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Red Wings-Blues quick take: Wings need to get their s*** together in a hurry

Update: Crap:

Between the poop jokes when Jimmy Howard left the game with who-knows-what late in the 2nd period (the Wings are indeed suffering from a team-wide "flu bug" and some sort of stomach virus is in fact "going around" in Metro Detroit) and the number of Wings fans who hopped off the bandwagon over the course of Detroit's 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Monday, I'm wondering how many fans are actually left after this game.

Were the Red Wings any good? In, pardon what I suppose everyone thinks is a pun, spurts. But the Red Wings kept on trying to force set plays on their one 5-on-3, despite the short periods of time when the refs called everything, the Blues really manhandled the Wings physically and out-sped them to pucks all night long, and due perhaps to a lack of a net-front presence (paging Ken Holland, don't wait for the deadline, go and grab Steve Ott or someone else whose butt sticks to goalies?), the Wings' offense is awful:

Minus a possibly injured Howard, Daniel Alfredsson (back), Joakim Andersson (groin), Pavel Datsyuk (???), Cory Emmerton (messed up pinky), Jonathan Ericsson (coming back Wednesday), Johan Franzen (concussion buddies forever!), Jonas Gustavsson (groin, back soon?) and Stephen Weiss, the Wings are "undermanned" to put it mildly...

But the Wings are so far gone in terms of the Wild Card race that even a relative optimist like me will state that one should never make a habit of trying to beat the odds, because the odds, statistically speaking, tend to win.

As such, in a very weird way, despite the personnel, despite valiant goaltending from their beleaguered netminder, and despite bad puck luck (the blues scored 2 goals in 1:10 to take a 3-1 lead they'd never surrender, at 1:01 and 2:21 of the 2nd period), bizarre refereeing (as you might imagine after the Wings got a break off the netting), despite the power play woes, and despite the fact that Gustav Nyquist getting off the schneid seemed to require the rest of the team to start squeezing its sticks too hard and to stop attacking Halak altogether, this loss was and is completely unacceptable.

That's really the truth at this point--the Wings' division opponents and possible playoff-spot-grabbing opponents (Columbus? Again?) are playing far too well for the Wings to continue stumbling.

The artificially lowered cap ensured that we would be watching the Red Wings take part in a two-year rebuilding process, and we all knew that the post-Lidstrom Wings would need much more than 48 games' worth of time to establish their new identity.

Saturday's scraps with LA were supposed to galvanize a team that came out against an even more physical game than the Kings with no physical impetus save Lue Glendening's increasingly acerbic play, however, and the Wings never managed to establish the hallmarks of their game regardless of personnel issues--puck possession, lots of shot attempts and butts in front of goalies.

The last part of the equation has been the most difficult for the Wings to establish on a nightly basis, and if Ken Holland is indeed going to wait until after the Olympics to make a real move to stablize the defense and/or add more offense, it would certainly appear that the Wings may want to waive Patrick Eaves to see if they can find someone else from Grand Rapids who can provide a more urgent physical and/or offensive spark, and in the interim?

We hope that Howard's only ill as, all of a sudden, the season's on the line when the vaunted Blackhawks come to town for a real, honest-to-goodness "rivalry night" game on Wendesday.

Assuming that you haven't already jumped off the bandwagon and want to see this team fail because you're too frustrated to put up with this frustrating team and want your anger to be vindicated. And that kind of mentality, well, that shit's spreading like nobody's business.

Especially given that, as of tonight, between the standings, the injured players, and the wretchedly moribund performance of the remaining Wiffins, the shit has officially hit the fan, and it really is officially okay for fans to hit the panic button.

The Red Wings need to remember that, regardless of their personnel, the expectations remain fixed upon earning a playoff spot every year, and in all honesty, the Wings have underachieved for so very long since their late-November flourish, especially at home...

That we fans deserve better for our time, energy, money and frustration.

But it's up to them to play better, not us, and if you want to step off the bandwagon on January 20th, that's up to you. Please don't make too big of a mess as you leap as I've attempted to pad the floors and walls as best as I was able to do.

This shit isn't gonna cut it, and I don't know what the personnel answers are, but I know what the results answers are, and the Detroit Red Wings have to be better than this from here on out, plain and simple:

Including the quality of the competition, including the injuries, including the breaks, blah blah blah blah blah, it's up to the Red Wings to decide whether they can in fact make the playoffs for the 24th year and 23rd season, or whether they'll be able to earn the devotion of their remaining fans along the way.

Tonight? The Red Wings stank, and I only wish that I could say that I was healthy enough to give the Wings' struggles full TMR attention, but I'm still on the IR, too (though I am slowly getting better).

Statistics:

Shots 39-23 St. Louis overall. Detroit was out-shot 18-7 in the 1st, 12-6 in the 2nd and the Wings actually out-shot St. Louis 10-9 in the 3rd.

Special teams: the Blues went 1-for-5 in 7:37 of PP time; the Wings went 1-for-6 in 7:11 of PP time, including 0-for-1 in 1:27 of 5 on 3 time.

Goaltending: Jimmy Howard stopped 22 of 25 shots and Petr Mrazek stopped 13 of 14 shots for the Red Wings; Jaroslav Halak stopped 22 of 23 shots for the Blues.

The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness picked the 3 stars, and he picked Jay Bouwmeester, Kevin Shattenkirkr and Alex Steen.

The Red Wings' goal: Nyquist (6) from Zetterberg (24) and Sheahan (4), PPG.

Faceoffs 39-25 Detroit (Detroit won 61%);

Blocked shots 15-13 Detroit;

Missed shots 14-10 Detroit (total attempts 64-50 St. Louis, with the Wings firing 23 shots on Halak and 27 wide/blocked);

Hits 18-17 St. Louis;

Giveaways 4-4;

Takeaways 6-5 St. Louis.

One last update: Here's the coach:

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Comments

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CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Wings fans generally, and the 19 in particular, are the most fervent loyal fans around. Hell, Detroit sports fans are the most loyal around. Most of us grew up as Detroit sports fans and have retained that loyalty despite the numerous economic diasporas that have spread us Michganders far and wide.

That doesn’t mean we don’t question what the Wings are doing. Blind loyalty is never a good thing. We may rip on Holland and Babs, but that doesn’t mean we do not love the Wings.

Babs is probably the best possible coach for a team of talented vets. He is probably the worst possible coach for a team of youngsters. We’re stuck with Babs and vets like Sammy, Buckets, Bert and Fredo at least until the end of this season. It looks like The Wings will have a great draft position for the first time in a generation. Let the Vets go and develop the yungins.

Why does Buckets look 10 years older than Magic Man on the ice, when his is, in fact, younger? I was timing Buckets on that breakaway last night with a sun dial.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/21/14 at 02:13 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

I was timing Buckets on that breakaway last night with a sun dial.

Man, that was sad.  He looked like an old lady.
shut eye

Posted by w2j2 on 01/21/14 at 02:42 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

HockeyinHD: 

Well said!

Posted by w2j2 on 01/21/14 at 02:45 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Speaking of great hockey, did anybody else see T. J. Oshie knock the puck away from one of the Wings?  He knocked it into the side board, then he went forward and picked up the rebound off the side board and was off for a breakaway, leaving the Wing to wonder what happened.  That was a great play.

Posted by w2j2 on 01/21/14 at 02:50 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

He’ll be 20 lbs heavier than Homer in a couple years, and he might skate better.  And, as you say, he’s a center. I think he’d be less valuable on the wing

Sheahan doesn’t have to play on the wing to be a net-front presence on the power play. That’s the reference I was making to him being a “Homer replacement.”

Many teams over the last few years have had more injuries than the Wings.  Stop making excuses for the horrible management of this team, the awful free agent signings and the refusal to cut ties with the past and not promote and integrate the prospects on this team is a direct fault of management and their over reliance on washed up ex-Wings.

Posted by bababooey on 01/21/14

Very few people who talk about the Wings injuries claim that they’d be great if they were injury-free. And most of those people also accept that management has screwed up with their signings and their refusal to promote the younguns until they’re “over-ripe.”.

The two points are not mutually exclusive. I fact, the injuries actually maginify the poor management decisions.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/21/14 at 02:52 PM ET

Avatar

Wings fans generally, and the 19 in particular, are the most fervent loyal fans around. Hell, Detroit sports fans are the most loyal around.

Maybe.  Tell you what, though… look at the seats at a Pistons game some time.  An absence of success decreases fan interest, and I don’t think Detroit’s somehow immune from that, nor do I think the Wings are either.  The Dead Things era wasn’t exactly all about a rollicking barn stuffed with patrons.

A 3-5 year period where Detroit’s missing the playoffs and getting run non-competitively in the first round would make the 19 the 11 or 12.  That’s not ripping on people or even a team or even a sport, it’s just an acknowledgement of human behavior.

People don’t go to Pistons games.  When the Tigers sucked people didn’t go to Tigers games.  When the Wings sucked people didn’t go to Wings games.  People still go to Lions games even though they suck, but 8 home games is a little different than 41 or 82 and even in that case the Lions weren’t selling out every game.

Blind loyalty is never a good thing. We may rip on Holland and Babs, but that doesn’t mean we do not love the Wings.

That’s true, it’s just not what I was talking about.  There’s honest discussion and criticism and then there’s the rabid, spoiled rotten, foot-stomping, tip over the checkerboard because the Wings are losing tantrums.  The ‘we as fans deserve…’ tripe.

Babs is probably the best possible coach for a team of talented vets. He is probably the worst possible coach for a team of youngsters.

I don’t know, I think the Ducks were pretty young, and at worst they certainly weren’t old, when Babcock coached them and he did alright for them.  He was a pretty kick ass coach at the WHL level, and those guys are young by definition.

Babcock’s coaching bleeping Team bleeping Canada.  His coaching acumen shouldn’t even be in the top 20 of discussion topics regarding how to improve the Wings.

The two points are not mutually exclusive. I fact, the injuries actually maginify the poor management decisions.

That’s nonsensical, OTC.  The only reason Detroit’s even vaguely in this at all is because of how great the management team has done.  All those players you’re ripping management for not playing more or sooner?  Yeah… who picked those guys in the first place?

Are there mistakes on the roster?  Sure.  Have some contracts not worked out?  Sure.  That’s just the reality of being a professional, though.  Not everything goes right every time.  Datsyuk doesn’t win every faceoff or score on every shot or make every defensive play either.  That doesn’t mean he sucks, it means he’s a human being paying a game against other human beings.  You can’t win them all.

Seriously, can anyone here name a player that’s had a great year?  Pretty much every player on the team with the possible exceptions of Gustavsson and Mrazek can be placed on the ‘meeting expectations matrix’ somewhere between ‘ok’ and ‘they suck’.  That’s not Holland’s fault or Babcock’s fault.  That’s players on the roster not meeting pretty standard expectations of them.

Detroit doesn’t have a single forward in the top 30 in points.
Detroit doesn’t have a single forward in the top 45 in goals.
Detroit doesn’t have a single forward in the top 22 in plus/minus.

Detroit doesn’t have a single dman in the top 32 in goals.
Detroit doesn’t have a single dman in the top 10 in assists.
Detroit doesn’t have a single dman in the top 34 in plus/minus .

Detroit doesn’t have a goalie in the top 18 of any major statistical category.

Was there a single person anywhere in the universe who went into this season thinking any of those were going to be the case… much less all of them at once?  Of course there wasn’t… because what has happened this year was completely unforeseeable by any human means.  There’s no action plan a human could devise to accommodate for that kind of systemic disaster at the player performance level.

This is just a season of suck.  Watch the hockey, have some fun, and think about next year.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/21/14 at 03:44 PM ET

Avatar

i wonder if nick is getting restless in retirement….....perhaps kenny and babs could prostrate themselves and beg him to come back for a while, and teach next year’s defensemen “the nordic way”......the tao of tph….he might be game by now….

Posted by dingus from the salty great lake on 01/21/14 at 03:46 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Detroit doesn’t have a single forward in the top 30 in points.
Detroit doesn’t have a single forward in the top 45 in goals.
Detroit doesn’t have a single forward in the top 22 in plus/minus.

Detroit hasn’t had a single Top-6 forward play every game this season.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 01/21/14 at 03:53 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Assuming that you haven’t already jumped off the bandwagon and want to see this team fail because you’re too frustrated to put up with this frustrating team and want your anger to be vindicated. And that kind of mentality, well, that shit’s spreading like nobody’s business.

I’ve been on this “Bandwagon” for so long my seat-belt has rusted shut.  Anyway, if you think this is bad, try being a Cubs fan.  I’d turn on games last summer and only recognize 2 of the starting 9…  yet, I’d still watch the game and cheer on those fine AA ball players trying their best for we Wrigleyvillians.  And I’ve watched every Detroit game this year, as I do every year.  Hell, I even traveled multiple time zones and battled -1 windchills to watch my Griffings at the Big House. 

Also, don’t forget, many of us also endured a perfect season by the Lions (and let’s be honest, their entire existence), and still cheer on those poor saps.

Anyhoo, we’re still sitting 9th, 0 points* out of a Play-Off spot with 33 games to play. THIRTY THREE!!!!  Plenty of games to play and earn some points.

Worse case scenario, we’re setting up the Griffins for another Calder Cup run.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/21/14 at 03:56 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Why does Buckets look 10 years older than Magic Man on the ice, when his is, in fact, younger? I was timing Buckets on that breakaway last night with a sun dial.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/21/14 at 02:13 PM ET

I’ll give Cleary some credit.  He has been skating better every game for the last month and has not looked like a complete waste of space out there.  He still is, more or less, a complete waste of space out there, but at least he doesn’t look it as much as he used to.

Contracts are up next year for cleary, tuzzie, sammy. These just let go.

I think we’ve all learned that Babs and Kenny will never, ever, ever let Cleary go.  When he retires from the WIngs in 8 years, he’ll be given an Assistant Coaching gig on Babs’ staff.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/21/14 at 04:05 PM ET

Avatar

Babcock’s coaching bleeping Team bleeping Canada.

Yeah, hence the “the best possible coach for a team of talented vets” comment.

Seriously, can anyone here name a player that’s had a great year?

Henrik Zetterberg is averaging more than a point per game for the first time since 2007-8.
Nicklas Kronwall is having a banner year offensively.
Abdelkader is easily having his best year offensively.
Tatar and Nyquist are both having solid years.

I guess it depends on how you define great, but I’m very happy with Zetterberg producing like he has despite the teams injuries and with Kronwall and Abdelkader both having career offensive years.  And despite your insistence that everyone thought Nyquist would be a saviour, I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who is unhappy with his output or with Tatar’s.

Posted by Garth on 01/21/14 at 04:10 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Henrik Zetterberg is averaging more than a point per game for the first time since 2007-8.
Nicklas Kronwall is having a banner year offensively.
Abdelkader is easily having his best year offensively.
Tatar and Nyquist are both having solid years.

I agree. Kronwall has easily surpassed last year’s work with his ability to raise the play of everyone he’s been paired with (Ericsson, DeKeyser, and now Smith, along with his occasional shifts with Kindl and others).

I feel Abdelkader has improved everywhere. When he was put onto the Miller/Abdelkader line he held onto the puck like Z or Dats while one of those two set up in front of the net. Every game he’s hitting d-men quickly enough that they’re just flinging pucks up the boards and hoping for the best.

Datsyuk was having a great season and hopefully soon will continue that.

Smith has been (since his return from his “injury”) vastly improved.

Alfredsson has been better than I thought a 41-year-old would be. I expected to watch a movie called, Modano II. Dangerous on the power-play and an asset on the roster.

Gustavsson has been a pleasant surprise.

DeKeyser isn’t meeting my personal expectations (because my expectations were idiotically over-the-moon) but he’s exceeded any reasonable person’s.

Sheahan? Everything I read was along the lines of “3rd-best Center in GR.,”  and then I saw him play - he definitely exceeded my expectations as well.

Marchenko stunned me in his one game - could he be good or was that just an adrenaline thing?

Other folks have expressed the bright spots they’ve seen that have eluded me so far (the praise for Sproul, Athanasieu, Jurco, or others).

In short, I can’t abide the Holland/Babcock hate.

I’ve been a fan of the Red Wings when we had bad management and bad coaches, I know what it looks like, and all I saw was the 70s. For a truly atrocious front office we have to look at the bums who ran the team in the 40s and the 50s. How we lucked into a dynasty with those clowns I’ll never know.

 

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/21/14 at 05:50 PM ET

Slumpy's avatar

go and grab Steve Ott

Yeaaaaaaaaah. Not sure if they would part with their “C” but always been a fan of his. Glendening starting to remind me of Otter a bit…...though without goofy taunting tactics, lol.

Blues are a great team this season. Goaltending, defenseman, foward scoring depth, they have it all. I expect them to be in SC Final this season or next.
About the Red Wings only chance to win last night was to get under the skin of Backes and Oshie and that didn’t happen good enough to slow them down.
Red Wings need to add several nasty checkers to this team at the trade deadline. Skill players easily covered when nobody is forechecking which is often this season.
Wonder if Howard plays much at the Olympics. He’s had some injuries this season and lets be honest Bishop of TB should of been named to the team instead. Bishop has been great for Stevie Y’s team and without Stamkos.

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 01/21/14 at 05:54 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Red Wings need to add several nasty checkers to this team at the trade deadline. Skill players easily covered when nobody is forechecking which is often this season.
Wonder if Howard plays much at the Olympics. He’s had some injuries this season and lets be honest Bishop of TB should of been named to the team instead. Bishop has been great for Stevie Y’s team and without Stamkos.

Ott? Yeah let’s thug it up! I suppose you want Carlyle to coach them too when he gets fired by the Laffs. 1308 PIMs in 661 career games? The Wings PK could not survive having Ott on the roster. OOh, maybe Georges Laraque is available!

As you pointed out Glendening is gritty. So is Toots, but he never gets to play (what the heck, did he sleep with Bab’s wife or something?). We need skill, now more than ever. We need goals, not PIM machines like Ott.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/21/14 at 06:13 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

And Hopefully Jimmah will take this opportunity to bow out of the Olympics and take the time to heal up.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 01/21/14 at 06:14 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

 

St. Louis:
1. Maxim Lapierre

Detroit:
1. Daniel Alfredsson
2. Joakim Andersson
3. Pavel Datsyuk
4. Cory Emmerton
5. Jonathan Ericsson
6. Johan Franzen
7. Jonas Gustavsson
8. Stephen Weiss
9. Jimmy Howard (in-game injury)

The above statement sums up this season for the Red Wings. I am a season ticket holder, and it is painful to watch the Red Wings this season. The silver lining to it is the younger players gaining valuable experience whether the Red Wings make the playoffs or not. It would be an achievement to make the playoffs this season with all the injuries. As we have discovered anything can happen during he playoffs, and usually does. Hang in there.

 

 

Posted by bigfrog on 01/21/14 at 08:06 PM ET

Avatar

Henrik Zetterberg is averaging more than a point per game for the first time since 2007-8.

Z had 48 points in 46 games in the dim recess of the past, 2013. 

Further, Z is at 1.026 ppg right now and has been at .947 from the 2008-9 season forward, not inclusive of this year.  Were Z to go 2 or 3 games without a point (which he’s done three times this year already) he’d be right on that number.  A slender reed, at best.

Nicklas Kronwall is having a banner year offensively.

Last year Kronwall had 5 goals and 24 assists in 48 games
This year Kronwall has 5 goals and 24 assists in 47 games.

You are being rather liberal with the term ‘banner year’, both in terms of production relative to personal history as well as production relative to league averages.  Also, this sets aside Kronwall’s significantly increased usage rate, which especially for defenseman increases the odds their production will be populated with more assists just based on greater average TOI.

Further still, it sets aside Kronwall’s huge dropoff in points via goals in favor of weighting points via aggregated assists.  In ‘11 and ‘12 Kronwall averaged 13.41 goals per 82 when he played just under 23 minutes a night.  In ‘13 and so far in ‘14 he has averaged 8.63 goals per 82 despite playing over 24 minutes a night in both years.

Abdelkader is easily having his best year offensively.

Usage rate and role.  If going into the season I told you Abdelkader would be playing 15 minutes a night would you have thought 9 goals and 20 assists of production in 82 games would have met your expectations of him?  The answer to that is no, of course you wouldn’t, and that 9 and 20 line is his current pace per 82.

Tatar and Nyquist are both having solid years.

Tatar is a possible exception, but he was a guy so far off the initial radar it’s fairly hard to justify his inclusion.  That you’d mention Nyquist at all is a joke, since he’s not even meeting the expectations of the people who were calling for him to be up in the first place.  He’s barely meeting mine, and I was the least positive on Nyquist by a decent amount.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/22/14 at 05:17 AM ET

Avatar

Were Z to go 2 or 3 games without a point (which he’s done three times this year already) he’d be right on that number.

Good point.  He’s had 2-3 game droughts and it still at over a point a game.  It’s almost like that’s the nature of hockey.  How does that support your point?

And you’re right, Detroit has nobody in the top 30, and they only have one in the top 40, and Zetterberg’s rank among NHL players is pretty pathetic when you consider that he’s only missed nearly a quarter of the season due to injuries.

You are being rather liberal with the term ‘banner year’

Would you not say that last year was a good year for him?  His 82 game pace would have him matching his best year offensively and he’s on the same pace this year.  Is that bad?  Is 50 points per 82 games in back to back years in which the team isn’t scoring well and is consistently decimated with injuries a terrible thing?  Can you not give anyone any credit at all?

And he’s a +6 this year versus being a -5 last year.

I know your intention is to show how every Wing is having a terrible year, but it’s simply not true.

and that 9 and 20 line is his current pace per 82.

Career year.  Period.  AND he’s doing it after having a pretty mediocre start to the year.

Tatar is a possible exception, but he was a guy so far off the initial radar it’s fairly hard to justify his inclusion.

Ah, so if I am following, the guy was so far off your radar that the fact he’s on pace for a 40-point season means that he’s NOT having a great year?  Wouldn’t the fact that he was so far off your radar and is having an excellent year be THE VERY REASON to make him an absolute exception to your BS statement than a “possible” exception?

Jesus H Christ, fella, you’re really pressing hard to be disappointed with everyone.

That you’d mention Nyquist at all is a joke, since he’s not even meeting the expectations of the people who were calling for him to be up in the first place.

You’re full of shit.  Stop carrying on with your straw man argument, please.  For the love of God, let your straw man argument go.

He’s barely meeting mine

Hey look, you’re being full of shit again!  You said his ceiling is 15/40 and that is exactly the pace he’s on, meaning that by your own standards he has hit his career potential in his rookie year.

How does that equal barely meeting your expectations?

Posted by Garth on 01/22/14 at 09:19 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

C’mon, HD.  Can’t even you recognize that Tatar, NyQuist, Anderson, Sheahan, Abdelkader, Glendening, Jurco, Almquist, SixDFive, Kindl, and Smith are all having, or are on pace to have, career years?  That’s essentially half the team producing numbers at a level they never have before in the NHL.  cool smile

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 01/22/14 at 10:06 AM 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.