Detroit Red Wings
Zac Snyder: A Hockey Reason to Attend a Game
Making the playoffs 25 seasons in a row is a tremendous accomplishment and the Detroit Red Wings should take pride in that feat. Problem is, the Red Wings have become beholden to the streak such that the short-term has taken priority over the long-term success of the organization. The Red Wings have held on to the playoff streak but suffered four-consecutive first round exits. They haven’t made the conference finals since losing in the Stanley Cup Final to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2008-09 season.
The Red Wings have been making the playoffs but they are no longer major contenders and aren’t on a path to regain that status. The Red Wings now find themselves closer to the bottom of the standings than the top, have one of the oldest rosters in the NHL, limited salary cap space and a handful of unenviable long-term commitments.
As 2016 draws to a close, the Red Wings’ playoff chances hover around 10%, suggesting a long end to the season. There will be fans interested in heading to a game for whatever nostalgia there might be for Joe Louis Arena, and the Red Wings can count on strong attendance numbers to start next season as fans want to get their first look at the new Little Caesars Arena, but will there be any actual hockey reasons to go to a Red Wings game? I don’t know, but that’s my wish for 2017.
Many Red Wings fans seem ready for an honest youth movement on the roster and in ice time and in the short-term that may be enough to keep fans going to games for the hockey instead of just the building. Right now there isn’t much reason for optimism for the future and any change in that regard in 2017 will be a welcomed change and reason to go see this team in person.