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Red Wings-Islanders quick take: blame to go around…And progress, too

Well, yesterday evening it was all about how Howard was so subpar, and tonight I'm sure it's going to be all about Babcock and Holland...

But the Red Wings' 6-5 SO loss to the New York Islanders, despite mostly superb and in spite of sometimes shaky goaltending from Jonas Gustavsson, serves as the Wings' sixth straight game going "winless,"  it's the second night in a row that Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi were "minuses" (-1 instead of -2 tonight), it's the second night in a row where the Wings didn't score the game's first goal, and then took and surrendered 2 one-goal leads, it's a goal where the Wings' special teams were...actually, they were frickin' superb...And the Wings SOMEHOW tied the game despite being out-shot FIFTEEN TO FOUR in the 3rd period and SIX TO ONE in OT...

What's going on here? Aside from a devastating inability to win shootouts?

Well *#$%@&, despite the fact that the Wings earned a point, isn't there enough blame to go around?

You get out-shot 15-1 in the 3rd period, you get out-shot 6-1 in OT thanks to a penalty on Ericsson...

If you win, it's salvation away from home, and if you lose, there isn't a player on the damn ice, a member of the coaching staff on the bench or an executive in the press box who's exempt from blame here. I mean, hell, this was a game where the blame could've gone all the way up to Red Bird III's pilot, who's going to be battling significant buffeting by winds that are howling at surface level in Southeastern Michigan.

It really does come down to the Wings learning the hard way that a) the "geographical cure" had nothing to do with their struggles and b) it's about structure, as the team's been saying.

If the Wings play passive and back in, back in, back in against rushes and stick their butts in their goalie's faces, they're eminently beatable.

If they possess the puck, skate through the neutral zone with speed and without turnovers, and when they skate up and down the ice as 5-man units, with strong support of the puck-chaser and/or puck-carrier like the arms of a starfish, keeping that damn structure in place, all while putting shots on the net and chasing their rebounds down, they can play competent, if not winning, if not sometimes dominant hockey.

You saw how dominant they were during some stretches, and how awful they were during others tonight, especially in the 3rd period and OT, when the Wings were out-shot by a 21-5 margin...And traded goals because their goalie was great when Niklas Kronwall's butt wasn't scoring on him, and because their PK is in fact very good.

The shootout, again, was the case of the goalie biting on one deke and the shooters being stoned, just like last night, and that was the game.

Last year, this team had a Valtteri Filppula who was shakier than Stephen Weiss has been, a Damien Brunner that wasn't nearly as consistent as Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist--who was no point-per-game player--instead of Darren Helm, and they made the playoffs.

Six straight losses. "Loser points" in five of 'em. Enough to not make this an unmitigated disaster, but pretty close to horrific.

Could they use Nyquist up?


Could they use a shake-up trade?


Could they maybe put Howard or Gustavsson out for the shootout?


But this looks like the wailing and gnashing of a team in puberty right now, a team that has more than enough talent, will, heart, determination and smarts to win, and a team that is making just enough mistakes to lose on a nightly basis, both in terms of individual and team errors.

Everyone is in the doghouse. But over the last two games at least, everyone has been showing signs of life and signs of growth, and it's not yet time to declare these Wings "Dead Things."

Does this shit have to end RIGHT BOOKING NOW, because you can't "miss the playoffs" in November, but you can most certainly blow your margin for error for the remainder of the schedule?

Yes, obviously.

But I don't believe that it's the personnel, I don't believe that it's the goaltending, I don't believe it's special teams, I don't believe that it's the coaching and I don't believe that it's the management that's to blame per se.

All of them are at fault to some extent. Everybody has to get better, finding some bloody cap space included.

But humiliating loss became a shootout one and dominant win became a shootout loss the night before.

Growing pains are a pain in the ass to watch. Wings fans deserve better than this--much better.

But this was game #21 of 82. And this team's basic roster has gone fourteen games into the playoffs before.

It's more than time for the Wings to get their shit together. They've got three more home games this week--Tuesday against Nashville, Thursday against Carolina, and Saturday against Ottawa--they play a Sunday game in Buffalo, host the Bruins on Thanksgiving Eve, play the Isles on Black Friday, and then the schedule gets really nasty and cluttered with cameras behind the scenes in December.

Over the next six games, this team should be able to turn the God-damned ship around. It's just time to do it, for the goalies, coaches, players and management to be that much better at their jobs and to ensure that the team has a competitive edge every time it steps on the ice, even if it's only very slight because of parity, the cap, etc. etc., whatever other excuse they or we want to cite for the team not being able to call up everybody or trade for everybody or whatever.

Build off the learning-experience losses. Get your shit together, take Sunday off, practice on Monday, and find some motivation to take out the Preds, beat Peter Karmanos' Hurricanes the night after all of the Wings head to Compuware for the Matt Sorisho benefit on Wednesday the 20th, give Alfredsson some measure of comfort by beating those Sens, put a dent in the resurgent Sabres and win the barometer game against Boston.

Get "better enough" to close the damn deal. Work on the details. Play like a team. Coach and manage better. Stop another shot a game if you're a goalie.

It can be done. It's time to be worried, yes, but it's not time for them to panic.

We've been doing all the panicking necessary for the Wings' players, coaches and management since the team last won two weeks ago.

Update: From DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:



Shots: 41-23 Islanders overall. The Wings were out-shot 9-7 in the 1st, tied 11-11 in the 2nd, were out-shot 15-4 in the 3rd and 6-1 in OT.

Special teams: The Red Wings went 1-for-1 in 34 seconds of PP time and killed 5 of 6 Islanders power plays, with the Isles receiving 10:20 of PP time.

Goaltending: Jonas Gustavsson stopped 37 of 41 shots; Evgeni Nabokov stopped the only shot he faced; Kevin Poulin stopped 19 of 22.

The 3 stars: The Islanders' media picked Brock Nelson, Darren Helm and John Tavares.

The Wings' goals: Helm (2) from Ericsson (3) and Kronwall (11);

Datsyuk (10) from Samuelsson (1) and Zetterberg (12), PPG;

Franzen (5) from Helm 92) and Tatar (3);

Datsyuk (11) from DeKeyser (7) and Zetterberg (13), goal scored 6-on-5.

Faceoffs 29-28 Detroit (Detroit won 51%);

Blocked shots 20-9 Detroit;

Missed shots 9-8 Detroit (total attempts 69-41 Islanders, with the Wings firing 23 shots on goal and 18 wide/blocked);

Hits 32-28 Detroit;

Giveaways 11-11;

Takeaways 15-15.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Helm went 17-and-8 (68%); Datsyuk went 8-and-11 (42%); Glendening went 2-and-5 (29%); Andersson went 1-and-3 (25%); Zetterberg went 1-and-1 (50%).

Shots: Datsyuk and Franzen co-led the Wings with 3 shots apiece; Abdelkader, Zetterberg, Helm, Bertuzzi and Cleary had 2; Andersson, Miller, Tatar, Lashoff, Quincey, Samuelsson and Glendening had 1.

Blocked attempts: Helm fired 3 shots into Islanders players; Abdelkader had 2 attempts blocked; Tatar, Quincey, Bertuzzi and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Ericsson missed the net 4 times; Andersson, Helm, Bertuzzi, Kronwall and DeKeyser missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Quincey led the Wings with 6 hits; Lashoff had 5; Helm, Ericsson and Kronwall had 3; Kindl Abdelkader, Tatar and Bertuzzi had 2; Datsyuk and Miller had 1.

Giveaways: Kindl and Bertuzzi had 2 giveaways; Abdelkader, Miller, Quincey, Samuelsson, Zetterberg, Helm and Kronwall had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Quincey had 4 takeaways; Datsyuk had 3; Miller, Tatar, Zetterberg, Helm, Kronwall, DeKeyser, Cleary and Franzen had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Ericsson blocked 4 shots; Cleary blocked 3; Datsyuk, Miller and Kronwall blocked 2; Kindl, Quincey, Samuelsson, Zetterberg, Glendening, Helm and Franzen blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Bertuzzi took 2 minors; Franzen took a double minor; Helm and Ericsson took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: the Wings finished at a collective +1. Kindl, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi were -1; Tatar, Helm, Kronwall and DeKeyser were +1; Franzen was +2.

Points: Datsyuk had 2 goals; Helm had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Franzen scored a goal; Samuelsson, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Ericsson, Kronwall and DeKeyser had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 28:02 played; DeKeyser played 25:40; Ericsson played 24:46;

Quincey played 23:47; Datsyuk played 20:40; Zetterberg played 19:51;

Helm played 18:21; Miller played 16:16; Franzen played 15:57;

Bertuzzi played 15:24; Cleary played 14:17; Lashoff played 14:07;

Tatar played 13:43; Kindl played 13:20; Glendening played 12:54;

Andersson played 12:16; Abdelkader played 11:13; Samuelsson played 9:32.

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink



It’s funny, it felt like something like…5 or 6 straight shootout losses before I looked. It’s only been 2 OT and 3 shootout losses. Would probably help if I was able to watch the games.

But I don’t have to watch the games to stick to my belief that this is not “the team we have”. This is not as good as it gets. We have injuries, and before that, players who weren’t as good as they were going to get. Shootout losses early in the season with a patchwork lineup aren’t worse just because they come in succession.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 11/16/13 at 10:24 PM ET


Oh, and why did Kindl get so little ice time? Quincey had like, 10 more minutes than him.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 11/16/13 at 10:25 PM ET

gowings's avatar

I cannot believe I am saying this…but…thank god for loser points? Heck, imagine zero points in the last 5???

And regardless of all the opinions out there, I really appreciate your optimism George! Even if I don’t share it….it’s still nice to read a few positives notes….even if they are few!

Keep up the good work smile

Posted by gowings from MTL on 11/16/13 at 10:37 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Super high winds tonight. If no overnight report, assume a power outage in South Lyon.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/16/13 at 10:52 PM ET

DocF's avatar

I do not know what to make of this game.  The only guys who looked like they were consistently playing with any enthusiasm were Helm and Tatar.  The big line, especially Bertuzzi, looked very tired for the second game in a row.  Could the amount of heavy lifting being required of them be taking its toll?  Yes, I know that Datsuyk scored, but he really did not look like himself; he looked to be laboring most of the time.

Gustavsson scares me.  Most of the time he is spectacular and then he looks like me flailing around on the ice like a total doofus. 

I am not sure what needs to be done to make the Red Wings as good as they can be.  I know that getting everyone healthy will help.  The fact that Helm is starting to learn to finish is a big, big plus.  If someone can figure out how to keep Franzen interested in the game, then he will be a major plus too. 

George, I think you may be on to something.  The Wings blueliners have seemed to be passive and not as aggressive at they used to be.  If someone makes a mistake that is caused by playing hard on the puck and the puck holder, that is one thing.  If everyone is backing down, the mistakes result in goals all the time.

Anyway, I still think that Babcock is a brilliant coach and no longer is effective with these players. 

And on that note, a very befuddled guy in North Carolina will now close.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 11/16/13 at 11:05 PM ET


It’s probably worth noting…out of 729 players +- stats Kyle Quincy is 724th with his -12. Drew Miller is 710th. Brendan Smith is somehow 686th with only 11 games played.

Posted by brians neck on 11/16/13 at 11:21 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Nothing will ever change my loyalty to my beloved Detroit Red Wings. Win, lose, or, draw. I’m all in. I have seen much in my 45+ years as an active fan. As bad as things look, there was a time when the Wings were really bad. Hopefully all the current turmoil leads to the playoffs. I can live with that.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 11/17/13 at 12:09 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Wings fans deserve better than this—much better.

I sure as hell can’t agree with this.

Most of the Red Wings’ fans haven’t seen anything except playoff appearances. I can’t say that we’ve been horrible fans during our own-version-of-a-rebuilding, but a solid 30%-40% of us have been complete assholes.

As a group, us fans have been spoiled rotten. Every fan of every other team has had to struggle to remain a fan while supporting a horrible team ... except for us.

So, “No,” we don’t deserve better than this. I think we will receive better than this, I think that once again we will have a team that’s better than we deserve.

Personally, I’m a little older than most fans. I’ve supported some atrocious Red Wings teams. I’ve actually said this:

“That was a horrible example of hockey, but it was still kinda cool to see Ted behind the bench! He looked like miniature insurance salesman back there.”“

Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/17/13 at 12:14 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Evgeni Nabokov stopped the only shot he faced

fyi: he missed the only shot he faced.

Helm’s goal.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/17/13 at 12:31 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

I’ve noticed a difference in the Wings during the last two games.

It’s Quincey.

He’s played two very nice games.

Just thought I’d mention it.


Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/17/13 at 12:44 AM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

Oh, and why did Kindl get so little ice time? Quincey had like, 10 more minutes than him.

Because Babcock thinks that Quincey/DeKeyser is a great combo - I have to agree.

Lashoff is young and he’ll get better, but right now Kindl/Lashoff are having problems.

These games since Ericsson came off of LTIR, the Quincey/DeKeyser pairing has been excellent.

Are they still making some mistakes? - “Yes.”

But, damn… the improvement from early in the season is huge.

Posted by alwaysaurie on 11/17/13 at 12:53 AM ET

Primis's avatar

This just *is* the team.  I know I sound like a broken record but… we’re 1/4 of the way into the season.  The team is what it is.

It’s not Howard.  It’s not Ericsson.  It’s not Franzen.  It’s not Tatar.  It’s not Nyquist.  Every time someone tries to point a finger at a Wing, it gets proven otherwise in short order.

The *TEAM* is losing these games, it’s a collective effort.  And not just the guys on the ice, but the guys behind the benches too that keep doing the same things expecting a different result.

It’s not going to just turn around.  Guys might develop to the point where the last 20 games are different from the first 20 but… it’s not just going to click, or turn on like a switch.  It may not click at all in fact.

Posted by Primis on 11/17/13 at 01:42 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

It’s simple. The Red Wings when they have gotten a lead lately don’t forecheck, back-check or trap in the neutral zone worth a damn and that’s on Babcock and Holland as the team is playing worse as the game goes on.
We get to All-Star break and team still playing like this then I expect a GM or coaching change or at least a big trade.
Kindl sucks on defense and anyone that watches him play in his own end can’t argue this fact. He got knocked off the puck several times easily again.
Islanders Martin and Cizikas and MacDonald and Clutterbuck were forces all night long and even goon Carkner played well.
Note to Ken Holland: grinders help wanted sign up here but up to you to trade or sign one and actually make Babcock play him.
Our problems got problems here and longest streak of OT losses since 2003 Oilers yikes.
Wings got outshot badly as game went on because they are physically weaker than most NHL teams bottom line.
Maple Leafs just made a big trade Saturday.
Is Holland still sitting on his hands saying “I like our team?”


Posted by Slumpy from Under My Wheels on 11/17/13 at 01:55 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Quincey was great. It was disturbing.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 11/17/13 at 02:09 AM ET

Chet's avatar

let’s give some credit to the islanders. as i watched this game i thought about what the pens were saying in the playoffs—this is a fast, fast team that can bring heavy zone pressure and lethal transition. they weren’t taking the wings lightly and they deserved this win.

in my mind, that we got so much as one point out of this game is a testament to structure and coaching. the wings have issues to sort out, no doubt, but this was never a guaranteed win anyway.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/17/13 at 04:11 AM ET

Chet's avatar

(oh, also, it remains holland et al’s fault that we aren’t icing the best possible team. i still hate that 22, 37, and 71 are/were ever on this roster.)

that said, 37 didn’t look totally hopeless or out of place tonight. he’s slow-ish, but physical and not afraid to shoot. there are worse players in the NHL, no doubt.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 11/17/13 at 04:14 AM ET


This just *is* the team.

Yes and no, because the team had Weiss (4.9), Alfredsson (3.5/5) and Howard (5.3) all off the ice, so around 20-23% of salary cap wasn’t playing.

Gustavsson was really twitchy in net all night, as demonstrated by that goofy paddle-sweep he tried which led directly to a goal, rather than just doing a poke check like sane goalies would do in that spot.

All of that aside, the team is obviously in their own heads right now.  Nobody on the ice is stepping up to solidify the team, and nobody off the ice can do much about the roster.

As George said this is a very similar team to the one who played well in the playoffs last year with (IMO) the differences being, at least on paper, significant improvements… so what Detroit is waiting on is for Weiss to show up and for Howard to improve.  A distant hopeful longshot would be some defenseman stepping up offensively, but that’s more like a lottery ticket than a blackjack hand.  Alfredsson scoring at more than a 12-13 goal pace would be nice, too.

Other than those three or four situations it’s not like there’s a long list of guys who are underperforming.  Quincey’s a mess, but he was a mess last year too.  Sammy’s not doing much, and certainly not coming anywhere close to earning his deal, but he appears to be at least generally trending in the direction of competent.  That’d be a nice improvement.

I don’t really have any problems with the forward group, as they’re all performing to expectations.  Z’s been hotter than I thought he would be, but other than that the guys are doing what people should have fairly expected from them as a group.

The team just needs to hold it together until they get everyone back on the ice.  And then keep holding it together.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/17/13 at 11:26 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Of all the talent the Wings have, you would think they wouldn’t be so pathetic in shootouts. Bertuzzi’s moves the last 2 nights were laughable, and Datsyuk tried the exact same move twice.

If Weiss doesn’t get healthy and find his game, we’re screwed. There’s no way we will win a Cup without a bonafide upgrade at our #2 center position.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 11/17/13 at 02:19 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Wings got outshot badly as game went on because they are physically weaker than most NHL teams bottom line.

Prior to the third period, possession time and shots were pretty even. So the Wings magically weakened significantly prior to the third? It looked like they were not the same team—even the PK looked nothing like it had—but come on.

The thing that is annoying to me lately is whenever they talk about the shootout being a “crap shoot” or “just a skills competition” like it could go either way. Clearly when they have played in so many shootouts and lost every single one, that means they are doing something wrong and it’s not just a matter of luck.

Posted by bleep bloop on 11/17/13 at 10:04 PM ET


As George said this is a very similar team to the one who played well in the playoffs last year with (IMO) the differences being, at least on paper, significant improvements

Are you changing you tune? Are you the same guy claiming Weiss close to being a bust, wondering if Helm has his injury behind him, and questioning Tatar’s place in the lineup? There is also your constant issues with the defensemen too. All these things add up to IYO “significant improvements”? Then there is the overpaid elephant in the room who would have been better replaces with a non-existent superstar defeneseman and player in another league which takes a significant jump in skill to move up to the NHL.

Sammy’s not doing much, and certainly not coming anywhere close to earning his deal

Finally you are seeing the light….

but he appears to be at least generally trending in the direction of competent.

Ugghhh….Still, if trending competent in this case is good for one shot on goal and an assist then Tatar must be heading for stardom, right?

I don’t really have any problems with the forward group

You mean just today, right?

Z’s been hotter than I thought he would be

Being alone must be…..lonely. I sure most of us thought he would be able to produce this year. Curious, what were your expectations for his production at this point and for the season?

The team just needs to hold it together until they get everyone back on the ice.  And then keep holding it together.

Then what? Keeping playing games to a tie and losing in a shootout?

With all that said, The Wings are only 3-5 points our of top spot in the conference. They have played a game or two more than a few teams how could jump ahead of them. I’d say they are looking good as far as their position in the conference considering they haven’t been winning. Of course, that has to change to give us all hope of making the playoffs or better.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 11/18/13 at 08:28 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.


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