Actually, do look now. Things are starting to return to normal for this team as the season progresses. Following a 3-4-2 start, the Red Wings have turned it around by going 4-0-1 in their last five games contests. Four of the five teams they've played in those games were playoff teams last year, including knocking off last year's regular season conference champions in both the East and West. In fact, Detroit has earned points in 8 of its last 10 games--totaling 13 of a possible 20 points. What's behind the reason for the recent winning ways? Let's take a look at a few things:
- Coaching: You had to know that Mike Babcock could only tolerate the poor performance for so long before whippin' the boys into shape. To me, the biggest sign of this was yanking Chris Osgood from the net against Vancouver after surrendering two quick goals. Babcock showed that it doesn't matter how Cups you have; if you don't play well enough to be in there, you won't be. Same has been true as line-ups have been juggled very often to accommodate the up and downs of the players.
- Better execution: The first half of the season so far was filled with sloppy passing and ineffective chances in the offensive zone. The stars have stepped up following the loss of guys like Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen to injury and others to illness. In the past five games, Pavel Datsyuk has 8 points and is really finding his stride while carrying the team. That Henrik Zetterberg guy isn't that bad either...
- Just a matter of time: The least statistically tangible of the bunch, this is more for our own personal sanity. This team is too good to sit under .500 for too long so it's good to see that indeed the team is more on track than the beginning. A lot of new guys-so maybe the old saying that chemistry has to be built before you can win is ringing true. Bertuzzi's starting to factor into the equation and so is Williams. Datsyuk/Zetterberg can get the puck to these guys or benefit from their passing so it's good to see them getting going.
Tightening of defensive/goaltending: Don't know if I have to go further than saying the defense is playing much much better and so is Chris Osgood. Being pulled like that in Vancouver will do a lot for motivation and drive any sort of complacency out the window. Nick Lidstrom is solid as always and the other guys are starting to come around in his footsteps.
- Hopefully it lasts is all I have left to say
What do you think about it?