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Abel to Yzerman

The Wings Are An Average Team No Matter How You Look At It

Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press states...

It’s too early for panic with the Wings currently fighting for one of the two conference wild-card playoff berths in the new league realignment. But it isn’t too soon for genuine concern because their absurd rash of injuries doesn’t fully explain the unevenness of effort and execution.

Face it. The Wings are an average team. If they were fully healthy, they would remain an average team — incapable of advancing beyond the second round of the playoffs the past four years. They haven’t been a serious Stanley Cup contender since their Game 7 loss to Pittsburgh in the 2009 Stanley Cup final. But they still cling to the perception that they remain reasonably close to the hockey elite.

Then..

It’s especially frustrating for the Wings because Chicago is a reminder of what they once were — fast, deep, hoggish with the puck and shrewdly opportunistic in decisions made on and off the ice. But the roles have reversed.

Perhaps it’s time the Wings follow the Blackhawks’ blueprint and trust their youth more instead of thinking of them as merely a stopgap until many of the veterans return from their assorted aches and pains. Half of the roster has missed 20% of the games this season. Only Drew Miller and Kyle Quincey have played in every game. Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco comprised half of their top-six forwards against the Blackhawks.

more

I question Sharp and wonder if he even know what the Blackhawks' blueprint is?  Lose badly for at least five years, draft high and hope the picks work out.

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Comments

TreKronor's avatar

They haven’t been a serious Stanley Cup contender since their Game 7 loss to Pittsburgh in the 2009 Stanley Cup final. But they still cling to the perception that they remain reasonably close to the hockey elite.

Look, this is true in the fact that they don’t dominate the conference like they did from 2007-2009, but the team still pushed the Hawks to game 7 OT in the postseason last year. 

Any team can get hot in the playoffs and make a serious run at the Cup; it’s just a matter of getting to the playoffs for that to be possible.  Each year there are usually only 3 or maybe 4 teams which look like serious Cup contenders throughout the 82 game schedule.  The Wings aren’t that way anymore - we get it.  But we just need a chance in the playoffs.

Posted by TreKronor on 01/23/14 at 10:24 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Drew Sharp has been waiting for years to write this column. He never forgave the Wings for leap-frogging his beloved Pistons in popularity, and he’s been claiming the end is nigh for the Wings since the early-2000s.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 01/23/14 at 10:41 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I pay about as much attention to what Drew Sharp says about hockey as I pay attention to what that Sherman guy from yesterday says about hockey.  I think they are equally as knowledgable about the sport.

Posted by Hootinani on 01/23/14 at 10:47 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

To me, just needing a chance in the playoffs to get lucky in a smaller sample size is not good enough.

I wouldn’t call the Wings average no matter how you look at it—you can fairly spin them as one of the better teams in their division if they had the health some of the other top teams have had this season. But I guess the thing is, the reality is that they haven’t been healthy, and even before the injury bug bit, they were getting poor performances from Weiss, Franzen, and largely, Jimmy Howard. I’d admit that for the Wings to be above-average, they need Weiss and Howard to be above-average, and they haven’t had that this year, regardless of how much blame you want to put on injuries.

Franzen is a difficult case. I hate to say this because it really sounds crass, and I wish Franzen to be healthy and happy, but from a strictly hockey perspective… I can’t help but think the Wings would be best off at this point if Franzen couldn’t return to game shape, and they could move forward with his cap space and a guy like Jurco getting full ice time in the NHL. Kind of like the way the Flyers probably couldn’t have afforded Pronger to get healthy.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/23/14 at 11:00 AM ET

Avatar

I don’t disagree with Drew Sharp on the idea that the injuries don’t fully account for where this team really is or how good they really are or aren’t. I think the injuries hide the fact that the team isn’t that great. But part of that is guys not playing as well as they should (i.e., Weiss). If the team gets healthy AND the guys collectively play well, they have a chance to make a run.

Anyways, Drew Sharp has made a career of writing ignorant articles or taking a position even he doesn’t really believe but does so just to rile people up. That’s all he does.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/23/14 at 11:04 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

I question Sharp and wonder if he even know what the Blackhawks’ blueprint is?  Lose badly for at least five years, draft high and hope the picks work out.

... and then hire Scotty Bowman and model yourselves after the Red Wings?

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 01/23/14 at 11:06 AM ET

Avatar

I don’t disagree with Drew Sharp on the idea that the injuries don’t fully account for where this team really is or how good they really are or aren’t. I think the injuries hide the fact that the team isn’t that great.

The fact remains, this is an average team when healthy.  The weakness of the East masks this fact, too.

I question Sharp and wonder if he even know what the Blackhawks’ blueprint is?  Lose badly for at least five years, draft high and hope the picks work out.

The blueprint is locking up your star players and letting your middling ones go pursue greener pastures (Niemi, Byfuglien, Brower, Campbell, Kopecky, Versteeg, Bolland) while you infuse your bottom 6 with youth (Crawford, Saad, Leddy, Oduya, Hjalmersson) and let that youth mature or even far exceed expectations.

The Wings haven’t followed this blueprint.  They prefer “loyalty” to aged, middling players like Maltby, Draper, Chelios, Homer, Bertuzzi, Cleary, and sit back and watch the team go steadily downhill instead of reloading it.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/23/14 at 11:22 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Posted by
     
    jkm2011
     
      on 01/23/14 at 10:22 AM ET

I couldn’t agree more.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 01/23/14 at 11:25 AM ET

Paul's avatar

jkm, Understand your point, but the true picture of the Blackhawks’ blueprint is Kane and Toews and the only way the were able to draft them was by being a bad team, over numerous years.

Now even that blueprint doesn’t always work, look at the Oilers.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 01/23/14 at 11:30 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I’m not saying Sharp doesn’t make salient points, I’m saying he’s waited a long, long time for his doom n gloom to actually be accurate.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 01/23/14 at 11:33 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

“I don’t care what fans or bloggers think” - Drew Sharp
Enough said.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/23/14 at 11:47 AM ET

Avatar

Come on, Paul, you’re better than that tired excuse.  Pav and Z.  The Wings enfused two good, youthful players into a lineup dominated by veterans and they turned into stars.  One a superstar.  Both Hall of Famers.  Drafting and developing does no good if you don’t give them a chance to play and learn from the good or great players the team already has.  Both of these guys were 4th liners at one time.  Remember when they let in-his-prime Martin Lapointe go?  What a travesty, right?  Oh, wait.

OK, don’t dwell on the deep past, how about ...

Samuelsson is brought in to replace Hudler when Nyquist or Tatar could have been given a chance.  Imagine those 2 guys with 2 seasons under their belt right now.  Would we be witnessing their growing pains today?

And Weiss is brought in to replace Fil when it looks as if Sheahan is a better NHLer than AHLer.  And don’t get me started on Commodore over Smith/Kindl.  These moves are setting back youthful development. 

There is more than one way (Chicago, Pittsburgh) to win Cups.  The Wings have proved it over and over.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/23/14 at 11:56 AM ET

calquake's avatar

If they were fully healthy, they would remain an average team — incapable of advancing beyond the second round of the playoffs the past four years.

So Drew, by your own logic, any team not advancing past the second round is average?  Wow, the vast majority of the NHL is average.  Why bother to play the games, let’s just look at the rosters and award the Cup.  Silly me, I thought sports writers were supposed to know something aboot sports.

Posted by calquake on 01/23/14 at 12:08 PM ET

Avatar

Wow, the vast majority of the NHL is average.

Yes.  Average or worse, pretty much by definition.

What do you think average means?

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 12:22 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

The timing of this “article” is interesting, eh?  Right after the WINGS DEFEAT THE BLACKHAWKS!  What an idiot Drew Sharp is.

Emperor Paul kind of said this, but I was listening to Ken Kal and Paul Woods last night, and Paul Woods said that the Hawks had to be a lot worse than the Wings are now for a lot longer in order to get the draft picks they got.  Fact is, the post-Lidstrom Wings are the ONLY team that really pushed the Hawks in the playoffs last year.  Things are tough right now because of our injuries, but if the Wings get healthy and stay that way, LOOK OUT.

LGRW!!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/23/14 at 12:26 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Perhaps it’s time the Wings follow the Blackhawks’ blueprint

{cleans glasses}

Perhaps it’s time the Wings follow the Blackhawks’ blueprint

The Blackhawks are following the Red Wings blueprint.

The Blackhawks didn’t, “trust their youth,” they sucked. They sucked so badly that got 2 #1 picks.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/23/14 at 12:46 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

I’m torn with the debate in the comments. I can’t help but think upper management has pissed away at least 1 Stanley Cup ring for Z and D by not allowing the kids play sooner, and using that additional money to sign 1 maybe 2 big named free agents.  On the flip side, we have been the best, most consistent organization the past 20 years and I hate to complain about this amazing sports team.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 01/23/14 at 12:46 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/23/14 at 10:56 AM ET

I don’t agree with a lot of the things that jmk posts (especially the ones that get “personal” where Malik is concerned), but I have to admit he’s hit the nail on the head with both of his posts above.

Holland says he’s now committed to developing the Wings own talent, and proved it a year ago by netting both Mantha and Bertuzzi Jr. with his 1st round pick instead of trading it away for some rental “vet” at the trade deadline. Now we’ll just have to see if he stays on that course this spring, and especially next summer when it comes to cutting ties with Cleary and Qunicey.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/23/14 at 12:58 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Perhaps it’s time the Wings follow the Blackhawks’ blueprint and trust their youth more instead of thinking of them as merely a stopgap until many of the veterans return from their assorted aches and pains. Half of the roster has missed 20% of the games this season.

Are you THIS mutherfuching stupid, Drew???

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/23/14 at 01:33 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

To me, just needing a chance in the playoffs to get lucky in a smaller sample size is not good enough.

Good point. This isn’t the goal of Illich’s front office either.

The goal is to have home-ice in the first round (good) or the first two rounds(better). Most folks talk about our franchise’s strak of making the playoffs as the benchmark but I think the real run that is impressive is this:

The Wings had home-ice in the 1st round of the playoff for 20 out of 25 years. Here’s our conference ranking streak:

1986:  ...  last, an incredible 14 points below the 2nd-worst team
1987: 5th (but 2nd in Norris, home-ice)
1988: 3rd
1989: 4th
1990:  ...  missed playoffs
1991: 6th
1992: 1st
1993: 2nd
1994: 1st
1995: 1st
1996: 1st
1997: 3rd
1998: 2nd
1999: 3rd
2000: 2nd
2001: 2nd
2002: 1st
2003: 2nd
2004: 1st
2005:  ...  lockout year
2006: 1st
2007: 1st
2008: 1st
2009: 2nd
2010: 5th
2011: 3rd
2012: 5th
2013: 7th
2014:  ...  tbd

So 22 seasons in a row isn’t such a precious streak to me, I don’t think it signals a change in the franchise.

To me these are the best streaks in the order of importance:

* 17 straight seasons top-3 in the conf. (1992-2009)
* 21 out of 24 seasons having home-ice in the first round. (1987-2011) [Hold]
* 10 straight years(9 seasons) top-2 in the conf. (2000-2009)
* 4 straight seasons best in the conf. (2004-2008)
* 3 straight seasons best in the conf. (1994-96)

Every single one of these runs has ended. Except, put a hold by the 2nd-most important of all of these incredible runs… we still are close enough that it is possible (not likely, but possible) we could finish 2nd in the Atlantic this year. That would continue our home-ice run to be 22-out-of-27 seasons.

Other teams have had playoff streaks that come close to ours. No team has a home-ice streak to compare to the Red Wings in the expansion era.

No other team.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/23/14 at 01:42 PM ET

Avatar

The fact remains, this is an average team when healthy.

Detroit was 15-8-7 even getting below average goaltending from Howard, way below average play from Weiss, going 0-4 in the stupid shootout, and having some dmen shuffling in and out of the roster.

Then the injuries really started piling up and they’ve gone 7-10-3 since.

The notion that Detroit is an average team when healthy exhibits a rather startling lack of recall about what they were doing just when they were healthier, much less when they were healthy.

Holland says he’s now committed to developing the Wings own talent, and proved it a year ago by netting both Mantha and Bertuzzi Jr. with his 1st round pick instead of trading it away for some rental “vet” at the trade deadline. Now we’ll just have to see if he stays on that course this spring, and especially next summer when it comes to cutting ties with Cleary and Qunicey.

And OTC will be ripping Holland all the way, regardless.

Holland’s let Draper, Maltby, Chelios, Osgood, Homer and more yet vet players go when he felt their usefulness was at an end.  The obsession some people have here with trying to pretend Holland wouldn’t do that with Cleary is silly.  Cleary came back under a contract that’s not much more than Drew Miller got, and only a year long to boot.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/23/14 at 02:52 PM ET

Avatar

That stirring 15-8-7 (aka 15 wins, 15 losses) had Detroit 4th in the East and 10th in the West at the time.  That’s 14th in a league of 30.  That’s the very definition of average.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/23/14 at 03:07 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

glad to see n00bs to hockey posting.  well, one, at least.  welcome.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 01/23/14 at 03:19 PM ET

Avatar

Detroit was 15-8-7 even getting below average goaltending from Howard, way below average play from Weiss, going 0-4 in the stupid shootout, and having some dmen shuffling in and out of the roster.

Below average goaltending from Howard and outstanding goaltending from Gustavsson.

Below average play from Weiss and play from Zetterberg and Datsyuk that had them both in the top ten for a while.

Good and bad.

Average.

The notion that Detroit is an average team when healthy exhibits a rather startling lack of recall about what they were doing just when they were healthier, much less when they were healthy.

By your own post, Detroit won 15 of their first 30 games when they were mostly healthy.

15 of 30.  Fifty percent.  That’s pretty average, no?

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 04:06 PM ET

Avatar

That stirring 15-8-7 (aka 15 wins, 15 losses) had Detroit 4th in the East and 10th in the West at the time.  That’s 14th in a league of 30.  That’s the very definition of average.

Except being on a pace for 101 points is not, by definition, average.  Were Detroit still on that pace today they’d be at 62 points through 51 games, good for 10th in the league.

And again, that was with Howard sucking, Weiss really sucking and a couple players still out, including Zetterberg who went out… oh lookie there, when Detroit was 14-8-7.  Detroit goes 3-6-2 with him out, and then 5-5-1 with him back (but now Datsyuk and others out).

If your position is that Howard and Weiss will never be better than they were at the start of this year, well, good luck with that.  If it’s not, then you’re just mouth-tooting because when Detroit’s had their top 6 they’ve been a good team.

Not a great team because they’ve had some roster (Sammy, Tootoo) and player (Howard, Quincey, Datsyuk, Bert, Cleary, Weiss…) inefficiencies this year, but average?  Get the bleep out of here.  That’s crazy talk.

People trying to pretend they know how the Wings would be with the 30ish million bucks of players back they haven’t had for most of the year is silly.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/23/14 at 05:11 PM ET

Avatar

Except being on a pace for 101 points is not, by definition, average.

Except that 101 points, in the last 82-game season would’ve place them tied for 10th.

Out of the 30 teams.

Right in the middle of the pack.

That is, by definition, average.

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 06:00 PM ET

Avatar

average?  Get the bleep out of here.  That’s crazy talk.

7th seeded playoff team in the west last year.
9th place right now in the east.

Average.

Posted by Garth on 01/23/14 at 06:06 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The very wonderful awood has posted a a nearly 27 minute highlights vid of last night’s SO win.  Obviously, it’s the NBCSN feed.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 01/23/14 at 10:06 PM ET

awould's avatar

Detroit is an average team. I think if they got some luck and had a full roster of healthy players for a stretch, they’d get to above average, but that’s true of a lot of the middling teams. It’s also true that if the top 5 or 6 teams didn’t have injuries, they’d be exceptional rather than just good.

So pretending away the injury bug is not reality because every team deals with injuries and they’re all ranked 1 through 30 in this league in the same list, and the Wings are very average.

Hopefully they get healthy soon or find some other magic pill that scores goals and turns Jimmy into a puck blocking machine.

Posted by awould on 01/23/14 at 11:19 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

I was watching the NHL.com highlights of the CHI/DET game… couple goals that we gave up stood out to me… CHI’s 3rd goal on the PP where Helm lost the faceoff and then both him and Eaves proceed to chase the puck instead of covering their zones leading to a wide open point shot, it looked like my JV high school hockey team it was so bad… the next was CHI’s 4th goal when Smith played a puck from the corner of our defensive zone and inexplicably throws it through the high slot “hoping” to find Helm’s stick but instead it finds CHI and they score…

Posted by pgoody on 01/24/14 at 11:54 AM ET

Rumbear's avatar

what the Blackhawks’ blueprint is?

Seriously? This is a mystery?  It’s not a Blackhawks plan, but it is a plan.  Ask that Scott Bowman guy, I hear he knows some hockey stuff.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, hanging with Dan Cleary.... on 01/24/14 at 02:19 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

it’s Drew Sharp ... ENOUGH SAID tongue laugh

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 01/24/14 at 07:34 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

Anyways, Drew Sharp has made a career of writing ignorant articles or taking a position even he doesn’t really believe but does so just to rile people up. That’s all he does.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/23/14 at 10:04 AM ET

  BINGO !!!!

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 01/24/14 at 07:34 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

So Drew, by your own logic, any team not advancing past the second round is average?  Wow, the vast majority of the NHL is average.  Why bother to play the games, let’s just look at the rosters and award the Cup. Silly me, I thought sports writers were supposed to know something about sports.

Posted by calquake on 01/23/14 at 11:08 AM ET

cheese

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 01/24/14 at 07:36 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

  Perhaps it’s time the Wings follow the Blackhawks’ blueprint and trust their youth more instead of thinking of them as merely a stopgap until many of the veterans return from their assorted aches and pains. Half of the roster has missed 20% of the games this season.

Are you THIS mutherfuching stupid, Drew???

Posted by SYF from calquake’s rug inspection office on 01/23/14 at 12:33 PM ET

 

tongue wink

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 01/24/14 at 07:39 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