The Detroit Red Wings have been missing their captain lately. Tonight will be their 11th game without Nicklas Lidstrom in their line-up and he absence has really affected the team. He has a bruised bone in his right ankle which has caused him to miss so much time. He has now skated for 3 days without incident and he is expecting to return to the ice on Saturday.
The Red Wings have gone 3-6-1 without having their captain in the line-up. They are no longer leading the Western Conference actually they are far from the top of the pack now. The Red Wings currently find themselves in 5th place in the West however the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks are only two points behind Detroit so if they Red Wings plan on holding onto their playoff spot they better work things out quickly. Being struck with injuries this late in the season is hard for any team but the Red Wings seem to be crumbling ever since their at-home winning streak came to an end last month. With injuries from Pavel Datsyuk, Todd Bertuzzi, Nicklas Lidstrom, Jimmy Howard and Joey MacDonald the Red Wings were hit hard. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi have since returned to the line-up however it seems like Detroit needs their captain back to lead them to victory. Howard is out again with a groin injury and his return date is currently unknown. Back-up goaltender Joey MacDonald and winger Johan Franzen are out with back injuries while Darren Helm is out with a knee injury, Jonathan Ericsson is out with a bad wrist and Jakub Kindl has an upper-body injury.
With the teams in the West heating up in time for the playoffs Detroit could find themselves at the bottom of the standings instead of at the top where they belong. They have an opportunity tonight to turn things around against the New York Rangers but they will have to do it without Lidstrom in their line-up. The beat up Red Wings will have to dig deep and win these next few games to hold onto their playoff spot but I am beginning to wonder if they have it in them? Are they going to let their incredible season end way too soon or will they pull off some important victories over the next few games just in time for the playoffs?
This is a picture that all Red Wing fans would like to see at the end of the playoffs this season!