There's a phrase, "To whom much is given, much is expected."
Red Wings' players are given a lot. An awful lot. They're treated very well by ownership and management, rewarded with contracts that some of us fans say are for too long or for too much money, especially when a player is past his prime. The players that fit into the team's structure are kept here for a long time, usually only leaving when they choose to retire or to move on. They're largely sheltered from the public, they don't have to do all the appearances that players in less-traditional hockey markets have to do. And they're (for the most part) adored by the team's fans.
What's expected in return is that they give 100%, play well, win more often than not, and do well in the playoffs. Last night's game was a total failure in every way possible. There was no effort, no emotion, no pride, no appearance of any desire to even be there playing NHL hockey. I don't think that's what we will see all season, far from it. But that was no way to start the season, especially after what transpired this summer and fall. Can you imagine if that was a home game? The stands would have (or should have) been completely empty by the third period. It was unacceptable by anyone's standards and especially for a team that says they expect to compete for the Stanley Cup every season.
A couple of you have said the team is due for an overhaul. I couldn't agree more. The locker room seems to have become a country club over the last few seasons, there is no price to be paid for under-performing. Nobody gets traded away, nobody gets let go, nobody gets benched. Helm's line was the team's best line in way too many games last year. Other guys continually disappear for long stretches but continue to play here. Players who don't "fit the system" aren't looked at as possible acquisitions. Now, what we have is a collection of redundant players and a team that can't adapt to an opponent who outworks the Wings or who can shut down their puck-possession style. They couldn't dump and chase if their lives depended on it. An aggressive forecheck is out of the question, 3 or 4 players excepted. And there's no real hope coming up through the ranks. Yes, Nyquist, Tatar, Andersson, and Sheahan are all NHL-ready or very close, but what are those guys going to do when they get here? 3rd line, maybe fill in on the 2nd line? We don't have anyone like Tarasenko, Skinner, Henrique, Andrew Shaw... someone who can quickly step in and produce at an NHL level. Andersson and Sheahan project as 3rd liners and Nyquist and Tatar have talent but are small. Same as the roster we have now. It's time for an organizational shift, this season or this off-season.