The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/03/14 at 03:37 PM ET
I've been a little busy with my own "Pacifica-body injury" (thank Gord I drive that car...It's saved my ass repeatedly) over the past couple of days, but I've been thinking about this for a long time, and between Darren Helm's inability to play in the Winter Classic due to a groin injury, Jonas Gustavsson's inability to play in the Winter Classic due to a groin injury and Danny DeKeyser's status as the latest groin-injured Wing...
Maybe the Wings need to do an audit of their fitness, nutritional and training programs, from the workouts the Wings engage in during "off-days," before and after during games, their warm-up and cool-down procedures, the supplements and nutrition intakes, the way the trainers treat them, you name it, everything.
Between the groins, the shoulders, the back injuries, players pulling themselves out of warm-ups, the fact that the injuries aren't confined to the team's high-mileage players, and especially given the fact that the Wings have played perhaps a handful of games with a fullly healthy lineup over the past three seasons, it's time to review and attempt to implement "best practices."
The Wings don't need to conduct a hostile IRS-style tax audit, however, and they don't need to "fire" anybody.
When you suffer as many injuries as the Red Wings have sustained over the past couple of years, an organization has a responsibility to ensure that its employees are all availing themselves of the best possible means by which to ensure that everyone is performing to the maximums of their performance envelopes, and that the ship is running as efficiently as possible.
The Vancouver Canucks are a great example of how audits can work well: worried about players struggling due to a lack of sleep, so they consulted with sleep specialists and essentially had their players wear modified pedometer watches to clock their, "I'm going to bed now, I'm getting up now, and this is when I'm moving about" times, and their on-ice performance tangibly improved.
It wasn't a magic bullet, but the organization's willingness to exhaust every avenue by which to ensure that their players would perform to their utmost told the players, the coaches and the rest of the league that the corny, "Think outside the box" line is not always a cliche: sometimes a willingness to do things differently in fact encourages and empowers employees to do things better.
And that's the purpose an audit would serve: It wouldn't be about punishment: it would involve ensuring that the team explores every option to improve itself and the Red Wings fans who've paid so much money to watch "Wiffins" teams play over the past couple of years can tell you firsthand that the Wings need to find new ways to earn more bang for their and everyone else's buck.
The Wings spend an inordinate amount of time, energy and effort attempting to build a winning machine, and it's clearly time for that machine to get a tune-up and an oil change.
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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.