Story by Charlie Crowley, The Saint Reporter
Photo Courtesy of MGoBlog
When October comes around in Michigan, there are a few assumptions that one can have: the Tigers may or may not be in the playoffs, the Lions have no chance at the playoffs, and Michigan and Michigan State football are in full swing. However, October also brings back hockey to the Mitten State, and fans across the state turn their attention to the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings are off to an average start, finishing 4-3-1 in their first eight games. They went on a tear out of the gate jumping to 3-0, but were outscored 19-18 in their next four to drop to .500.
Although the Wings have had a rough start to the season, there have been a few bright spots, such as 19 year old phenom Dylan Larkin. Larkin, who made the opening night roster with Pavel Datsyuk sidelined, is averaging a point per game with 2 goals and 5 assists. Larkin impressed the Red Wings fans and brass alike during training camp and the preseason, but there was speculation he would start the season in Grand Rapids to help him develop. Also leading the charge for the Wings is captain Henrik Zetterberg and Muskegon native Justin Abdelkader, both of whom joined Larkin on the Wings’ top line for a series of games. Zetterberg has 2 goals and 9 assists, while Abdelkader has 4 goals and an assist of his own, with three of those goals coming against Toronto on the first night of the season. Goaltending has been split evenly between Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek, with Howard posting a 2-1-1 record and 2.24 goals against average, while Mrazek sports a 2-2 record with a 2.75 GAA.
Despite the rough start to the season in Motown, Red Wings fans should not be alarmed at all. With a new coach at the helm in former Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill, it will take some time for players to adjust to him; however, many current Wings have played under Blashill in the past and know what to expect and what is expected out of them. Also of note, the Magic Man Pavel Datsyuk is still out due to ankle surgery he had this offseason, but Ansar Khan of MLive reported that he will ramp up his skating in the coming weeks. He is expected to return in the next few weeks. The Wings may have suffered an early speed bump, but should be back up to full speed in no time.