Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings Monday practice post in progress: Fil’s still out and good Helm news

Updated 7x at 4:31 PM:The Red Wings hope to rebound from their loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday as they play seven more games over the next two weeks, starting with a game against Colorado tomorrow night, but it doesn't sound like they're going to get unrestricted free agent-to-be Valtteri Filppula's services back any time soon:

I'm not sure what to say about this one:

Erm, uh...

Loose is good?

This is fantastic news:

In the text department, ESPN's Craig Custance weighed in on the potential "trade needs" for "playoff contenders in his Insider blog, and...His list doesn't include the Wings....

MLive's Brendan Savage penned an, "It's so late it's early" article about the Wings' young players stepping up....

Via RedWingsFeed, if you're interested in reading the Windsor Star's Bob Duff's conversation with Blackhawks coach Joel Quennevile, enjoy, and you may take ESPN's Scott Burnside's take on Sunday's game as you wish (I rolled my eyes):

Via SI's Al Muir, the Buffalo News's Bucky Gleason offers a whiny take on realignment...

And heading back to RedWingsFeed, the Grand Rapids Griffins are promoting their "purple game" on this Friday, March 8th. It will raise funds for cancer research and treatment at Grand Rapids' Van Andel Institute:

And, "Who knew!" parts 1...

And 2:

Also:

Update #1: Some good, some bad:

Also:

Update #1.5:

Update #2: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has filed his practice report...

Wings coach Mike Babcock said he hasn’t decided on who’s in or out of his lineup for Tuesday’s meeting with Colorado.

However, with how they skated at practice it looks as if the same players that have dressed the last three games will play against the Avalanche, meaning Ian White and Kent Huskins will be healthy scratches. Jimmy Howard will start in goal Babcock said.

Forward Valtteri Filppula (left shoulder) skated on his own before practice.

“It didn’t feel too bad, but I still feel it, so it’s not the best situation, but getting better.”

It was his first time on the ice since last Sunday. Filppula did a little bit of puck handling but did not shoot the puck. Wings GM Ken Holland said Sunday that he doesn’t expect Filppula to be ready these next two games.

“It’s tough to say, that’s what’s frustrating,” Filppula said. “You don’t miss that much time but you miss a lot of games. Today was first day I felt better, good enough to go out there and skate a little bit so I’m happy about that. Stick handling was OK. I tried to shoot a little bit but that didn’t work that well, so I think that’s going to be the toughest thing.”

Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) has yet to be cleared to return.

“I’m at a point right now where I’m not having any setbacks but I need more of the conditioning on the ice, with the battle and strength stuff, game situations,” Colaiacovo said after practice. “I thought I’d be at a better point today. I’m better but not where I want to be. I’m at such a crucial point right now, with so many games coming up, me being out this long, I want to make sure it’s 100 percent feeling good.”

Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, MLive's Ansar Khan provides updates regarding Valtteri Filppula...

“It didn't feel too bad, but I still feel it, so it's not the best situation, but getting better,'' Filppula said. “A little bit of puck-handling, but no shooting yet. I tried to shoot a little bit, but that didn't work that well, so I think that's going to be the toughest thing.''

As for an estimated return date, Filppula said, “It's tough to say, that's what's frustrating. You don't miss that much time, but you miss a lot of games. Today was first day I felt better, good enough to go out there and skate a little bit so I'm happy about that.''

And both Darren Helm and the Wings' probable lineup for tomorrow:

Helm might skate this week: Center Darren Helm said he hopes to start skating later this week. He hasn't been on the ice since Jan. 26 due to ailing back (slight tear in disc).

Lineup for Tuesday: Coach Mike Babcock said he is not planning any changes on defense for Tuesday's game against Colorado (7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Detroit) at this point but will decide tomorrow.

Jimmy Howard will start in goal.

Here are the lines they skated with today:

Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg-Damien Brunner

Justin Abdelkader-Pavel Datsyuk-Daniel Cleary

Tomas Tatar-Joakim Andersson-Patrick Eaves

Drew Miller-Cory Emmerton-Jordin Tootoo

Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith

Brian Lashoff-Jakub Kindl

Also: Ian White, Kent Huskins, Carlo Colaiacovo

Jimmy Howard (starting)

Jonas Gustavsson

Update #3.5: The Oakland Press's Pat Caputo grumbled and groused about the Wings this morning:

The Red Wings are currently a glass half-full, glass half-empty proposition.

The half-full part: The Red Wings are very much in the playoff picture (they have made the playoffs 21 straight years, the longest current streak in professional sports). Also, several promising players have emerged and given the Red Wings a much needed lift (Damien Brunner, Joakim Andersson, Brian Lashoff, Tomas Tatar),

The glass half-empty: The Red Wings have lost an inordinate number of man games to injury. Also, they been remarkably inconsistent, literally from period-to-period, let alone game-to-game. In the process, they are letting points get away here and there, which ultimately could prove to be painful.

Sunday's shootout loss to the Blackhawks was typical of the Red Wings' season. They broke a scoreless tie against the NHL's best team with a goal by Tatar in the third period set up by Andersson from behind the net. They lost the lead. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson, who has developed in a solid NHL defenseman after years of getting blistered by Red Wings' fans for being a turnover machine, shot the puck over the glass for an automatic penalty. Then, Patrick Kane, Chicago's superbly skilled center, took over the game with a pretty one-timer tying goal and a sensational clinching move in the overtime shootout.

Ah, the Red Wings got a point. Glass half-full. Ah, Red Wings flittered away a point they should have gotten. Glass half-empty.

Glass half-full: If the season ended today, the Red Wings would be in the playoffs.

Glass half-empty: Yeah, but they have 24 points, and so do five other teams in the Western Conference. In fact, the Western Conference is extraordinary balanced. It's rapidly approaching the halfway point of the NHL's lockout shortened schedule of 48 games (the Red Wings have played 22), and 12 teams have between 26 and 20 points in the Western Conference.

So when the Red Wings let a late lead get away and lose at Los Angeles. Or if they lose twice at home to dreadful Columbus. Or if they get a point when they probably should have had two against Chicago, it's something that could eventually put their spot in the playoffs in jeopardy. Fourteen of the Red Wings' last 22 games are on the road.

Update #4: The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of Filppula's condition, revealing that it's his left shoulder that's ailing #51...

"He's working out and he skated by himself (Monday), which is a positive thing," Babcock said. "I don't expect him this week."

...

What's working against Filppula this week is the schedule. It'll be important to see how Filppula looks in a full-scale practice, but there are games Tuesday (Colorado), Thursday (Edmonton) and a back-to-back with Columbus on Saturday and Sunday. The lone practice looming is Friday, as the Wings have a day off Wednesday.

"That's the frustrating thing," Filppula said. "You don't miss that much time but you miss a lot of games. Today was the first day I felt better, good enough to go out there and skate a little bit, and I'm happy about that."

And Kulfan offered a quip from Babcock:

The Wings have scored one goal in regulation time the last three consecutive games. Babcock feels if the Red Wings continue to commit defensively and improve in that part of the game, as they've been — four goals allowed in the last three games — the offense will take care of itself.

"We had good looks yesterday," Babcock said of Sunday's 2-1 shootout loss to Chicago. "(Blackhawks goalie Corey) Crawford was very good. Crawford was the star of the game, no question, down the stretch. He made some unreal saves, and that's part of it.

"When I look at our group, we have to continue to get better defensively and if we do that, we'll get offense in the end. A few weeks ago we scored more goals than we are now, but I like the way we're playing right now. You can't outscore your mistakes and we're trying to limit them."

The Free Press's Helene St. James posited a summary of today's news...

[C]oach Mike Babcock anticipates sticking with the same lineup when the Wings host the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, partly because there's not much choice. Filppula is out with a sore shoulder, and while defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo is close to playing, he's not that close.

"I'm at a point right now where I'm not having any setbacks," Colaiacovo said. "But I need more of the conditioning on the ice, with the battle and the strength stuff, game situations. I thought I'd be at a better point today, and I'm better, but not where I want to be."

Colaiacovo injured a shoulder in the second game of the season, Jan. 21 at Columbus. But will he think twice about playing if ready Saturday, when the Wings are back in Columbus? Nope. "Hey, listen, I don't look at those things," he said. "I'm just at a point right now where I just want to play hockey. When I come back, I want to stay in for the rest of the season."

Filppula has missed three games, and Babcock said he doesn't anticipate Filppula being ready this week, which also includes home games Thursday against Edmonton and Sunday against the Blue Jackets. Filppula said he did "feel a little better" and was encouraged that he could go on the ice, even if he didn't do much. "I was out there for a little bit, and it didn't feel too bad, but I still feel it, so it's not the best situation. But it's getting better."

Forward Darren Helm, who hasn't been seen on the ice since Jan. 26, the day after his only game of the season, is hoping to lace up his skates later this week. He has been dealing with sore back since hurting himself doing squats right before training camp began.

There's less news on forward Todd Bertuzzi: He hasn't played since limping off the ice Feb. 7 at St. Louis, felled by back pain so severe, he required hospitalization. He's doing marginally better but isn't working out and isn't close to skating.

And St. James posted a quick video of Darren Helm speaking about his condition:

Update #5: If you missed Steve LePore's Tweet from above, here's MLive's Brendan Savage's explanation thereof:

Overnight television ratings for the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday were the second-best NBC Sports has enjoyed for a regular-season game since the network began televising hockey again in 2005-06.

The game drew a 1.6 overnight rating, according to a story by SportsMediaWatch.com. The only time NBC drew a higher rating for a regular-season game other than the Winter Classic was its 2.0 on opening day this season.

The rating means more than 1.8 million households in the United States were tuned into the Red Wings-Blackhawks game at some point.

SportsMediaWatch.com also reported that the game outdrew four of the five college basketball games on CBS over the weekend – Michigan-Michigan State had a 1.7 rating – and the game drew a 9.7 share in Chicago.

Interest in the Blackhawks is obviously high since they're off to the best start with a 19-0-3 record after beating the Red Wings.

Update #6: DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose asked the Wings about Tuesday's opponent, the Colorado Avalanche, and coach Mike Babcock weighed in on Thursday's opponent a well:

While the Kings, Sharks and Blackhawks are extremely tough on opposing defenses with their big, bruising forwards, the Wings’ next two opponents – the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers – play more of a speedy quick brand than a physical style.

“Colorado and Edmonton both have tons of speed,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “The one thing about a team in our situation, every night's a real contest, we understand that totally.”

The Red Wings will face the Avs for the first time this season, hosting the team from Denver at Joe Louis Arena on Tuesday night. Colorado enters the week at No. 13 in the Western Conference standings, but still only four-points behind the Red Wings, who currently sit in the final playoff spot with 24 points.

“They’re really not all that far off,” goalie Jimmy Howard said of the Avs. “They’re all grouped together from fourth all the way to last, so it’s tight and going to continue to be that way all the way to the end of the season. You just have to find a way every single night to get points.”

The light-scoring Avs started slow this season. And despite a 5-4-3 record in February, the owners of the third worst goal-differential (-10) in the West are 1-1-3 in their last five games.

The Avs received a boost last week when they matched Calgary’s offer sheet for forward Ryan O’Reilly, who played his first game of the season in Sunday’s overtime loss at Columbus. Despite his return, O’Reilly skated on the third line with John Mitchell and Milan Hejduk. Still, Howard expects the Avs to be a challenge, especially as it relates to getting to the net.

“They’re fast,” said Howard, who is 4-2-1 lifetime against Colorado. “They’re extremely quick up front, but as far as being able to watch them play, I haven’t seen many games this year.”


PLAYER TO WATCH

RW P.A. PARENTEAU – The 29-year-old free agent signing has been a pleasant surprise for the Avalanche this season. He enters the week as the team’s leading goal scorer with nine, and is second in points, one behind center Matt Duchene, who has 19 points. The Avs signed Parentneau last summer to a four-year, $16 million contract to leave the New York Islanders, where he became a solid playmaker with John Tavares. … A proven point-producer, Parenteau has points in five of the last seven games. He scored the lone goal in Sunday’s OT loss, while working on a line with center Matt Duchene and left wing Jamie McGinn. … In three career games against the Red Wings, Parenteau has produced a goal and an assist – both on the power play. His goal against Detroit was also a game-winner – he has just five in his career – when he scored in overtime on Dec. 31, 2010 at Joe Louis Arena.

And, from the Wings' Facebook page:

As part of the Red Wings' 11th Annual Smoke Detector Collection presented by Comerica Bank, Captain Henrik Zetterberg and the Red Wings collected more than 3,700 smoke detectors to donate to local fire departments for distribution throughout metro Detroit. In addition to the smoke detectors, the Wings raised $3,500 in cash at two games at Joe Louis Arena, and Henrik personally donated $10,000. Thanks to the fans who participated in this collection.

Update #7: Finally, via RedWingsFeed, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose updated the situations of Filppula and Colaiacovo...

"It didn't feel too bad, but I still feel it, so it's not the best situation, but getting better,” Filppula said. Filppula did some stick-handling on the ice, but when he attempted to shoot the puck, “That didn't work that well, so I think that's going to be the toughest thing.”

Shoulder and collar bone injuries have been prevalent for the Wings, as defensemen Brendan Smith and Carlo Colaiacovo and forward Jan Mursak all missed significant time with shoulder or AC joint sprains. Colaiacovo, who was injured in the second game of the season, still hasn’t received medical clearance to play. Filppula isn’t sure when he’ll return to the lineup, which makes dealing with his injury more disappointing.

“That's what's frustrating,” said Filppula, who has four goals and six assists in 19 games. “You don't miss that much time but you miss a lot of games. Today was first day I felt better, good enough to go out there and skate a little bit so I'm happy about that.”

Colaiacovo, who hasn’t played since suffering a sprained shoulder on Jan. 21 in Columbus, is beyond frustrated.

“I'm at a point right now where I just want to play hockey,” he said. “When I come back, I want to stay in there for the rest of the season. Don't want to have to look back. Focus on the positives and do whatever I can to help this team.”

Colaiacovo said that he’s close to getting back. He’s been pain-free for several weeks, but the delay is more conditioning based.

“I'm at such a crucial point right now, with so many games coming up, me being out this long, I want to make sure it's 100 percent feeling good,” he said. “It's very close. There's a lot of good things happening every day. Mentally and physically we're going to continue to take the time we need. If I wake up tomorrow and it feels different, then great. We'll just take it a day a time right now.”

And MLive's Brendan Savage is asking fans which "rookie" has impressed them the most:

Because first-year forward Damien Brunner doesn't qualify as a rookie because of his age, we didn't include him on the list. Brunner would win in a runaway and how much fun is that? We want to make you work a bit on this one so we excluded him. (Although we were tempted to include Brunner just to show that we could have.)

Instead, we'll give you six players to choose from – defensemen Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff; forwards Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar; and goaltender Petr Mrazek.

Granted, some of these guys have been in the NHL before but they qualify as rookies. And although Nyquist has played just two games, he's on the list because Mrazek made it despite also playing only two games. (One being that 5-1 win last month in St. Louis, where he made his NHL debut.)

But since so much was made over Mrazek's two starts and because he was with the club for a couple of weeks, it's hard to leave him off the list.

Plus Nyquist gives us a half-dozen players on the list and six is not only a nice round number it was also worn by both Al Kaline and Dr. J.

Need some numbers to help make your decision? Since we aim to please, here you go:

• Smith: 11 games, one assist, four penalty minutes, plus-4.

• Lashoff: 18 games, one goal, three assists, four PIM, minus-4.

• Andersson: 12 games, three goals, three assists, four PIM, plus-5.

• Nyquist: Two games, no points, minus-1.

• Tatar: 14 games, four goals, three assists, two PIM, plus-2.

• Mrazek: Two games, 1-1 record, 2.02 GAA, .922 save percentage.

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Comments

Sneetch's avatar

I threw up in my mouth when I saw 8-13-11. Babs just doesn’t get it that that line stinks as is. What does he do? Put them together at practice. Genius.

Posted by Sneetch on 03/04/13 at 12:49 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I threw up in my mouth when I saw 8-13-11. Babs just doesn’t get it that that line stinks as is. What does he do? Put them together at practice. Genius.
Posted by Sneetch on 03/04/13 at 12:49 PM ET

I’ll give Babs the benefit of the doubt. He must think it’s 2003 rather than 2013 and that he’s putting Pavs out there with Larionov and Dandenault.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/04/13 at 01:25 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

https://www.lolshirts.com/shirt/5152621782d/no-t-shirt#close-facebox - Mike Babcock’s practice T-shirt.

Posted by detroitredwings on 03/04/13 at 01:30 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I think people are forgetting the big picture. I think it’s Babs’ view that Cleary and Abbie can create a lot of space for Dats, who is dangerous enough on his own to be a threat just about anytime he touches the puck. Meanwhile, Tatar and Andersson have a lot of chemistry and have created a consistently dangerous third line, which has resulted in a lot of production from them. If you remember, he DID try Tatar on Datsyuk’s line when he was first called up and it didn’t even last one game because Tatar did not look like he could hang defensively against the other team’s top players and that is a much bigger priority.

With all of that said, I do get why there’s an impression that we need more scoring, but we’ve also faced some insanely good goaltending of late. It’s not like we aren’t getting amazing chances, including the Datsyuk line.

The other problem I have with ripping Babs is that by just about any standard, our team is OVERACHIEVING this season. We would be fighting for a playoff spot with an entirely healthy team, but when you add up the loss of Lids, Stuie, and Homer with the injuries and the lack of a preseason, I think Babcock has done a pretty amazing job keeping us in the hunt. We are finding ways to get points and we continue to improve in just about every facet.

I’m not saying Babcock is always right or there aren’t times I feel like he should change it up or whatever, but it’s really overdramatic to pretend like he is a bad coach who’s being tuned out by the team or something. He’s a huge reason we even have a shot at the playoffs.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 02:24 PM ET

gowings's avatar

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 02:24 PM ET


Reading you is like a breath of fresh air. I don’t always agree with the coach either, but you are correct when saying we need to look at the big picture. I also think I just need to read something positive (even when I myself don’t see it).

Posted by gowings from MTL on 03/04/13 at 03:02 PM ET

gowings's avatar

Posted by detroitredwings on 03/04/13 at 01:30 PM ET


LOL….that’s a good one

Posted by gowings from MTL on 03/04/13 at 03:03 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

I think it’s Babs’ view that Cleary and Abbie can create a lot of space for Dats, who is dangerous enough on his own to be a threat just about anytime he touches the puck.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 02:24 PM ET

...and - it didn’t work. Time to change the lines up.

Posted by detroitredwings on 03/04/13 at 03:08 PM ET

Avatar

I think it’s Babs’ view that Cleary and Abbie can create a lot of space for Dats, who is dangerous enough on his own to be a threat just about anytime he touches the puck.

Two things:

1) Since when does Datsyuk need anyone to create space for him?  His style of play creates space for himself and the rest of the line.

2) Most years Datsyuk scores around twice as assists as goals and he needs talented played to put the puck in the net when he feeds them.  Cleary has at least converted some of his opportunities while Abdelkader has done nothing.  Tootoo has more points than Abdelkader and he’s playing with Miller and Emmerton, who both also have more points than Abdelkader.  Eaves, Andersson and Tatar also each have more points than Abdelkader and none of those guys are playing with Pavel Datsyuk.

Statistically there is nobody in the lineup who wouldn’t be an upgrade over Abdelkader playing on the second line.

Posted by Garth on 03/04/13 at 03:10 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

My take remains that Babcock’s giving Cleary enough rope to either climb up and earn a spot on next year’s team or to play himself out of town, and Abdelkader’s getting his one chance to prove that he can be a top-six net front guy.

I don’t necessarily agree with that theory, but the coach is the coach, and in every aspect minus his famous stubbornness regarding his forward lines, he’s been incredibly flexible this season and has adapted to his team’s and players’ needs.

He’s just a curmudgeon to a sometimes weird extent when it comes to his lines.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/04/13 at 03:13 PM ET

perfection's avatar

really? Interested to hear how you support that seeing that facts won’t help you.

Datsyuk has 10 pts in the last 10 games (and Cleary 6 pts). And while he’s had none the last three games (LA, SJ, and CHI), those were really tight, low scoring, goalie showcases and he sure had amazing chances in all of them (and was 0-2 on the shootouts… is that Babs’ fault too?)

Not only that, but Tatar and Andersson have combined for 12 pts in that same span, meaning by NOT playing them on the second line, we’ve had a really productive third line that has chipped in a lot of pts, which is huge.

Obviously these lines are stopgaps with Filps, Bert, and Helm out, but to say they “haven’t worked” is debatable at best and just plain wrong in my opinion. 

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 03:23 PM ET

perfection's avatar

my post is in response to detroitredwings…

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 03:24 PM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

really? Interested to hear how you support that seeing that facts won’t help you.

Datsyuk has 10 pts in the last 10 games (and Cleary 6 pts). And while he’s had none the last three games (LA, SJ, and CHI), those were really tight, low scoring, goalie showcases and he sure had amazing chances in all of them (and was 0-2 on the shootouts… is that Babs’ fault too?)

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 03:24 PM ET

The answer (your own answer to your own question) is in bold above. Teams adapt quickly to Babs ‘ideas’, by putting big bodies to neutralize Pavel. The other two members of his line are not creative and/or skilled enough to support him. They are simply unable to read the game quick enough.

As for Tatar and Andersson, they are doing great, considering the limited ice time given. If Pavel would be their center, this line would score some goals.

 

Posted by detroitredwings on 03/04/13 at 03:42 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Abdelkader’s getting his one chance to prove that he can be a top-six net front guy.

RWC take on Abby, from the vault:

No glaring weaknesses … Natural skater … Responsible two-way player … Smart in his own zone … Plays a rugged, physical game … Competitive, in-your-face puck-pursuer … Isn’t fazed in traffic … Good on faceoffs … Mature physically … Solidly built … Has a quick release on accurate shot … Capable set-up man … Takes far too many minor penalties and needs to be smarter in the pros than he was in college … Doesn’t have game-breaking offensive skills … Not flashy, projecting more as a third-line role player at the NHL level.

when did he ever get projected as anything other than 3rd or 4th line material?

 

Posted by MoreShoot on 03/04/13 at 03:43 PM ET

Avatar

meaning by NOT playing them on the second line, we’ve had a really productive third line that has chipped in a lot of pts, which is huge.

That’s great except that there’s something wrong when your second line isn’t outproducing your third line.

By the way, since the 13th, 8-11-13 have combined for 15 points while 63-21-17 have combined for 16.

Yeah, that second line sure is working.

debatable at best and just plain wrong in my opinion.

How can you even debate that it is working?

Babcock’s giving Cleary enough rope to either climb up and earn a spot on next year’s team or to play himself out of town

That shouldn’t even be an option.  If you’re right and there’s actually a chance that Cleary is still on this team next year then the problem isn’t Babcock, or at least it isn’t only Babcock.

Posted by Garth on 03/04/13 at 03:47 PM ET

calquake's avatar

If I had to make an educated guess (and that is not a given with me) I would say Babcock does not trust Tatar/Anderson… yet.  Evidence of this can be seen in the amount of ice time they are given and that they don’t get 3rd period ice time, particularly as the game winds down.  I have a passion for the Wings going back 50 years and have seen highs and lows plus everything in between.  I don’t coach them and I haven’t earned the right to.  As a passionate fan I will bitch and moan when things aren’t going well but in the end I’m a Wingaholic… Hi, my name is Cal and I have an addiction.

Posted by calquake on 03/04/13 at 03:56 PM ET

Crow's avatar

Watching Abbs and Clears on Dats’ line is like Babcock forcing a square peg into a circle.  He can try all he wants, but the results will be the same….FAIL.

Posted by Crow on 03/04/13 at 03:59 PM ET

perfection's avatar

sometimes i feel like some of you don’t even read what I write seeing that your response is generally to ignore my actual points and simply restate what you said before… so I’m not sure there’s much of a point responding, but I’m bored so whatever…

The answer (your own answer to your own question) is in bold above.

so seeing that Z and Brunner also didn’t have a pt the last three games, we should probably blow up that line too right? maybe throw Emmerton up there? It’s not possible that there were other factors than Dats’ line mates that contributed to the lack in points? Also, Andersson is a center.

How can you even debate that it is working?

Dats has 10 pts last 10 games… pt per game average. Not sure how inflated your expectations are, but that seems like a pretty solid argument that his line is at least somewhat effective. Hell, if Dats was on a 10 game pt drought, then I’d be talking like you guys.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 04:04 PM ET

perfection's avatar

If I had to make an educated guess (and that is not a given with me) I would say Babcock does not trust Tatar/Anderson… yet.

this is spot on. they’ve played great in limited action and have really contributed. but you don’t want them to bite off more than they can chew. Again, if you go back and watch Tatar’s first game up, he played on Datsyuk’s line and was immediately a defensive liability and looked like a deer in headlights. Cleary was moved up in his place before the first period was over. Playing against the other team’s third or fourth lines is a little closer to AHL competition and has allowed them to really settle in and start to gain confidence, which is by far the most important thing for young players making the transition. Baby steps. They will definitely get their shot.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 04:10 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

The last 6-7 games, they’ve been playing unbelievable. You can’t really see that they didn’t start this year here.”

In the words of the Captain.  Yet, they can’t break 10mins of ice-time a game.  Benching for entire 3rd periods of close games.

Capt and stats.. and eyes, say one thing.  Babs gives them ice-time you give to F’s that screw up.  When are we gonna start this “earning icetime” thing I keep hearing about?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 04:39 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I tried to shoot a little bit but that didn’t work that well, so I think that’s going to be the toughest thing.”

He should try it in games too, not just practices.  If that’s the only thing holding him back, put him back in, shouldn’t be much different.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 04:47 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I’m saying we keep signing vets to play int he top 6 because our guys need to be over-seasoned to play in the NHL.  They need to play in the AHL so they get top 6 minutes instead of coming up and playing 3rd and 4th line mi nutes.  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that from people justifying keeping them down and signing guys like Sammy Cleary and Bert to play there (I can live with Bert).

But we are down 3 of our top 6 and our future top 6’ers are getting lowest minutes on the team.

I’m not understanding the logic of over-ripening prospects if, even after 4 years, we still don’t trust them with more than 8 minutes a night.

Someone help me understand this?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 05:05 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

And if we’re talking big picture and defensive gaffes being more important than scoring, lets look at Brunner for a second.  He’s producing, so he stays on his line.  He’s had more than his fair share of turnovers, several leading to goals or chances.  Babs has even mentioned wanting to wring his neck for them late in the game.

Tatar and Andersson.  Brought up in the organization.  Producing points.  Future top 6ers.  Have been scoring some of the only goals in these low scoring games and they “earn” some of the least, if not the least ice-time amoung forwards?

I’m not buying your big picture theory perfection, given how Babs has handled Brunner.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 05:13 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Babs has explicitly stated that he is giving Brunner much more rope because of his continuing adjustment to the North American game. Babs has even said that he wouldn’t be playing him if he didn’t show improvement. He also called him “coachable” which is a word for an aspect of the game that we never see. It’s the stuff that happens in camp, practice, locker room, and behind the bench. These things play into coaches decisions. Also, part of Brunner’s success is obviously due to his chemistry with Z which was developed during the offseason. Babs isn’t going to stop riding that wave. Lastly, Brunner is leading the team in goals. The sheer volume of his offensive production offsets much of his defensive errors (though he has made mistakes that have cost the game… no doubt about that). Brunner and the kids’ situations are incomparable. It’s apples and oranges.

I do absolutely agree Tatar and Andersson have earned more playing time. I hope Babs plays them more too. The “big picture” thing is about spreading the wealth. We KNOW that is a priority for Babs because of how hesitant he is to play Pav and Z together. If he can keep them separated AND have a third line regularly contributing offensively, that is the ideal to him. The big picture isn’t about ice time, it’s about spreading talent across the lines rather than trying to stack the top 2 lines. Look at Chicago. Look at the Wings’ last cup. Amongst the best teams, especially in playoffs, the top two lines almost cancel each other out and games are decided by third and fourth lines. We should be thrilled Tatar and Andersson are forming such a formidable third line.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 05:30 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Brunner and the kids’ situations are incomparable. It’s apples and oranges.

How not?  You’re saying because Brunner has no experience here that he deserves his shot on the top line?  I get that you’re saying there’s pre-established chemistry there you don’t want to mess with, but if he’s got D issues, then why don’t we see a more D oriented forward with them in tight games?  I’ve seen it before a thousand times with this team, but not now?

But because Tatar and Andersson are only producing a .5 pnts a game over the past 12 and 14 games respectively with the lowest average ice-time and future top 6’ers brought up in the Wings system each with multiple years of experience on NA ice.  So they shouldn’t be given a shot to play with Pav over our slotted 4th line center and 3rd line winger?

We over-develop them so they’re “ready” when they come up and we play them 8 mins a game, where Brunner with no experience gets a free-pass regardless of mistakes?  Didn’t Andersson-Tatar-Gus make up one of the most all-around potent 1st lines in the AHL?  But they’re only good for 8 minutes in the big show?  Seriously makes me doubt the over-ripe COA the Wings always take with their prospects as they sign older guys with slipping production who are prone to injury.

Do not understand it.  And sure Brunner may be “coachable” but shit, Tatar was brought up in the organization, seems to do fine in his personal life, produces on the ice, successful in AHL and NHL but can’t get a whiff at a larger role on the team, even missing HALF of our top 6.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 05:42 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

And our 2nd line isn’t producing.  It’s become a shut-down line.  It’s the Draper-Maltby-McCarty line.  Shut down some top guys so skill guys can go against weaker comp.

I get the logic, but I feel we would get even more production out of a Pavel line with wingers who can actually score and you can still put Cleary and Abby ona line with any one of our other defensive F’s.  Offense seems to be the problem in these 1 goal games our big stars can’t get it done.  The other team puts their best guys against Z line and Pav has no serious threat on his line so the other line you dn’t have to put the best players against pavel too, you throw some chud out there and everyone cover pavel and assume the goalie will stop Cleary or Abby.

And if it’s about matchups, explain to me how Babs has gotten burned as many times as he has with the oppositions top line against our 4th and getting late game goals?  At home.  It’s unreal.

I’d like to think I’ve learned a little bit about hockey over the years but I cannot make sense of this slotting of players.

I also worry about what happens when all those injured bodies come back after the team starting to get on the same page now.  I suspect we’ll slump in the next week or so, enough to erase any hope we had of a playoff spot.

Team has had a hard time getting on the same page for a while now.  Miss Drapes.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 05:48 PM ET

perfection's avatar

And our 2nd line isn’t producing.

I’ve said it 3 times already in this topic… Datsyuk has 10 pts in his last 10 games. How thats considered “not producing” is beyond me.

also, seeing that you are apparently only considering the last 3 games, here’s one stat about the supposed

Z line - 19 sog
Dats line - 23 sog

Abbie and Cleary had 15 of those 23 shots.
Brunner and Franzen had 14 of those 19 shots.

Neither line scored due to some fantastic defense and playoff caliber goaltending, but Abbie and Cleary are getting about the same if not slightly more opportunities than Franzen and Brunner and Datsyuk has had way more opportunities than Zetterberg.

So how are they the “shutdown” line? I keep writing facts and nobody responds with any of their own.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 06:01 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i don’t know what happened to the above post… supposed to say “...here’s one stat about the supposed lack of production”

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 06:10 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Sure, Wings PP gets shots on goal too but lack secondary chances, they cannot sustain pressure.

You have offensive vs. defensive ice-time stats?

How many of Pavs points have come at even strength or how many have been on single many rushes?

How many shots on goal were the bottom 6 getting before they actually started getting points?  People were all over our bottom 6 for not converting.  How many points have Cleary and Abby put up playing with pav?

Why do we have the two best snipers on the team on 1 line and 2 bottom 6ers on the next? Because Pavel can cover down for them and still produce.  Imagine if he had a scorer on his wing.  Maybe we get more than 1 goal a game?

And you keep tip-toeing around the over-ripening of prospects just to play them 8 minutes.  If they’re projected for top 6, and we’re missing HALF of them, why wouldn’t we put them in that slot (which has been the justification for keeping them in GR, they’ll get top 6 minutes like they need) instead of slotted 4th and 3rd liners?  Maybe Abby and Cleary could score against other 3rd liners.  Didn’t do too much of it before their promotion but it could happen.  Dont’ think not producing is grounds for more ice-time though.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 06:12 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I’m not tiptoeing around anything. I LOVE watching Tatar and Andersson together. They’re doing great. I hope they play more. I said that before. You keep tiptoeing around the fact that they’ve given us a really strong third line that IS scoring when we need it. Our team looked like garbage until we started getting points from the bottom six, you know, back when Z and Dats were tearing it up?? Now Datsyuk is ONLY averaging a pt per game in the last 10 (and Cleary has 6 in that time) and we’re getting big goals from the third and fourth lines when it counts most. That’s EXACTLY what we want. I get that you just don’t like Cleary or Abbie and can’t really see the forest through those trees. And while I’ve cited fact after fact, I definitely don’t think stats are the holy grail. But our team has been decimated with injuries and has looked the best it’s played all season the last couple weeks and still the complaints here just grown louder and louder.

(as a side note, I think Cleary’s played really well generally speaking and that Abbie has been a beast in front of the net. They’ve had a ton of chances the last few games and have come really close if not for some bad luck or spectacular saves. If anyone’s been screwing the pooch of late it’s been Franzen. He missed 2 or 3 open nets against the Hawks) 

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 06:24 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I get that you just don’t like Cleary or Abbie and can’t really see the forest through those trees

Absolutely wrong there.  I think Abby can be a beast.  At the Worlds he was phenomenal.  He doesn’t bring that same intensity when he plays in the NHL, don’t know why.

Cleary I think has decent vision but simply ISNT CAPABLE of doing what he did 2 years ago.  I can’t believe how much he gets knocked down for being a “big body”.  Sometimes no one’s around him and he just falls trying to change direction.  His knees are BAD.

And we aren’t getting goals when we need because once we have the lead Babs puts out the top lines to hold it down and they hang back while the other team starts attacking.  We ALWAYS need goals but when the Wings have a lead they hang back.  Do you think Tatar and Andersson are going to quit trying to score?  Do you think Abby Cleary and Pav might focus on D and quit pressing?

I see it every game.  You can pick out stats all night but WATCHING the game, you can see it’s all on Pav’s shoulders, Cleary is trying and Pav is going to score no matter what so sometimes Cleary gets the benefit of having touched the puck before it goes in but it’s not like he’s been an Andersson setting up goals.

I like botht those players but I’d rather have savvy vets taking advantage of weaker skill opposition in the bottom ranks and giving our future big guns a chance with a world class player like Pav.  They might even learn something or, god forbid, get better.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 06:56 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

If anyone’s been screwing the pooch of late it’s been Franzen.

According to Uncle Mike he’s “earning” his ice-time.  Unlikely to see anyone moved up to his spot.  Again to my point of earning ice time and slotting correctly.  Bowman was a master at motivation.  Why do we have such motivational issues with Flip and Franzen?  I’ll even throw Abby on that list given how good I’ve seen him play before.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/04/13 at 07:07 PM ET

Avatar

I’ve said it 3 times already in this topic… Datsyuk has 10 pts in his last 10 games. How thats considered “not producing” is beyond me.

Last I checked a line has three players on it.  If Datsyuk were LITERALLY the second line, on his own, he would produce.  The fact that HE is playing well means jack f*cking shit when we’re talking about the TWO OTHER GUYS on the line with him.

Z line - 19 sog
Dats line - 23 sog

How about quality of shots?  Scoring chances?  Are we going to be quoting stats without context?  Cuz if so maybe we can continue the thread on a PuckStopsHere post…

Posted by Garth on 03/04/13 at 07:57 PM ET

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@perfection

Three of Datsyuk’s points came off the power play.

Over the last ten games, he has had three even strength points (1G 2A) with Cleary and Abdelkander (the goal being his end to end rush against Nashville).  All the rest of his even strength points have been with Brunner, Zetterberg or Filpulla

He’s only been set up once by Cleary over those ten games at even strength.  He’s got an assist on Cleary’s only even strength goal and one on Cleary’s shorthanded marker.

Over the last ten games, the Datsyuk-Cleary-Abdelkander line has scored two even strength goals and been on ice for another from Kronwall.  I’m not sure why you are so wedded to the idea that Datysuk’s point production is fine with Cleary and Abdelkander when the most of his points have been either on the powerplay or with when he has been on the ice with other skaters.

Posted by Django on 03/04/13 at 08:05 PM ET

perfection's avatar

i’m not wedded to anything. Django, you do happen to be the first person here who actually provided some sort of objective fact to support your argument rather than pure emotional drivel. I actually don’t care as much as you whether Dats’ point production is “fine”. He’s going to be dangerous regardless and will get pnts regardless. I just happen to think having productive bottom six is generally the difference between winning and losing.

My point wasn’t so much trying to argue that the Datsyuk line is all THAT good or wouldn’t be “better” with Tatar. Hell, Z and Dats together would obviously make a “better” line. I was only pointing out that Dats’ line HAS been getting shots and many of those shots have been great scoring chances. And they have at least put up some points over the last 10 games (Cleary has 6, so no matter who he’s with, I think 6 pts in 10 games is debatably 2nd line material on an injury plagued team) and they also have been wiring more shots than our supposed “snipers” (again, independent of line combinations).

My point is that while I agree the third line should get more ice time, I think it’s wrong to just assume by splitting that line up, their individual production will continue. NOBODY has acknowledged the fact that we HAVE seen Tatar play with Datsyuk and he looked terrible. He started looking great once Andersson was his center. Wonder why?????

i stated quite clearly Garth - “I definitely don’t think stats are the holy grail.”  i’m not generally a stat person to be honest. I am a rational person and simply try to remove emotional fandom from the analysis. People throw the word “production” around without defining it. Does it simply mean pts? Scoring chances? Lack of mistakes? Momentum shifts? There are lots of forms of “production”. Points and SOG stats do at least show some tendencies and should be considered I guess.

But lets throw all stats out the window and go by our extremely subjective, uneducated eye tests. Of course Dats is “carrying” that line! Of course the line’s not as good as if better players were on it! But the “big picture” I was talking about is simply that you actually LOSE something by shifting players to other lines. I think Tatar and Andersson have great chemistry from being AHL line mates and Babs sees a tactical advantage to keeping them together. I think the fact they’re playing together is a HUGE reason they both look so good. The same goes for Brunner with Z. So if you start with the premise that you want a strong 3rd line with Andersson centering Tatar and another winger and then a top line with Z centering Brunner and another winger, that leaves you with Dats centering another scoring line with two of either Eaves, Franzen, Cleary, Abbs, Miller, or Tootoo. So take your pick, I guess.

I can definitely see an argument for shifting things around a little bit (maybe Dats, Franzen, Abby and then put Cleary with Z and Brunner or something) but I think breaking up the third line (particularly the two kids) would be a critical mistake and I kind of think that’s why Babs chuckles when someone asks about it. Again, our team looked like total GARBAGE when the Dats and Z lines were our only offensive threat. It’s all about rolling four strong lines. Even if the Dats’ line doesn’t look “productive” in a given game, if they cancel out the other teams best d-men or forward line, it gives more opportunity to Z’s line or the 3rd line, which is also a form of “production”. It’s a team game remember? And our team has frankly looked the best they’ve played all season over the last two weeks INCLUDING the last 3 games. So calling for drastic line changes and the coaches head because we split a back to back west coast trip or went to a 1-1 shootout against by far the best team in the league is utterly overdramatic. But I should be getting used to that around these parts by now wink

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 09:07 PM ET

perfection's avatar

or maybe we actually will pull of that trade of (upcoming UFA’s) White and Filppula for ______________ (insert Norris contending/Olympian/Hall of Famer under longterm contract’s name here) that so many of you reactionary dramatic types think is possible and everything will magically get better LOL

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/04/13 at 09:17 PM ET

Avatar

I just happen to think having productive bottom six is generally the difference between winning and losing.

If this is the idea you presume Babcock to be following, than why did he leave the third line on the bench for almost the entire third period in the last game?  It was a 1-0 game and that line had scored the only goal and played very strong the entire game and he still didn’t play them.  So he wasn’t taking advantage of this “productive bottom six.”

What these guys are saying, and what is frustrating most of the fans, is that Babcock’s actions and decisions have been hypocritical and contrary to the Wings stated philosophy about earning ice time through hard work+results and over-ripening to get used to playing a lot of minutes then refusing to even consider playing them those kinds of minutes.  I mean, Babcock is chastising Ian White by scratching him and saying he needs to be better, all while not even taking a second glance at the difficulties Cleary, Abdelkader, or even Quincey have had this year.

Posted by Anything29 on 03/04/13 at 10:25 PM ET

perfection's avatar

first of all, i said repeatedly i agree the third line should get more PT.

second of all, it’s at least POSSIBLE that part of the reason the kids have been so successful is precisely because Babcock has limited them to opportunities they can succeed in. if they had cost us a big goal at the end of a game and their confidence dropped, we may be talking about them differently right now. Even so called “over ripe” prospects need to be transitioned properly. Babs handles Lash very differently and obviously feels very comfortable putting him out there in big situations.

third of all, what you call “hypocrisy” he would call “coaching”. Of course he treats differen players differently and holds them to different expectations. So does every coach. I’m sure Babs wants to play his young, confident third line more too, but the solution isn’t always to blow up the line OR play them in obvious mismatches in third periods. It’s not that simple. They have to ease into it.   

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 03/05/13 at 12:37 AM ET

alukacs's avatar

@Anything29 - Babs stated after the game that our 3rd line was a defensive liability (the 4th too) against Chicago’s 3rd line. Simply, the Andersson-Tatar line was not good enough defensively to get it done… So he didn’t play them as much in the 3rd.

@perfection - I absolutely agree with you and I enjoy reading your posts!

Posted by alukacs on 03/05/13 at 12:41 AM 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.