After a stretch against some of the best teams in the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings are three games below .500 – and the team kicks off a four-game road trip out west against the Calgary Flames.
The thing is, Detroit’s last few losses haven’t just been tough – they’ve been disastrous. The team is embarking on the trip with some major blowouts – 9-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes, a 6-2 loss to the Florida Panthers and a 10-7 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs are some of the worst performances Detroit has put on all season (the loss to the Coyotes was the worst of the season, if not the Steve Yzerman era). Things are getting desperate for Detroit. Calls for Jeff Blashill’s sacking were abundant on social media for days after the Arizona blowout. Up in his suite, it seemed clear that Yzerman was also sick of what he had witnessed. After some early success and quality results early in the year, Blashill’s Wings seem to be falling apart.
Yes, the Red Wings head west with a key piece of their offense back in the lineup: Jakub Vrana. He’s already proved his worth in just two games back, netting a goal against the Coyotes and two against the Wild. But of course, Detroit fans can’t have nice things, and Robby Fabbri suffered what looks to be a season-ending injury.
So, without Fabbri and with terrible losses piling up, the Red Wings seem to be against the ropes.
Fans of the Red Wings know all too well how the team usually performs on the multi-game trips to the west. For those who don’t know, it usually goes pretty poorly (just go watch highlights of the Red Wings-Kings game in LA earlier this season for a good example).
With their backs against the wall, this road trip to the west is sure to be a major gut-check for Detroit. Against the ropes with four games against solid opponents on the other side of North America, the Red Wings could very well fall apart.
Heading into this brutal stretch of play, fans and writers alike said that the slate would decide whether or not this team could actually make the playoffs. It’s become pretty clear that they cannot. Now there’s a new question among fans: should Blashill remain the head coach of the Red Wings? The road trip out west could give fans a pretty clear answer – if he comes out with a record above .500 and some competitive losses, he’s likely safe until at least the end of the season. However, if the wheels continue to fall off, it could be all she wrote for one of the longest tenured coaches in the NHL.