The end of the NHL regular season is 2 weeks and 9 games away for the Detroit Red Wings (33-26-14). Here are my top 3 trending topics to keep your eyes on as the Red Wings look to extend their historic 22 consecutive playoff streak for another season.
Down to the Wire - #GoWings
The Eastern Conference playoff picture looked like a rush hour traffic jam a few weeks ago, but now 6 teams (Bruins, Penguins, Canadians, Lightning, Rangers, and Flyers) have broken free from the pack and should lock up the Atlantic and Metropolitan automatic playoff berths while there are 4 teams in the rear fighting for the 2 remaining wildcard spots.
That’s where the Red Wings find themselves with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, and Toronto Maple Leafs all sitting on 80 points. It’s gone from a traffic jam to a game of musical chairs.
While the Wings are technically still in control of their own playoff destiny by having the tiebreaker (wins in regulation or overtime) over the Capitals and two games in hand over the Maple Leafs, they do have the toughest schedule remaining between the four teams.
Of the 9 games remaining, the Wings have to face 6 teams currently in the playoff picture and 3 of those teams are division leaders (Bruins, Penguins, and Blues). For comparison, the Blue Jackets face 5 playoff teams, the Capitals 4, and the Maple Leafs only 3.
Reunited (and it feels so good) - #DontStopBelieving
Everyone knows by now how the injuries have plagued the majority of the Red Wings’ season. Well, they have to get healthy eventually and it looks like that time has finally arrived. The injury report of key players is down to Pavel Datsyuk (day-to-day), Henrik Zetterberg (IR), and Stephen Weiss (IR).
Datsyuk is skating. Hank is targeting a playoff return. Who really knows about Weiss?
Getting (almost) everyone back is one thing. Getting them involved and up to speed is another.
Mike Babcock for the Jack Adams? - #Babs4Adams
Take the first two trending topics and combined them and that’s what make Mike Babcock a worthy candidate for the coach of the year. A recently published article by Greg Wyshynski for yahoo.com brought forward all the reasons why Mike Babcock will win the Jack Adams.
Wyshynski brings up a lot of interesting and key points including, how the winner of the Jack Adams usually falls into four distinct categories (which Babcock finally fits into), the HBO effect, and his claim that Babcock is “criminally overdue” for this honor.
I strongly agree that Babcock deserves to win the award if he can get the Wings to the playoffs. However, you can’t overlook the job Patrick Roy has done in Colorado. That would be rather foolish.
Those are my top 3 trending topics in Hockeytown heading into the final 2 weeks of the NHL regular season for the Detroit Red Wings. At the start of the season, I couldn’t image these topics being front and center with 9 games to go. I would also like to give honorable mentions to Gustav Nyquist’s hot streak (#TheGooseIsLoose) and Jimmy Howard’s always evolving play in net (#GoalieProblems).
One more hashtag couldn’t hurt: #KeepTheStreakAlive
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