Wednesday, November 02, 2011

On the Red Wings sudden foilbes

The Red Wings' five-game losing streak is odd. It has little to do with the usual reasons for such a slide.
It hasn't been because of poor defensive play or subpar goaltending. Jimmy Howard is playing very well. It has been because of a lack of goal scoring and not being disciplined, which have long been the Red Wings' strengths.
It's been a long time since I can remember the Red Wings taking this many unnecessary penalties.
A couple were border line calls, though, and it did look like Mikko Koivu elbowed Red Wings' defenseman Niklas Kronwall to set up Devin Setoguchi on the game-deciding goal in overtime for Minnesota Tuesday. No call was made.
I do like the way the Red Wings handle these things. Something had to be said about the final call Tuesday. It was a questionable one. Captain Nicklas Lidstrom was the one to say it, and he didn't point it out in the form of an excuse.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock doesn't whine about officiating the way some other NHL coaches do. And it's wise he took the high road on this one because the bottom line is his team is not paying the price it takes to win games in the NHL. The Red Wings are playing like a team that got off to a 5-0 start, enjoyed an early season schedule with a lot of off days and now have been hit with this reality:
They are very hockey team, but not good enough to just throw their sticks out there and win.
The played really hard for about 10 minutes Tuesday. After that, the Wild dictated the game. Given Minnesota isn't nearly the same caliber team as the Red Wings, and it was at Joe Louis Arena, how can that be?
It needs to change. These early season game are huge when it comes to piling up points and securing a playoff spot. Also, the spot in the standings means a lot. Not having home ice advantage in the second round the last two seasons hurt the Red Wings mightily as they were ousted each time by the San Jose Sharks.


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