Detroit — The Red Wings have been bad this season, that's no revelation, but exactly how bad can be rather alarming.
The Red Wings were off Tuesday — no practice, no game — so it was a good opportunity to see where this team sits statistically in the NHL.
Bottom line: The Wings' NHL-worst record is fitting.
Some of the statistics are illuminating and tell you why this team is where it's at. In nearly every major category the Wings rank last — 31st of 31 teams.
► Let’s start with the record. The Wings are 12-38-4, with a league-low 28 points. For perspective, the team ahead of them, Los Angeles, has 43 points — 15 points better, or the equivalent of 7.5 games in baseball/football/basketball.
Let that sink in for a moment. The Wings have won 12 of 54 games.
►The Wings are last in the NHL with 110 goals scored, working out to a last-place 2.04 goals per game. Anaheim, in 30th place in the category, has scored 20 more goals than the Wings.
► The Wings are also last with 206 goals allowed, fittingly, and have the worst goals-against average (3.81) in the NHL. New Jersey is next with 180 goals allowed, so the Wings have allowed 26 more goals than the next worst defensive team.
►That goal differential between the two numbers, a negative-96, is by far the worst in the league. New Jersey is next at minus-46 — half of the Wings’ total.
►The Wings have earned the fewest points at home (8-18-2, 18 points) and on the road (4-20-2, 10 points), not surprisingly.
►The Wings are last with 10 regulation wins. That’s one every 5.2 games played thus far this season.
► As of Tuesday, the Wings had the worst (31st) power play in the NHL — a measly 14.5 percent.
► For good symmetry, and not surprisingly given all the previous statistics, the Wings also had the worst penalty kill in the NHL at 73.2 percent.
► The Wings are also ranked last in shots per game, 27.9, further diminishing opportunities to score a precious goal.
Those are the numbers, and they accurately portray a pretty special case of what kind of uniquely poor season the Wings are having.
Monday’s 3-0 loss was the Wings’ ninth consecutive defeat — the third time this season they’ve lost at least eight consecutive games.
So, how do the Wings’ mentally continue to persevere through this season? There is still two months, a total of 28 games, left on the schedule.
Coach Jeff Blashill talked after Monday's loss about the need to not let the losing become acceptable the remainder of this season.
“There are two things you fight when you’re in the spot we’re in,” Blashill said. “Frustration builds in and that’s the biggest waste of human emotion. So you have to get rid of frustration.
“Two, you can’t let it (the losing) be OK for yourself or each other. We can’t let this be OK. That’s where you look at process and you focus on being solution-based and trying to get better as individuals and trying to get better as a group.”
Key injuries along with the lack of depth and proven NHL talent on the roster is forcing many players to play in lineup spots above their capability.
That formula can lead to turnovers and situations where less than 100 percent execution will likely produce losses.
“We have to understand if we’re not close to 100 percent our best, we’re not good enough,” Blashill said. “Some teams can play at 90 or 85 and still skill their way to a win. We’re not doing that. We’ve been back from break and two of the three games we haven’t been close to our best.
“In some ways, it (playing in larger roles) can be good for these guys because they’ll learn real fast we have no (safety) net at all. We’re sink or swim every night. There’s no net to save us. So we better understand that you have to play at that very highest level every night.”
The combination of rampant losing and his own job security has made this a difficult season for Blashill, who appears to be holding up under the duress.
“You’d have to ask my wife and my doctor — from a blood pressure standpoint,” Blashill said. “This is the way I look at (it). I get an unbelievable opportunity to come in here and coach this team. I really like these guys, they’re good people, they care. My job is to help them be the very best player they can be and there’s multiple ways to do that.
“One is to make sure you continue to hold them accountable and to the standard that it’s going to take for us to ultimately get out of this and be a way better team and we’re going to continue to do that.”