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January 14, 2011

Slumping Wings See Comeback Spoiled By Oilers

Last night I watched the Detroit Red Wings and the Edmonton Oilers game. It was an interesting contest that ended with the Oilers taking advantage of a Red Wing delay of game penalty and scoring in the dying minutes of the game to force overtime. Then, in the shootout the Oilers prevailed. It was an exciting, unpredictable ending.

In the past few months I have been guilty of turning Wings’ games off once they had a lead because I knew that, nine times out of ten, they were going to win. I would check out the score the next day but that was just a formality. However, in the past few weeks the Wings’ have been in a little slump. Of course, this slump is not as big of a deal because they are still going to make the playoffs but it is not the actual losing that is the problem that I have come to recognize.

Yes, I know that there are major injuries and that their top four defensemen are out of the line up. These are not your ordinary defensemen either. They are world class, would make a major impact on any team, defensemen like Niklas Lindstrom, Brain Rafalski and Chris Chelios and Kronwell. Dan Cleary who has been a good offensive force this season is also out of the line up. But the thing to remember is that the Red Wings are still a very good team without these excellent players. So why aren’t they winning?

I think that the Red Wings have been losing lately due to lack of confidence in themselves. The team looks like it can be taken advantage of and their opponents see that. I watch Wings’ games now in their entirety because I am amazed at the vulnerability. I am absolutely convinced that the Red Wings, even without a couple of their stars, can pull themselves out of this rut. But I don’t think that they believe they can. They just don’t look like the confident, dominant team that they were.

So you are probably thinking “Well they aren’t! They have major injuries!” And you are right. But even so, on paper some of the teams that have defeated the Wings should have been a cake walk, even with a few guys missing. Then again, I went to a Wings game back in December in which they ironically played the Edmonton Oilers. I remember sitting in the stands with my buddies who are die hard Wings fans and watching their faces fall as they saw the fight that Edmonton mounted. They were all sure that the Wings would run away with the game because at that point, that was the case on the majority of nights. But teams, regardless of where they sit in the standings or what their records might be, are equal when they hit the ice. The team that can pull out the win is the better team on that night. The Oilers too have several major injuries but last night they were able to band together as a team and pull out an exciting win against the Wings.

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