The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/10/13 at 02:17 PM ET
I asked this question on Twitter, and ahead of what may be the last Red Wings game fans like you and me witness until training camp and the exhibition season get underway in September...
If the Wings' playoff push ends tonight, and "the kids" don't quite deliver against the Ducks, will you be satisfied with the progress made by a Red Wings team enduring a transitional year and an embraced-by-necessity youth movement? Do making the playoffs despite so many self-inflicted stumbles and giving the Ducks a run for their money constitute "enough" for you?
Certainly, the Wings' lateral unrestricted free agency moves fell far short of expectations, and the team's litany of injuries nearly damned it, but given that the team was dressing 7-8 "rookies" out of its 18 skaters during its playoff run, given that the team was dressing half a roster's worth of rookies on many nights during the regular season...
And given that we're going to see the team part ways with more vets this summer to accommodate Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Damien Brunner, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser, Brian Lashoff and Tomas Tatar playing on an every-night basis (though I'm sure that Todd Bertuzzi will be given every opportunity tonreturn to health and earn regular shifts,too), do you feel comfortable with the Wings sticking with their "youth movement" going forward, pursuit of a top-pair defenseman and goal-scoring forward on the cap-compliance buy-out market excluded?
Between DeKeyser becoming an every-day player, Lashoff likely to start next year as the team's #7 defenseman, Tomas Tatar joining the team, Darren Helm returning and Justin Abdelkader likely to receive more ice time on the top two lines as an interim Tomas Holmstrom replacement, and given that the vast majority of Ian White, Carlo Colaiacovo, Danny Cleary, Valtteri Filppula, Drew Miller and possibly Mikael Samuelsson, Jonas Gustavsson, Cory Emmerton and/or Patrick Eaves not returning, this team is going to get even "younger" by Red Wings standards over the summer.
Is that the way in which you'd like to see the team continue to evolve?
And how would you feel if the Wings don't go after that top-six, goal-scoring forward or a top-pair defenseman until next year's trade deadline to give the team's youth movement more time to solidify itself?
Tonight may be the last time we see our Wings play for four months. If the team's eliminated, a chunk of the roster will head to Stockholm and Helsinki to take part in the World Championships, some of the team's prospects will join the Grand Rapids Griffins, and by Monday, the team's locker room will be cleaned out and players will begin to take part in exit interviews with a management team that is also in transition (I'm still kind of stunned that Ken Holland, Ryan Martin and Kris Draper allowed Jim Nill to start working for the Dallas Stars before the Draft as Nill both made the final pick-calling decisions during the draft and worked as the Grand Rapids Griffins' GM).
Postmortems will be penned in a hurry, and within a couple of weeks, we'll be reading more translated Swedish, Finnish, Russian (Datsyuk and Filppula are likely to head to the Worlds, but I'm not so sure about the Wings' Swedes) and stories about off-season surgeries to come than we will about a team that may have very well mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted itself making its last-couple-weeks playoff push to the point that it has been unable to overcome mental and physical fatigue during its mistake-laden and self-inflicted-wound-marred series against Anaheim....
And that's not to say that the Wings won't be able to rally and win both tonight and Sunday--I fully believe that this team has the grit, drive, talent, determination and leadership to pull off yet another miraculous comeback--but if the chips are finally down tonight, and this is the end of the 2012 Wings, do you feel or believe that they've done enough to prove that they're at least on their way to establishing a post-Nicklas Lidstrom/Tomas Holmstrom identity, and do you believe that they're going to be a better, stronger team next season?
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.