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Special Teams to Blame for Wings’ Shaky Start

Posted By Kyle Myers On Feb 6 2013 @ 1:21 pm In Detroit Red Wings | No Comments

The Detroit Red Wings have had a less than stellar start to the 2013 season. Currently sitting in tenth in the Western Conference, the Wings have been wildly inconsistent so far this year.

Most expected the Wings to experience a regression this season. The team lost Tomas Holmstrom and Captain Nick Lidstrom to retirement in the offseason, and lost Brad Stuart and Jiri Hudler to free agency. Lidstrom has been one of the best defensemen in the NHL for much of his 20 season career, and replacing him is a near-impossibility.

Lidstrom’s absence on the blue line has been obvious. The Wings are currently ranked near the bottom of the league in special teams, scoring on only 12% of power plays and killing off only 70% of their penalties. The Wings special teams units haven’t been able to gel yet, and their poor numbers have contributed to a 4-4-1 record through 9 games.

Detroit’s power play should receive a boost with the return of Ian White, who only played in three games this season before being placed on the Injured Reserve with a leg laceration. White was brought in last year to replace Brian Rafalski after his retirement, and is a major asset on the point.

Mikael Samuelson is another Wing who could make a positive impact to the power play, but hasn’t made an appearance yet this season as he recovers from a groin injury. It was believed that he would skate sometime this week, but there has been a setback in his recovery and there is now no timetable for his return.

Detroit currently sits in the middle of the pack of the Western Conference, and will need to remedy their poor special teams if they want to keep their streak of 21 consecutive playoff appearances alive. It’s the longest current streak in the NHL, and appears to be in jeopardy after an poor start to the 2013 season.

The Red Wings need to get healthy and fix their power play, or Detroit fans will likely suffer through a mediocre season; something they haven’t had to deal with for over two decades.

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