Another season ‘lost season’ of doom and gloom?

As a fan, as well as a would-be pundit, I didn’t want it to be this way.

2-7-and-2, coming off a seventh loss in a row, against the team the Wings can never defeat in the Tampa Bay Lightning, with another game in Tampa to come before back-to-backs against the unbeaten Panthers.

The Red Wings are a team in distress, on the ice, on the bench and behind it, playing “losing hockey” in a big way. A month removed from a training camp so full of promise of at least a season where the team would be “competitive,” as the losses piled up, so full of promise that, this time, the self-inflicted mistakes that cost the team would be the kinds of mistakes made by a learning, growing, younger, faster, stronger and better team, if only incrementally so…

It feels like we’re in for another Lost Season, another season like 2019-2020, which was a season in which the Red Wings’ fans learned that tanking and tanking hard offers no tangible benefit due to a punitive draft lottery that actively seeks to punish the teams most in need of a draft-aided boost.

Last year, to be blunt, I didn’t watch all the Red Wings’ games. I was grieving the sudden, unexpected loss of my mother, and so I watched, I read, on Facebook, on Twitter, but I didn’t write any blog entries. Between the actual grief from losing my parent and the struggle that was watching a team that people still call “garbage,” I couldn’t stand taking it all in, so I watched maybe 3/4ths of the games, and taped the rest.

One of the main reasons I came back as someone who comments on games, even if those comments are weaved into links to other people’s articles, is because I wanted to be here in the same way that a grief counselor comes to a funeral–to provide some positive news and at least some positive comments during a difficult period of time, even if it meant another season of gallows humor.

But I expected more than we’ve been given. I didn’t expect the Wings to be winning games–2-7-and-2 is a fair record given the Wings’ opponents and COVID-related absences thus far–but I was expecting learning from a slightly younger core, I was expecting competitiveness from the Wings’ roster reinforcements, I was expecting better goaltending, some actual defense, if only in fits and spurts, and the same from secondary scoring.

Even if the record was the same, I was expecting a team to start learning from its mistakes, regardless of whether Jeff Blashill would be finishing out the final year of his contract (and yes, I believe that he will finish out that contract before the GM decides whether he wants to make a coaching change).

Even if the record was the same, I was expecting to see less Frans Nielsen, less Valtteri Filppula, less Adam Erne, and more from a younger roster, assuming that the younger players earned their ice time. I was not expecting the vets to be ridden so damn hard, or the roster “ties” in terms of battles for playing time going to the vets by default.

Even if the record was the same, I was expecting to feel that competitive, “We can build and move forward as a team” attitude from training camp to last, especially under new leadership, a lot longer than all of 5 days before the losing hit with a vengeance and began to pile up as quickly and in as much depth and volume as discarded beer and liquor bottles in a frat house.

I may be a bit of a contrarian in saying this: I don’t believe that all the blame for this mess lies on the shoulders of the coach. I don’t believe that all the blame for this mess lies on the shoulders of the overpriced, under-performing vets. I don’t believe that the GM or players are intentionally “tanking.”

But I do believe that the Red Wings’ players and coaching staff need to get their shit together in a hurry, if only because they’re putting out a product that represents this beleaguered city (Google the word, it means dealing with tough times) and Red Wings fans all over the world, and the fans of this team have paid a lot of money and invest a significant amount of time in following their team.

I do not expect the Wings’ record to get much better. In a division filled with nemeses (plural) who’ve dominated the Wings over the course of recent play, with players going in and out of the lineup due to the coronavirus, sapping what small amounts of fragile depth that the team possesses in terms of scoring up front and puck-moving on defense, with the special teams still a disaster (that does fall on the coaching staff’s shoulders) and the besieged goaltenders only able to deliver so many miraculous saves…This team is pretty much roadkill.

But they’ve got to put up a damn fight in trying to avoid getting hit by the car. They’ve got to not get hit by the car on occasion. They can’t just roll over and die by default any more.

I understand that the Red Wings fans from the 70’s hold sway when it comes to who’s suffered the most over the course of the team’s history, but that doesn’t make the suffering felt by Red Wings fans who’ve been watching this damn “rebuild on the fly” for the past eight or nine seasons any less valid.

It sucks to lose. It sucks to lose regularly. It really, really sucks to lose predictably. And, at this point in the 2020-2021 season, things are going so damn badly that even gallows humor doesn’t cut it in terms of affording Red Wings fans with a coping mechanism.

We didn’t expect this team to be “good,” but we expected it to be “better,” and, as of February 4th, we may have gotten “worse” somehow, at least from where we’re collectively standing some 11 games into the 20-21 campaign.

Now I’m not going anywhere. I’m gonna be here as much as possible, health allowing, and I’m going to try to be as positive or negative as the situation dictates, if only to offer you some comfort and perhaps a snicker here and there.

We may not all be “in this together” philosophically or in spirit, nor in terms of our opinions as to the ways in which the “Yzerplan” (if there is one) should be implemented, but we are (almost) all Wings fans, and if collective suffering makes the individual suffering easier, that’s when it feels all that more necessary for me to be here so the struggle is a shared one.

I just don’t want it to be this damn hard any more, and I believe that the Red Wings can at least lose in a more competitive fashion…If not pull out the occasional win or two.

I hope.

Published by

George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.

3 thoughts on “Another season ‘lost season’ of doom and gloom?”

  1. Last year I watched a lot of GR games since the Wings were so unwatchable. I wanted to see Seider, Veleno and others play. With the Wings I recorded the games. Once the Wings fell behind by 3 goals it was fast forward time. I kept my sanity. The biggest question now I think for the Wings is: how and where is the best place to develop their prospects? Do they play with the big club and suffer through this or do they play in GR or overseas to get lots of playing time? The answer for that is up to Yzerman. For Rasmussen and Svech I think it is time to play with the big boys, be competitive, bring some fire to their game or be gone.

  2. Being in Canada, the game as the 1st time I saw the Wings. I really trouble watching the game as they started shockingly worse than poorly.

    It seemed they quit, all of them, before leaving the dressing room.

    When I say all of them, there was varying degrees of quit. Even Larkin seemed dead from the A$$ up. when a complete team quits, I feel it can only be one reason. Are they as bad as they looked, actually they could be. Is the coach dinking around with the lineups too much, could be. Are the overpaid useless Vets that bad,I think yes. Are the additions that Stevie Y made, especially on Defense, as bad as they looked, probably an easy yes. Fabbri coming back from a long Covid absence didn’t look much worse than the rest of the forwards.
    Their was no team effort onlyba few glimpses of individual effort.

    The new signings are here for the year. I can’t say much about the goalies playing behind a team that really really looked or was bad. Not a big fan of Griese from the get go, Calvin is a good guy who never rose to his potential and may not even be the answer for the Griffins. Next years buyouts should get maybe just sit in the brutal Taxi. Would younger call ups help, not likely (Looking at you Ras). A change could be made for a real coach, yes but is there one kicking around unemployed. I don’t see one.
    This group needs a change from the coach and down to “Just cashing Cheques” but that can only happen next year.

    I was alive during the 70s. Is this years team as bad as them? Tough to make a comparison but both were are very bad.

    It is another lost season for this Wings fan, not a fan of any other team (I use the word team very loosely with the current Wings). Some of the young players might improve but any guidance from the useless and addons will remain at the bottom of the bottom of the toilet bowl waiting to be flushed at a more opportune time.

    This team will remain very bad for this season but I will not have to watch them and might not want.

    Too bad, as StevieY gave some of them a chance to really help out and feel like Hockey players.

    Today’s hockey players have added option to quit and most seem to be taking it.

    Tank?? They don’t need to tank to be the worst team at the end of this year.

  3. It was always gonna be a lost season, hopefully by next season we can start trending upwards. I don’t think people realize just how bad this team really was. Jimmy Howard can’t find a team and retired, Abdelkader is gonna play in Switzerland, Nielsen (one of Hollands top FA signing) is basically a bad 3rd liner making $5 million. These were all core players on Holland’s team. Then the defense just kept getting worse, from Ericsson to Smith to DeKeyser to Jensen to Oulett to Hicketts to Cholowski etc… Hronek is the only d-man from the Holland era that still has any upside. YES, this team was that BAD and it was gonna get a lot worse before it gets better.

    The only thing I wanna see the rest of the way is Zadina turning it on and producing like a top 10 draft pick.

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