Though the Detroit Red Wings have struggled this season, the Detroit News’ Gregg Krupa doesn’t believe the blame all belongs at the feet of bench boss Jeff Blashill. In danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 26 years, Krupa notes a multitude of reasons for the team’s fall: lack of star power, an aging core, a useless power play, and needing to collect at least 65% of the the points they have available to them in the their next 42 games.
In the first 40 games, they garnered slightly less than half the points. Amid the maelstrom, Blashill, 43, grapples in his second season with destructive trends dragging down the franchise. Players who won Stanley Cups are largely gone.
Prized free agents have decide to play with other teams. Misjudgments on personnel have hampered “the rebuild on the fly.” A roster with a good supply of support players lacks top stars.Blashill is not to blame. But he should be gauged by whether players improve and play up to their potential.
And, at about the halfway point of the season, those are big issues of concern. Unless there is a marked improvement in the Red Wings performance by April, there is likely to be a harsh review of Blashill’s first two seasons.
Fairly or unfairly, someone will pay for the Wings’ struggles. While the majority of fans and national analysts will point to the team general manager Ken Holland constructed, it will most likely be the end of Blashill’s tenure in Detroit if someone has to go.
In other Red Wings news:
- It took a season with a new team for Frans Nielsen to earn his first All-Star game appearance. Nielsen was overjoyed with the news, telling MLive’s Ansar Khan that “it’s something to be proud of.” There are a handful of Red Wings having better seasons, namely Anthony Mantha, but Khan reports that it’s a multitude of factors that go into the selection process, not just scoring.
- The Red Wings will receive two crucial players back into their lineup as both Justin Abdelkader and Mike Green are set to return against the Blackhawks tonight. If anything the return of the duo can certainly inject some more talent into an anemic power play, that is failing at historical levels. Though both will be limited to shorter shifts, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for a team beleaguered by injury.