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Red Wings-Senators quick take: thoughts about a deep dive into a shallow puddle

Ottawa Senators defeat the Detroit Red Wings 6-1.

This wasn't right.

From my perspective as both a fan and as someone who's going to rack up over 30 hours over two-and-a-half days covering this game, and especially as someone whose favorite non-Wing is now wearing #11...

The Red Wings went from what could have been 7-3-and-1 to 6-4-and-what-the-*#$%@&-was-that? in a hurry. They did so by simply not showing up in front of Jimmy Howard--who, again, surrendered multiple goals that he did not see until they went past him because the Wings can only seemingly screen their own goaltender...

And I'd mentioned this as soon as the Wings-Coyotes game was over, but I guess I have to do it again:

The Wings have historically had a difficult time adjusting to being in the media spotlight after flying under the radar for a significant period of time. They'd been in the Detroit sports background while the Lions were playing, and all of a sudden, Tuesday and Wednesday yielded a locker room full of both Detroit media folks who were intrigued by the "storyline" and a cavalcade of Canadian and non-Wings-or-Sens media types who wanted to see the great theatre afforded them by the Alfredsson-vs-Ottawa match-up.

I can only hope that the Red Wings team that's visited by the struggling Rangers on Saturday, the team that heads to Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Winnipeg at the end of the month, and that the team that brings the former Senators captain back to Ottawa on December 1st does not look so very distracted by seeing its own shadow behind the camera lights, or not being able to see their own locker due to the sea of digital sound recorders and iPhones in their faces.

The Ottawa Senators played like a team on a mission. The Red Wings, who continue to not skate particularly well in terms of getting on the "inside" of puck battles in their own zone, in the neutral zone and in the offensive zone, who continue to screen the *#$%@& out of their own goalie but leave the opposition goalie unfettered (with perhaps the exceptions of Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Tatar, who worked their asses off), who continue to fritter away power play time making fancy-ass passes and attempts to paint perfect goals instead of shooting the God-damned puck on the net (even Pavel Datsyuk has come down with "passitis" of late), who provide little support in the way of outlets for defensive players and better-placed scoring opportunities for players winning 50-50 battles for the puck along the boards and in the offensive zone, who continue to do little more than saunter though the neutral zone, sending one player into 4 or 5 opposing players sans support or speed...

The Red Wings team that blew this game, as Mickey Redmond said, had less "purpose" than the Senators, and since the Colorado game, the Wings have shown neither emotion, intensity, poise nor purpose. This will be an unpopular opinion, but despite their sterling defensive effort against the Sharks, I felt that they were just far too content to show up and assume that they'd squeak a late goal through the Sharks before the Sharks struck them--as evidenced by the lazy shootout performances by Datsyuk and Alfredsson of all people--and this game looked much more like the Phoenix one.

Skate around. Let a bigger, more determined and more defensively responsible team make mincemeat out you. Get out-worked. Get out-hustled. Get out-played. Get out-classed by a 3-3-and-2 team that you're supposed to understand is a dangerous opponent. 

Play like you're not getting paid to do so.

This was the Red Wings' goal. Todd Bertuzzi, Tomas Tatar and Jakub Kindl had very good games.

I'm not posting the Senators' goals. You saw them, and if you didn't, well, you will, sooner than later.

I want to know what you think about this team at the 11-game mark, and what you think this game says in terms of being a barometer of the state-of-the-Wings, especially given that both goalies were lit up and that the vast majority of the Wings' players weren't just on different pages or chapters of the same book, but were in fact in different sections of the bookstore.

This was great theatre for TSN, the Canadian Press, USA Today, etc. It was revenge and then some for Senators fans, and I'm sure Don "DeToilet" Brennan is going to have a fine write-up in store for us.

But it was shit hockey for the Red Wings fans who paid to watch this game in person, and it was shit hockey for the Wings fans who watched or listened or illegally streamed it at home all over the damn world.

What happens next? What needs to happen?

And given my take on the personnel issues, what happens if we simply assume that Eaves returning at some point will necessitate Tootoo being traded, that Helm will return in Western Canada, and that Gustav Nyquist won't be recalled until the team finds a way to unload at least Samuelsson's roster spot?

How do we take it WITHOUT saying, "Blow up the team, waive everyone, promote everyone?"

We were talking about what we'd have to say when the Wings had wrapped up their slate of 8 games in 14 nights, where they stood collectively and individually after the crazy stretch of games started on October 9th, when the Wings played three in four twice and wrapped up the long haul with 3 in 5.

Where are we at, and can we take this game in, "Okay, it was shit" isolation, or do we assume that this massive, collective brain shart is more worrisome given that the team is now technically .500 in 6-4-and-1?

And again, how do you view it WITHOUT assuming that massive personnel changes are in order, givne that this team does not react or operate that way? How do you work with what you've got?

How do the current players and management get their asses back in gear? How does the current coaching staff and players...

Well, they checked out mentally when Mike Smith was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Glendale, and they haven't mentally checked in, even for Daniel Alfredsson's sake. They were in and out enough to muddle through a shootout loss to San Jose, but the team can't seem to get its offense and defense going on the same night--if either will "go" at all.

How does THIS team get its shit together?



32-28 Detroit overall. Detroit out-shot Ottawa 12-9 i the 1st, 13-12 in the 2nd and were tied 7-7 in the 3rd period.

The Senators went 2-for-3 in 3:33 of PP time; the Wings went 1-for-3 in 5:18 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 5 of 8 shots; Jonas Gustavsson stopped 17 of 20 shots; Craig Anderson stopped 31 of 31.

TSN's Chris Cuthbrt picked the 3 stars, and he picked Bobby Ryan, Kyle Turris and Jason Spezza.

The Wings' goal: Bertuzzi (3) from Zetterberg (6) and Kronwall (6), PPG.

Faceoffs 37-28 Detroit (Detroit won 57%);

Blocked shots 11-11;

Missed shots 13-10 Ottawa (total attempts 53-52 Detroit, with Detroit firing 32 on the net and another 21 wide/blocked);

Hits 27-25 Detroit;

Giveaways 14-7 Detroit;

Takeaways 12-7 Detroit.

Individual stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 12-and-11 (52%); Weiss went 7-and-9 (44%); Andersson went 10-and-4 (71%); Franzen went 7-and-2 (78%); Zetterberg went 1-and-2 (33%);

Shots: Miller and Zetterberg co-led the Wings with 4 shots; Tatar had 3; Smith, Kindl, Abdelkader, Alfredsson, Quincey, Kronwall and Weiss had 2 shots; Datsyuk, Andersson, Tootoo, Lashoff, Bertuzzi, DeKeyser and Cleary had 1.

Blocked attempts: Zetterberg and Kronwall had 2 attempts blocked by Senators players; Kindl, Andersson, Miller, DeKeyser, Cleary, Weiss and Franzen had 1 attempt blocked.

Missed shots: Franzen missed the net 3 times; Tatar, Tootoo and Zetterberg missed the net 2 times; Bertuzzi missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Tootoo led the Wings with 4 hits; Abdelkader, Tatar and Kronwall had 3; Alfredsson, Miller, Lashoff and Bertuzzi had 2; Smith, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, DeKeyser, Cleary and Weiss had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Smith, Abdelkader and Bertuzzi had 2 giveaways; Kindl, Alfredsson, Datsyuk, ANdersson, Tatar, Kronwall, Franzen and Gustavsson had 1 giveaway.

Takeaways: Zetterberg had 4 takeaways; Tatar had 2 takeaways; Smith, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Quincey, Kronwall and DeKeyser had 1 takeaway.

Blocked opponent shots: DeKeyser blocked 4 Senators shots; Datsyuk blocked 2 shots; Kindl, Andersson, Miller, Kronwall and Weiss blocked 1 shot.

Penalties: Alfredsson, Quincey and Kronwall took minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective -20. Smith, Andersson, Miller, Tootoo and Quincey finished at -2; Kindl, Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Lashoff, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Kronwall, DeKeyser, Cleary and Weiss finished at -1.

Points: Bertuzzi had a goal; Kronwall and Zetterberg had assists.

Ice time: DeKeyser led the team with 21:40 played; Kronwall played 21:36; Kindl played 20:15;

Quincey played 20:14; Smith played 18:56; Datsyuk played 17:54;

Zetterberg played 16:50; Alfredsson played 16:12; Franzen played 15:30;

Miller played 15:22; Andersson played 14:54; Cleary played 14:52;

Lashoff played 14:52; Bertuzzi played 14:41; Abdelkader played 14:10;

Tatar played 13:57; Weiss played 12:45; Tootoo played 11:49.

Update: NHL.com's highlights are narrated by Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond:

Update #2: The Red Wings' website posted post-game clips of Daniel Alfredsson...

Henrik Zetterberg...

And coach Mike Babcock speaking to the media:

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink


Chet's avatar

ottawa played a solid game this was a laughable effort from detroit. they reminded me of the wings of a few years ago, playing out the string in march with a huge lead in the central.

that it’s only october and they’re in a much more competitive division is definitely cause for concern. whatever distractions they have going on, they need to sort out this malaise ASAP.

tatar looked great, but no one player can do it alone.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 10/23/13 at 10:54 PM ET


I cant help but pile on…. Brendan Smith leads the team with a -9 in 7 GP.
Im not sure what Babcock was thinking with 55-2 together. 55 needs a strong defensive dman to cover for his lack of prowess in that area. 2 is OBVIOUSLY not that player.
Dan “WE MUST HAVE HIM BACK” Cleary has 2 points in 11 games so hes on pace to have as dismal a regular season as he had last year. This is the team that hopes to lock him up once the cap goes up.
There were times in the first 3 minutes where i swear we didnt check a dman into the boards behind the net because we are trying to be polite. We looked like pussies.
I watched the whole damn massacre like i always do and i dont know why.

Posted by brians neck on 10/23/13 at 11:00 PM ET


This is exactly as shitty as we looked the last time there was an olympics, we rattled off 2 and 3 game losing streaks over and over before the olympic break yet somehow finished with over 100 points.

Posted by brians neck on 10/23/13 at 11:09 PM ET


It starts with putting the right guys in the right places. We know who the spare parts are, and I know we can’t just get rid of every guy who isn’t ideal, but we have an entire line’s worth in players who need to be in the lineup in Helm, Tatar, and Nyquist.

Tootoo makes too much for a service the Wings don’t need. I hardly remember what skills Mikael Samuelsson possesses…it sucks for him, but there’s no room. Cleary was good in the playoffs, so I thought if we HAD to keep one of these old guys around, he wasn’t the worst option…but he hasn’t done much of anything so far. Bertuzzi can still be effective, but we wouldn’t be any worse off if we need to make room for someone else who might come along and prove they deserve a spot. Hell, I’m even willing to lose Miller, despite my appreciation for his contributions over the years.

But putting together better, balanced lines and getting players like Weiss going is only part of it. Obviously, you need to play good hockey too. Since 2008, the Wings puck possession hockey has been showing up less and less frequently. Last season and so far this season, it really seems like a thing of the past. There are some habits that I think have developed that are just symptomatic of the bigger problem - not playing hockey the way the Detroit Red Wings should. They do things like wrap the puck around the boards, hoping it gets out. Guys stand on the boards waiting for defensemen to get them the puck. They can’t handle any sort of forecheck, we don’t ever seem to clear out the front of the net. They poke at lose pucks in scrambles instead of knocking guys out of the way to pick it up. They work too hard to not get one shot on goal. I honestly think if they changed their philosophy just on how they get shots on goal, the play would improve.

Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I just nitpick…but I think we can all agree, those days when the Wings would play a lesser team and dominate the full 60 minutes, winning 5-1 with 40 shots on goal and 25 against…those are far too rare now.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 10/23/13 at 11:15 PM ET


George; this game was awful. As of tonight, the Wings have score more than 3 goals in 2 of 11 games. They looked slow and lethargic tonight. This is not an aberration, either. This is a recurring problem. We are too slow, plain and simple. Franzen and Cleary are just slow, same with Bert. Our offense is terrible. Weiss is literally invisible except for when he forgets how to back check like a mini might learning how to play hockey. Tonight was utterly insulting, and I’d be upset if I paid to see that effort. But you know what? None of the aforementioned players are worried about their job security, because Babcock likes them. He always talks about grabbing MF’ing cheese, but will we EVER see Cleary, Bert, Franzen, or Weiss in the press box? Absolutely not. Tonight was upsetting. And this isn’t the first game. We have glaring problems that need to be addressed. First and foremost, our speed, or lack thereof. We need youth up front. Speed generates scoring chances, even if it is reckless speed. With our forwards always a step behind the opposing D, we are literally unable to generate shit in their zone. Ugh. I could go on, but I’d rather other posters contribute to what I’ve already stated. What do you guys, including George, think?

Posted by ZandPasha11 on 10/23/13 at 11:15 PM ET


soo…. Since Phoenix, the wings have scored a total of 3 goals in 9 periods… That’s good for last in the league. Please *#$%@& get rid of sammy and cleary. I don’t like what they do on the ice. and we should have never lost brunner, but whatever.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 10/23/13 at 11:30 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Please *#$%@& get rid of sammy and cleary. I don’t like what they do on the ice. and we should have never lost brunner, but whatever.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 10/23/13 at 11:30 PM ET

I would exchange Tootoo for Cleary and we didn’t lose Brunner; his pride and agent wouldn’t allow him to go back to Detroit because he took the same offer from the Devils.

Posted by calquake on 10/23/13 at 11:43 PM ET


we didn’t lose Brunner

You’re right.  He was pushed away by a team that either hates or is afraid of youth.

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 12:36 AM ET

calquake's avatar

  we didn’t lose Brunner

You’re right.  He was pushed away by a team that either hates or is afraid of youth.

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 12:36 AM ET

Facts please.  He signed with New Jersey for the EXACT same money he was offered in Detroit.

Posted by calquake on 10/24/13 at 01:00 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Brendan Smith is -9.
Kyle Quincey is -8.

That is the basis of the Wings’ problem.

Posted by w2j2 on 10/24/13 at 07:09 AM ET


Facts please.  He signed with New Jersey for the EXACT same money he was offered in Detroit.

Context please.  He had to take that deal because of the economics of a dropping cap.

He gambled and lost, nobody’s denying that, but Detroit could’ve easily signed him and they would have been in a better cap position too.

Facts please.  Detroit scoffed at giving Brunner $3M a year and then gave Alfredsson (a 40-year old player with the same points total as Brunner had last year) more than twice what they offered Brunner.  Rather than investing a little bit more than they wanted to in the career of a promising young talent, they chose to make their cap situation harder for the possibility of having only one year of Alfredsson.

Then they re-signed Clear, further *#$%@& their cap situation and the opportunities for their younger players.

Ken Holland can’t help himself when an old player is available.

But yeah, how could anyone think they don’t like or are afraid of youth, especially at the forward positions…

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 07:48 AM ET


Weiss is a non-factor.  I would put him on the list for buying out at the end of this season.  He doesn’t make good passes, he doesn’t collect passes and he doesn’t hit.  At this point in time, he would be my choice. Do you remember the good old days when passes were tape to tape and players would collect the passes and enter the zone with the puck?  That was enjoyable hockey to watch.  I do not enjoy the long passes and shooting or deflecting the puck into the zone and chasing.  I’m thankful for the good old days.

Posted by guy on 10/24/13 at 07:54 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

The entire problem is the defense and its inability to move the puck.  They only have 3 NHL quality dmen, and only one so far that has any offensive ability.  They cant get the pucks up to the forwards with crisp, clear passing, and they cant get pucks thorugh from the point.  Its why the forwards are always facing a stack of opposition players at the ozone blueline, and why their PP is completely ineffectual.  And on top of that, the forwards have to waste precious ice time bailing the D out because they cant make that simple pass out of the zone (or when Smith wants to be a forward, which he is just as bad at as defense).

Plus, it can easily be said that we have the worst Smith in the league.

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 10/24/13 at 08:26 AM ET

Figaro's avatar

I think Cleary is moving much better than last season.  He’s grinding well, he’s going to the front of the net when the opportunity presents itself…however, the puck will not stay on his stick and he gets knocked over a bit more easily than in the past, which makes a lot of his shifts ineffective.  Why he gets thrown out there for 4 on 4 and Power Play work, I have no idea (well, actually I do. He’s Coach Bab’s all-time favorite player and probably on his Keeper Fantasy team).

Also, would someone take Abby aside and remind him about the dimensions of the net?  Abby is one of my favorite players, but I’m getting a little tired of all those “shots” he takes that go 3 feet wide of the net (and subsequently around the boards and back out to the neutral zone).  Even Sammy can get within 2 feet of the net with his “shots”.

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 10/24/13 at 09:18 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Win four straight, then loose three - the sky is clearly falling.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/24/13 at 10:14 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 07:48 AM ET

Why don’t you submit your resume to the Red Wings since you obviously know more than everyone else.  Armchair GM’s are a dime a dozen… and you barely register at 5 cents.

Posted by calquake on 10/24/13 at 11:25 AM ET


Why don’t you submit your resume to the Red Wings since you obviously know more than everyone else

The problem is, even KH knew better.  He admitted that his loyalty for certain players sometimes creates these cap/roster problems that don’t allow him to field the best team.  I would say all the time in the last five years (starting with the Chelios over Quincey debacle), but that’s just me.

Posted by jkm2011 on 10/24/13 at 12:21 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by jkm2011 on 10/24/13 at 12:21 PM ET

The difference is Holland is a professional and has the right to field the team he feels will succeed.  He has paid his dues.  He’s not always right but I’ll take his expertise over Garth’s any and every day.  The inference that Brunner was pushed away by the organization is conjecture at best and outright false at worst.

Posted by calquake on 10/24/13 at 12:43 PM ET


Posted by calquake on 10/24/13 at 11:25 AM ET

God forbid someone have an opinion differing from yours, huh?  Maybe you can give me your email address and I’ll shoot you off a note so that you can give it the OK before posting it.  I should be shot for having the gall to offer an opinion on a comment thread.

How about I’ll submit my resume and you’ll can go *#$%@& yourself?

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 12:45 PM ET


The inference that Brunner was pushed away by the organization is conjecture at best and outright false at worst.

So it’s OK for you to state that it’s his fault, as if somehow you are in possession of the facts, but it’s not OK for anyone else -with exactly the same knowledge of the situation that you have- to offer another side?

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 12:48 PM ET

calquake's avatar

How about I’ll submit my resume and you’ll can go *#$%@& yourself?

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 12:45 PM ET

Go away little boy.

Posted by calquake on 10/24/13 at 12:51 PM ET

calquake's avatar

So it’s OK for you to state that it’s his fault, as if somehow you are in possession of the facts, but it’s not OK for anyone else -with exactly the same knowledge of the situation that you have- to offer another side?

Posted by Garth on 10/24/13 at 12:48 PM ET

Any person, without an axe to grind, can look at the situation and come away agreeing with my viewpoint more readily than yours.

Posted by calquake on 10/24/13 at 12:55 PM ET

Jaromir Blogger's avatar

I know this is old news, but getting Helm and Nyquist into the lineup would be enormous. Now, we really have no idea how Helm will be or if he’ll even be able to last more than a couple of shifts, but if he can be anything like his former self, his speed and tenacity will be a tremendous boon to the team, especially once he gets back up to speed with the NHL game. Nyquist’s all-around game and scoring ability would also be a huge boost, and would really enable the Wings to roll out three lines that can score. There’s just also this intangible quality of injecting youth and enthusiasm like that that can spread throughout a lineup.

I also think it’s worth considering giving Ouellet and Almquist more of a shot. Almquist’s offensive ability would be nice, although you also may see some defensive issues. Quincey and Smith are just too mistake-prone, and need someone better defensively to cover up for them.

But moving Sammy may be impossible. Hell, at a certain point, I think it’s worth considering waiving him, even if the cap relief is minimal. There are just too many players and the fact that Nyquist isn’t even with the big club is criminal. He should be playing every night. But picture the line possibilities if the Wings could have him, Tatar and Helm in the lineup regularly. The lines suddenly get a lot tougher to play against, and there you can spread out serious threats on three, if not four lines. And they may need to either promote from within or make a deal to shore up the blueline if things don’t improve.

Posted by Jaromir Blogger on 10/24/13 at 03:00 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Win four straight, then loose three - the sky is clearly falling.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/24/13 at 10:14 AM ET

For Red Wings fans, yes.

We stay away from sharp objects if they have two bad shifts in a row.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/24/13 at 05:15 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.