12th Man Report: Home woes haunt Wings
Literally, too — Detroit set the NHL record for consecutive home wins at 23 that season, a streak that went more than three and a half months.
Which begs to question, what’s going on this year? As we speak, the Wings sit in fifth place in the Eastern Conference; respectable, right? But this is where it gets strange. Detroit is 6-10-6 at home, and 11-3-3 on the road. So much for home-ice advantage.
The Red Wings are one of four teams in the Eastern Conference who have a better away record than home. Unfortunately for head coach Mike Babcock and Detroit, of these four teams, the Wings are the only ones currently on pace to make the playoffs. And I’m not trying to make excuses, but if Detroit had won a few more shootouts, the home record may look a little more favorable.
Needless to say, they haven’t. There’s a silver lining though. The season is just a couple games shy of the halfway point — there’s still a lot of hockey to be played. I don’t think at this point the Red Wings deserve to be sitting in fifth place and on their way to the playoffs; they haven’t played that well. But they are, and beggars can’t be choosers.
After the New Year passes, maybe some of the players will get healthy — it seems the injured reserve is a term used for more than half the roster — and they can turn things around. Let’s be honest here: if the Red Wings are to make the playoffs in their inaugural season in the Eastern Conference, I don’t think it’s going to be by winning more road games than home games. It all stems from consistency, and again, until the team’s healthy, consistency will be difficult to come by.