By: Eric Thomas
If Red Wings fans want to, feel free to blame the refs for their game 1 loss to the Preds. If it makes you feel better, have at. When you trespass this area understand that you do so without the truth on your side. You sound like a whiny, over privileged fan of a team accustomed to the spoils of talent and reputation. I would tell you to stop it, but I am not your momma.
I was not a fan of the refs either. Much of the game was spent in the power play. I can’t recall the last playoff game where both teams had a 5 on 3 but apparently the NHL wants to continue to make the sport less popular. The reason why playoff hockey has always been the best is that the refs look the other way. The playoffs always favored grind over finesse.
But it was called terribly on both sides. The Preds couldn’t really grind the Wings (unless you count Hank’s head at the end) and no flow really got going. It was a start and stop affair where one team took advantage of good fortunes that went their way and one team did not. But saying that the Wings lost because of this is ridiculous.
I will spend one paragraph on this: Weber deserved to be suspended but I am not surprised that he wasn’t. If Shanahan would have lowered the boom on Weber it would have looked like he was protecting his home team. One of the most unfair things in life is the massive “over-correction” but it is among life’s most consistent phenomena.
But Shea Weber getting suspended wouldn’t matter a lick if game 1 is a preview of the upcoming series. Again, it had nothing to do with the ref’s making the game about them. It was something far more simple than that. It was the exact same problem that the Red Wings have had at the end of the season.
I understand that I might catch some criticism for being overly simplistic but whatever. The Wings have to score more points than the other team. I am unaware of any alternative. You got to take advantage of opportunities presented and the Wings skated away with a lot of goals left behind. For some reason they have developed into a pass first and shoot later team. This has been a funk in March and they have not been able to shake it yet. They were not nearly as allergic to shooting the puck as they were in the end of the regular season, but they are still not getting enough shots on goal to win.
Plenty of fans scapegoat the injuries as the reason they can’t score. The injury bug did wave into epidemic in the last month of the season. Darren Helm made it back for one period before he had to have surgery on his wrist. No word on if that surgery technically began with a skate to the wrist during the first period, but I digress.
All teams have injuries and while the Wings are especially widespread, that is no excuse either. You are either deep enough to make a run or you are not. The team’s age of course makes it worse because it takes that much longer to get back from those injuries, but it’s not like the their age came as a surprise to Ken Holland. They have plenty of cap room available, and they could have helped themselves at the trade deadline and didn’t. These are the decisions that make a difference, folks.
The Preds were the worst possible draw for the Wings in the playoffs. They have been a hot team that got a lot better at the trade deadline. They have a great defense and a great goalie (could we get a consensus on how to say Rinne’s name?) Bad thing when you have been a team that can’t seem to light the lamp.
I am not one of the people who think that the Red Wings can’t win. I think they can. I just think that they won’t. This scoring drought has been horrifically ill timed. The wings will get swept if they can’t figure out a way to score. Then the real questions will begin.