I've held off on writing anything about the Red Wings thus far, because of all the variables. I'm also not one to jump the proverbial gun and give scalding hot takes.
So believe me when I say, that this Red Wings team is much different. This team is fun to watch. And I think this is the first time since being a credentialed media member that I could say that about any team in Detroit, let alone the Red Wings.
I've watched a lot of hockey over these past couple of years. A lot of bad hockey. Which, is fine given the circumstances that Detroit is under right now. You can't make the playoffs for 25 straight years and expect to not have a rebuild at some point. Maybe before the salary cap era it could be done, but not now.
There comes a point where ownership has to look at the franchise and realize that it's time to tear it down. That means trading away decent players for future assets, and selling patience to ticket holders with the hope that they'll stick with you through this time.
The problem was, we saw the same product year after year.
Instead of seeing fresh, baby-faced 20 yr. olds, the roster was filled with veterans like Vanek, Ericsson, Abdelkader, Howard, Daley, etc...
When the team took the ice for the first time last week, it was a breath of fresh air in my mask. Finally, there were new faces. Young faces.
I would've been satisfied with that, but General Manager Steve Yzerman, also went out and got competent veterans that still have some good hockey left in their sticks: Marc Staal and Bobby Ryan.
Bobby Ryan was a promising young superstar that has fallen off due to many reasons, so there was no better place for him than Detroit. If he sucked? Oh well. Yet, he's exceeded expectations and has 4 goals in his first 3 games. Something no Red Wing in franchise history has done.
Last night, the young core of Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi combined for the Overtime winner to split the series with a very good Columbus Blue Jackets team. They're now 2-2, and seem to become a better product every time they take the ice.
"Will They Make the Playoffs?"
If I was a betting man, I'd probably say no. But, this team is improving and I don't think has reached its full potential. What's interesting, is how great the goaltending has been thus far. Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier have both been solid, posting above a .930 save percentage. Hockey is a weird sport, sometimes great goaltending can take you far.
Will they make the playoffs? Probably not. But, if you're a fan of this franchise, you won't be wasting your time by tuning in. This team is fun to watch.