‘Sloppy’ Red Wings struggling after deadline upgrades

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The Detroit Red Wings added some key pieces to their upcoming postseason battle in forward Erik Cole and defenseman Marek Zidlicky, but the initial results since then haven’t been pleasant. They were crushed by Calgary on Friday and, as captain Henrik Zetterberg put it, were “sloppy from the beginning” in yesterday’s 5-3 loss to Boston.

“It’s interesting to me; we added depth to our lineup and we play worse,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said, per MLive.com. “So we obviously got to get that fixed because we haven’t been anything close to what we were prior to (the trades).

“(Sunday) we didn’t compete hard enough. You got to give them credit. They were light years better than us.”

Special teams were a major factor in Sunday’s loss as Detroit surrendered a pair of shorthanded goals while the Bruins added an additional two markers with the man advantage.

Despite Detroit’s recent woes, Zidlicky and Cole have gotten off to strong starts in Detroit with the blueliner scoring two goals and Cole recording two assists in the span of three games. Both have a plus-two rating with the Red Wings.

Babcock also doesn’t think the additions have created chemistry problems. Instead, he laid the blame at his feet.

“It all has to do with we’re not doing our jobs,” Babcock said. “Lack of preparation, obviously from a coaching end. Anytime you look like you don’t play hard enough and you’re not organized enough, the players got to look after how hard they play and how they prepare, so that’s on them. But us not having them ready to go is on us.”

At this point the Red Wings are most likely to finish either second or third in the Atlantic Division. It would take a collapse over their last 18 games for them to fall into a Wild Card spot, let alone miss the playoffs entirely, and it would be a remarkable accomplishment if they could up to the division-leading Montreal Canadiens at this point.

So they don’t have a ton left to fight for from a playoff positioning perspective, but they certainly have plenty of work to do to in preparation for the postseason.