Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 4/14/13

Playoff hockey and Hockey Town go together like peanut butter and jelly. Detroit has missed the playoffs just once since 1991. Even more impressive is that they have gotten knocked out in the front round just three times since 1995. This year however, the Red Wings are feeling blue. Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS Currently they sit on the cusp of the playoffs, located in eighth place with Dallas, Columbus, and Phoenix nipping at their heels. Is it possible to fathom hockey in late April going south to their conference foes instead of seeing octopi fly? Or even more ridiculous having Columbus host a playoff game? This year was definitely a rebuilding year in Detroit-if that is even allowed. A year after losing long time captain and arguably the greatest defenseman of all-time in Nicklas Lidstrom, many thought the team would take on a new look rolling in younger players. However, the problem does not lie on the back end, but surprisingly enough with the forwards up front. The defensive core isn’t anything special, headlined by bone crusher Niklas Cronwall and then filled out with solid players. And in goal, Jimmy Howard is having an above average year. The issue lies in the lack of committee scoring that’s usually plentiful in Motown. Last year, the Red Wings had 11 players with at least 10 goals. Franzen and Hudler led the team with 19 and 25 respectively. This year, Jiri Hudler is gone through free agency to the Flames and Franzen has just eight goals in 34 games. Valtteri Filppula’s production is also down as he only netted seven goals thus far. Without the breakout of Damien Brunner coming over from the Swiss league, this team would be in huge trouble. He is credited with 11 goals on the season as well as the game winning scores in both of Detroit’s shootout wins. In the 2011-12 season the club trailed only the Canucks in goals for in the West. The Edmonton Oilers are only one goal behind them this year. With aging stars in Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterburg, GM Ken Holland needs to pull some strings and get a younger star up front. Without a change of pace, the Red Wings will only get worse as younger teams like the Oilers and Blue Jackets only get better. It could be time for a changing of the guard in the NHL. After all, next year starts a new league with new conferences. Maybe the Red Wings will leave their supremacy behind and fade into the mix of teams always battling to get into to the playoffs, let alone reaching the Stanley Cup. Only time will tell if Hockey Town will hand around. -Miller

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