The Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa has weighed in on the Wings’ near-historically-bad losing streak as it applies to the Wings’ purpose for the remainder of a playoff-less campaign.
Krupa suggests that the Wings need to “embrace the tank” in a different sense of the term, namely in spending the majority of their energies attempting to improve the developmental learning curves of four foundational players who are really struggling right now in Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi (as well as
I’d rather lead you toward Krupa’s premise than the product (you’re going to read the rest of it anyway, right?), because it’s well-written:
This season always has been more about rebuilding than competing for playoff position. A mistake was ever thinking otherwise.
Sure, play to win, always. But manage to win in the long run by properly preparing the lineup for rebuilding.
And, as the expression goes, “coach them up.”
Memories of the last sustained period of winning, “going on a run,” is measured in calendar years. The next lineup to play deep in the playoffs feels a few to several seasons away.
By brute force of mediocrity, they are accomplishing what some people, deluded by a win-the-lottery sense of how to proceed, have counseled for 24 months: The Red Wings are, in effect, tanking.
Take Tomas Tatar and Frans Nielsen out of one of the weaker lineups in the NHL, especially for scoring, and the results are as plain as they were predictable. But there are things to achieve, in the last 19 days.
Krupa continues from there, and the long story short is this: Larkin, Mantha, Athanasiou and Bertuzzi aren’t the only Wings who are struggling, so it would behoove the Wings’ leadership and coaching staff to take the bolster the fortunes of the guys that are going to be part of the roster fix, even if it means losing some games along the way.
It’s a good theory, sort of “embracing the tank by building one.”