Staring with, oh, let’s say the 2011-12 season, the Red Wings had become a team that was able to do just enough to get into the playoffs, keep its streak of postseason appearances alive, and then not really do much else of consequence beyond that. The core that had been the foundation of a roster that went to consecutive Stanley Cup Finals in 2007-08 and 2008-09 (winning one; losing the other in a one-goal Game 7) had been slowly broken up, and the players who did remain were not quite what they were when the Red Wings were one of the NHL’s powerhouse teams. This is not uncommon. Dynasties and great teams always go through cycles and nobody stays on top of the mountain forever. Everybody, at some point, falls off. But the Red Wings’ decline from that perch at the top of the NHL was not a sudden fall off of a cliff. It was a slow, gradual tumble that finally resulted in them missing the playoffs this past season for the first time since the 1989-90 season (and only the second time since 1986-87). You could see it inevitably coming each season, and now that it has happened the Red Wings — led by general manager Ken Holland — have to figure out how to start their climb back toward the top. Given the makeup of the roster at this point, that is going to be easier said than done.
Red Wings, finally caught by salary cap, face a long road to overcome it
Sporting News | Oct 5