Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings Tuesday practice post: beat writers report that Darren Helm’s done for the year

Updated 9x at 4:10 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice very early today--10:30 AM--and things rolled along pretty well...mostly...

And then...

FYI:

I mentioned the first crop of power rankings in the overnight report, and MLive's Brendan Savage has also compiled a list thereof. The Wings are also ranked 15th in USA Today's power rankings, which state the obvious:

15 Detroit Red Wings [down] 5 [highest/lowest] 8/17 Red Wings precariously holding on to last playoff berth; 21-year run could be in jeopardy.

No comment about Savage re-posting NHL.com's statement that Babcock's the best coach in the NHL.

Via RedWngsFeed, I can ol ysay "wow" about the video Michigan Hockey posted in its "Shaved Ice" column:

As an FYI from the Grand Rapids Press's Dean Holzwarth, Calle Jarnkrok's final three games with the Grand Rapids Griffins will take place Wednesday (vs. Chicago), Friday (vs. Milwaukee) and Saturday (vs. Peoria) at Van Andel Arena, and as Holzwarth notes, the Wings won't be able to call up half the Griffins' roster if Detroit makes the playoffs because the Griffins will do the same this season:

The Griffins are on the brink of earning a playoff berth for the first time since the 2008-09 season and can clinch a spot Wednesday, April 10, when they face the Chicago Wolves at Van Andel Arena.

Grand Rapids (40-23-3-4) leads the Midwest Division by eight points over Milwaukee and Rockford, and sits third overall in the Western Conference with six games remaining in the regular season.

A regulation win over the Wolves on Wednesday, coupled with a Rockford loss of any variety against Peoria, would seal a playoff berth for the Griffins. Grand Rapids' magic number for clinching the Midwest Division title is five points, and that could happen no earlier than Friday.

Griffins first-year coach Jeff Blashill said the team hasn't talked about the playoffs, instead focusing on each game as the regular season winds down.

“Right now we're so focused in at the task at hand, and the task at hand is to play a real good team on Wednesday,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, we set forth segment goals with the idea of, if we stay on top of those goals, then we would be a playoff team. Obviously, every team at the beginning of the year strives to get themselves into the playoffs so they have a chance to win the ultimate goal. And we're no different than anyone else. We want to put ourselves in position to compete for that, and that's where our focus is right now. Our focus day to day is to continue to get better as a hockey team.”

Heading back to the big club, via Paul, the Globe and Mail's Bruce Dowbiggin suggests that the Maple Leafs' improved play and the Wings' struggles will provide for "great TV" during HBO's 24/7 next season...

The biggest surprise in the not-very-surprising resurrection of the Winter Classic next Jan. 1 in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is how much the story line has changed for Detroit and Toronto since their first date was cancelled. When Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs was initially announced for Jan. 1, 2013, most hockey fans did a Hollywood spit take at the notion of Toronto as a star of the HBO documentary series 24/7 . The Maple Leafs? The listless Leafs were as sexy as CRTC cable carriage regulations.

It was widely agreed (okay, we suggested it) that the Red Wings would be the only attraction for HBO’s cameras in the four-part run-up to the game. Detroit in the postseason every year for two decades. Pavel Datsyuk. Henrik Zetterberg. Mike Babcock. Gordie Howe. The octopus.

Toronto? They haven’t lifted the Stanley Cup since 1967. The Brian Burke circus. Dion Phaneuf and the goofy Red Bull hat in the dressing room. C’mon, how are they going to put this Duck Dynasty on HBO, home of Boardwalk Empire?

If the lockout had one saving grace, it was keeping this mismatch out of America’s homes.

Yet as we now point the telescope at the 2014 Winter Classic, it’s the Leafs (who won 4-3 last night over the Rangers) that are suddenly in the ascendancy. In transition from Nicklas Lidstrom, the Red Wings might miss the 2013 postseason while Toronto seems assured of its first playoff trip since Stephen Harper became PM. The blue team: arrow up. The red team: arrow down.

Think of the possibilities now for 24/7. Joffrey Lupul beaking. Phil Kessel speaking. Randy Carlyle discussing the thermal properties of the brain in concussion awareness. Dave Nonis refusing to trade for Roberto Luongo for the 237th time. All narrated by Liev Schreiber. (Sportsnet has announced it has obtained the rights to 24/7.)

Now that, not Mad Men, is quality TV. Zooby zooby zoo, Maple Leafs.

I don't dislike Toronto. I DESPISE the Leafs. DESPISE. I wanted the "mismatch." I sure as *#$%@& hope that it's a "mismatch" again by this time next season.

Here come the post-practice updates...

And the entry's going live because of this:


Otherwise...

Heading back to the Griffins for a moment, from their Facebook page:

We will be hosting a used equipment sale during the Saturday, April 13th game on the concourse near section 120. There will be new and game used equipment available (sticks, gloves, pants, etc...). This sale is CASH ONLY and all sales are final.

Update #1: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness is first to the text punch:

“Well he’s not going to play hockey this year we don’t think,” Babcock said after practice. “We have to get ourselves ready for the playoffs and be ready to go on without him.”

Helm has been sidelined pretty much the entire season with a slightly torn disc in his back.

“I’m trying to stay positive, I think my spirits are a little bit higher than they have been,” Helm said. “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,” Helm continued. “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.”

Helm has played one game this year.

“I don’t really have anything else to add,” Helm said. “Just going by how I feel. I’ve been feeling decent. There’s nothing else I can really add to that.”

Helm skated on his own Tuesday and continues to be day-to-day based on how he feels.

“Each day we do a little more and go by how we feel,” Helm said. “I feel like there has been a change since the last couple weeks but don’t know what’s going on. I’ve been skating since they went to Anaheim (trip), I was skating by myself on the ice, just (warmup suit), when they got back I was skating in full equipment, then I didn’t go on last trip,” Helm added. “I stayed behind to skate.”

Update #1.5:

Update #1.75: Here's MLive's Ansar Khan's report:

"He's not going to play hockey, right, this year, I don't think,'' Babcock said after Tuesday's practice. “We got to get ourselves in the playoffs and be ready to go without him.''

Helm, who has missed all but one game due to a back injury, skated by himself before practice and hasn't given up hope of returning, even though there are only nine games remaining.

“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 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. I don't know if one day I'll wake up and feel great or it's going to be kind of gradual thing.''

Helm has had many tests and seen a couple of specialists. They all say there is no structural damage, just a slight tear in a disc and some inflammation. He appeared on the verge of returning to the lineup before experiencing another setback during practice on March 18. He said he feels a little bit better, but there's nothing new to report on his status.

“Each day we do a little more and go by how we feel,'' Helm said. “I feel like there has been a change since the last couple weeks but don't know what's going on.''

Update #2:

The Free Press's Helene St. James posted a clip of Babcock and Helm discussing his status...Different takes...

And here's her article...

Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm won't give up on playing again this season, but his coach isn't counting on it happening. Helm has missed all but one game because of back pain that dates to just before the season began. He has skated, suffered a setback, skated some more, rested a few days; rinse and repeat.

Right now, he's back to skating on his own. But with just nine games remaining, Mike Babcock isn't counting on Helm returning.

"He's not going to play hockey, right, this year, I don't think," Babcock said after today's practice at Joe Louis Arena. "So we've got to get ourselves into the playoffs and be ready to go without him."

Helm didn't want to say that he wouldn't be able to play again this season, but even if he were to miraculously be able to join practices this week, he'd be a minimum of three weeks from playing -- and that'd put him past the April 27 end of the regular season.

And the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness has moved on to note the team's line changes:

“San Jose’s spread their group out,” Babcock said after practice Tuesday. “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 Damien 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.”

Update #3: Via RedWingsFeed, here's Khan's line change article:

The Detroit Red Wings will have Damien Brunner back in the lineup Thursday against San Jose, when they'll juggle the lines a bit. Brunner will return after missing three games with a sore hip flexor.

“Everything is fine,'' Brunner said after practice Tuesday. “I felt good. No pain.''

Brunner is second on the team with 11 goals. He has 22 points in 35 games. Coach Mike Babcock said Brunner will play on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Daniel Cleary. Filppula moves off the wing on the second line to go back to center, where he has played sparingly the past two seasons.

“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.

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

You'll have to read the rest of Khan's article for the actual lines/d-pairs.

Update #4: Here's the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa's report:

Coach Mike Babcock acknowledged this morning after a vigorous practice that Darren Helm, an important component of the Red Wing's front end, centering the third line and killing penalties, is unlikely to play this season.

"Well, he's not going to play hockey, this year, I don't think," said Babcock, who as long ago as early March thought he might see the dynamo of a center back in the lineup. "We've got to get ourselves into the playoffs and be ready to go without him."

Helm hurt his back in the training room near the end of the lockout, and his absence has meant frequent shuffling of the third and fourth lines looking for more offense. It also has meant lots of penalty killing time for the Wings' overworked stars, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.

Babcock also showed two new lines, which he said will likely remain together against the Sharks on Thursday at Joe Louis Arena. Valtteri Filppula moved to center, between Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner, for a new second line. The third line will be Johan Franzen, Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller.

"We're hoping by doing this we can generate more offense," Babcock said, of the line changes, which will leave Datsyuk between Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader, and Cory Emmerton with Patrick Eaves and Joakim Andersson. "We feel with Fil, Bruns and Clears, that's a pretty good line. Fil's been a good centerman for us. We like what Mule's (Franzen's) doing, here. So, we're just going to spread our lineup out and go a little bit deeper. We need to be at the net, some more. We've got to find a way to score more."

Todd Bertuzzi and Helm worked out, off the ice. Bertuzzi is nursing a bad back and upper leg. Mikael Samuelsson skated hard after practice and continued to take treatment on what reportedly is a strained pectoral muscle. Zetterberg practiced but left early for treatment on what reportedly is a sore groin. He was seen doing some running drills, as he often does after practice.

No Tootoo?

Update #5: Sportsline's Brian Stubits wrote a VERY LONG article about the Wings' attempts to at least lock up the 8th and final playoff spot in the West, as well as the fortunes of the teams that are chasing Detroit:

The Wings have a pretty even split between home and road; five away from the Joe and four back in Hockeytown. That shouldn't be too much of a factor, though, as the Wings haven't been appreciably better at home than on the road this season.

More importantly they have four games against teams that are in the pack chasing them: two vs. Nashville then one vs. Phoenix and one at Dallas.

By virtue of their starting point in this sprint to the finish line, you're looking at a scenario where the Red Wings probably need 10 more points to feel absolutely safe. A record like 5-4-0 could get it done but they would feel just a wee bit safer if they put a few more points up than the minimum. Most importantly, though, they need to get the points in the games against the chasers, those are four-point swing games.

I'm going with 13 points.

Update #6: DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose confirms Helm's status, too:

“He's not going to play hockey, right, this year, I don't think,” Babcock said. “We got to get ourselves in the playoffs and be ready to go without him.”

Helm, who suffered the injury while lifting weights as part of his conditioning a few days before the start of the team’s training camp in mid-January, isn’t giving up hope – at least not yet.

“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 still can't really put any time on what's going on.”

The ordeal has been frustrating for everyone associated with the team, especially Helm. He’s met with a few different back specialists, including one in New York, and all have agreed that there isn’t any structural damage to the vertebrae, though there is a small tear in a disc, which has caused inflammation.

Helm has been skating on his own at Joe Louis Arena; and hasn’t made the last two road trips with the team, choosing to stay behind so he wouldn’t aggravate the injury.

“I've been skating for a while, working out for a while, working really hard, said Helm, who seemed ready to return to the lineup before he experienced another setback in mid-March. “It's just that I still feel pain, feel a lot of discomfort. I don't know if one day I'll wake up and feel great or it's going to be kind of gradual thing.”

Update #7: Yup:

Update #8: This is...Different...From the Free Press's Helene St. James:

Todd Bertuzzi said his approach to the Detroit Red Wings' annual dip into matters economic doesn't vary.

He and his teammates, along with coach Mike Babcock, did their annual duty at the Detroit Economic Club today, with players seated at tables surrounded by those who paid to attend the event.

"I just sit there and nod," Bertuzzi said.

 


Also:

Update #9: Finally, DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose weighs in on the team's forward line changes:

With nine games left, the Red Wings are very much in the hunt for one of the final Western Conference playoff berths. However, so are nine other teams currently vying for spots four through eight. But the Wings’ offense has flat-lined over the last five home games causing some concern as they’ve produced just three-points in the standings while being outscored 17-8 in those games.

...

Brunner, who has missed the last two games with a hip injury, said Tuesday that he will be ready for Thursday’s home game against the San Jose Sharks.

“No pain at all,” Brunner said, Tuesday. “I hope I'll be back in the lineup.”

Meanwhile, Filppula, who has grabbled with a few different injuries this season, hopes the change from wing to center will provide a spark to his game. He has seven goals and 14 points this season, but just one goal in his last 10 games.

“We'll have to wait and see how that goes, if that helps,” Filppula said, of the move to center. “I definitely hope so. 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 fighting for a playoff spot, so hopefully it can do more to help the team.”

Drafted as a center by the Wings in 2002, Filppula has played the position sparingly over the last two seasons. It’s a position that he feels comfortable playing, though, especially in the faceoff circle, and it doesn’t require him to change his game plan much.

“Center plays a little more down low in your own end, so I have to be good defensively and I think when you're a wing you have to be good defensively, too, but you do that a little more when you're playing center,” Filppula said. “So that's pretty much the only thing changing, and taking faceoffs. I don't think I have to change too many things.”

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Comments

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MoreShoot's avatar

Babcock said he’s going to use Filppula at center on third line with Brunner and Cleary; Miller will play with Franzen and Nyquist.

And this means Andersson now owns the 4th line?

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 11:48 AM ET

SYF's avatar

...Darren Helm’s done for the year

Knew it was coming, but still… downer

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/09/13 at 12:03 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Knew it was coming, but still…

Lets just hope that it’s only this year. I basically have the same injury ... for about 10 years now.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 12:05 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

So much for one of those “deadline additions”.  rolleyes

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/09/13 at 12:07 PM ET

RhymeTimeWingsDings's avatar

yeah ken holland looks like a bigger ass now

Posted by RhymeTimeWingsDings on 04/09/13 at 12:31 PM ET

gt500x's avatar

If only we could convince Babs to sit Cleary…

Posted by gt500x on 04/09/13 at 12:34 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Lets just hope that it’s only this year. I basically have the same injury ... for about 10 years now.

yup.  I have a lower back injury that won’t heal.  nothing is torn or anything.  been over two years now.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/09/13 at 12:39 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Well, should we indeed make the playoffs this year (yeah, go on and cue url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oSFYxDGKy8]Jim Mora[/url], but his last sentence in that vid sounds a lot like the Wings), I’m resigned to the fact that with a stable full of Griffins who’ve seen time with the big club over the past couple of months will likely to be thrown to the grind that is the NHL playoffs.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/09/13 at 12:39 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Jim Mora

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/09/13 at 12:42 PM ET

Avatar

So much for one of those “deadline additions”.

Well, Holland kicked the tires on a deal to bring Helm back but ultimately he didn’t want to pay such a high price for it.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 12:49 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’m resigned to the fact that with a stable full of Griffins who’ve seen time with the big club over the past couple of months will likely to be thrown to the grind that is the NHL playoffs.

Posted by SYF from the bottom of a pint of Guinness on 04/09/13 at 12:39 PM ET

If that’s the case I hope the Wings miss the playoffs. The Griffins have a great team, and barring Detroit grabbing half their roster just to be on the Black Aces practice squad, they should make a great Calder Cup run and they’re 10 minutes from my house.
Hmmm…. Let me see: Wings keeping their playoff streak alive, me having to decide on my personal streak of going to at least one playoff game a year even though I vowed not to give the NHL any of my money this year, them getting rolled by a high seed and also missing out on the lottery.
Or me being able to go to AHL playoff games for, hopefully, many games cheering on my second favorite team all the while saving lots of money.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/09/13 at 01:06 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Hmmm…. Let me see:

Hmmm, giving money to Buttman or to DeVos (puke on your shoes or in your bed?) ?

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 01:11 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Hmmm, giving money to Buttman or to DeVos (puke on your shoes or in your bed?) ?
Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 01:11 PM ET

Bed. Definitely bed.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/09/13 at 01:16 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

If only we could convince Babs to sit Cleary

I agree 100% with that but who is available to take his spot? No depth at Forward right now and plugging the likes of Miller and Cleary into Top 6 doesn’t give me a playoff feeling.

Miller is bottom 6 and unfortunately Cleary is at the end of his career.  Sharks and Hawks back to back is going to be tough.

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/09/13 at 01:23 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Flip on the third line, eh?  Message being sent?  If they’re not going to re-sign Flip, I do wonder why they didn’t shop him before the trade deadline.

Sounds like either Emmerton or Andersson lose out here, which I’m sorry to see.  Or maybe one of them moves to winger?

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/09/13 at 01:29 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Oh yes, and this news about Helm, though not unexpected, is still devastating.  Geebuz, I hope he can get well before next season.  Such a great young hockey player.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/09/13 at 01:30 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

I’m not stressing about the playoffs. even if we get it, we’re not going anywhere as inconsistent as this group is right now.  Not to mention takes us out of the lottery.  That’s not considering the hard road they’ve made for themselves shitting the bed against Columbus this year.

I’m gonna enjoy the rest of the regular season and not give a shit the streak is over.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/09/13 at 01:33 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Shame we couldn’t have gotten Tatar up before it was too late.  He’d look a helluva lot better on the 2nd line than Miller.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/09/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Avatar

If only we could convince Babs to sit Cleary
I agree 100% with that but who is available to take his spot?

Cleary’s slotted into the third line right now, so put Tatar in there.  Or maybe give Callahan or Ferraro a game.

Or just put Eaves back in the lineup.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 01:39 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/09/13 at 01:29 PM ET

I think that has more to do with contract talks than some new idea Babs is suddenly ripping off his old assistant.

Same with Brunner.  Third line demotion over 20% of the season may shave a mil off with his overall production.  He’ll get paid for putting the bisquit in the basket.

Flip down there is sending the message to the agent of where the team sees him at this point.  Shot over the bow I think.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/09/13 at 01:43 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Wait a minute!
Helm could return by the time the Wings play in the 3rd round of the playoffs!

Posted by w2j2 on 04/09/13 at 01:44 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I do wonder why they didn’t shop him before the trade deadline.

maybe they did, and nobody wanted him because they see what we see - overpriced 3rd liner at best.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/09/13 at 01:47 PM ET

OnlyWings's avatar

so put Tatar in there.  Or maybe give Callahan or Ferraro a game.

From what I have learned from George, there are only injury call ups allowed from GR until the end of the season.

Not sure what the Wings were thinking when they had to decide on 32 man roster. 

Helm, Bert being realistically done for the year and Samuelsson just a plain waste of a roster spot and fortunately unable to play. Any D men who can play forward??

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/09/13 at 01:48 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Flip down there is sending the message to the agent of where the team sees him at this point.  Shot over the bow I think.

Could be, or maybe he want’s more offense from 3rd line and he thinks Fil and Brunner can bring that.  Once upon a time Fil was a third liner and our 3rd line was always dominant.  When Helm emerged is when we got the idea—seconded by Fil’s agent, no doubt—of moving Fil to top 6.  For whatever reason, things started coming undone for Fil around then.  And it’s never been clear to me why.  Perhaps Babs is also just looking for some place Fil can assert himself and contribute more.  I’d like to believe that.  It’s easier then figuring out why we have a Abby on the top line.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 01:50 PM ET

Avatar

maybe they did, and nobody wanted him because they see what we see - overpriced 3rd liner at best.

To even pretend there wouldn’t be a rental market for Filppula is ridiculous.  San Jose was able to trade the three guys (Havlat, Clowe, Murray) who were underachieving and on expiring contracts.  You wouldn’t have to play him much, wouldn’t have to trade much to get him and he’d definitely be an upgrade as a third line centre for most teams.  If the only reason for them not moving Filppula (or White) is because there was “no market” for him then Ken Holland truly did fail.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 01:54 PM ET

Avatar

Could be, or maybe he want’s more offense from 3rd line and he thinks Fil and Brunner can bring that.

Shouldn’t he be trying to concentrate on getting more offense from his top two lines before focusing on the third line?

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 01:55 PM ET

Avatar

Right now other teams are focusing on the top two lines defensively. Our 3rd and 4th lines don’t have a lot of punch to them. By spreading out a few of our top line players over 3 lines it opens up the chance that once in a while one of those line might be facing a weaker defensive unit and might (in theory) score a goal from time to time.

Posted by lancer on 04/09/13 at 02:10 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Shouldn’t he be trying to concentrate on getting more offense from his top two lines before focusing on the third line?

I think they are trying to spread out scoring.  Pity, though, that they, the brain trust, can’t find a way to put almost anyone other than Abby with the Euro Twins.  Abby works hard to get to the puck or the net, but he has almost no puck skills.  He can’t hold it or move it effectively: he’s the release valve for the defense. I wish we had Bert.  At least he can do that.

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 02:21 PM ET

Crater's avatar

Any D men who can play forward??

Posted by OnlyWings on 04/09/13 at 01:48 PM ET

Trade deadline fail. Holland should have acquired Meech for a 1st rounder.

Posted by Crater from SoCal on 04/09/13 at 02:38 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Trade deadline fail. Holland should have acquired Meech for a 1st rounder.
Posted by Crater from SoCal on 04/09/13 at 02:38 PM ET

LOL  LOVE IT!

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/09/13 at 02:40 PM ET

Avatar

I think they are trying to spread out scoring.

I get what you’re saying, but my point is there isn’t enough scoring as it is.  In order to spread out the scoring there has to be enough scoring to spread out.  Over the past ten games they’ve averaged a horrendous 2.1 goals per game.  Instead of spreading out the medicrity they should’ve damn well tried to acquire some scoring at all.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 02:45 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

I’m happy with Filppula on the 3rd line. He’s way better at center than on the wing. Not too mention it does spread the scoring out (hopefully).  I’m still uneasy about Franzen playing center on line 2.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 04/09/13 at 02:51 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

In order to spread out the scoring there has to be enough scoring to spread out.

I didn’t say I thought it was genius.  Cleary is a bulldog in the same mode as Abby.  MIller is smart, but not terribly gifted.  Two classic 4th liners skating with Mule.  What’s that a formula for?  On the other hand, though, perhaps there can be some good chemistry between Fil and Brunner. 

One thing interesting in the Blues game broadcast—I know, it’s a miracle I can recall anything of substance from all the NBC idiocy—was Hitchcock mentioning how much Babcock was overplaying his top two lines.  Something like 40 minutes a night or more.  Perhaps Babcock took note and plans to spread it out more (because what’s the value in 20+ minutes of 20-93-11?)

Posted by MoreShoot on 04/09/13 at 03:00 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

I’m happy with Filppula on the 3rd line. He’s way better at center than on the wing. Not too mention it does spread the scoring out (hopefully).  I’m still uneasy about Franzen playing center on line 2.
Posted by topshelf14 from Hockeytown, USA on 04/09/13 at 02:51 PM ET

I’m with you on Flip but I’m glad Franzen’s playing the middle. It means he has to actually skate and be involved (the lazy SOB).

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 04/09/13 at 03:11 PM ET

alukacs's avatar

@ Garth - Havlat was not traded. Or was he?

Posted by alukacs on 04/09/13 at 03:16 PM ET

Avatar

He’s way better at center than on the wing.

What?

Perhaps Babcock took note and plans to spread it out more

That’s all well and good, but there’s a reason that Datsyuk and Zetterberg are playing more minutes than most of the defensemen and it just spreading out the skilled players isn’t going to magically make for more scoring.

I only partially blame Babcock, because you can’t make chicken soup out of chicken sh!t.  At the same time though, when you only have a small amount of chicken it’s better to make a small bowl of chicken soup than it is to make a big pot of chicken sh!t.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 03:18 PM ET

Avatar

@ Garth - Havlat was not traded. Or was he?

You’re right, my mistake.  Brain fart.  I might have been thinking of Nashville trading Erat, I don’t know…

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 03:21 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

By spreading out a few of our top line players over 3 lines it opens up the chance that once in a while one of those line might be facing a weaker defensive unit and might (in theory) score a goal from time to time.

I’d rather have three lines that are 9, 7, and 5 on a scale of 1-10 than three lines all at 7.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/09/13 at 03:24 PM ET

Avatar

I’d rather have three lines that are 9, 7, and 5 on a scale of 1-10 than three lines all at 7.

Exactly, and if you have three lines at 7 it’s easier for their opponents to defend against all of them.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/13 at 03:39 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Exactly, and if you have three lines at 7 it’s easier for their opponents to defend against all of them.

No need for any matching of lines, just roll’em over the boards.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/09/13 at 03:47 PM ET

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