Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Wings Are Winning Ken…Are We There Yet?

I've been an angry elf lately.  Spinning testy yarns about our boy Murph getting canned, Tick Tock failings, Uncle Mike singlehandedly driving the most talented Red Wing in history from Detroit.

Sometimes I forget that it could be so much worse.  We could be fans of the 29th ranked team in the NHL.  Our beat writers could be melting down on a weekly basis like Adrian Dater does.  That would suck. I'm so glad I'm not them, so glad I'm not a Dive fan, so very warm and happy that my team doesn't suck year after year after season after generation. 

I take the Wings for granted. I take this playoff streak that is looking so very rosey for granted.  I do. To an extent all of you do, except for the smartest kids: HockeyinHD and the little louis fella, whatever his name is today.  While they're coming up with formulas and breaking down compounds and shit, the rest of us are figuring out new and creative ways to fit "whore-style" into a sentence.  Remarkable.

I say all that because typing is fun and because I have a point. 

We take these guys (Babcock and Holland) for granted, because we know they're talented. We know it.  All of hockey knows it.  They've done great things for us.  We want more great things.  Baby Jesus, that babbling teapot of potential and promise, told us we'd have more great things because Wing fans deserve them. 

Kenny Holland, Tick Tock to many of us, has skirted around the issue.  He's told us he's considering acquiring more great things, but only if The Team Has A Chance.  'Member?

"So, we need to win some games. We've got six games before the deadline. First off, we want to win some games because we want to make the playoffs. But the more games you can win of the six, it lets you think that you've got a chance to be a playoff team, and then you can maybe try to add something. Let's see."

Yes, Kenneth. Let's see.  He gave Helene St. James that quote on the 22nd of March. Since then? The Wings have won three straight, all in hostile environs.  All of them with a road power play that is suddenly humming (whore-style), a defense that is better than we ever could have imagined, and a starting goalie who is playing as well as anyone in Gary's NHL.

So what now?  This is fun. Watch this...

Pierre LeBrun discusses Pittsburgh this morning, as everyone else is.  You need to know something about me. I want to beat Chicago and I love it when the Wings lay waste to Denver and St. Louis. I dig that, but those teams are not threats to The Wing Legacy. Pittsburgh is.  If we have a real "rival", it's Pittsburgh.  None of those other teams have beaten the Wings, at the Joe, in a Game 7, for the Cup.  Ever.  The Pens have.  So when I consistently bring them up, it's because I'm consistently reminded of what could--and should--have been.  Neither of those Talbot goals were exactly sniper's artwork, you know?  Nevermind. Shut it out. Shut it out.

Lebrun brings up the fact that Pittsburgh is well under the prorated Cap, should they decide to go after Iginla.  How much room do they have?  According to CapGeek, they have 19 million to spend today and 25 at the deadline.

The Wings have 23 million and 31, respectively.  Yes. Fil, Brunner and--especially--Howard need to be dealt with. Or in Filppula's case, just plain dealt.

But there is money to be spent, and holes to fill.  I'm wondering, as you are, if these last three games are enough to convince Tick Tock that a few additions could mean a run to June.  Could it? 

Are there even players out there worth the effort? Is Keith Yandle a guy who would be a final piece? No.  Is Iginla? Maybe.  All the smart kids say that in order to propel the Wings into competitive conversation, they need a top six forward AND a top 4 defenseman.  That' s not considering The DeKeyser Issue, though.

The whole point of this is that the Wings look much, much different than they did five days ago.  So, as always, we're left to wonder what Kenny's mindset is and whether anything  more than tire kicking is in the immediate future...for once.

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Comments

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CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

They’re absolutely Jekyll and Hyde, but why not address that?

Best way to address that is a coaching change. The coach is supposed to be able to coax the best out of his players on regular basis. The inconsistentcy is yet another sign that the players have tuned out Babs.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/26/13 at 01:43 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Is this team a final piece or even two players away from a deep playoff run?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 03/26/13 at 12:59 PM ET

No. Not even close.

And they certainly aren’t a defensively limited, over-valued D-man (in my opinion) and a sniper past his prime (in my opinion) away from a deep run.

I have no problem making moves if it’s going to benefit this team in the long run, but as well as they’ve played on this road trip, people need to realize that this is a (low) Tier 2 team in the NHL right now, and they likely will be next season, too.

Trading for short-term gains is pointless. I still think the Wings need to be sellers at the deadline, but I don’t know if anyone inside the organ-i-zation or otherwise has the stones for that.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 03/26/13 at 01:48 PM ET

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The inconsistentcy is yet another sign that the players have tuned out Babs.

Or maybe the team is mediocre at a talent level and he’s able to get them to overachieve some of the time?

I rather see Detroit aim at decent to good and occasionally great over one cup run in return for a decade of crap.

Why does everyone assume that making a trade is going to cripple the team in the long run?

None of the trades they’ve made in the past 15 years have crippled them in the long run.

Are the crippled because of the loss of Shawn Matthias being traded for Todd Bertuzzi?  Are they crippled because of losing their 2008 second and fourth rounders in exchange for Brad Stuart?

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 01:52 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

The wings need a top 6 forward
The wings need a healthy helm

Defense?  It is what it is.  It isnt great as a unit, but no one is a total liability and as a group there’s no missing skill that can be fixed with a single player.  We want the 08 blue line, but Rafalski, Lidstrom and Stuart arent coming back and there arent any options to replace all 3.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 03/26/13 at 01:53 PM ET

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and they likely will be next season, too.

You’re right.  Unless they, you know, make some sort of changes to the roster that would improve the team.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 01:54 PM ET

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None of the trades they’ve made in the past 15 years have crippled them in the long run.

Although be fair for part of that time Detroit could find and hold onto more European low round prospects and or spend money on UFAs.

I think you are being a bit selective - on balance I would argue the original Bert Trade was a mild net loss but why not mention Lang? I think the evidence is kinda clear that one hurt overall In the long run, but maybe was worth it at the time.

The point is I just don’t see Detroit being as close if you are honest to a run to the finals now so I don’t think paying the inflated deadline price is worth it this year vs seeing what will fall out of cap contraction and buyouts and maybe the next year if the cap jumps back up.

Posted by paul k on 03/26/13 at 02:13 PM ET

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I said it the other day and I’ll say it again.

This team is not a top 6 forward and top 4 d away from making a cup run. They are a top line forward and a #1 D away from making a cup run. They need a forward who will crash the net, carrying the puck in and put shots on net, not from the blue line, but from 10 feet or closer out. And I don’t mean that they are standing in front of the net. From what I’ve seen on the power play recently, they are finally starting to go to the net and get the dirty goals you need to win games.

And on D?
  As much as I like Kindl and Ericsson , the Wings need someone who can do it all at a high level. They need a top pair guy to shift everyone on the list down a spot. Trade White for what can be gotten for him. Send Huskins to the AHL. (Based on signing DeKeyser) Find a way to trade two guys for one with more potential. Unless someone thinks Sproul is going to make it into the NHL next year and do the same thing he has done in the OHL.
  To TKShreve who thinks Big Rig doesn’t have any offensive upside, you DO know he was a forward when he was drafted, yes? He’s not ever going to be Paul Coffey, but he’s not Douglas Murray either. Have you seen him make any end to end rushes this year? He’s made a couple starting behind his own goal, threading his way down the entire ice surface skating around and through players to put the puck on net. I’m amazed at the difference between this year and last. He may just need a solid defensive partner of his own to blossom even further.
  And Kindl? He’s never really had the opportunity to show what he could do. Playing 5 minutes a game and being a healty scratch all the time. Who was it that came back recently and said a player really needs a bunch of games to get into any sort of rhythm. That practice doesn’t do it. I’m glad Kindl finally got a chance, and I hate to say it, but I wouldn’t be terribly upset if he were packaged with another player who may not get a chance, and is playing in GR, if the pair of them bring someone closer to elite.

  And about DeKeyser. It sounds like opinions have been mixed, or at least realistic and completely insane. It sounds to me like he’s going to eventually be a top 4 guy with good positioning and a good head for the game with some decent offensive upside. It sounds to me like he could be someone like Big Rig. I’d be good with that. But he’s not going to answer all the WIngs problems with the blue line. The need someone more elite. And I just don’t see that coming from their farm system in the next year.

Posted by teldar on 03/26/13 at 02:24 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Finish this sentence…

“I can’t wait until [insert injured Wing name here] comes back and solidifies the run for the Cup this year.”

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the pre-season shuffle.... on 03/26/13 at 02:25 PM ET

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‘Trade White for what can be gotten for him’

I would agree on that Detroit is playing well and if Kenny is any good he could maybe parlay his good season with Nick into fooling somebody into believing he is top 4. If he could turn that into a real forward Trade I be all for that.

Posted by paul k on 03/26/13 at 02:30 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

“I can’t wait until [insert injured Wing name here] comes back and solidifies the run for the Cup this year.”

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, cutting up shark bait…... on 03/26/13 at 02:25 PM ET

I was going to post last night during the LB that of all the DL forwards, the only one I would immediately put in and make someone else sit is Helm, and that not until he is fully healthy AND conditioned, which probably won’t happen in the course of the 15 regular season games remaining.  I have a difficult time picturing a Samuelsson fresh off the DL being an improvement over any forward right now, the way they are working, almost all of them.

(True enough we had turnovers and brain farts last night, possibly fatigue induced)

Or maybe the team is mediocre at a talent level and he’s able to get them to overachieve some of the time?

That is the case right there no matter how obsessed some are with Babcock.  I listed the roster up here a week or two ago.  There are a lot of names on the ice every night for Detroit that no other club would have any interest in adding to their roster, yet here we are in the upper half of the Conference even with far far more games lost to injury and more roster turmoil than anyone else.  Some here would just as soon see Detroit tank this season and go for a high draft pick.  That reasoning is not found in this organ-I-zation, thankfully.

 

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 03/26/13 at 02:46 PM ET

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of all the DL forwards, the only one I would immediately put in and make someone else sit is Helm, and that not until he is fully healthy AND conditioned

I absolutely agree.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 03:05 PM ET

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RWBill
particularly Sammy, as far as I’m concerned. I know there are people here who do not remember his shot very well. It’s a cannon, alright. Unfortunately you never know what he’s going to hit. Most likely not the net.

Posted by teldar on 03/26/13 at 03:15 PM ET

calquake's avatar

I don’t think paying the inflated deadline price is worth it this year vs seeing what will fall out of cap contraction and buyouts and maybe the next year if the cap jumps back up.

I concur.

  Or maybe the team is mediocre at a talent level and he’s able to get them to overachieve some of the time?

That is the case right there no matter how obsessed some are with Babcock.  I listed the roster up here a week or two ago.  There are a lot of names on the ice every night for Detroit that no other club would have any interest in adding to their roster, yet here we are in the upper half of the Conference even with far far more games lost to injury and more roster turmoil than anyone else.

Why you wise old man you.  I’ll drink to that… or at least until I fill the “gap”. cheese

Posted by calquake on 03/26/13 at 03:27 PM ET

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The point is I just don’t see Detroit being as close

Is “being one player away” the only reason to ever try and improve your team?  How about making a trade that gets you closer to being one player away?  Or making an acquisition that could help the team be more consistent?

I think you are

Am I?  You said you didn’t want a trade that would lead to a “decade of crap”, yet what you’ve referenced are a Bert trade that’s a “mild net loss” and a Robert Lang trade (from over nine years ago) that “hurt overall”, in your words.  Of course, I guess you could say that together they contributed to the “decade of crap” that followed, which included a Stanley Cup and a second appearance in the finals.

Yet for some reason there’s an assumption that any trade Detroit makes now is going to destroy the organization, bankrupt the Illitches and make the city slide into the centre of the earth, forcing the team to move to Kansas City.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 03:47 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Have you seen him make any end to end rushes this year?

I say sign DeKeyser, trade White and a pick/prospect for an Ericsson replacement, and move Ericsson up to forward.

 

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/26/13 at 03:53 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I say sign DeKeyser, trade White and a pick/prospect for an Ericsson replacement, and move Ericsson up to forward.

I like it! Also, broken record here, trade Flip while ya can

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 03/26/13 at 04:04 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 03:47 PM ET


That’s because no one wants to make us better Garth. Duh.

Rick Nash can be had for two bottom 6 guys, a D prospect who’s been passed around more than a Prom Queen and a 1st round pick.

Detroit would’ve had to have paid 2 top 6 F’s, all of our top F prospects, AT LEAST our two best D prospects. 

Everyone knows that.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/26/13 at 04:29 PM ET

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Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/26/13 at 04:29 PM ET

So why don’t they just change the team’s name?

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 04:31 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I was wondering that myself.  And it’s not like we’ve fleeced others in trades.  Really, as has been pointed out, we’ve been mostly on the losing end of trades except for Stuey.  So why teams wouldn’t take advantage of trading with us and getting our “Mike Greene’s” I have no idea, but that’s allegedly what’s going on.

But it’s definitely true, I hear it every year.  Detroit can’t make a move without costing us every prospect we have and half our top 6.

Wish I knew something about hockey so I could understand that.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/26/13 at 04:42 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

The game was interesting last night.  We saw why Jo is called the Monster.  I think Erroricsson has vision problems because every time the puck got dumped behind him he had no clue.  It was like a corner for the Lions never looking at the ball, just trying to keep up with the receiver.  Filppula gave the puck away a lot last night.  Smith is not a riverboat gambler anymore but still a rookie.  Will be curious as to what type of dman he develops into.  Andersson looks like a solid 4th line center if helm comes back.

If the Wings make the playoffs this season, it’ll be bitter sweet.  To watch the Wings in the playoffs is a luxury, one that is definitely enjoyable.  The bitter is that it means another middling draft position and opportunity/chance for Holland to *#$%@& things up more.  All things considered, the Wings should be sellers at the deadline.  If he views it any different, Wings fans will be staring at door #2.  A door with dog *hit on the handle.

Unfortunately Sammy is a corpse and Holland views him coming back as an acquisition.  Pray that he gets bought out.  Cleary won’t get moved either b/c he has a NTC and Holland loves the washed up vets to a fault.  Besides, he really has no value on the market.  DeKeyser needs to be had, if not, things continue in a downward trajectory on ability of the Wings to attract players.  I like White but it probably would be best to trade him b/c Babs ruined that relationship.  Filppula needs to be traded unless a deal under $4M can be worked out.  He’s a defensive question mark and only a complementary playmaker.  At this point it’s inevitable Howard should/will be signed.  We can only hope it’s for less than $5M per and not 8yrs.  Tatar and Nyquist should be full time scoring line players next year.  Lots of uncertainty ahead.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 03/26/13 at 05:00 PM ET

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I like White but it probably would be best to trade him b/c Babs ruined that relationship.

I would argue that White’s performance this year ruined that.  Without Lidstrom he returned to being the middling d-man he was on the 17 teams he played for before coming to Detroit.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 05:05 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

I just thought about my last comment.  How the hell did Dan do nothing get a NTC?  That’s terrible.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 03/26/13 at 05:06 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

I would argue that White’s performance this year ruined that.  Without Lidstrom he returned to being the middling d-man he was on the 17 teams he played for before coming to Detroit.
Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 05:05 PM ET

IMO White’s numbers (poor +/-) are more a reflection of his defense partners (Q) than his actual performance.  I’ve said before I don’t recall White making many mistakes in the defensive zone before but that’s just my feelings.  Whether its White’s own fault or Bab’s fault, I think most would agree he has to be moved now.  Plus, he’s basically the odd man out (even more so if DeKeyser is nabbed).

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 03/26/13 at 05:13 PM ET

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How the hell did Dan do nothing get a NTC?

Ericsson got a modified one before he ever did anything, and Samuelsson got one too.

According to capgeek though, Cleary’s expired before the 2012 trade deadline, so if he had any value whatsoever and if Babcock and Holland weren’t psychotically in love the the guy, he could be traded.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 05:16 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

According to capgeek though, Cleary’s expired before the 2012 trade deadline, so if he had any value whatsoever and if Babcock and Holland weren’t psychotically in love the the guy, he could be traded.
Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 05:16 PM ET

That info just simultaneously inflated and deflated my hopes.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 03/26/13 at 05:24 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

IMO White’s numbers (poor +/-) are more a reflection of his defense partners (Q) than his actual performance.

Kyle Quincey isn’t in the top ten of Red Wings who have shared Ian White’s ice time. He’s performing worse on possession metrics than Brendan Smith, despite playing easier minutes.

Ian White is expendable because he’s not good enough to be irreplaceable and he’s not part of the Red Wings’ future. It would be best to trade him because he has value and losing him doesn’t hurt the Red Wings, not because Babcock ruined a relationship by sitting a guy who didn’t prove he deserved to be in the lineup in the first place.

As for mistakes, White makes coverage mistakes at roughly the same rate as Quincey and Smith and creates costly turnovers somewhere between the two of them. Ericsson and Kronwall are both more-mistake prone but play against a level of competition significantly higher than White’s.

If DeKeyser is signed and the Wings want to try him out, White is immediately the most-benchable guy. When Babcock decides to give Colaiacovo a shot at cracking the lineup, he’s instantly an upgrade over White, even with the threat of injury risk.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/26/13 at 05:40 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Filppula needs to be traded unless a deal under $4M can be worked out.  He’s a defensive question mark and only a complementary playmaker.

Maybe… maybe half of that statement is true.  Flip is a complimentary playmaker but may actually be a better scorer as a wing (see last season).  However to say he is a defensive question mark means either you aren’t watching or don’t understand hockey.  Flip is a very defensively responsible player.  I’m not sure what you are basing your statement on other than opinion.  No one around here has ever questioned his defense that I’m aware of and that includes the naysayers.

Posted by calquake on 03/26/13 at 06:36 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

As I assume I’m a naysayer for not believing in the signings of studs like Samuelsson and Carlo, I agree Flip is defensive to a fault.  That’s why he doesn’t put up points as center.  Once you put those responsibilities on someone else and put him on wing, he’s much more productive.

Might not have a career as a center in Detroit but he may as a winger.  But for his production I dont’ keep him for more than 4m.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/26/13 at 06:52 PM ET

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Might not have a career as a center in Detroit but he may as a winger.

The problem with him as a winger is he doesn’t shoot enough.  We’ve all watched enough Detroit power plays to know how many passers there are on the team, we need someone who shoots first.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 07:11 PM ET

calquake's avatar

As I assume I’m a naysayer

And I’m a yeasayer so we kind of cancel each other out. wink

Posted by calquake on 03/26/13 at 07:18 PM ET

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Maybe what they need to do is bring Sheahan up. I haven’t seen him play, but if I interpreted what has been written about him right, he likes to drive the net and shoot. Sounds just like what the Wings need. Jarnkrok becomes second line center with Sheahan and Flip on the wings. Bingo bango, goals.

Posted by teldar on 03/26/13 at 07:58 PM ET

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Maybe what they need to do is bring Sheahan up.

We know that Babcock isn’t going to put a rookie in a top-six role, for better or for worse, so maybe what they need to do is bring in a proven NHL goal-scoring winger.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 08:14 PM ET

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Maybe what they need to do is bring Sheahan up.

Not to mention that the prospect report that Malik psoted the other day says that he’ll “add size and grit to Detroit’s lineup while also providing a bit of third or fourth line scoring in the near future” and goes on to say that while he has a great shooting percentage, he doesn’t shoot all that often.

That’s hardly a top six scoring winger.

Posted by Garth on 03/26/13 at 08:24 PM ET

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Sounds like Mule.
And jarnkrok won’t be second line center until after Dats leaves. So it would be a couple years.

Posted by teldar on 03/26/13 at 08:42 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Iginla on the Wings just feels… dirty.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 03/27/13 at 01:40 AM 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