Although there are some positives to be taken away from the Detroit Red Wings' season, the general consensus seems to be that the team simply did not live up to expectations in 2016.
With the Red Wings' 1-0 loss on Thursday night at Tampa Bay in Game 5 of their first-round season series, the team was bounced from the playoffs in an early exit. It marked a loss for the team in the first round for the third straight year and fourth time in five years. Since 2009 the team has yet to make it past the second round of the postseason.
Although the team did extend their record 25 straight seasons with a postseason birth, there i a bitter taste left in the mouths of members of the organization, as well as their diehard fanbase.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with the Associated Press's Larry Lage on Friday, and did not mince words when it came to describing the Red Wings' showig in 2015-16.
''It was a very disappointing season,'' Detroit general manager Ken Holland said Friday night in a telephone interview. ''We had higher hopes.''
Holland also addressed the possible loss of star forward Pavel Datsyuk, who may elect to return to his native Russia for family reasons. Should Datsyuk decide to leave the team, the Wings' will be on the hook for the 37-year old center's $7.5 million dollar salary next season. Holland is aware that unless Datsyuk changes his mind about retiring, the team may find themselves in a tough spot against the salary cap.
Datsyuk has yet to make up his mind regarding this crucial decision. It appears Datsyuk's motivation behind leaving the NHL is to be reunited with his teenage daughter who resides in Russia. He has yet to make an official announcement regarding what he will do and his status is very much up in the air.
''I need a little bit cool down,'' he said.
Holland said he is not planning on meeting with Datsyuk before his decision is made, and also doesn't expect Datsyuk to discuss his situation with team owners Mike and Marian Ilitch anytime soon.
''I don't need to know what he's going to do for a month,'' Holland said. ''With big decisions in life, sometimes people change their minds. Sometimes time changes your mind, and sometime it doesn't.''
He had 49 points, ranking second on the team, in 66 games during the regular season.
''Pavel is one of the best competitors that will ever be in this league,'' Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. ''He was amazing to coach this year. So, I hope I get a chance to coach him again next year.''
Datsyuk, along with the majority of the Red Wings' playmakers, suffered from disappointing slumps at the end of the season and into the playoffs. Ultimately Holland acknowledged that the team wins together and loses together as a unit.
''We're all accountable for sputtering down the stretch for a second straight year,'' Holland said. ''I'm accountable and so are Blashill and the players. I don't know how you would break up the percentages, but we didn't get the job done as a team and we'll spend time asking questions as an organization to find solutions and make changes.''