Whoever came up with the term “winless” as a euphemism for “losing” must have been a habitual loser—or a terribly optimistic youth sports coach.
However, there may be a silver lining (euphemisms were three for a dollar today, apparently) to the Red Wings’ now epic string of failure.
The last time the Red Wings lost seven games in a row was 11 years ago, at the end of the 2001-02 season. The last time the Red Wings lost seven home games in a row, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial was No. 1 at the box office—they've now lost eight at Joe Louis Arena, marking a new franchise record.
Losing seven games in a row and eight straight at home is bad enough; however, setting new records for ineptitude is considerably worse.
The Predators handed the Red Wings a 2-0 loss on home ice via a rather uninspired performance.
Nashville managed just 25 shots, but it was enough to secure the win and instead of Pekka Rinne pitching the shutout, some guy named Marek Mazanec did the honors. You know, the Predators 6th round draft pick in 2012 who came into Joe Louis Arena with exactly four NHL games under his belt?
The Red Wings have steadily descended from a mediocre team to sub-par over the past three weeks and their 9-6-7 record, much like the aforementioned “winless” nonsense, merely masks the fact that this team is essentially four games under .500.
To add even more gloom to the ongoing doom surrounding the Red Wings, defenseman Dan DeKeyser, one of the few bright spots on the team this season, is out for at least a month with a shoulder injury.
With the loss of DeKeyser, the Red Wings will have just two defenseman on the roster with a positive plus/minus rating (Niklas Kronwall, plus-7 and Jonathan Ericsson, plus-2). For a team that has an astonishingly difficult time scoring goals, this is hardly welcome news.
The Detroit Red Wings have yet to decide what kind of team they want to be and how badly they want to win on a nightly basis, and that, more than anything, is why they find themselves nearly three weeks removed from their last victory.
All this seems to adequately describe the ever-darkening cloud hanging over the Red Wings, but what about that silver lining?
Well, consider the fact that, at this point, things can only get incrementally worse for the Red Wings.
At some point the losing will stop and that is likely to happen soon enough to make Detroit’s current run of impotence a diminishing factor in their long-term fortunes.
Should they stop their losing streak at seven, they will have the opportunity to look back on that streak the rest of the season as a perfect example of what not to do, and how not to play, moving forward.
The Red Wings still have 60 games to improve their play and decide what kind of team they want to be and how badly they want to win on a nightly basis.
Call it “winless”, call it “losing”, either way, the Red Wings have essentially hit rock bottom. However, they might have done so just at the right time.