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Evening Line

“It’s minor, nothing major. He started to skate three weeks ago and felt some discomfort. It’s not the same as last year, it’s in a different location. So it’s a little confusing.’‘

-Ken Holland, GM of the Detroit Red Wings on the knee issue with Niklas Kronwall.  More on this from Ansar Kahn of Mlive.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: niklas+kronwall

Comments

SYF's avatar

I leaked a little.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/31/10 at 12:16 AM ET

Primis's avatar

What was that about not needing Mitchell?  Yeeeaaaahhh…..

Posted by Primis on 08/31/10 at 12:25 AM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

what was that about not being able to afford Mitchell?  Yeeeaaaahhh…..

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 08/31/10 at 12:37 AM ET

Primis's avatar

what was that about not being able to afford Mitchell?  Yeeeaaaahhh…..

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 08/30/10 at 10:37 PM ET

We’ve been over this.

Modano and Salei are about what, $2.8m or $2.9m combined?

Mitchell signed w/ LA for $3.5m.

Very.. very doable, had they wanted to.  And they didn’t, and spent elsewhere.  Now if Kronner’s knee is going to go all Laraque again, I’d like to know who of Salei, Ericsson, Meech, or Kindl plays second pairing with Stuart.

Posted by Primis on 08/31/10 at 01:20 AM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Kronwall hasn’t missed any time yet (and even with this procedure done he might not miss anything more than training camp).  Even if he does, I think that the difference Mitchell over Salei for 10-20 games as the #4 defenseman is smaller than the difference of Modano over Abdelkader as the 3rd line center for 82 games.  Rolling four strong lines with the circus on top is going to give this team a completely different look, and being able to pin the other team in their own end with any line will help the defense immensely.  I don’t think it makes sense to give a guy a multi year deal with a $3million dollar cap hit to play on your third defensive pairing because he might have to substitute with the second pair for a couple of games.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/31/10 at 02:36 AM ET

Avatar

Rolling four strong lines with the circus on top is going to give this team a completely different look

I’d feel MUCH better having a very solid top four than having Modano on any one of our lines.

Posted by Garth on 08/31/10 at 10:48 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t think it makes sense to give a guy a multi year deal with a $3million dollar cap hit to play on your third defensive pairing because he might have to substitute with the second pair for a couple of games.

Posted by ChrisinA^2 from the University of Michigan on 08/31/10 at 12:36 AM ET

Agreed.  We’d have lost out on Modano/Salei and Drew Miller for Willie Mitchell’s cap hit just to cover the worry that Niklas Kronwall is maybe going to miss games.

You know, the Willie Mitchell who is a big question mark himself because of that concussion last year?  The Willie Mitchell who is at worst one big hit away from thinking he’s Dennis Mitchell?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/31/10 at 11:17 AM ET

Osrt's avatar

Rolling four strong lines with the circus on top is going to give this team a completely different look, and being able to pin the other team in their own end with any line will help the defense immensely.

This. If Babbles can keep the Circus together regularly, it’s worth a helluva lot more than a big Willie.

Posted by Osrt on 08/31/10 at 12:15 PM ET

Avatar

If Babbles can keep the Circus together regularly, it’s worth a helluva lot more than a big Willie.

I’d be much happier with question marks in our bottom six forwards than in our defense.

Not that Willie Mitchell would be the answer, but Salei is as much of a question mark as Mitchell is, with his back, while Ericsson and Kindl are question marks in their own rights.  Add in Kronwall’s injury and I’d gladly sacrifice Mike Modano for something stable on the blue line.

Posted by Garth on 08/31/10 at 12:44 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Posted by Primis on 08/30/10 at 11:20 PM ET

Let me get this straight…you are suggesting that Detroit should have spent all 2.8mil of that cap space on another defenseman who is also a very big question mark in terms of health to play mostly on the 3rd defensive pairing? 

That is, of course, assuming Mitchell would have accepted a contract to a team where he is a 3rd pairing player, AND for a bargain price.

And yes, I am aware that Salei’s health is also in question, but he also cost 2mil less than the number we would have hoped Mitchell would have accepted.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 08/31/10 at 01:15 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

I’d be much happier with question marks in our bottom six forwards than in our defense.
-Garth

I’m the other way on this issue.  You can hide deficiencies in your bottom defensive pairing, both by matching them against the bottom of the other team’s roster and by spending less time in your defensive zone.  Quite frankly, there’s almost no real scoring threats in the NHL bottom six.  For this same reason, having depth through four lines is such an asset in the NHL.  Teams are going to have a much harder time matching up and defending against an offensively deep team than they are going to have scoring against a team with some issue on its bottom D-pairing.  That said, if healthy the wings defense should still be much better now than it was at the beginning of last season.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/31/10 at 02:01 PM ET

Avatar

You can hide deficiencies in your bottom defensive pairing

Like Detroit did last year?

This year’s additions are just so counter intuitive to what Detroit has been doing for the last several years, which was building from the defense forward.

Look, we’ve got more offensive depth now, but with our relative lack of defensive depth (any injury to a top four d-man and we could be in big trouble) it’s possible that we would need to win games 7-6 like we did in the 08-09 regular season.  Will the addition of Modano allow us to do that?

And if Jimmy has any kind of sophomore slump, or Osgood doesn’t have the bounceback year that everyone (inexplicably, in my opinion) thinks he’s going to have, then not having a deeper defense corps is going to be a lot worse than having Abdelkader as our third-line centre.

I still see the same problem I saw before Modano and Salei were signed.  If Modano doesn’t live up to the expectations, then it’s not a big deal because we’ve got Abdelkader or Draper who can step in, but if Kronwall or Salei miss any kind of time it could be huge trouble, because Ericsson is not a lock and Kindl is still a question mark.

Posted by Garth on 08/31/10 at 02:12 PM ET

Primis's avatar

If Modano doesn’t live up to the expectations, then it’s not a big deal because we’ve got Abdelkader or Draper who can step in, but if Kronwall or Salei miss any kind of time it could be huge trouble, because Ericsson is not a lock and Kindl is still a question mark.

Posted by Garth on 08/31/10 at 12:12 PM ET

EXACTLY.  There was already enough depth at forward, and not necessarily enough on. defense

Now, Jonny Ericsson could give everyone a big STFU and have a great season, but I don’t know if he has it in him at this point.  I think Wings fans are going to absolutely HATE Salei they way they’ve hated Lilja, and I think Modano will get hurt in November and miss much of the season anyways.

Everyone knows Mitchell is still a bit of a risk and gamble.  However, he has upside that a guy like Salei never had in his life, and probably upside Ericsson won’t have either.

And yes, I am aware that Salei’s health is also in question, but he also cost 2mil less than the number we would have hoped Mitchell would have accepted.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 08/31/10 at 11:15 AM ET

He cost $2m less because he’s just not that good.

Posted by Primis on 08/31/10 at 02:32 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Like Detroit did last year?

Deficient, not god awful, and with offensive depth.  If Big Rig gets completely lost and Kindl/Salei are as ineffective as Lebda, then you have a really big problem.  I trust that the wings are expecting more out of them.

I don’t think it’s so un-Red Wing like either.  When in the cap era have they gone out and signed a top four D man free agent to shore up the bottom pair?  They won the cup with Lilja, Lebda and Chellios as the bottom pair.  No one really does it in the NHL either.  LA, Philadelphia, Vancouver and Toronto are the only guys paying big money to bottom pairing defensemen, but Sopel and Finger don’t really count.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/31/10 at 02:39 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

LA, Philadelphia, Vancouver, Atlanta and Toronto*.  Atlanta accidentally got deleted

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/31/10 at 02:41 PM ET

Avatar

I don’t think it’s so un-Red Wing like either.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that signing Mitchell is the answer because he IS a question mark, but I do think it is un-Red Wing like to make a depth signing that isn’t addressing a specific need in the bottom six at the expense of defense.  And we’re not really even talking defensive depth so much as a defensive need.

Salei may or may not be the solution to the question marks on defense in Detroit, but Modano sure as hell isn’t.

Posted by Garth on 08/31/10 at 02:55 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I don’t see as big a problem with depth defensemen.  If Kronwall goes down for an extended stretch, that leaves us with needing one of three question marks in Ericsson, Kindl, and Salei to step up and be a passable 2nd-pairing guy while Kronwall gets healthy.  If all three suck, then we’re screwed anyway.  Our eighth defenseman right now is Janik, who we all know can be a passable solid d-first third-paring guy and there’s the outside chance that Smith may absolutely wow and earn himself consideration. 

Other than that, if Kronwall goes down, we’ll already have something like a million and a half to address a stopgap need while he gets healthy, or we could go absolutely stupid nuts and use Kronwall’s cap hit to look for a temporary $4M solution to our 2nd-pair depth problems (and then hide somebody in Europe when he gets back, since apparently cap circumvention only matters when it benefits both a player AND a team).

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/31/10 at 03:36 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

I expect Modano to be Filppula from 08-09.  Speedy center that plays well at both ends and has the skills to make plays in the offensive zone - maybe playing on a winning team and on the same line as good players for the first time in 2 years will make him more than that.  Having him on your third line with good wingers will give other teams migraines and lets Zetterberg and Datsyuk play on the same line.  It’s a luxury, not a need, but it’s essential to what the wings are trying to do with their offense this season. 

As far as defensive depth, the issue isn’t signing Mitchel but any FA defenseman.  I don’t think its worth spending big money on a guy for the third pairings and the wings haven’t done that either.  If not Salei or Mitchell, then who?  I actually think the D will be OK.  Ericsson improved at the end of the year and was actually a plus player in the playoffs (while playing 10 min more per night than Lilja).  Salei will be a serviceable 3rd pairing guy.  I’m more worried about the sloppy play from the other guys in the playoffs and hope that can be attributed to fatigue.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/31/10 at 03:45 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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