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Why Detroit Red Wings Fans Must Be Patient in 2013-14 | Bleacher Report

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The Detroit Red Wings’ choppy start to the 2013-14 season may not be what many have expected from a team with offensive potential and young talent.

On the other hand, the time it takes that potential and youth to develop may simply have been underestimated.

The Red Wings show all the signs of a team striving for maturity. And just like so many clumsy 14-year-olds trapped somewhere between childhood and manhood, time is the only thing aiding the transition.

As anyone can remember from their personal Twilight Zone of puberty, the process is far from pleasant. Furthermore, the strange hybrid creature that emerges in the middle of this process, he of the adult body and child’s emotions (or vice versa), often encounters pity and confusion in equal parts.

Obviously, there are parts of the Red Wings’ collective body that are already mature.

The main Red Wings players prove night after night why they have extra letters on their jerseys.

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 26: Henrik Zetterberg # 40 and Pavel Datsyuk # 13 of the Detroit Red Wings are set for the face-off during an NHL game against the New York Rangers at Joe Louis Arena on October 26, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan .  The Rangers win in OT 3Dave Reginek / Getty Images

In the team’s first 18 games, captain Henrik Zetterberg (10 goals, 10 assists) and deputy captains Pavel Datsyuk (7 G, 11 A) and Niklas Kronwall (1 G, 9 A) were the front runners they needed in every way be. Newcomer Daniel Alfredsson (3 G, 10 A) has shown he left the “C” in Ottawa, but he is still an accomplished role model.

In fact, these four players scored 51 points at the start of the season.

That’s encouraging until you realize that the remaining 22 players who have played at least one game in the same period have accumulated 47 points.

There’s no telling when the rest of the team will grow into their own secondary valuation roles, but that time has clearly not yet come.

Offensive ability is only half the story, however.

If you look again at Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall and Alfredsson, their plus-34 rating shows the kind of defensive awareness one would expect from the team leaders.

However, her teammates score a minus 39, indicating their collective flaws on either side of the puck.

With all the numbers aside, there is no need to dig deep into the team’s stats to know that as promising as these players may be, they still have a long way to go to resemble the fully fledged championship-caliber team that strive for them.

From night to night, and even from shift to shift, the Red Wings can morph between seasoned veterans and insecure beginners with unsettling ease.

Be it Zetterberg getting his team ready to work overtime in the third half against the Tampa Bay Lightning, or Kyle Quincey giving the puck and the game missing minutes later, the Red Wings’ collective inconsistency costs them Wins and points.

However, when it comes to inconsistency and maturation, the presence of the former is very often the best indicator of the latter.

The Detroit Red Wings’ 9-5-4 start may be below the expectations of some, but it could simply indicate that they haven’t matured into the team they are becoming.

When will you get there?

Just like so many patient parents waiting for their troubled teenagers to come out as fully educated adults at the end of puberty, Red Wings fans just have to wait and let nature take its course.

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Dusty Kennedy