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Wings accept factors for slow start

Monday, 10.26.2009 / 9:03 AM ET / News
By Phil Coffey
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Wings accept factors for slow start
Injuries? No excuse.

New players? No excuse.

New coaches? No excuse.

The NHL is a bottom-line place, so excuses aren't acceptable among fans, media, players, coaches, etc.

That does not mean, however, that there aren't factors into why a team is succeeding or failing. Let's take a look at the Red Wings as an example. Heading into weekend play, the Wings are a pedestrian 3-3-2, having scored 24 goals and allowed 28. So why the middling start?

We're talking transition here and not the on-ice version of going from offense to defense. A veteran club over the past several seasons, the Wings are icing a fairly significant number of newcomers on the roster this season. An excuse for the start? No, but a factor to be sure.

"Every night we play with six forwards who didn’t play for us last year," coach Mike Babcock told Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. "It's a bit of a change. But if you look around the league, it's the same for everybody else."

Detroit is playing Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino and Jimmy Howard, three rookies, so that's an adjustment. Johan Franzen is out until February after knee surgery. Also factor in that Darren Helm and Jonathan Ericsson are full-timers this season, not the case last season. Again, more transition. And Todd Bertuzzi, Patrick Eaves, Jason Williams and Brad May are experienced NHL players, but not experienced Red Wings players.

Again, not excuses, but factors to be sure.

"Right off the hop, there's a lot of information to take in," veteran Kris Draper said. "But the bottom line is you have to go out and play a game. I think what you've seen early is guys trying too hard to be in the right spots. The more you think, the slower you are, right? It's just a matter of going out and playing and getting more confident in playing with different guys in certain situations."

"I think when you have new players it's a matter of them getting used to our system and getting to know how we play," Nicklas Lidstrom said. "You can't just insert a number of players and expect to be right back where you want to be all the time. It takes time sometimes, and that's why you have to stick with the system that you're playing and stick with your foundation and not get away from playing the way you want to play."

Despite it all, however, Babcock sees no reason for the Red Wings to languish.

"What's important to understand is, it doesn't matter how you win. You just gotta win," he said. "If you are not playing like you did in the past or if you have to do things a lot harder -- so what? As a team, just do it for one another, dig in and find a way to win."





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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - WSH 82 56 18 8 252 193 120
2 x - PIT 82 48 26 8 245 203 104
3 y - FLA 82 47 26 9 239 203 103
4 x - NYR 82 46 27 9 236 217 101
5 x - NYI 82 45 27 10 232 216 100
6 x - TBL 82 46 31 5 227 201 97
7 x - PHI 82 41 27 14 214 218 96
8 x - DET 82 41 30 11 211 224 93
9 BOS 82 42 31 9 240 230 93
10 CAR 82 35 31 16 198 226 86
11 OTT 82 38 35 9 236 247 85
12 NJD 82 38 36 8 184 208 84
13 MTL 82 38 38 6 221 236 82
14 BUF 82 35 36 11 201 222 81
15 CBJ 82 34 40 8 219 252 76
16 TOR 82 29 42 11 198 246 69

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
T. Tatar 5 0 3 1 3
M. Green 5 1 1 -1 2
A. Athanasiou 5 1 0 1 1
G. Nyquist 5 1 0 2 1
H. Zetterberg 5 1 0 3 1
J. Abdelkader 5 1 0 -3 1
B. Richards 5 1 0 -4 1
D. Helm 5 1 0 -1 1
D. Larkin 5 1 0 -2 1
N. Kronwall 5 0 1 3 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 1 2 0 .945 1.36
J. Howard 0 2 0 .891 3.59