line will get the benefit of not facing top-line talent every night during the regular season, which should help with offensive consistency.
Play the Complete Line Before Coming to Conclusions
According to Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press, Alfredsson (groin) is still on the mend. Meanwhile, Franzen (hip flexor) just played in his first game on Saturday.
This has made it hard to judge the personnel on the second line as a whole because Weiss is the only second-line player who has played more than one game during the preseason.
Franzen and Alfredsson have each played in just one contest.
Injuries in the preseason become serious in the regular season if they are not healed properly. It's better to miss time now than when it actually counts.
No Cause for Concern
It is easy to say that everything will be just fine as far as the Red Wings' second line is concerned, but the fact of the matter is that one can't seriously judge the consistency of the line as a whole because it has changed every game.
Weiss has yet to play on the same line as Alfredsson and Franzen all at once.
When the trio finally gets on the ice together, fans and management alike will know whether the consistency and chemistry of the second line is an actual issue.
For now, it is simply a side story surrounding Detroit's training camp.
All three of these players are extremely skilled, have been in the NHL for at least eight seasons and know what it takes to win.
Finally putting them on the ice together will be a welcome sight for Red Wings fans come October 2.
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