If fans of the Detroit Red Wings were told before this season began that on the third day of January that they'd have a record of .500, most fans would gladly accept it after having struggled mightily in the past few seasons.
And while they've made great strides this season thanks to the stellar play of their trio of rookies in Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond and Alex Nedeljkovic, there's still a ways to go if they're going to take the next step.
1. The Power Play must improve
The team decided to part ways with Dan Bylsma and bring in former rival Alex Tanguay to manage the power play units. So far, with the team currently ranked 28th overall with the man advantage, it hasn't worked out as they had envisioned.
2. The physicality must pick up
The Red Wings got a first hand demonstration of what it's like to be pushed around by a more physical opponent yesterday afternoon against the Boston Bruins, who as head coach Jeff Blashill put it, “bullied” them. Gone are the days of Ken Holland's mantra of “our power play is our enforcer”.
3. Puck possession and tightened defense
The hallmark of past successes of the Winged Wheel was puck possession. Recent editions of the team have found themselves routinely outshot by their opponent while not putting enough pucks on net themselves.