It’s been three years since the Detroit Red Wings last made the playoffs after 25 consecutive appearances, and they’re not projected to do any better this season.
And they’re out to prove their doubters wrong.
“Guys are not even listening to the outside,” forward Frans Nielsen said of the negative outlooks. “We’re trying to worry about ourselves.
“But at the same time, you see in the guys’ eyes and when we’re talking in here, guys are not happy with what’s been going on here lately.”
The team finished 24 points out of the playoffs last season, better than only the Ottawa Senators, New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings in the NHL standings. It’s no secret that the fans are frustrated about it – but you can bet the players sure are too.
“Hopefully you get to see a little more ‘mad’ Red Wings,” Nielsen said. “(Players) want to go out there and prove something and we have to be. We think we have a good team but not good enough to skill our way through the league.”
Goaltender Jimmy Howard doesn’t like having to watch the Stanley Cup Playoffs on tv instead of participating in them, as he did for the first several years of his career with the Red Wings.
“It’s no fun to be here the first week of April packing your stuff,” Howard said. “We’re looking to go out there and make some noise this season.
With the team’s strong finish to last season despite being well outside of the playoff picture, it gave encouragement to the players and fan base alike that the team does have what it takes to make another run at the annual tournament.
“Everyone has us not making the playoffs again, and just the same path we’ve been on the last few years,” forward Tyler Bertuzzi said. “We want to change that.
“Just kind of our ending last year, we were playing real well at the end of the season. We got a couple of new guys, just more experience from guys and we have our older guys leading the way.”