Three Things That Worry Me, and One Thing That Doesn't

So here we are, only a few games into the season, is it too early to have strong opinions? Of course not! So far we've had a bad trip to Florida and a fun night at home, which Red Wings team are we going to see next? Who knows! So without more ado, I’d like to share with you a few things that worry me, and one thing that doesn’t.

Three Things That Worry Me:

1. Dedication to "The Streak"

We’ve all discussed this to death but I’d be remiss if I didn’t include my worry about "The Streak". I’m not sure how I feel about it, part of me is looking forward to the end of it just so we can all move on, but the rest of me says go for it and break the record so we can gloat forever. Is the streak worth the sacrifices we make to keep it, namely veteran contracts and "waiving" goodbye to young players for nothing? It seems to me that Ken Holland and the Red Wings leadership are on #TeamStreak so it doesn’t really matter what I think. I don’t see a way that we can truly rebuild into a powerhouse while using our current strategy of cobbling together a lineup that should limp into the playoffs every year. I think we're neglecting to solidify a new core, and that worries me.

I know kids don't magically solve everything, but I'd love to know what happens if we let all the kids run wild for a season and gain valuable NHL experience, and not care about the playoffs (I know that doesn't sell tickets and it's all about money, let me dream here). The AHL just doesn't have the level of competition that will take players on the cusp of breaking into rosters over that last hurdle. Playing more kids maybe we could have our cake, eat it too, and also rub it in the face of everyone who doubts us, but I don’t think we’ll ever know. But with the action we've seen out of Kenny and Co. I think the kids have to make the most of any moment they're given and can't afford to make any mistakes, which will make them nervous and lead to, you guessed it, them making mistakes. None of them are teacher's pet, so any screw up will have them on the road back to Grand Rapids faster than you can say Stanley. I'm looking at you Mantha...if you ever get a chance this year.

2. Goaltending

I know, what could possibly worry me about goaltending? Well, two things. First of all, we are overly reliant on extraordinary goaltending. It's not enough for our goaltending to be good, it's not even enough for it to be great, it needs to be lights out at every moment of every game for us to remain in the hunt. This is a bit not good. Lucky for us, we have two very good goaltenders in Petr Mrazek and Jimmy Howard, however both are prone to streakiness and tend to give up soft goals at the worst moment (as if there's a good moment, but still). If we remain lucky, one will be hot if the other gets cold, and we can depend on them to save us from desolation and despair. If we are even luckier Mrazek stays the hot hand all season.

This brings me to my second point, maybe stellar goaltending isn't the best thing that can happen to this team. WAIT, HEAR ME OUT! Goaltending stealing a bunch of games will put a nice pretty coat of sparkle paint over the pile of crap that is the rest of the team's defensive efforts, and could make it seem like there aren't problems when in reality, there are some very real and very large problems that need to be addressed if this team is going to be competitive in the future. We need to play great defense, and we can't let ourselves be dazzled by the heroics of our netminders and ignore the many defensive miscues from which we are currently suffering.

3. The Jeff Blashill Bingo Wheel (of Doom)

Jeff Blashill showed a certain penchant for line shuffling last season, and it looks like he's back at it trying to find some combinations that work. So why does this worry me, after all the beginning of the season is the time to try out new things right? Here's my worry, what if he never stops? This bit us in the butt last season, where the lines were shuffled so often that nobody had time to develop any chemistry. You could write a whole post or three about "over-coaching" where this could fit in, so I won't go on too much of a rant here. Sometimes you have to let guys fail before they figure out how to fix things and there has to be a balance between trying new things and letting guys settle in. I'm not sure we've seen that Blashill can find that with the Wings. We've seen glimpses of the Blashill we all want to see, but I worry he's getting sucked into The Streak mindset and will keep trying to jam puzzle pieces together to grab two points without considering the big picture.

And One Thing That Doesn’t:

1. The Expansion Draft

Now this is kind of a big "if", like a Jupiter sized "if", but IF we play our cards right, the expansion draft could be exactly the kick in the pants we need. There is a part of me that thinks Ken Holland has this under control and will do a great job picking who to protect. The rest of me thinks whoever we lose will be the death blow to the hope that the Wings will end the slow, crumbling collapse rather and just hit the supernova button.

Now that may sound like I'm worried, but here's why I'm not. No matter what happens, I think the expansion draft will make it crystal clear about what exact direction this organization is going. No more guesses, no more wondering, no more false hope, we will know for sure what to expect for as long as Ken Holland and his Merry Men continue to run things. That may be too bold a statement, as we have lived through a lot of false hope the past few seasons, but I'm saying it anyway. Also, I think the defense more than the forwards will be telling, if he protects defensemen no team would want to pick up anyway over the younger players, we'll know that "loyalty" continues to rule and can plan our rants accordingly.

Maybe I'm a fool for thinking there is still hope for Holland to right the ship, but my large folder of bedazzled Red Wings rainbow pictures says I should be the team optimist.

So what do you think? What is worrying you as we really get the season going and what are you absolutely confident about? Let us know in the comments!

Let's Go Red Wings!

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