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Red Wings-Capitals no take: Wings at their best and worst at the same time

A certain blogger’s internet connection is about to conk out for the third or fourth time tonight, so I’ll simply say this: the Detroit Red Wings’ 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals represented the team at its best and worst, and a game the Wings could have easily won—had they not committed four grevious errors in the defensive zone that were all but de-facto assists on the Capitals’ goals.

Jimmy Howard was sterling at times, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Brendan Smith, Danny Cleary, Niklas Kronwall and more than a handful of other Wings players played their hearts out, the Wings power play finally got going and in a game where slew-foots apparently don’t count, the Wings almost won in spite of themselves…Until, perhaps predictably, they were given a late power play and managed to bungle it and then surrender an empty-netter while scrambling to…scramble.

Have we seen the worst of the Wings? What were tonight’s positives and bright points for you? Do you think that the Wings can salvage home ice against Nashville? Talk amongst yourselves…

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Comments

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no home ice, probably finish behind chicago, and unless they pull they’re heads outta you know where, might miss the playoffs.  I am sick and tired of stupid plays, bad refs, and sorry to say bert’s dumbass play.

Posted by akwingsfan from alaska on 03/19/12 at 11:17 PM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

Thank god for the Fast-Forward button on the remote.  I can’t sit and watch 3 hours of the wings anymore.

Here’s hoping they grow through this experience and come back stronger. Their confidence is shot now.  Even if they were healthy, I bet they’d be losing a lot.  9 games to wake up and remember they don’t suck.

6th Seed could happen…might let us draw Dallas or Phoenix instead of the Preds.  I could live with that.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 03/19/12 at 11:32 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

-Seen this exact same game way too many times this year.  Complete crap for 40 minutes followed by the furious 3rd period comeback that always seems to fall short.  It doesn’t work.

-4th Caps goal was complete and utter BS.  How you can kick a guys foot out from underneath him with the ref looking right at it, have it directly lead to a goal, and get away with it is beyond me.

-Hank should be embarrassed by that lazy ass penalty to seal the defeat.  I would expect that from Bert or Abby, but not from a leader.  Datsyuk or Lidstrom would never do something like that, let alone in that situation.  Pure laziness.  If you’re that tired get the fuch off the ice.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 03/19/12 at 11:33 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

6th Seed could happen…might let us draw Dallas or Phoenix instead of the Preds.  I could live with that.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from a hotel in Moscow, with two hot tongues on my back on 03/19/12 at 10:32 PM ET

Or the Sharks if they get their act together…

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 03/19/12 at 11:35 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Jimmy Howard was sterling at times, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Brendan Smith, Danny Cleary, Niklas Kronwall and more than a handful of other Wings players played their hearts out, the Wings power play finally got going and in a game where slew-foots apparently don’t count, the Wings almost won in spite of themselves…Until, perhaps predictably, they were given a late power play and managed to bungle it and then surrender an empty-netter while scrambling to…scramble.

Well said, George. I thought there were some good things happening tonight.  Whatever happens, I’m glad to see the “kids” getting some NHL experience. If the injured can get back, rested and ready to go, with the young guys ready to back them up, things could start looking up.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/19/12 at 11:35 PM ET

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Thank god for this site and for all the Detroit fans that still have some type of hope….my own son ....asked me this morning if the Red Wings make me feel so grumpy when they lose why don’t I pick a winning team? Amazing what comes out of a child’s mouth….

Posted by Nat from MTL on 03/19/12 at 11:45 PM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

The playoffs have officially started. Several deficincies need to be fixed now or the players will be smelt dipping and golfing early this year.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 03/19/12 at 11:51 PM ET

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I’m not worried…yet.

Smith has played…well, like a rookie.  He’s inconsistent and obviously not ready for top minutes..yet.

The Wings problems are nothing that the return of TPH couldn’t fix.

Even though the Wings lose games and such, I still don’t know what team could beat them 4 of 7.  Even though the Wings look bad for much of the game, the games they are losing (excepting a few) are one goal games.  I’m confident that Babcock can crack the whip in the playoffs.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 03/19/12 at 11:56 PM ET

Chet's avatar

the 4th goal was super frustrating. quincey is way too weak on his coverage. that should have been a penalty, but he wasn’t exactly in optimal position before being tripped.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/19/12 at 11:59 PM ET

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Thank god for this site and for all the Detroit fans that still have some type of hope….my own son ....asked me this morning if the Red Wings make me feel so grumpy when they lose why don’t I pick a winning team? Amazing what comes out of a child’s mouth….

HA!

things could start looking up.

???

I’d like to pose a question to the Red Wing faithful (..and it’s a serious question, despite my cynicism and pessimism): Does anyone feel that a coaching change would help this particular group of players?

This is 3 consecutive seasons now that this team goes long stretches with limited effort, passion and absurd defensive breakdowns. Management won’t dump the more lifeless/worn out players due to loyalty. Underachievers are resigned, often with raises and continue to get significant ice time. So obviously we’re going to see basically the same team next year with the possible exception of our two best defencemen (that will be fun). This team has been bounced early in two consecutive playoffs by a team that clearly is bigger, stronger, faster and out hits/works Detroit. If not for a historic comeback both series would’ve been lost in rather humiliating fashion. This season could result in Detroit missing the playoffs for the first time 21 years. At best Detroit will limp into the postseason as a 4 or 5 seed.

Obviously Babcock and the majority of this roster isn’t going anywhere because Holland really “likes the team we’ve got”. Christ. So what say you, Wings’ fans? What needs to change?

Posted by godblender on 03/20/12 at 12:08 AM ET

DocF's avatar

I cannot even comment about the FOUR errors that led to four goals.  The Wings do this way too often.  Right now the team is way out of kilter and the coaches have no answers.  This is not a matter of who is healthy; it is a matter of getting the collective team playing Red Wing hockey and not being nervous nellies.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 03/20/12 at 12:12 AM ET

Chet's avatar

crazy. tonight was the first time ever i thought to myself, “this team’s compete level and preparation have been unacceptably low for a long time now. they make unbelievable mental errors and cannot seem to play a first period without spotting the opposition at least 2. when does it start to look like a babcock problem?[/]”

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/20/12 at 12:17 AM ET

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Godblender:

Maybe I should ask my son LOL…seriously…I do not think it is about the coach. As far back as I can remember (well, at least for the last 5 years) the Wings have struggled to start on time and play for 60 minutes. Now..this is just me, but I do think we have some “divas” in this dressing room..you know, the classic “I am so talented, I can play when I want too”..I call it the Kovalev syndrome (nothing to do with him being Russian)...and look at all his coaches…same results. Sure, a coaching change might boost the players for a few games even a season…but I am a believer in a good coach like Babs or Ruff…the PLAYERS are paid to play the game they supposedly love. Do you need your boss to encourage you every single day, and push you in the butt every day to make sure you do your job? I think that some players would LOVE to see another coach, but at the end of the day, you are paid to do your job.

That being said, the 2 new assistant coaches are not doing that well..but that can also be because the players just don’t want to follow the game plan. Also, KH did not do much to help this team…I get it….ridiculous prices…long contracts, etc…but this is probably the last year of Nick and he did not do much…it’s going to be the same argument next year minus Nick. At the end of the day, you coach with what you have.

Not sure I am making sense, it is late and I am still pissed about the game….

Posted by Nat from MTL on 03/20/12 at 12:25 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

If these injuries hadn’t piled up the way they have, there is no way we are in this position right now. I’m not pressing the panic button until we get our regular bodies back. These losses are all awful, and I’m still disgusted by our lack of choosing to play a full 60 minutes of hockey… But as long as we make the playoffs, and we’re healthy, then who cares. We are the Red Wings, and with all the parody in this league, you have to beat the best teams to win the Cup regardless.

I trust Ken Holland, but my one question is this: Why are we willing to overspend on a still-unknown in Ericsson during the off-season, but aren’t willing to “overspend” on known talents at the trade deadline?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 03/20/12 at 12:45 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Spot on Nate.. nailed it

I get the same diva vibe you do.. its not blue collar stevie days that’s for sure and we don’t have a grinder with enough seniority now that can articulate the english language and rip a prroper whole in some players asses.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/20/12 at 01:02 AM ET

Lucce's avatar

As long as we make the playoffs, anything goes….

[x] Stresstrain boarded
[_] Calm

Posted by Lucce from Kingdom of Zweden on 03/20/12 at 03:30 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

Jimmy Howard was sterling at times, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Valtteri Filppula, Brendan Smith, Danny Cleary, Niklas Kronwall and more than a handful of other Wings players played their hearts out,

Versus

I get the same diva vibe you do.. its not blue collar stevie days that’s for sure and we don’t have a grinder with enough seniority now that can articulate the english language and rip a prroper whole in some players asses.

These two things don’t compute.

The wings are playing stupid, losing badly.  That doesn’t mean a lack of effort.  There are a lot of dumb mistakes happening.  You know what causes dumb mistakes?  Lack of focus and attention to detail, sure.  But also, putting too much pressure on yourself and trying to do too much.  This team, and most teams, is at it’s best when they make the simple plays.  When guys are hurt, especially the really important guys, others try to do too much.

I think we’re seeing a number of things coming together to create this collage of suck.  There is effort being expended on the ice, though.  So I think the “diva attitude” stuff is crap.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/20/12 at 03:33 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

I’m glad to know I’m not the only Red Wing fan who cringes every time I hear Ken Holland utter the phrase “We really like our team” because frankly, it’s grown more than a little bit stale to hear it over and over and over ad nauseum.

I’ve been openly concerned the past few years that the organization has simply grown complacent with their own success.  It seems at times that they’ve been guilty of seriously over-estimating the talent level of their team.  Honestly, there haven’t been any major roster upgrades for several seasons now.  By choosing to stand pat, they’re essentially still relying on the same core group from the 2007-08 season.  The problem with that is that the NHL, like any professional sport, is a never-ending arms race.  It’s 2012 now and it looks as though while the Wings have decided they “really like” their team, a lot of other teams have caught them and passed them in terms of overall talent level.

Another growing problem (which seems to have just gotten worse and worse over the past couple seasons) are these long stretches in which the team just seems like they have literally no passion.  They look out of synch, confused, tenative and, worst of all, it honestly seems at times as though no one even cares.  I’m not really a big advocate of making changes simply for the sake of making changes, and while I respect the organization’s loyalty to its players, I also think sometimes (perhaps the trade deadline this season for example) you need to shake things up a bit (maybe by trading a roster player), if for no other reason than to send a little bit of a shock wave through the locker room and remind the guys that their jobs are not a god-given birthright that can never be taken away from them.  Again it’s a situation where complacency seems to have crept in at every level of this organization.  It just seems like things are a little too comfortable at times when maybe a little less comfort, a little more urgency, as well as an occasional infusion of new blood to keep things fresh might have served the team better than merely standing pat for so long.

In spite of all this, the Wings have still managed to at least remain, as they say, “in the conversation” when it comes to the elite teams in the NHL.  But I’ve wondered aloud for the past two seasons if the Red Wings are still legitimately an elite NHL team or merely a somewhat above-average NHL team in decline that just happens to be lucky enough to have the best two-way forward (Pavel Datsyuk) and arguably the greatest defenceman to ever play the game (Nick Lidstrom) on its roster.  The complete meltdown we’ve witnessed in the absence of those two players now suggests that without them the Wings may not even be an average NHL team.

Many of us like to point to the injuries and cut the Wings a ton of slack over the fact that some key players are out of the lineup and I understand that this team can’t help but be better once they get everyone healthy.  Yet if you watch a lot of NHL hockey at this time of year, you know that by now there are a lot of teams around the league who’ve had more than their fair share of adversity and it’s disappointing to contrast how poorly the Wings have responded to their adversity compared to many other teams in the league.  This really doesn’t bode well for their playoff chances because, as we all know, the second season is a grind in which there will be injuries and bad bounces to overcome along the way.  While I’m not ready just yet to say that I doubt they have the heart and character to make a playoff run, they’ve yet to give us a shred of evidence that they do either.

Maybe over the remaining nine games of the regular season this team will finally grow tired of the losing and begin to show some pride, some heart and some character.  I think it’s possible, although I’m not counting on it.  But it’s up to them to show the world, because the doubters are everywhere.  Trust me, it’s not just us “paranoid” Wings fans who are doubting this team.  For the first time in years I’m hearing fans of other teams actually smelling the blood in the water and licking their chops at the chance to play Detroit in the postseason.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/20/12 at 03:50 AM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

waaaay too early to have the coaching change argument. if we’re knocked out of the first round and 98% healthy, then there should be some conversations about structure and who’s competing and who’s not.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 03/20/12 at 04:09 AM ET

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I was very impressed by Gustav Nyquist’s… accent.  Did that guy grow up in the US?  He sounds Canadian at the very most and straight out of Canton at his best.

Sorry for the lack of commentary like Westwing gave, it’s too depressing to look at the cold hard facts.

Posted by ExiledinLA on 03/20/12 at 04:53 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

That all equates to lac of effort shane… it takes effort to focus and prepare.. that’s probably the hardest part about being a hockey player is the preperation.. that’s what gave the Wings an advantage for so long.  there’s a cog in the gears somewhere and im worried management thinks the car is SUPPOSED to make this sound vs finding the problem and getting it fixed. 


Thanks WW for pointing out that all elite teams go through injuries and the Wings HAVE NOT responded the way other teamms have in the exact same or worse positions.positions

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/20/12 at 09:24 AM ET

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I’m glad to know I’m not the only Red Wing fan who cringes every time I hear Ken Holland utter the phrase “We really like our team” because frankly, it’s grown more than a little bit stale to hear it over and over and over ad nauseum.

It’s not the GM’s job to play the game, only to make a team capable of winning. This team is capable of winning, it just chooses not to.

I was very impressed by Gustav Nyquist’s… accent.  Did that guy grow up in the US?

I think this is his fourth year on this continent.

Posted by bleep bloop on 03/20/12 at 10:04 AM ET

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Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/20/12 at 02:50 AM ET

This, this and this. KH should read it twice and hard.

I know I was expecting at least two big nasty bodies to solidify this team at the trade deadline and was crushed when they did not come.
What if Red Wing players were expecting the same and were crushed too? They took 3 out of last 16 points and surely looked just that - crushed, injuries or not. Lack of confidence does not even begin to describe what is going on right now. Maybe they know something about themselves and their current state of things that fans don’t know.

Posted by Alex on 03/20/12 at 10:11 AM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/20/12 at 02:50 AM ET

This is what I want to say, only said a lot better than I could have said it.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 03/20/12 at 10:49 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Well…the Wings are done. Us fans better just go home and pout. Z is washed up. Babcock and Holland are the biggest idiots in the hockey world. Pav and Lidstrom are wasting their careers and better ask to be traded.

Fuch you, you bunch of whiny bitches.

I’ve got a fiver that every single poster in here, myself included, are too young to remember much, if anything, of the Dead Wing era. Those posters who have stopped posting thanks to the likes of us aren’t bitching. They’re upset, for sure, but they still believe. No, this team isn’t elite anymore. What team is? The Penguins? Well no shit…they’ve adapted to life without Crosby with only two legitimate top six forwards on their team…with Crosby back they now have 3. And I’m sorry, I love me some Z, but Crosby and Pav wash each other out talent wise, and I think Malkin has a better offensive nose than Z, so yes, that makes the Pens a bit heavier on the O-side. As far as any other team? Who’s got more talent? You people are bitching about all these elite teams but I have yet to see any names to back it up.

But no, you want to blow it up. Guess what folks? Gary, Ass. got what he wanted. There are no more elite teams. There’s good teams, and there’s average teams. We’re looking at an average team on a losing streak. Why are they average? Do I really need to explain why when there’s at least 6 starters out? You say other teams have fought through the same adverisity. Bullshit…every team with this many injuries has fallen back to Earth. But fine, write this team off. You fairweather bitches should go root for one-trick pony teams like Chicago where you’ll fit right in.

9 games left. The Wings need to win 4 to back into the playoffs. Think it’s possible? I do. I know it’s possible, and I think they’ll win 6. Frankly, I want the Wings to play Nashville in the first round. Why? If they can’t win then, they won’t win in the second, third, or praise baby jesus, the fourth round.

I started following the Wings in the early 90s, and I say I’ve been damn lucky so far, and while yes, they aren’t dominating like they did even 4 years ago, they’re still in the top five.

I don’t have an ending to this rant, so Let’s Go Red Wings!

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/20/12 at 12:03 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Funny but I see more passion on display here than in a lot of the games on ice.  That’s why we are who we are… the 19… defending our heroes and trashing them at the same time.
I do remember the dark days of the Wings franchise and many of you would not be following the Wings.  I piss and moan and say stupid things (especially during LB’s) but I will keep the faith.  If we win the Cup or lose in the first round, I’ll be back next year and every year after that.  I’m a Wingaholic and I can’t help it.

Posted by calquake on 03/20/12 at 12:21 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.