3 areas the Detroit Red Wings need to focus on improving this summer

Following what feels like a heartbreaking ending to a roller coaster-like season, the Detroit Red Wings have work to do to improve in three specific areas this summer.
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The Detroit Red Wings have missed the postseason for eight consecutive seasons, which is the second-longest active streak. Suddenly, that 25-year recording-setting playoff streak seems like a distant memory. One thing we learned over the past couple of weeks is that the Red Wings fan base remains a very passionate group. With Detroit right in the thick of things to the very end of the regular season, fans continued to pack Little Caesars Arena and remained quite vocal to the very end. That gave many, including the players, a sense of what it would feel like once the arena saw the first opportunity to host a playoff game.

The Detroit Red Wings finished the season 8-15 (removing the overtime losses or games in which they received a single point for this exercise) with two losses to the Washington Capitals and a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, both teams that stayed in the hunt until the very end. This is on the heels of a 7-16 finish a year ago. However, the Red Wings sold ahead of the trade deadline before that skid.

Expectations altered for the Detroit Red Wings as the season progressed.

So, to blame the Flyers, who needed a Detroit loss and a regulation win of their own to stay alive, for pulling their goaltender with three minutes to go in a tied game isn't very rational. John Tortorella was getting updates on the Red Wings game as the Red Wings brass was getting updates on that Flyers/Capitals game, but they are not getting minute-by-minute updates as they are coaching.

Don't forget, Detroit was trailing until David Perron scored with three seconds remaining in the third period. Tortorella pulled his goalie with three minutes remaining and said he was notified moments after T.J. Oshie hit the empty net for Washington that the Red Wings had forced overtime. Plus, what does Tortorella owe Detroit anyway? This is what happens when you don't control your own destiny. Rewind a few weeks prior, and the Detroit Red Wings did hold the keys to their future but collapsed. Now, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman needs to focus on making adjustments this summer to ensure this type of late-season collapse won't happen for a third straight time.

I've heard fans say, "Well, Steve Yzerman said before the season began that he wasn't sure this was a playoff team," in an attempt to temper expectations. He did say that before the year began, but don't forget that it was before the Red Wings signed Patrick Kane. Also, expectations change as the year goes on. Don't you think Yzerman felt this was a playoff team when they sat eight points up in the wild card race and in the first wild card position, looking down at Tampa Bay? Of course, he did. It's OK to be optimistic, but it's also OK to provide constructive criticism.