The Detroit Red Wings currently sit at 21st overall in the NHL and 12th in the Western conference. Their current five-game losing streak has seen them plummet from one of only two undefeated teams left in the league to one of the biggest question marks.
Some fans feel that being worried by the current skid is alarmist and way ahead of schedule. I'd call those same fans shortsighted, and their memories may also be slightly deficient.
Last season four points separated the fourth place Anaheim Ducks from the 10th place Calgary Flames in the West. The margin of making and missing the playoffs in the uber-competitive NHL these days is that of two or three games.
To my point: Teams must start accumulating points early and often or be doomed to face an uphill battle for the rest of the season.
I'm not saying that the Wings are dead, that they are going to miss the playoffs or that they should trade Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and a first-rounder for Cody Franson just for the sake of shaking things up.
What I am saying is that Detroit is already trailing the Chicago Blackhawks by five points for the Central division lead, and is only six points ahead of the woeful Columbus Blue Jackets. A 5-4-1 start isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's only a small percentage of a full 82-game season.
However, there are some trends and habits developing in Detroit that are cause for concern.