Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Devils quick take: Heavens no, hell yeah

The Detroit Red Wings are a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in the Azeri rebel ham sandwich that Jimmy Howard may or may not have eaten during the Olympics.

In simpler and plainer English, I don't think that we're going to figure this team out, at least not until it does or does not make the playoffs, because the night after the Wings punted away a point in their 4-3 OT loss to Colorado, the Wings played similarly messy hockey, their goaltending was even shakier than it was against the Avs, the kids continued to make mistakes, the defense was doofy in terms of allowing the Devils to walk in and score...

And yet the Wings managed to just lay waste to Corey Schneider's goals-against average, rallying from a blown 3-2 deficit 11:44 into the second with five straight goals--including a trio scored 3 minutes and 14 seconds--en route to a 7-4 win whose lustre wasn't dimmed by Smith and Kindl letting Adam Henrique to walk in and make the score look closer than it was with 1:18 remaining.

In terms of offense, the Red Wings' Mule Leg line was absolutely fantastic--Johan Franzen had 2 goals and 2 assists, Gustav Nyquist had a goal and 3 assists, and David Legwand had a goal and two assists, he knows how to get the hell out of the Swedes' way and let them deke and dangle, and he goes to the front of the net, where he scored his first goal as a Wing this evening.

Just as importantly, of the Wings' 33 shots, Nyquist (8), Franzen (6) and Legwand (3) had HALF of them, and that's just bloody amazing.

Obviously, the Wings' "Kid Line" gave up a shorthanded goal, Jakub Kindl looked like he wanted Mike Babcock to play Brian Lashoff instead, there is no chemistry whatsoever between Daniel Alfredsson and Luke Glendening and Joakim Andersson's 15-and-1 faceof performance merits perhaps an Alfredsson-and-Abdelkader-sparking reunion...

But hell, just before the third period, coach Mike Babcock insisted that he was thrilled with the way the team was playing, and if he can embrace a team that's taking a "hockey calculus" game plan and is instead using crayons and their hands to paint it on the ice, maybe we can, too.

The Wings took a long time to get going, looking like a team that was indeed tired from having played until 11:30 the previous evening, but Brendan Smith opened the scoring with a fine point shot fed from Franzen and screened by Nyquist and Glendening at the 13:43 mark..

Five-and-a-half minutes into the second period, Franzen continued to kick like a Mule, tipping a Gustav Nyquist shot (via drop pass from David Legwand and breakout from Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser), giving the Wings a 2-0 lead...

And while Tomas Tatar's awful giveaway, Kindl's passive defense and a less-than-stellar Gustavsson gave the Devils a leg up 9:23 into the 2nd...

The Devils tied the game 57 seconds later, via Jaromir Jagr simply walking through a poor turnover, Lule Glendening, Niklas Kronwall and Jonathan Ericsson, and picking the top shelf...

And the Devils took the lead when Jonas Gustavsson stopped a shot but Kyle Quincey let Adam Henrique put the rebound behind Jonas Gustavsson at 11:44...

The Wings rallied in quite a hurry, with Johan Franzen scoring a power play marker via assists from Bertuzzi and Nyquist with 6:13 left in the 2nd--and one of several wonderful breakouts by Kronwall and either DeKeyser or Ericsson on the blueline...

Ericsson to Legwand to Nyquist = 4-3 Detroit with 4:55 left...

And of all people, Kyle Quincey scored the eventual game-winner, with 2:59 left in the 2nd, via a great rush by DeKeyser and a slick drop pass from Riley Sheahan:

The Wings more or less salted things away in the 3rd, when David Legwand let Franzen and Nyquist deke and dangle, went to the net and roofed the rebound of a Franzen shot over Corey Schneider at 4:48...

Drew Miller "made it seven" with 11:08 left, via Bertuzzi and Andersson (will post as soon as NHL.com does).

And the Henrique goal just didn't matter.

 

 

The Wings are now within spitting distance (2 points) of the Tampa Bay Lightning thanks to earning the Wings' 70th and 71st points--Tampa has 73--and the in-a-real-playoff-spot Maple Leafs have 74 points. The Blue Jackets (69 points), Capitals (68) and Devils (67) are still breathing down the Wings' necks, but they're getting their shit together, slowly but surely, despite incessant mistakes.

According to Babcock via Fox Sports Detroit, the Wings will get Saturday off after having played 3 games in 4 nights and having gone 1-1-and-1 during that stretch. This team needs to start earning 2 points on  a much more regular basis going forward, but today was a hopeful win by a ridiculously undermanned and sometimes still scatterbrained team.

Babcock's gonna accentuate the positive, so I guess we need to take his heed.

Also: If Nicklas Lidstrom was in attendance, this would've been the first game he's witnessed in which the Wings carried the day while not playing in a game.

Statistics:

Shots: 33-25 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot New Jersey 11-6 in the 1st period, Detroit out-shot New Jersey 13-10 in the 2nd period and the teams tied 9-9 in the 3rd.

Special teams: Detroit went 1-for-3 in 4:15 of PP time; New Jersey went 0-for-3 in 5:45 of PP time but scored a shorthanded goal.

Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 21 of 25 shots for the Red Wings; Corey Schneider stopped 26 of 33 shots for New Jersey.

The stars were picked by Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus, and he picked Gustav Nyquist, Johan Franzen and David Legwand.

The Red Wings' goals: Smith (3) from Franzen (18) and Nyquist (14);

Franzen (14) from Nyquist (15) and Legwand (31);

Franzen (15) from Bertuzzi (6) and Nyquist (16), PPG;

Nyquist (16) from Legwand (32) and Ericsson (10);

Quincey (4) from Sheahan (10) and DeKeyser (13);

Legwand (11) from Franzen (19);

Miller (7) from Bertuzzi (7) and Andersson (8).

Faceoffs 44-23 Detroit (Detroit won 66%);

Blocked shots 14-6 Detroit;

Missed shots 8-5 Detroit (attempts 47-44 Detroit, with the Wings firing 33 on Schneider and 14 wide/blocked);

Hits 20-15 Detroit;

Giveaways 5-5;

Takeaways 7-2 Detroit.

Individual statistics:

Faceoffs: Andersson went 15-and-1 (94%); Glendening went 5-and-10 (33%); Legwand went 10-and-4 (71%); Sheahan went 9-and-5 (64%); Franzen went 3-and-2 (60%); Abdelkader and Miller won their only faceoffs; Alfredsson lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Nyquist led the Wings with 8 shots; Franzen had 6; Abdelkader and Legwand had 3; Smith, Alfredsson, Andersson, Jurco and Bertuzzi had 2; Miller, Quincey and Glendening had 1.

Blocked attempts: Tatar hit Devils players 2 times; Abdelkader, Nyquist, Kronwall and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Nyquist missed the net 2 times and had 10 total attempts; Smith, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Miller, Bertuzzi and Ericsson missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Miller led the Wings with 4 hits; Alfredsson and Kronwall had 3; Abdelkader, Jurco and Ericsson had 2; Kindl, Nyquist, Andersson and Bertuzzi had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Gustavsson had 2 giveaways; Andersson, Miller and Tatar had 1.

Takeaways: Franzen had 2 takeaways; Smith, Nyquist, Jurco, Quincey and Glendening had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 4 shots; Quincey blocked 3; Sheahan blocked 2; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Legwand, Glendening and Bertuzzi blocked 1 shot.

Penalty minutes: Legwand, Bertuzzi and Ericsson took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at +10. Nyquist and Franzen finished at +4; Legwand and Kronwall finished at +2; Smith, Quincey, Ericsson and DeKeyser finished at +1; Kindl, Abdelkader, Sheahan, Miller, Tatar and Jurco actually finished at -1.

Points: Franzen had 2 goals and 2 assists for 4 points; Nyquist had 1 goal and 3 assists for 4 points; Legwand had 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points; Bertuzzi had 2 assists; Smith, Miller and Quincey had goals; Sheahan, Andersson, Ericsson and DeKeyser had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 21:53 played; Quincey played 19:34; DeKeyser played 19:03;

Smith played 18:51; Ericsson played 18:28; Kindl played 18:27;

Miller played 16:58; Alfredsson played 15:47; Glendening played 15:26;

Franzen played 14:52; Legwand played 14:49; Jurco played 14:35;

Sheahan played 14:30; Nyquist played 14:28; Bertuzzi played 14:24;

Abdelkader played 14:24; Tatar played 14:04; Andersson played 13:27.

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Comments

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calquake's avatar

As I said in the LB, no matter whether the Wings make the playoffs or not, the off season is going to be very interesting.  We have Dats, Z, Weiss, Legwand, Helm, Anderson, Glendenning, Sheahan and Ferraro (who is out of options) at center.  Some may be moved to the wing but you have Abby, Nyquist, Alfie, Franzen, Jurco, Miller and Tatar there already.  That’s without Bert, Cleary and Sammy (I assume they are gone after this season).  That is at least 16 players for 12 positions, a logjam to say the least.  Kenny will have to move some assets or he will lose them.  A good problem to have but a big problem nonetheless.

Posted by calquake on 03/07/14 at 11:58 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

Thanks for the recap George.

Legwand caused the turnover that led to his goal. I love his aggressiveness on the forecheck; he is a dog on the puck. And as you put it, he completely stays out of Franzen and Nyquist’s way with the puck; he doesn’t need it on his stick to be effective. A perfect complement to players who should be controlling it. Whether or not you agree with the trade, living in the “Now”, the Wings definitely needed a center and it looks like they’ve found one.

Very exciting stuff.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/07/14 at 11:58 PM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

Calquake- Alfie may retire after this season. I’d love to have him back, and he told Nick Cotsonika that if he were to choose to come back for one more season it would be in Detroit. But he’s not a sure thing.

You are definitely right about the logjam at forward. I was just thinking, IF (a big IF) the Wings do make the playoffs, and IF, at some point, they have Pav-Z-Weiss-Helm back and healthy, how do you make it work?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/08/14 at 12:01 AM ET

Primis's avatar

They’re not hard to figure out, George.

They still gave up 4 goals, including that awful 2 min.-or-so sequence in the 2nd period.  They’re still AWFUL defensively, and it won’t matter who is in net for it.  That hasn’t changed all season long.

What they did tonight was the offense showed up and made the defensive-shortcomings irrelevant.

They can do that against a similar team like NJD.  They can’t against most other playoff-caliber teams.

Posted by Primis on 03/08/14 at 12:02 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Kenny will have to move some assets or he will lose them.  A good problem to have but a big problem nonetheless.

Posted by calquake on 03/07/14 at 10:58 PM ET

They still do have a compliance buyout left too, if nothing else.  An interesting convo would be who that gets burnt on, or else lose it altogether.

Posted by Primis on 03/08/14 at 12:09 AM ET

calquake's avatar

how do you make it work?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/07/14 at 11:01 PM ET

Assuming everyone is healthy, you play Pav and Z on the same line.  Weiss or Legwand will be 2nd line center with the other centering the 3rd.  Helm has to be your 4th line center.  That leaves Sheahan to be moved to wing and Glendenning out of the picture.  Some guys are going to have to sit and be patient, which must be very hard if they’ve been playing regularly prior to that.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 12:13 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

The Red Wings have always been quite happy to have more than 4 centers and to shift more than one of ‘em to the wing. It’s been the way of the Wings’ world since Scotty coached the team and had six or seven centers on the roster.

The Wings cannot buy out Weiss via cap compliance as he was signed after the lockout; it’s more likely that the Wings will buy out Tootoo than anything else.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/08/14 at 12:16 AM ET

SK77's avatar

Stupid question, but are we getting all pitchforks on Monster tonight like we did on Jimmah last night?

The common thread seemed to be how much donkey dong Howard sucked after giving up 3 goals on 25 shots last night. Tonight Gustavsson gave up 4 on 25. Thoughts?

Posted by SK77 on 03/08/14 at 12:23 AM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

Assuming Sammy/Bert/Cleary are gone for good after this season (which is dangerous, I was positive that Cleary’s Red Wings days were done after last season), and they choose to re-sign Alfie and Legwand (all speculation), and they qualify Tatar/Glendening/Sheahan (RFAs), these are their forwards:

Pav-Z-Weiss, Legwand-Alfie-Franzen, Helm-Abby-Miller, Nyquist-Sheahan-Jurco, Andersson-Tatar-Glendening. And then you have Ferraro out of minor league options, Pulkkinen knocking on the door step, and who knows with Mantha? The way he has been progressing, if he starts the year in Grand Rapids and lights it up similar to how he has been how do you keep him down?

Who are the odd men out? Is there a package to be made to find some bonafide d-men?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/08/14 at 12:24 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Pav-Z-Mule
Alfie-Legwand-Nyquist
Jurco-Weiss-Tatar
Miller-Helm-Abby

Not a bad line-up but Glendenning, Sheahan, Anderson and Ferraro are spare parts.  That’s assuming no additions to the line-up.  Somebody’s going to be very disappointed.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 12:29 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Personally speaking I was going with turnabout is fair play, and I’ve been told that Gustavsson’s posted a 2.92 GAA and a.885 save percentage over the last 13 games, so it’s not as if he’s got an ironclad case.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/08/14 at 12:31 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Who are the odd men out? Is there a package to be made to find some bonafide d-men?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/07/14 at 11:24 PM ET

I sure hope so.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 12:31 AM ET

SK77's avatar

Who are the odd men out? Is there a package to be made to find some bonafide d-men?

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/07/14 at 11:24 PM ET

I would think Andersson is guaranteed gone. Miller might be gone despite his PK prowess. Alfie may or may not retire. Ferraro is probably screwed. Pulky can use one more season in GR but will be called up for injuries (and if he excels he’ll secure a spot as the other kids have done this year). Mantha is SEASONS away.

I know we’re all talking about the glut of forwards tonight, but the Wings always have injuries to forwards so that’ll solve itself.

The real problem is still the same—how to solidify the defensive core’s 1-4 slots.

Posted by SK77 on 03/08/14 at 12:32 AM ET

Lenny's avatar

My guess when everyone is healthy…..which will never happen but 1) Dats, Z, Alfie 2) Nyquist, Legwand, Franzen 3) Jurco, Sheahan, Tatar 4) Weiss, Helm, Abby

Posted by Lenny on 03/08/14 at 12:33 AM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

SK77-

The Monster obviously wasn’t sharp tonight, but in the end it didn’t matter. That 4th goal against was the definition of a garbage time goal. The game was over it had absolutely zero significance.

It’s hard to blame Howard for the goals against yesterday. The first was just a ridiculous sequence of awful bounces and worse luck. On the second, Franzen tangled up with his stick and sort of pulled him out of position while taking his stick out of his hands. Having said that, I still believe he could’ve done a better job at keeping his eye on the puck. The second it was sent out in front he lost it. The third goal wasn’t his fault, it was a complete meltdown by all 4 skaters on the ice as far as blown assignments. Looked like my old high school team in the d-zone.

However, with all that said, I just wish that Jimmy would step up and make one of those big saves that “wouldn’t be his fault” if it went in. This Wings team needs that out of their goalie, and it hasn’t been there this year. Whenever the other team comes in with a dangerous chance against him I just expect it to go in. More often than not this season, whenever the Wings have needed that big, bail-us-out save (which is a common occurence), he hasn’t come through.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/08/14 at 12:34 AM ET

Alan's avatar

I like what I see from Legwand so far.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 03/08/14 at 12:37 AM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

It also seems that whenever the Monster is in net the Wings give him way more run support and end up picking up the slack if he isn’t sharp (which he hasn’t been). Covering for his mistakes.

With Howard, it’s been the other way around. He gets no scoring, and hasn’t really been able to cover the mistakes that this Wings team makes.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/08/14 at 12:38 AM ET

SK77's avatar

However, with all that said, I just wish that Jimmy would step up and make one of those big saves that “wouldn’t be his fault” if it went in. This Wings team needs that out of their goalie, and it hasn’t been there this year. Whenever the other team comes in with a dangerous chance against him I just expect it to go in. More often than not this season, whenever the Wings have needed that big, bail-us-out save (which is a common occurence), he hasn’t come through.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/07/14 at 11:34 PM ET

Was it last game or the game before when Kronner made the best past I’ve seen all season ... to the other team’s streaking forward who had a Top Shelf #1 scoring chance on Howard and he turned it aside like it wasn’t a big deal.

He’s made plenty of saves, big ones too, but someone earlier tonight said he’s almost like the Quincey of goalies in that you really notice him when he does something boneheaded and as a result he gets an extra bad rap.

That said, Howard needs to really step it up because neither goalie is setting the world on fire. Or Gustavsson can step up and should be the team’s starter until the wheels come off. I’ve got no horse in this race, but I personally get annoyed when ANY player on the team gets repeatedly knocked for doing exactly what everyone else is.

Posted by SK77 on 03/08/14 at 12:38 AM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

Stupid question, but are we getting all pitchforks on Monster tonight like we did on Jimmah last night?

The common thread seemed to be how much donkey dong Howard sucked after giving up 3 goals on 25 shots last night. Tonight Gustavsson gave up 4 on 25. Thoughts?

Posted by SK77 on 03/07/14 at 11:23 PM ET

Gus didn’t have his best game tonight..but they won,didn’t they??? Didn’t gus come here to be nr2 goalie ??now we have two nr2 goalies…one who makes way too much money.

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 03/08/14 at 12:43 AM ET

NickLidstrom's avatar

It was two games ago and you’re right. Howard did come up huge right there. Then a couple shifts later Ericcsson tried to give one up himself and Howard stopped it.

I don’t mean to sound like I’m ragging on Howard or that he’s a bad goalie. It’s just that he’s been OK. He needs to be great for the Wings to get in to the playoffs and then be great for them to try and make a run (like he was last year).

And no, I don’t think that Gustavsson is capable of carrying this team. I just like the way the Wings have played and rallied around him when he’s been in.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/08/14 at 12:44 AM ET

calquake's avatar

According to Capgeek, Jimmy is the 10th highest paid goaltender.  Ahead of Lundquist, Brodeur, Hiller, Bobrovsky, Niemi,  and Schneider among others.  He has to start earning his pay.  Can anyone point to any game this year and say “Jimmy stole that game”.  I know I can’t.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 12:56 AM ET

moocat's avatar

Can anyone point to any game this year and say “Jimmy stole that game”.  I know I can’t.

Posted by calquake on 03/07/14 at 11:56 PM ET

January 4th vs the Dallas Star’s 44 saves at Dallas

January 11th vs the LA Kings 44 saves at LA

Detroit ‘s last WC west coast road trip. It has happened.

Posted by moocat on 03/08/14 at 01:10 AM ET

calquake's avatar

January 4th vs the Dallas Star’s 44 saves at Dallas

January 11th vs the LA Kings 44 saves at LA

Detroit ‘s last WC west coast road trip. It has happened.

Posted by moocat on 03/08/14 at 12:10 AM ET

Enough to justify his salary?  I think not.  Also, number of saves does not equal “stole a game”.  It’s when you make the [timely/em] save to preserve a victory.  Grant Fuhr was a great example.  It’s not all Jimmy’s fault but he’s not pulling his weight this year.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 01:16 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Is it fair to say, at this point in the season, that Lashoff is NOT the issue on defense?*

(*Yes, I’m a Lashoff fan, and I think he takes way too much flak simply because he’s not “flashy” in any sense of the term)

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 03/08/14 at 01:16 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Is it fair to say, at this point in the season, that Lashoff is NOT the issue on defense?*

(*Yes, I’m a Lashoff fan, and I think he takes way too much flak simply because he’s not “flashy” in any sense of the term)

Posted by RedMenace from Team Slovaskimo Fighting Snipers on 03/08/14 at 12:16 AM ET

I don’t disagree but I wonder if he stays if the Wings go out and get a # 1-4 D-man in the off season.  Kindl is no breath of fresh air for sure.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 01:21 AM ET

Alan's avatar

Is it fair to say, at this point in the season, that Lashoff is NOT the issue on defense?*

Personally speaking, I think our “issue on defense” is that our top-4 are , generally speaking, not playing like top-4 defensemen.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 03/08/14 at 01:23 AM ET

RedMenace's avatar

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 12:21 AM ET

Well here’s the thing with that: Lash is a solid bottom-pairing guy, if nothing else, and he’s on a $725k contract for the next three seasons. He’s also younger than Smith.

Personally speaking, I think our “issue on defense” is that our top-4 are , generally speaking, not playing like top-4 defensemen.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 03/08/14 at 12:23 AM ET

You’re absolutely right. I mean, apart from mayyyyyyybe Kronwall, there really isn’t a legit top-pairing guy on the team.

Posted by RedMenace from the Church of Jesus Lashoff on 03/08/14 at 01:29 AM ET

Alan's avatar

I mean, apart from mayyyyyyybe Kronwall, there really isn’t a legit top-pairing guy on the team.

Indeed. Kronwall is good, but we need more like him. Do we have that in the system? Is that something we’re going to have to get in July? We’ll see. I think Lashoff is fine in his role, but if the other guys in the top spots actually played like they want to be here and win here, maybe we’d be in a more comfortable position instead of jockeying for a wild card.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 03/08/14 at 01:35 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Would have loved to see Edler or Erhoff come our way at the deadline.  Maybe in the off-season?  They could pair with Kronwall, move Big E to #3 with DeKeyser and that leaves Smith, Quincey, Lashoff, Almquist and and Kindl to jockey for the last two spots.  Who wins?  I’m betting on Smith and Quincey (if he resigns) and one of the remaining three.

Posted by calquake on 03/08/14 at 01:43 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

I understand Kindl is under contract for another 3 seasons but does anyone really think he’s going to be around after this year?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/08/14 at 02:05 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Some thoughts I had while watching the game:

1) Damn deadline trade. That Legwand is just some old, washed up center we didn’t need…  cool smile

2) Ken Daniels mentioned that with Gus’s goal, he is now tied for team lead in goals.  This makes me think back to how grumpy we all (well, most of us) were when he was sitting in the AHL at the start of this season.  Now I’m grumpy just thinking about it.  Such a waste…

3) This is why people like me get so frustrated with Franzen.  It’s because we know he CAN be this good.  He has this ability to dominate like he has since the break, but when he disappears it makes us pull our hair out over him (and I don’t have a lot left to begin with!).  Thank the hockey gods he’s taken this team by the reins in the absence of Captain Carl and Pav.  He’s been absolutely fantastic…frustratingly fantastic.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 03/08/14 at 02:08 AM ET

@TheJimP19's avatar

Good read as always George… thanks for all that you do ! 


Holland / Babcock are going to have to address the blue line in the off season,  what was once the backbone of a Cup contender has become very soft due to kids learning on the fly and so on…

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 03/08/14 at 08:27 AM ET

Avatar

I cannot help but picture our “healthy” lineup if we can hold on long enough.  For the first time this season it feels like we have a sense of how to put together three scoring lines:

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Alfredsson
Franzen-Legwand-Nyquist
Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco
Miller-Helm-Abelkader

Whether it’s an equally good way to go forward for 2014-2015 depends on Alfie and salary demands, because I still think we need to upgrade on the blueline.  But just imagine—you work hard all season, win 50 games, get the #1 or #2 seed, and then in the first round that’s the lineup you’re facing.

Posted by captaineclectic on 03/08/14 at 08:44 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Is it fair to say, at this point in the season, that Lashoff is NOT the issue on defense?*

I’ve never had an issue with his play in the D zone. it’s his zero offensive side that holds him back. The miracle of Qs goal last night (Smith, too) was that a D man came open late, got a good pass, and didn’t miss the net. Kronner misses all the time.

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/08/14 at 09:06 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I’ve never had an issue with his play in the D zone. it’s his zero offensive side that holds him back.

That said, I see Lash as the ultimate 7th D. I could see Kindl. Q, and maybe Smith moving on, and really liked the idea of a Ouelllett - Marchenko third pair in the not too distant future.

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/08/14 at 09:14 AM ET

Avatar

I’ve never had an issue with his play in the D zone. it’s his zero offensive side that holds him back.

Yeah, he doesn’t drive possession, but at least he generally makes the safe play in his own zone and can be trusted against real NHL talent.

That said, I see Lash as the ultimate 7th D. I could see Kindl. Q, and maybe Smith moving on, and really liked the idea of a Ouelllett - Marchenko third pair in the not too distant future.

I have a couple concerns with this

1) I think we might be paying Kindl a little too much.  It isn’t a roster problem, but I think moving him will be tricky.  He’s a #6 defenseman, really, and he’s paid a little better than that.

2)  I’m hoping Marchenko can pass Lashoff, if only because he’s right-handed.  Lash is a great #7 but is cheap enough to be a good #7—or even #6—elsewhere, if you get my drift.  I think he’s way more moveable than Kindl, albeit not for a big return.

I certainly agree that Quincey should move on and I hope that Smith is part of a package for a bona fide top-4 guy.  That said, and, uh, knock on wood, Smith’s little offensive burst the last couple games is encouraging.

Posted by captaineclectic on 03/08/14 at 10:01 AM ET

Avatar

  their goaltending was even shakier than it was against the Avs

You thought the goaltending was shaky a couple nights ago?

The Wings cannot buy out Weiss via cap compliance as he was signed after the lockout; it’s more likely that the Wings will buy out Tootoo than anything else.

He’s the only likely buyout candidate, but just because Detroit has the compliance buyout left doesn’t mean they’ll use it.  If this year has taught us anything, it’s that having a couple extra forwards squirreled away somewhere is never a bad thing.

Is it fair to say, at this point in the season, that Lashoff is NOT the issue on defense?*

Lashoff isn’t a playable defenseman on a team with a solid blue line, he’s at best a #7.  He has zero offensive ability and he’s not more than a mediocre defensive player despite making no effort to do anything else.  He’s alternating with Kindl and Smith… and both of those guys have had abysmal seasons.  Were either of them playing halfway decently most of the time Lashoff would be stapled to the bench.  He’s inferior in almost every way to, say, a Doug Janik type dman.  He’s a poor mans Andreas Lilja,  Brett Lebda would be playing ahead of him.  There is quite literally nothing to Lashoff’s game beyond size.

Trying to say that since swapping him out for Kindl or Smith doesn’t result in a noticeable tightening of the defense Lashoff isn’t a problem is as silly a statement as saying that since they sat him the team scored 7 goals, so benching him jumpstarted the offense.  It’s nonsensical.

It bears noting that even though Kindl and Smith and Quincey and even Dekeyser have had long stretches of play that ranged from poor to awful, Lashoff isn’t passing any of them for anything unless Babcock gets so disgusted with them he benches them entirely for a game or two.  This is because Lashoff’s best play is barely enough to nudge him past the Mendoza line of awfulness demonstrated by some of Detroit’s other blueliners this year, and even then only for a few fleeting moments.

I mean… Lashoff?  I don’t think it’s stretching things to suggest that if everyone in the organization is healthy he’s no better than the 10th or 11th dman in the system.  He’s just a little older than some other prospects so it’s more wasteful to bring up a younger player just to rotate them around and limit their role.  The 6 guys already up are all better, Backman’s better, Sproul’s better, Almquist’s better… and heck, if just one or two more of Marchenko or Ouellet, or Jensen or Nicastro or whoever the hell else rates above Lashoff he ends up out of the top 12 entirely.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 03/08/14 at 11:14 AM ET

Primis's avatar

It also seems that whenever the Monster is in net the Wings give him way more run support and end up picking up the slack if he isn’t sharp (which he hasn’t been). Covering for his mistakes.

With Howard, it’s been the other way around. He gets no scoring, and hasn’t really been able to cover the mistakes that this Wings team makes.

Posted by NickLidstrom from a Higher Ground on 03/07/14 at 11:38 PM ET

This has been the truth all year long.  Wings got too used to Jimmy bailing them out, and now they practically build their game around it.  It’s annoying.  And it can’t feel good to Jimmy to watch the team play harder in front of Gustavsson than for him.

According to Capgeek, Jimmy is the 10th highest paid goaltender.  Ahead of Lundquist, Brodeur, Hiller, Bobrovsky, Niemi,  and Schneider among others.  He has to start earning his pay.

Posted by calquake on 03/07/14 at 11:56 PM ET

If you’re looking at pure salaries, yes.  However by actual AAV/cap hit, no…  Jimmy’s 12th in the league and not even near Lundqvist’s $6.8m—at its biggest, Lundqvist was making $7.75m/yr.  Lundqvist’s actual salary this year is lower because his contract is expiring and it was front-loaded.  Jimmy’s doesn’t expire until 2019.

When looking at salaries, you have to have some actual context as to the contract term, and whether they were front-loaded or not.

Jimmy *should* make more than Brodeur, Niemi, and some of those others.  He’s better than them.

Posted by Primis on 03/08/14 at 11:38 AM ET

Avatar

He’s the only likely buyout candidate, but just because Detroit has the compliance buyout left doesn’t mean they’ll use it.  If this year has taught us anything, it’s that having a couple extra forwards squirreled away somewhere is never a bad thing.

Of course they’re going to buy out Tootoo.

What this year should have taught you is that having players on the roster who are useless (Samuelsson, Cleary, Tootoo) just makes it harder to ice a competitive team.

Posted by Garth on 03/08/14 at 11:52 AM ET

Avatar

Ahhhh yes…the whole “wins/record” being used to judge individual performance thing.

It’s what makes Osgood better than Hasek, Sean Burke better than Kipper, and Curtis Joseph better than everyone not named Belfour, Roy, and Brodeur.

Posted by fromdowntown on 03/08/14 at 12:08 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.