• Cody Jones

It’s Time For the Red Wings to Miss the Playoffs

As a Red Wings fan, it is difficult to watch my team lose, especially considering the confidence and pride that making the playoffs 25 years in a row brings me, and most Red Wings fans. However, I realize that a rough season is a necessary evil, and possibly the first step on the road to something much better.

It has been a long time since the Red Wings were real competitors for the Stanley Cup. Though they’ve kept themselves as a bubble team – sometimes barely scraping by – there is no real reason to stay in this comfortable limbo where the stakes aren’t high, but the team isn’t failing.

Ultimately, the goal of NHL hockey is to win the Stanley Cup, or work to improve in the hope that the team will one day be the winners. If a team is neither working to improve or at the top of the league, what’s the point?

I knew that when the fate of the team’s 25th playoff appearance was up to the Ottawa Senators in the second to last day of the season and Pavel Datsyuk’s retirement from the NHL was imminent, the show was over. The team’s superstar was moving on, and the team could no longer be a clear-cut contender. General Manager Ken Holland has been claiming the “rebuilding on the fly” game plan for the past few years, and it hasn’t been working, as the Red Wings have continued to sign declining once-greats to inflated contracts, while not fixing the biggest issues with their roster such as the lack of quality talent aged 25 and younger or their underwhelming defensive core.

Watching the team lose again and again this season hasn’t frustrated me because I knew once the playoff streak was 25 – a nice round number – that there should no longer be any expectations for success. I was happy with what the team had accomplished, and now was ready for them to begin a rebuild to make a super-team in the coming years.

It’s no fun to watch your favourite team lose, but sometimes it’s what needs to happen so that you can eventually see them back on top. Existing in a state of stagnated mediocrity while hoping the sun will come out isn’t the way to make fans happy. I’m ready to endure the storm of the next few years as a Red Wings fan, and I’m excited to see what they become.