Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Tick Tock’s All Redolent Today

Don’t think for a second that I’m ready yet to jump back in, but I will bring you this ditty from Khan(!).

“We’ve got some cap space, but there’s got to be somebody to sign,’’ Holland said. “Even if you get one or two players in unrestricted free agency, you need four lines.

“You can’t just make two signings in the summer and go on a long playoff run. This is a team sport. … We got some good pieces, but we’re not quite as deep.’‘

Holland likes his nucleus, which includes Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Johan Franzen…

I stopped reading right about there. No. I stopped reading after I got to the “z” following “Fran…” and realized what the whole word was gonna be.  I’m seriously disgusted with that player.  Note to Kenny: you have two disasters to make up for. (1) letting Hossa go and keeping Franz…and (2) February 28, 2012.

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Rdwings28's avatar

well. Good morning chief. Could this just be blah, blah from Kenny? has he spoke in the past with veiled meanings? Was there something wrong with the mule no one knew aboot (Canadian for about)? He will be different next fall? This doesn’t sound right, on the surface. Try this: “we will be aggressively seeking to fill any holes in our line up and doing all within our means to remedy the apparent weakness on offense which became clear at the end of the season. ”
Where’s the fire? some angry disappointment ? promises of change? how about the word “UNACCEPTABLE”?

Posted by Rdwings28 on 04/22/12 at 08:02 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I absolutely can’t stand Franzen, love Hossa and never understood why he picked Franzen. Maybe Kenny feels the same way but he’d never, ever show his hand. What the Kenster said is gonna piss a lot of fans off but its what he has to say. I have a feeling he’s gonna be very busy in a couple months.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/22/12 at 10:10 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Franzen’s not all bad, at least the ladies seem to like his hair.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/22/12 at 10:46 AM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

After that game 7 performance…this is how I’ll hear everything from the Wings, until June 1st: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCytq93KlEQ

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 04/22/12 at 10:55 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Holland is the businessman trying to calm down the teaming / frustrated masses.
Think of Matt Dillon with his shotgun stopping the lynch mob at the Dodge City jail.

The current & future issues were forseeable, with the retirements of Maltby, Draper, Homer, Lidstrom, Ozzie, et al.

Bertuzzi & Hudler have been disappointments.  Hudler is good as gone. ..talk about small and slow…
Bert should park his *ss in front of the net, since he can’t skate.

Franzen did score 28 goals this year, but what happened in the playofs?  Injury?

Helm & Eaves & Cleary got hurt.  Datsyuk & Lidstrom, too.

Whether we like it or not, the team must be rebuilt with youth.  It cannot all be done in free agency.

Next year will be interesting, with all the youth on the team.
 
Without Lidstrom, can they even make the playoffs?

Holland knows he needs a #1 Dman & a couple scoring wingers.  Will they even be available in free agency?

Can Emmerton, Nyquist, Mursak & Tatar fill some of that offensive need?
Smith & Kindl will play D, but they are green.

Vlady: at the time, Hossa could have signed, but he demurred, while Franzen eagerly signed.  Holland only had cap for 1 guy, and Franzen was playing well.  Hossa had a bad shoulder, also, that was operated in Chicago.

With the Wings out, I think the Predators have a great shot at the cup.  After all, they and the Blues and the Hawks are all built to emulate the Wings.

I am rooting for Paul McLain’s Senators.

Go Wings!

Posted by w2j2 on 04/22/12 at 11:00 AM ET

Avatar

Nice to know that, a day out of being ousted in the first round, Ken Holland is already making excuses for why he’s not going to be able to make the team better in the summer.

This is the best GM in hockey?

Posted by Garth on 04/22/12 at 11:06 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Maybe because I’m tired and maybe because I’m dumb, but there does certainly seem to be some very subtle firing back at Babcock and the way he managed the team he was given:

“we were hit with injuries and never got going again as a team”

“Sometimes you got to win 2-1. We kept giving up three.”

“I thought it was a series where we made more big mistakes than they did.”

“If you can’t win a home game, you’re not going to win a series.”

“It’s got to be about a plan—building, drafting, developing. It’s a process.”

I like to give Kenny more of the benefit of the doubt from Babs, but the way I’m looking at it is that Kenny says he’s going to get some pieces, but he expects the team to be run and developed better than it was this year.  We’ve had a whole season of him and what do we know about Mursak?  We know Nyquist looks ready to take on a top-six role, but what good is he going to do from the 4th line?  We kind of can’t afford to wait for a young phenom to bust off the 4th line anymore; quite simply, our top nine forwards aren’t good enough to give them the chance and other team’s bottom lines aren’t horrible enough to let them shine for six whole minutes a night.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/22/12 at 11:30 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Vlady: at the time, Hossa could have signed, but he demurred, while Franzen eagerly signed.  Holland only had cap for 1 guy, and Franzen was playing well.  Hossa had a bad shoulder, also, that was operated in Chicago.

Do we know if Hossa was offered a contract? From what I remember, Hank and Donkey signed their contracts during the season, so Holland made his choice then.

Truth is, Franzén have had the best post-season anyone could have and rode it into his big contract. Also, he was drafted by the franchise, so there’s that.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 04/22/12 at 11:34 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

That quote from Holland scares the hell out of me, because, as Garth is getting at, it’s the same drivel he’s been feeding us for several years now.  There’s nobody to sign, trades can’t be made, have to save cap space (for what I don’t know) blah blah blah.  If he’s already making excuses for that fact he’s not going to do jack shit again this summer, this team is screwed for years to come.  There will be players to sign this summer, you have tons of cap space (that you won’t use on a trade anyways since trades are apparently impossible) so go out and buy us a sniper, a power forward, and a top 2 D-man.  Do it Kenny.  Just. Do. It.

And as for Franzen, if the new CBA includes a one time contract buy-out period, the Wings need to grow some balls, admit they made a mistake, and cut his lazy ass loose.  They’ll never do it, but it needs to happen.  We need to get Pavel a winger or 2 that actually cares and can shoot while he’s still the best player in the NHL.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 11:36 AM ET

BrendonR's avatar

This is the best GM in hockey?

Posted by Garth on 04/22/12 at 10:06 AM ET

Yes, he is.  By a significant margin, in fact.  I’m not sure why we expect him to, a day or two after his team has been eliminated and prior to his usual method of gathering opinions from all those surrounding him in the organization, give us his full summer plans and lay them out to the media.  “Well we lost and this isn’t acceptable…mark my words we’re going to sign Parise and Suter!”  Because both of them are clearly guaranteed to be UFAs?  What if either team wins the Cup, or if there’s a Preds-Devs final that goes to 7 games?  Can’t imagine either would be in a hurry to leave regardless of external offers.

Kenny is a GM in control.  He doesn’t make panic moves, and he certainly doesn’t get emotional after a playoff elimination in the press.  He has a track record - a rather sterling one - and knows that it does the talking for him.  Ian White was a brilliant signing (so easy to forget he’s both cheaper and younger than Big E…except he played on the top pairing!) and an actual replacement for Rafalski.  He should have went harder to get Jagr, but for quite awhile there the Wings were considered the frontrunners, so he did his work to try and get that asset.

Franzen is a great player who scored more goals for this team this season than any other player.  Yes, he’s streaky.  But he’s also ridiculously clutch at times (this year’s playoffs not included).  He’s got a very reasonable cap hit for what he brings, and he adds an attitude to match his size on the ice (remember Pat Kane’s mouthguard?).  He just needs to be handled a bit better by the coaching staff and, like the rest of the Top 6, could use a little support in the form of another sniper.  Hawks?  Kane and Hossa.  Devs?  Parise and Kovy.  Leafs?  Kessel and Lupul.  Most teams have more than one natural goal-scorer, and right now Mule is our only one (anyone counting Huds is crazy, and yes I know he got only 3 less than Mule this year).  We need the kind of team when we had Franzen and Hossa, not one or the other.  Kenny has the cap space and the motivation to do so this summer, and he’s never been shy to pull the trigger.

Posted by BrendonR on 04/22/12 at 11:51 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

Kenny has the cap space and the motivation to do so this summer, and he’s never been shy to pull the trigger.

Posted by BrendonR from Toronto, ON on 04/22/12 at 10:51 AM ET

I’m not so sure about that anymore.  I guess we’ll see in a few months.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 11:59 AM ET

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Yes, he is.  By a significant margin, in fact.

Yeah?  So the best GM by a significant margin builds a team that can’t win more than one playoff game?  By a significant margin, he hasn’t made a move to improve his team at all since accomodating an elite scorer who wanted to play in Detroit.

Kenny has the cap space and the motivation to do so this summer, and he’s never been shy to pull the trigger.

He had cap space last summer and deadline day and didn’t have the motivation to do anything with it, so why would this summer be different?

He’s already making excuses for what might not happen this summer.  How is that a GM in control?

Posted by Garth on 04/22/12 at 12:06 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Z was signed pretty early that year, Franzen was signed toward the end of the year, which disappointed me because I knew we had nothing left for Hossa.

I hope we have learned that not spending money in the free agency period and saving it for the trade deadline is not the best model anymore.  In the salary cap era too many teams are still in playoff contention and not willing to trade away give away talented players.

To wit, there were many discussions about Phoenix players in February, like Radim Vrbata, or me talking about Shane Doan.  Guess what?  Not only did they make the playoffs, they are actually still playing, and Chicago is lucky not to have been knocked out by them.

So you’ve got to be more aggressive signing players in the summer free agency, because only 3 or 4 teams will be out of playoff contention by February, or whenever the trade deadline is.  This means few players will be available, and the price will be high for those few…. high demand, limited supply = high price.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 04/22/12 at 12:06 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

Yeah?  So the best GM by a significant margin builds a team that can’t win more than one playoff game?  By a significant margin, he hasn’t made a move to improve his team at all since accomodating an elite scorer who wanted to play in Detroit.

Right, since clearly we should judge his entire set of GM abilities on the past few years.

Even then, the two teams that lost to SJ the past couple years were fully capable of going all the way.  Last year they came very, very close to coming back from a 3-0 deficit.  And we can’t forget their last win last year was a dominant one that made the Sharks look like amateurs.  Before that, the team came one goal away from repeating….and that’s repeating in today’s NHL.  Every year the team has been built to go all the way.  This year the team set the NHL record home win streak and was the top team in the NHL 5-on-5, sitting in first place (even with teams like the Blues playing out of their minds) until Pav and Lidas were injured.  Have you been watching for the past 5 years?

Posted by BrendonR on 04/22/12 at 12:16 PM ET

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Franzen, Datsyuk and Zetterberg also have targets on their backs EVERY NIGHT in this league because there is a HUUUGE falloff from their skill levels in the depth department. 

IMO, KH should make ONE offer to Suter and then target Wideman.  Because of their histories, Wideman has made more money to date than Suter.  Suter will probably be looking to break the bank.  Wideman could probably be had for 1M less per year than Suter. 

Remember that the Wings have a ton (5 or 6 ready and becoming overripe) of excellent prospects.  NONE of them are power forwards.

Other than that see my last post re: Predators playing out of their minds.
.
I for one, don’t think that will hold all the way through the SCPOs, considering their momentum will be lost waiting for the rest of the Western Conference to finish.

My thought is that the Blues or Flyers will win the Cup.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 04/22/12 at 12:32 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I absolutely can’t stand Franzen, love Hossa and never understood why he picked Franzen.

I don’t think Hossa was staying for any money. Franzen may have serious motivation issues, but Hossa was in mercenary mode.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/22/12 at 12:37 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Capt. Obvious says there were two failings this season:

(1)  Holland did not provide a competitive roster.  The reasons for this failure would only be speculation.  It seemed clear to me that NSH had better talent (and it may well be that some of the players were hurt more than is being told),

AND/OR

(2)  Babcock failed to get the most our of his talent.  Seems obvious this is his #1 job.  Just look at the series scoresheet totals.  A big part of this may very well be that he was outcoached by no-neck.

I’ve been told that failure is a powerful motivator.  But haven’t DET been bounced in the first round 2 of the past 3 years (and in the other bounced in the 2nd)?

And, if you subscribe to the theory that Lidstrom may very well have played the last game of his career; wouldn’t you want to give him every opportunity to succeed?  DET had a ton of money this year to do just that.  The converse is that if #5 is done, DET are looking “long-term” and have boatloads to get Suter or some other top D-FA, and a SCORING WINGER.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/22/12 at 12:45 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

But haven’t DET been bounced in the first round 2 of the past 3 years (and in the other bounced in the 2nd)?

Not that it matters much, but no.  This year is the only year since 2006 they went out in the 1st round.  The last 2 losses to SJ were in round 2 after beat Phoenix in the 1st round.  Either way it’s unacceptable, as would be Holland sitting on his hands for the 3rd year in a row.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 12:52 PM ET

awould's avatar

Holland and the Red Wings playoffs streak are starting to remind me of Lloyd Carr and the Wolverines his last 6 years or so. A bunch of 8-9 win seasons followed by a loss in a respectable bowl game.

Playing it safe too much and acting as though the future is dictated by the past.

Posted by awould on 04/22/12 at 01:31 PM ET

monkey's avatar

The problem with the free agent market in the cap era is the ridiculously high salaries the random studs who show up on the market command.

Most superstar forwards are signed to long term contracts and they don’t ever hit the market as free agents.

This year the depth chart at forwards (all under 30- there basically isn’t anyone available at 30-35 years old, and the real big names are all pushing or past 40) will look like this:

1. Zach Parise
2. Alexander Semin
3. Jiri Hudler
4. everyone else

Please, prove me wrong, but as things stand right now Jiri Hudler is going to be the in the top three of available forwards come free agency.  This is not a joke, but the results will be.  The prices that idiots will offer first to Parise, then to Semin, and then to Hudler are going to be obscene.

Remember last year, when teams were in bidding wars to pick up guys like E52?  The market for forwards this year will be even worse.

The only way Detroit signs any of those three is if they’re willing to at least match idiotic offers (idiotic in both salary and term) or if the player is willing to accept the Detroit Discount.

You want to know who the Wings might sign at forward?  Olli Jokinen.

If you want to blame Ken Holland for standing pat, again, please start now, because the likelihood of anything else is pretty small.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 04/22/12 at 01:32 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Ken Holland is the best GM in hockey, but this summer is going to dictate whether that sentence becomes past-tense.

There are no more excuses for the organization.  Holland knows the team isn’t good enough and he’s got to find a way to fix it.  If we’re more than a year away from being true cup contenders again then it is what it is, but Detroit needs to build closer to that, and this year they got farther away.

That’s the challenge. Make us more competitive, not less.  Anything less is failure.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/22/12 at 01:41 PM ET

Avatar

Right, since clearly we should judge his entire set of GM abilities on the past few years.

No, you’re right, we should be judging people on what they did in the more distant past.  Maybe Holland can convince Gordie Howe and Steve Yzerman to come out of retirement this summer, because we shouldn’t think about how effective they’d be now, we should just judge them on their best years.

Have you been watching for the past 5 years?

Yeah, I watched them win, then I watched them attempt to MAKE THE TEAM BETTER, coming within a win of repeating and since then I’ve seen every team around them trying to get better while Ken Holland crosses his arms and insists that “I like our team” despite the fact that they came within one game of losing in the first round a year after being one game away from repeating.  Then the next year they fell to 3-0 in the second round before almost coming back.  And what has happened?  Has he made changes?  Only when he had to, like when Rafalski retired.  Instead of doing that though, what did he do?  He bitched about travel.  He bitched about travel last year, blaming that for the Red Wings going down 3-0, ignoring the fact that the Wings only had to travel once in the first round when they swept the Coyotes.

I don’t think Hossa was staying for any money.

From what I remember Hossa wanted to stay.  Holland made his decision and stuck with it, but if he had offered decided on Hossa and offered what Chicago gave him, Hossa would be in the Winged Wheel right now.  After deciding on Franzen though, Holland simply couldn’t offer him the type of deal Chicago could.  On top of that, offering Hossa less than Franzen got would’ve been an insult.  In Hossa’s career leading up to that off-season he had only had one full season in which he didn’t score at least 30 whereas Franzen was coming off his first 30-goal season.

Posted by Garth on 04/22/12 at 02:33 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

No, you’re right, we should be judging people on what they did in the more distant past.

Based on your logic of judging him on the results of the past few months (again, Wings dominant this year up until that point) we should fire the consensus best GM in the League.  And hire who?  Stevie Y won’t be back for another few years.  Would Jim Nill be taking any kind of different approach than is being taken now?  If our standard is getting past the second round or bust, which teams (and their GM) would have met that criteria every year over the past few years?  Answer: none.  Which team has been in the WCF more than any other since the lockout?  I think you know the answer.

Yes, we should in fact be judging our GM - which is a long-term position, not someone you fire at will like a coach - on what he did in the recent past.  How quickly you forget the continued streak of not only playoff appearances, but 100 point seasons.  Despite the misses (Williams, Quincey, Errorson, etc.) he’s still managed to do a good job of plugging holes.

And what has happened?  Has he made changes?  Only when he had to, like when Rafalski retired.

I’m sure he’s tried to improve the team, but balked at overpaying, which has been the trend in the League since that point.  Why exactly does the team have all this cap space this summer?  Because he didn’t blow it all.  I’m not sure who the marquee players are that were available over the past couple years that would have made the team noticeably better.  I think Kovalchuk would have been a great fit in the WInged Wheel, but obviously there’s no way anyone gets a $100 million contract in Detroit, which was his minimum requirement.  Hossa came to Detroit because he was available.  It’s becoming rarer and rarer to see a player of that caliber become available as a UFA, or even as potential trade bait.

RIght now the team has two long-term deals with Z and Mule and so it wouldn’t have made sense to either sign Hossa to the one he was looking for, or pick up one of those from say Philly in Richards/Carter.  I’m surprised everyone’s all over the Franzen deal.  Once again, was no one watching?  Yes he was coming off his first 30-goal season, but that was after breaking Gordie Howe’s playoff series record the year before and putting in a Conn Smythe performance that only went to Z because Mule got injured and Z deserved it just as much.  When you’re the Wings, you put a premium on playoff abilities, and Franzen showed that, while Hossa had not.  Specifically, Hossa had whiffed on the last-second chance on Ozzie right before the ‘08 Cup win.  As well, Mule is home-grown and any WIngs fan worth their salt knows what a premium the team places on that as well.

Posted by BrendonR on 04/22/12 at 03:09 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Really, we’re back to this now?

Franzen spends the whole series getting high-sticked in the face every other shift as well as grabbed from the Preds bench and we’re going to throw him under the bus and solely blame him?

Once again, I say the problem is NOT Franzen.  Franzen is NOT a first option scorer, and is not the 40-50 goal-scorer some of you seem to think.  It’s not lurking in him there somewhere, it’s just not.  The problem is the supposed stars like Zetterberg and Datsyuk did not score.  Fil had a dreadful series at both ends of the ice.  I’m pretty sure Dan Cleary did not make one single GOOD decision the entire series and I’m possibly most disgusted with him and with Babcock for continuing to play him (don’t give me that crap about him being hurt—being hurt doesn’t excuse the constant mental errors he made).  Bert was truly useless outside of the fight with Weber.  That is your top 6 (aside from Hudler who, by God, as it turns out found ways to score and make things happen, and Nyquist who did well in hjis brief showings in the Top 6).  None of them did a single thing.

But yup, let’s go back to blaming Franzen.  Because I’m sure if HE leaves that would somehow make Zetterberg care in the first 58 minutes of a game, or make guys like Cleary and Bert have their hockey IQ jump 73 points.

Franzen is not 100% blameless.  But guys like Pavel, Z, and Fil are supposed to lead the way and didn’t.  Even Z’s 2 goals on the series isn’t enough from him (especially considering the lousy regular season he had until right near the end).

Trust me, there’s enough blame to go around.

As for Ken Holland… I still say he’s retiring with Nick like he always has said he would (and that looks liek that might be this summer), and that this mess is going to be made someone else’s problem.  Holland has been blindly loyal to a number of undeserving players and I suspect that it’s because he knows he’s about finished and would rather not have to make the tough calls on those players.

Posted by Primis on 04/22/12 at 03:32 PM ET

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“Well the way we ended the season after Nashville became deeper and we did not isn’t acceptable by the standards if this franchise or any franchise…mark my words we’re going to be much better and deeper come October!”

Fixt for ya

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 03:34 PM ET

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he certainly doesn’t get emotional after a playoff elimination in the press

Posted by BrendonR from Toronto, ON on 04/22/12 at 10:51 AM ET

And his team emulates him well. No passion, no fire, no emotions. “Is absolute zero cold enough?”

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 03:39 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

The problem is the supposed stars like Zetterberg and Datsyuk did not score.

You ever think that maybe the reason they didn’t score enough is because they don’t have any linemates to free up even an inch of space?  If Franzen maybe tried on occassion to skate in the direction of the net and look at all dangerous, maybe Pav wouldn’t have 3 guys draped on him every shift.  But yeah, Franzen was a poor victim getting picked on and wasn’t loafing at all.  Fact is, unless the opposing team decides to leave him completely open, he won’t score anymore.  He doesn’t fight for space and plays half as big as Hudler, and that’s just sad.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 04:00 PM ET

BrendonR's avatar

he certainly doesn’t get emotional after a playoff elimination in the press

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 02:39 PM ET

You highlighted the wrong part of my point.  In. The. Press.  That’s never, ever been his style.  Do we really doubt that there’s a fiery competitor underneath that cool demeanour?  Or has he done all this winning by accident?  Do we interpret Lidas’ reserved nature as meaning he has no competitive fire?  Or Pav or Z?  Just because they put on professional faces to the media doesn’t mean they aren’t burning up inside after losing.  When the chips are down, time and time again those 3 are the ones that turn it up.  Not 100% of the time, but they’re not robots (well, not the twins at least). Motivation can be a mighty hard thing to come by when you’ve, as I’ve noted before, already won 2 Cups like Pav or a Conn Smythe like Z.  How many Cups does Lidas have?  Considering that, they do a good job of getting up to play every day and compete for the Cup.  The fiery competitors we see in the playoffs often haven’t won anything yet.

The added desire needs to come from hungry players around them, and to me that means starting to infuse real youth into the Top 6, not the Bottom 6.  If it’s up to me (and obviously based on training camp performances) then Nyquist and Jurco are in the Top 6 next year, and Pulkkinen gets a good, hard look.  Also, Tatar gets a better chance to stick than he has in the past.  Same goes for Brunnstrom.  And finally, give Smith his regular spot already!!

Posted by BrendonR on 04/22/12 at 04:02 PM ET

Avatar

The problem is the supposed stars like Zetterberg and Datsyuk did not score.

They are elite playmakers centering a line. They need guys on their wings with an ability to put the biscuit in the basket. And Franzen was supposed to be just that guy. Z and Pav are paid to make plays. Mule was given his “seeeeerious contract” to finish their plays. BTW, the minute I first saw that Dodge Ram commercial and the smirk on his face when he says that catch-line I knew he sold his soul to the big $ and was done as a player.

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 04:12 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

I’m not really a “fire the coach” or “fire the GM” kinda guy to begin with, and I think that in this case, that kind of thinking really isnt’t merited.  I’m also going to resist the temptation to make snap judgments and, even as someone who has been as critical as anyone regarding Holland’s failure to address some very glaring roster needs over the past three seasons, I’m actually going to argue on behalf of some perspective here.

I was very critical of Holland this season and felt that he truly failed to assess the situation and by leaving all that salary cap money on the table (first in the summer and most recently in February) he didn’t do everything that could have been done to assure his team the best possible chance of winning in what stands to be the final season in the career of a man who is arguably the greatest D-man to ever play the game.  That remains a fair and valid criticism.

Having said that, let’s not get carried away here and lose sight of everything.  In spite of losing the series in five games, to those who are under the impression that the Nashville Predators have suddenly become this mighty juggernaut that is a vastly superior team to Detroit in every aspect of the game and that Barry Trotz is now a brilliant tactical genius to whom Mike Babcock should bow down, and David Poile is now the master of the universe, I’d remind you that setting up in your own zone, chasing the puck around the rink all night and relying on your goaltending to steal games isn’t exactly the mark of a great team and doesn’t really point to any huge tactical edge in terms of coaching.

We might not like the results of the series, but take a deep breath everybody because the fact of the matter is, putting emotions aside and looking at it objectively for a moment, Detroit actually outplayed the Prednecks for long stretches in that series and, but for Pekka Rinne, the fact that the series only went five, is pretty damn deceptive in many ways.  A good bounce here or there and perhaps it’s the Wings who win it in five.  In any case, the idea that they were completely overmatched and overwhelmed by Nashville contradicts the series I watched.

In spite of my criticisms of Holland’s failures to upgrade his team, the level of my frustration with that situation lies squarely with the notion that the Wings’ current roster is very close to a championship level—perhaps one or two key players away really—and nothing I saw in the Nashville series changes that.

There’s good reason to believe at least one forward with top-six skills (Nyquist) is already on the roster.  Beyond that the key moves would be to add a legit scorer up front and another puck-moving defenseman.  Easier said than done for sure, but let’s assume for a minute that the story that has been floated about Parise and Suter being good friends who might wish to play together has legs.  If the CBA is resolved in such a way that the salary cap isn’t appreciably less than it is now, then Detroit should be in a position to make a run at them.

In any case, moves do need to be made—not because the Wings are a sinking ship but precisely because they’re still only a handful of moves away from once again being an absolute force in this league.  Datsyuk (who never seemed quite right after the knee injury) and Zetterberg are still elite players.  Franzen is who he is—a streaky, mercurial player who will get you 25-30 goals per year.  Trash him all you want, but he’s a legit top-six guy who isn’t going anywhere.  Filppula may never be the high-end offensive guy we wish he was, but his two-way game is strong enough to make him a bona fide top-sixer as well.  Give Nyquist a chance to step in and become a complimentary scorer, then find a way to add another scorer, and the forward situation falls into place.  The bottom six becomes some combination of Helm, Abdelkader, Miller, Eaves, Bertuzzi and Cleary with guys like Emmerton, Mursak and maybe even Tatar pushing them and providing depth, and suddenly the Red Wings are deep and dangerous up front again.

Of course all speculation is ultimately subject to what Lidstrom decides in the coming weeks.  I’m willing to give Holland a rather large benefit of the doubt, but also recognize that whether or not he actually gets a second chance with regard to this past season is totally in Lidstrom’s hands.  For now though, we sit and wait.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/22/12 at 04:29 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Marc Andre Flurry-of-Goals. sieve.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 04/22/12 at 04:48 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Here is something I think we can all agree upon…. It was fuching SWEEEEET to see Crosby out in tne first round. A few years have made a difference, he actually LED the handshake line postgame.

Now if BobbyLou and the Franzen sisters bow out tonight, both the Cup favorites will be home mowing the lawn next week.

Apparently, I am fine pulling against teams/players. It only took me two shifts to pull for the Flyers, and I thought that would be impossible.

Posted by dougie on 04/22/12 at 04:53 PM ET

Avatar

the idea that they were completely overmatched and overwhelmed by Nashville contradicts the series I watched.

I totally agree. Wings were not completely overmatched and overwhelmed by Nashville. Just a little bit. A that little came to them in form of deadline reinforcements and a guy from KHL. Nobody argues that and it’s exactly why it only hurts more. All Wings needed was a little help, a couple of able bodies in summer or in February to be a little bit better and to have a little bit more of a chance to put a claim to 12 in ‘12. That help did not come and they just threw up their hands in the last 25 games.
Again, why does it hurt so much? Because it was a golden opportunity wasted.
Even if TPH returns he will be a year older in 2013 playoffs, that is if they make it by beating Columbus for the fourth in their division.

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 04:58 PM ET

calquake's avatar

We might not like the results of the series, but take a deep breath everybody because the fact of the matter is, putting emotions aside and looking at it objectively for a moment, Detroit actually outplayed the Prednecks for long stretches in that series and, but for Pekka Rinne, the fact that the series only went five, is pretty damn deceptive in many ways.  A good bounce here or there and perhaps it’s the Wings who win it in five.  In any case, the idea that they were completely overmatched and overwhelmed by Nashville contradicts the series I watched.

The next round is going to tell us a lot aboot the Preds.  I’m not sold on them either but if Rinne plays like he did in the first round, they will be hard to beat.  A hot goaltender in the playoffs can make a good team a great team (exhibit A: Tim Thomas) and don’t kid yourselves… The Preds are a good hockey team.

Posted by calquake on 04/22/12 at 05:00 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

My take on the whole situation is this.  If Holland can make a few key moves (I’m not looking for an overhaul) that puts this team back where it belongs, I believe he deserves a pass (if not credit) for this past season.  Last summers FA market was absolutely pathetic, and to throw a ton of money at what was out there would have done more harm than good, especially considering some of the names available this summer that you need a lot of cap space for.  As for the deadline, I believe that the thought process was this team was more than a depth forward (Gaustad) away from making a series Cup run this season, so there really wasn’t much of a point to trade away more picks/prospects that wasn’t going to lead to a serious Cup run anyways.  I would like to think all this season’s inactivity by Kenny (even though I was/am as frustrated with it as anyone) was in preparation for this summer and next season.

That said, that only works if Holland’s quote today was just to throw everyone off the scent of what’s really to come.  Because I think we can all agree that waiting until August to sign a couple of bottom 6 forwards and bottom 2 d-men leftovers isn’t going to do anything to get this team back where it belongs.  This team needs at least a high-end scoring winger or a top 3 D-man, if not both.

Just look at what the power-play has become in recent years.  What used to be so deadly and skillfull now consists of passing the puck around the outside for 30 seconds until someone decides to shoot from 60 feet, hoping to get a lucky bounce, with no one moving without the puck.  The Wings powerplay I remember passed the puck with a purpose, setting up an actual scoring chance.  The problem is they don’t have a forward who can actually shoot the puck with authority.  When is the last time anyone can remember the Wings even trying to set up a one-timer from the face-off circle from a forward, ala Stamkos (not saying we need a 60 goal scorer, just a guy that can score that kind of goal).  Franzen could be that guy, but he doesn’t work hard enough to get open, and is always utilized as a Holmstrom-type guy in front of the net anyways.  They need that guy, and he doesn’t seem to be on this roster.  Parise could be that guy.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 05:04 PM ET

Avatar

2006 NHL Draft (I know it IS a lottery):

2round   41   Detroit   Cory Emmerton   L
2round   47   Detroit   Shawn Matthias   C
2round   50   Boston   Milan Lucic   L

There was your ultimate power forward.

And there was a scorer:

2round   54   NY Rangers   Artem Anisimov   C

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 05:42 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

That said, that only works if Holland’s quote today was just to throw everyone off the scent of what’s really to come.  Because I think we can all agree that waiting until August to sign a couple of bottom 6 forwards and bottom 2 d-men leftovers isn’t going to do anything to get this team back where it belongs.  This team needs at least a high-end scoring winger or a top 3 D-man, if not both.
Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 04:04 PM ET

Yup, that’s why I recently re-posted my October 2009 “Elephant in the Room” post to sign Hossa at any cost, even if it meant not signing Franzen, Hossa was/is that lethal sniper and natural scorer… Just to beat a dead horse some more.

You’re right, Ken should not be tipping the hand too much although there are very few secrets in that world.  We don’t need more bottom 6 forwards, we’ve got plenty of those, Helm, Abdelkader, Eaves, Miller are all fine in that role.  We do need at least one top 6 power forward, and at least one big Dman, possibly 2, even 3, if both Lidstrom and Stuart are gone.

Parise did make public some very glowing words of admiration for the Wings and Datsyuk, so he may have an interest, but there won’t be any discount given to the Wings in this coming market.

You either bend over and pay the market price, or BOHICA next playoffs, Bend Over Here It Comes Again, and who needs that.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 04/22/12 at 06:12 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

You either bend over and pay the market price, or BOHICA next playoffs, Bend Over Here It Comes Again, and who needs that.

Posted by RWBill from the Land of 12 in 12. on 04/22/12 at 05:12 PM ET

Somewhere along the line the Wings are going to have to pay market price for somebody unless the new plan is the suck for 5 years and get top draft picks, be good until those players hit UFA, then repeat.  And Parise type players don’t come to market all that often.  My personal wish list would include Parise, working out a trade with TB for Ryan Malone, and a D-man that doesn’t have to be Suter (because I don’t think we can afford Parise and Suter if Nick stays, but if Nick retires, I think we can afford both).

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/22/12 at 06:21 PM ET

Avatar

I am watching Bos-Wsh online stream from Sweden with Swedish commentators in Swedish of course, and the color guy is Peter Forsberg. How weird is this!
And no, I don’t know a word in Swedish.

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 06:30 PM ET

Avatar

Semin’s giveaway leads directly to a Boston goal. 3-2 Bruins.

Posted by Alex on 04/22/12 at 06:45 PM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com