Olympic hockey is underway in Sochi and it’s been enjoyable watching rivals skate together and teammates line up on opposing sides.
The Detroit Red Wings enter the break with a record of 26-20-12 and their 64 points are good for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit is slowly getting healthy, as Pavel Datsyuk has returned after missing 14 games with a knee injury. Although he isn’t 100 percent, it is a step in the right direction. Kevin Allen of USA Today reporting that Henrik Zetterberg’s back injury has resurfaced is a major blow to the team, though.
The return of Stephen Weiss when NHL play resumes will be an added boost for a team among the league leaders in man-games lost. According to mangameslost.com, the Wings rank third with 248 man-games lost as of February 8.
Over its last 10 games heading into the break, Detroit is 5-3-2, but has been outscored 31-28 during that stretch. A lot of its offense has come from upstart youngsters Tomas Tatar and the red-hot Gustav Nyquist.
The Olympic break could be the rest some players need. For those participating in Sochi, an unsuccessful trip could refuel the tanks for the NHL home stretch.
Looking ahead, Detroit will need to get its stars back and improve its play at home if it wants to maintain its playoff position. With six teams separated by three points for the final spot in the East, Detroit has a target on its back.
These are the grades for Detroit Red Wings’ stars at the 2014 Winter Olympic break.