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Abel to Yzerman

10 Hours Later: Still The Worst We’ve Seen

After a few hours sleep and much serious consideration, plus more than a few ice cold PBRs (America’s favorite beer…look it up), I’ve come to this conclusion:

That was the worst game I’ve seen the Red Wings play.

You know what I dug last night? Somebody…Drunk-ass Murph or Ken said that when the suddenly not quite as fat as he used to be Ken Hitchcock was asked how long it would take to fix the Blues power play, he responded with, “one practice.”  I don’t know how accurate that is. I don’t know much of anything after watching that frigging sewer swilling armpit of a shitfest last night. But I do know it sounded cool.  It sounded confident and bad ass.  And so I wonder.  With “all the talent” the Wings have, when is my Uncle Mike going to fix ours? And while he’s at it, when is he going to fix the penalty kill?  And while he’s dealing with those two minor little ditties, when is he going to fix our two long-term superstars?  Oh, and when he’s done fixing those little, tiny, itty bitty issues…how about the fact that there isn’t a single player in red and white you can point to and say, “he’ll carry this team offensively.” 

Scott Bowman, my personal savior, used to point to some simple math.  He was reasonably happy when he could point to the PK and PP rankings, add them together and come to a number less than ten. In other words, if Detroit was ranked 6th on the PK and 3rd on the PP, joy would follow.

That number now?  It’s like 49 or something gross.  Holy. Fuch. 

Want to do something fun?  Gather your family and bring a few hookers because, really, there’s nothing better than this.  The other night I was searching YouTube looking for some ammo I was going to use on a post (that wasn’t written, naturally) about Homer’s goals getting stolen by the criminal element known as the NHL.  Hundreds of hits came up.  “Goal reversed, Holmstrom” is a great one if you’re interested.  Huge amount of material to search from.  Back to the point: as I was looking through clips,  many of his reversed goals have come—over the years—on the power play.  Consequently, most of the clips showed the Wings with the man advantage over the last several seasons.  Jesus…they used to be breath taking. Pucks moving from side to side.  Quality shots.  Creativity.  2008, 2009.  Glory years when teams would shudder at the thought of running a Wing because the bad men would turn the lights out and violate them within thirty seconds. 

Now? Well, you know what now is. Now is garbage. Now is apathy and it’s stationary. 

Some Denver idiot told me yesterday that the Wings postseason “failures” (as if a Dive fan even remembers what postseason success smells like) can be attributed to the aging of Nick Lidstrom.  Stupid, even by Denver standards.  No. Detroit’s early exits the last two Springs have been the result of shit special teams. And it continues today.  They’re the worst we’ve seen.

Five minutes.  Against St. Louis.  Five minutes of ass.  Datsyuk gaining the zone, losing the puck.  Possession on the blue line, a few choppy passes, skittish turnovers, and out comes Jim Howard to gather it and start another bogus rush up ice.  And there isn’t a single one of you surprised about the result of that, or of the PK that immediately followed. 

Whiskey dicked.  When did we start using that ditty?  It’s been at least two years.  Two years of power play ineptitude.

Someone please explain to me how this team, with that talent, is ranked 20th on the power play.  20th.  Nashville, Winnipeg, the Islanders, Ottawa and Buffalo are just a few of the offensive juggernauts well ahead of Franzen, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Cleary, Filppula. 

Where have you gone William Tell?  Yep.  That sick bastard broke more glass Bull Meachum in Rota.  But he’s a sniper, or he was.  And we don’t have one.  We don’t have a finisher.  I’m not even discussing Franzen or our expectations of him.  Huge contract. Epic disappointment. That’s reality.  Hank Zetterberg is a grinder, not a sniper.  Datsyuk….WTF?  Here’s TF…he has no one to set up. No one’s converting. 

So…Tick Tock.  We look to you once again.  Allllllll that cap space.  All that money.  All that angst as the last Cup gets smaller in the mirror.  Who’s it gonna be?  Who you gonna bring us Kenny?  Huh?  Oh, I know. I know.  It’s tough to deal in Gary’s NHL because parity dictates that every team thinks they have a shot. No one wants to trade in November. 

Not buying into that.  I want Rick Nash.  Or, as much as many of the 19 dislike him, I’ll take Iginla.  How about Spezza?  All pipe dreams. I got it.  And I know the challenges. Who to give up?  Brendan Smith?  Kindl?  Fil? At this point?

Any of them. Seriously. 

Because Kenny?  Our gunners aren’t cutting it. Our top line doesn’t have, as WestWing, pointed out last night, a single player in the top 215 in goals.  WW also added this today in the comment section below…

I’ll say it again.  The so-called top line on this team has amassed a grand total of 5 goals this season.  There are 108 individual players in the NHL who have at least that many all by themselves.

In terms of production, does any team in hockey have a more anemic top line?  No It’s a fuching embarrassment.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 11/16/11 at 11:57 AM ET

Over-reaction on my part?  I’m sure.  We’re nothing here if not impulsive and reactionary.  But, we’re fans.  Not journalists and definitely not team executives.  Six game losing streak?  Slash and burn.  Four game winning streak?  Block off Woodward.  I get it.  The fact remains though, that there are constants.

Special teams suck and we don’t have a sniper, outside of Franzen when he feels like it.

Over to you Tick Tock.  Bring us joy.

 

 

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Comments

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MsRedWinger's avatar

Should’ve kept Hossa…

Posted by arice89 on 11/16/11 at 12:52 PM ET

Not to pick on this one person, but I am sick of reading this.  We couldn’t have kept Hossa without decimating the team!  He wanted too much money.  Also, he was known for disappearing in the playoffs, whereas Mule was a beast in the playoffs back then.  So the “choice” was pretty clear.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 11/16/11 at 03:37 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As far as I remember, they dumped it to no one (just like all night long), and Helm or Abs managed to get it back frmo their D, after pressure on forecheck, wasnt it?

Unfortunetly I can’t check it right now, from workplace

That’s kind of how dump-and-chase works.  It’s what the Blues were doing, except they were doing it better.

When the ice is shit, it takes an extra half-second to control those little passes. That extra half-second is all you need to block off a guy’s outlet.  It’s exactly what the Wings forecheck (more specifically Drew Miller) did on that play and it’s exactly what the Blues did on Steen’s game-winner. 

It’s also exactly why they put 37 shots on goal and we put 22.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/16/11 at 03:52 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

In my mind, Detroit only has 3 “top 6 forwards”, Z/Pavel/Mule.  That’s it.  The rest of this team is completely interchangeable.  Which is why they really need another top 6 guy, specifically a winger.  Until I see Flippula putting up 25-30 goals a season, he’s not a top 6 guy.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 11/16/11 at 01:23 PM ET

A quick look around the league confirms this.  There are any number of teams whose top six forwards are frankly, just better players at this point.  That’s the reality of the situation.

Since their last cup run in 08, they’ve done a great job at adding depth players, and as a result their roster is deep.  Where they’ve fallen behind the curve, especially in the west, is at the top of the roster.  The results speak for themseleves.  Chicago, San Jose and Vancouver are all much stronger at the top of the roster.  You can beat up coaches and decry the lack of an enforcer all you want.  But when I look at this team, their record seems about right.  Compared to the competition they look like a mid-level playoff team.  Nothing more.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 11/16/11 at 04:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I have no problem with the concept of letting some kids play.  The vets haven’t earned anything yet this season.  I want to see more of Nyquist, Emmerton, and some of Tatar.

You guys would be amazed at how often a team will put a 3rd or 4th line player on the top line just for a few games to see how it goes.  Detroit, NEVER does that.  And you can’t point to Holmstrom, that’s not a fair comparison.  I’m talking guys like Helm/Eaves/Emmerton/Abdelkader.  And not just trying it for a 2 shifts then giving up if they don’t score a goal.  These other teams try it for as many as 5 games before switching it back.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 11/16/11 at 01:23 PM ET


That’s because you’re either one of Babcock’s Guys, or you Aren’t.  And if you’re not, you basically CAN’T get Top 6 time.

Honestly, under Babcock guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk never would have had a chance at Top 6.

Posted by Primis on 11/16/11 at 04:37 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

problem with the Wings home grown talent is that they really never get you anything beyond a 3rd line grinder

I’d like to introduce you to Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Nick Lidstrom and maybe even Jiri Hudler (when he plays well).

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 11/16/11 at 04:46 PM ET

Wingfan191's avatar

Since their last cup run in 08, they’ve done a great job at adding depth players, and as a result their roster is deep.  Where they’ve fallen behind the curve, especially in the west, is at the top of the roster.  The results speak for themseleves.  Chicago, San Jose and Vancouver are all much stronger at the top of the roster.  You can beat up coaches and decry the lack of an enforcer all you want.  But when I look at this team, their record seems about right.  Compared to the competition they look like a mid-level playoff team.  Nothing more.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 11/16/11 at 02:12 PM ET

I agree 100%.  I hate to admit it, but those teams have surpassed the Wings in pure top 6 talent.  And 2 of those teams got to the Finals the past 2 years and 1 of them won the Cup.  So yeah, they are good players.  I have no doubt in my mind, if their guys were on the Wings, with our coach, puck possession style, and D, would be in the Finals every year.

Chicago top 6 - Toews, Kane, Hossa, Sharp, Bickell, Bolland (last 2 are on the 3rd line, but they are better players than Carcillio and Stalberg)

San Jose top 6 - Thornton, Marleau, Clowe, Couture, Havlat, Pavelski

Vancouver top 6 - Sedin, Sedin, Burrows, Kesler, Booth, Higgins

All those guys are bigger, younger, and hungrier than our top 3 plus “another 3”.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 11/16/11 at 04:47 PM ET

Wingfan191's avatar

I’d like to introduce you to Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Nick Lidstrom and maybe even Jiri Hudler (when he plays well).

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 11/16/11 at 02:46 PM ET

Except Pavel, Z, and Franzen never played in the AHL.  They were already playing in Sweden and were older guys when we signed them and brought them over.  Even Lidstrom wasn’t really “groomed”, he just came over and played, but back then it was a bit different.  Flip and Hudler, yes, drafted and played in the AHL before joining the big club, but still not what I’d consider true top 6 guys.

That’s good scouting to find those hidden gems, no doubt.  I’d never trade Z or Pavel, but they NEED support.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 11/16/11 at 04:53 PM ET

Avatar

I wouldn’t mind see Tatar come up, but see too much of the same in Helm, Emmerton and Mursak.  After watching training camp practices, preseason games and a Griffins game a week ago I think Brendan Smith will be at best a 3rd paring d man…or a career AHLer?  He is not the second coming of Lidstrom or Kronwall…think Lebda or Dandy.  My feeling is trade high before the league discovers his game. It is still early in the season to right the ship, but you can’t over look how young, fast, hard hitting teams can completely own the Wings this season.  We do need some fresh blood to the team that has experience in scoring and hitting.  Nash is pricey, but this type of player is would give Datsyuk a line mate who can convert his passes (ala Hully or Shanny…can you say one timer?)...either way games like last night have happened way to often this season.

Posted by JB from White Lake on 11/16/11 at 04:55 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I wouldn’t mind see Tatar come up, but see too much of the same in Helm, Emmerton and Mursak.  After watching training camp practices, preseason games and a Griffins game a week ago I think Brendan Smith will be at best a 3rd paring d man…or a career AHLer?  He is not the second coming of Lidstrom or Kronwall…think Lebda or Dandy.  My feeling is trade high before the league discovers his game.

Posted by JB from White Lake on 11/16/11 at 02:55 PM ET

“Niklas Kronwall is too volatile to be an NHLer and will never play regularly”
“Jakub Kindl will never make it to be an effective NHL player”
“Pavel Datsyuk can’t play defense and is not strong enough”
“Johan Franzen can’t score in the NHL”
“Jiri Hudler is too small and skates too poorly to compete in the NHL”
“Danny Cleary is a bust and I don’t know why the Wings are wasting their time bringing him in on a tryout”
“Jimmy Howard is never going to be an NHL starting goalie”

Let me guess:  you were wrong on all of these too?

Posted by Primis on 11/16/11 at 05:05 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

No shots in the last 14 minutes of play. The wings quit last night before they even began. The one goal they did manage to score was about as flukey as goals get in the NHL. The offense sucked, the defense was miserable (Ericsson cannot be on the wrong side - he doesn’t have the brainpower to reverse his game) and only Howard came up big.

I’ve seen the Griffins play better.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 11/16/11 at 05:08 PM ET

Krononymous's avatar

I really don’t get why everyone is so down on the Mule.  He’s got 9 goals (1 more than Hossa), 7 assists, and 4 GWGs (Hossa has 0 GWGs and is a +8 to Mule’s +6).

I think the biggest issue is Pavs (2 goals, 8 assists, -3 and 1 GWG) and Hank (3 goals, 3 assists and 0 GWG).  When your two best players aren’t producing, it hurts and it is totally killing us on the power play.

Posted by Krononymous on 11/16/11 at 05:15 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

A2Y Quickly accelerating to playoff form. 50+ comments after a 2-1 loss in November. Nice.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 11/16/11 at 05:54 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Some of us have been saying for almost two years now that the Wings have tuned Babs out. At first it was greeted with much howling and gnashing of teeth. Last year, more people agreed.

Now, I ask: how can you not see that is exactly what is happening?

The first major sign is that the average lifespan of a coach with one team is barely three years. It is crazy, I don’t like it, but that’s exactly what the reality is. Babs has been here, what, seven years? In dog years, that’s 49. In NHL Coaching years, that’s 149.

Z, Pav, and Mule didn’t all of the sudden lose the talent that’s been with them since they were mere kids. It doesn’t just disappear overnight. Yes, talent fades gradually ...but what has been gradual about any of this?

100% of the reason Pav is not producing is NOT because of Babcock, but he’s a big enough percentage of the reason to be cause of great concern for any Red Wings fan. Same with most of the other players.

I like Babcock. I think he’s been a great coach, and should be credited for a lot of the success of the Red Wings in the past. But how much longer can we blame phantom reasons and not look the core reason straight in the face?

Babs cannot inspire this team anymore. And with the Yzerman Wave now fully subsided, that’s a disastrous scenario.

We need new blood behind the bench. From there, other changes and adjustments will occur.

As Red Wings fan, we expect a lot; more than most other teams. And, personally, I’m getting tired of half-ass efforts and ineffective strategies.

We need change. Now.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/16/11 at 06:00 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

A2Y Quickly accelerating to playoff form. 50+ comments after a 2-1 loss in November. Nice.

Posted by RWBill from above a steaming pile of vomit. on 11/16/11 at 03:54 PM ET

That’s not quite fair, Bill. These comments are the product of a very inconsistent start to this season.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/16/11 at 06:01 PM ET

RWBill's avatar


That’s not quite fair, Bill. These comments are the product of a very inconsistent start to this season.
Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/16/11 at 04:01 PM ET

OK, no argument from me there.

A2Y Quickly accelerating to playoff form. 50+ comments after a 9-6-1 start. Nice.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 11/16/11 at 06:12 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Blues’ Chris Stewart suspended for three games for hit from behind on Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall

I thought it might be 5 games, but glad to see it.  Had Kronwall not returned it would have been 5.  Had Kronwall been sidelined for several games it would have been 8, all for the same act dependent upon how the aggrieved was injured or not.

Regardless I’m glad to see there is a suspnsion.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 11/16/11 at 06:18 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

A2Y Quickly accelerating to playoff form. 50+ comments after a 9-6-1 start. Nice.

Posted by RWBill from above a steaming pile of vomit. on 11/16/11 at 04:12 PM ET

Does 9-6-1 tell the whole story?

They’ve played ten games at home, and six on the road

14th in point percentage

18th in goals per game

4th in goals against per game

2nd in 5-on-5 GF/GA

20th on the PP

25th on the PK

2nd in shots on goal

2nd in shots against

18th in winning when trailing after the 1st

8th in faceoff win percentage

Some good numbers there, but too many un-Red Wing-like numbers to portend any long-term success unless things turnaround.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/16/11 at 07:10 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Also too many numbers too early on to be talking about a new head coach and a trade of one of our players.

See you all next game. Your anal-yses are making me feel all Sanduskized. That’s almost a new word, up there with “Sanduskeet.”

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 11/16/11 at 08:05 PM ET

arice89's avatar

Thanks, I have a new Dumbest Thing I’ve read today.

Franzen is:

* 1 year younger.
* Playoff-proven.
* Smaller cap hit.
* Not the proven malcontent Hossa has been and can be.

I also think Hossa’ play is already on its decline, and he’s not in his prime anymore.

I never said they should’ve chosen Hossa over Franzen. I meant they should’ve found a way to keep them both by cutting dead weight.

Hossa’s not a “malcontent.” He has a great reputation around the league.

Not to pick on this one person, but I am sick of reading this.  We couldn’t have kept Hossa without decimating the team!  He wanted too much money.  Also, he was known for disappearing in the playoffs, whereas Mule was a beast in the playoffs back then.  So the “choice” was pretty clear.

Again, I never said I wanted to get rid of Franzen. I’m just saying I think Hossa is the superior player. The team didn’t have to be “decimated…” what’s the worst that can happen? Your only top-six players are Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen? Oh wait…

There was dead weight on the team after the ‘09 finals that could’ve/should’ve been cut.

Todd Bertuzzi/Jason Williams/Ville Leino are dime-a-dozen players in the league. Marian Hossa isn’t.

The problem with the Wings right now is they don’t have enough players who can create offense by themselves on a consistent basis. Datsyuk and Zetterberg, despite their recent struggles, are. Franzen is sometimes. Filppula is sometimes. Past that, they have no true weapons.

Guys like Bertuzzi, Hudler, and Holmstrom aren’t that hard to find.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that with a core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Hossa, and Franzen, your forward core isn’t going to be that bad. The whole “decimating the team” thing is a myth. The team isn’t that deep anyway.

Posted by arice89 on 11/17/11 at 01:05 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Guys like Bertuzzi, Hudler, and Holmstrom aren’t that hard to find.

Sorry, but I respectfully disagree with Homer on that list.  I get that people don’t understand Homer’s value to the team.  He does the little things that aren’t noteworthy or spectacular but are necessary to win games.  Tell me when Homer has ever been out on the ice when he wasn’t busting his a** or taking abuse… that no-one and I mean no-one else in this league takes.  His closest contemporary is Smyth in Oil Land.  Look at the accolades he (Smyth) gets.  Both are blood and guts players.  Both skate as fast as a zamboni in low gear.  Would I want a team of them? No way.  Would I want either one of them on my team?  Hell yes.  I guess we’ll agree to disagree.

Posted by calquake on 11/17/11 at 02:37 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

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