Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings overnight report: Wings still believe they’ll make the playoffs, but lineup tweaks persist

Aside from prospect-related news, Tuesday was not a super fun "off-day" for Red Wings fans. The team announced that Darren Helm would continue skating but the team's no longer expecting him to return from what we've learned is a "slight tear" in one of his discs, and it is entirely possible that we'll hear similar news about Todd Bertuzzi soon.

With the Wings not playing until the team begins a three-games-in-four-nights slate against San Jose on Thursday, the team god bad news in terms of the Western Conference standings on Tuesday, too: St. Louis took a 3-point lead on the Wings via a 1-0 win over Nashville and the Columbus Blue Jackets snuggled right up to 2 points behind Detroit's 43 by defeating San Jose 4-0.

So the Wings will face an angry Sharks team on Thursday (Thursday's a Gleaner's Food Bank collection drive game, too), and with 9 games left, the Wings still need to somehow cobble together 13 points to reach that 55-point mark at which everyone from Ken Daniels to my calculator agree will be the number of points that'll allow the Wings to control their own destiny.

Wings coach Mike Babcock insists to NHL.com's Dan Rosen that his team will prevail in its playoff-qualifying quest...

"I don't know if it's optimistic; I think it's realistic," Babcock told NHL.com. "Optimism, I think, is a totally different thing than a realistic approach of what we've got going on. I think we're a team that does a lot of good things. I'm a big believer that we're just going to get it done, but I think like that all the time."

The Red Wings have done enough to be eighth in the Western Conference with 43 points. They don't play again until Thursday at home against the San Jose Sharks.

"We're not going away," Babcock said.

As Rosen notes, the Wings are 2-and-4 of late, and they've given up an uncharacteristic number of goals over the past half-dozen games, but Babcock believes that the Wings' 1-0 loss to St. Louis this past Sunday was actually a step in the right direction:

"At the start of the year when we dropped the puck with them [the Blues], they beat us 6-0 and everyone was talking in the first 10 or 12 games that they're going to win the Stanley Cup," Babcock said. "Since that time they've gone out and added [Jordan] Leopold and [Jay] Bouwmeester. You watched the game [Sunday], don't tell me there is much between these teams. That's the way I look at it.It's amazing what you can do if you keep focusing on the process."

That process, according to Babcock, will lead to the Red Wings extending their streak to 22 straight seasons in the playoffs. He's sure of it.

"The great thing about our process is we're in control of it," Babcock said.

Rosen adds much more to the mix from both Babcock and others in his "Over the Boards" column, but I can't quote the whole thing.

The Wings usually don't begin practice until 11 AM or 12 PM on an "off day," but their practice schedule mirrored a game-day skate on Tuesday: they took to the ice at 10:30 AM and were done by 11, speaking to the media briefly and hauling butt...

To a fancy luncheon at the Detroit Economic Club, where the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa reports that Babcock repeated his ever-positive mantra to the corporate crowd, very specifically addressing the team's in-season decision to go with what we have all been enduring--a rebuilding/transitional year:

"You know, everybody in here is involved in business," coach Mike Babcock said. "And businesses change. All of you have to get better and have to find a new way. And that's the process we're in. We just don't want to fall off the face of the earth like some of the other franchises have done. We're not interested in that. We want to make the playoffs. We want to remain competitive, and we want to change and grow at the same time."

As you and I have discussed at length, and sometimes argued about (okay, we've talked about it a bit and mostly yelled around, but this season's been unlike anything any Wings fan has experienced since the early 90's, so it's been difficult to deal with) the fact that it was very evident that the team's decisions to sign Carlo Colaiacovo, Jordin Tootoo, Mikael Samuelsson and Jonas Gustavsson suggested that it wanted use veterans to smooth the transition to a post-Lidstrom team...

But, regardless of whether we're in the, "Play all the kids all the time!" camp or, "You've got to take a balanced approach" camp, it's incredibly evident that the injuries to Colaiacovo, Samuelsson, Gustavsson, Helm, Todd Bertuzzi and another half-dozen Wings forced the team to embrace a youth movement, and Wings GM Ken Holland discussed the delicate balance that is attempting to win while exposing many players to their first sustained NHL experiences:

"You don't really know how someone's going to play until they get into the National Hockey League day after day after day. As time goes on, they sort of come off of it, a bit," Holland said, describing many young players who hit a plateau in their development or their level of energy. "But our younger players, for the most part, haven't come off it. We think they're getting better every day. Everybody is in their 20s, and with young players there are ups and downs. But like a lot of things, you stick with it, you believe in the program. I think we've done lots of good things."

Captain Henrik Zetterberg said the lockout-shortened season's condensed schedule has make remedial efforts difficult.

"I think it's been challenging for all of us," Zetterberg said. "It's a different look, and a different kind of season. It's been a lot of games and long days. It's been a lot of travel for us and really tough to find days to work on stuff that we need to work on."

Again, it sounds kind of weird, but Babcock insists that he's enjoying the challenges that this season has presented him with, and he continues to rave about the leadership abilities of not only Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall, but also Jimmy Howard, according to Krupa, Johan Franzen:

"This season to me, to tell you the truth, has been re-energizing, reinvigorating," Babcock said. "I think the coaching staff has really enjoyed the guys. We've got tons of kids, and they bring a lot of energy, and we've been through a number of players trying to see who the best ones are to help us be successful. I really like the direction we are going in."

...

"Our players and our leadership group are not interested in being on a bad team," he said. "They've been around winning the whole time they've been here, and they've become used to it. That's what they expect. And that's why I guess I'm as comfortable as I am being the coach and knowing where we are right now: That we're going to look after this, and we're going to be all right."

According to Krupa, Holland believes that the Wings' play will determine whether they can earn the right to play past April 27th, but Holland believes that the Wings have the ability to make the playoffs without requiring help from other teams:

"We control our own fate with the last nine games," Holland said. "I was up until 1 o'clock last night watching lots of games and then running numbers in my head until 2:30 or 3. We control our own fate. It's one game at a time. I think all in all it's been a great season, but a season that will ultimately be judged by whether we make the playoffs."

 

 

In terms of personnel machinations during Tuesday's practice, the Free Press's Helene St. James notes that Babcock continued to shake things up, placing Valtteri Filppula between Danny Cleary and Damien Brunner, and promoting Drew Miller to the Johan Franzen-centered line with Gustav Nyquist. In theory, this will spark Filppula and give the Wings more "balance"...

"We want to be solid defensively and continue that way," coach Mike Babcock said Tuesday. "But we'd like to generate more offense. We're hoping by doing this, we can generate more offense. We feel with Fil and Bruns and Clears, that's a pretty good line. Fil's been a good centerman for us. We like what the Mule is doing, so we're just going to spread our lineup out and go a little bit deeper."

The Wings are looking for more offense after registering just nine goals the last six games. There's certainly potential for this newest grouping to have success: Filppula is a world-class passer, and both Brunner and Cleary love to shoot the puck, though Cleary will have less opportunity to do so as the designated net-front presence.

Filppula has 14 points after 32 games, putting him on track for 21 points. Pro-rated for the lockout-shortened season, that's in the ballpark of the 35- to 40-point season Filppula, 29, delivered before breaking out with 66 points last season. Filppula, who is in a contract year, is well aware he's underachieving.

"I'm playing a lot and I feel like I should be producing more," he said. "Hopefully it starts at some point. Body is feeling good and everything, knee feels really good. Just, I have to be more efficient."

As MLive's Ansar Khan notes, Filppula has had a particularly rough go in terms of attempting to come anywhere close to last year's career-best numbers, and given that, depending on who you believe, Filppula wants to re-sign with Detroit for somewhere between $4 and $5 million per season (Filppula's cap hit this year is $3 million but he's earning $3.5 million), he needs to step up:

If anyone can use a spark, it's Filppula. After a breakout 2011-12 season, Filppula is experiencing his most frustrating season. He has only seven goals and 14 points in 32 games and has just one point (a goal) in his past 10 games.

“It's definitely been, points-wise, really a struggle this year,'' Filppula said. “We'll have to wait and see how that goes, if that helps. I feel like I've been playing a lot and getting chances and the puck hasn't gone in this year. Obviously, there's still games left and we're fighting for a playoff spot, so hopefully I can do more to help the team.''

If I was the coach--and I'm not--I'm not so sure if I'd place Filppula in the middle of a line as he definitely believes that he needs to emphasize his defensive play while playing as a center...But he simply can't afford to let his defensive responsibilities detract from his offense at this point:

“Center plays a little more down low in your own end, so I have to be good defensively,'' Filppula said. “When you're a wing you have to be good defensively, too, but you do that a little more when you're playing center. I don't think I have to change too many things.''

Filppula, who is in the final year of his contract, racked up career highs in goals (23) and points (66) last season, playing mostly with Henrik Zetterberg and Jiri Hudler.

This year has been a struggle from the start for Filppula, who sprained his knee while playing in Finland during the lockout. His average of .44 points per game is his lowest since his rookie season in 2006-07 (.23 per game). His current minus-5 rating would be the worst of his career.

Babcock told the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness that the Wings are very specifically making adjustments to their forward lines to counter the Sharks' machinations...

“San Jose’s spread their group out,” Babcock said. “We need to generate, we don’t want to give up any more chances against and we want to be solid defensively and continue that way, but we’d like to generate more offense.”

Babcock moved Drew Miller up with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist, while having Valtteri Filppula center a line with Brunner and Daniel Cleary.

“By doing this we can generate more offense,” Babcock said. “We feel Fil, Brunns, Clears that’s a pretty good line. Fil’s been a good centerman for us. We like what Mule’s been doing here and we’re just going to spread our lineup out and go a little bit deeper.”

Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader make up the top line.

“With the line I’m on right now, Mule’s big and strong and can play with the puck, Gus is a skilled player that’s going to get the puck and work hard,” Miller said. “I’ve just got to get out there and get the puck from the corner, get in front of the net. We’re just looking for a balanced lineup. We’ll see if it sticks, if not whatever line I’m on I’ll play the same every night.”

And it is worth noting that the MLive's Khan stated that the fourth line consisted of Cory Emmerton at left wing, Joakim Andersson as its center and Jordin Tootoo and Patrick Eaves alternating as its right wing--and that the defensive pairs were all sorts of messed up:

Babcock said he hadn't decided on his defensive lineup for Thursday. All nine defensemen practiced today:

Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey-Brendan Smith

Danny DeKeyser/Brian Lashoff-Jakub Kindl

Carlo Colaiacovo-Ian White

I'd read that as, "Things do not bode well for Colaiacovo and White," but as I write this in the middle of the night, there are still almost two days before the Wings play the Sharks, and as such, Babcock delivered quite the "quote of the day" to Pleiness:

Wings coach Mike Babcock’s response when asked if he figured out who would be the six defensemen dressed for Thursday’s home game against the San Jose Sharks would be.

“No,” Babcock said. “That’s the great thing about having three days off, gives you guys three days to speculate.”

Quite frankly, given that Babcock

 

If you missed the news about Helm, the Windsor Star's Bob Duff provides a condensed summation: put simply, the Wings aren't shutting him down, but they just don't believe that it's realistic to assume that he's going to make a miraculous recovery.

That's the real bottom line here:

"Well he’s not going to play hockey right this year we don’t think,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said of Helm. “We have to get ourselves ready for the playoffs and be ready to go on without him.”

Helm, who has only played one game all season, was ready to admit defeat and say his season is done, but he also couldn’t make any promises that things were looking any different as far as his return to the lineup.

“I’m trying to stay positive,” Helm said. “I think my spirits are a little bit higher than they have been. It feels better, but I still can’t really put any time on what’s going on. I’ve been skating for a while, working out for a while, working really hard. It’s just that I still feel pain, feel a lot of discomfort. When that stops . . . I don’t know if one day I’ll wake up and feel great or it’s going to be kind of gradual thing.”

Here's the other problem: there isn't a consensus as to what the hell is going on. Depending on which reporter you read, either Helm tore a ligament somewhere in his lower back while lifting weights back in January, he has a slight herniation of a disc in his lower back, or perhaps he has some other issue that hasn't been diagnosed.

We do know that he's been to see at least three orthopedists in Metro Detroit and New York, and that the Wings' medical staff (Dr. Douglas Plagens is an orthopedic surgeon) and trainers are monitoring Helm closely, but he kind of screwed the pooch when the team took him to Western Canada, and between pushing too hard during on-ice skates and not telling the training staff, he cramped up. Back to square one it went, and as such...

“I think everybody’s frustrated,” Detroit general manager Ken Holland said. “I think the doctors are frustrated, I think the training staff is frustrated, I think Helm is frustrated, the coach and manager are frustrated. We all want him in the lineup. He’s a really important guy for us. He needs to play some hockey. I don’t have a time frame. We thought he was going to be back 10 days ago. We don’t know.”

So maybe the real lesson here is that Helm can't just push and push and push and not tell the trainers when he's hurting because that classic Manitoban, "Well, I'll just push through it and I'll be fine" prairie mentality is great and all, but it's terrible in terms of preserving one's health while playing a hard-hitting game in a high-contact sport.

 

 

Also of Red Wings-related note: I was on Twitter when Adrian Dater was writing his power rankings in the middle of the night yesterday, and he said that he was fried from the J-S Giguere rant and was watching the Real World Portland (does that exist? I almost exclusively watch the National Geographic Channel, the Food Network, the History, Discovery and Science channels, news networks or the local news when I don't watch hockey, so I have little to no knowledge of pop culture save enjoying the Jimmy Fallon show)...

So let's read the fruits of his labors as they apply to the Wings!

16 Detroit Red Wings Last Week: 12

A couple of victories over moribund Colorado helped buffer their chances of another playoff berth (22 straight seasons now). But they also lost at Phoenix and, more important, at home to St. Louis, 1-0, on Sunday. They're just too up-and-down to take seriously for the Stanley Cup, the only standard against which this franchise judges itself. The Wings are still too banged up, with Damien Brunner (hip flexor) being the latest to go on the shelf with an injury. They might still sneak into the playoffs, but it seems like another one-and-out for the once-mighty Wings. Last week: 1-2-0

In other news, water may be wet.

In the prospect department, I want to confirm something to you that few people talk about: the vast majority of stats regarding prospects' heights and weighs are lies. Lies, lies, lies.

As the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa's noted, Danny DeKeyser was advertised as a 6'3," 210-to-220-pound defenseman, but he's more like 185 pounds. I still have serious doubts to the suggestions from Sweden that Calle Jarnkrok's now at a healthy 170 pounds as he might have been 150 when the Wings drafted him, and he still looks nearly stick-thin.

Sometimes I really do wonder whether the bigger, heavier guys who carry a bit of weight (see: Todd Bertuzzi) go on a liquid diet before their pre-season height-and-weight measurements, and whether the smaller, slighter guys eat heavily and wear three or four pairs of socks before meeting the measuring tape.

All of that being said, I can tell you that when the Wings drafted James De Haas last spring, I thought I'd meet a 6'1" defenseman at the Wings' summer prospect camp, but I kept wondering whether he was wearing his skates in the locker room (he wasn't), because he looked way bigger. I fully believe the Hockey News's Ryan Kennedy's listed height and weight for De Haas in Kennedy's "Hot List" because, put bluntly, De Haas is a big lunk:

James De Haas, D – Penticton Vees (BCHL)

His 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame and defensive mobility have been calling cards, but De Haas has really stepped up his offensive contributions as the Vees prepare to face Surrey in the B.C. League final. The Clarkson University commit has eight points in nine playoff games, doubling his production from the regular season. Drafted 170th overall by Detroit in 2012.

In the alumni department, and this is good to hear, the CBC's Tim Wharnsby reports that Joey MacDonald's stint with the Calgary Flames is going fantastically well...By Flames standards...

Joey MacDonald may not be the most popular player with Calgary Flames fans right now. Most Flames followers want their team to play poorly the rest of the way to improve the team's chances of winning the draft lottery for the first overall choice.

But with 39 saves MacDonald played a big part in Calgary's 3-1 victory versus the Colorado Avalanche on Monday to end a 13-game winless streak on the road and move three points ahead of the basement-dwelling Avalanche.

Players have pride and it's simply not in MacDonald's DNA to give up. The 33-year-old native of Pictou, N.S. has persevered throughout his career and he's not about to roll over at this stage.

Undrafted, all MacDonald wanted was a chance. He was given a shot in the Detroit Red Wings organization a dozen years ago because his goalie coach in junior with the Peterborough Petes, Marv Edwards, recommended MacDonald to Red Wings senior vice-president Jim Devellano.

"Nothing has ever been given to me," MacDonald said. "You have to work for everything. I've never thought about giving up. All I wanted was to get a shot. I got that shot in Detroit's organization. I worked my way up to the No. 3 guy behind Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood and have tried to make the most of it."

While I was writing this, the Mercury News's David Pollak wrote a recap of the San Jose Sharks' 4-0 loss to Columbus, noting that the team had won seven straight games prior to Tuesday night's loss, and Pollak also penned a blog entry reporting that the Sharks plan on chasing the Wings off the ice at the Joe today:

Lack of practice time has been an issue and even before the loss, McLellan had decided that Wednesday would not be a day off as originally planned. Instead, the team will skate at 1 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena. And based on what Brad Stuart had to say after the game, that can’t hurt.

“We were just kind of flat and I don’t know what the reason for that would be,” Stuart said before developing one theory. “We haven’t had a lot of practices, basically just morning skates so the guys should have a lot of energy. We need as individuals, to take it upon ourselves to be ready and on top of your game when the puck drops. We failed at that aspect of the game, just getting ready.”

Yet he seemed to like the idea of the extra practice so the team could “regroup and work on a few things we need to get better at. Practice- regroup and work on a few things we need to get better at."

Did he feel that once again the Blue Jackets were the better team?

“They might have had a few extra steps on us at times, but I don’t think they were extremely better than us,” Stuart said. “We just had a couple breakdowns. I think we can be better in some areas of the game and one of them is preparation on an individual basis. We’ll have to work on that.”

Here’s what McLellan had to say about the added practice:

“We need it. We’ll use it tomorrow, but when I look around the league I see 29 other teams facing the same schedule that we have. I see teams making mistakes. That’s fair, that’s going to happen this time of the year. Bumps and bruises come into play. But I don’t see a lot of teams that lack the intensity that’s needed to play this time of year like we did tonight.”

One could very well argue that the Wings have over-practiced, so it's interesting to hear from the other side of the equation.

Next-to-finally, Pavel Datsyuk is both active on Twitter and on his Facebook page, and he posted Russian and English messages welcoming fans to his "Facebook office," while wearing the suit he most likely donned for the Detroit Economic Club luncheon. Nice office!

And really finally, I have to ferry the aunt to the annual physical at the family doctor's office, and will be leaving my home office at 3. The aunt is the only person I know who actually haggles with her doctor regarding courses of treatment, so between her negotiations and the fact that we have a 4 PM appointment near the clusterf...I mean nexus of bad traffic that is the Orchard Lake Road corridor around 12 Mile Road, if big afternoon news breaks, the boss will cover it, but I don't expect to get back into laptop range until 6-ish at the earliest.

In case you were wondering, and I'm sure you weren't, given that I already have a head cold that won't go away, I won't be heading into the waiting room. I've made a strong habit of sitting in the car when ferrying the mom or aunt to doctor's appointments of any kind, so I'll be chilling in heavy rain, listening to NPR (do I listen to Valenti and Foster? HA! Hell no!) and checking Twitter for hockey news while the aunt negotiates peace in the Middle East. It's a glamorous life I lead, so try to contain your jealousy cheekywink

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Comments

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Most of the above (which I admittedly skimmed rather than read for content) is why I thought the smart play at the deadline was to move Fil, et al and accumulate assets for future years rather than trying to extend the playoff streak by another few seasons instead.

It appears, however, that the Wings place more importance on the playoff streak than I do.  Given the playoffs mean anywhere from 2-25 million bucks they have a point, of course, but still.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/10/13 at 02:47 AM ET

Chet's avatar

sure. plus they can use it to negotiate: “$5 million/year!? you ended up a third liner!”

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/10/13 at 04:40 AM ET

Chet's avatar

(my other pet theory remains: they promoted abduhkader to the top pine to get dats to pump up his stats enough to move him at the deadline, so take for what it’s worth…)

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/10/13 at 04:45 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Words to live by:

“Nothing has ever been given to me,” MacDonald said. “You have to work for everything. I’ve never thought about giving up. All I wanted was to get a shot. “

Good for Joey MacDonald!

cool cheese

Posted by w2j2 on 04/10/13 at 06:25 AM ET

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forced the team to embrace a youth movement

Not sure you understand what it means to embrace something, but trying to land a 30 year old defenseman and a 40+ year old winger at the deadline (or for that matter, saying that it will be like you made deadline moves when your 36 and 38 year old forwards get off the injured list) is the complete opposite of embracing a youth movement.

From dictionary.com: “2. to take or receive gladly or eagerly; accept willingly: to embrace an idea.”  Notice the words “gladly”, “eagerly” and “willingly”.

I’ll be curious to see if, this summer, they actually do embrace a youth movement (by not re-signing White, Cleary and Filppula and/or buying out Samuelsson andor Colaiacovo and/or Bertuzzi) in favour of bringing up some youngsters, but until decisions are made to do that willingly, they haven’t “embraced” anything.

Posted by Garth on 04/10/13 at 06:46 AM ET

gt500x's avatar

Encouraging words from Babcock but what else would a coach say?  I have no expectations of the team this year.  ^_^

Posted by gt500x on 04/10/13 at 07:45 AM ET

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KH: “... a season that will ultimately be judged by whether we make the playoffs.”

That is disgusting.  I’d rather you miss the playoffs than embarrass yourselves the way you did last season.  Playoffs are not end all, be all, the Cup is.  When did Holland’s philosphy change?  It used to be cup or bust, then it was final four or bust, now all he wants to do is play 4-5 extra games.  Sickening.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/10/13 at 07:45 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

“We’re not going away,” Babcock said.

How can you go away when you haven’t shown up for the last week and a half?

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/10/13 at 08:05 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

KH: “... a season that will ultimately be judged by whether we make the playoffs.”

That is disgusting.  I’d rather you miss the playoffs than embarrass yourselves the way you did last season.  Playoffs are not end all, be all, the Cup is.  When did Holland’s philosphy change?  It used to be cup or bust, then it was final four or bust, now all he wants to do is play 4-5 extra games.  Sickening.

Posted by jkm2011 on 04/10/13 at 08:45 AM ET

Man, I’m really starting to dislike Holland.
I like our team Who the hell would particularly like that team. Unless, of course, he means personally. As in likes to go golfing with the guys.
The Kings showed all you have to do is get in the playoffs and anything can happen. Yeah, just get in and get your asses handed to ya by a talented, hungry, gritty team. Because your team isn’t, Ken, but the Kings were. Tool.
When we get (insert any injured player here) back it’ll be like a trade deadline acquisition/free agent pickup/etc… Who the F says this, well, besides Tick Tock? Yeah that’s right, nobody.
We kicked some tires and tried to acquire some talent. He made some calls and failed. He chased two guys so hard (supposedly) that he missed other talent. He didn’t move impending free agents that he either won’t offer a contract to (White) or hopefully won’t overpay for (Filppula) and get some picks for the future.
We are embracing a youth movement. Because you had no choice.
Ooofff… I need a drink

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 08:30 AM ET

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That is disgusting.  I’d rather you miss the playoffs than embarrass yourselves the way you did last season.  Playoffs are not end allbe allthe Cup is.  When did Holland’s philosphy change?  It used to be cup or bustthen it was final four or bustnow all he wants to do is play 4-5 extra games.  Sickening

Welcome to a hard capped league.

Seriously, when is that going to start sinking in around here?  In a hard capped league you have two and only two options.

Option 1) Suck for 3-6 years, accumulate high picks, then set up the team for a 6+ year run of reasonable success with those picks, assuming they are used wisely.

Option 2) You never really suck for any period of time, but you never accumulate high picks, either… locking you into a kind of long-term stasis as a franchise where you can be pretty decent depending on how the drafts shake out but unless you really hit a home run or two (or three or four) with late picks in the draft you’re just going to be consistently in the top 10-15 with occasional one year forays above or beneath that range if you’re exceptionally healthy or not or hot or not..

That’s it, that’s the list.

If this were 2004 Detroit just could have gone 5-15% over whatever Minny offered Suter and Parise… and they’d have Suter and Parise.  But they can’t, so they didn’t, so they don’t.

What Detroit in general and Holland in specific wants to do is Option 2.  They want to always be pretty much a playoff team and they don’t want to fully commit to being in rebuild mode.

So…. this is what we get.  Mediocrity, more or less.  It’s germane to point out that the Wings have been crushed by injuries this year, but even healthy it’s not like they’d be a top 8 club.  Being league-average healthy would just get them into the top 10, maybe.  Which is all you can reasonably expect a team to be in a league like this absent long, soul-sucking periods of awfulness.

If that kind of future is untenable for any of the current fans here, line up behind the Chief to ring out when the season is over ‘cause it’s not going to get any better any time soon.  They could fire Holland and Babcock and replace them with Bowman and Deveallano after they jam a 55-gallon drum worth of infant stem cells into their spines and it wouldn’t move the needle one iota.

On the other hand, if you actually like hockey for the hockey and not because it’s fun to stick your chest out and be a frontrunning fan of a team that’s almost always the best in the league… there’s interesting stuff going on with the Wings on and off the ice right now.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/10/13 at 08:37 AM ET

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I’m already resigned to the fact that Holland will extend Filppula for around $4.25 mil/per this summer.

Here’s what I don’t get: if Detroit (Holland, specifically) ACTUALLY likes this teams’ chances to not only make the playoffs, but make some noise once they get in, then why wasn’t HE very active in pursuing Iginla/‘Meester/Morrow/Regehr etc.?? Obviously this team ISN’T a Cup contender, but if Holland thinks it is then why not part with some prospects/picks to bolster this “contending” roster for a long playoff run? Instead it’s the same old thing…old wankers who haven’t performed get promoted over young guys who A. need some NHL seasoning for future full-time work and B. have OUTPLAYED said old wankers.

What Holland says and what he actually does are so completely different that I’m convinced that there really isn’t a plan in place to account for the losses of personnel that this team has suffered the past few seasons, and further more that Holland isn’t particularly equipped to handle the personnel that he DOES have in order to build something positive down the road or improve it in the meantime.

Posted by godblender on 04/10/13 at 08:50 AM ET

Avatar

Welcome to a hard capped league

Oh good…this again.

Option 1) Suck for 3-6 years, accumulate high picks,

Or trade a player or two at a deadline where teams are significantly overpaying to accumulate some picks. Maybe not top 10 picks, but if Detroit is so completely ahead of the curve when it comes to drafting gems in late rounds then some 2nd and 3rd or 4th round picks should be hugely advantageous, yes?

Option 2) You never really suck for any period of time

Except for this 48 game season…and long stretches of the previous 2 regular seasons…and last years’ playoffs…

Posted by godblender on 04/10/13 at 08:57 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I’m a big believer that we’re just going to get it done, but I think like that all the time.

step 1 of solving any problem is ADMITTING there is a problem.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 09:10 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

When we get (insert any injured player here) back it’ll be like a trade deadline acquisition/free agent pickup/etc… Who the F says this, well, besides Tick Tock? Yeah that’s right, nobody.

I wish just once someone would respond to him publicly by saying “yeah but imagine if you got that player back AND added a player at the deadline!”

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 09:14 AM ET

Avatar

On the trade deadline Windsor Star columnist chided Detroit RedWings fans as the most spoiled NHL fanbase.  We know the accopmlishments which underpin Duff’s observation. Duff went on to say that Holland was smart to stand pat on deadline day, saying trading away future picks, players could turn this franchise into present Colorado.  I am reminded that it has been the Red Wings front office, and coaching staff that constantly reminds us that the expectation for this club is the conference finals.  We are only discussing the expectations that the Red Wings have themselves issued. 16 years of winning, of dynastic creation, of dynastic consistency, of dynastic roster building have taught us what winning looks like, what winning attitudes are required, and that winning roster creation and recreation is vital. The keystone of the Red Wings manifesto is FA aquisition. Detroit is masters and sorcerors in dealing FA’s.  So when I see the inability for Detroit to land, sign a pure goal scorer in 3 years my harsh critical reaction is atypical, but it is based on atypical front office behaviour. We’re not spoiled.  We know what it takes to win, we know Holland know’s how to win.  When I see acute deviations from this formula verbose criticism is not only justified, it is measured.

Posted by beelza on 04/10/13 at 09:22 AM ET

John W.'s avatar

The team announced that Darren Helm would continue skating but the team’s no longer expecting him to return from what we’ve learned is a “slight tear” in one of his discs, and it is entirely possible that we’ll hear similar news about Todd Bertuzzi soon.

This is why people get fed up with Holland.  He gives us the ‘getting our injured guys back will be like making a deadline trade’ when EVERYONE knew Helm and Bertuzzi weren’t coming back this year.  He knew it, we all knew it, and it’s an insult to pretend otherwise.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/10/13 at 09:47 AM ET

gt500x's avatar

@hockeyinhd

So it’s more of that “follow and never question the leader or get lost” tripe, huh? Never gets old.  Holland makes bad decisions and his most recent blown opportunity at the trade deadline to ship out certain UFAs and depth players in a seller’s market gives good reason to question whether he’s the right GM for this Wings team in this salary cap era or not.

Posted by gt500x on 04/10/13 at 10:22 AM ET

peiz11's avatar

I get the whole, “the cup is the real goal”, talk but every single comment makes me feel like half of you around here are fans of this team and sport for the wrong reasons. You’d really rather miss the playoffs than creep in and have a shot at the cup? In this capped world, as someone else said, you are never going to be a 2002 team that can just roll through everyone…ever. So, like it or not, yes, the goal now is to make the playoffs. If you miss the playoffs we don’t get to watch our team in the greatest sporting event, the cup playoffs.

Yes, last year was frustrating but you lose 100% of the cups you don’t play for. Getting a 14th pick versus an 18th isn’t going to make or break this franchise, having the shot at the cup may.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 10:24 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

“Play all the kids all the time!” camp or, “You’ve got to take a balanced approach”

lmao, I love the backhandedness you through in your reports.  Am I to guess you’re in the “balanced” camp?  Makes it sound.. reasonable, right?  Good sneaky work there buddy.

How many rookies did have slotted to start the year in DRW?  Then ask me if that’s balanced.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/10/13 at 10:28 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

having the shot at the cup may.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 11:24 AM ET

Hahahaha….youze funny

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 10:35 AM ET

peiz11's avatar

Hahahaha….youze funny

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 11:35 AM ET

What? In my book winning a Stanley Cup is more of a measure of how good a franchise is versus which pick they get, that’s my point. If you think that if they get in they have absolutely ZERO shot at the cup then don’t watch and stress yourself out.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 10:37 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

If you think that if they get in they have absolutely ZERO shot at the cup then don’t watch and stress yourself out.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 11:37 AM ET

Why do people say that? Question the team and you’re a traitor and should not follow them. You like acting bossy, dontcha?

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 10:42 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 11:24 AM ET

I love all the facts you used to back it up.. like the “half the posts” you mentioned did to back THEIR OPINIONS

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/10/13 at 10:49 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

You’d really rather miss the playoffs than creep in and have a shot at the cup?
...Yes, last year was frustrating but you lose 100% of the cups you don’t play for.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 11:24 AM ET

This.  I understand being frustrated, and yes, curtain are embarrassing, but there is one sure way to reduce your chances of winning a cup to zero.  That’s by not making the playoffs.

Reasonable minds can differ on Holland’s management strategy, but some folks around here have let their frustration detach them from reality.  You’d rather end the longest playoff steak in sports than risk losing?  Give me break.  Take that fairweather fan crap somewhere else please.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/10/13 at 10:50 AM ET

bezukov's avatar
curtain [strong]calls[/strong] are embarrassing

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/10/13 at 10:58 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

That is disgusting.  I’d rather you miss the playoffs than embarrass yourselves the way you did last season.
Posted by jkm2011 on 04/10/13 at 08:45 AM ET

That mentality separates you from a professional athlete, or pretty much any other proud, competitive person.

Have the Wings pursued a youth movement?  Pretty much undeniable.

Name (age) GP

Kindl (26) 32
Abdelkader (26) 39
Tatar (22) 18
Andersson (24) 29
Lashoff (22) 31
Smith (24) 26
Emmerton (24) 39
Nyquist (23) 13
De(l)Keyser (22) 2

Over 225 games from 8 players average age 24.  Of those only Abdelkader and Emmerton had significant GP in the NHL prior to this season.  Kindl was an occasional 6 or 7 Dman.

It’s had some consequences, what with Dmen sloppily turning the puck right over inside our own zone, resulting in another 22 year old Dman being thrust right into this NHL line up with no minor league seasoning.

Occasionally we’ll see an 18 or 19 year old in the league, but they are almost exclusively top 3 picks, and the Red Wings haven’t had any of them for 25+ years.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 04/10/13 at 10:59 AM ET

Avatar

You’d rather end the longest playoff steak in sports than risk losing?

I’d rather he risk making his team better than play the safe move just to keep a streak alive.

That’s by not making the playoffs.

Simply making the playoffs doesn’t give you a shot at the cup.  Every year teams make the playoffs with no chance at winning the cup.

Making the playoffs shouldn’t be the goal of a team that always makes the playoffs.  Making the playoffs is the goal of teams like Edmonton, Toronto, Columbus and Calgary because making the playoffs for them is an accomplishment.

Take that fairweather fan crap somewhere else please.

You can take your BS and sell it to someone else.  Being passionate about your favourite team is the exact opposite of being a fairweather fan.  If we were fairweather fans then we wouldjust shrug and stop paying attention until we heard the Wings were good again.

Posted by Garth on 04/10/13 at 11:08 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Take that fairweather fan crap somewhere else please.
Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/10/13 at 11:50 AM ET

Another head scratching statement. Maybe, just maybe we are nervous Holland’s gotten compacent and the evidence is mounting. A fairweather fan would split and come back when we’re a Cup contender. A real fan will and does hang around whether they agree with management or not. Having played sports and still trying to (old age is catching up to me at a break neck speed) I’m competetive as feck so I want and expect awesomeness. I’m not seeing awesomeness from Tick Tock

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 11:13 AM ET

Avatar

Have the Wings pursued a youth movement?  Pretty much undeniable.

100% deniable.

Kindl (26) was the #7 defenseman until the injury bug struck, and even then he wasn’t trusted, because the Wings brought in Huskins
Abdelkader (26) fourth liner until injuries
Tatar (22) only called up because of injuries
Andersson (24) only called up because of injuries
Lashoff (22) only called up because of injuries
Smith (24) fair enough
Emmerton (24) 13th forward until the injury bug struck
Nyquist (23) only called up because of injuries
De(l)Keyser (22) fair enough

And how about this?

Samuelsson (36) signed instead of promoting a prospect
Bertuzzi (38) re-signed insted of promoting a prospect
White (34) playing instead of Smith or Lashoff right now
Bouwmeester (29) pursued because they weren’t happy with their young corps
Jagr (41) pursued to play the top six at a time when Detroit’s top prospects hadn’t been given a chance to play in the top six.

The Wings absolutely have not pursued a youth movement.  At all.  They’ve been forced to play their young players because of injuries to the older players that they chose to sign or re-sign instead of giving their propects a chance in the first place.

Posted by Garth on 04/10/13 at 11:20 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

You’d really rather miss the playoffs than creep in and have a shot at the cup?

all things being equal, no.  but all things AREN’T equal.  there are things that could have been done which would have reduced our chances this season (from maybe 1% to .5%) but would have improved the team in years to come.  THAT is the point.  you don’t do things now that will hurt the team in the future, when your chances are already so slim for this year.

it’s exactly the reasoning used not to trade away prospects and draft picks for temp players just to give it a shot this season - since we’re so far away this season.  so that same reasoning means you should have done things that would HELP the team in future seasons even if they hurt it for this season.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 11:22 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

In this capped world, as someone else said, you are never going to be a 2002 team that can just roll through everyone…ever

really?

how many games was it before the Chicago Blackhawks lost in regulation?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 11:23 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

but there is one sure way to reduce your chances of winning a cup to zero.  That’s by not making the playoffs.

so you’d rather have a very very low chance every year, but make the playoffs, instead of having zero chance this year and a better chance the next few years?  WHY?!

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 11:25 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Have the Wings pursued a youth movement?  Pretty much undeniable.

but RWBill, the point being made is that they didn’t “pursue” it - they were forced to do it.  do you think if Bertuzzi, Helm, Samuelsson, et al were healthy all these young kids would be playing?  of course they wouldn’t.  which makes it incorrect that the team is actively, by choice, pursuing a youth movement.  their choice would be to have everyone healthy and play the veterans, but they don’t have that choice right now.  it’s a youth movement by default, not by choice.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 11:27 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 12:13 PM ET

I think you got me wrong Vlad.  I’m not saying criticizing Holland makes you a fairweather fan.  I’m saying that preferring missing the playoffs to possibly losing in the first round is.  That’s a pathetic mentality. 

——————————————————————————————————

I’d rather he risk making his team better than play the safe move just to keep a streak alive.

Missing the playoffs is pretty much the antithesis of getting better.  If you really think the Edmonton Oiler’s method of self-improvement-through-double-penetration is really the way to go, I suggest you go root for them.

Simply making the playoffs doesn’t give you a shot at the cup.  Every year teams make the playoffs with no chance at winning the cup.

Actually it gives you a one in sixteen chance.

Making the playoffs shouldn’t be the goal of a team that always makes the playoffs.  Making the playoffs is the goal of teams like Edmonton, Toronto, Columbus and Calgary because making the playoffs for them is an accomplishment.

Great.  So how does removing us from contention by missing the 2013 playoffs qualify as aiming higher?

You can take your BS and sell it to someone else.  Being passionate about your favourite team is the exact opposite of being a fairweather fan.  If we were fairweather fans then we wouldjust shrug and stop paying attention until we heard the Wings were good again.

Posted by Garth on 04/10/13 at 12:08 PM ET

Knock it off with the hard@ss act.  No one’s impressed and it does nothing to improve your rhetoric. 

Defending the idea that it would be better if the Wings missed the playoffs rather than losing in them is totally childish, and yes fairweatherish.  What else would you call a desire for the team to lose so you don’t have watch them lose?  Losing is part of sports, and since there are 29 other teams who don’t like losing anymore than you do, you’re gonna have to take your lumps sometimes… especially in a salary cap paradigm.

If you can’t live with that, switch on your Xbox…put in NHL13… and set it to easy.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/10/13 at 11:40 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Take that fairweather fan crap somewhere else please.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/10/13 at 11:50 AM ET


.. not to pick knits.. but how can fans, who are OK with not making the playoffs, to committ to developing NHL experience for young players, being fair weather?  But, not wanting to miss the playoffs for sake of committing to the “youth movement”, ISNT being fair weather?  The implication you’d rather sqeak in and get bounced to say you’re still a playoff team and there-for, somehow, a “winning” team.

I’m not understanding.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/10/13 at 11:41 AM ET

bezukov's avatar

so you’d rather have a very very low chance every year, but make the playoffs, instead of having zero chance this year and a better chance the next few years?  WHY?!

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 12:25 PM ET

Paul, I mean this respectfully, but that remark is taking a lot for granted.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/10/13 at 11:42 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Missing the playoffs is pretty much the antithesis of getting better.  If you really think the Edmonton Oiler’s method of self-improvement-through-double-penetration is really the way to go, I suggest you go root for them.

In a parity driven league, I’ve been berated REPEATEDLY that THAT MUST HAPPEN to become good again like Chicago or Pitt or Boston or Vancouver.  Literally told you HAVE to miss to get picks good enough to play above an entry level contract so you can pay that extra money to a better veteran or more depth.

So yes.  If we’re creeping in, shitting the bed for weeks at a time, I’d rather not make it and move up in the draft, particularly this years.

Everyone could see the teams that’ve won the cup were on the precipice.  I called Boston 2 years earlier, you could see what they were doing, you could tell when Detroit was gonna get it, when pitt was gonna get it, or at least make it to the finals.  I think the only time I’ve been like, “well, I didn’t expect that.” was Philly against Chicago, but they UNDERACHIEVED all season.  Same with the Kings.  They UNDERACHIEVED, DL made changes, coaching and impact players, got their shit together and went on a tear.

We aren’t those teams.

And you can’t earn NHL experience in the minors.  You cannot.  At some point you have to move on up to the next level to continue developing.  Can you imagine if you went through highschool and they said, you’re close, but college is serious learning.  Spend the summer reading, take your tests in the fall and we’ll see about putting you in college.  So you go and do better than the other college kids are at least just as good.  Teach comes in and says, yup, you did ok, but we think you can do better.  Why don’t you repeat Senior year (grade 12) again and maybe we’ll let you visit campus a couple times and you can see how serious we were when we said it’s hard.  Does that make any sense?

I honestly, whole heartedly believe that the money, even from one round of playoff games, is the reason we’re afraid to let our kids develop and accept their failures along the way.  How many different players have been out there and said, “it’s like you’re afraid to make a play out there because you don’t want to sit the rest of the game”

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/10/13 at 11:57 AM ET

Avatar

Defending the idea that it would be better if the Wings missed the playoffs rather than losing in them is totally childish, and yes fairweatherish.

How impressed do you think anyone is that you don’t understand what it means to be a fairweather fan?

Posted by Garth on 04/10/13 at 12:12 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

Why do people say that? Question the team and you’re a traitor and should not follow them. You like acting bossy, dontcha?

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/10/13 at 11:42 AM ET

I never said you were a traiter. i’m fine with people being pissed but when people give them no shot once they get in, why bother with it? You should follow them, you should get pissed when they lose…but you should also want them to get to the playoffs and give themselves a shot at the cup. Some of these comments are upset they’re going to get in as a 7 or 8 seed and possibly (gasp) lose.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 12:16 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

In this capped world, as someone else said, you are never going to be a 2002 team that can just roll through everyone…ever

really?

how many games was it before the Chicago Blackhawks lost in regulation?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/10/13 at 12:23 PM ET

Umm…in the regular season. Your argument would be better if you used the Kings as your example…who barely got into the playoffs and went on an amazing streak. Something that, yes, any team has a shot to do if they make the playoffs.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 04/10/13 at 12:20 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.