Detroit Red Wings center Dylan Larkin said that the team is “sick” of losing writes the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James. The Red Wings are mired in a slump that has seen only two wins in their last 11 games, and has plunged Detroit into the Atlantic basement. Worse, the Red Wings have looked sloppy and uninspired during many of the losses in the stretch.
St. James writes that the Red Wings are the only team in the Eastern Conference with double digit losses, while newly acquired Frans Nielsen said tonight’s game against Buffalo will show everyone what the team is made of. From St. James:
“We’ve got to realize where we put ourselves,” Nielsen said. “The good thing is it is still early, but we have to stop the bleeding. The other good thing is we know we can put a streak together, we have done it before this year. But we have got to realize we have to start playing here soon, or it is going to be too late.
“You can say everyone goes through ups and downs, but it’s just been too long for us. We can’t afford any more this year. Pretty much, from now on until the end, we have to be solid.”
The Red Wings were expected to struggle by many analysts, but this is unprecedented for many in a fanbase who have never seen the Red Wings not make the playoffs. Though they’re certainly trying to make it a 26th consecutive season for the playoffs, things are not looking positive for a team that re-signed Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm to expensive, long-term deals and also snagged Nielsen for six years a tune of $5.25MM AAV. The Red Wings, though, have not seen a return on investment. Nielsen has not played up to the expectations, posting a -7, and only posting eight points in 19 games. Further, a player signed for his puck possession skill, Nielsen’s CF% is the lowest in his career at 46.1%.
While the Red Wings have been saying all the right things, the product on the ice speaks a much different message. Through many of the contests, the Red Wings have been significantly outshot and outplayed for long stretches of games. How they respond against Buffalo will be telling.
In other Red Wings news:
- The Detroit Pistons will be moving from their home in Auburn Hills and sharing the new Little Caesars Arena with the Red Wings next season. The move is another sign of Detroit’s renaissance writes the Detroit News’ Bob Wojnowski. Called the “right move” by Pistons owner Tom Gores, Wojo’s colleague Tony Paul reports that the Red Wings-Pistons merger means that Detroit will be the only North American city where all four professional teams play within four blocks of one another. Further, Paul writes that Detroit mayor Mike Duggan told Red Wings owner Chris Ilitch that he wanted the Pistons back in Detroit. Though scheduling will be trickier with two teams in a single building, both owners feel the move will be beneficial for the city.