April 24, 2014 at 1:00 am

Terry Foster

It's about time for Red Wings to turn team over to the kids

Jaksen Ward of Windsor shows off his Bruins pride on the back of his head as he enters Joe Louis with his dad for Game 4. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)

Detroit — If the Red Wings lose in the first round to the Bruins, there will be the typical overreaction from fans.

Gotta get bigger on the blue line.

Gotta talk Darren McCarty out of retirement.

Need a new goaltender.

Need some toughness.

It’s the same narrative Red Wings fans have been using since 1995. But the organization keeps going about its buisness the same way, winning four Stanley Cups along the way.

Yes, the Red Wings are getting beaten up by the Bruins. But stronger and tougher is not always the answer to winning a Cup. Four Cups since 1997 speaks to the contrary.

Still, here’s a solution.

Allow Luke Glendening, Tomas Jurco, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and anybody else left in Grand Rapids to grow as a team. And have them mentored by Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk.

The Red Wings have a solid nucleus, and that should be the focus.

That means general manger Ken Holland must rid himself of the “older is better” mentality. It’s time to purge this team and look into the future.

It is time to say goodbye to Daniel Alfredsson, Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary and Johan Franzen. Thank them for their time and give them gold watches and rocking chairs.

Just one problem ...

One word of caution should the Red Wings trade young for old: Be prepared for growing pains.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said the playoffs are for men.

He’s right. The Bruins are the men.

The Red Wings are boys.

But those boys will grow into men, and this core is exciting.

They’ve shown some fight against the Bruins, and who knows, they might have just enough to pull an upset.

And, there’s a chance Zetterberg could be back from the back surgery he had in February.

And that would give the Red Wings hope.

He’s the captain. He’s respected.

He might provide a spark.

“I can expect him to provide great leadership both in the room and on the bench,” Babcock said.

“If nothing else that’s good enough.”

Now that’s what the young need to hear.

terry.foster@detroitnews.com
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