The Detroit Red Wings' longest losing streak in three years could not have come at a better time.
Nearly every team in the NHL goes through such slumps at least once during a season, but whether they're a good or a bad thing for a team depends largely on when they occur in their 82-game schedule.
I recently opined that, because the Wings were slumping so beautifully now, they were in fact going to benefit from it later.
Since then, the Wings have gone 2-0 and seem to have solved their scoring woes that plagued them during their six-game losing streak.
While this hardly indicates they're completely out of the woods (they still have a lot of ground to make up in the Central Division), it does bode well for their ability to win more games than they lose for the foreseeable future.
In fact, I feel completely confident in saying that, as losing streaks go, the Detroit Red Wings have put the worst they'll see this season behind them.
If my confidence alone isn't enough to convince you, well, here's five reasons that should help persuade you I'm right.
In another place, at another time, Mike Babcock may have been a samurai, or a test pilot, or one of those guys that built the Empire State Building without a harness - something for which fearlessness was the only essential skill required for hire.
There is no doubt that Mike Babcock hates losing, but he's not afraid of it.
Even amidst his team's epic slide, Babcock didn't panic and bench any number of his under-performing stars.
He didn't lose his cool and bawl out his team or throw a player under the bus in front of the media.
Babcock knew that, in the end, his team actually needed to go through this adversity in order to become the team he knows they are - a Stanley Cup contender.
That said, Babcock knows they Red Wings have gotten what they needed out of that six-game slide and therefore, won't be needing one again.
It's something every goalie coach eventually wants out of his goalie.
Stillness in mind before a game.
Stillness in body when the puck hits you.
A calm, unflappable goalie is perhaps the greatest weapon a team can have, and that is exactly what the Red Wings have in Jimmy Howard.
Forget his stats, which are impressive. Howard's very demeanor and poise this season are that of a top-flight NHL goalie who is completely capable and comfortable with putting his team on his back.
The losses on Howard's record to date have very little to do with him, but you can bet that if his team goes through another offensive drought, he will come up with a few 1-0 or 2-1 wins to ensure the "W."
Howard is on a mission this season, and it doesn't include seeing his team go through another six-game losing streak.
During the heart of the losing streak, I went out on a bit of a limb and said that both Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were the main reasons why the Wings weren't winning.
I believed that then, and I believe that now.
Neither of Detroit's superstar forwards have played anywhere near their potential so far this season, and, until they do, the Wings aren't going to get very far in the standings.
However, there's no way in hell these two are going to stay quiet for long.
With a fully functional duo of Datsyuk and Zetterberg, losing a single game becomes unlikely, let alone six in a row.
Guys like Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm are the heir apparents to Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby.
Like the latter, these two young guns are poised to be difference makers at critical times.
To date, they haven't been.
However, regret is a powerful motivator and with the aforementioned Datsyuk and Zetterberg struggling to make a difference during the Wings' losing streak, Helm and Abdelkader are probably kicking themselves for not making a more concerted effort to pick up the slack when they could.
These two guys have a couple of game-winning goals in them this season, and though we haven't seen it yet, they're going to heat up and start pitching in sooner rather than later.
This might be one of the less obvious contributors to the Red Wings' October slump, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a serious contributor to it.
The Wings began this season playing only nine games in October, and though such a sparse schedule provided for ample rest between games, it prevented the Wings from truly getting into a rhythm.
In this way, for a hockey team, an NHL schedule is much like a heartbeat — it should be steady and predictable, with only a few variations in its pace.
Like a heartbeat, a schedule marked with erratic activity is almost never a good thing.
Moving forward through April, the Red Wings have a strong and steady schedule each month and this should do tremendous things for a team that has recently recovered their rhythm and are simply looking to keep it going.
Will the Wings lose another game this year, of course they will.
But, for all the reasons stated, they've suffered their one and only six-game losing streak of the year.
Good thing they got it out of the way early.
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