Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Are you satisfied with the progress made by this year’s Red Wings team?

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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awould's avatar

Yes. Given the injuries, I think the end result is fine. I will be happier if Holland can get some more proven talent on the roster instead of more rehab projects and prospects. Also, get Datsyuk signed for at least 2-3 more years.

This summer is crucial.

Posted by awould on 05/10/13 at 02:36 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I wish you’d have waited to post this topic until the Wings’ season is actually over, but…

Yes.  I believe they have exceeded expectations.  Whatever happens tonight - and I’m very much believing the Wings can win - we’ve got a lot of talented young players who have had a taste of some very tough playoff hockey.  And that has got to pay off in the future.  I am very excited about this team moving forward.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/10/13 at 02:39 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

I agree with MsRedWinger and awould! Off season will be interesting and future looks bright, IMO.  Injuries did get the kids some valuable experience.  If the Wings win tonite I feel with Game 7’s home or away, anything can happen!

Posted by OnlyWings on 05/10/13 at 02:52 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I wish you’d have waited to post this topic until the Wings’ season is actually over

Agreed.
I’m not real hopeful that this off season will deliver what we’ve needed for a couple of years now. There’s a pretty slim crop of free agents again this year, and looking through the scrap pile that will be made of compliance buyouts won’t land that top pair D and scoring power forward we need.
Hopefully DDK wasn’t an E52 flash in the pan that will take 3-5 years to solidify himself. If he can play a full season even close to the few games he played this year, that will be a big piece of the puzzle.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/10/13 at 02:54 PM ET

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Yes, I do think satisfactory progress has been made. But I will only be happy in the end if it continues into next season. If you look at last year, I think many people still had “expectations” of the team and were having trouble accepting that it was about to bottom out. Losing to Bubba in round one in unacceptable, and I think taking #2-seeded Ducks to six or seven games (or hell, even BEATING them) is a much greater accomplishment. You could make arguments about a terrible regular season, but in the end it’s all about the playoffs and what you do there, so in my mind, a lot of progress has been made, especially with the low expectations coming into this season.

Like I said though, I do expect progress to continue. I expect a better regular season in 2013-14 as well as a first-round win regardless of what happens tonight or in the next few days. If that doesn’t happen, we’re not moving in the right direction and something needs to change. I do trust the coaching and management and more and more I’m trusting the young players (except Kindl) and I do think this team has a plan and a direction, which is more than many teams can say (some teams like TOR just seem to be a random collection of players, no real direction). If this is rebuilding, I don’t have a problem with it. Seems more like “reloading,” just with a new brand of ammo.

Posted by Diggler from Marquette, MI on 05/10/13 at 02:57 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

According to my expectations at the beginning of the season, they met them.  Considering the injuries, they greatly exceeded my expectations once people started falling apart.

There are too many players in this funnel - this summer will be a great time to trade a few away for an improvement, rather than having them stuck in the press box or in GR.

Posted by TreKronor on 05/10/13 at 02:59 PM ET

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To continue that metaphor, hopefully just a few adjustment shots and we’ll be back on target again.

Posted by Diggler from Marquette, MI on 05/10/13 at 02:59 PM ET

socalwingnut's avatar

With the exception of game 3, they have been in every game until the final seconds. There is reason for optimism and pessimism.  I choose the optimist route and look forward to convincing my wife it’s necessary for me to watch hockey on Mother’s Day.

Posted by socalwingnut on 05/10/13 at 03:00 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

How can you harshly judge the young players.  I thought they were very good.  Smith looks to be struggling a bit down the stretch, but he also shows flashes of future greatness.  Andersson is a great find.  Kindl is showing much much more conficence and handles the puck in the offensive zone very well.  Nyquist has matured maybe most of all.  He is much harder on the puck and more tenacious after the puck when he doesn’t have it. 

That said, I thought the management did a horrible job getting them ready for the season.  We should never have been in a position where we had to break in 3 rookie defensemen beause the only depth available was Colaiacovo, White, Huskins and Quincey.

Finally, and I know this puts me in the minority, I dont’ necessarily like the term length of amount given to Howard.  He shows flashes, is generally solid, but has a career losing record in the playoffs.

Posted by MoreShoot on 05/10/13 at 03:00 PM ET

socalwingnut's avatar

To answer the question posed by George, I am satisfied with the team, all things considered. However we got here, we found out a lot about the ability of the Grif’s players and we now KNOW a lot more of what we have and what we need. The question then becomes what will Kenny do with that information?

Posted by socalwingnut on 05/10/13 at 03:03 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

I’m fine with the progress, but the fact remains KH HAS to get them some help this offseason.  This current group, with Datsyuk probably leaving sooner than later, is going to be a playoff bubble team.  They still need a top 6 forward and a top 2 D-man.  Period.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 05/10/13 at 03:07 PM ET

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Wait until the trade deadline?  Isn’t that what Kenny’s been force-feeding us with no results for 4 seasons?  No thank you.

If KH can’t get Clarkson, he’s far better off sticking with Sammy and Bert, perhaps even giving Fil a 1-year deal at $4 million, than taking someone else’s scrap heap overpaid player.  This team needs a drastic change to be a true contender, as John W. said.

There’s really no other UFA worthy to sign.  KH needs to make a significant trade or two, but I doubt that happens.  And he better not sign Cleary unless he trades/buys out about 5 roster forwards.  Too many kids need to play full time.

Posted by jkm2011 on 05/10/13 at 03:19 PM ET

RWBill's avatar


I wish you’d have waited to post this topic until the Wings’ season is actually over
Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/10/13 at 02:39 PM ET

No kidding!!  There are still plenty of topics for tonight!

By “inside information” does Babcock mean someone is going head hunting on Abdelkader for payback and we need Bertuzzi in there as the only viable backup?

Why Coliaicovo and not White?

Can the first line generate consistent threats or continue to be neutralized by the Ducks?

What about Naomi?

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 05/10/13 at 03:22 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Yes and no to be to the point. Impressed by the kids, they have met and exceeded my expectations. They’ve earned my respect for next year and I will not call them “kids” next year.

The “no” part has me dissapointed in some of the veterans with lack of production. This will be discussed in detail once the season ends so i’ll save it for that. As a collective, there will genuinely be much to build on next season. I expect some dazzling play from some for sure. But lets not dismiss this year yet, let’s get ‘em tonight and go for game 7!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 05/10/13 at 03:43 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Lots of questions, George. Okay, here goes.

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?

Yes and yes. They’ve over acheived as far as I’m concerned.

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?

Yes.

Is that the way in which you’d like to see the team continue to evolve?

Yes.

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?

It would annoy me if Holland doesn’t go after those two pieces (and the goal scorer I want has size and uses it) but it won’t surprise me given Holland’s MO the lasy few years. I’m still annoyed Tick Tock the broken clock didn’t move Filppula and White.

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?

Now that’s a toughie. They should be better, stronger next year but not much. They have to replace some “dead weight” that they’ll hopefully lose this summer with players that aren’t Samuelsson and Colawhateverhisnameis.

 

 

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/13 at 03:46 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Did a lot of thinking about this. Chose to ask it tonight instead of tomorrow or Monday…

Because I just want to cheer for this team and be proud of them regardless of the result o tonight’s game.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/13 at 03:54 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’m with ya, George. If you wait until they are eliminated to ask these questions the natives will be all wound up and you’ll get a lot different (i.e. emotiona) answers.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/13 at 03:57 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

*emotional
Grrrr…..

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/13 at 03:58 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

I’m happy with what the Wings have done, considering the Youth movement and all the injuries suffered. Getting Helm back next season will help immensely, if his freakish injury actually heals (crosses fingers). The inconsistency this season has been shocking, however. It seems like some nights I don’t know what Wings team we’re going to get.

As far as tonight goes, I’m still waiting for Howard to steal a game for us. He’s played great, and i don’t think he deserves blame for any of the losses. But considering his talent, and his past playoff performances, and the new contract, just give me one game jimmy. Put the team on your back, if that’s what it takes, and pull off a W. We need it. Steal a series? I’d be over the moon if he did. But he shouldn’t have to. Oh, and obviously we’ll need to score some goals.

Regarding next season, as people have said, Free Agency looks thin. We need another bona-fide goal scorer, since Franzen is streaky, and Hank and Pasha are pass first. Maybe Ryder, or Clarkson? Although Clarkson only had one big year, so i’m not convinced just yet. I personally don’t see a big trade happening with the Wings, just buyouts and letting some free agents walk. Signing Flip is the big question mark, although i think we should keep him, since who do we replace him with who’s better, or cheaper?

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 05/10/13 at 04:00 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

If by team, you include the front office, then no I’m not satisfied. Kenny did almost less than nothing over the past two years to replace Rafi, Stuie and Lids. Souray is looking pretty good in this series, and he was available last summer.

If by team, you include the coaching staff, then no I’m not satisfied. It really appeared that almost everyone tuned Babs out for most of the season.  Break out passes, particularly from behind Jimmah’s net, have been an issue all season for the young D and the primary problem in this series. Granted, with the lockout, no training camp, and compressed schedule, practice time was at a premium. But some of this still has to fall on the coaching staff.

If by team you mean only the players, then I’m somewhat satisfied. The D is somewhat of a disaster. Kronner and E52 are solid (my keyboard can’t believe I just typed that). Kindl, Smith and Lashoff have been given the opportunity to show what they can do at the NHL level. And unfortunately, from a defensive perspective, it’s not good for the Wings. To me, the fact that DeKeyser in one month has matured past Smith and Lashoff does not bode well for their long term propsects in the NHL.

The goaltending is solid and Jimmah earned that contract.

Overall, with the injuries, I think the forwards did a respectable job. Brunner is great in the O zone and has shown a willingness to work at his defensive liabilities. Hopefully, the Wings can re-sign him (still don’t get why he is a UFA and not a RFA) and he will develop into an amazing two way player. Injuries to Helm, Bert and William Tell obliterated any sense of continuity on the third and fourth lines and hopefully that will not be the case next season. It’s past time to give Buckets a gold watch and a kick upstairs to the scouting staff. I still don’t like 8-13-11 and I still think Babs should have been fired for that the very moment they played a second shift together. But then I don’t know Jack Schitt.

I hope that Kenny has learned something from the Great Defense Drain of 2011-12 and is already planning contingencies for the loss of Pavel. Specifically, 5 seconds after the Wings season is over, Kenny should present a more than fair 3-5 year contract offer to Pavel’s agent with a two week deadline to sign. I fully expect Pavel not to resign. He misses his daughter and I would bail on the Wings too, if I were in his situation. The moment the two weeks are up, put him on the market and trade him before the draft. It will be a collosal screw up if your best asset leaves as a UFA to play for another team and you get nothing in return. Ask the Clevland Cavaliers how they’re doing.

I love Pavel. I dearly wish that he would play his entire career in the Winged Wheel. But I don’t see that happening. This is a business and a cutthroat one at that. For very good reasons, it appears that Pavel will not be showing any loyalty to the Wings. And for very good reasons, the Wings should not be showing any loyalty to him.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/10/13 at 04:05 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

The moment the two weeks are up, put him on the market and trade him before the draft.

Pasha has an NTC. Regardless of the rumor of him going back to Russia, I just don’t see him not finishing his NHL career in the Winged Wheel. He’s had too much success here, and seems like a genuinely loyal person. As is Holland.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 05/10/13 at 04:12 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I’m with ya, George. If you wait until they are eliminated to ask these questions the natives will be all wound up and you’ll get a lot different (i.e. emotiona) answers.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/13 at 03:57 PM ET

Yes, responses to that question following the last game of the year will run on the highly emotional and poorly thought out.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 05/10/13 at 04:12 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Re: Free agency:

From the beginning, it’s been my gut feeling that the Wings are banking on cap-compliance buy-outs bolstering the UFA market substantially. There *will* be players who are bought out because the cap’s going down from $70.2 million to $64.3 million, and there won’t be many places for them to land. It’s going to be a buyer’s market.

For better or worse, Holland is ridiculously consistent in interviews as to what his desires are in terms of adding players, and Draper, who’s been on the radio more than Holland of late, has followed that game plan.

According to both Holland and Draper, the Wings want to add at least 2 and maybe 3 players this summer: a top-pair defenseman, a goal-scorer and possibly a big, mean forward who can help the Wings grind things out in the East. Targets 2 and 3 may have to be the same player.

Re: Datsyuk:

I will say this: I fully believe that Holland, Martin, Draper, the coaching staff and Datsyuk’s teammates will work their asses off to even attempt to get ONE more post-2013-2014 season out of him. He’s absolutely adored in the locker room, adored by the coaches and valued incredibly highly by management. They will fight to keep him around for as long as they can.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/13 at 04:14 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

FTR Datsyuk spoke to Sport-Express’s Slava Malamud about 2 weeks ago, and he stressed that it was VERY IMPORTANT to him that he a) keep playing for the Wings until at least next summer and b) that he plays his entire NHL career with 1 team.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/13 at 04:20 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

According to both Holland and Draper, the Wings want to add at least 2 and maybe 3 players this summer: a top-pair defenseman, a goal-scorer and possibly a big, mean forward who can help the Wings grind things out in the East. Targets 2 and 3 may have to be the same player.

If that get those ^^^  I’ll be a happy camper.
About the buyouts, I am wondering if there will be anybody worth a darn.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 05/10/13 at 04:26 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Re: Datsyuk:
I will say this: I fully believe that Holland, Martin, Draper, the coaching staff and Datsyuk’s teammates will work their asses off to even attempt to get ONE more post-2013-2014 season out of him. He’s absolutely adored in the locker room, adored by the coaches and valued incredibly highly by management. They will fight to keep him around for as long as they can.
Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/10/13 at 04:14 PM ET

All of that is true, but meaningless against the pull of needing to be near your child.

Given the position Pavel is putting the Wings (if he choses not to sign an extension), I would hope that Pavel would waive the NTC. Even as a 1 year rent a player, he is worth a lot.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/10/13 at 04:26 PM ET

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According to my expectations at the beginning of the season, they met them.  Considering the injuries, they greatly exceeded my expectations once people started falling apart.

I think TreKronor sums it up nicely. This season ended up being a lot tougher than I was expecting. They really pulled together to get into the playoffs which might be the most valuable piece. They became a team. Kenny also isn’t likely screw up and ship the heart-and-soul out like Sather did with the Rangers last year.

Posted by beardChamp on 05/10/13 at 04:29 PM ET

calquake's avatar

But then I don’t know Jack Schitt.

FINALLY!  We agree on something… cheese

Here’s a question for the 19.  If the Wings can only get 1 of a) goal scoring winger or b) top 4 D-man which would you choose?  I’d want the bigger, goal scoring winger because, surprisingly enough, scoring goals has been Detroit’s biggest weakness this year.

Posted by calquake on 05/10/13 at 04:33 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Haven’t ready anything, jumped down here to say, I guarantee we’re not letting go of Emmerton.  Especially not after his year this year.  For Helm to go down and Abby to be plucked for the top 6.. and Emmerton to come in and play like he did, consistent, high energy, good hockey sense.  He’s had some sick INTENTIONAL deflection goals this year too, he’ll just get better.

Emmerton will stay, even if it means Eaves goes and that would suck royally as well, but Emmerton is a fixture.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/10/13 at 04:50 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

And to the overall question.  I’m more than satisfied with their mental development this year, but I’d like to see them keep pushing and I’m not going to be content with losing, ever.  I think we got what it takes to run for the cup as far as talent goes. 


If this team can build on their mental faculties and learn to always play the hardest you can, not the hardest you need to win, it’ll be lethal in short order.  Vet teams make mistakes, this is a parity league.  Even veteran all-star players are going to make stupid mistakes, they’re human.  If you play just hard enough to win, if you have a hiccup, lapse, bad luck, you put the win on the line.  Team still has a bad habit, from the vets on down of playing to their competitions level.

But they’re working on it and I don’t think the kids particularly like losing either and they seem to be hungry so, yes, I’m very happy with the team this year.  Especially when it seemed like it was in spite of some moves or non-moves.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/10/13 at 04:55 PM ET

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I am satisfied by the development of the kids - Nyquist, Andersen, Brunner (UFA!), Kindl, and DeKeyser.  It’s rounding into a solid 2nd line and two top-4 defensement.  Solid players going forward, but I’m not sure any are stars. Tatar looks good too, and there are big hopes for Jurco, Jarnok, Sheehan, Ferraro, Pulkkinen, and Almquist.

So it’s time to trade some of them.

The fact is there is no one on the UFA list for next year that is a compelling D-man to add. No one young enough / good enough to blow $4-5 million per. No one who has good puck moving, offensive skills that are a missing component of this team.  But via trade for contracted D-men & RFA’s are a different story.

No, we’re not gonna get Shea Weber. Forget that.  But with the floor going down as well there will be some teams looking to get cheaper and looking for some clear NHL level talent to claim this is a good hockey trade.

Yandle anyone?

Posted by CJBear71 on 05/10/13 at 05:00 PM ET

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I think this season has been a success as the Wings made the playoffs and got to see what they had reaped from the farm.  The Wings have given the Ducks all they could handle and guys like Nyquist, Smith and Dekeyser (among many others) have all played huge roles in the Wings season.  This means that this summer should be very interesting as Holland now has more options, will he finally trade body for bodies?  Or continue to chase his own players and ex-players around in free agency.  But the playoff experience that has been gained by Smith, Nyquist, Andersson, Dekeyser and even Lashoff will pay huge dividends down the road.  I just hope we cut some dead weight this summer with the comfort of knowing that the team has depth.

Posted by bababooey on 05/10/13 at 05:01 PM ET

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I’m satisfied with what Detroit did this year, because in the new NHL making the playoffs is a sign of success.

I’m somewhat less enamored of the teams immediate future because I have huge concerns about a) whether Howard will warn his money b) the degree to which Zetterberg will under-earn his contract, c) the reality that Datsyuk’s just not a top 10 NHL forward anymore and d) that Detroit just doesn’t have anybody who can produce much at ES, anywhere on the ice.

I think Detroit will be a playoff team for another couple years at least, but given point A I have doubts they’ll be able to do much more than that.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 05/10/13 at 05:17 PM ET

SYF's avatar

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?

I’ve been fairly excited to see the kids finally get their shot at the big time.  48 games is not a really good sample size but large enough to get a glimpse of who can play at this level.  We’ve seen the kids we’ve wanted to see for a while.  The only frustrating thing is getting them into the lineup on a regular basis and letting them create a chemistry.  So far, Nike and Mr. Andersson have been an enormous revelation.  With Brooooner, they’ve become fairly dangerous, but also a little soft defensively.  In time, they’ll get better and I just can’t wait to see HOW MUCH BETTER.

65DD is the most beautiful set of tits I’ve ever seen.  That guy smoothly, darn near effortlessly understood that the Wings weakest part of defense is the breakout pass.  He figured it out already and that’s why the most shitacular team in the league, the DuhUcks, went out of their way to hammer him hard in Game Three and they got what they wanted.  Loads of hockey sense you just can’t teach.

Overall, this has been a tough season to witness.  In a transition season, for this team to even make the playoffs and take the POS DuhUcks to six, maybe seven, games is a revelation.  No matter what, I cannot wait for TC in TC to begin this September.

Now, let’s win Game Six.  LGRW.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 05/10/13 at 05:18 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

It is supremely clear that we need another top 6 scoring threat, evidenced perfectly by Franzen. When he’s playing his best - the Wings score in bunches. When he’s not - we tend to go .500 or below. When he’s on, he’s that solid top 6 guy. The problem is that he’ll never always be on.

Equally important that we get another puck moving top 4 Dman and spend the summer working on the kids’ outlet pass. The ducks have dominated on the fore check this series, sending two ducks behind the net after the D man, knowing he’s about to screw up and turn the puck over. Just think how many odd man rushes there would have been against that system with Lidstrom or Rafalski starting the rush. Opposing coaches wouldn’t dare be so aggressive. Howard would have half the workload, and would likely let in less soft 3d period goals.

Speaking of which, it wouldn’t hurt to have a backup that’s worth a damn. Hell, we may have one now - but Babs refuses to rest Howard. Ever. I think that might explain his relatively pedestrian playoff performances. By the time he’s in the big show, the dude has to be gassed.

The problem is we ain’t gettin none o that till 2014. I’m alright with that. Get the kids some ice time and wait for the beauty that is the ‘14 UFA class. Unless there are a whole mess of buyouts, bringing values down to earth this summer, I foresee another summer of standing pat. For better or for worse, Kenny’s not gonna over pay. He’s not gonna take risks.

Hopefully he works his magic soon. One more season of suck, then reload.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 05/10/13 at 05:23 PM ET

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Very happy with the play and development of the younger players this year, but I thought some of the vets should have been better.  I felt the coaching staff could have been better as well, but the compressed schedule coupled with a different lineup every night because of injuries can’t have made things easy.  I’ll wait until next year to rail into the coaching staff if necessary.

I don’t know what to think about Holland and management.  I feel they’ve been way too conservative ever since the loss to Pittsburgh in the Finals.  On the other hand, they’ve managed not to cripple the team long term and make sure they have options every year.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned, lately those have all turned into safe options.  I hate saying “let’s see what happens during the offseason then at next year’s trade deadline”, because I know I’ve been saying that way too much lately.  But…..we’ll see.

There are only two things that will instantly sour me on management during the offseason.  First, if Cleary is brought back.  He gives as much heart and effort as anyone, but that won’t get it done when your body doesn’t listen anymore.  Secondly, Fil is signed for more than 4$ mil a year.  I’m still hesitant at that amount, but more than that is not acceptable for what he brings on a game to game basis.

Hopeful for tonight, hopeful for next year.  The potential is there.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 05/10/13 at 05:27 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

c) the reality that Datsyuk’s just not a top 10 NHL forward anymore

I get that this is probably just a manifestation of your shtick with the being acerbic while smarter than everyone else, but he was tied for 10th in points, 9th in +/-, 15th in ppg and tied for second in gwg. 

That seems pretty much like a top ten player.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/10/13 at 05:28 PM ET

Sweet Jesus's avatar

I agree with TreKronor:  if you had asked me before the season whether I’d be happy with making the playoffs and flaming out after the first round, I would have said yes.  (That was the ceiling I had in mind at the beginning of the season anyway.) 

If you had told me that Helm, Bert, and Sammy (essentially) would miss the entire season and asked me the same question, my jaw would have dropped and I would have told you it was impossible.  The number of kids that have played, and the way they have played, has been beyond my wildest hopes.  There have been growing pains, no doubt, but they have played remarkably well, and rarely embarrassed themselves on an NHL rink. 

Really, adding in the DeKeyser acquisition, the future looks remarkably bright.

Posted by Sweet Jesus on 05/10/13 at 05:32 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Trade Babcock and Quincey for Tippet and Yandle.

Easy. Kenny should hire me.

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 05/10/13 at 05:37 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

The truth is that the current team could be so much better if they actually had time to work on the small defensive things. Then they would have worked on actual offense for more of the season and would have won more of those close games, and probably would now have the confidence to close out a game and not blow 1- and 3-goal leads in the third periods in playoff games. I think having a real training camp will be the biggest thing for this team next season.

If they can also add a big, penalty-killing, time-eating defenseman (since I think with DeKeyser being DeKeyser, Kindl and Smith will be able to be more offensive defenseman) and a consistent(-ish) scoring forward, that would be great. But Helm coming back healthy will be bigger.

And if they somehow manage to win this series, things will look much better going into next postseason. Baring the team getting decimated by injuries again.

Posted by bleep bloop on 05/10/13 at 05:56 PM ET

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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.