I would say the injuries have been impactful, but by no means completely to blame. I thought going into the season this was maybe a 6-8 seed team if things went right. Needless to say, almost nothing outside of a couple players has gone well and now it appears just getting in at all will be quite challenging.
I think the biggest problem in relation to the injuries is the sheer number of them. A couple at a time you can maybe survive, but 7-9 guys out on average is unbelievable and would be tough to overcome for even more talented teams. For the Red Wings, it has completely put players in positions and roles where they don't belong.
Helm, Franzen and Smith are major losses IMO. With even just those three playing, I think it puts the Red Wings closer to in the playoffs than out. One of Bertuzzi or Samuelsson being healthy would be nice too since Babcock won't use Tatar in the top-six and either of those two is better than Cleary and Abdelkader. Granted, that's why you don't rely on multi-year contracts to spare part veterans to fill important roles.
Overall, I don't see the Red Wings making the playoffs without some good fortune in the health department very soon. Even if that's the case, I doubt they get out of the first round anyways. Being a borderline mediocre playoff team is the worst spot to be in the parity driven NHL. The Red Wings have a lot of work to do this summer/years ahead attempting to infuse some new talent onto the roster and creating an identity going forward.
Edited by GoWings1905, 22 February 2013 - 08:11 AM.