A collection of the latest news from around the world of hockey:
The Detroit Red Wings are going to make the playoffs, right? It’s no longer a sure thing. A loss to the Montreal Canadiens puts them on the outside looking in, and with the season winding down, they are in danger of missing the postseason for the first time in 24 years. They could still very well make it, though. Boston is slipping a little, the Islanders are having goaltending troubles, and hey, these are the Red Wings we’re talking about. But if they don’t make it in, the sky is hardly falling.
This season was the perfect storm for their epic streak to end. New, inexperienced coach. Their best players moving past their prime. A transition to young players who are still learning the game. And a field of competitors all of whom are just as worthy. This season, the Wings have struggled to find consistent secondary scoring, and the goaltending hasn’t exactly been lights out, though you can blame that on a shaky defence. But, this is a team that is attempting to rebuild on the fly, something that isn’t done with ease. The Wings picked a gem in Dylan Larkin at 15th overall, but the reality is that this team is building without the help of a top draft pick.
They’ve been succeeding all these years without needing to choose in the top-five. Is it catching up with them? I wouldn’t go as far as to say that. Larkin is a great player. So is Anthony Mantha. They have a core group of young players with a lot of skill. But we all know it takes more than just talent to win in this league, and the Wings are going to have to continue to apply their mastery of team management to keep this train rolling. I’m sure the hockey world will be watching the stretch run with intrigue, because the playoffs without Detroit in them is just strange. [Wingin it in Motown], [The Detroit News]
In other news…
Eric Staal recounts his time as a Hurricane. [Players Tribune]
Corey Crawford’s injury may be more serious than originally suspected. [Yahoo]
Charges against Blackhawks prospect Garret Ross have been dropped. [Fox Sports]
If the Oilers don’t get what they want for Nail Yakupov, he’ll be back. [Beer League Heroes]
The draft lottery should happen before the playoffs begin. [Edmonton Journal]
Changes might be coming in Calgary. [Flames Nation]
Ray Emery is back with the Flyers. [Sports Illustrated]
That Brad Marchand is good at hockey. [THN]
And finally, here is the complete list of Masterton nominees, many of which are a major stretch because every team has to submit a nominee, whether or not they actually have a legitimate candidate. [Puck Daddy]