Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings Friday practice post: Wings split Zetterberg and Datsyuk, promote Tatar to top six

Updated 5x at 2:06 PM: The Red Wings returned to practice in search of more scoring ahead of tomorrow night's game against the Rangers (7 PM, FSD/MSG/NHL Network U.S., 97.1 FM, and tomorrow's the Wings "Hockey Fights Cancer" game/Shawn Burr bone marrow drive game), and it's not exactly surprising that the Wings made some changes to kick-start its offense:

The Wings are winless (0-2-and-1) in their last 3 games, having lost to Phoenix, San Jose (via a shootout) and Ottawa, but they sit at the halfway point in NHL.com's Corey Masisak's "Super 16" power rankings:

8. Detroit Red Wings (6-4-1): The Red Wings have been the gold standard in many ways for a long time in the League, and that's especially true with puck possession. Before Corsi and Fenwick started to creep into the lexicon for the average fan, everyone knew the Nicklas Lidstrom-led Red Wings kept the puck and didn't let their favorite team have it. From 2007-08 to 2011-12, Detroit finished first or second in the NHL in Corsi-for percentage.

Last season was the first without Lidstrom and the Wings slipped to sixth, but remained above 53 percent -- they didn't really get worse, other teams just got better. That's why it is weird to see the Red Wings in the middle of the pack (15th as of Wednesday), right around 50 percent. The lineup has been unsettled, but getting back to being the Red Wings is important for this team to be considered an elite one.

MUST READ: Lidstrom was a great captain. Henrik Zetterberg was a really good one in his first season. Here's Adam Proteau of the Hockey News on captains.

Here are more line combination updates from MLive's Ansar Khan...

Wings on ice for practice. Everybody who is not on IR is skating as well as Hlelm. Looks like more line changes.

...

Datsyuk and Zetterberg split up. Datsyuk skating with Bertuzzi and Alfredsson; Zetterberg centering Franzen and Tatar.

...

Weiss still centering third line, with Abdelkader and Cleary. Fourth line of Miller-Andersson-Tootoo intact.

...

Extras are Eaves and Samuelsson. Helm not ready to play until next week's road trip, they hope.

...

Defense pairs same as last game: Kronwall-Smith, Quincey-DeKeyser, Lashoff-Kindl.

...

First power play unit still has Datsyuk and Zetterberg together, with Bertuzzi. Kronwall and Alfredsson at the points.

...

Weiss is back on second power play unit with Franzen and Tatar. Kindl and DeKeyser at the points.

And the Macomb Daily's Pleiness:

Babcock appears to have new top two lines. Zetterberg with Franzen and Tatar. Datsyuk with Bertuzzi and Alfressson.

...

Weiss with Abdelkader and Cleary. The fourth line is Andersson with Tootoo and Miller. #RedWings

...

PP units have Zetterberg and Datsyuk together with Bertuzzi. Alfredsson and Kronwall on point. Weiss with Franzen and Tatar on 2nd unit.

...

DeKeyser and Kindl on blue line of 2nd PP unit.

In the charitable news department...

And this should be...Interesting...

One of you posted a Thomas Vanek trade scenario yesterday, and ESPN's Craig Custance went into "Debunk Mode" in his mailbag today:

Crazy trade idea: Red Wings-Sabres. Kyle Quincey and Tomas Tatar for Thomas Vanek.
Bob, Darnestown, Md.

Craig Custance: There are a couple reasons why this one wouldn't work. For one, I think Vanek fetches at least what the Flames got for Iginla, and probably more. Ideally for Buffalo, you're talking first-round pick, roster player and high-end prospect. I don't think Quincey has any value to the Sabres, since he'll be an unrestricted free agent after this season. So take him out of the equation. That leaves Tatar, a talented young player, but not enough to fetch Vanek on his own. He'd have to be a part of a much bigger package.

Also, the Red Wings are currently up against the cap, and Vanek comes with a cap hit of over $7 million. According to CapGeek.com, the Red Wings have space to add about $1.3 million in salary at the trade deadline, which doesn't even come close to squeezing in Vanek.

This is a pretty cool video from Wings photographer Dan Mannes:

The #RedWings getting prepared to take on the #Rangers tomorrow night in Hockeytown. ^DM @ Joe Louis… http://instagram.com/p/f5VnWzx44Y/

Here come the post-practice Tweets, first from Pleiness...

Tomas Tatar on moving up to play with Zetterberg and Franzen. #RedWings  tout.com/m/2vkchi?ref=t…

Henrik Zetterberg talks about team's lack of scoring. #RedWings  tout.com/m/yt1zbi?ref=t…

 

The Wings are confirming the top-two-line shake-up:

Pav and Z skated apart at practice; Pavel with Alfie and Bertuzzi, Zetterberg with Mule and Tatar #RedWings

Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids, Per Fox 17's Steve Amorose:

Griffins start 1st 3-in-3. No Nyquist for tonight's home game vs. Charlotte. Still not ruled out for rest of weekend by Blashill @FOX17

Now things get interesting, per Khan...

Babcock said Howard will start tomorrow vs. Rangers. Eaves has been cleared and is ready to play but won't dress tomorrow.

And the Free Press's George Sipple...

Patrick Eaves won't be in lineup tomorrow but has been cleared to return .

...

Howard will start against Rangers.

...

Mike Babcock has split up Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Zetterberg with Tatar and Franzen. Datsyuk with Alfredsson and Bertuzzi.

 

He's a little late to the party, but the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan confirms that the band's been broken up:

They made it until late October - but Zetterberg and Datsyuk getting split up in an effort to jumpstart #redwings offense

...

Pat Eaves cleared to play but not in the lineup tomorrow for #redwings...Darren Helm aiming for Wesstern Canada trip next week...

...

Helm would love to play in Winnipeg...his hometown.

The Wings don't need to move anyone to make room for Eaves because Ericsson's out, but if the team wants to recall a seventh defenseman...Things get complicated. Eaves' $1.2 million salary can be accounted for in Capgeek's estimated $1.406 million in LTIR space, but Helm and his $2.125 million salary are a different ball of wax.

Update #0.5: The Windsor Star's Bob Duff penned a belated Stephen Weiss story:

Centre Stephen Weiss, expected to anchor the second forward unit when he was signed as a free agent in the summer from the Florida Panthers, heads into Saturday’s game at Joe Louis Arena against the New York Rangers with two goals and no assists through 11 games and is minus four. Weiss is the first to admit he’s not satisfied with his performance to date but he’s trying not to think too much about it, fearing it will only bury him more deeply into his slump.

“I’m not going to worry about results,” Weiss said. “I’m just going to go out and play and try and be as loose as I can. When you’re trying too hard and trying to do too much and wanting it so much, sometimes that gets in your way. I think that’s been the case a little bit at the start of the season. I’m just trying to relax and not worry about results at the end of the night. That stuff will all take care of itself in the end.”

Naturally, coming to a new team, Weiss wanted nothing more than to light it up right from the start of the season.

“For sure,” Weiss said. “You want to be the best player on the ice every night and all those things. Sometimes when it doesn’t happen you tighten up a little bit. Even though you’re not trying to, you’re telling yourself all the right things and trying not to think too much, but when you get out there sometimes that’s all out the window. Sometimes it’s tough battling yourself trying to get out of your own way.”

He’s also not looking for any excuses that might be used to try and explain away his slow start.

“This falls on me,” Weiss said. “I haven’t felt any pressure, it’s all that I’ve put on myself. I need to handle the puck and do all those little things and it will all take care of itself. ou have to realize you’re a good hockey player and you’re here for a reason. Just get the heck out of your own way, that’s the key.”

Update #0.75: Some of you will love this quip from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:

Jay (Denver) Pierre, I have lost faith in Ken Holland. I think he is too emotionally attached to some of his veteran players. This attachment is preventing him from making very obvious moves that need to be made for cap purposes. Can you think of any other GMs that suffered from a similar ailment?

Pierre LeBrun: You have lost faith in Ken Holland? Why, because you're bored cheering for the most successful pro hockey franchise of the past 20 years??? Man, tough crowd !

Update #1: Here's the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness's practice report, discussing the Zetterberg-Datsyuk break-up...

“It’s not going,” Babcock said after practice. “I told them and you guys I wasn’t going to split them up and 11 games in I’m splitting them up. It wasn’t by plan and not necessarily what I wanted to do, but we need to.”

...

“We think we need more going,” Babcock said. “It’s too easy to shut down one or two guys. You need a team going. Right now we need Alfie and we need Mule and a whole bunch of guys to score. We haven’t gotten that much with playing with those guys so maybe if we get them playing with those guys then we get four guys scoring and the other guys contributing more on a regular basis and then we become a better hockey team. That’s the plan.”

The Wings have scored just three goals over their last three games.

“Could be a record, what was it 10 games,” Zetterberg joked about how long he was able to stick alongside Datsyuk to start the season. “I think Babs was pretty up front about it, we will be playing together until he needs to switch it up and now it’s time. I’m pretty sure we’ll play together here at some point in time. But when we’ve been losing games like we have, haven’t been scoring much, we have to try something different.”

Tomas Tatar's promotion...

“My job will be to skate, get the pucks for the guys so they can make the plays,” Tatar said. “Be aggressive on the puck for those guys so we can stay in the offensive zone, get the puck in the corners for them. They are smart guys and make the plays so I need to get open for them and make more space.

And Darren Helm's status as not ready to play tomorrow due to his groin injury:

“If that didn’t happen I felt that I had a chance for (Saturday), but the groin is feeling better, the back is feeling good,” Helm said. “The test in GR went really well and hopefully everything will be good for Canada somewhere.”

Update #2: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's practice report:

“Could be a record, what was it, 10 games (11, actually)?’’ Zetterberg said after practice Friday. “I think Babs was pretty up front about it; we will be playing together until he needs to switch it up and now it’s time. I’m pretty sure we’ll play together here at some point in time. But when we’ve been losing games like we have, haven’t been scoring much, we have to try something different.’’

Datsyuk will play on a line with Daniel Alfredsson and Todd Bertuzzi, Zetterberg will center a line with Johan Franzen and Tomas Tatar.

“It’s not going,’’ Babcock said. “I told them and you guys I wasn’t going to split them up and 11 games in I’m splitting them up. It wasn’t by plan and not necessarily what I wanted to do, but we need to.’’

The Red Wings have scored just three goals in three games, going 0-2-1. They are averaging only 2.24 goals per game, which ranks 23rd in the NHL. That’s worse than where they finished last season (tied for 19th at 2.54 goals per game).

“We think we need more going,’’ Babcock said. “It’s too easy to shut down one or two guys. You need a team going. Right now we need Alfie, and we need Mule and a whole bunch of guys to score.’’

Babcock is hoping Datsyuk and Zetterberg can spark their linemates. Alfredsson has nine points in 11 games, but only one goal. Franzen has just two goals, both in the 4-2 win at Colorado on Oct. 17, and five points.

“We haven’t gotten that much with playing with those guys (Datsyuk and Zetterberg together), so maybe if we get them playing with those (other) guys as well then we get four guys scoring and the other guys contributing more on a regular basis and then we become a better hockey team,’’ Babcock said. “That’s the plan.’’

Update #2.5: Looks like we won't hear much from the Rangers' camp today, per Blueshirts United's Jim Cerny:

No #NYR practice today..back at it tomorrow in Detroit with tilt against Red Wings...not sure if @ctalbot33 starts again or @HLundqvist30

Update #2.75: From Fox 17's Steve Amorose:

Griffins moving up Riley Sheahan to Nyquist's spot on line with Calle Jarnkrok and Tomas Jurco for tonight's home game. @FOX17

Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, here's the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan's practice report:

This is a good opportunity for Tatar, a rookie who has impressed in limited time with his work ethic and ability to generate opportunites, if not any points yet (three games, no points).

"To play with those guys is a dream," Tatar said. "Those guys are real good players, leaders on the team and hopefully we can make good chemistry. My job is to skate and forecheck, grind the corner and get the puck for them. Those guys make real smart plays. I just have to make space for them."

On the third line, Babcock has Stephen Weiss centering Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader. Joakim Andersson is between Jordin Tootoo and Drew Miller on the fourth line.

"We just have to generate more offense," Babcock said. "We need to get more going, it's too easy to shut down one or two guys. You need a team going. Right now, we need Alfie (Alfredsson) and Mule (Franzen) and a whole bunch of guys to score. We haven't gotten that as much with them not playing with those guys (Datsyuk, Zetterberg).

"If we get them playing with those guys, maybe we get them scoring."

Update #4: Here's the Free Press's George Sipple's report:

The Wings host the New York Rangers on Saturday (7:30 p.m., FSD). This will the ninth consecutive game the Rangers (2-6) play on the road to start the season.

“Hopefully, we can spread it out a little bit more and get four lines going,” Zetterberg said.

Asked what Tatar needs to do on the line, Zetterberg said: “Just play the way he’s been playing all the way up until he got here. He’s skilled. He sees the ice very well. He’s got a good shot. Shoot the puck. Both me and Mule likes to have the puck a lot. I think (Tatar) will be good at finding an open spot and being a sniper.”

Tatar is looking forward to the chance to play with Zetterberg and Franzen.

“It’s basically like a dream,” Tatar said. “Those guys are really good players, and they’re one of those leaders on the team. It’s going to be fun. Hopefully, we can make good chemistry, score a couple goals.”

Notes: Babcock said goalie Jimmy Howard will start in net for the Wings. … Forward Patrick Eaves, who has been on long-term injured reserve with a sprained MCL and ankle injury, has been cleared to play, but Babcock said he won’t be in the lineup against the Rangers.

Update #5: Here's DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose's practice report:

The Red Wings finish up a three-game homestand on Saturday before taking a journey to Western Canada next week. The New York Rangers conclude their nine-game road trip to start the season Saturday at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit has managed just one goal – Bertuzzi’s power-play goal against the Senators – in the last eight periods, plus an overtime and a shootout.

“I think the last game we can hit the delete button because I don’t think we did a lot of good things,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “The game before that, San Jose, was a well-played game by both teams. That was two scoring teams that went at each other, but we played real good defense, didn’t give each other a lot of opportunity to score goals. Saying that, I think we have to find ways to spend more time in their end.”

The one constant this season has been that Dastyuk and Zetterberg have played together on the same line, first with Justin Abdelkader and more recently Bertuzzi. But the Euro Twins have also accounted for 44 percent (11-of-25) of the Red Wings’ goals, which isn’t an ideal methodology. By switching up the line combinations, the hope is that they can spread out the scoring to become more balanced and more difficult to slow down.

...

EAVES UPDATE: Eaves (MCL, ankle sprain) was cleared this week to return to action, and while he’s eligible to come off of long-term injured reserve, Babcock said the veteran grinder will not be in Saturday’s lineup against the Rangers.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU: Wednesday was the first time for Niklas Kronwall and Brendan Smith to play any significant minutes together as defensive partners. While Smith is much more offensive-minded than Jonathan Ericsson – Kronwall’s usual D-partner – it will take some time getting use to.

“I thought there were things that worked and some things we need to work on a lot more,” Kronwall said. “That’s like that the first few times you play with each other. We haven’t played with each other for some time now. So it’s going to take some time to adjust to each other. The more you communicate out there the better it’s going to be. We just need to play with each other, get out there as much as possible so we can get a better read off each other.”

Ericsson is out for 2-3 weeks with a partial dislocation of his left shoulder joint.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

all caused by Weiss playing like a Panther.. hopefully Tatar can take this and run with it since he’ll have someone to give and go with

Posted by cberth on 10/25/13 at 12:59 PM ET

Avatar

I still don’t understand why Holland re-signed Cleary knowing full well that Gus would go to Grand Rapids. Makes absolutely ZERO sense.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 01:00 PM ET

Avatar

I still don’t understand why Holland re-signed Cleary knowing full well that Gus would go to Grand Rapids. Makes absolutely ZERO sense.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 01:00 PM ET

Wasn’t Holland’s decision as much as it was Babcock’s. Coach loves Cleary and he played well in last year’s playoffs. He’s a character guy and a worker. And Babcock loves to pair a 2-way center with a worker and a scorer. Only problem is that this team has too many of those guys and not enough assassins.

I like Tommy T getting his shot in the top-6. He’s played well the last couple games. I hope he is rewarded, plays well up there, and solidifies a spot up at the top. This is a HUGE chance for him.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 10/25/13 at 01:08 PM ET

DocF's avatar

Fact is that Cleary, so far this season, has been one of the few bright spots amongst the Detroit forwards.  He has played hard, not had excessive turnovers nor penalties and he has looked like he did three or four years ago.

Bertuzzi has also player very well.  Now everyone should know that today, the predicted high in hell is 98 degrees.  I have said nice things about Big Bert.  Fact is, he has shown up to play. 

The guy who has done less than nothing is Samuelsson.  Despite not getting much cap relief, he should be waived as he is a negative force field and pulls the team down.

I would hope that next year will see Cleary and Bertuzzi retire because they want to do so.  This would clear up space for the young forwards who need to be up with the big team.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 10/25/13 at 01:21 PM ET

LivinLaVidaLockout's avatar

Wasn’t Holland’s decision as much as it was Babcock’s.

There have been many, MANY times that Holland hasn’t given Babcock what he wanted.  I would hardly give Holland a free pass for a roster conundrum only solveable by injuries.

Posted by LivinLaVidaLockout on 10/25/13 at 01:28 PM ET

Avatar

I would hardly give Holland a free pass for a roster conundrum only solveable by injuries.

This a thousand times.

As far as Cleary’s play this year I don’t think he’s really hurting the Wings with his play as his defense has been pretty good and the effort is certainly there, but at the same time he doesn’t seem to be helping a whole lot either.  He’s been an offensive black hole.  He has trouble holding onto the puck along the boards and he falls down way too much regardless of the size of the defender on him.

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 10/25/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Avatar

Love that they r splitting up Dat and Z. Those two can lead 2 separate lines as they did so well in the playoffs. But if Babs wants to get guys going I think he needs to put Mule back with Dat and Z with Wiess and Alfie. These lines should be used when Helm returns.
Mule - Dat - Bert
Z - Weiss - Alfie
Cleary - Helm - Tats
Miller - Andy - Abby

If they can get Nyquist up then I’d put him in for Cleary and move Cleary to 4th for Miller. Keep Miller as extra.

Posted by Anderj8 on 10/25/13 at 01:48 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I’m not going to say the 19 told Uncle Mike so with Tatar, but we told him so

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/25/13 at 02:42 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Posted by Valek from Chicago on 10/25/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Cleary’s a playoff warrior. He was one of the main reasons we almost beat the Hawks. He was one of the top players for either team on the ice that series. He was our second leading scorer in the playoffs. How could you NOT take a ONE year deal for that? I hate to say this, but his job this season is to stay healthy. Babs wants him for the playoffs, period. And as you say, he doesn’t hurt us. He’s solid, he plays hard and he’s a great defender. If he plays just like he is all year, anchors the third line and then repeats his playoff performance, this contract will be a steal.

And, assuming we make the playoffs, there are no longer restrictions keeping Gus down and that issue is moot as well. Gus is going to be fine and once he plays two more games, won’t ever play in the AHL again most likely. So, unless things get way off the rails here, I don’t think this is as big of an issue as it seems. It’s really just Sammy’s fault anyway.

People seem to think Kenny chose to DEPEND on an injury when in fact it was the Samuelson injury that really screwed us. I think unanimously everyone here and every GM in the league would rather have Cleary than Sammy on their team. The inability to buy him out really has stung. And magically he was 100% the following week. That would have solved all of our problems. And we could keep Tootoo who plays his roll pretty perfectly when called upon.

But Tats is what I’m excited about today. He was friggin awesome the other night. He looked like Z the way he was shielding the puck and slicing hard to the net. He was laying hits. Playing hard and scrappy. He even made a few great defensive plays. He was fantastic. And it clearly caught Babs’ attention because he was moved up to the top 6 for the entire last period. I have to think Tatar is finally here to stay. He needs to play on a scoring line to succeed and I think once he pots a couple and gets some real confidence brewing, he’s going to be dangerous. And he’s only 22. Who knows what his ceiling is? 

and don’t underestimate Babs. You don’t think he knows Tats’ skill? Yeah we all wanted him in, but Babs knows what he’s doing better than all of us combined. Whether it was appeasing Sammy by letting him play himself out of the lineup so there’s no locker room strain or whether it was checking Tats ego and getting him a little pissed so he could start learning the Red Wing way or whether it has something to do with stuff in practice or behind the scenes that we don’t know about… whatever the case, Babs has his reasons for working Tatar in the way he has so far and if you really think its due to some ineptitude in talent evaluation you are crazy. He knows exactly what he’s doing. He is the best there is.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 10/25/13 at 02:48 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Fact is that Cleary, so far this season, has been one of the few bright spots amongst the Detroit forwards.

Cleary has 2 points and is averaging only 1 shot per game.  And while he hasn’t been a Smith level defensive disaster, he isn’t wowing anybody with his forecheck or backcheck.  Most games, he’s just invisible, a non-factor eating up cap space and a roster spot.

In all fairness, I’ve felt that way about Weiss most nights, too.  And he’s using up a lot more cap than Cleary is.

Posted by Hootinani on 10/25/13 at 03:19 PM ET

Avatar

Jay (Denver) Pierre, I have lost faith in Ken Holland. I think he is too emotionally attached to some of his veteran players. This attachment is preventing him from making very obvious moves that need to be made for cap purposes. Can you think of any other GMs that suffered from a similar ailment?

——

Wow, I could not have worded it better. He is waaaaaaay too emotionally attached to his veterans; hence the reason Nyquist is still in GR. Ugh. I get frustrated just thinking about this crap.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 03:34 PM ET

Avatar

Jay (Denver) Pierre, I have lost faith in Ken Holland. I think he is too emotionally attached to some of his veteran players. This attachment is preventing him from making very obvious moves that need to be made for cap purposes. Can you think of any other GMs that suffered from a similar ailment?

——

Wow, I could not have worded it better. He is waaaaaaay too emotionally attached to his veterans; hence the reason Nyquist is still in GR. Ugh. I get frustrated just thinking about this crap.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 03:34 PM ET

What veterans were signed besides Cleary that should be gone? Last year, Samuelsson and Tootoo were signed because they didn’t believe they had the guys down there who could play a big role. Instead, Andersson, Nyquist and Tatar all emerged as big time players. Samuelsson in particular would have not been signed except that they need a top-6 winger who could contribute 20 goals and 40 points. Cleary was a Babcock guy, not Holland’s choice.

Anyways, what veterans should be gone that were signed this year or last year?

Posted by VitoLambruski on 10/25/13 at 03:51 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Ugh. I get frustrated just thinking about this crap.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 03:34 PM ET

Maybe if you posted Pierre LeBrun’s response to that crap you’d feel better.

Here, let me do it for you.

Pierre LeBrun (12:51 PM)

You have lost faith in Ken Holland? Why, because you’re bored cheering for the most successful pro hockey franchise of the past 20 years??? Man, tough crowd !

Posted by SK77 on 10/25/13 at 04:14 PM ET

Avatar

What veterans were signed besides Cleary that should be gone?
——-
Well, to start, the Sammy 2 year deal with a NTC was a mistake of epic proportions. KH panicked and attached that elephant to our back. Cleary…oh Cleary-We were already over the cap and had 2 excess forwards, but KH thought it was necessary to bring back Mr. degenerative knees. Solid signing. And when people point to his playoff production, that was an aberration. He was useless in the regular season last year and looks like it’s going to be more of the same this year. Babcock deserves some blame, as well. But with Nyquist ready to go, why would you sign Cleary? It makes no sense; not financially, not personnel-wise, not in any way.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 04:15 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Wings split Zetterberg and Datsyuk, promote Tatar to top six

When I read that headline, my first reaction was to look at the calendar to make sure we hadn’t somehow leap-frogged all the way to April 1st. I guess all it takes for Babs to open his eyes is for the team to stink for three straight games. Better late than never, I guess.

One of you posted a Thomas Vanek trade scenario yesterday, and ESPN’s Craig Custance went into “Debunk Mode” in his mailbag today…

There have been so many nonsensical trade scenarios floated here in the last few days, you’d think we were in the middle of the “dog days” of summer. And almost all of them failed to take into account the salary cap.

The only cap-compliant one I saw was Franzen, Smith, Tatar and a 1st for Weber. And as much as both Franzen and Smith frustrate me, I’d personally never do that – not for a douchebag, head-smasher like Weber.

Pierre LeBrun: You have lost faith in Ken Holland? Why, because you’re bored cheering for the most successful pro hockey franchise of the past 20 years??? Man, tough crowd !

Pierre has no idea how correct that statement is. But we’re Wings fans. We’re supposed to be both tough and unreasonable in our expectations. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/25/13 at 04:20 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Cleary has 2 points and is averaging only 1 shot per game.  And while he hasn’t been a Smith level defensive disaster, he isn’t wowing anybody with his forecheck or backcheck.  Most games, he’s just invisible, a non-factor eating up cap space and a roster spot.

Cleary hasn’t been any level a defensive disaster. He’s been on for four even strength goals against and hasn’t been responsible for any of them.  PK-wise, he’s third on the team for minutes played shorthanded and has seen only one goal go into the Wings’ net with him on the ice (the Spezza slapper from the top of the circle where Lashoff couldn’t decide whether he wanted to go challenge the sniper or help provide a screen for him). That’s best on the team for any forward who plays a decent amount of penalty kill.

In other words, Dan Cleary is defensively good. He’s the exact opposite of a defensive disaster.

Offensively? His two points would be one total point fewer than the guy who started the season playing with Datsyuk and Zetterberg and has been playing 2:30 more even strength per game than he has.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/25/13 at 04:48 PM ET

Avatar

J.J. I love your enthusiasm but I think we both know that when KH made the decision to sign Cleary—when we were already 2 players OVER the limit no less—Nyquist would be sent down. And that is idiotic.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 04:53 PM ET

Avatar

You are right about Abdelkader. Under the radar, he has done very little to build on last year, despite rave reviews from Babcock earlier in the season. I wanted to see him take steps to establish himself as a gritty scorer in the mold of Holmstrom or Ryan Smyth.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 10/25/13 at 04:53 PM ET

Avatar

I would hardly give Holland a free pass for a roster conundrum only solveable by injuries.

That is said often, and remains an incorrect statement each time it is said.  It is commonly said by people who are not fans of Holland.

The roster ‘conundrum’ was never a very big deal… even if one attempts to live in a world where the Wings should be presumed to be completely healthy for months at a time, including a guy with a fairly substantive injury history in general and a newly chronic situation in particular.

In the worst case scenario the solution revolved around getting rid of guys who either don’t play at all or aren’t very good when they do.  We’re not talking about moving key pieces here, we’re talking about marginal to useless NHLers.  That there are actually people who think the creation of a ‘conundrum’ wherein the losses will be 13th 14th and 15th NHL forwards stands as a point of criticism for Holland are, quite simply, not sources of opinion I would treat as credible beyond simple fan-angsty yammering.

I’m not going to say the 19 told Uncle Mike so with Tatar, but we told him so

Told him so… what, exactly?  Has Tatar proven something to someone at the NHL level?  Not really.  He’s getting rotated up into the top 6 because the guys who were there before haven’t come remotely close to getting it done beyond D and Z.

Detroit has 16 ES goals this year, 15 by forwards, and 9 of those 15 are from D and Z.  Weiss has 2 and 4 other forwards have 1.  Through 11 games.  And the blue line lacks anything remotely resembling an offensive punch, which given the makeup of the roster was to be expected (and I did).

The problems which have stymied Detroit thus far are Weiss being invisible, Franzen not doing anything at ES, Alfredsson not scoring enough, and Smith playing so far below expectations as to work his way right off the roster for a dime a dozen quadruple A player like Lashoff and a freaking AHL callup before anyone could say ‘Trick or Treat’.

It’s also still October.  Which means that given the fairly significant roster changes Detroit had it should take a while longer before people start scratching ‘Brooks was here’ in their bedroom rafters.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/25/13 at 04:55 PM ET

Avatar

I would hardly give Holland a free pass for a roster conundrum only solveable by injuries.

That is said often, and remains an incorrect statement each time it is said.  It is commonly said by people who are not fans of Holland.

———

@HockeyinHD—Was it not the “conundrum” that required Gus be sent down to Grand Rapids? Even Holland himself has said “we have cap issues” and that’s the reason Gus will start in the AHL? I’m a big wings fan and Holland supporter; the guy has had a hand in 4 Cups….but he has dropped the ball since 2009. He has been a mediocre GM and has made really questionable moves. Sammy (2 years NTC), Cleary (when we were already over the roster limit), etc.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/25/13 at 05:06 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

J.J. I love your enthusiasm but I think we both know that when KH made the decision to sign Cleary—when we were already 2 players OVER the limit no less—Nyquist would be sent down. And that is idiotic.

I wish I could share with you the true depths of how little I care about going back every day and complaining about signings that you don’t like as though that’s actually a meaningful discussion.

My enthusiasm for being patted on the head over actual analysis in favor of post-hoc bitching is at an all-time low right now.

We’re complaining about a bottom six winger taking up space that should be going to somebody else and we’re not even talking about the bottom of that group all because the guy who is actually decently filling the role that needs to be filled right there was the last person to sign.

Jordin Tootoo’s cap hit is higher than Danny Cleary’s. he doesn’t kill penalties, shoots even less often, has the puck less often and has provided absolutely zero offense to the Red Wings, but Dan Cleary is the problem.

Just Abdelkader’s cap hit is higher than Daniel Cleary’s. He doesn’t kill penalties, has been playing on the top six which is supposed to provide the bulk of the offense, and has fished the puck out of his own net more often as a result of his own goof-ups, but Dan Cleary is what’s keeping Gustav Nyquist in Grand Rapids.

This isn’t enthusiasm, it’s analysis.  Of all the PKing forwards, Dan Cleary plays the third most minutes and he’s good at that. Is Gustav Nyquist going to start doing that? Justin Abdelkader (the guy who got pulled off the PK last season because he was awful at it?). Is Jordin Tootoo going to take those extra 90 seconds per game of not providing any offense to stand in lanes and clear pucks?

Or are we going to take those minutes away from somebody else who should be helping provide the offense that the Wings are lacking?

Yeah, it’s Ken Holland playing favorites here…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/25/13 at 05:18 PM ET

Primis's avatar

So Z and Pav have a bad game, so it’s time to break up the only two players consistently generating offense.

I don’t ever understand the Babcock Way, nor will I ever.  When only one line is “going”, breaking up that line does NOT “spread out the wealth” and make multiple lines suddenly score.  It simply eliminates your only “good” line.

Babcock should know that by now.

Posted by Primis on 10/25/13 at 06:48 PM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Would you prefer that he just sat on his hands while the Wings score 1 goal a game? And how about the fact that teams can easily use their best shutdown F’s & D on the only line ‘going’? That’s gonna take it’s toll on Pav and Z and they need to be healthy come playoff time or the Wings have no chance at the cup. As long as the scoring picks up, I don’t think any of us care who’s on what line…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 10/25/13 at 07:21 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 10/25/13 at 07:21 PM ET

Geez, cainer, if you start bringing logic into these discussions, you’re going to spoil all of the fun. smile

Having said that, I do get Primis’ frustration with Babcock. Some of the things he does (like demanding Cleary’s return, sitting Tatar for six straight games, etc., etc.) just don’t seem to make any sense.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/25/13 at 07:58 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Cleary hasn’t been any level a defensive disaster. He’s been on for four even strength goals against and hasn’t been responsible for any of them

J.J. you ever feel you’re watching a different team than others around here?  The Wings are struggling because… the Wings are struggling.  Very few on the team are playing to their potential.  I will predict right now that, barring injuries, come playoff time we will see the Wings team we’ve come to know.  Our 12th Cup?  Too many things would have to go right unless a good trade is done.  It’s funny how many here bag on the defense when I would argue that it’s the offense that’s letting them down.

Posted by calquake on 10/25/13 at 11:57 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

This team hasn’t had a great offense since they’ve lost their puck-moving defensemen.

You’re right Cal…the amount of goals against seems to be ok…but when they can barely put 2 goals past the other goalie…it doesn’t matter how great their defense is.

Lidstrom…Rafalski…Schneider…Chelios (yes…Cheli)...all gone. Kronwall and maybe Ericsson on a good day (which he’s getting better and better it seems) can move the puck…but that seems to be about it.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 10/26/13 at 12:13 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 10/26/13 at 12:13 AM ET

I would ask any poster in here to give me the name of any team that could withstand losing three out their top four defensemen in a three season period. (Lidstrom, Rafalski and Stuart) The group the Wings have now, while not top notch, are playing as well as can be expected.  Ideally the Wings need a #1 D-man.  Kronwall is a terrific #2 but only an average #1.  Someone like a Weber or Yandle would instantly transform our defense.  Instead they work hard and hope the offense scores more than 1-2 goals.

Posted by calquake on 10/26/13 at 12:27 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Would you prefer that he just sat on his hands while the Wings score 1 goal a game? And how about the fact that teams can easily use their best shutdown F’s & D on the only line ‘going’? That’s gonna take it’s toll on Pav and Z and they need to be healthy come playoff time or the Wings have no chance at the cup. As long as the scoring picks up, I don’t think any of us care who’s on what line…

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 10/25/13 at 07:21 PM ET

How about you leave the one combo working alone, and you keep the $10m worth of 2 guys we spent money on this offseason together on Line #2 until they figure it out, since their sole purpose for being here was to add scoring?

Weiss isn’t going.  Do you know why Weiss isn’t going?  Because we’re 10 games into his time in DET and he’s played with like 4 or 5 different line combos already, and on now 3 distinct lines.  Huh.  I wonder if that might make him take longer to adjust or something?...

You’re right:  one line scoring isn’t ideal.  You know what else isn’t ideal?  No lines scoring.  I still don’t understand the logic in turning an ex-40-goal winger into a 20-goal C and how that’s supposed to help the team score goals.

Posted by Primis on 10/26/13 at 01:00 AM ET

Avatar

Wow, Primis you hit the nail on the head. I absolutely HATE how Babcock juggles the lines not only every game, but about 5 times DURING the game. How are you supposed to develop chemistry with your line mates when they switch every game? I’m convinced Babcock is trolling us fans with some of the moves he makes (not really, but you get my point). I’m actually beginning to think that Babcock’s message has gone stale with the players. He’s been here for 8, going on 9, years and we haven’t been a legit contender since 09, when Babcock fumbled leads of 2-0 and 3-2 (I still have nightmares about that stupid Final). I dunno, but with the team not scoring and the players rarely responding to the new lines we have almost every game, that thought creeps into one’s mind.

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/26/13 at 01:10 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/26/13 at 01:10 AM ET

I understand the sentiment but exactly who are you going to replace Babcock with?  You don’t, as they say, cut off your nose to spite your face.  When and if a suitable replacement for Babcock (Dave Tippett or Todd Mclellan)? becomes available then you contemplate a change.  Change for change’s sake won’t get you the results you seek.

Posted by calquake on 10/26/13 at 01:23 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Kronwall and maybe Ericsson on a good day (which he’s getting better and better it seems) can move the puck…but that seems to be about it.

Actually, Fluffy, I’d argue that the best puck mover right now is DK – but only if you’re talking about moving it to one of our guys. If moving the puck to one of the opposition counts, then Quincey and Smith have to be included as well.  smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/26/13 at 01:35 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Cal and OTC…

Just goes to show how little of DRW hockey I have watched this year when I forgot all about DeKeyser…

Hockey games starting at 4:00 kinds sucked at times…

I agree, Cal…it is remarkable how well this team has transitioned….but it is also obvious they aren’t done yet. Smith was supposed to be a Puck mover…that’s still a work in progress…obviously. Q is what he is…Kindl has been better…and Lashoff will never be more than a stay at home guy…and that’s ok.

This team will be ok…and I think will easily make the playoffs… It would be less maddening if defensemen stop getting hurt but I digress. It’s obvious the Pav-Z-Alfie line works…now if only Wiess could get some consistent line mates to build chemistry with…then I’d think he’d get his offense going some.

This team pisses me off but damn when they’re in it is a thing of beauty. Babe has done a decent job for the most part…hope he lets Tatar stay in the top six fornmore than a shift.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 10/26/13 at 02:37 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Stupid Kindle Fire autocorrect.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 10/26/13 at 02:39 AM ET

Avatar

Was it not the “conundrum” that required Gus be sent down to Grand Rapids?

No.

It was Detroit already having more top 6 forwards who are better than Nyquist and knowing it’s counter-productive to have a fairly one way top 6 player playing in a non top-6 role just so he can stay up on the NHL roster.

And, stepping back a bit, it’s important to keep in mind Nyquist himself isn’t by any means a white knight of offense waiting in the wings to swoop in and rescue the team.  I mean, there are reasons a kid who was on a big time college program, and produced there, is hanging around in late round 4 to be selected.  And although he hasn’t been a consistent callup yet he has played 40 NHL games so far.  In those 40 games he has 4 goals and 9 assists. 

How about you leave the one combo working alone, and you keep the $10m worth of 2 guys we spent money on this offseason together on Line #2 until they figure it out, since their sole purpose for being here was to add scoring?

Because it doesn’t take 2 months to build rapport with linemates, that’s why.  It happens pretty quickly.  If a line isn’t clicking simply rolling the same combos out there for 15 more games isn’t going to magically make it start clicking.

That’s why it’s important to give the Wings more time before people start self-immolating in impotent fury.  Most of the time I’m talking about will be spent moving pieces around until an optimal roster and lineup is found.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/13 at 06:01 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

J.J. you ever feel you’re watching a different team than others around here?

Honestly yes.

Because it doesn’t take 2 months to build rapport with linemates, that’s why.  It happens pretty quickly.  If a line isn’t clicking simply rolling the same combos out there for 15 more games isn’t going to magically make it start clicking.

I don’t agree with that. The center has a lot more to worry about system-wise than his wingers and if he’s struggling to adjust to the way the backcheck/zone defense/transition breakout works, then 15 more games could pretty drastically change how much that line clicks.

This is especially true when the more offensively-gifted winger on that line is fighting through an early season groin strain which slows him down.

I think the “magical” concept here is that of clicking, not that of getting accustomed to the nuances of the way individuals play. 

All that said, I like the way the lines are set right now and I think Babcock is making a smart choice in moving Weiss down to the third line with more grind-type wingers.  If it’s two people getting used to each other AND one of them still isn’t comfortable in the system, I think you can get away with separating them until the second of those problems is sorted and then worry about the first.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/26/13 at 10:24 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

Tatar on the first line.  Let’s do this!

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 10/26/13 at 03:22 PM ET

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

About The Malik Report

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.