A lot of fans worry. They worry about where their team is in the standings, who's injured, what the right line combinations are, who the GM should be trading for, etc. You can count me as one of those people. But right now, my worrying has gone beyond the expected and has wandered somewhere I never thought it would go.
For the first time I can remember, I'm worried that the Wings won't have enough pieces to make a substantial run at the Cup. This has never been an issue during my time as fan. The primary concern in years prior has been whether the key players will show up and effect games during the playoffs instead of pulling a disappearing act (e.g. Marian Hossa, 2009 playoffs). I'm watching this team struggle now, and I think the only thing left to do is hold out hope that once all the injured players return to the lineup we'll be given some type of both moral and palpable boost that will push the Wings up the standings and, more importantly, make them a team that can match up with anyone in the conference.
A lot of people on the message boards are trying to draw comparisons between this team and the Penguins of last year. Do I think they're the same? No, not really. The Penguins were spurred on by a change in the system. The Wings have no systemic issues. Their problem lies in the fact that they're basically Grand Rapids East, with a couple of superstars thrown in. I can see the Wings taking a similar path to the one last season's Penguins squad did, but it will come from players returning from injury and strengthening a paper-thin lineup.
I just hope that my anxiety will be quelled, or at least pushed back into an area I'm more familiar with. I'd call it a good season if, come April, I can start worrying about Pavel and Hank scoring during the playoffs and not about whether Doug Janik can anchor the fourth pair.