Okay, first off: we all know what Nicklas Lidstrom meant to the Detroit Red Wings.
Having Lidstrom pretty much gave us eight defensemen dressed every night because he was great at every aspect of the game as far as a defenseman is concerned.
Losing him, as it was already known heading into this season, was going to hurt and it has hurt.
But for the sake of argument, the Red Wings are currently holding down the fifth spot in the West with a 14-10-5 record.
Thats not too bad for losing your best player to retirement, and easily the second greatest defenseman in the NHL history.
The Red Wings defense has looked suspect maybe 85% of the year with their "best" defenseman - Niklas Kronwall - leading the D in points (22), but ranks last on the team (ON THE TEAM!) in plus- with a minus-7.
That is not good, at all (obviously).
The plus/minus stat is always a debatable one because off of one person mistake that leads to a goal, everybody on the ice gets saddled with a minus.
I know many will agree with me that the minus beside Niklas Kronwall's name pretty much dictates how he has been defensively for the Red Wings this season.
But back to the topic at hand.
Losing Lidstrom hurt, but losing Pavel Datsyuk (if the rumours are true) is going to hurt even more.
Pavel Datsyuk has prided himself on his defensive ability and a majority of the time when he is on the ice, has the ability to shut down any possible scoring chance the opposing team might garner up.
Having Datsyuk on the ice is like having the usual three forwards out there, but adds another defenseman.
I joked around with my friends a couple days ago saying that if Datsyuk was one game dressed as a defenseman, he would be the best defenseman on the ice.
Datsyuk isn't the 90+ point guy he once was (thanks to the inability to find a winger for him to play with and all other experiments failing), Datsyuk still has the best hands in the game.
It was close to panic time in Detroit when Lidstrom decided to retire, but when Datsyuk leaves, the Red Wings will be in a world of pain because no one on this team comes close to his skill level on the backcheck.
Will the Red Wings go out and try to find a near replacement for Datsyuk via trade or do the Red Wings hope that someone in the system can fill the role that Datsyuk will leave behind?
The time to panic isn't yet but when Datsyuk does decide to retire from the NHL and head back to Russia, the time to panic may start.
If you think this year is a struggle, go find the teams record without him in the lineup. Needless to say, its not something that will settle your worrying heart.