Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Jets wrap-up and overnight report: Wings insist they’re making progress despite 6 losses

Updated with some telling quotes from Babcock at 3:12 AM: Something tells me that today's Toast of Hockeytown might be a slightly tense affair given the Red Wings' performances at Joe Louis Arena of late.

The Red Wings may have lost five of their past six games at Joe Louis Arena in overtime, but they've still lost six straight at the Joe, and having been swept by the Winnipeg Jets via a 3-2 shootout decision complimenting the Wings' 4-2 loss in Winnipeg ten days ago, the team's record speaks for itself: 3 wins in their last 11 games, a 3-4-and-4 record, and...

Well, a lack of results despite what really was a dominant performance minus results.

I firmly believe that both "fancy stats" and the not-as-elegant ones live side by side, and exist with one's "gut feeling" and subjective observations as an arsenal of ways to assess team performance.

Basically speaking, the Wings out-shot Winnipeg 43-21, including 16-2 in the 3rd period; their penalty-kill went 3-for-3 and their power play went 2-for-4; the Wings also out-shot-attempted Winnipeg 62-41--with Mikael Samuelsson leading the Wings with 5 shots--they blocked 12 Jets shots, kept their giveaways down to all of 4 and the Jets' takeaways to 6 while snagging 8 Jets pucks of their own--and Kyle Quincey had 3 takeaways.

Less "objectively," Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg were masterful despite Todd Bertuzzi's rare "off night"; Johan Franzen was superb in his return and the Jets tried to hack, whack, grab and smash Daniel Alfredsson like a pinata, but he was excellent, unfortunate back-passing included, and Darren Helm played a stunning 19:48; on defense, Quincey was passable save the time he and Howard bit on Zach Bogosian's deke, Danny DeKeyser and Niklas Kronwall played great, Jakub Kindl's shaking off his sophomore slump, Brian Lashoff's playing meaner and meaner as games go by (while taking fewer penalties) and Xavier Ouellet looked good despite missing a huge chunk of the second period with some sort of mysterious ailment.

The Wings' support players did their best, too: Tomas Tatar was split from Justin Abdelkader, but he made Mikael Samuelsson look good,and ground the puck out down low with a player who seems to get speedier all the time in Joakim Andersson; the Franzen-Helm-Alfredsson line played very strongly, and the "fourth line" of Drew Miller (excellent), Luke Glendening (improving) and Justin Abdelkader (finding his form without Datsyuk and Zetterberg) played very well.

Jimmy Howard was valiant until the shootout, too, and in the skills competition, neither he, Datsyuk or Bertuzzi looked anything less than pedestrian, so he wasn't alone there.

On a team-wide basis, the Red Wings finally got back to their "structure," moving the puck crisply and speedily out of their own end, sending forwards with support through the neutral zone with poise, confidence and the puck, allowing the Wings to spend the vast majority of the game at least 150 feet from their own net, and the team really dominated play save the goal-against-yielding breakdowns, the last 5 minutes of the second period and overtime.

The Wings played very well, individually and collectively, and in the "secondary scoring" department, Franzen registered an assist on Datsyuk's second goal in Franzen's first game back from injury, and Alfredsson got an assist, too.

But the stats bear things out in an ugly manner there, too:

After 19 games--the Wings will hit the Quarter Pole when they host Washington on Friday--Henrik Zetterberg has 22 points, Pavel Datsyuk has 21, Daniel Alfredsson has 14, Niklas Kronwall has 14, Todd Bertuzzi has 9, and a mass of players we'll call Franzen-Kindl-Abby-Andy-DeKeyser have 6 apiece.

After that, however, the remaining sixteen skaters and three goalies who've suited up for the Wings have 3 or fewer points, and aside from Franzen's 4 or 5 games prior to his absence, Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Alfredsson, Bertuzzi and Kronwall have accounted for the vast majority of the team's scoring.

The Wings are 9-5-and-5--that's 9-and-10--and they sit tied with Boston for second in the Atlantic Division, but I don't know a sports league where losing six straight games at home or eight of eleven is acceptable, and the Wings are in tough.

We know that the coach is pulling out all the stops, too--Mike Babcock deemed himself to be Daniel Cleary's "biggest fan" before scratching Cleary on Tuesday; he's giving the team's "youth movement" earned time, having employed Tomas Tatar on the second line, Joakim Andersson for around 15 minutes a night, and he's tossing the young defensemen over the boards on a regular basis; he's also obviously speaking with the players as he did during the team's timeout, and he's taken given every player on the roster time to prove themselves, with Samuelsson, Tootoo, Cleary, Eaves, etc. sometimes sitting and sometimes playing based upon his and the coaching staff's gut feelings.

The power play got out of the gutter on Tuesday and the penalty-kill's been good, the Wings have had a steady hand on the rudder, and after the game, Michigan Hockey reported the following:

You and I both know that Jordin Tootoo will head to Grand Rapids to accommodate Ericsson and Smith, and we know that at some point, sooner than later, the team will waive Patrick Eaves or eat Mikael Samuelsson's salary to recall Gustav Nyquist...

But Nyquist is no savior, and pinning such expectations upon him are unreasonable and downright dangerous.

My bottom line is simple: this Red Wings team has more than enough firepower to score 3 goals a night, but over the course of nearly 70 regular season games--including a significant chunk in which Nyquist was part of the lineup--this team has been able to find little to no secondary scoring and few contributions on the blueline.

The Red Wings cannot toss off an Anthony Mantha to plug a hole and they can't take on salary in trades right now.

This is the roster they're going to have for the vast majority of the next 50-or-so games. Nyquist may help, but the, "Fire everyone, waive everyone, bring Frk up from Toledo" mentality dispels the current roster from culpability or blame for the team's present status as a serious underachiever, and blaming the coach or management will not bring about change as the Wings are more or less stuck with what they've got, give or take a player.

THE CURRENT ROSTER represents your 2013-2014 Red Wings, and it's up to this team to produce secondary scoring from both the forwards and defensemen, to give its goaltender better "run support," to find a secondary power play unit that scores and to *#$%@& win some Gord-damn home games.

The current Detroit Red Wings have blown 3 games of a 4-game home stand, and 3 games during a friendly schedule in which they're still going to play 5 of their next 7 games at home.

As I've been saying over the last couple of days, these players still represent the Detroit Red Wings, they're letting down their fans and the people who're paying money to watch them play in person, and, "To Whom Much Is Given," much more isn't just expected, it's demanded--as it should be.

The Wings finally played the kind of game that's allowed them to transcend their "rebuilding-on-the-fly" roster issues and sometimes shaky youth movement. They were nothing less than dominant for the vast majority of their game against Winnipeg.

But they've got to *#$%@& score more goals than they surrender, and they've got to straighten things out now. Teams can play their way out of the playoffs--or at least play their way into an incredibly hard run to earn a playoff spot--in November, and it's just *#$%@& time for all the rowers on the S.S. Red Wings to start paddling in the same *#$%@& direction.

In terms of the game's narrative and both sides' takes on what transpired on the ice on Tuesday evening, I'll leave you with one more observation before turning it over to them: I haven't seen a team "play for the shootout" like the Jets did over the last 20 minutes of regulation time and the 5-minute OT period since the pre-lockout Wild did it best. Their game was *#$%@& ugly.

Ugly is in the eye of the beholder, however, and Ondrej Pavelec told the Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe--who readily admits that the Jets "win ugly" at times--that the Jets' result was a lovely thing:

"They didn't give us much, but we found a way to win," said Pavelec, who won for the third consecutive time after getting pulled on Nov. 2 and watching Al Montoya make back-to-back starts. "I feel good right now. I just try to find a way to help the team and try to win as many games as I can. The guys helped me in the shootout. It's important to find a way, it doesn't have to be pretty."

It's not always pretty for this group, but lately the Jets have been digging deep, whether that means coming from behind against the San Jose Sharks or finding a way not to get too down after failing to hold a pair of one-goal leads against the Red Wings. As a result, the Jets returned to .500 for the first time in a month and seem to finally have some legitimate traction, having won four of five games to move to 9-9-2 overall.

"I don't know if you ever see a streak coming, you potentially see the attitude of your team changing or some cohesiveness that's starting to build with the group and then you're hoping that attaches itself to some good play," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "Our team, the way, we are, we've got to have a lot of guys play their A-game in order to have some success. That's what we've had, more than anything, this last little while."

The Red Wings played a strong puck possession game throughout but the Jets scored first when Bryan Little buried his team-leading 11th on a slick dish from Blake Wheeler at 7:10 of the opening period.

"After we got that goal, the game turned very defensive," said Little. "Both teams were testing each other's patience and seeing who was going to make the first mistake."

I can't deny that Zach Bogosian's goal was "pretty" for him and ugly as hell given that he froze Jimmy Howard and Kyle Quincey in front of him, but Bogosian was quite happy with what transpired...

"I think I faked myself out almost too. It felt nice to get that. I've had some chances the past few games. I didn't do celebration like (Dustin Byfuglien) did, with the monkey off the back but maybe I should have," said Bogosian. "It's encouraging to get that winning streak going. Anytime you can get on a little bit of a streak, it's a good thing. Hopefully, we can keep the ball rolling."

"We've played a lot more complete games. Our effort has been better and we keep battling. We played a more structured team game, but we've got to keep that up. We can't be satisfied now because we've strung together a couple of wins. We have to make sure we're doing the things that are getting us the wins."

In the "skills competition, Andrew Ladd delivered the dagger, as Wiebe noted...

Andrew Ladd has been Mr. Automatic when it comes to shootouts this season. The Winnipeg Jets captain improved to 5-for-5 on Tuesday night as he buried the clincher in his team's 3-2 shootout triumph over the Detroit Red Wings.

"I just pick a move and stick with it," said Ladd, who has three deciding goals in the shootout this season and six in his career. "Luckily it went in."

One might argue that the Winnipeg Free Press's Paul Wiecek went for a "spirit of the thing" recap...

Remember how about 10 days ago, when the Winnipeg Jets were saddled with a woeful 5-8-2 record, and the general consensus was the club was going to need to put together a winning streak soon if they didn’t want to risk this 2013-14 season slipping away?

Well they got one. A 3-2 shootout win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday evening was Winnipeg’s third in a row and fourth in their last five games — not to mention their second straight shootout win.

The Jets made the very most of their limited chances in this one, getting goals from centre Bryan Little in the first period and defenceman Zach Bogosian in the third period to send the game to overtime despite being outshot by a whopping 43-21 margin in the game. Overtime settled nothing, but the Jets once again showed off their knack for the shootout, with goals from Devin Setoguchi and Andrew Ladd, who scored the shootout winner for the second game in a row.

But it was the performance of Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, who turned away 41 of 43 shots, that made it all possible for the heroics in the end.

"Pavelec really put his best foot forward to help us win this game," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "Especially in the third I thought he was dynamic. He was really good and really helped us out."

Aw shucks, said Pavelec.

"I feel good right now," said Pavelec, who’s been the Jets goaltender for all three of their most recent wins. "It’s always hard to win, right? I just try to find a way to help the team and win as many games as I can."

The AP's recap will serve as our pivot point between the Jets and Red Wings' perspectives, and it duly notes that the Jets do indeed play for the shootout:

Shootouts have been good to the Winnipeg Jets this season. Devin Setoguchi and Andrew Ladd scored in the shootout to give the Jets a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday night.

The Jets are 4-1 in shootouts this season, including Sunday's 5-4 win over San Jose.

"It gets a little tiring playing overtime games but the shootouts are going for us," said center Bryan Little, who scored the game's first goal.

Ladd is 5-for-5 in shootouts this season and his past three have been game winners. Zach Bogosian also scored for Winnipeg in regulation. Ondrej Pavelec made 41 saves.

"Pavelec really put his best foot forward in the game to help us win the game," Jets coach Claude Noel said.

Pavel Datsyuk scored twice for Detroit, which lost its sixth straight at home (0-1-5). Jimmy Howard stopped 19 shots. Daniel Alfredsson scored in the shootout.

"We didn't win but I thought we played good. I liked our game today, start to finish. We made some mistakes," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "... But I liked our penalty kill, I liked our power play, I liked our game. I feel real good. I know we'd like to get the second point, but I liked the way we played. To me it's going in the right direction. It's real positive game for us."

The Red Wings trailed two times, but they did rally. The team didn't fall apart like its confidence was made of wet Kleenex for the first time in a while. They just couldn't take the lead.

The Red Wings' players told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that they feel that the team's at least no longer sinking, though they're also frustrated with their inabilty to earn positive results...

“It’s tough when we don’t get two points,” Henrik Zetterberg said. “We did a lot of good things and I think we played solid defense, created enough chances to win and (Jimmy Howard) played good enough to win the game, but we can’t find a way to go all the way. It’s frustrating. It’s tough. We want to win, but right now we can’t find a way.”

The Wings are now 0-1-5 in their last six games on home ice.

“It’s disappointing to not come away with two points, but I think it was a step in the right direction,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We did a lot of good things out there. I thought we played a full 60 minutes. We kept going. Sure there were times when they were in our zone, but we kept our composure, staying on the inside and not giving them
too many chances for free.”

It’s the Wings’ longest winless streak at home since the 1996-97 season and they’re not 3-2-5 at home this season.

“During the season you’re going to have you ups and downs and right now we’re in a bit of a slump,” Kronwall said. “Everyone really worked hard, we kept going after them, going after them. It didn’t matter if we were down by a goal, we kept going after them.

“I think tonight was a step in the right direction,” Kronwall continued. “We played decent hockey for 60 minutes. If we keep playing like this more often than not we’re going to come away with two points.”

As Babcock and Pavel Datsyuk told Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner:

“We didn’t win, but I thought we played good," Mike Babcock said. "I liked our game today, start to finish ... I liked our penalty kill. I liked our power play. I liked our game. I feel real good. I know we’d like to get the second point, but I liked the way we played. To me, it’s going in the right direction. It’s a real positive game for us.’’

Perhaps the most positive aspect was the resurgence of the Wings' anemic power play.  The Wings were 2 of 4 with the man advantage, with both goals scored by Pavel Datsyuk.

“We scored two (on the power play)," Datsyuk said. "We did not score in a few games, and it was good that we scored. We just need to keep this rolling. We played well. All three games we’ve played (on the current home stand) have gone to overtime or shootout.  Every game we’re playing better and better. We just need a little bit, one more step.”

Statistically, the Wings played a complete game, outshooting the Jets 43-21. They also shut down Winnipeg’s power play (0 for 3) and won the face-off battle.

“I’m a big believer that you keep plugging," Babcock said. "Sometimes you win games when you’re playing real well that you should probably lose. I thought this was a game we could have won easy tonight. To me, that’s going in the right direction.’’

Babcock all but has to accentuate the positive right now, and I guess that's true for the captain, too. Zetterberg told Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples that an ugly stepping stone is still a stepping stone:

"You have to take positive things now,” Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “It is tough when you can’t get a W. We did a lot of good things. We played good in our own end. We played a little tighter. We had better forechecks, we scored two on the power play, we played good on the PK. Obviously you’re going to find things that aren’t good that will happen in games, but we just have to keep plugging away and get ready for the next game.”

...

The Red Wings have the next few days off; Detroit welcomes Washington to Joe Louis Arena for a Friday night contest. Zetterberg said that his team will stay positive as they look for ways to end their losing streak.

“That’s all we can do right now, keep sticking together, believe in what we’re doing and eventually we will get rewarded for our play and we’ll get some wins,” the Wings’ captain said.

Babcock told MLive's Ansar Khan that his team's poor results are representative of a mistake-prone team that's struggling with confidence:

It is the Red Wings’ longest winless streak at home since the 1996-97 season. (0-4-2, W-L-T). Detroit is winless in four games overall (0-1-3) and dropped to 3-2-5 at home. Coach Mike Babcock, however, was pleased with his team's effort.

...

Babcock noted before the game that his team’s 4-2 loss at Winnipeg eight days earlier was sort of a turning point. Detroit had won the first three games of that trip.

“We were rolling right along until we got to the mighty Jets there and they stomped us and then we haven’t recovered,’’ Babcock said. “I thought we played fairly good game against Dallas and deserved better (4-3 overtime loss on Thursday). I thought we were fortunate to get a point against Tampa (3-2 OT loss on Saturday).

“Our game looks like we’re a real team and know how to play and then there’s 30 seconds where we give up three chances in the second and then 30 seconds where we give up two two-on-ones in the third. In the end, you can’t play like that. You got to play with patience and take what’s given. Lots of shifts in hockey are 50-50.’’

The Free Press's Helene St. James chose to look for signs of progress in speaking with Zetterberg in her "Why the Wings Lost" capsule recap...

Henrik Zetterberg said, “you have to take away positives right now, because it is tough when you can’t do a W. But we played good in our own end, we were tighter, and we scored two on the power play.”

She noted that Johan Franzen and Darren Helm had strong efforts--with Franzen registering an assist, 4 shots and 3 hits in 18:34 of ice time, and Helm registering 3 shots, 4 hits, a blocked shot and a 7-and-8 faceoff record in a stunning 19:48 played:

Franzen had a hand in Pavel Datsyuk’s second power-play goal tonight as the Detroit Red Wings fell 3-2, in a shootout to the Jets at Joe Louis Arena. Franzen spent his even-strength shifts with Helm and Alfredsson, as coach Mike Babcock searches for offense from sources other than Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Franzen was available after missing five of the previous six games with an upper-body ailment.

“I thought he was pretty good,” Babcock said of Franzen. “Both him and Helmer, I mean, they haven’t played a lot of hockey. They dominated some shifts. I thought those guys played well, gave us a real good second group.”

Franzen’s availability prompted Babcock to bump another forward who hadn’t been scoring: Daniel Cleary, who sat at three points after 18 games. Babcock said, “there’s no one who’s a bigger fan of Dan Cleary than Mike Babcock,” but also pointed out that it’s about using the best lineup.

And St. James made sure to take note of Pavel Datsyuk's performance:

Datsyuk did what he could. He made it 1-1 after Bryan Little had scored on a rush in the first period. Niklas Krownall collected the puck at the blue line and fed Zetterberg. While Bertuzzi distracted Ondrej Pavelec, Datsyuk lifted a shot high from the right circle after a spot-on pass from Zetterberg.

“He have really good professional pass and I have lots of time to find empty net,” Datsyuk said. “I need more of this kind, can you let him know?”

Datsyuk had four of the Wings’ shots.

"We talk about always, before game, we need more shooting,” Datsyuk said. “We try to be too fancy. When start shooting, everything follows.”

Things faltered in the shootout, where neither Datsyuk nor Todd Bertuzzi could dent Ondrej Pavelec. Daniel Alfredsson scored on a forehand, but Devin Setoguchi and Andrew Ladd were two-for-two.

 ...

The Wings scored with the man advantage for the first time in four games. Datsyuk contributed his second power play goal of the night in the third period, a few minutes after Zach Bogosian had been left all alone in the slot, giving him plenty of time for a 2-1 lead. The Wings went on a power play soon after, and got a two-man advantage with 49 seconds left in the first penalty. That expired, but there was still time left on the second penalty when Datsyuk picked up the puck, banged it around in the paint and slipped it into Winnipeg’s goal. Old hat for his old linemate.

“I’ve been saying this a lot of times,” Zetterberg said. “He still amazes me on the ice, in practices and in games. It’s a lot of fun playing with him and makes it a lot easier for me.”

DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose also noted that Datsyuk tied a Wings legend in scoring while dekeing and dazzling:

“He’s a great player, obviously, one of the best players in the world, so good without the puck,” Babcock said of Datsyuk, who tied Nicklas Lidstrom for 10th all-time in Detroit history for goals scored (264). “Without him and Z, right now we count on those guys totally. We need more balanced scoring.”

The power play definitely needed to boost against the Jets. Entering Tuesday’s game, the Red Wings had the 21st ranked power play, which was 1-for-19 in the previous 19-plus periods. Detroit was 2-for-4 for on the power play Tuesday.

“Yeah, we scored two but we didn’t score in a few games,” said Datsyuk, referring to the power play. “It’s good for us to score, but we just needed to keep rolling in this one. It looks like we played pretty well.”

Datsyuk and Zetterberg have compiled 16 points, including eight goals, in the last six games. Datsyuk’s goals – at 14:44 of the first period and 13:11 of the third – evened the scoring both times for the Wings.

While the Wings have been too depending lately on the top-line scoring, Babcock is certain that secondary production from guys like Johan Franzen, Daniel Alfredsson and Darren Helm is right around the corner. Franzen and Alfredsson assisted on the third-period goal.

“The big thing for us is we need more scoring,” Babcock said. “I’m confident with Mule and Alfie now and even the way Helmer’s playing that he’s coming. That gives us a better second group, but we’re going to need more balanced scoring and we got to keep working at it.”

If you wish to accentuate the negative, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff wrote an after-the-game-using-quotes-from-before article critique of the Wings' lack of secondary scoring, and it's pretty damning in tone...

Franzen returned from a mysterious four-game absence that has yet to be officially diagnosed for public consumption, but in terms of goals, Detroit’s Mule was once again more like a mole.

You couldn’t find him. Franzen hasn’t tallied since a two-goal effort Oct. 17 against Colorado. And yes, if you’re keeping score at home, those are his only goals of the season.

Babcock understands he needs more scoring depth. But he also knows that beyond the aforementioned bunch, there are no more proven scorers decorating his lineup.

“If you look at the (NHL) Guide and Record Book, who do you expect to score other than those guys?” Babcock asked. “If you look at our swing (through Western Canada) when we won (three in a row), Abby’s (Justin Abdelkader) got three points, Tats (Tomas Tatar) had three points and (Joakim) Andersson had three points. That’s why you win, because you get some balanced scoring beside your main guys, but reality is until you’ve done it year after year in this league, I don’t know how surprised you are (that they aren’t scoring).”

Datsyuk got both Wings’ goals. He and Zetterberg have tallied five of the last six goals registered by Detroit forwards.

It’s time for the rest of the bunch to step up and be counted. Otherwise, the Red Wings will continue to be counted out.

The Detroit News's Gregg Krupa chose to not take the, "I'm not a 'digger' so I can be as negative as I want without repercussions" route, offering a more thoughtful take on the Wings' scoring struggles. After pointing out that, "Daniel Cleary's biggest fan" sat Cleary, he suggested that Babcock's probably going to avail himself of more personnel options:

Sounds like a coach who might be considering more changes. Among them? One has to wonder how long the Red Wings can keep Gustav Nyquist in Grand Rapids, with his seven goals and 10 assists through 12 games in the American Hockey League.

But bringing up Nyquist requires some tough, perhaps permanent decisions on some players, both in terms of roster limitations and the salary cap. They are decisions the Red Wings have postpone, while trying to get other scorers started. But it would seem the need to pull the trigger on Nyquist only grows, as the low-scoring games and losses at home mount.

Clearly, the Red Wings lack scoring depth. Last week, as Babcock looked at his lineup with Franzen out, he wondered aloud who else could score. He could name only one player: Alfredsson.

“If you look at the NHL Guide and Record Book, who do you expect to score other than those guys?” he said, of the rest of his lineup. Alfie. There, that’s it.”

He might have mentioned Todd Bertuzzi, who has five goals and nine assists in 19 games.But Babcock’s point was clear: Can anyone else score here?

The Wings decided to give a good chunk of dough to Stephen Weiss, to lure him in free agency, after decided to part with Valtteri Filppula. But Weiss has only two goals and an assist through 17 games, and will not return to the lineup for several more games because of injury.

Weiss clearly needs time to recover his groove, after playing in only 17 games last season due to a wrist injury. In fact, the entire lineup, save the supremely confident Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Alfredsson and Kronwall, could use some confidence.

If only they could score.

I prefer to let the players and coach have the last word, and I'm very happy to read Henrik Zetterberg admitting that the team's also let its goalie down in his recap...

“Howie played enough to win the game but we can’t find a way to get it all the way,” Zetterberg said. “It’s frustrating, it’s tough. Obviously we want to win, but right now we can’t find a way.”

Zetterberg, like Babcock, felt the Red Wings did a ton of positive things.

“We played good in our own end, tighter, had a better forecheck, and scored two on the power play,” Zetterberg said. “We just have to keep plugging away. We did a lot of good things.”

And I guess the bottom line is that the Wings are at least insisting that they're ready to man the oars and continue to pull in the same direction until their battle against the goal-less tide is won:

“You just have to keep plugging,” Babcock said. “This was a game we could have won easy tonight. It’s going in the right direction. We just have to stay positive.”

Given Wings fans' comments on the radio, on TMR, KK, Facebook and Twitter, it's a little easier to be positive when you're able to affect the outcome of games. For those of us who are stuck watching and hoping for a better outcome, losing 6 straight at home and 7 of 11 equals time to push the panic button.

I can't say I've gottne there yet, but I'm wearing out my "concern button."

Multimedia:

Highlights: TSN aired the game in Canada, and they posted a 2:04 highlight clip; Sportsnet posted a 1:54 highlight clip, and the Red Wings website's highlight clip is narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond...

Though you'll have to deal with NHL.com and TSN's Jets announcers for the shootout:

We All Bleed Red's clip of Pavel Datsyuk's keep-in that yielded his game-tying goal is must-watch material:

Post-game: The Jets' website posted clips of coach Claude Noel, Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd speaking with the media, as well as Ondrej Pavelec speaking to the NHL Nework on the "Arena Cam";

The Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe embedded videos of Noel, Little, Ladd, Pavelec and Zach Bogosian's post-game scrums in his quote-free recap;

The Red Wings' website posted clips of Pavel Datsyuk...

Henrik Zetterberg...


And coach Mike Babcock speaking with the media:

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a video clip which the above-posted videos address in full.

Photos:  The Detroit News's David Guralnick posted a 23-image gallery;

The Detroit Free Press's Julian H. Gonzalez posted a 23-image gallery;

The Windsor Star posted a set of, uh, 3 big images from the game;

The Winnipeg Free Press posted an 18-image gallery;

ESPN posted a 41-image gallery;

And NHL.com, the Jets' website and the Red Wings' website posted 24-image galleries.

Statistics:

Shots 43-21 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Winnipeg 16-8 in the 1st, 10-9 in the 2nd and 16-2 in the 3rd, but were out-shot 2-1 in OT.

The Wings' power play went 2-for-4 in 4:43 of time; the Jets' PP went 0-for-2 in 4:00.

Howard stopped 19 of 21; Pavelec stopped 41 of 43.

The 3 stars were picked by Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples, and he picked Ondrej Pavelec, Pavel Datsyuk and Andrew Ladd.

The Wings' goals: Datsyuk (8) from Zetterberg (11) and Kronwall (10), PPG;

Datsyuk (9) from Franzen (4) and Alfredsson (11), PPG.

Faceoffs 28-23 Detroit (Detroit won 55%);

Blocked shots 12-6 Detroit;

Missed shots 13-8 Detroit (total attempts 62-41 Detroit);

Hits 23-20 Detroit;

Giveaways 4-1 Detroit;

Takeaways 8-6 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Helm went 7-and-8 (47%); Datsyuk went 9-and-6 (60%); Glendening went 5-and-4 (56%); Andersson went 6-and-2 (75%); Franzen went 1-and-1 (50%); Abdelkader and Miller lost their only faceoffs.

Shots: Samuelsson led the Wings with 5 shots; Alfredsson, Datsyuk and Franzen had 4; Kindl, Zetterberg, Helm and Kronwall had 3; Lashoff, Quincey, Bertuzzi and Ouellet had 2; Abdelkader, Miller, Tatar and DeKeyser had 1.

Blocked attempts: Kindl had 2 attempts blocked by Jets players; Alfredsson, Zetterberg, Ouellet and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Kronwall missed the net 4 times; Abdelkader missed the net 2 times; Kindl, Miller, Tatar, Lashoff, Zetterberg, DeKeyser and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Helm led the Wings with 4 hits; Ouellet and Franzen had 3; Kindl, Alfredsson, Glendening and DeKeyser had 2; Alfredsson, Miller, Quincey, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 1.

Giveaways: Alfredsson, Bertuzzi, Kronwall and Ouellet had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Quincey had 3 takeaways; Datsyuk ahd 2; Abdelkader, Alfredsson and Bertuzzi had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 3 Jets shots; Datsyuk and Miller blocked 2 shots; Abdelkader, Tatar, Lashoff, Quincey and Helm blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Kindl, Andersson and Franzen took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -10. Franzen finished at -2; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, Quincey, Helm, Bertuzzi, Kronwall and DeKeyser finished at -1.

Points: Datsyuk had 2 goals; Alfredsson, Zetterberg, Kronwall and Franzen had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 28:54 played; DeKeyser played 25:30; Kindl 24:05;

Quincey 23:13; Zetterberg 21:04; Alfredsson 20:53;

Datsyuk 20:34; Helm 19:48; Franzen 18:34;

Bertuzzi 16:46; Miller 15:02; Lashoff 14:59;

Andersson 14:31; Abdelkader 12:14; Tatar 10:31;

Glendening 10:06; Samuelsson 9:45; Ouellet 8:37.

 

Red Wings notebooks: This tidbit from the Winnipeg Sun's Ken Wiebe is intriguing:

Red Wings rookie blue-liner Danny DeKeyser was one of the most coveted college free agents on the market last yaer and he confirmed that the Jets were one of the teams that made a strong pitch for his services before he chose to sign with his hometown team.

"Some people think it was a no-brainer but they don't really know how close it was between a bunch of teams," said DeKeyser, who has one goal and six points in 19 games this season. "It was one of those things where we just went over depth charts and just looked at where the best fit was for me. I could have fit in a few different places, but ultimately I chose here."

I would argue that Franzen didn't look like a "mole," and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan didn't think that The Mule was anything less than solid in his return from whatever ails him:

Keep the shifts short, don’t look too out of shape, and try to create some offense. That was pretty much the checklist for Johan Franzen against the Jets, and he accomplished it, with an assist and four shots on net in 18 minutes, 34 seconds. Franzen missed five of the last six games with an upper-body injury.

“The first game (back) is usually a bit easier than the second,” said Franzen, who has six points (two goals) in 14 games. “You have more adrenaline going. You have to keep your shifts short and be smart out there, not do too much.”

Babcock liked what he saw from Franzen and linemate Darren Helm, both of whom are recovering from injuries.

“Both of them haven’t played a lot of hockey and I thought they’d have a heart attack in the first period,” Babcock said. “But they dominated some shifts. Those guys gave us a good second group (with Daniel Alfredsson).”

And Kulfan noted that Brendan Smith may very well return on Friday or Saturday:

Defenseman Brendan Smith (shoulder) skated Tuesday and appears on track to return this weekend.

“I haven’t felt any pain the last few days,” Smith said. “I felt great (Tuesday). Sometimes you’ll get some nagging pains but I don’t have that.”

Smith has taken advantage of watching and learning from his teammates.

“When you get away from the game, you get to watch things you don’t normally do on the ice,” he said. “When your shift is over, and you’re on the bench, you think about plays you just did and not look at everything else.”

Tuesday was "Military Appreciation Night" at Joe Louis Arena (the Wings gave away camouflage hats, and I wonder how many ended up in Mickey Redmond's truck), and DetroitRedWings.com's Andrea Nelson penned a feature article about the event:

Daniel Ramos and his wife, Michelle, brought their son to the Red Wings’ morning skate Tuesday as part of Detroit’s Military Appreciation Night. Both parents are majors in the U.S. Army, and attended the event last year with then 3-year-old Daniel. The young boy immediately fell in love with hockey, and hasn’t looked back.

Since attending last year’s event, young Daniel has joined the Mighty Mites and traded morning cartoons for NHL highlights. His passion for hockey is only likely to grow, as he received a special gift Tuesday morning that may have been twice his size, but no bigger than the smile on his face: Howard’s goalie stick.

“He got into hockey because of our event last year at the Joe Louis Arena with the Red Wings,” explained Daniel’s father. “Now he plays it every Saturday, so to get Jimmy Howard’s stick is kind of icing on the cake.”

The Ramos’ were among 50 guests that were welcomed at the Red Wings’ morning skate as part of Detroit’s sixth annual Military Appreciation Night. Military members were also honored in the Quickens Loan Budd Lynch Veterans Suite and in two suites courtesy of Applebee’s during the matchup between Detroit and Winnipeg.

“It’s nice to be recognized for what we do and the guys pretty much taking the time out to bring us down here and give us a different perspective of being so close and actually seeing them skate, it was pretty nice,” said Tech Sergeant Chosniel Jefferson of the morning skate experience.

Jefferson attended the morning event with Staff Sergeant Steven Phillips, and both men received a surprise of their own at The Joe. After the skate, the military guests were welcomed in the Comerica Bank Legends Club for lunch provided by Applebee’s. When the elevator doors opened to take them to the club, Red Wings legend Kris Draper was standing on the other side.

“We saw him in the elevator when we were waiting to come up from downstairs,” Phillips explained. “The elevator opened and the lady gave us directions to come up, the elevator opened and he was right there by himself coming up, too.”

Draper, Jiri Fischer and Kirk Maltby were surprise guests at the event, and mingled, took pictures and signed autographs for the military guests.

 


 

Also of Red Wings-related note: As noted in the "Pre-Game Skate," Ken Holland chose to bring up the concept of extending overtime at Tuesday's GM's meetings, and this time, it gained some "traction." The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek noted its discussion...

For years, Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland has proposed amending the overtime rule so there would be an additional five-minute period of 3-on-3 play tacked on if a game didn’t end in the current five minutes of 4-on-4 play. Holland said he thought there was “an appetite in the room” to extend the overtime.

Not every GM liked the 3-on-3 concept, but some – including Doug Armstrong of the St. Louis Blues – said he would consider seeing a few extra minutes of 4-on-4 overtime so fewer games were decided by shootouts.

“I’m not sure about the 3-on-3yet,” Armstrong said, “because I don’t see it enough in our regular games, in the 60 minutes or in the overtime, to see what effect that would have. But I like the idea of an extended 4-on-4, or [New Jersey Devils GM] Lou Lamoriello brought up the idea of switching zones, making it harder for line changes. That might accomplish things, too. I think we can tweak it a few different ways.”

As did USA Today's Kevin Allen:

"There was an appetite in the room to look at ways to extend overtime," said Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland.

Holland has long lobbied for a 10-minute overtime, with five minutes played at four-on-four and five more minutes played on three-on-three. He said he senses that there is more interest in extending overtime than before.

"I think there are some who would like to make it seven or eight minutes," Holland said.

Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill said he also sensed considerable interest in extending overtime, although the logistics would have to be finalized. One of the major issues is when the ice would be scraped.

"We don't want fans having to stay until 11 p.m.," he said.

Steve Yzerman (Tampa Bay Lightning) and Doug Armstrong (St. Louis Blues) expressed interest in longer OTs, but didn't favor three-on-three.

"But I haven't seen enough of three-on-three," Armstrong said.

The Hockey News's Adam Proteau took note of both the OT issue and other topics discussed during the meetings...

Otherwise, the GMs discussed fighting in the game – and in particular, fighting between goalies – but no new rule was agreed on and the general sense provided by GMs who spoke to media was that there’s no substantial rule on fighting as a whole. That said, some GMs made it clear the issue of goalie fights wasn’t going to fade away.

“We talked about goalie fights and we’re going to discuss it again (at the next GM meetings) in March,” Red Wings GM Ken Holland said. “I would say the general consensus in there was that we’re OK with where fighting is right now. With regards to goalie fighting, we’d like to do something. We don’t really like to see goalies fighting.”

Holland continued his battle to extend the overtime portion of games from the current five-minute period that precedes a shootout. But there were variations on how to do that. Holland prefers five minutes of 4-on-4 action followed by five minutes of 3-on-3 play. But the GM group also explored a number of other options, including the possibility of extending overtime to seven or eight minutes. No formal decision was made on a format change, but the issue will be revisited at the next meetings.

Finally, the league provided clarification to GMs on the playoff format, which could see wildcard teams cross over due to total points should four teams from one division qualify for a post-season berth.

And Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika covers the balance of the agenda, which will be taken up again after the Olympics, when the GM's make their annual trek to the hockey hotbed that is The Breakers' Resort in Palm Beach, Florida:

The Playoff Format: When the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association settled on a realignment plan and playoff format, they created a wild-card and crossover concept. Now some GMs are unhappy with it.

The top three teams in each of the four divisions will make the playoffs. The next two teams in each of the two conferences will earn wild-card spots. The top team in each conference will play the wild-card team with the lowest point total. The other division winner will play the wild-card team with the second-lowest point total. If a wild-card team wins in the first round, it will stay in the same division for the second round, even if it crossed over.

Realignment was supposed to highlight division rivalries and reduce travel. But under this format, even a conference is evenly split – with four teams in each division making the playoffs, instead of five in one division and three in the other – you could have non-divisional matchups and long travel. Some GMs would like to tweak the format so that if four teams in a division make the playoffs, they stay within the division, even if the fourth-place team has fewer points than the fourth-place team in the other division.

“My personal opinion is wherever possible to stay within the division,” Holland said.

...

Hybrid Icing: Some GMs have been concerned about the enforcement of the new hybrid icing rule. NHL director of officiating Stephen Walkom confirmed that it is a race to the puck decided at the faceoff dots, not a race to the dots. He also said the league has been averaging 8.5 icings per game this season, compared to 8.4 last season, an indication the linesmen are calling it correctly.

“It’s remarkable,” Walkom said. “It’s almost the same, and that’s with taking the attainable pass out. … All the players, coaches and the officials have been on a fast-ramp learning curve to get this rule right, and so far we’re getting better at it, and we haven’t had anybody slamming into the boards, and we’re having the same number of icings, so that’s probably a real good thing.”

Bullying: In response to the NFL bullying controversy, the NHL wanted to make sure a similar problem wouldn’t happen with one of its teams. Chiarelli mentioned that with smartphones and social media – and even behind-the-scenes TV shows – that the sanctity of the locker room isn’t what it once was. If something is going on, it might get out, not that it should have been going on in the first place.

For the record, USA Today's Kevin Allen still believes that Howard's the 3rd-best goalie available to Team USA...

And if you don't believe that Holland and Babcock are on the same page personnel-wise, this quip from IIHF.com's Szymon Szemberg might change your mind:

If you haven't seen them, Fox Sports Detroit's Darren Eliot and Chris Osgood have been discussing the NHL's slimming of nets, cutting down of goalie sticks and goalie gear, and Fox Sports Detroit's posted parts 1 and 2 of what's a 3-part series (I'd argue that the shorter pads are resulting in more pulled groins than anything else, though even this old goalie is fully in favor of the elimination of what now look like silly blocking surfaces when I see pictures of unregulated, foot-high thigh rises still sported by European goalies--frankly, I hate large thigh rises personally, and never really understood their point):

And finally, I'm mucking along health-wise, but I may put in half-days tomorrow and Thursday. Still feeling really shitty, but trying to grind out content.

 

 

Update: From NHL.com's Dan Rosen's "Over the Boards," which was published at 3 AM:

Babcock hungry for a healthy 'D': Red Wings coach Mike Babcock thinks his team has been too slow of late. He expects it to change soon, perhaps as early as Friday against the Washington Capitals, when Babcock is hoping to get Jonathan Ericsson and Brendan Smith back in the lineup.

"When we have Ericsson and Smith in the lineup on the back end we're fine because we can play [Danny] DeKeyser in the second pair," Babcock told NHL.com. "When we don't have them we have to play DeKeyser in the first pair, and we don't have enough depth on our team on the back end and we don't move the puck. When you don't move the puck you don't score. We're not deep enough on that position to have injuries."

Ericsson has missed 10 straight games and Smith has missed four in a row. If they return Friday, barring other injuries Babcock should be able to put together the defense pairs he wants: Ericsson with Niklas Kronwall, DeKeyser with Kyle Quincey, and Smith with Jakub Kindl.

"Whoever plays with DeKeyser plays great and whoever plays with Kronwall plays great," Babcock said. "There's a reason for that. They're great. Other guys need help. That's just the facts. I don't think we're that far away. To tell you the truth, I really don't. I think we're going to be quicker. We're a slow team right now with the way we move the puck on our back end, but once we have our back end locked … I think we'll be way quicker than we play right now."

...

Babcock isn't sure when center Stephen Weiss (groin) will be able to return to the Red Wings' lineup, but even when he does the coach won't be expecting much right away.

"I also think it's going to take him another month after that," Babcock said.

Weiss has three points in 17 games this season as he has struggled to adjust to being with the Red Wings after spending his first 10 full NHL seasons with the Florida Panthers.

"He's a ways away from being a Red Wing," Babcock said. "I knew it was going to be tough sledding, but I didn't think it was going to be this tough."

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

Jimmy Howard was valiant until the shootout

Valiant.  Heroic.  Masterful.  Also, 24th in GAA, 27th in save percentage, 36th in shootout save percentage, and 5-10 in raw wins and losses.

My favorite part of George’s recaps this year is watching how he manages to overhype Howard’s performance.  Howard was just ok, again, considering he was barely asked to do anything.  He badly misplayed the second goal, and if the ice had been a little cleaner he may have kept sliding all the way to Woodward after he bit and fell on that amazing move a defenseman laid on him.  By shoulder faking once.  And then skating in a straight line.

Detroit’s in pretty good shape, generally.  Once Howard gets his head out of his ass or Babcock starts splitting starts Detroit will get a little more comparatively positive goaltending.  Once Weiss starts doing something offensively Detroit will have a second line.  We know they can play consistently good defense when they don’t have to strain offensively.

Work in progress.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/13/13 at 06:48 AM ET

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There was moment in the 2nd where professor X dived for the puck and a jet stumbled over his outstretched arm. I winced. Maybe he got a cut that wasn’t to bad.

Posted by brians neck on 11/13/13 at 08:49 AM ET

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We should have won that game! Where was hooking the penalty on Datsyuk’s partial breakaway. The guys stick was up under his arms. Kindl got one for a tap on Kane’s hands but nothing on that one. Joke. Detroit’s effort was great but we cant seem to finish 5 on 5. They are gonna have to do something to get Mule and Alfie scoring. Thats why we have those two guys, to score goals. And our third line needs to chip in offense once in a while. We play a skilled game but are lacking enough skilled players to finish. Sorry but Helm isnt a top 6 skilled guy. We need three scoring lines. I liked our third line last year. Nyq-Andy-Brun. Energy, skill, speed and finish ability. Come on Holland/Babcock, we have to get back to a lineup sturcture that has been successful in the past. Everyone needs to be going and 3 lines scoring. Mix it up!
Mule-Dat-Bert
Zet-Weiss-Alfie
Tat-Helm-Nyq(If we can get him)
Abby-Andy-Miller/Cleary

Posted by Anderj8 on 11/13/13 at 10:05 AM ET

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Man I wish bruner wasn’t such a duech bag, he would still be on this team, and we wouldn’t have been able to sign cleary. Then we’d get nyquist up and have that same line that did well in the playoffs…
I’m dreaming oh well..
I think we need to do something to get Nyquist up here, enough of this 2-1 bull shit offense. Someone has go to be able to score other than the top line. I don’t think ANY team has won the cup winning games 2-1 and giving up 20 shots as babcock suggests. Winning 2-1 shows you got some goaltending and defense but it also shows us that we can’t score goals. What a rough start to the season.. I really hope things turn around.
Helm just needs to keep playing, he’s getting better but what choice did babcock have? He could have split datz and z up for z to get on the 2nd line I suppose… Helm IS NOT a 2nd line center, we all know that. He’s played like 5 or 6 games since being off for a year, he’ll get to where he needs to be. Lastly….
Howard CANNOT take face on shots, All you have to do is get open enough and get some mustard on the shot and howard will let in goals. Sometimes he’s so bad.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 11/13/13 at 10:18 AM ET

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Everyone can’t be “masterful” and still win only 3 of 11.

Posted by timbits on 11/13/13 at 10:31 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

Jakub Kindl’s shaking off his sophomore slump

Kindl got trapped in his own end everytime he had the puck, and hes been doing it for a few games.  He has lost the confidence to make outlet passes, and is becoming a detriment to an already understaffed blueline.

As far as the rest of the team not named Datsyuk or Zetterberg, same ol same ol.  Poor passing, no speed through the neurtral zone, dumping the puck when no one is at speed to chase it down, and generally just standing around in the o-zone watching the puck instead of moving around to create openings and scoring chances.  Overall their execution is piss poor.

My only hope is that DeKeyser doesn’t pick up any bad habits from this current lineup, because if he was on a blueline with a normal amount of talent, he would be thriving.  He’s easily the 2nd best defensmen on the team.

Posted by Hootinani on 11/13/13 at 10:44 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

Man I wish bruner wasn’t such a duech bag, he would still be on this team, and we wouldn’t have been able to sign cleary.

No, I’m sure Kenny would have found a way to sign Cleary…sadly.

And I’m with George.  I think Howie has been pretty darn good this year.  Our skaters just keep putting him in a position to lose.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 11/13/13 at 10:45 AM ET

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Howard isnt our problem, though he hasnt been amazing. We can’t score goals so we need to make changes to get everyone going. 43 shots and only 2 goals on pp.

Posted by Anderj8 on 11/13/13 at 10:45 AM ET

DocF's avatar

Last night, the Jets managed to win in the manner that Detroit used to win a lot of games.  They played just barely well enough to win while being outplayed.  This never, ever should happen to Detroit.

Right now, the defense is looking, well, very average.  This game was the best the blue line corps has played as a group in some time.  Quincy did have primary responsibility for the second Jet goal, but someone else should has realized he had lost his stick and come to help.  That did not happen. 

Quincy did make the defensive play of the game to prevent a clean, almost penalty shot like, breakaway.  The problem I see with him is he is trying way too hard.  Once he realizes that, he will be OK.

I do hope Brendan Smith watched a lot of video.  I would want all youngish defensemen watching tapes of Don Sweeney.  He had the best standup move I have ever seen.  He was not the most talented blue liner ever, but that one move kept him in the game for a long time.

Kronwall has looked very average and has not done his usual fine job of getting the puck ahead and out of the defensive zone. 

Kindl looked as if he was back on track most of the game.  He has had some rough moments of late. 

Samuelsson did not really hurt the Wings; he did not help them at all.  I guess Babcock has decided Eaves is a skunk, so he will never get a fair chance at some ice time.

Howard has not looked especially sharp in the last three games.  I believe the second goalie needs to be playing more, regardless of who that may be.

Franzen looked better than I thought he would.  Big Bert showed up, but he was a step slow and behind all game long.  He needs to rest for a game, not punishment, just needs rest.

Helm is out of place on the top two lines.  His ideal line is between Miller and Eaves, burning up and down the ice and stealing a goal or two.  He is valuable in much the same manner as Craig Adams of the flightless birds is.

My wife keeps telling me that if I can’t say anything nice about someone, say nothing at all.  I will say nothing about Babcock.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 11/13/13 at 10:56 AM ET

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Man I wish bruner wasn’t such a duech bag

He wasn’t such a “duech bag”.  He was the Wings’ third leading goal scorer in the regular season and leading goal scorer in the playoffs.  He asked for a very reasonable salary (especially if you consider that he was asking for Samuelsson money), which caused Ken Holland to gasp and drop his monacle in his champagne glass, refuse to pay such an outrageous salary for a goal scorer, then go out and sign a 42-year old with the exact same point total as Brunner (and two fewer goals) to a contract worth at least two million more than Brunner was asking for.

Yeah, what a *#$%@&…

Helm is out of place on the top two lines.  His ideal line is between Miller and Eaves, burning up and down the ice and stealing a goal or two.  He is valuable in much the same manner as Craig Adams of the flightless birds is.

Absolutely.  I love Helm, but I hate this organization’s need to attempt to shoehorn bottom six players into top six roles.

Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 11:24 AM ET

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I am beginning to ask myself some difficult questions about this team, its management, and the coaching staff. For a long time, I have believed in Ken Holland and Mike Babcock. I am still conflicted as to whether or not I should even question the competency of either.

Ken Holland has presided over what many in sports consider the model franchise of ANY major sport. The Red Wings are, at the very least, in the top 3 best-run sports teams of any of the four major sports. Look at how many teams, with inadequate management, continue to shuffle through GM after GM, coach after coach, and maintain a perpetual state of neutral (I’m looking at you, Toronto…). The Red Wings’ track record is outstanding - Holland has presided over four Cups (or was the first one under the previous regime?) and has found ways to keep the team perpetually competitive for many years. Babcock has been to three Cups and won once (and the two losses were in game 7).

But there are some serious problems with this year’s and last year’s teams. Holland made personnel decisions that have handicapped this team (although I continue to maintain that Cleary is here because of Babcock, not Holland). If he is such a great GM, how is it that he failed to recognize that Tatar, Nyquist, and potentially others were ready (or close) before last year? Why didn’t he even take a whiff at PK Subban last year as he remained available for an extended period (was he RFA?)? What made him think Kyle Quincey for a first-rounder in 2012 was a trade he had to make?

And Babcock - doesn’t it seem like we continually have problems on the power play, no matter which assistant coach is running that unit? And the overall offense - doesn’t it seem like we are always talking about how we can’t score? Why does Babcock have to run seemingly the most difficult-to-master system in the game that requires a PhD to understand and thrive in? Although it provides a lot of support to the D, it also seems to handicap all but the most generational talents we have. How about freeing up some of our scorers to have more freedom and less defensive responsibility? Maybe locking down every forward with a “D-first” mentality isn’t good for the guys who are there to score (i.e., Tatar) nor for the defensemen, who might actually be better off if they had to be more self-reliant.

I am beginning to question Holland’s personnel decisions and Babcock’s system. It might be time for these guys to make some difficult decisions. Maybe it’s time to turn Danny Cleary loose on waivers. It seems kind of ironic that the team can’t score and yet its most glaring need is a top-pair defenseman. I’d love to see them sell out for a stud d-man, even if it means sending a Mantha along. I love this kid and I think he’s gonna be a 30-goal or better scorer, but if it means we can get a crack at a strong defenseman, I’d do it. Obviously, it’s going to be salary-in, salary-out - this kind of trade will have to be done with a team outside of the playoffs who values a scorer and who can stomach a few months of Quincey’s contract (or someone else’s) in order to facilitate the deal.

I really hope this team gets on track. Last year’s success overshadowed some seriously awful moves by the GM (still, the Tootoo deal at $1.9M for 3 years when he was a playoff scratch on NASHVILLE absolutely boils my blood). I am now wondering whether last year’s run was an aberration - the expectations were to fight for the playoffs and hopefully get in. But things changed when the team nearly made it to the WCF and now we all expected this team to be a contender. Instead, the team has performed more like the team we expected before last season.

The last beef I have (and then I’ll shut up) is that last year, Danny D played great with Kindl - they were a great pair. I believe they started this year together but since then, there seems to be no desire to put them back together. Why? DD made Kindl look great….

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/13/13 at 11:44 AM ET

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(although I continue to maintain that Cleary is here because of Babcock, not Holland)

Cleary may indeed be back because Babcock wants him, but the buck stops with Ken Holland.

If Ken Holland doesn’t sign that contract, Dan Cleary isn’t a Red Wing right now.

Period.

Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 12:07 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Why didn’t he even take a whiff at PK Subban last year as he remained available for an extended period (was he RFA?)?

I’m with you on that one.  I brought this up last year and was mildly scorned for the idea.  Yes, he was an RFA, but we could still tender an offer sheet for a high-quality, young (eventually Norris winning) D-Man that enjoys hitting people.  Worst case scenario is that Montreal matches and they have less Cap space to work with…which is a good thing for the other 29 teams.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 11/13/13 at 12:19 PM ET

DocF's avatar

The thing we all need to remember is he is incredibly high maintenance.  The Red Wings do not want or need players like that, no matter how talented.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 11/13/13 at 12:55 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

The scariest part of that game was Howard in the shootout. Fortunately, shootouts don’t really count when the games are particularly meaningful, but man it was rough watching those high blocker-side shots.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 11/13/13 at 01:02 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Babcock said. “Sometimes you win games when you’re playing real well that you should probably lose. I thought this was a game we could have won easy tonight. To me, that’s going in the right direction.’’

The question is: How long will we have to watch the Wings lose while they’re going in the “right direction?”  At some point, don’t they actually have to win in order to prove they’re going in the right direction?

As for Jimmy’s “valiant” effort last night? Like others here, I really didn’t see it. It’s time to put the Monster in for a game and give Howard a rest “mentally.”

And it’s long past time for Holland to quit screwing around. Bite the bullet and waive either Sammy or Eaves. At least give Gus a chance to help turn things around.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 11/13/13 at 01:12 PM ET

Avatar

The thing we all need to remember is he is incredibly high maintenance.

So? If we have a guy who’s high maintenance and rewards us by being a Norris trophy winner, I’ll take that kind of high maintenance player any day over the high maintenance farm animal we have right now who only shows up when he feels like it.

Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 01:47 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

  The thing we all need to remember is he is incredibly high maintenance.

So? If we have a guy who’s high maintenance and rewards us by being a Norris trophy winner, I’ll take that kind of high maintenance player any day over the high maintenance farm animal we have right now who only shows up when he feels like it.

Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 12:47 PM ET

And the Red Wings organization is famous for taking Individuals and turning them into Red Wings.  However, since we didn’t make an offer and the man remains a Hab, it’s all a bit moot.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 11/13/13 at 01:59 PM ET

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Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 11/13/13 at 12:59 PM ET

True.

Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 02:34 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Subban is an over rated diva. He belongs in the NFL playing wide receiver. That’s one decision Kenny got right last summer.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 11/13/13 at 02:43 PM ET

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But there are some serious problems with this year’s and last year’s teams.

I mean, dude, welcome to the NHL.  All teams have serious problems.  There’s a hard cap and Detroit hasn’t picked in the top 10 for 20+ years, right?  Chicago’s got a team loaded with great players they drafted using picks they acquired after sucking for most of a decade.  Are you willing to wait that long to see another loaded winner in Detroit?

Of course you’re not.  Nobody would be.  It’d be stupid to think many people would be.

So, we get what we get.  As Detroit scrambles to try and replace hall of fame players with late in the round picks, selling the history of the team while the physical city in which it plays circles a toilet bowl and functioning under the exact same financial constraints as every other team in the NHL you get… this.

A league where most of the games are going to be complete coin flips, and where even having one of the three best GMs in the NHL and one of the three best coaches in the NHL doesn’t move the needle more than a few bits.  So, when you get a 5.3 mil goalie not playing better than goalies who make ~2 mil, that matters.  When you get 3 mil forwards who don’t/can’t/shouldn’t play more than 10 minutes a night, that matters.  When you get a 4.9 mil center who is supposed to be a legit force being awful, that matters.

That’s life.  If you think rooting for Detroit sucks because the management isn’t pristine, brother, take a look around the league and get the bleep back to me.

Mistakes happen, both at the managerial and the player level.  Just because Alfredsson blows a wide-bleeping-open net sometimes doesn’t mean he sucks, and Holland blowing a signing or two or Babcock blowing a change or two doesn’t mean the same thing, either.

I mean, did you guys even watch Babcock communicating with the whole team late in the game last night along the boards?  You don’t have to be a student of pretty much anything to see that he’s got that teams respect, and they have his.

Are they good enough to win a lot?  Probably not.  They’re in flux like they were in flux near the end of Yzerman and Fedorov’s careers.  Is there another D or Z somewhere in the system?  Another Lidstrom.  Hell no there’s not.  So, Detroit is going to have to find a new way to win.

That’s what we’re seeing.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/13/13 at 02:43 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

And it’s long past time for Holland to quit screwing around. Bite the bullet and waive either Sammy or Eaves. At least give Gus a chance to help turn things around.
Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 11/13/13 at 12:12 PM ET

I’m no capologist and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but I think if you waive a player and no one claims him, doesn’t that salary still count against the cap?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 11/13/13 at 02:48 PM ET

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Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 11/13/13 at 01:48 PM ET

If Samuelsson were waived and sent down the Wings would still be on the hook for all but $100k of his salary.  If Eaves were waived and sent down the Wings would only be on the hook for somewhere between $200k and $300k of his salary.

Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 02:54 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

If Samuelsson were waived and sent down the Wings would still be on the hook for all but $100k of his salary.  If Eaves were waived and sent down the Wings would only be on the hook for somewhere between $200k and $300k of his salary.
Posted by Garth on 11/13/13 at 01:54 PM ET

I don’t think $300k-$400k is enough to bring up Gus. And aiver buyout can only happen in a short window after the Cup Finals. The Brain Trust has had a 3 year Brain Fart with some of these contract decisions.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 11/13/13 at 03:12 PM ET

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Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/13/13 at 01:43 PM ET

Yeah, I get that in a cap-constrained world and with a team that has succeeded for an extended period, it can be difficult to build and sustain a great team. Most teams do have serious problems, but not all. All teams have problems but some are not that serious or the number of serious problems is limited in scope and impact.

The problem I have is: look at all the acquisitions via trade or free agent since the Quincey trade. What’s the success rate on those? It’s expected that management will make mistakes from time-to-time. But in this case, the mistake rate since the Quincey deal has been absolutely alarming.

- Quincey for a first rounder (salary of $3.75M per)
- Tootoo 3 years @ $1.9M
- Samuelsson 2 years @ $3M
- Weiss 5 years @ $4.9M (although jury still out; so far, it is a mistake)
- Cleary 1 year @ $1.75M (and forced Nyquist to GR)

Alfredsson is the only good deal in that timeframe. Can you think of any others? I consider Gustavsson a wash - neither bad nor good. So since trade deadline 2012, the Wings have traded for or signed $10.4M annually (excluding Weiss’s $4.9M) worth of players that look like bigtime mistakes to me. Including Weiss, that’s $14.3M annually of dead weight. That’s about 16% of our salary (when you exclude Weiss’s money) spent on bad deals acquired in the last year and a half.

The mistake rate in recent times has been alarming. Admit that. I don’t expect perfection but there are a series of bad moves in recent times.

All that said, I still think KH is a great GM. But he deserves some significant criticism right now. That’s a fair assessment. We can’t ice our best team because we are saddled by millions of dollars of bad contracts entered into in the last year and a half. I am just beginning to question his judgment for the first time since he became GM. A few scattered mistakes is acceptable. A series of bad decisions in a short timeframe is not.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/13/13 at 03:12 PM ET

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Mistake in last post - the bad salaries this year total $15.3M, not $14.3M….

Posted by VitoLambruski on 11/13/13 at 03:15 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

Today’s nhl is all about how you spend your dollars.  4th liners are dime a dozen players and should all be paid the minimum salary allowed.  They should be filled with young forwards not 10 year veterans of the league.  Also forwards jobs first and foremost should be to put pucks in the net, being good defensively is an added bonus.  Defenseman are there to play defense, offense is just an added bonus.  The players on our current roster are not built that way at all. I’d be interested to see what would happen with our offense if guys like Frk, Mantha, Nyquist, jarnkrok, jurco were given opportunities on injury replacements, instead of putting Sammy, glendening, eaves, tootoo, emmerton in.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 11/13/13 at 03:54 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’m no capologist and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn last night, but I think if you waive a player and no one claims him, doesn’t that salary still count against the cap?

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal

There was a pretty detailed discussion of the whole cap/roster thing in this thread. I’m still not sure I understand all of the reasoning behind it, but George and others seem convinced that there is cap space for Gus if Sammy or Eaves is waived.

...if guys like Frk, Mantha, Nyquist, jarnkrok, jurco were given opportunities on injury replacements…

Unfortunately, Mantha can’t be “called up” from Juniors. He can’t even play in Grand Rapids this year. The others can, and so can Ferraro and Sheahan. But the way Holland and Babcock run things, we may never see some of those guys in Detroit. They’ll either be traded or lost to waivers so a guy like Cleary can brng his “leadership” qualitites to the dressing room.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 11/13/13 at 04:12 PM ET

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Most teams do have serious problems, but not all.

Well yeah.  That’s going to happen.  I can tell you that the teams who don’t have many problems this year almost certainly had them last year, or they’ll have them next year.

That’s what a hard cap does.  It makes nearly a majority of what happens in a season random because every team has the same general level of resources.  Now if a guy comes in and under or overperforms his salary by a significant margin that can shift the trajectory of a team.  If they can’t do it again the next year, boom, the trajectory shifts again.

list of recent moves

Here’s the difference, though: Hindsight is 20-20.  I agree that the Quincey acquisition and Tootoo signings were mistakes, but I was also saying that at the time.  I had no problem with the Sammy signing, he just got hurt and never got back.  I had no problem with the Cleary signing.  It was a good price and IMO what he should have been making for the last couple years anyway, his old deal was the one I had a greater problem with.  The Weiss deal I had no problem with at the time.  Seemed like a good to borderline great move.

What I’m saying is, to sit back and blast those moves now when most of them were heralded as decent to great at the time is a little weaksauce.

I mean, was the Helm deal a bad signing just because he got hurt and hasn’t played well under it?  I don’t think it was.  It may not turn out well, but them’s the breaks.  All we should be expecting of a GM is to make decent moves at the time and hope they work out.

Alfredsson is the only good deal in that timeframe. Can you think of any others? I consider Gustavsson a wash - neither bad nor good

That’s the problem with analyzing these moves with any degree of specificity… it’s just too soon.  If Weiss and Howard are what they are as of today, I don’t see how Detroit survives long term.  That’s too much money tied up in two dudes who aren’t earning all of it, or even most of it.

Those are the types of deals that can sink a GM, even Holland, even in Detroit.  Tootoo at 1.9 for 3 or Quincey for 2 years… yeah, those are mistakes but they are short term, survivable mistakes.  When a GM starts bleeping up 5 year deals though, suddenly positions in upper management with titles like ‘Senior VP of Hockey Operations and Horsebleep’ start becoming suddenly and urgently in need of an experienced hand.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/13/13 at 05:44 PM ET

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Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/13/13 at 01:43 PM ET

Are you willing to wait that long to see another loaded winner in Detroit?...Nobody would be. 

It’s stupid to think that with the way the cap is that it will be more difficult to avoid a spell from the playoffs than it is to rack up 20 plus years in the playoffs. I, for one, would welcome a low draft pick. Look no further than Pistons. They’ve been struggling but it appears they may have righted their ship. Time will tell.

while the physical city in which it plays circles a toilet bowl

Really. You felt the need to go there. Snore.

When you get 3 mil forwards who don’t/can’t/shouldn’t play more than 10 minutes a night, that matters.

Whhhh…...What?!?!?!? are you trashing the same man you proclaimed the Jesus of hockey? Are you dissing your meal ticket?

did you guys even watch Babcock communicating with the whole team late in the game last night along the boards?  You don’t have to be a student of pretty much anything to see that he’s got that teams respect, and they have his.

There you go again, micro-analyzing.

Another Lidstrom.  Hell no there’s not. 

You mean the same non-existent FA d-man you said the wings should thave signed this summer?

I can tell you that the teams who don’t have many problems this year…they’ll have them next year.

Ohhh great Swami, please, please, tell us all which teams those will be…...

I had no problem with the Sammy signing

Gasp! You do love Sammy. He must be confused. Watch out he may break up with you.

What I’m saying is, to sit back and blast those moves now when most of them were heralded as decent to great at the time is a little weaksauce.

Uhmm, did I miss something? You’ve been tugging the weaksauce from Sammy on these subjects since…..well since all those things happened, Mr. Weaksauce Tugger Guy.

was the Helm deal a bad signing just because he got hurt…

Uhmmm. No.

It may not turn out well, but them’s the breaks

Says Mr Loving Me Some Sammy Weaksauce Tugger Guy.

All we should be expecting of a GM is to make decent moves at the time and hope they work out.

Do you ever remember what you have written in the past?

..for 2 years… yeah, those are mistakes but they are short term, survivable mistakes..

Except when they cost the team proper development of its youth. As I have said before the Sammy signing has a trickle down effect that is delaying the growth of those players below Nyquist. If it weren’t for his injury last season Tatar and Nyquist would have had even less time playing for the Wings.

Those are the types of deals that can sink a GM, even Holland, even in Detroit.  Tootoo at 1.9 for 3 or Quincey for 2 years… yeah, those are mistakes but they are short term, survivable mistakes.  When a GM starts bleeping up 5 year deals though, suddenly positions in upper management with titles like ‘Senior VP of Hockey Operations and Horsebleep’ start becoming suddenly and urgently in need of an experienced hand.

Again, what’s with the micro-analyzing?

As far as your crapping all over Howard, even Patrick Roy, arguably the best goalie to play, had several sub-standard seasons - I can pick out 5. Only Brodeur showed the consistency that you are demanding out of a goalie. Is Howard as good as Brodeur? I think we can agree he is not. Yet, when you compare either their stats at the same age or over their careers when they overlapped Jimmy’s save percentage is better in both cases and comparable in GAA.

If we all followed your behavior with regards to Howard then Detroit would be renamed Philadelphia.

Posted by howeandhowe on 11/13/13 at 07:57 PM ET

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