Opponents have been able to pester the Wings into turning over the puck as Rangers center Brian Boyle, left, attempts here on left wing Johan Franzen last weekend. (Duane Burleson / Associated Press)
Detroit — News and Views on the Red Wings, who embark on a crucial four-game road trip through western Canada, while essentially being a .500 team (6-4-2) through 12 games.
News: Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the New York Rangers was the latest in a four-game winless streak which has highlighted the Red Wings’ deficiencies.
Views: It’s shocking to see the number of shots the Red Wings are allowing this season and their sloppy play through the neutral zone.
The Red Wings practically gifted the Rangers Saturday’s victory. New York had a lineup without scoring forwards Rick Nash, Ryan Callahan and former Michigan Wolverine Carl Hagelin.
And yet, with the type of defensive performance the Red Wings put out, the Rangers had 40 shots on net and numerous scoring opportunities.
“In today’s NHL, when one team’s pressing and the other team’s on its heels, it’s tough to get over that,” said goalie Jimmy Howard, who was the reason the Red Wings even had a chance for a victory.
When you get down to it, the Red Wings are allowing so many shots because of turnovers, spending little time at all in the opposition’s zone while opponents are spending a whole lot of time shooting at Howard.
The Red Wings have been out-shot in eight of these 12 games, so it’s been a common theme from Game 1 this season.
“We had the puck and put ourselves in trouble, we didn’t make the right play,” said defenseman Niklas Kronwall of the Rangers loss. “We didn’t get pucks in deep and didn’t get it out of our zone, and here we go again.
“We gave them way too much space. Right now, we’re not good enough.”
For a group with so many established players, it’s head-scratching as to why this team is performing right now the way it is.
But it’s early. There’s plenty of time to correct things, although the laundry list of things for coach Mike Babcock and his staff is growing longer.
“Turnovers are absolutely killing us,” Babcock said. “Until we decide mentally what the right way for this group is to play, we have no chance.”
News: Through 10 games, former Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula has four goals and five assists for nine points. In 12 games, Stephen Weiss has two goals, and is looking for his first assist.
Views: It’s nowhere near the Prince Fielder level, or maybe Filppula or Johan Franzen after recent playoff disappointments, or the frustration Detroit sports fans felt with Tigers Brandon Inge or Ryan Raburn.
But we’re approaching the ground floor of those recent fan disillusionments with Detroit athletes.
They’re not booing Weiss yet. But judging from fan forums and social media responses, fans are growing impatient.
Weiss was signed to a five-year contract worth $24.5 million to replace Filppula and provide more offense that Filppula never could quite deliver.
So far, Weiss hasn’t done it. Not close.
News: The Red Wings begin a four-game road trip Wednesday beginning in Vancouver.
Views: Maybe it’s a good time to get on the road and get this thing straigtened out.
The Red Wings will visit Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg, and maybe the best thing of all, it’ll be the only time this season they have to make this long trip, thanks to being in the Eastern Conference.
With an opportunity for a couple of good practices, and focusing entirely on hockey for a week, this could be a crucial part of the schedule.
“It’s nice to play all of these teams at once, go out on a good road trip, and play good hockey games,” forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “We don’t go out there (western Canada) that often now.
“I’m kind of looking forward to go to those cities and play those games. It’s fun playing in those cities, in Canada where there’s a lot of attention to hockey, and then you know you don’t have to go back there, either (because of the distance).”