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Abel to Yzerman

Travels With Nick: Why Tick Tock Kenny Holland Might Be Under The Gun

Assume the position. Get on your hands and knees and pretend there is a ceramic bowl in front of you.  At the bottom of the bowl, beneath the cool, fetid toilet water, there is an image of a 60-year old, hook-nosed tiny man in a house dress kissing the cheek of a man-child with a stupid mustache, a Coldplay t-shirt and a headache. It’s a horrible image made worse by the vomit you violently spew into the ceramic bowl.  Again and again and even one more time for the third again.

But don’t deceive yourself into thinking that it’s the disgusting “C”-less image at the bottom of that bowl that’s making your tummy rumble. No. The cause of your discontent is what’s ailing us all.

This may be the last run for #5.

Personally? I believe he’ll be back for one more season, maybe two.

But holy hell I’ve been wrong a lot about stuff like that and I’ve got nothing to go on but my gut and a redacted transcript of a recent conversation that took place in an SUV heading to downtown Detroit from the sleepy Swedish town of Novi, MI.

Ni___las _______strom:  “I’ve given this great thought, my friends. I plan to return to our chosen club, to defend a title I know will be ours again, and to do so with the ultimate fitness and mental dexterity that has become the hallmark of gentlemen warriors like you and I. I’ve discussed this with the mother of my children and she nodded her assent, as she will continue to do because I forbid anything else. I shall return, return with the fellows to join—once again—in the noblest of all pursuits. Will you skate with me one more time, old friends?”

T___as _______strom:  “You have captain of my sack another 17 months of cricket?”

Hank Z_______berg: “Jesus Homer”

The recording is scratchy, so that might be off a little but you get the idea.

Ok. Seriously. Is Nick coming back?  We don’t know, but what we do know is that no season in history has ever felt like Lidstrom’s last like this one has.  Got it?

Everything we know points to a departure: age, family, logic.  Every mainstream story you read about the Wings on game-day features a sentence about the imminent retirement.  Every message board or blog from a rival (all, in their opinions, 29 of them) love to point out the absolute certainty that the Wings will be basement dwellars, like Denver, the day St. Nick hangs them up. 

I don’t agree with the guarantee that the Wings will no longer compete after Lidstrom leaves, but that’s a subject for another day.  Actually, some may believe the whole subject should be tabled until the giggling 8 pounder has assured us of #12 in June.

I think it’s relevant now though, and I think Tick Tock Kenny Holland and my Uncle Mike think so, too.  I think they might be viewing this run in a real special way.  Different than other special runs at the Cup.

This one could very well be Lidstrom’s Last. And if it is, all effort should be expended, no one left as “untouchable”, no cost too high.  This should be a shopping spree, an orgy of hockey talent, all waiting to bathe in the 5.7 million bucks Holland has at his disposal.

And it means you might have to set aside some hate: Perry? Selanne? Doan?

Oh stop.  Remind me about all the Chelios as a Blackhawk posters you had in your room.  None, eh?  Got it.  We hated his ass. Hated him.  And we hated Wendell Clark, while we’re at it. Right George?  Until March 23, 1999, that is.  Can you think of three more detestable players to gain at a trade deadline than those two plus Ulf Samuelsson?  Oh and, hey, how many Dallas Drake jerseys did you own when he was a Star or a Bitter Bitch of a Blue?  Verbeek? Shanahan, even? 

You hate Corey Perry?  Me too. More than any player in the league. But, brother?  You know the question and, deep down inside, you know the answer.  I might not be able to type it and just thinking about it might make you feel warm in bad places.  But you know the answer.

And so does Holland.

Khan(!!!!)

“But the trade deadline is coming. We have a lot of cap space. We’ve done a lot of drafting and developing since 2005, saving our picks. I don’t know if we have to do anything, but certainly in the next six weeks we’re going to explore.”

Coming from Ken Holland that’s a virtual proclamation that he’s going for broke. 

Parise?  Don’t wait for the summer. Buy now, big boy.  Suter? You betcha.  All in for Nick. All in for the Swede’s last run. And if he’s back next year? Well, shit Kenny? Do it again.

Oh, and another way to look at it would be like this: If Holland makes that “big splash” in about six weeks? If he makes a deal that has “Cuppy, cuppy, cuppy” written all over it?  There’s your clue that The Perfect Human is on his way out of town.  If it’s just an accent move, a minor thing to fill in the gaps and serve as insurance?  Then it’s safe to say the Captain hasn’t given Holland firm word, either way, or he’s told him flat out that another year in Detroit is in the cards. 

No reason to think TPH is making it a secret.  If this is it, the last run…then Holland already knows.  Soon enough, so will we.  Way before the parade in June.

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Comments

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Rdwings28's avatar

I would barf for a half an hour seeing Corey the P in a winged wheel, forgiveness would settle in, The Cup would heal all wounds. 
Kenny, go all in, we have seen the flop, the turn, and we wait for the river, push all the chips out there and win.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 01/18/12 at 09:26 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I like deadline opportunities, but NJ is not trading Parise for E52 and Hudler, regardless of how lovely a Zetterberg, Filppula, Parise line would be.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 09:32 AM ET

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Parise?  Don’t wait for the summer. Buy now, big boy.

Yes please.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 09:33 AM ET

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Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 07:32 AM ET

Of course not.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 09:35 AM ET

Hap's avatar

A hated player gets traded to the Wings?  I don’t need any time to get over the hate. 

The only acquisition that I gave a second thought was trading for Bertuzzi but you’ve got to trust Tick Tock.

Posted by Hap from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/18/12 at 09:46 AM ET

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If it’s just an accent move, a minor thing to fill in the gaps and serve as insurance?

I don’t buy into that.  If Detroit makes a significant move up front it just means that Holland is serious about making a run for the Cup this year.

If he makes a big deal for a defenseman like Suter or Weber then that’s when I start to think that Nick might be gone, but if it’s a top-six forward I don’t think it necessarily means anything, because that’s simply a need that Detroit has in order to really be a contender.

And frankly, Chicago, St Louis and Minnesota are all hovering at similar amounts of cap space and you can bet there are going to be moves made by some or all of them, so Detroit is going to have to do more than an accent move to solidify themselves.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 10:00 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Rick Nash is another possibility. Columbus wants a big change to cover up the ineptitude that is Howson.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/18/12 at 10:05 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I keep thinking we Wings fans need to be careful what we wish for.  If we win the Cup this year, I think Nick is gone.  Why would he stick around for a “Cup hangover” year? 

I do agree that if Tick Tock goes after Suter, that’s a sign.  That said, with Brad Stuart’s status apparently up in the air (I don’t know where that’s coming from except that his family lives in California - but so does Ryan Miller’s…), we may need a top D man anyway.  I was hoping Stuie’s new contract with the Wings would be done by now - before the trade deadline, so that does make me nervous.  But Uncle Mike has wanted a top 6 forward all along. 

I’m rambling here - bottom line:  It’s going to be a very interesting month or so waiting to see what, if any, moves Tick Tock makes.

I have a feeling we’re in for a big surprise, though…

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/18/12 at 10:24 AM ET

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Re: Nash
He’s got a contract that pays him $8.7M/yr.
I believe he’s too lazy. I font think he wants yo work for it and isn’t driven enough.

Posted by teldar on 01/18/12 at 10:37 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Sellers’ needs and Detroit’s value to burn make me think the deal happens with Anaheim.  They need depth players who are actually NHL-caliber and a puck-moving defenseman.

Obviously, you’re not getting Getzlaf or Perry for Kindl and Emmerton, but that’s my starting point.

If Jersey trades Parise, they’re not going to take a ton of salary back.  That team is struggling financially and needs to drop salary weight without picking a bunch of it back up.  Same beginning package with them, Kindl and Emmerton and then see what else they want.

I’d rather deal away draft picks than a guy like Tatar, but if it brings back a top-three forward, then let’s do it.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 10:55 AM ET

EpeeBill's avatar

My wishlist would include Bobby Ryan, Parise and Weber or Suter. I know Tick-Tock likes to build from the blue line out, but I think it’s time to dig for another stud forward.

Posted by EpeeBill on 01/18/12 at 11:11 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

The asset the Wings have is their depth in forward prospects. To make any sizable deal, they will have to be willing to part with Jurco/Tatar/Nyquist/Pulkkinen/Sheahan/etc.

For a forward, NJ is probably the most desperate team, so a Parise trade would be a good fit as far as what Kenny would have to surrender to get him. But, he’d also have to re-sign him for it to be worth the cost. Problem here being, you have to re-sign Stuart, allocate at least $6 million/year for Lidstrom or his “replacement” (there can be no true replacement), and give raises to Helm and Abdelkader. Given the expiring deals of Homer, Bert, and Hudler, it definitely is possible, but will require some hard thinking with Filppula and White coming up for deals the following season, and Datsyuk after that.

The Ducks aren’t desperate because they aren’t in as, at least from what we’ve seen, precarious of a financial situation. Also, they aren’t looking at star players with expiring deals. That said, I think it would cost a lot more to get one of the three big guns on the Ducks than it would to get Parise.

And as for Suter/Weber, even if the Preds lag behind the next few weeks and realistically have to trade one, I can’t see them trading to the Wings, for obvious reasons. They would trade with a team in the East. If anything, the only thing Holland could do on that front is try to run interference some way, somehow… to try to ensure Suter makes it to UFA.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/18/12 at 11:12 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

And as for Suter/Weber, even if the Preds lag behind the next few weeks and realistically have to trade one, I can’t see them trading to the Wings, for obvious reasons. They would trade with a team in the East. If anything, the only thing Holland could do on that front is try to run interference some way, somehow… to try to ensure Suter makes it to UFA.

I’m in with the rumor mill pointing to Philadelphia.  Philly/Nashville have trade history.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 11:26 AM ET

Avatar

If Jersey trades Parise, they’re not going to take a ton of salary back.

There seems to be (of late) something of a formula for top-flight forwards who are UFAs at the end of the season.

Pittsburgh picked up Hossa (w/ Pacal Dupuis) for Colby Armstrong, Erik Christensen, Angelo Esposito and a 1st round pick.

Jersey picked up Ilya Kovalchuk (w/ Anssi Salmela) for Johnny Oduya, Niclas Bergfors Patrice Cormier and a 1st round pick.

So the formula seems to be two roster players, a prospect and a 1st rounder for Parise.

And I’m guessing someone like Bobby Ryan from Anaheim would probably cost more, since he’s not on an expiring UFA contract.

And as for Suter/Weber, even if the Preds lag behind the next few weeks and realistically have to trade one, I can’t see them trading to the Wings, for obvious reasons. They would trade with a team in the East.

I absolutely agree.  Even if Nashville drops like a rock out of the playoff picture I can’t see them trading either Suter or Weber to Detroit.

Ever.

So yeah, they/we will likely have to hope that either Suter goes the UFA route of Lidstrom decides to stick around for another year, regardless of what Stuart decides to do (and man, I hope he re-signs).

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 11:27 AM ET

joedaiceman's avatar

Just when I think that it is just not possible to write better than you have always done, you come up with this gem. Is there any limit to your genius? I sure the hell hope not.

Posted by joedaiceman on 01/18/12 at 11:31 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So the formula seems to be two roster players, a prospect and a 1st rounder for Parise.

Sounds about right.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 11:41 AM ET

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Speaking of Stuart; after Kronwall resigned i was surprised to read that Holland said he wouldn’t start negotiating with Stuart until the offseason. This makes me wonder if trying to retain Stuart in the offseason is a backup plan to something.  Why else wouldn’t holland be trying to negotiate a new deal with him right now?  I pray everyday that E52 is not stuart’s replacement.

Let’s go Kenny, make an early blockbuster!

Posted by 11B3PF7 in MN on 01/18/12 at 11:51 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

So the formula seems to be two roster players, a prospect and a 1st rounder for Parise.

So, a forward and a defenseman sounds logical?  Unfortunately, I just don’t know that NJ, or anyone, would swallow E52.  And they likely don’t want a forth line forward.  So it’s Hudler or Filppula, plus Kindl.  Sheahan for prospect?  I hate like hell that we would have to give up Kindl instead of E52, but he would be the better bargain for NJ (or anyone else).

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 12:06 PM ET

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So, a forward and a defenseman sounds logical?

Probably.

Holland has a lot of wiggle room.

Hudler, Emmerton, Kindl, Ericsson and a bunch of unfulfilled potential in prospects.  As far as guys playing in Grand Rapids right now, how many untouchables are there?  Nyquist and Smith?

So it’s Hudler or Filppula, plus Kindl.

Well, there’s no way it’s Filppula, especially with the season he’s having.  He’s on pace for 70+ points, he’s not going to be something you trade for a rental.

The upshot with Ericsson vs Kindl is (and this all assumes that NJ is a team Ericsson’s allowed to be traded to with his modified NTC) is that from the outside Ericsson is an everyday NHLer and Kindl isn’t yet, with the way Detroit has been playing him and it would be easy to say “well, Detroit sees something with them giving him that contract” as well as “if given a bigger role, he could flourish, what with his size and all”, when looking at trade prospects.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 12:18 PM ET

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Yooo-hooo a bottle of rum…. And really bad eggs.

Posted by diesel44 from sterling heights on 01/18/12 at 12:20 PM ET

Jordan_NOHS's avatar

So the formula seems to be two roster players, a prospect and a 1st rounder for Parise

.

Kindl, Emmerton, Tatar and a 1st for Parise seems fair. Tatar could become a top-6 in a few years and Kindl will probably end up a top-4 dman. Emmerton adds depth and the pick will be at the end of the 1st. Detroit does most of their damage in the later rounds anyway.

If there was a team that Selanne would waive his no trade clause for I bet it’s Detroit. He loves Filppula an would probably be on a line with him.

Posted by Jordan_NOHS from Detroit, MI on 01/18/12 at 12:33 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Kindl doesn’t have a NTC, doesn’t have a salary he’s not living up to (well… debatable), is a better puck-mover who still has decent size, and most importantly, doesn’t have the same vote of confidence from the higher-ups in the organ-i-zation.

I know we’re all keen to flights of fancy, but Ericsson is not on the trade block.  Kindl is. That’s why Kindl was in the lineup against Toronto and Commodore in against Chicago… because they wanted to try to show him off against an inferior team while also seeing if Commie could pull his weight against a contender so the Wings would be safe moving Kindl and playing Commodore on the third pair the rest of the season.

Flip’s off the table unless the guy coming back has a multi-year deal in place. There’s absolutely no way you throw that much value at a rental.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/18/12 at 12:59 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Chief, you almost made me throw my cookies with that visual!  Jeez… I could smell it!
Well Done!

Hudler would be one guy on the block. Also Ericsson, Emmerton & some minor leaguers.

I do not see the Wings parting with any other D-men.
Kindl & Smith are too talented & too promising to trade, especially knowing that TPH is about to hang it up.

Posted by w2j2 on 01/18/12 at 01:19 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

That’s why Kindl was in the lineup against Toronto and Commodore in against Chicago… because they wanted to try to show him off against an inferior team while also seeing if Commie could pull his weight against a contender so the Wings would be safe moving Kindl and playing Commodore on the third pair the rest of the season

Spot on old boy.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 01/18/12 at 01:35 PM ET

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I don’t think KH will deal for the likes of Parise/Sutter/Weber/Ducks Trio. The asking price is going to be too steep due to fact that every buyer in the league is going to inquire about these players.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 01/18/12 at 02:20 PM ET

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The asking price is going to be too steep due to fact that every buyer in the league is going to inquire about these players.

Hopefully he’ll realize that if you’re serious about winning sometimes you have to give things up.

Otherwise what’s the *#$%@& point?

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 02:36 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

Tell me you guys have seen this before:

http://www.iltripleovertime.com/

Posted by pgoody on 01/18/12 at 02:48 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

You hate Corey Perry?  Me too.

Lidstrom was in that Honda Commercial with Fairy. So it is possible to sit them down on the same bench, facing the same direction and speaking to each other.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 01/18/12 at 03:10 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Prediction: We are going to be sitting around here, right after the trade deadline, saying “WTF??? Nobody? He had cap space to burn.”

We will be using many exclamation points.

Unless a backup goaltender falls in his lap, he could easily stand pat. I’m not saying I think he should do nothing, but he never does what we expect.

And we are expecting some movement..

Posted by dougie on 01/18/12 at 03:13 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Geebuz Chief - your a real fuching buzzkiller.  Wings finally win on the road, and are, at least for the moment, 1st in the W.C.

Then you go and drop a 16” round into the basking of joy.

Bastard.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 01/18/12 at 03:17 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Ahoy, Sailor.  Ugh.  Not even a glorious mug of ground Java can make that image go away.  Wait, I just had that last night.  Arrrggghhhxxx…

Philly/Nashville have trade history.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 09:26 AM ET

And Philly/Los Angeles.

Wings are loaded on potential of some highly-regarded prospects - many of whom made their international debut at the recent WJC, in particular, Petr Mrazek.  The Devils would love to have Mrazek now that Fatso is severely human after all and as good a soldier as Johan Hedberg has been, no way they can count on him for everyday duties.  The Devils need goaltending.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 01/18/12 at 03:21 PM ET

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Posted by dougie on 01/18/12 at 01:13 PM ET

It’s not just that he has cap space, he said he was keeping cap space so that he could do something if we needed it.

And we do.

Sure, Bert plays well with Datsyuk and Hudler’s come alive, but there’s not enough on this team, especially with everyone else around us bound to make moves, to be serious contenders.

And if there’s even a thought in Holland’s mind that this might be Lidstrom’s last kick at the can then you know that Holland is going to do his damnedest to help Lidstrom go out on top and not go out on a low note like Yzerman did.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 03:22 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

Chief…I love you man.  And not in that navy way.  I’m sitting at gate D2 of minneapolis international and cackling like a lunatic.  The guy traveling with me it’s texting furiously so I know hes concerned.

I can say as long as whatever trade was made was logical, probably none of us would be TOO upset…until they made some critical error in the WCF and then it’s no holds barred. 

Perry I’m good with..parise ive never been too impresed with.  Getzlaf….ummm…well maybe

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 01/18/12 at 03:25 PM ET

monkey's avatar

When was the last time the Red Wings made a monster sized trade deadline deal and went on to win the Cup?  Pretty sure the answer to that is “never”.

They picked up Brad Stuart at the trade deadline in 2008 but I would say that was not a blockbuster.  Stuart is awesome but he’s not a superstar.

Personally, I don’t believe in the idea of picking up a big name and going right on to the Cup.  Takes at least a full season for most players to fit in on and with a new team.  And Kenny does not like to give up prospects.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 01/18/12 at 03:49 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by monkey from the morel high ground on 01/18/12 at 01:49 PM ET

This.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 01/18/12 at 03:59 PM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

I was looking over rosters of teams during the game last night. I was looking at players who were on the last year of their deals. A name which hasn’t been mentioned, but I remember hearing the wings were ” looking” at was Tuomo Ruotu in Carolina. Good size, can play the wing or center, and has scored 30 goals in previous seasons and is on pace for about 30 again this year.

The other player who is on his last year of his contract is Selanne. I know he is 41, but can still wheel and has a helluva shot and would look awesome on the powerplay.

I think this trade deadline will be really exciting and I think there are gonna be some wild deals coming down. I have faith that Kenny and the scouting staff will earn their money without making some sort of crazy desperate move, which I suspect will happen in st. Louis or chicago,or Nashville.

Posted by Down River Dan on 01/18/12 at 04:04 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Re Ruoto or Selanne:  I like both players, but I was under the impression that the forward need is someone to fill up a little more space than Hudler on Hank’s line.  Are either of those two fit for a second line wing role?

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/18/12 at 04:23 PM ET

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Posted by monkey from the morel high ground on 01/18/12 at 01:49 PM ET

Interesting way to look at it.

Another way is that the last time the Wings won the Stanley Cup was the last time Ken Holland addressed a need the Red Wings had by making a deadline deal.

What’s the argument against making a deal?

And Kenny does not like to give up prospects.

Good for him.  He doesn’t have many qualms about giving them up the waiver wire for nothing though.  And I wonder if he dislikes giving up prospects more or less than he likes standing in an empty arena in April or May.

Nobody likes giving up prospects, but if you can get the right deal and make your team better then it’s a no-brainer.

Posted by Garth on 01/18/12 at 04:48 PM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I hate to be the voice of pessimism, but I think this is getting pie-in-the-sky.  Perhaps your logic about Nick overrides the norms of wheel-dealing, but I think Ruutu is about as big of name as you will see.
I mean, imagine being a NJ fan and trading your captain and best player for a handful of minor leaguers while you are in playoff contention.  Lamierello has to look after the fanbase a little, not to mention playoff revenues.  And maybe they’ll get an investor by that time…...they’re actually playing pretty well.  Mrazek might be the asset that lands Parise’s rights at the draft. 
Rentals can be cheap, but there are quite a few teams bidding.  The spare parts that you guys are offering up are not very enticing; if the win-now mentality is in place for Holland, as you are suggesting, well, it certainly is for at least six other teams as well.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/18/12 at 05:00 PM ET

dougie's avatar

This is some of the most intelligentest hockey talk on the web.

Take a bow, 19.

Posted by dougie on 01/18/12 at 05:01 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