Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/4/14

For the last 21 seasons, missing the playoffs has been something the Detroit Red Wings haven’t had to endure. Now 23 years removed from their most recent snub from the postseason, the Red Wings have the task of fulfilling the high standards that Hockeytown fans demand. But they will have to do it with a team that looks a whole lot different than it has in the last two decades. They will have to beat out other playoff contending teams like Chicago, Nashville, Minnesota, Los Angeles, Vancouver and others.  And they’ll have to do it without the likes of Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Jiri Hudler and Brad Stuart. There is no Steve Yzerman on this new Red Wing team.  You will not find Brendan Shanahan on the 2013 roster, nor will Sergei Federov win the Hart Trophy.  Chris Osgood will not come out of retirement to make another game-saving stop to win the cup, and Kris Draper won’t lace up the skates to reunite the Grind Line. This 2013 team will have to find a way to win without these NHL greats, and they’ll have to do it soon in this lockout-shortened season. Captain Henrik Zetterberg will try to be the next great leader in Detroit, following the footsteps of Lidstrom and Yzerman; two of the best captains not only in Red Wings history, but in the history of hockey.  I believe that Zetterberg has the determination to bring another Stanley Cup to Detroit, but does he have enough firepower beside him? The talent of Detroit’s top six forwards is among the best in the league.  With Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen, Detroit’s front six is formidable.  With rookie Damien Brunner also making an impact on the Zetterberg line, the scoring and skating ability is there for Detroit’s top two lines. Where the Wings lack is not at the front, but in the back. The next two lines for Detroit have produced little to nothing, and not a single Red Wing outside the top six has a positive rating on the year.  Injuries have played a role, that’s without a doubt, but injuries have played no factor in Justin Abdelkader’s -3 rating and zero points. Jordin Tootoo has been the lone bright spot for Detroit’s bottom six, as his physical play and tenacity have sparked not only his line, but his entire team.  Tootoo has Kronwall must elevate his play and shore up the Red Wings’ defense knocked people around, which I anticipated, but I didn’t anticipate him being such a good skater.  He’s made an impact on this team in no time at all. That’s more than can be said for anyone else in the bottom six. And to make things worse for Detroit, their defense has been lackluster at best.  Playing with a patchwork defense that has lost Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian White, Jonathan Ericsson, and now Brendan Smith to injury this year, the Wings back line has looked very sketchy at times.  Getting healthy will help, but if Niklas Kronwall continues to play foolish hockey and take penalties, Detroit will struggle to win.  Kronwall plays far too aggressively, Kyle Quincey can barely skate, and much of the remaining defenders are inexperienced to say the least. Detroit will need huge performances from young players Brian Lashoff and Jakub Kindl if they hope to make the playoffs. Goaltending issues also plague the Wings.  Jimmy Howard has proven himself to be a good goalie, but he can’t play all 48 games for Detroit.  Thus far, Howard has started and finished every game, save the season-opening blowout in St. Louis in which Howard was pulled.  Jonas Gustavsson was acquired in the offseason to ease the load on Howie’s shoulders, but he was injured while playing against the Blues.  With no other experienced option, the Red Wings have had to turn to Howard in every game. And the extensive playing time has shown in Howard’s play. I’m not blaming Jimmy, but he’ll be the first to tell you that several pucks have gotten away from him in the last few games. I’ll finally answer the question I asked in my headline. No. The Red Wings have a great deal of talent, but while many Western Conference teams got better in the offseason (i.e. Minnesota), the Red Wings took a step backward. Can Detroit make the playoffs?  Sure they can.  But to assume as much would be foolish, with parity in the NHL at an all-time high.   Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny Upcoming Schedule Tuesday vs. Calgary: 7:30, FSD Thursday @ St. Louis: 8:00, FSD Saturday vs. Edmonton: 2:00, CBC, FSD Sunday vs. Los Angeles: 12:30, NBC

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Will LaMarcus Aldridge leave the Portland Trailblazers?

Clippers defeat Spurs, even series at 2-2

JR Smith 'nervous as hell' about possible suspension

Dana White: No more WWE for Ronda Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk for 'bush league' play


Report: Eli Manning not concerned about contract

Several teams interested in Bucs' No. 1 overall pick?

Report: Marcus Smart overslept, could get less playing time

Report: Adam Wainwright likely done for the season

DeMarco Murray: 'I'm not worried about the Cowboys'

Turner has great quote in defense of Bridgewater

WATCH: Alex Gordon leaps into stands for incredible catch

WATCH: JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder in face

WATCH: Kevin Love leaves Game 4 with shoulder injury

Joe Flacco content with current Ravens receivers

WATCH: Demetrious Johnson wins with last-second submission

WATCH: Jerryd Bayless beats Bulls with buzzer-beater

John Legend catches Belichick checking out Chrissy Teigen

Jim Rice to Jim Palmer: 'Quit complaining'

Time Warner-Comcast failed merger hurts Dodgers fans

WATCH: Bucks mascot devours fan

Protestors tried to have Orioles-Red Sox game called off

Greg Hardy abandons his Bentley during flash flood

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Will Aldridge leave the Blazers?

Alex Gordon leaps into stands for catch

Dana White: No more WWE for Rousey

Kevin Love rips Kelly Olynyk

JR Smith ejected for hitting Jae Crowder

Report: Wainwright likely done for year

UAB player brings helmet to graduation

Leah Still scores in Temple spring game

Sanchez shares thoughts on Tebow

Stephen A. Smith blasts Tom Brady

Kris Humphries apologizes for Jenner tweet

Five most boring NFL prime time matchups for 2015

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.