The Worrying Wings

When Detroit came back from the opening games in Sweden without a victory, there was little concern since the Wings still had 80 games to fight their way into the top half of the Western Conference. In fact, they were winning past the halfway point in both games in Sweden so there was not a major cause for alarm. Now, in the midst of their longest West Coast trip of the year, the team has the flu bug to worry about.

howardEdmonton’s Rexall Place is a difficult place to play on most nights, but with at least two members of the Oilers carrying the H1N1 flu bug, the Wings have gone to extra lengths to avoid bringing anything back with them – other than their hockey gear. The team has had limited exposure to the arena and with the Oilers, plus they have had the overall fear that they could contract the flu during this Alberta leg of the road trip. The Wings played with this fear early on quickly going down 5-1, before rallying back to tie it in regulation.

One of the major issues this season within the Wings camp have been the wild swings of goals that have often sent Babcock scrambling to find the hot goalie. While Detroit has scored a combined seven goals in the final period over the last two games, the same has happened early on against them. This team still looks uncomfortable in net when Jimmy Howard is out there. The younger defensemen seem to overcommit themselves in order to avoid seeing multiple shots fired in on Howard. For the Wings to succeed, and not fall too far behind in the Central, they will have to trust their younger players to make plays for them in key situations.