The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/26/14 at 05:12 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings lost a 4-2 decision to the Boston Bruins on Saturday, and the Wings will likely return to Joe Louis Arena to clean out their lockers on Monday, with some of the Wings (as the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted, Sheahan, Jurco and Ouellet) heading to Grand Rapids, and others (like Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and perhaps Jonas Gustavsson) heading to Belarus to take part in the World Championships in May...
And we do know that between free agents-to-be who "lost their jobs" to "the kids" and players who played their way out of Detroit--be it via a compliance buy-out or trade, Johan Franzen's probably played his last game as a Wing, and who knows whether Legwand, Quincey, Gustavsson or Alfredsson will return--with the team in rather desperate need of another top-pair defenseman and perhaps a little room to give the Ouellets, Sprouls, Marchenkos, Almquists, Callahans, Ferraros and even Manthas a chance...
While those who will return, The Kids especially, but also the Howards, Helms, Abdelkader, Millers, Smiths and DeKeysers, have all learned hard, hard lessons battling the Beasts of the East.
The veterans, too, because the Wings were out-competed and out-executed by significant margins--and out-coached, too, though I fully believe that Babcock and Tom Renney will be back next year.
What could've the Wings done differently? Played better on special teams, for starters, but I'm sure that you and I have very long lists about the ways in which the Wings needed to out-work, out-hustle and out-compete the Bruins by playing smarter, more efficient and more confident-in-themselves hockey.
I would argue that the Wings' struggles snowballed in many departments, and I would argue that so many players were fighting so hard to will an injured team full of tendencies to inflict wounds upon themselves...That the boys just ran out of gas.
Were there some terrible, terrible penalties either called or not called, including some awful interference by Bergeron that yielded the eventual game-winner?
You bet, but all series long, and since the Olympics, the refereeing was horrific on all sides, and the Wings did themselves no favors.
As a result, Loui Eriksson scored the game's first goal, on the power play, only 3:27 into the 1st...
it took another 20 minutes for the Wings to counter, with Pavel Datsyuk knotting the game at 14:41 of the 2nd, on the power play...
After Bergeron grabbed Zetterberg on the faceoff, the Wings' PK'ers overcommitted, and as a result, Zdeno Chara had all the time in the world to wind up and score with 4 seconds left in the 2nd...
4:27 into the 3rd, I have NO IDEA why Brian Lashoff GAVE UP on Lucic after Johan Franzen didn't clear the puck, but Lucic gave the Bruins a 2-goal lead at 4:27...
And while Henrik Zetterberg's 3-2 marker was glorious and gorgeous, with 3:57 left in the game...
It was too little too late, and the Wings giving up a 4-2 empty-netter to Iginla was almost inevitable.
The Wings were out-played and sometimes out-classed by an organization that they now must aspire to become--though the Wings have no reason to trade puck possession for the Bruins' brand of trappy goony hockey--and after 5 years' of no-conference-final appearances, the Wings need to clear the dead weight, they need to address their hole on defense and they need to make some hard personnel decisions over the next four months.
I'm incredibly disappointed in the way in which their season ended, but I'm also very proud of "my" team, and I believe that the future is very bright.
ESPN's Craig Custance has already penned an insider-only entry about the Wings' future, and he suggests that the team's #1 priority is...
1. Add an impact defenseman: The Red Wings have a lot of money coming off the books this summer, with unrestricted free agents David Legwand, Daniel Alfredsson, Mikael Samuelsson, Todd Bertuzzi, Kyle Quincey, Jonas Gustavsson and Danny Cleary all playing on expiring contracts. That’s a good $20 million in additional cap space Holland gets to work with, plus the salary cap is going up to something in the $70 million range.
Detroit isn’t the automatic destination it was in the past, but considering the young talent and one of the most respected coaches in the game in Mike Babcock, Holland should target one of the best defensemen available. This free agent class isn’t deep, but potentially includes Dan Boyle and Matt Niskanen.
The Red Wings have enough young talent that the trade route is an option too, if free agency dries up. Alexander Edler has long been a target for Detroit and Christian Ehrhoff is someone Buffalo would move if Detroit is willing to pay a steep enough price to make it worth the cap recapture risk.
#3 is intriguing, too:
3. Add a scoring winger: Assuming Stephen Weiss returns to health and is part of the plans for next season, the Red Wings are in good shape down the middle with forwards Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Sheahan, Darren Helm, Joakim Andersson and Luke Glendening all options at center. The expected exodus of veteran wingers means there’s money and space to add a winger in free agency.
This is the one position teams can usually add a quality player in free agency, with this class strong on the wing, including Thomas Vanek, Ryan Callahan, Marian Gaborik, Matt Moulson and another guy the Red Wings have tried signing in the past in -- Jaromir Jagr.
Babs on FSD: Babs on FSD says youth and lack of experience showed, that their PK wasn't good, emotional control in terms of line changes wasn't great, they counted in a lot of kids on offense and they weren't able to deliver on playoff time, they have to improve team by getting guys healthy, Franzen, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Helm, they will be much better players because they're healthier, he thinks back end has to improve, Ouellet, Marchenko, Sproul, Backman and Ericsson can help, all in all in a week or two you might sit back and see lots of positives but he felt they were going to push the season a lot longer than they did and they weren't able to. He says you've got what you've got, the Bruins are the team the Wings were from 07-09, the Wings snuck into the playoffs instead of contending for the Cup, they worked hard to get in, and the measuring stick will be different, the Wings don't want to shut it down for 10 years to get picks 1-5, they want to rebuild on the fly instead. Asked about Alfredsson and the mix between vets and youth, they've got Kronwall, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen under contract and a bunch of kids, the thing with Alfie is that he was injured a lot, didn't practice a lot so any time you don't do so it affects the way you play, they haven't talked about it, if they can do one thing they need to get healthy, have a summer of fitness, you get in shape in the summer by rebuilding your body. He's asked about the youth and he says they've learned that there's no space but if you keep doing what you're doing that's fine, if you think too much you start running out of space, and the Wings relied on youth too much to expect them to produce but it doesn't make things any less disappointing.
Shots 33-33 overall. Detroit was out-shot 11-8 in the 1st, Detroit was out-shot 13-12 in the 2nd, and Detroit out-shot Boston 13-9 in the 3rd.
Special teams: Detroit went 1-for-7 in 9:41 of PP time; Boston went 2-for-6 in 6:55 of PP time.
Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 29 of 32 shots for Detroit; the Bruins' 4th goal was scored into an empty net; Tuukka Rask stopped 31 of 33 shots for Boston.
The 3 stars were picked by 98.5 the Sports Hub, and they picked Torey Krug, Pavel Datsyuk and Tuuka Rask.
The Red Wings' goals: Datsyuk (3) from Franzen (2) and Zetterberg (1), PPG;
Zetterberg (1) from Abdelkader (2) and Datsyuk (2).
Faceoffs 34-29 Boston (Detroit won 46%);
Blocked shots 16-13 Boston;
Missed shots 9-5 Detroit (attempts 58-51 Detroit; Detroit had 33 shots on net and 25 wide/blocked);
Hits 32-21 Boston;
Giveaways 9-4 Boston;
Takeaways 12-4 Boston.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 9-and-15 (38%); Helm went 5-and-7 (42%); Sheahan went 7-and-4 (64%); Glendening went 4-and-6 (40%); Legwand went 2-and-2; Miller and Franzen won their only faceoffs.
Shots: Sheahan, Zetterberg and Franzen co-led the team with 4 shots; Tatar had 3 shots; Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Quincey, Helm and Kronwall had 2 shots; Smith, Abdelkader, Miller, Glendening, Ouellet and DeKeyser had 1 shot.
Blocked attempts: Kronwall fired 4 shots into Bruins players; Alfredsson and Franzen had 2 attempts blocked; Smith, Datsyuk, Nyquist, Sheahan, Tatar, Zetterberg, Helm and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: Smith, Sheahan, Miller, Tatar, Quincey, Zetterberg, Glendening, Kronwall and Ouellet missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Quincey led the team with 5 hits; Abdelkader had 4 hits; Tatar and Franzen had 2 hits; Smith, Alfredsson, Nyquist, Zetterberg, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1 hit.
Giveaways: Smith, Zetterberg, Helm and Kronwall had 1 giveaway.
Takeaways: Alfredsson had 2 takeaways; Glendening and Franzen had 1 giveaway.
Blocked opponent shots: Quincey blocked 5 shots; Glendening and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Nyquist, Miller, Tatar and DeKeyser blocked 1 shot.
Penalties taken: Smith, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, DeKeyser, Franzen and the bench took minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -6. Franzen finished at -2; Alfredsson, Tatar, Lashoff, Helm and Ouellet finished at -1; DeKeyser finished at +1.
Points: Both Datsyuk and Zetterberg had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Abdelkader and Franzen had assists.
Ice time: Kronwall led the Wings with 29:17 played; Datsyuk played 21:34; Quincey 20:48;
DeKeyser 20:42; Zetterberg 19:29; Smith 18:39;
Alfredsson 18:09; Franzen 18:05; Abdelkader 15:00;
Helm 14:54; Miller 13:19; Tatar 13:17;
Sheahan 12:41; Glendening 12:24; Nyquist 11:55;
Legwand 11:10; Lashoff 10:50; Ouellet 9:20.
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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.