The recent Detroit Red Wings struggles are fulfilling a somber prediction from Dylan Larkin ahead of last month's trip to Sweden.
Times are undeniably challenging for the Detroit Red Wings as they've slipped out of playoff contention amid a concerning downward spiral. Their recent defeat against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday night marked their eighth loss in the last 10 games. December hasn't been favorable for Detroit, reflecting a stark contrast to their earlier form. It might sadly align with a somber prediction made by team leader Dylan Larkin before the team's journey to Sweden last month.
The Red Wings participated in the 2023 NHL Global Series in Stockholm last month
The Red Wings were among the chosen four teams to join the 2023 NHL Global Series held in Stockholm. However, the trip didn't yield the desired results, as they secured just one point out of a possible four, earning back-to-back losses against the Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs during the event. The good news for Detroit is that they bounced back impressively, securing victories in six of their next seven games upon returning to North America.
The unusual scheduling pattern significantly intensified Detroit's workload in December, leading to understandable fatigue, which has contributed to their recent decline. The team faced setbacks, including losing Larkin for four games due to injury, David Perron sidelined for six games following a suspension, J.T. Compher absent for five games due to injury, and more recently, both Ville Husso and Alex Lyon sidelined for several games due to their respective injuries. These absences have certainly added to the team's challenges during this period.
Larkin seemingly predicted Detroit's troubles thanks to the Sweden trip
Before their journey to Sweden for the NHL Global Series, Larkin appeared to suggest that the team might encounter challenges due to the compressed schedule following the overseas trip.
“It’ll be good,” Larkin stated before the trip. “I think we pay the price for it with our schedule after.”
“It’ll be cool to see the country but we got two big games and we’ll pay the price for it after,” Larkin continued.
Between December 11 and 23, the Red Wings navigated through a grueling schedule, contesting a total of eight games in under two weeks. Such a demanding series of matches would undoubtedly strain even the most finely conditioned athletes.
Head coach Derek Lalonde acknowledged the impact of injuries, stating the obvious, but highlighted that the most successful teams often find ways to navigate through such adversities.
“We still got to mature as a team,” Lalonde said. “We knew this was going to be a tough stretch. It got compounded with an egregious amount of top guys out. But we still didn’t handle it well. There were points to be had out there. We needed to get those. Everyone in the entire league is going to go through this and the teams that start to funnel themselves towards the top handle these situations. We have three more opportunities to do that.”
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- The Detroit Red Wings dropped their 8th game in their last 10 outings on Saturday night, a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the New Jersey Devils
- Detroit's rough December seemingly fulfilled a somber prediction from Dylan Larkin that was made ahead of the Sweden trip
- The Red Wings now find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture thanks to their recent slide
Bottom Line: No choice but to rebound and improve
Fans of the Red Wings had been understandably frustrated with the gradual rebuilding process led by franchise icon Steve Yzerman. Yzerman's summer statement about the team's ongoing asset collection had surprised and disappointed many.
However, this was followed by the acquisition of goal scorer Alex DeBrincat and, more recently, his linemate Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks. Despite these moves, if the Red Wings struggle to improve their current situation, the number of fans growing impatient with Yzerman is likely to increase.