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Red Wings-Rangers quick take: Wings undone

Frustrating. Frustrating as hell. The Red Wings have lost four straight games now, having dropped consecutive games to Phoenix, San Jose, Ottawa and now a 3-2 overtime decision to the New York Rangers that was anything but fair to Jimmy Howard, who was absolutely sensational in the loss for the now 6-4-and-2 Wings.

Something is bugging the Wings, just as something was bugging Todd Bertuzzi enough that he had to be sat for the third period, and the Wings either can't or won't hold on to a lead.

Detroit got off to a good enough start, trading chances with the Rangers but getting the first goal in what was more of a penalty-free "feeling-up" than feeling-out process in the 1st period, with Drew Miller chipping in a slick goal on a 2-on-1 with 2:48 left in the 1st...

But the Wings continue to surrender an absolutely ridiculous amount of shots, and combined with the bizarre standard of officiating--or the lack thereof--the Wings struggled like nobody's business in the 2nd, being out-shot 16-8 and giving up a goal to Benoit Pouliot on with 2:40 left in the 2nd, tying the game at 1--thanks to Brian Lashoff running a Ranger into his own goalie...

The Wings rebounded in a big way, with Daniel Alfredsson scoring a gorgeous 2-1 goal with 11 seconds left in the 2nd...

But the Wings played for the vast majority of the 3rd period sans Todd Bertuzzi and sans any sort of energy in the 3rd, with Mats Zuccarello being allowed to rip a hard shot past Howard, who was narrowed out of his ability to stop the puck by standing-around defensemen 2:18 into the 3rd...

And while the Wings rallied late, eventually out-shooting the Rangers 10-8, the Wings' power play sputtered when it had a chance to do damage 7:12 in, and as the refs allowed the Rags to grab and grope the Wings for the last 10 minutes...

The Wings seemed mentally and physically exhausted as they limped toward OT.

With Nicklas Lidstrom in the house--and the Wings are 0-and-3 with Lidstrom watching now--the Wings' OT effort was meagre at best, with the team taking the same long shots and being grabbed and held as they were toward the end of regulation, and the Rangers eventually broke through thanks to a terrible pinch by Kyle Quincey, a worse over-defending play by Danny DeKeyser and a slick pass from Pouliot to Brassard, who caught Howard squeezing his legs--12.9 left in OT.

Update: Howard was on FSD and he said that he tried to stop the puck but it rolled up off his blocker and over his body. He was PISSED OFF.

 

 

So the Wings end up with 2 out of a possible 6 points at home, they haven't won in over a week, their offense is stuck in neutral and their defense has been poor as the team continues to surrender 35+ shots per game.

It wasn't right to watch Howard get hung out to dry yet again by his teammates, and it's not fair to the fans paying or watching at home for the team to show such an incredible lack of identity, work ethic or attention to detail.

Howard stopped 37 of 40 shots, and that should have been enough against a team with two--and now three--wins.

For the record, Ken Daniels stated that the Wings will be selling "5: A Tribute to Nicklas Lidstrom" when his number is retired on March 6th. Bill Roose penned the book. I hope that he won't be allowed to watch that game.

Update: And now the Wings get three days off--one off-day tomorrow and two to work on things--before playing 4 games in 6 nights, in Vancouver on Wednesday the 30th, in Calgary on Friday November 1st, in Edmonton on Saturday the 2nd and in Winnipeg on Monday November 4th. The Wings have to get their shit together in a hurry.

Babcock on WXYT says that the Wings aren't doing a good job of wearing out the other team, that they're giving up far too many shots, that they're facing adversity and that while the 4-game road trip is good the team has to get way better in their own zone and way better taking care of the puck. He feels that the Wings are turning over far too many pucks and that they're not showing any sort of commitment to detail, that the turnovers are absolutely killing them, and that until they decide the right way to play mentally, they have no chance.

Babcock says the team started fine, their 2nd disappointed him, but when it gets to be a theme, and this is a theme, even the night they won in Colorado they had to steal the game back in the 3rd, you can't give the game away in the 2nd, you have to outplay the other team in your own barn and they haven't done that.

They're getting out-skated, if you're not playing in their zone, if you're turning over pucks and playing in their own zone they're losing, and turning over as much pucks as they are they're putting lots of hard miles on their defense.

He says that Howard was great and gave them a chance, and he excused himself, somewhat angry at having to answer the same questions as to how the Wings are to remedy their mistakes. He simply stated that he doesn't care how they get it done, that they have to improve.

Statistics: Shots 40-34 Rangers overall. Detroit was out-shot the Rangers 16-13 in the 1st, were out-shot 16-8 in the 2nd, out-shot the Rangers 10-8 in the 3rd and were out-shot 3-0 in OT.

The Wings went 1-for-4 in 7:05 of PP time; the Rangers went 1-for-3 in 4:15 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 37 of 40 shots; Cam Talbot stopped 32 of 34.

Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji picked the 3 stars, and she picked Pavel Datsyuk, Jimmy Howard and Derick Brassard.

The Wings' goals: Miller (1) from Andersson (2) and DeKeyser (2);

Alfredsson (2) from Datsyuk (7), PPG.

Faceoffs 34-32 Detroit (Detroit won 52%);

Blocked shots 7-5 New York;

Missed shots 12-9 Detroit (total attempts 54-53 Rangers; the Wings fired 34 shots on Talbot and sent 23 wide/blocked);

Hits 23-22 Detroit;

Giveaways 10-1 Detroit;

Takeaways 7-7.

Individual stats, TMR style:

Faceoffs: Zetterberg went 9-and-10 (47%); Weiss went 7-and-8 (47%); Datsyuk went 7-and-7 (50%); Franzen went 5-and-3 (63%); Andersson went 4-and-3 (57%); Miller went 1-and-1 (50%); Bertuzzi went 1-and-0 (100%).

Shots: Franzen led the Wings with 7 shots; Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey, Zetterberg and Cleary had 3; Datsyuk and DeKeyser had 2; Smith, Miller, Tatar, Tootoo, Bertuzzi and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Alfredsson had 2 attempts blocked by Rangers players; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Quincey and DeKeyser had 1 attempt blocked;

Missed shots: Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey and Franzen missed the net 2 times; Datsyuk and Zetterberg missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader led the Wings with 5 hits; Smith and Miller had 3; Tootoo, Lashoff and Quincey had 2; Tatar, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Kronwall, Cleary and Weiss had 1.

Giveaways: Smith and Datsyuk had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Datsyuk, Quincey, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi and Franzen had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Alfredsson had 2 takeaways; Datsyuk, Tatar, Lashoff, Zetterberg and Weiss had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Quincey and Kronwall blocked 2 shots; Lashoff blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Quincey took 2 minor penalties; Smith took 1 minor penalty.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at -4. Kindl, Lashoff, Bertuzzi and Weiss finished at -1.

Points: Alfredsson and Miller scored goals; Datsyuk, Andersson and DeKeyser had assists.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 27:52 played; Datsyuk played 22:14; Zetterberg played 21:42;

Franzen played 20:34; Quincey played 20:18; DeKeyser played 20:18;

Alfredsson played 20:03; Smith played 19:25; Kindl played 19:19;

Weiss played 17:46; Cleary played 17:30; Lashoff played 17:18;

Tatar played 15:11; Miller played 14:05; Abdelkader played 13:49;

Andersson played 10:31; Bertuzzi played 10:15; Tootoo played 6:34.

Update #2: NHL.com has already posted a slate of highlights:

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Comments

Avatar

It must be deep, systemic flaws. Structural. They just play hockey the wrong way these days. There’s no other explanation for the fact that we watch the Detroit Red Wings lose so many games now.

This team isn’t the biggest, fastest, or most skilled. That’s why puck possession is important.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 10/26/13 at 09:58 PM ET

DocF's avatar

This team has been out of synch since the start of training camp.  Do the Red Wings have the wrong player mix?  Do the players not care how the games go?  Are the coaches not doing a good job?

I know that Weiss and Alfredsson have not been stellar thus far, but everyone else, including Zetterberg and Datsuyk have looked very average.  The guys who have played really well are Kindl, Cleary and Miller.  The two goalies have been excellent and that is the only reason the Wings are not worse off than they are.

TEN giveaways to ONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  That is pathetic.  And a giveaway resulted in the winning goal. 

I do not have a clue as to why Bertuzzi did not play most of the third period.  Perhaps Babcock has grown tired of Ballerina Bert showing up? 

Bah humbug!

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 10/26/13 at 11:18 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

the refs allowed the Rags to grab and grope the Wings for the last 10 minutes…

The last 10 minutes? Try the first 10, the second 10, and every 10 after that. It was ridiculous the way the Wings were being held, obstructed and hooked throughout the game.

But that alone isn’t why they lost. First, they were out-hustled most of the game. And, second, the wrong players were on the ice when the game counted the most – in the last 30 seconds. That is all on Babcock.

And after the stellar play of Gus, Andy and Tatar on the third line in the playoffs last spring, Holland banishing Gus to GR in order to bring back Cleary was inexcusable. I’d much prefer Gus at 950k over Buckets at $1.75M.

So now Holland has a few days before Helm, then Eaves, then E52 are back in the lineup. Let’s see if he really is the “best GM in hockey” and finds a way to get Gus out of GR and guys like Sammy and Smith out of Detroit.

Forgive me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/26/13 at 11:40 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Prediction: On this date in 2014, Mike Babcock will not be head coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 10/27/13 at 12:13 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

The guys who have played really well are Kindl, Cleary and Miller.

you watch a much different game than I do

2,27,23 - that is your problem.  if it doesn’t get fixed (trade, call up) this is your new Detroit Red Wings, night in, night out.

Posted by Hootinani on 10/27/13 at 12:16 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

2,27,23 - that is your problem.

No offense, Hoot, but Lashoff is not the problem. He’s everything the Wings could ask for in a #6 or #7 defenseman, especially one who’s playing in his first full season in the NHL. Smith and Quincey, on the other hand, are substantially underachieving.

You could cut Smith some slack because of his age and level of experience. But Quincey? He’s a train wreck night in and night out. At this point, I’d take Ouelette over either of them.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 10/27/13 at 01:07 AM ET

Avatar

This team plays with NO personality. They do have a structural problem its that they are trying to retain their puck possession game without the talent to do it. Thats a KH issue. I was thinking about the ‘ripening’ philosophy we have. I can think of a whole 3 maybe 4 players we have ‘ripened’ that have turned out. The rest are utter shit.

Posted by brians neck on 10/27/13 at 01:25 AM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

Giveaways 10-1 Detroit;

Says it all.

When have we ever seen DeKeyser step out of the way of a likely 2-on-1 to turn it into a possible 2-on-0 and guaranteed 1-on-0? That is proof enough for me that whatever Quincey has is catching. It’s too late for him, but if they take action now, they can prevent more defensemen from getting infected. Maybe even Smith can recover. Can they put Quincey on LTIR with an unspecified—but apparently contagious—mental ailment? 770-488-7100

Posted by bleep bloop on 10/27/13 at 02:09 AM ET

Avatar

Detroit’s funk is worsening because their secondary offensive forwards aren’t doing anything and their entire blue line has no offensive punch on it.

So, when they try to overcorrect and bring in Tatar the team defense gets worse, because Tatar isn’t a good defensive player.

As much as it is popular (and easy, and lazy) to blame the play of forwards and opine about what-might-have-been if only the team had 13 points in 40 NHL games Gustav Nyquist jumpstarting the offense from day one, Detroit’s real, systemic, and much harder to fix problems are all on the blueline.

Kronwall’s not a lead dman.  He’s not even a plus #2, really.  He is, for the most part, Brad Stuart… best used as a 20 minute a night #3 behind a lead dman and an offensively minded #2 top pairing.  A case could possibly be made that he could serve as a Robin on a top pairing to an really aggressive offensive partner, but I wouldn’t agree with it.

While much improved over the course of the past few seasons, much to the chagrin of those who piled heaps of scorn on him early in his career, Ericsson isn’t a #2 either.  He’s a #4.

Quincey’s a 5.  Dekeyser’s maybe a 4, but he’s pretty much Ericsson-lite.  Kindl’s a 5.  Smith… Smith should have been an offensive 3, but he’s working on playing his way right out of the league.  With his temper issues we’re likely to see him do something spectacularly stupid pretty soon and either get suspended by the league for an on-ice violation or the team for an off-ice one.  Lashoff playing as much as he has should make people pine for the days of Andreas Lilja instead of saying “He’s everything the Wings could ask for in a #6 or #7 defenseman, especially one who’s playing in his first full season in the NHL.”

Memories are, apparently, rather short.

In any event, when the team goes from having a defenseman score ~16 goals each year for them to being on a pace to get fewer than that from their entire defensive roster, it’s not exactly brain surgery to figure out where the offense went.

The only way… the ONLY way… the Wings blueline’s offensive issues aren’t crippling is if they can play lockdown positional defense.  That’s it.  If they can’t either find a way to significantly produce while playing mediocre defense or greatly improve their level of defense… Detroit will be in trouble.

We’ve got until around the 20 game mark to see if the team can pull it together.

And one last thing, something that’s a bit under the radar because there’s something of an effort to ignore this around here, but people need to stop making excuses for one Mr. Jimmy Howard.  Yeah, everything I wrote above is completely true, but Howard is the third highest paid player on the team now at over 5 mil a year.  Detroit could have spent a lot of that money on a stronger blueline instead and gone Mrazek Gustavsson, but Howard got it.  Good for him.

When you’re making 5 you don’t get to have people whine about how the goalie isn’t protected enough.  Part of the reason the Wings can’t surround their goaltenders with packing peanuts is how much they are paying their #1.  Hell, their #2 is making 1.5 and that’s all they were paying Osgood to start for them back in ‘09.

If the argument being put forth here by George and others is that Detroit has to pay a goalie 5+ and then they have to really stiffen up in front of him defensively , then I henceforth deem that argument really, really dumb.  Howard’s got to earn that salary.  Yes, there are problems on the blueline.  Yes, there are problems at forward.  A 5+ mil a year goalie should be solving some of those with stellar play, not being excused for not playing better since those other issues exist.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/27/13 at 06:09 AM ET

Avatar

As much as it is popular (and easy, and lazy) to blame the play of forwards…

...their secondary offensive forwards aren’t doing anything…

As much as it is popular [to] opine about…Gustav Nyquist jumpstarting the offense from day one No on has.

when the team goes from having a defenseman score ~16 goals each year Which dream roster do you have that was doing this “each year”. Since Lids left the league only four defensemen scored more than ten goals last season and the season prior to that only three scored 16 or more goals in the entire league. Where was Detroit supposed to get all this blue line scoring when there wasn’t many blueline goal scorers in the NHL to begin with?

We’ve got until around the 20 game mark to see if the team can pull it together.  uhmm. why is this such a magical number of games?

...something that’s a bit under the radar because there’s something of an effort to ignore this around here, but people need to stop making excuses for one Mr. Jimmy Howard. Just because you are disappointed in Howard doesn’t mean everyone else should be. No one is talking about him because, as you have even pointed out, there are some bigger issues on defense. FYI, Howard is tied for second in the league in shutouts and when he plays at least 20 games I think, according to you, that is about the time to panic.

Detroit could have spent a lot of that money on a stronger blueline… on whom? As I recall the FA market was pretty weak this summer. Wait, wasn’t Mike Green available? No. He wasn’t.

...instead and gone Mrazek Gustavsson. Uhm, have you taken a look at Mrazek’s play in the AHL this year? His stats are worse than Howard’s and he’s playing the AHL.

Posted by howeandhowe on 10/27/13 at 12:51 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Prediction: On this date in 2014, Mike Babcock will not be head coach of the Detroit Red Wings.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 10/27/13 at 12:13 AM ET

That day cannot come soon enough for me. “Leave No Doubt”.

Let’s Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 10/27/13 at 02:18 PM ET

bleep bloop's avatar

So, when they try to overcorrect and bring in Tatar the team defense gets worse, because Tatar isn’t a good defensive player.

So they should rather play Samuelsson than Tatar? At least Tatar tries to get the puck back when he loses it and he’s getting better at holding onto the puck every game. Samuelsson doesn’t do that much.

As much as it is popular (and easy, and lazy) to blame the play of forwards and opine about what-might-have-been… Detroit’s real, systemic, and much harder to fix problems are all on the blueline.

Most of the time the defense is pretty good, it’s just when the puck stays in the zone too long and things start getting scrambly that everything falls apart. The forwards are equally culpable for that. If they cut down on the lateral passes coming out of the defensive zone and pointless circling back, that would cut down on defensive zone time and all that goes along with it: shots against, scoring chances against, instances of lost defensive coverage or overdefending.

A case could possibly be made that [Kronwall] could serve as a Robin on a top pairing to an really aggressive offensive partner, but I wouldn’t agree with it.

If you recall, Kronwall was the offense to Stuart’s defense, not the other way around. Now the top defensive pair is counted on for shutdown defense rather than keepaway, like Lidstrom and Rafalski could do against other teams’ top players. Of course Kronwall’s offense will suffer, but he will get better at switching between offense and defense, and his offensive numbers will go back up.

[P]eople need to stop making excuses for one Mr. Jimmy Howard.

There is a tendency for people to say he had no chance on a shot when he was out of position or reacted too slowly, but that is pretty rare. Just because he gets paid a lot (like all the other good goalies) does not mean he is übermensch—he will have bad games just like everyone else and he won’t steal wins every time he plays.

If the argument being put forth here by George and others is that Detroit has to pay a goalie 5+ and then they have to really stiffen up in front of him defensively , then I henceforth deem that argument really, really dumb.

The goaltender is the last line of defense. Before him (or her—Lightning c. 1992-93) is the defensemen. And in seasons past, before the defensemen was the forwards keeping the puck in the offensive zone.

Wait, wasn’t Mike Green available? No. He wasn’t.

Doesn’t he play more often like a fourth forward than a defenseman?

Posted by bleep bloop on 10/27/13 at 02:35 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.