Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Ducks quick take: the effort was there but results are lacking, still

Update: Well this changes things:

I really don't know what to say about the Red Wings' 1-0 loss againt the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. We all knew that the Ducks' massive 17-0-and-2 home record would be all but unassailable, and that even minus Ryan Getzlaf, the Wings' injuries and status as playing in back-to-back games yielded an incredibly, incredibly young and thin team trying to climb a nearly vertical-grade mountain...

But the ways in which the Wings frittered away their power plays, leaned on Henrik Zetterberg so very hard without giving him any assistance that it looked like the Hank and Petr vs. the World show, the way that Corey Perry managed to get the Wings' God-damned goat again, the team's inability or unwillingness to actually attack Jonas Hiller instead of trying to pass the puck toward a slot that had been completely shut down by the Ducks, and the way that Mikael Samuelsson so very predictably chose to chip the puck behind the Ducks' net as time wound down instead of shooting the puck anywhere near Jonas Hiller...

It's become far too predictable, far too much a year in which the first goal always wins and the Wings cannot outscore their mistakes, and far too regularly a game where people like Brendan Smith seem all but compelled to ensure that they reenact the kinds of own-goal mistakes they committed against playoff foes.

Perhaps the truth of the matter is that these Wings, minus Johan Franzen, minus Pavel Datsyuk, minus Darren Helm, minus Jonathan Ericsson, and yes, minus Stephen Weiss (this team so desperately misses a second-line center that it's almost becoming more important for the team to pursue one than it is for the team to give Niklas Kronwall some relief with an honest-to-goodness top-pair partner), are in fact "too young" to get 'er done, at least by their standards.

But the line of Todd Bertuzzi, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Tatar was the team's best given that Gustav Nyquist is undergoing a sophomore slump and that Justin Abdelkader's still finding his post-Datsyuk's-Homer-simulator way, yielding very little help for Henrik Zetterberg, and it's incredibly frustrating to watch Smith play so very, very well alongside an increasingly frustrated Niklas Kronwall and Jakub Kindl to display absolutely impeccable offensive instincts before making the kinds of mistakes that yield uncharacteristic and sometimes game-losing gaffes by the otherwise impeccable Danny DeKeyser.

Mostly, the Wings are a team 46 games into a season where they really needed to start asserting themselves ten games ago, they're 2-and-2 on what will be a 5-game road trip that they desperately needed to finish with a 3-1-and-1 record, and after they battle with the Rangers on Thursday, they open a five-game home-stand and kick off a set of 7 games in 13 nights whose opponents include the aforementioned Rangers, then the Kings, Blues, Blackhawks, Canadiens, the Wing-killing Panthers and Flyers before the team earns a final 2-day break before hosting the Capitals on the 31st.

The Wings very, very desperately need to manage to win the majority of their 8 remaining January games to ensure that their post-Sochi break schedule is not an, "Every game is a must-win" scenario, regardless of the fact that the Best of the West and some Annoyances of the East are coming to town, and tonight...

Wasn't a step forward for a team that simply cannot afford to take any steps back.

And this team faded down the stretch, bi time, being out-shot 17-12 over the game's final 2 periods, taking 3 of its 4 penalties over the game's final 2 periods and ceding more and more territory to the Ducks on a more and more regular basis as the game wore on and everyone wore down.

The power play was awful due to the personnel as opposed to the coaching--mostly because the personnel is so damn shallow--and the team doesn't have the luxury of resting its weary head upon moral victories and should've's and could've's anymore.

The Wings have to win much more regularly, regardless of and perhaps despite of its personnel issues, and it needs to play smarter, more efficient and more effective hockey instead of stumbling along as a team whose veterans are overtaxed, whose sophomores are slumping and whose youngsters are reminding us all that being barely ready for prime time means that they're not quite up to snuff very regularly.

I hate to say this, but maybe it's time for the Wings to finally make a roster-reinforcing trade--or at least to pursue one so that by the time a roster-reinforcing move is made, it isn't already too late--and it is definitely time to permanently bolt Mikael Samuelsson's hockey pants to the bench.

The only goal against was an own-goal, Brendan Smith style:


The Wings will fly back to Detroit tonight, practice on Tuesday and Wednesday, fly to New York for Thursday's game against the Rangers and then kick off that five-game home stand on Saturday against the Kings.

Edit: My biggest problem with the Wings' game is summarized statistically: the Wings fired 22 shots ON Jonas Hiller and fired another 41 attempts wide or into Ducks' players. That's inefficiency and individual and team-wide dearths of confidence quantified.

Statistics, quickly:

Shots
23-22 Anaheim. Detroit out-shot Anaheim 10-6 in the 1st, but the Wings were then out-shot 10-5 in the 2nd and tied the Ducks 7-7 in the 3rd.

Special teams: Detroit's power play went 0-for-5 in 10:00 of PP time; the Ducks went 0-for-4 in 8:00 of PP time.

Goaltending: Petr Mrazek was stout and solid in stopping 22 of 23 shots; Jonas Hiller wasn't really tested in stopping most of the 22 shots he stifled.

The 3 stars were picked by the Ducks' broadcasters, so they picked Kyle Palmieri, Andrew Cogliano and Jonas Hiller.

Faceoffs 30-27 Anaheim (Detroit won 47%);

Blocked shots 21-12 Anaheim;

Missed shots 20-9 Detroit (total attempts 63-44 Anaheim, with Detroit firing 22 shots ON Hiller and 41 wide/blocked);

Hits 29-26 Anaheim;

Giveaways 10-9 Detroit;

Takeaways 6-2 Anaheim.

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Comments

alwaysaurie's avatar

I didn’t find this game predictable at all.

It was a good game by the Wings and I enjoyed immensely -  even though I was disappointed in the score.

I’ve tried to hold my tongue since I no longer live in Detroit and thus I never go to the Joe, but…

The fans are *#$%@& spoiled brats are their attitude is bringing down team morale.

I’m not talking about posts on blogs - that doesn’t hurt morale

I’m not talking about complaints in the media - that isn’t at the level to hurt morale, yet.

I’m talking about all of the empty seats at The Joe.

I also didn’t want to talk earlier about this because the sample size was still small, but no we have seen enough game at home and on the road that I don’t think it’s debatable anymore:

The bastards who buy the tickets, need to use the tickets! Even if all they do is wander into a bar and give the tickets away, the team needs a full house.

Saying, “Corporations buy all of the tickets,” doesn’t change anything. Most of us probably work for a corporation - and we all know someone who does.

Who works at Belle Tire? Are all of your companies seats being used? Who else buys tickets? Ford? Chrysler? GM?

This team is undermanned right now and we still are able to play with the best in the league on the road but we can’t get any energy at home.

Fill the *#$%@& seats, dammit!

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/12/14 at 11:27 PM ET

Alan's avatar

The bastards who buy the tickets, need to use the tickets!

I’m betting a lot of the empty seats are held by local companies.

I’m sure there are a ton of fans who’d love to get their hands on them, too.

I daresay, companies who buy large blocks of tickets should leave them up for employees to take until a week or so before that game, then put the tickets on the resale market. There’s no way to *force* companies to do this, but really, it would be pretty sweet to see the lower bowl filled up again.

Pretty sure the team front office doesn’t care, though. The tickets are sold, hence, it’s a sellout. They got theirs.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 01/12/14 at 11:47 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Zetterberg has not been Zetterberg for a few games. His passes are routinely off the mark (often by 10 feet or more) and he’s missing the net on just about every shot. To be honest, I think he was the worst player on the top line, and not because Nyquist was so much better, but because Nyquist wasn’t trying to do too much despite being sick or whatever. Abdelkader didn’t have as many chances to score, but he came closer.

The power play was awful due to the personnel as opposed to the coaching

According to the Ducks commentators, the Red Wings have now wasted their last 20 power plays. That’s not just personnel. On any other team, a fourth line regularly playing as the top PP unit would probably score 2. They are too willing to screw around in their own zone and make weak, off the mark passes in the neutral zone, only to eventually dump it into the offensive zone or pass it right to the defenders.
At the very least, the Ducks should not have had the better chances shorthanded, which they did on two of the power plays.

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/12/14 at 11:47 PM ET

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I haven’t talked about shots on goal much lately, but it’s still a big thing.

It’s pretty much a cornerstone of puck possession hockey. If they could just approach the way they get the puck on net differently, they might see some good things happen.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 01/13/14 at 12:32 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

Wings took care of their own house in this one, which was nice to see. But man it’ll be nice to get some of the top 6 talent back so we can start pressuring the other team for a change.

I daresay, companies who buy large blocks of tickets should leave them up for employees to take until a week or so before that game, then put the tickets on the resale market. There’s no way to *force* companies to do this, but really, it would be pretty sweet to see the lower bowl filled up again.

I’d like to see some sort of claims policy enacted for prime seating season ticket packages. Basically, ticket holders have to RSVP (before noon on gameday for a typical 7pm start perhaps) or the seats can be re-sold at short notice discount by the box office. If you wanna be nice about it, you can even refund the day-of purchase price to the original ticket holder so they’re not out the entire $100+, although I’d say screw em they were out that cost anyway.

Never happen, but it would encourage actual bodies being in those more visible lower bowl seats.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/13/14 at 12:45 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

I’d like to see some sort of claims policy enacted for prime seating season ticket packages. Basically, ticket holders have to RSVP (before noon on gameday for a typical 7pm start perhaps) or the seats can be re-sold at short notice discount by the box office. If you wanna be nice about it, you can even refund the day-of purchase price to the original ticket holder so they’re not out the entire $100+, although I’d say screw em they were out that cost anyway.

Never happen, but it would encourage actual bodies being in those more visible lower bowl seats.

While that’s not a bad idea in theory, it’d be more than a little irritating to have to call and confirm something you’ve already confirmed by paying obscene amounts of money for 41 times a year.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/13/14 at 12:51 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

tl;dr version: the power play has been getting worse for a while and needs a complete overhaul.

The power play has been bugging me for a while. I think one issue is that they haven’t added any new threats on the power play since 2008, but players got older and retired (or scuttled), so the power play has just gotten worse.

Rafalski provided options for entry into the offensive zone and was the best player the team has had for years at keeping the puck in the offensive zone. When Rafalski retired, the puck came out much more frequently and power play entries relied more on drop-passes.

Holmstrom was one of the hardest-working guys at retrieving the puck and his passing was underrated.

Kronwall is the only reliable puck-moving defenseman who regularly plays on the power play, but he rarely scores. Without Lidstrom or Rafalski at the point and without Holmstrom in front, passing to the point is pointless.

The standard entry this team tries to use is the drop-pass. Without Filppula, this team has only one player who can reliably turn a drop-pass into a successful entry, and he’s injured. So they dump the puck in a lot more but they are not a dump and chase (or dump and bang and repeat) team, so that doesn’t work. They need better entries.

When they have the puck in the zone, they depend too much on a defenseman who isn’t scoring and they don’t do a good enough job of retrieving pucks. But when they do retrieve pucks, they defer to the point again. They need to be more dynamic on the power play (i.e., not standing still, ergo harder to defend against) and they need to sort out who will go where to retrieve pucks, and how to turn puck retrievals into second and third scoring chances. They need to be more willing to score dirty goals (that applies even-strength and (gasp!) shorthanded too).

Why doesn’t Ericsson play on the power play? He is a good passer and has a hard shot; if you’re not going to score on your shots, you might as well create havoc with them. Or even have him try screening goalies.

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/13/14 at 01:34 AM ET

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Perhaps the truth of the matter is that these Wings, minus Johan Franzen, minus Pavel Datsyuk, minus Darren Helm, minus Jonathan Ericsson, and yes, minus Stephen Weiss (this team so desperately misses a second-line center that it’s almost becoming more important for the team to pursue one than it is for the team to give Niklas Kronwall some relief with an honest-to-goodness top-pair partner), are in fact “too young” to get ‘er done, at least by their standards.

I have to admit, when I read something like that I’m actually shocked.  Perhaps it’s the injuries that have derailed the team to this point in the season?  Perhaps?

I… wow.  The injuries are the biggest reason Detroit’s been mediocre this year, and by a decent amount.  Even Howard’s individual mediocrity almost pales in comparison to the impact missing 20 million bucks worth of forwards night in and night out has on the team.

That’s been obvious for months now.  I mean, incredibly obvious.  As in, it seems impossible someone could ever not get it obvious.

Yeah, guys, um… missing Datsyuk, Franzen, Ericsson, Dekeyser, Zetterberg, Helm, Howard, etc. etc. etc for days and weeks at a time will sort of have a negative impact on the team.  Newsflash.

Gustav Nyquist is undergoing a sophomore slump

Nyquist got a real bad deal from a lot of you guys when you wildly over estimated what kind of player he was and what he was going to do at the NHL level.  Right now we’re still in the ‘denial’ phase, so guys like George are going to write Nyquist’s play off to random things like ‘sophomore slumps’ (and I’m sure ‘Babcock’s not playing him with the right people’ isn’t too far away as well), but the reality with Nyquist is that he wasn’t going to be much more than a 15ish goal, 40 point guy in the near future. 

Scoring a couple goals in his first game really didn’t help people with their errors of preconception, either.

It’s only a matter of time before those reasons start ringing hollow and then the same people who put too high of an expectation on Nyquist will start criticizing him for not having met them.

Justin Abdelkader’s still finding his post-Datsyuk’s-Homer-simulator way,

Abdelkader’s not that good.  Even when he was playing with Datsyuk he didn’t produce much, which is pretty impressive in it’s futility.  He produced more sort of, but a lot of even that was due to his usage rate increasing and not his actual efficiency.

The Wings have to win much more regularly, regardless of and perhaps despite of its personnel issues,

This is such pollyanna, rah-rah nonsense.  Ugh.  It’s the same kind of self-dooming hyper-expectationalizing that makes so many Wings fans borderline neurotic.

Detroit’s not going to win consistently until they get healthier.  Full stop.

It’s not the way the PP is set up.
It’s not the line combos
It’s not the coaching.
It’s not the front office.
It’s not player x’s fault.
It’s certainly not some failure to ‘audit’ training staff procedures.

Demanding the Wings win as much as they always have “regardless of and perhaps despite of” their roster situation is like demanding a small market team with far less payroll win as much as better funded rosters.

It’s the path to a gibbering, disjointed madness wherein the afflicted will see their demands not met and sally forth on a crusade trying to find who to blame for the lack.  Don Quixote shakes his head sadly.

I hate to say this, but maybe it’s time for the Wings to finally make a roster-reinforcing trade-

You should hate to say it.  You should have hated to say it so much that you never, in fact, said it.  Making a trade in this situation is throwing good money after bad.  It’s pissing away future assets to try and bandage up a season where the problem is not a flesh wound, it’s a missing bleeping leg.

It’s the kind of situation that leads to trades like the one Holland made for Quincey, which I ripped at the time and everyone rips now.  But yeah, let’s go out and make another trade that will almost certainly turn out like that one did… then in a year or two we can rip Holland for making the move as well.  Fun!

I think it’s a really, really dumb idea to send out young players and picks on a team whose roster will in the next two to three years very much need young players and picks in order to get middle-tier vets they can get in any offseason for nothing beyond the contract.

If there’s a blockbuster out out there, sure.  There’s a legit top line forward or top pair dman Detroit can get for a package of two to three prospects and a couple picks?  Fine.  Making a move now just to add a middlish guy to a team already awash in middlish guys?  Pointless beyond words.

This season is like quicksand, people.  The more you flail around, the faster you’re going to choke and die in a viscous bog of regret.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/13/14 at 06:43 AM ET

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Why doesn’t Ericsson play on the power play? He is a good passer and has a hard shot; if you’re not going to score on your shots, you might as well create havoc with them. Or even have him try screening goalies.

Ericsson isn’t a good (enough) passer and he doesn’t have an effective shot.  A hard one, yes.  Not an effective one.  If Ericsson had the kind of offensive flair to his game he’d need to be competent on the PP he’d have produced more than one point every 4 or 5 games.

He’s a solid stay at home guy.  Let him just be what he is.

As far as the shot screening stuff goes, if the guy you put there is too big the whole point of the shot screening fails.  A reason Homer was so good at it was that he was a smaller guy.  He could screen a goalie without also becoming a second goalie that shots had to find a way past.  As much as people just ripped Homer his last few years in Detroit as being a waste of roster space, he was always going to be an incredibly difficult guy to replace on the PP.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/13/14 at 06:53 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

I hate to say this, but maybe it’s time for the Wings to finally make a roster-reinforcing trade—or at least to pursue one so that by the time a roster-reinforcing move is made, it isn’t already too late—and it is definitely time to permanently bolt Mikael Samuelsson’s hockey pants to the bench.

Haha.  You’re not only verbose, you’re funny, too.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/13/14 at 07:08 AM ET

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Hihd
Actually GREAT posts. I absolutely agree about Abdelkader. Sheahan brings more than Abdelkader does at a better price. If they could find a trade partner for Abdelkader, I wouldn’t try to get anything for him, just get rid of him.
And as for making a shitty trade to shore up the third line? Absolutely not. This team is missing 3 of its top 6 forwards and probably #7 in Helm. And their#2 D. And the third just came back from a groin strain. People expecting the Wings to dominate without Datsyuk, Alfredsson, Weiss, Helm, and Ericsson? Idiots. Anyone that thinks any hockey team can lose what the Wings have so far and win on a consistent basis is just not grounded in this reality.
As far as Nyquist goes, sophomore slump? I would have said 20ish goals, but dominant first line scorer, no. He should be on the second line wing. However, with the injuries which may have impacted the team… he’s playing out of his depth. He still has more to learn and isn’t ready to play against top line forward and defensemen, if he will ever be.

Posted by teldar on 01/13/14 at 07:52 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Detroit’s not going to win consistently until they get healthier.  Full stop.

this is all that needs to be said. +eleventy

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 01/13/14 at 08:11 AM ET

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Oh yeah,
I was mostly happy with the game last night. Too many passes, not enough people going to the net, but great compete level. Decent defense, good effort by the forwards. There are just too many 4th liners playing on the team right now.

If I had input into the team, I would trade or waive Abdelkader and put Sheahan in his place and put just about anyone in Quincey’s place. Like Marchenko. I’m happy with what glendening and Sheahan are kdoing. When players come back my order of boot would be Sammy, Eaves, Abdelkader, then probably Sheahan, but I would be open to keeping him over Glendening

Posted by teldar on 01/13/14 at 08:43 AM ET

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You are right about Nyquist, teldar. That’s the element missing from HiHD’s post and “told-you-so” argument about Nyquist. In a guy’s first full year in the “men’s league,” Nyquist has been forced to play 90% of his minutes on the top two lines. He would be better off, like Tatar, playing on the third line. Drawing the other team’s 2nd or 3rd pairing for the majority of the game, rather than the first pair (and much better forwards), would improve his chances.

The other thing is that my expectations were what HiHD summarized - 15 or so goals and 40 points per (full) year, for now. And the final thing that HiHD has continued to miss is that people didn’t expect the savior - they just saw a guy who is a better player than several forwards on the team sitting in the minor leagues while said forwards continued their futility and the team lost. It was mostly a factor that Nyquist was more deserving to be here - and subsequently makes the team better - and that’s why several of us wanted him here. I also believe that when the team gets healthy and he can drop to the third line, he will be more productive offensively.

HiHD - I do agree with you about Abdelkader - I think you are spot on. I think he is a guy that has a higher-than-reality perceived value to many teams in the league. Problem is, I think Detroit (Babcock and Holland) is one of the teams that thinks he’s more than he really is. I also like Sheahan - I think he’s played well. He’s auditioning for next year since I think he’s out of options in GR after this season.

As far as the injury thing - obviously that is the most important reason why this season has gone off the rails. But Detroit is not the team that has dealt with the worst injury problems - Pittsburgh, one of the best teams in the league - has had 261 games lost to injury, which leads the league. Anaheim is second with 214 games lost. Detroit is 7th with 173 games missed.

Obviously Detroit has had a lot of key players out and I don’t know how the breakdown is for the six teams ahead of Detroit in terms of games lost in terms of which guys were out (I know Pittsburgh had Letang out for a while).

Anyways, the injury excuse has to be discounted to some degree because of this argument. Two of the top 3-5 teams are leading the league in man games lost to injury. The Wings have to find ways of winning some of these games just as Pittsburgh and Anaheim have.

(All quoted stats were from mangameslost.com as of January 10, 2014).

If you want to use the injury explanation, I am not sure why you are so hard on the idea of auditing the training/conditioning process. Sure, a number of injuries are not related (i.e., shoulder issues, knee problems, rib problems, etc.) but the multiple year history of groin and sports hernia issues this team has (literally year in, year out) is concerning. If I had time, I’d go back five years and calculated how many games the Wings have lost to groin or sports hernia injuries. One year, two years can be exceptions or anomalies. Five years (or possibly more) begins to exhibit signs of a trend.

Anyways, the bigger problem, in my estimation, is that the team just isn’t that great to begin with. The team overperformed last year in the sense that they took the eventual champs to seven games in round two (and had three chances to win the series) and so we all (myself included) began to think the team was more than maybe it is/was.

Before last season began, I would have predicted the team had a reasonable chance of making the playoffs - 50 or 60% chance [but thought there was a glaring hole(s) on the back end and that another year passed without a forward shakeup/significant addition(s) after the team had significantly backtracked in the period of 2010-2012]. If they made it to the playoffs, I thought they’d get bounced in round one. After the previous year’s first round, five-game loss to the Predators and loss of Lidstrom and Stuart (without replacing either), I didn’t think there was a chance for real success. If the predicted trajectory had played out last year (missed playoffs or bounced in round one), this year wouldn’t be really that surprising. It would fit the curve.

The team has too many role players and not enough killers. Either some of these guys will turn into those players or they will need to go out and get those guys or they will just tread water. The only issue with that is that Ken Holland can blame this season on injuries if the team misses the playoffs or gets bounced early. It gives him a false sense of what he has.

Without some major steps forward by some of the guys and a healthy team for the remaining 36 games, this season will be a lost one.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 01/13/14 at 08:45 AM ET

RW19's avatar

The injuries really do hurt them and of course it has an impact on the team. However they really do not have a good PowerPlay quarterback on this team. The point men we use just don’t do enough once the wings set up in the zone nor do they have anyone with a scary shot.

Yesterday they played a very good road game. With all the injuries they have had this year they need to play more games like that one. My only real complaint about the personnel is what they do with that sixth defenseman spot right now ... Lashoff is nothing special. Why not see if Almquist or Sproul could give you a better PP?

Posted by RW19 on 01/13/14 at 08:46 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

I hate to say this, but maybe it’s time for the Wings to finally make a roster-reinforcing trade

That’s a really, really bad idea that would solve nothing. The Wings are a bottom-half team who is light years away from competing for anything.

The best thing that could happen to this team would be to miss the playoffs.

Nyquist got a real bad deal from a lot of you guys when you wildly over estimated what kind of player he was and what he was going to do at the NHL level.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/13/14 at 06:43 AM ET

Yeah, I wonder if he’ll ever recover mentally from some people on a message board over-valuing his talent.

Just look what happened to Mikael Samuelsson when you predicted he’d score 20-25 goals. He couldn’t handle the pressure.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 01/13/14 at 08:54 AM ET

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While some Wings fans and bloggers want to jump off a cliff, I wholeheartedly agree with this statement:

It was a good game by the Wings and I enjoyed immensely -  even though I was disappointed in the score.

They played very, very well—all things considered.  They went .500 out west when it easily could have been 1-3, if not 0-4.  They’re still in a playoff position.  There is nothing to worry about.  These injuries are all relatively minor and/or almost healed.  This is just typical George amping up the bluster level for no reason.  Don’t fall into his trap.

Good trip, Wings.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/13/14 at 08:57 AM ET

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Our powerplay I belive is 0 for 19 the past several games.. Is it because our top powerplay unit (players) are inured? Datsyuk, alfie, helm, franzen and a good point D in Big E. I mean.. wtf. We need a TEAM to play well, not a team where we’re missing 5 of our best 8 players.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 01/13/14 at 09:07 AM ET

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Let’s see the ducks beat a fully loaded team without getzlaf, perry, lovejoy, selanne and koivu.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 01/13/14 at 09:21 AM ET

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a fully loaded red wings team that is.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 01/13/14 at 09:29 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Love it Dingo. Almost lost my coffee.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 01/13/14 at 09:31 AM ET

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Exactly p1277
The wings may not have the most man games lost, but a lot of those games are top 6 forwards and top 3 d.  Abdelkader Tootoo and Cleary are all players whose days would be counted, but the Wings could, and have, just called up better players.

Posted by teldar on 01/13/14 at 09:40 AM ET

RW19's avatar

George I think you are a bit to focused on the “incredibly young ’ team” thing. Some of the players may not have tons of NHL game experience, but overall this remains a team with plenty of veterans.

It’s not like the Wings are trotting out 19 year olds right out of junior. Guys like Tatar, Andersson and Nyquist are holding their own and contributing. Mrazek, Glendening and Sheahan are doing fine and Jurco didn’t look out of place.

Is the defense younger and less experienced that we would like? Maybe it is, but the problem on defense may also be that Kindl, Smith, Quincey and Lashoff are simply ‘what they are’ ... that is to say, they are average defensemen at best. They certainly look like 5/6 type guys and have since they entered the NHL.

I don’t believe the Wings are any older or any younger than most other NHL teams. What I do believe is that with many of their better offensive players missing, they have struggled to play a tighter brand of hockey. They did it well last night and almost won. They did win Saturday.

But they aren’t really built to play tight checking hockey and when they do have to go that route they end up with the occasional costly breakdowns. Guys make mistakes or get confused because they aren’t accustomed to suddenly having to play like the Blues or the Kings.

Bottom line here is that when the injured come back they will be able to go back to the style that suits them, but some of the young guys will still be here because they are better than some of the vets. However those not-so-great defensemen will also still be here. That is a bigger problem than the high number of AHL grads and call ups on the team.

Posted by RW19 on 01/13/14 at 09:42 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

...they haven’t added any new threats on the power play since 2008…

Just this year we added Alfredsson, and he’s been very good on the power play for us. (Tatar and/or Nyquist seem like they can help - but they’ve got growing pains to fight though.)

Without Filppula, this team has only one player who can reliably turn a drop-pass into a successful entry, and he’s injured.

I don’t remember Filppula being all that great, but Zetterberg is as good as Datsyuk in gaining the zone.

Some nonsense about Abdelkader

- posted by many.

Abdelkader is the only player besides Zetterberg who has made every line combination he was on a better-line-combination this year. Even Datsyuk had troubles with some teammates - most notably a horror show with Tatar on his wing where they gave up 3 goals in about 6-7min together their first game against Carolina in November. Dats-Tatar were also bad in the next 3-5 games before the experiment was finally ended.

Miller-Andersson-(Other) had an absolutely horrible start to the season but their play improved when they got some shifts with Abdelkader in 4-6 games in November/December. Franzen and Alfredsson both had surprisingly poor starts on Weiss’ line, but both have played well on lines when Abby was on the other wing. Abdelkader has played well with whomever he was placed… and we can’t say that about Bertuzzi, Alfredsson, Franzen, Miller, Andersson, Nyquist, Tatar or Cleary.

When the season started with Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Abdelkader and Miller-Andersson-Bertuzzi on our 1st and 4th lines we had a phenomenally great 1st line and an embarrassment of a 4th line. When the lines were Z-Dats-Bertuzzi and Miller-Andersson-Abby we had a great 1st line and a good 4th line… this might be a good change to make for-the-good-of-the-team but there’s no way that Bertuzzi can play 18min/game with those two while Abdelkader can - so Abby will see a few shifts ever game on the top line if this happens.

None of this is meant to imply that Abdelkader is our second best player - he’s not even close - but I think it does show that he’s a good player on our team and isn’t the reason for any of the troubles we’re having.

Nyquist is having trouble right now, after being very good with Zetterberg in December. Nothing unexpected here, this is just a growing pain that hopefully ends soon. Tatar had a rather bad stretch in December himself, but since Christmas he’s improved substantially.


I think our only problem outside of injuries to our top 3 centers is the poor morale at home - we are playing good/great hockey on the road and poor/embarrassing hockey at home. We need to fill the seats, by hook or by crook.

What do the ushers do at the Joe if you move down to the expensive-empty-corporate-seats at the first TV-timeout in the 1st period? We need someone sitting in those seats!

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/13/14 at 10:01 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I thought the Wings put up a pretty good battle considering injuries and some Flu.

All i would add is why don’t athletes get a Damn FLU SHOT!  Couldn’t hurt.  Hope they gave the Flu to the Ducks and no more West Coast Games, YES!!!

On to Rangers then Home

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 01/13/14 at 02:01 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

This team is missing 3 of its top 6 forwards and probably #7 in Helm. ...People expecting the Wings to dominate without Datsyuk, Alfredsson, Weiss, Helm, and Ericsson?

Posted by teldar on 01/13/14

They’re actually missing 4 of their original Top 6 forwards. But the fact that Franzen is so easy to forget in situations like this speaks volumes.

Like some of the others here, I thought most of the Wings played very well last night, especially Mrazek and Sheahan (plus Andy and Miller on the PK). The only “detriments” were the usual ones – Cleary and Sammy. Neither can handle a pass and neither can make good decisions in traffic. I feel bad for Tatar every time he has to step on the ice with Samuelsson.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/13/14 at 02:49 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Before he was hurt, Franzen had strung a series of several games together in which he was a dominant second line center.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 01/13/14 at 04:23 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Just this year we added Alfredsson, and he’s been very good on the power play for us.

True, though I think he should never be positioned at the point on the power play because he can never keep the damn puck in the zone.

I don’t remember Filppula being all that great, but Zetterberg is as good as Datsyuk in gaining the zone.

Filppula, when he’s engaged, can skate through 2 or 3 opposition players. Zetterberg is too willing to try passing through them (rarely works) or skating around them (delaying entry longer), which negates the arguable advantage of drop-passes.

Posted by bleep bloop on 01/13/14 at 04:43 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

They’re actually missing 4 of their original Top 6 forwards.

Bingo.

Before he was hurt, Franzen had strung a series of several games together in which he was a dominant second line center.

Bango.

Also keep an eye on how rarely we see 3 detroit forwards below the attacking dots anymore. Nevermind how rarely the defense pinch. Even on the powerplay, the team is less aggressive than normal. It’s not just lack of players that have killed the offense, but the system we’ve been forced to adopt just to compete because of it and maybe hedging bets against Jimmy’s struggles.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 01/13/14 at 08:03 PM ET

Avatar

The injuries are the biggest reason Detroit’s been mediocre this year…

Oh god. Again, today, hihd says it again. This record is getting so overplayed the needle has worn away.

Abdelkader’s not that good [as Homer].

When Holmer was 26 (in 1999) he put up 34 points in 82 games. Abdelkader is on pace for 32. Holmer had only played one full season prior to that year and two half seasons. Abby has played three full seasons (one strike shortened) and one half season. Transcribing your position 15 years into the past equals Holmer is not that good. Well, look where history ended up. Just saying, you are making a pretty bold statement based on….not much.

borderline neurotic

A self diagnostic! A self diagnostic! A self diagnostic!

Detroit’s not going to win consistently until they get healthier.

Oh god, again. Uhmmm, say something original or new that isn’t entirely stupid.

is like demanding a small market team with far less payroll win as much as better funded rosters.

Knew it. Though I have no idea what you think is a small market team I’m going to make a few suggestions as to teams that are “small market” that have won something.

This season:
St. Louis Blues 31 wins in 44 games
Tampa Bay 27 wins in 45 games
Colorado 28 wins in 45 games

Vancouver in the finals in 2010
Ottawa in the finals in 2006
Finals: Carolina vs. Edmonton in 2005
Finals: Tampa bay vs Calgary in 2004

If the NHL does one thing right, there is a better opportunity for small market teams to be successful than other professional sports.

It’s pissing away future assets…

But according to you there are no good Wing’s prospects. So what value are you attaching to these semi-warm bodies taking up space in the organization?

But yeah, let’s go out and make another trade that will almost certainly turn out like that one did…

Assuming, of course, that the trade is a stinker like the one for Quincy. At least they got a sack of flesh and water that can operate somewhat in the NHL and not some useless prospects like the one’s you feel shouldn’t be traded because they mystically have some kind of value only know to you.

… then in a year or two we can rip Holland for making the move as well.

Yes, but at least everyone will finally be thinking and acting just like you - ripping Holland for trading for Quincy. Don’t you want everyone to be just like you?

I think it’s a really, really dumb idea to send out young players and picks on a team whose roster will in the next two to three years very much need young players and picks in order to get middle-tier vets they can get in any offseason for nothing beyond the contract.

There’s just too many assumptions in this statement to even begin to comment.

If there’s a blockbuster out out there, sure.  There’s a legit top line forward or top pair dman Detroit can get for a package of two to three prospects and a couple picks?

If there are either of those, the Wings will have to give up a lot of those precious prospects to procure. On top of that, they have to compete with other teams who would love just as much to have that great of a player on their squad. This is such a doubtful situation that it only makes the person suggesting it look…pathetic. Oh, you are so no worries then!

This season is like Sammy’s seamen, people.  The more you flail around, the faster you’re going to choke and die in a viscous bog of regret.

Ericsson isn’t a good (enough) passer and he doesn’t have an effective shot.  A hard one, yes.  Not an effective one.  If Ericsson had the kind of offensive flair to his game he’d need to be competent on the PP he’d have produced more than one point every 4 or 5 games.

It’s so easy to switch Ericsson with Sammy in this situation yet, someone still thinks Sammy is a good idea on the PP and it isn’t Babs. Oh yah, and replace “4 or 5” with 20 or 30.

if the guy you put there is too big the whole point of the shot screening fails.  A reason Homer was so good at it was that he was a smaller guy. 

First of all, you mean a skilled guy like Holmer and, isn’t Abby about the same size as Holmer? I guess it takes more than a skinny body to score goals in front of the net. Right, it takes…....some skill too. You know, the kind of skill you said that Holmer didn’t have when he was brought in to teach that stuff earlier this year.

[Holmer] was always going to be an incredibly difficult guy to replace on the PP.

Not one person doubted that. Not one…except for you when you denied that he was a skilled player earlier this season.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/13/14 at 08:41 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Jesus Christ do you people have far too much time on your hands to argue with each other. Unfuckingbelievable.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 01/13/14 at 08:49 PM ET

Avatar

Nyquist got a real bad deal from a lot of you guys when you wildly over estimated what kind of player he was and what he was going to do at the NHL level.  Right now we’re still in the ‘denial’ phase, so guys like George are going to write Nyquist’s play off to random things like ‘sophomore slumps’ (and I’m sure ‘Babcock’s not playing him with the right people’ isn’t too far away as well), but the reality with Nyquist is that he wasn’t going to be much more than a 15ish goal, 40 point guy in the near future. 

I want to come back to this because you were the person touting Sammy as being a 30 goal scoring machine at the beginning of the season. At least you are holding your tongue on this outlandish point of view. But to then chastise other, abject people for doing exactly the same thing, well, all I can do is remind you of how kettle like you are.

Nyquist may not be putting up the grand scoring numbers that you assumed everyone was talking about but at least he hustles, moves quickly, skates hard, attempts to do more than whack at the puck when he plays. When Nyquist puts the puck on his stick, I watch, we all watch except for you. If, for every moment you would remove the chip, stick or self failure complex from your psyche to watch you would understand where people get their admiration for Nyquist from.

But, please, for my entertainment alone, do not. Your ridiculous comments I cherish. What you have to say gives me such side-aches from laughter that it would be against my benefit to ask you to stop. Keep this crap coming. It’s like Sarah Silverman and Tosh rolled in a paper being smoked by Cheech and Chong.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/13/14 at 08:52 PM ET

Avatar

Did you just call me Jesus Christ?

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/13/14 at 08:52 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Did you just call me Jesus Christ?

If the crown of thorns fits…

Posted by calquake on 01/13/14 at 10:36 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

  Did you just call me Jesus Christ?

If the crown of thorns fits…

Posted by calquake on 01/13/14 at 10:36 PM ET

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 01/13/14 at 11:44 PM ET

Avatar

That’s one good looking dude. I’m in!

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 01/14/14 at 10:15 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.