It’s Christmas, which means that the collective joy, glee and hope existing in the world has increased, if only for a few hours.
The toys, the food, the family the fun, it’s enough to make even the sourest of cynics crack a smile—even if they’re a Detroit Red Wings fan.
Yes, the Red Wings’ pre-Christmas, 3-0 flop at home against the New York Islanders of all teams undoubtedly left many a Red Wings fan headed into Christmas hoping that Santa Claus could somehow park a hockey team capable of winning at home under the tree.
The Red Wings won’t have to play at home (ugh, what a way to put it) until January 18 against the Los Angeles Kings (ugh, what a homecoming). They will play seven road games and one Winter Classic (which will count as a home game) before returning to the building they last left while being booed off the ice.
For the fans, as well as the team, that’s no way to go into a Christmas break.
Still, there’s reason to be hopeful that the Red Wings team that left the ice after being humiliated by an Islanders team that ranks second-to-last in the Eastern Conference may be gone for good.
In addition to the expected returns of forwards Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm and, most importantly, captain Henrik Zetterberg on December 28, the sting of this particular loss is bound to motivate this team to do whatever is possible to destroy the Florida Panthers squad they’ll be facing on that day.
For a Red Wings team that has experienced two lengthy winless streaks (seven and six games, respectively) and plenty of home-ice heartbreak this season, being beaten 3-0 at home by a team that is already all but eliminated from playoff contention before Christmas is a notable low point.
Being booed off the ice afterward makes it a rock-bottom type of experience.
This, in the end, may actually be a good thing.
Adversity, as a motivator, is one thing; outright humiliation is something else again.
The Red Wings will undoubtedly reference their most recent loss as a worst-case scenario the rest of the season, a scenario they will not want to replicate again.
For the Red Wings fans who rained boos down on their team at home, their frustration and disappointment is understandable, but there’s no reason to give up hope at this point.
The Red Wings’ 11-3-3 road record (the best in the Atlantic Division) is reason enough to be grateful that they’ll be playing seven of their next eight games on the road.
When the Red Wings do return to Joe Louis Arena, they should not only have Abdelkader, Helm and Zetterberg back in the lineup, but forward Johan Franzen and No. 1 goalie Jimmy Howard as well.
The Los Angeles Kings will surely pose a daunting threat. However, a successful road trip and a healthy roster combined with the rather large debt the Red Wings currently owe to the boo-birds at Joe Louis Arena could be enough to end the game with a "W."
Does all of this sound almost hopelessly hopeful, especially considering the fact that there's been no mention of the fact that the Red Wings also lost defenseman Jonathan Ericsson against the Islanders?
Well, it may be.
But, it’s Christmas, which means that the collective joy, glee and hope existing in the world has increased, if only for a few hours.
As such, Detroit Red Wings fans should be hopeful that they’ll see a much better team take the ice after Christmas.
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