June 21 is officially the first day of summer in 2014. But for the Detroit Red Wings, summer arrived on Saturday, April 26.
Though summer certainly came much too early for the Detroit Red Wings' liking, now is just the right time to issue them their final report card for the 2013-14 season.
The Red Wings' Game 5 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday was an expected if not anticlimactic end to a season that could largely be defined as "the season of pain."
As the good people at Man Games Lost will verify, Detroit tallied a whopping 421 games lost to injury during the 2013-14 NHL season. Too much ink has been wasted documenting, bemoaning and analyzing the losses of key players such as Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard, Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, so there’s no sense in continuing that here.
No, the only reason to mention Detroit’s epic injury list in a preamble to their season report card is simply to state that all the grades represented most certainly took this fact into account.
What follows is a list of five key aspects of the Red Wings’ season: offense, defense, goaltending, special teams and coaching.
Each of these five areas was graded by looking at Detroit’s ranking relative to their division (bearing in mind there are eight teams in the Atlantic Division) and the league combined with a subjective, albeit informed, idea of what Detroit was capable of given its roster.
The report card will conclude with a final assessment and overall grade of the Detroit Red Wings' season, and this grade reflects not only the aggregate of the five key areas but also the Red Wings' playoff performance. As one would expect, the Red Wings didn't do much in that area to help their grade.
As report cards go, this one isn’t likely to be displayed on anyone’s refrigerator.