Despite a 5-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets Tuesday night, the Detroit News’ John Niyo writes that fans or the front office shouldn’t buy into the mirage: the Detroit Red Wings needs to rebuild. Though Detroit impressively bounced back from a 10-1 shellacking against Montreal the previous Saturday, Niyo cautions that this team is not a playoff contender and shouldn’t be viewed as one, despite an impressive victory after six straight losses where two were especially bad. The course, Niyo continues, should be what owner Chris Ilitch’s other team (the Detroit Tigers) did: selling off bigger names to get better and younger. While hockey is a different setup than baseball, the Red Wings have a higher mountain to climb because of the contracts loaded down with term and dollars that few teams–if any–would ever consider taking. But selling off players with value could stockpile picks and help chart a future course that could net players that would get Detroit back into the higher echelon of the league.
- Niyo continues on about general manager Ken Holland, who after 20 years at the helm, may be seeing it come to an end. Working without a contract after this season, extension talks haven’t begun, and Holland has stated that his decision on whether to sell or buy will be determined after the next 10-15 games. This seems curious, since the Red Wings are clearly not in contender status and have posted two six-game losing streaks this season–and it’s only December. Niyo adds that ownership ultimately has the final say–but that neither the proud past or the present, namely a few wins here and there, should get in the way of building for the future.
- MLive’s Ansar Khan takes a different route, writing that the Wings posted their best performance of the season on Tuesday and now have a crucial five-game stretch where they can turn their fortunes around. Head coach Jeff Blashill noted that the team played more on their toes than their heels, and it was echoed by a number of players who felt Detroit limited its mistakes, and played at a high level for a full sixty minutes.