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Red Wings-Hawks quick take: Imaginary hooks, puck-chasing Wings and whiffing Jimmy

The Detroit Red Wings fell into bad habits and found themselves paying for earned breaks on Friday, dropping a 3-2 decision to Chicago…And the Wings’ lack of discipline came to bite ‘em in the ass, repeatedly, but the Wings didn’t seem to be willing or able to learn from their mistakes, nor curry favor with the referees.

Don’t get me wrong—the Wings were terribly, terribly inefficient, choosing to chase the puck and chase a Hawks team out puck-possessing the masters of the craft instead of answering the Hawks’ play with more of the same. But after Nicklas Lidstrom hooked Marian Hossa on a breakaway and got away with it, the officiating crew seemed intent upon repaying their kindness, and the Wings were quite happy to indulge them. Lidstrom was then called for a penalty shot infraction against (on which Howard whiffed, big time, on Jonathan Toews’ shot) and then a 2-minute penalty on Toews…

 

But the Wings didn’t choose to address the fact that their defenders were attempting to and succeeding at stretching out the Wings’ forwards cheating at center via two-line passes. Instead, despite the fact that a Todd Bertuzzi-Daniel Carcillo scrap sparked the 1-0 Justin Abdelkader scored thanks to a near end-to-end rush by Brad Stuart (who provided traffic on Abdelkader’s goal), the Wings stopped going to the front of the net for the rest of the first period, and let the Hawks cycle, circle and out-shoot them throughout the second half of the first period.

After killing off Lidstrom’s penalty penalty and receiving a lovely tip-in goal by Todd Bertuzzi (Mike Commodore looks like he needs a real defensive partner, given the stinker of a game Jonathan Ericsson played), and all looked well…

But Howard whiffed on the puck twice, and if you’re willing to blame the goalie, that’s that. But how it happened?

Just over two minutes after Bertuzzi’s tip, Marian Hossa skated deep into the Wings’ zone, cycled back, and as Brad Stuart and Niklas Kronwall chased the puck, he ragged it back to the blueline, and Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula then chased Hossa, who gave himself open ice and fired another shot past Howard that he never seemed to have a chance on.

After that, it was if the air went out of the Wings’ balloon. They stabbed, flailed, jabbed and flopped after the puck, never out-skating the Hawks to achieve inside body position or to simply angle themselves into battles with their sticks or skates ready to pounce upon loose pucks.

Instead, the slightly too-happy-to-be-passive Wings, regardless of whether they were spooked by a refereeing crew that let the Hawks smash, crash and occasionally grab their way to domination of the pace and play of the game, or whether the Wings were just “off” themselves, were burned by an old hockey adage—if you’re going to give up two one-goal leads, you sure as f*** better not give up the next goal.

And they did. Howard absolutely whiffed on a Brent Seabrook slap shot from somewhere near Rockford, and were penalized three more times for their efforts, twice for bumping a Corey Crawford who, shall we say, Pekka Rinne’d every time he was brushed, and so some solid performances by Johan Franzen (hey, he shot the puck wide all the damn time, but he shot the puck) and Todd Bertuzzi were washed away amidst the five-to-one Hawks power play advantage, especially as the Wings tried in vain to rally from their deficit, and they simply spent too much time watching the Hawks play and playing in fear of what the officials might call instead of offering the kind of fast-paced, aggressive, demonstrative and efficient game that the Wings usually crank up and crank out when they go toe to toe with teams that can match their speed and skill.

Instead, Henrik Zetterberg’s linemates were invisible, Pavel Datsyuk’s linemates took penalties, the Helm-less “Grind Line 3.0” lost its jam, Danny Cleary and Drew Miller’s hard work included, and the “Kid Line” of Cory Emmerton, Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson may have been under-played given that the Wings played a full sixth of the game shorthanded.

Perhaps just as disturbingly, as hard as Lidstrom and White and Commodore played, this game marks perhaps the seventh or eighth time that Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart have spent the game chasing puck carriers, over-committing to one side of the ice and working for far too long in their own zone because they can’t or won’t bear down and clear the damn puck when the opportunity arises…

And yes, Jonathan Ericsson was truly awful tonight. Just awful, marring a fantastic game from a job-stealer in Commodore.

That’s the individual story, but collectively, just as Jimmy Howard stopped 25 pucks but absolutely whiffed on the three he should have stopped, the Wings killed 5 power plays but never managed to control the puck or back the Blackhawks’ forecheck, transition game or cycling in the Wings’ end off to carve out the time and space necessary to achieve and sustain their own attack upon Crawford and the Hawks’ defense.

In other words, the Wings played an inelegant, inefficient and downright sputtery game, perhaps getting off on their and the officials’ wrong foot and then choosing to never display the kind of aggressiveness necessary to win on a Friday night in Chicago.

The Wings looked like a team that was missing speed (Darren Helm) and fearless moxie (Tomas Holmstrom), and when your best defenseman not named Nicklas Lidstrom, hooks included, is one Mike Commodore, and your best players not named Datsyuk and Zetterberg are Gustav Nyquist, Cory Emmerton and Joakim Andersson, you’re not going to win many games.

Now the Wings are 5 points instead of 1 behind the Hawks, they’re tied with the Blues thanks to St. Louis’s 2-1 shootout loss to Nashville on Friday going into an all-important Saturday night game (7 PM EST, FSD/FS Midwest/WXYT)...

And the Wings remain very much so out of sorts, a team that hasn’t seem to have done of anything in terms of playing the kind of calm, confident, aggressively reserved and resilient hockey they displayed when they handed Los Angeles’s hockey pants to ‘em two weeks ago.

Yes, the Wings defeated the Oilers, and yes, their efforts were furious, if only eventually, against Vancouver and Calgary, but all the elegance the Wings displayed in their 4-1 win over Nashville disappeared in the Wings’ self-exhausting, brawling win over St. Louis, and the Wings seem to be back to their whiffing-at-a-flutter-puck-ing most indecisive all over again.

For a team that’s won two of their past three games and four of their past seven, the Wings haven’t displayed much swagger, Nashville game excluded, since long before Christmas, and perhaps mentally and physically tired from tonight’s loss, the Wings absolutely, positively must, must rebound and defeat the Blues on Saturday night…

Despite the fact that the Wings have been as resilient as drizzle over the past two weeks.

That huge, contender-worthy “step” the Wings took forward after defeating the Blues, occasional flailing effort included, on Tuesday? Yeah, the Wings gave it right back tonight. Time to make some self-adjustments and stop the the God-damned tendency to streak in terms of losses as well as wins tomorrow night.

Perhaps this game is the most disappointing because, at least until the Wings face Chicago on January 9th, anyway, we’re gonna hear the Hawks tell us how absolutely wonderful they are, and how they’re the “new” best in the West dynasty-in-the-making thanks to one meeting’s result. The Hawks and Canucks are as yappy as all hell get out, and after this game, the Wings might as well just tell the reporters to turn off their sound recorders because they’ll only need to nod or shake their heads when told everything the Hawks informed the press that the Wings clearly think after having been handed a handful of rocks.

One more thing: Aside from noting that the refs made sure to call this game as if Tomas Holmstrom were playing, and that the Wings certainly didn’t give the officials anything less than ample ammunition with which to make their assumptions, I’d say that what really concerns me is that when Jimmy doesn’t stand on his head, his teammates have yet to show me that they are willing or able to bail their goaltender out. Howard was definitely “off” tonight, but had the Wings played a little harder and a little more determined hockey, they could have at least made a game of things instead of seemingly falling into that, “We’re quite happy to counter-punch” shell.

Statistics:

Shots 28-28. The Wings were out-shot 10-7 in the 1st period, out-shot Chicago 14-8 in the 2nd period and were out-shot 10-7 in the 3rd period.

The Blackhawks went 0-for-5 in 10:00 of PP time; the Wings went 0-for-1 in all of 1:25 of PP time.

Jimmy Howard stopped 25 of 28; Corey Crawford stopped 26 of 28

The 3 stars, per the “Chicago Media,” Were Seabrook, Toews and Hossa.

The Wings’ goals: Abdelkader (3) from Miller (6) and Cleary (10);

Bertuzzi (5) from Commodore (5) and Ericsson (6).

Faceoffs 30-29 Detroit (the Wings won 51%);

Blocked shots 16-8 Detroit;

Missed shots 11-8 Detroit (total attemtps 52-46 Chicago);

Hits 24-22 Detroit;

Giveaways 11-4 Chicago;

Takeaways 11-2 Chicago—and that’s accurate.
Individual Stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 10-and-12 (45%); Abdelkader went 7-and-8 (47%); Zetterberg went 5-and-4 (56%); Filppula went 3-and-3 (50%); Emmerton went 3-and-1 (75%); Cleary and Andersson won their only faceoffs; Franzen lost his only faceoff.

Shots: Abdelkader led the Wings with 4 shots; Cleary, Commodore and Stuart had 3; Nyquist, White, Bertuzzi, Ericsson, Kronwall and Andersson had 2; Lidstrom,  Zetterberg and Emmerton had 1.

Blocked attempts: White and Ericsson hit Chicago players 2 times; Datsyuk, Emmerton, Kronwall and Franzen missed the net 1 time (more for Franzen).

Missed shots: Zetterberg and Bertuzzi missed the net 2 times; Nyquist, White, Miller, Stuart, Emmerton, Ericsson and Franzen missed the net 1 time (more for Franzen).

Hits: Datsyuk led the Wings with 4 hits; Stuart, Zetterberg and Ericsson had 3; Abdelkader, Commodore and Kronwall had 2; Nyquist, White, Hudler, Emmerton and Franzen had 1.

Giveaways: Only Miller, Stuart, Filppula and Kronwall were tagged for giveaways. The Wings had more, but the Hawks were credited with takeaways instead.

Takeaways: Only Filppula and Ericsson were credited with takeaways.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall did indeed block 4 shots; Lidstrom, Cleary and Miller blocked 2; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Commodore, Stuart, Zetterberg and Ericsson blocked 1.

Penalties taken: Bertuzzi took a major and a minor penalty; Lidstrom, Stuart, Ericsson and Franzen were tagged with minor penalties.

Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective zero. Abdelkader, Cleary, Datsyuk, Miller, Commodore, Bertuzzi, Ericsson and Franzen finished at +1; Lidstrom and White finished at -1; Hudler, Zetterberg and Filppula earned their -2’s.

Points: Bertuzzi and Abdelkader scored goals; Cleary, Miller, Commodore and Ericsson had assists.

Ice time: White led the Wings with 26:33 played; Lidstrom played 24:50; Kronwall played 21:57;

Datsyuk played 20:40; Stuart played 20:27; Franzen played 18:27;

Zetterberg played 18:06; Miller played 17:20; Cleary played 16:58;

Filpula played 16:04; Abdelkader played 15:12; Ericsson played 14:58;

Bertuzzi played 14:40; Hudler played 12:54; Commodore played 12:18;

Emmerton played 6:53; Nyquist played 6:35; Andersson played 6:22.

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Comments

Chet's avatar

i can’t find much to disagree with here.

i will say you haven’t said much about franzen’s latest disappearing act, but this guy’s worthy of a TMR post all his own, he’s so frustrating to me. i don’t understand his jekyll/hyde game: sometimes he goes to the net, snipes home rebounds or finds himself open to bury the types of one-touch or one-time shots that got him that big, lengthy contract; other times, he’s coasting along the boards, invisible and totally irrelevant to his linemates save an outlet pass here or there. and it’s not like this is a new thing—he’s like two different, terribly, frustratingly streaky players and has been for years. the only time i noticed him tonight was when he took that bush league interference call with about 5 left. not much of a game, again, for #93.

other than that, ericsson was [predictably] garbage, the z line invisible as you said, and commodore definitely serviceable. i figured we’d lose this game just based on an all-rookie 4th line against chicago’s last change, but they were mostly fine.

one last: toews reminds me more and more of a 1997-era steve yzerman. speed, scoring finesse, ruthless backchecking. just a beast. i’d ship a [late] 1st rounder, Z, and franzen to chicago for him right now if he was available.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/31/11 at 03:04 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Franzen showed up tonight, and while he fired pucks wide and ran over Crawford when the puck wasn’t there, he at least displayed some effort. Until really the Western Canadian road trip, he’d showed up every night, and he’d disappeared until tonight. He’s at least making an effort…

It’s hard to not look at Marian Hossa and think, “We picked Franzen over THAT guy?” however, even though the Wings really didn’t have a chance in hell of signing Hossa as Rich Winter wasn’t going to give the Wings anything less than the bargain he drove with Chicago.

I don’t know what happened to Fil and Hudler, but they were somewhere else, not in Cihcago.

And there is no way in hell that Toews will be moved anywhere, and he’d probably take more than Z and Mule to get. Lots more.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/31/11 at 03:10 AM ET

Avatar

Good write-up although I have to disagree about the 3rd line.  I thought they were solid considering that they were up against Patrick Kane’s line for most of the game.  Notice how Abby got a goal (thanks to Stu’s great play) but Kane was held scoreless while that line was on the ice.  (He had an assist against Z’s line.)  At least to me, it seemed like that line spent more time creating offense rather than playing defense (and they finished a +1).

Posted by PieceOfMind from Muskegon, currently residing in Sabres Territory on 12/31/11 at 03:14 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I thought they were okay and Abby got rewarded…They just didn’t have much offensive jam after the goal. Everybody faded down the stretch, everybody, so that’s why they got “marked down.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/31/11 at 03:18 AM ET

Avatar

Kind of a boring game, actually.  I expected a lot more out of these two. 

I copuldn;t find the Hawks feed and watched the detroit feed online and one thing I really noticed was the wings announcers.  What a whiny little bitch that color guy is!  For a while I thought I was watching a san jose game, the commentary was so pathetic and one sided.  And neither of them showed any emotion throughout the entire broadcast.  The “color” he provided was closer to grey…. and as boring as the game was.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 12/31/11 at 03:20 AM ET

42jeff's avatar

Kind of a boring game, actually.  I expected a lot more out of these two. 

I copuldn;t find the Hawks feed and watched the detroit feed online and one thing I really noticed was the wings announcers.  What a whiny little bitch that color guy is!  For a while I thought I was watching a san jose game, the commentary was so pathetic and one sided.  And neither of them showed any emotion throughout the entire broadcast.  The “color” he provided was closer to grey…. and as boring as the game was.

Posted by sean_o_sean on 12/31/11 at 12:20 AM ET

Okay so you’re watching the FSD feed and complaining about the commentary being one sided.  Okay…strike one.

So when Eddie Olcyzkzkzkky is “doing commentary” for VS or NBC or whatever they’re calling themselves now, he is completely objective right?  Strike two.

And you’re clearly a Hawks fan so just strike three for you on principle.

Putz

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 12/31/11 at 03:27 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

It takes a ‘hawks fan to badmouth Mickey Redmond. Why am I not surprised?

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 12/31/11 at 03:29 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i guess franzen was at least on the score sheet if you count the +1, but he didn’t register a SOG in nearly 19 minutes. watching that line play, i see a few things:

1) datsyuk still super dominant, you really don’t have to worry and you can sit back and watch him work his magic;

2) bert way better at puck retrieval, screens, and breakouts, but not much of a finisher;

3) with franzen, totally a crapshoot whether he shows up or not.

i don’t feel like he had much of an effort tonight. he failed to put at least two quality chances on net, and while i understand these guys are finely-tuned machines looking to hit those top corners, you still have to do it.

and of course, thinking about toews in detroit is pipe dreaming. i can’t think of anyone i’d want more except maybe giroux, but it is the holidays.

and to anyone talking sh*t about mickey redmond, a generally unbiased and observant commentator (and former 2-time NHL 50-goal scorer): in the immortal words of peter laviolette, “go f*ck yourself.”

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/31/11 at 03:35 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Partisan. Mickey Redmond is partisan. The man’s no “bitch.”

He plays better hockey on one lung than almost everybody else does with two, and he makes no bones about the fact that he is employed by and loyal to the Detroit Red Wings as an admittedly biased broadcaster.

He must be pretty decent given that he was just honored by the Hockey Hall of Fame, and from what I’ve been told, the scores of people who’ve met him say he’s genuinely good-natured, down to earth, friendly and incredibly intelligent given his blue-collar personality. He’s just as biased as biased can be.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/31/11 at 03:37 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

To me, Mickey’s biased, but he admits as much. He tends to quantify his Wings-friendly remarks and he doesn’t pretend to be doing anything more than you or I do as fans—he’s trying to see the game as objectively as he can, but sometimes his loyalties get the better of him.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/31/11 at 03:39 AM ET

Chet's avatar

i agree. he’s generally pretty decent in pointing out bad calls or non-calls in both directions, though. you don’t see that with guys like jim fox or brian hayward out here in LA. hayward is an especially brutal homer compared to mick.

oh, also: nyquist seems to have a lot of what they call “upside.”

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/31/11 at 03:57 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Tomas Tatar has to clear waivers next season, and he seems yet to understand that Gustav Nyquist has leapfrogged him on the depth chart, by a country mile.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 12/31/11 at 04:09 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

It’s hard to come away from games like this with much in the way of optimism.  The Wings looked absolutely plodding and disjointed most of the game, unable to establish much in the way of puck possession, rhythm or sustained pressure.

Looking long term (i.e. playoffs) as we Detroit fans tend to do, games like this don’t give me a hell of a lot of optimism as there has been a distinct trend over the past three seasons for this team to look pretty damn pedestrian when they find themselves on the ice with the teams that stand to be the ones they’ll most likely need to beat in order to advance in the postseason.

We can blame it on lack of intensity, being off their game on a given ngiht or whatever, but at some point we may also have to acknowledgte that teams like Chicago, San Jose, and to some extent Vancouver, more often than not have a knack for taking the Wings totally off their game and making them look pretty damn ordinary. 

Another disturbing trend is that, as great a season as he’s having, Jimmy Howard never quite seems on top of his game against any of these teams either.  I’d love to believe otherwise, and I hope I’m wrong, but my eyes keep telling me differently.

Point is, to me at least, while they’re far from out of the conversation, they really seem like a postseason longshot at best at this point.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 12/31/11 at 04:56 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

Just to clarify, I don’t mean to say that they’re a longshot to make the playoffs, but rather a longshot in terms of winning the necessary 16 games required to win the cup.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 12/31/11 at 05:00 AM ET

Avatar

Couple of quick observations:

- Jiri Hudler lacks the size, strength and skating ability to be an effective NHL’er. It’s painful watching this guy get muscled off of the puck every time he has it, and then try and play catch up with the puck carrier. Nice guy…possible all-star in the AHL.

- I’m sick of hearing about how Franzen is “streaky” and how he’s on the cusp of a big scoring streak all the time. If he’s not scoring you 30 goals a year he’s a liability imo. He routinely takes plays off and is average at best in his own zone. I’ve been saying it for a long time, if can find a taker for his stupid contract and offer him up in a package deal, do it.

- Fu*k Ericsson. The best compliment I’ve heard from any Wings’ fan about this guy is “He wasn’t awful tonight”. Sooo, we have a $3+ million third pairing d-man who is serviceable 1 game out of about 5. Son of a bitch. WHY hasn’t he been benched?! I’d rather Rick fu*king Zombo be paired with Commie.

- The 4th line deserved more action tonight. I thought Nyquist and Emmerton particularly looked solid…didn’t notice the other guy. I’m very stoked about Nyquist getting some real ice time….after another 4-5 years of “seasoning” in the minors.

- I miss Homer. The Wings miss him, too.

- Detroit had better win its division and secure a top 3 seed.

Posted by godblender on 12/31/11 at 05:43 AM ET

Avatar

1) Mickey Redmond is a homer in the most delightful way, “Edzo” in the very worst.  Simmering within his deadpan is pure undiluted hockey love.  The man put up 50 goals on the worst team in the league.  He doesn’t coo like a groupie, but every observation is astute.  Wouldn’t really want him to hide that he is the commentator for the only team he ever played on.  And he had high praise for a number of Khawks tonight.

2)  The 4th line was great and should have gotten more ice.

3)  I remember watching Homer in his rookie year.  My jaw was on the floor as I watched him arrive, fully-formed, playing a style of his own design.  Another goal from the point and who is rising from the heap but that Swedish Bull.  Great stuff, but no, did not miss Homer tonight.  He might have helped Lidstrom pop one, if they had gotten a PP, but I am tired of his offence-killing cycle.  He works hard and inspires guys, but how many zone-possesions with Datsuyk has he absolutely botched?

4)  This team has very little creativity at this point, and it remains incredible that they don’t try scrambling the lines and getting some young legs throughout.  You guys would know better, if Abdelkader has skated with Z this year, but seriously, most teams try this stuff instead of beating their heads against the wall.  Did anyone think they were gonna come back, even with 16 minutes and only 1 goal to get?  And that’s not just this game.

5) ** Alert - More Sacriledge *** : Babcock, a little stale?

6) The goal was a laser on a one-timer off a play with a fair bit of puck movement.  The 5 skaters should feel poorly about it, but i wouldn’t get down on Jimmy for that one.

7)  Oh yeah, straight-up boned by the officials (again), but they reacted by not moving their feet.  If you bring enough energy to a forecheck you will draw a penalty, period.  We didn’t see that.

Posted by Guerin'sBackcheck on 12/31/11 at 06:47 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

WestWing, I find myself disagreeing very much with your lack of optimism.

Despite being hosed and spending half the game on the penalty kill with an entire line’s worth of regulars out of the lineup, and a poor game from Jimmy, we’re still a post or two or one bounce away from winning. We dominated portions of the game. I don’t at all look at a game like this and say “well, we probably can’t play with the likes of Van/Chi/SJ”...I look at it and say “everything that could possibly have gone badly, DID go badly, and we still ought to have won the game”.

As for Ericsson, it’s high time someone simply tells him that until he is committed to playing the game like a defenseman instead of like he’s still a forward, he is going to be benched.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 12/31/11 at 08:17 AM ET

Chet's avatar

I look at it and say “everything that could possibly have gone badly, DID go badly, and we still ought to have won the game”

the years we were winning the cup, nobody had to say anything like this. the years we were winning the cup, we won these games. it was the other team making excuses.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 12/31/11 at 10:05 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

We didn’t win “all” of those games in the years we won the cup, just as we won’t win all of them this year. These kinds of games happen…I just don’t see the need for the doom and gloom outlook because we lost a big game that we should’ve won.

When you consider all the factors involved, poor goalie play, missing an entire line with injuries, ridiculous refereeing, everything was against us and we were still in position to have won the game on the road.

This is still a very, very, very good Wings team. Better than we’ve had in a few years. But other teams are better now too, there is parity. But we’re absolutely capable of winning the cup with this group, there isn’t any team in the league that we couldn’t beat in a seven game series. And I still think this team will improve yet too.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 12/31/11 at 11:13 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 12/31/11 at 08:13 AM ET

Too late to the table here - just reading this morning.  But thank you for both of your posts.  It’s a long season and will be tough for the duration, and parity is real.

Red Wings fans sigh and wish for the ‘08 Cup winning team, but they didn’t win every game that season either. 

Who knows what the intangibles will be the rest of the way…  injuries, young guys coming up, a lot could happen.

I would like to have seen more flat out relentless determination last night, but you are right when you say that this Red Wings roster is capable of beating any team in the league in a playoff series.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 12/31/11 at 11:34 AM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

I know what you mean, I think what set the Wings cup winning teams aside from others that fell short was a relentlessness about them. Like they played the game free from pressure, whether they were supposed to win or not, it didn’t matter; they would simply pour it on in wave after wave.

That’s something I hadn’t really seen us do against the elite competition the last few years (even in ‘09), until the final four games against the Sharks last post-season.

When their backs were against the wall, that seems to be when they got back to the relentlessly attacking Wings team I know and love and have grown so accustomed to seeing in April and May.

From the way the last post-season ended, and the additions in the off-season, I think this Wings team will look as good or better than anyone expected once the playoffs role around, it looks like the hunger is back.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 12/31/11 at 12:43 PM ET

calquake's avatar

As a long time fan of the Wings I must say the 2011-12 team is a very good one.  But good enough?  Not as presently constructed.  The three missing ingredients, as I see them, are: 1) a consistent sniper, good for 40 goals a year 2) a Dallas Drake thumper who will destroy D-men with his forecheck and 3) a consistent, solid 3rd pairing on defense.  I’d rather see Kindl/Commodore than Erricson/Commodore but that won’t happen with the Wings paying E52 3 point whatever per year.  The Wings must be active at the trade deadline if they want to win the Cup this year.

Posted by calquake on 12/31/11 at 07:41 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.