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The Red Wings are just a ‘normal’ team

I wasn’t very popular among Wings fans this past week when I brought up the notion that the Detroit Red Wings might suffer a bit of a let down season after years and years and years and years of regular season domination, but the cracks are definitely showing this season.

It’s true that the majority of the issues this season start with and revolve around the massive amount of injuries the team has to deal with. But Red Wings cannot deny that the team this year is not the same as the one that went to two straight Stanley Cup finals, and they’re going to be fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot this year. That’s a completely new concept for this team and it’s fans, but it’s reality.

Never before was this more apparent than in last night’s loss to the Calgary Flames. For the second game in a row the Red Wings folded in the third period, nearly letting a three goal lead get away from them in Chicago and then allowing three late goals against Calgary. This is a Red Wings team that is not only vulnerable but is stumbling when the pressure is on in the playoff hunt.

Nicklas Lidstrom realizes that things aren’t like they’ve been in the past.

“In certain games, we’ve played well with the lead, we kept going after them, kept the third player high but got pressure on their defensemen,’' Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We haven’t gotten that consistently this year.

“I think we’re caught taking a step back instead of being on our toes and being more aggressive. I think we’re a little hesitant and that just invites the other team to come after us a little more and get a lot more pressure on us.’'

There’s no doubt that if the Red Wings do make the playoffs, their talent level and experience makes them a dangerous foe that no team wants to face.

I understand that Red Wings fans have been hearing their team is too old and is bound to stumble at any time, yet they’ve still been able to maintain a high level of competitiveness. I contend that we are seeing that stumble right now in front of our eyes; forget the injuries from earlier this season, this is a mostly healthy Red Wings team that is 3-2-0 since the break (not bad) but is far from perfect.

This isn’t to say that the Red Wings are suddenly a bad team, in fact they are from it. But they are a normal, middle of the road team that struggles from time to time and from game to game. It’s not anything to be ashamed of, it’s just something that Red Wings fans will have to get used to.