The Detroit Red Wings have slipped from being regarded as an elite NHL team, getting knocked out of the playoffs in the first round after consecutive second-round exits.
Just three years ago, the team was a win away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions and seemed set up to sustain the success it and its fans have gotten used to for a couple decades.
Detroit coach Mike Babcock believes a splash-making summer could restore the franchise's glory.
''We have tons of money and if we can use our cap space to get high-end free agents, we have a shot to get right back on top,'' Babcock said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, two days after Nashville eliminated Detroit. ''If we're fortunate in free agency, we won't have to look at going in another direction.
''The standard here has always been to chase the Stanley Cup, so as a coach, I'm hoping the free-agent market helps us continue to have those goals.''
The Red Wings led the NHL in points a couple months ...