from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
... For those of us who watched the Wings set a standard for the rest of the league for 25 years, it just seems so strange now. The team is weak. If there was a belief in some corners that the mere return of the sainted Steve Yzerman to the organization would immediately return the club to its winning ways, the early results this season have quickly disabused everyone of that notion.
Yzerman preached patience when he supplanted Ken Holland last summer, and there will have to be a great deal of it in the next few years. Some nights will be tough, as may well be the case this Tuesday when Holland returns in command of the vastly improved Edmonton Oilers....
Today, it’s all about the packaging for the Red Wings. It has to be. They no longer have substance to sell. Attendance is holding its own for now in the third season at Little Caesars, but against Buffalo — for most of the night — the lower bowl resembled what you see during Maple Leafs games right after intermission. Lots of empty seats.
The Wings have no cap problems because they have no expensive stars. That translates into some optimism as the team may have more than $40 million U.S. to spend next summer. They’ll just need something to spend it on, which is where Yzerman comes in.
In Tampa, he walked into a situation where Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman had already been drafted. In Detroit, there are two sixth overall picks, forward Filip Zadina and big German defenceman Moritz Seider, learning in Grand Rapids. Evgeny Svechnikov and Michael Rasmussen still have lots of upside.
The skills Yzerman showed in Tampa while building an organization — acquiring useful players and drafting stars outside the first round — are what will turn this organization around. He hasn’t said a great deal since being hired. That’s smart. There’s not much to say at this point, and so much work to do.
The NHL will be the better for it when Hockeytown rises again. That’s going to take three to five years at least, and by the time Detroit is back in the Stanley Cup playoffs and Little Caesars Arena hosts its first post-season contest, The District will be among the best NHL places to be in the spring. Trust me.