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Red Wings-Predators Game 5 tailings: quips, quotes, video and a scapegoat

If this morning’s Red Wings-Predators wrap-up, posts about Mike Babcock’s take on his team’s off-season to-do list and takes on the “rebuild/reload” equation from TSN’s Bob McKenzie and the National Post’s Michael Traikos haven’t sated your desire for some closure and/or space to vent, a few more stories and videos have popped up this afternoon.

The Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness leads us off by offering player and coach’s takes as to why the Wings, who Pleiness duly notes never spent that $5 million or so in cap space they possessed to add free agents and/or make trades which may have included roster players at the trade deadline, fell short against the Predators:

“We couldn’t score enough, as simple as that, and we gave them too many easy ones,” Niklas Kronwall said. “Everyone in here believed something completely different than what the outcome was. It’s just empty right now.”
“I thought Zetterberg was fantastic in the series,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “But when you go through and look at our group, as a group of forwards … I like the depth on our back end, but I didn’t think we had enough up front and it showed in our scoring. We never scored any goals to overcome any mistakes,” Babcock added. “I thought we played lots of good hockey in the series. You have to give them credit. They probably have seven top six forwards. They were deeper than we were.”
“I thought Zetterberg’s line was good in the series, I didn’t think we had enough other pieces,” Babcock said. “We tried lots of combinations. I didn’t think we had a lot of help for Pavel (Datsyuk),” Babcock said. “I thought we lacked the depth in scoring. I was concerned coming into the series we weren’t deep enough up front.”

Franzen is under contract until 2020 for at just under $4 million a season.

“I think we have to think about that for a bit,” Zetterberg said when asked if the Wings were good enough going forward. “They’re probably going to sit down and make some decisions like always. After the year you’re going to make changes, whether there’s more changes than we usually do, I don’t know. So we’ll just wait and see.”

“It’s hard to predict what they’re thinking, what they’re doing,” Lidstrom said. “We have some guys whose contracts are up. We’ll see what happens. You’re always going to see some changes, whether they’re major or minor, we’ll have to wait and see.”
“We made the playoffs 21 years in a row, got 100 points 12 years in a row, we won a ton of playoff games, we’ve been in it every year, but when you look at our group now, we’ve had a second round knockout, a second round knockout and a first-round knockout, so to me that doesn’t look like you’re going in the right direction,” Babcock said. “I think if you do to once or twice … but to me the indication isn’t right. One thing about it is we’re going to have lots of time and we’ll be able to get it figured out what we need to do because I don’t think we’re very interested in scratching and clawing to make the playoffs,” Babcock continued. “That’s never been the approach we’ve had. We like to win.”

Lidstrom finally admitted to the press that his “human-ness” during the Predators series had something to do with the bone bruise in his right ankle continuing to significantly limit his mobility while preventing him from killing penalties, as Pleiness notes:

(I wasn’t) where I wanted to be,” Lidstrom said. “You want to be out there killing penalties, you want to be more in a rhythm but when you can’t do it, it’s hard to get that rhythm going.”

Lidstrom, who wound up missing a career-high 12 games this regular season, needed injections before games to dull the pain and it didn’t allow him play on the penalty kill.

“I felt it during practice a little bit when we were skating but I didn’t want to take too many shots (pain killing) for practices,” said Lidstrom, who will turn 42 at the end of April. “Once the games were played it didn’t bother me at all.”

What happens next for Lidstrom?

“[Health]’s not going to have any effect on my decision,” Lidstrom said. “It’s going to be the same approach as last year. I’ll sit down with Kenny (Holland), we’ll have our year end meetings in the next few days or next couple of weeks and go from there. The factors haven’t changed.

“The summer workouts, they get harder as you get older,” Lidstrom added. “I know it’s something you have to go through to be able to play throughout the whole season. You’re getting a year older, that’s the main thing.”

The Red Wings’ playoff blog adds more player quotes to the mix...

“Of course it’s disappointing. Right now it’s just empty, I think. Everyone in here believed something completely different than what the outcome was. It’s just empty right now.”– Niklas Kronwall

“I think guys are still pretty in shock that our season is over and we’ll restart in the summertime. Looking back on the year, I thought we did a great job. Things just didn’t go right.”– Jimmy Howard

“It definitely would have help us if we could put more pucks behind him (Rinne). I think we created chances, but couldn’t find a way to score. I think when we made mistakes, it ended up in our net. We played against a good team, but I think if we scored like we normally do, we would have had a better chance.”– Henrik Zetterberg

“Well played. Good luck and see you next year.”– Zetterberg on what he said to Shea Weber in the handshake line

“When you lose 4-1 in a series, you can talk about all of the games being close. To me, that’s not close. 4-1 is not close.”– Mike Babcock

“I thought this was our worst game of the series. I thought we played lots of good hockey in the series, but I didn’t think we were very good today. You’ve got to give them credit.”– Babcock

And the Wings’ website posted clips of Lidstrom…





And Babcock speaking to the media…


As well as clips offering “thank-yous” to fans from Red Wings TV…


And the Wings as a whole:


And finally, if you’re looking for a scapegoat to lay horns upon this afternoon, Yahoo Sports’ Greg “Puck Daddy” Wyshynski (via RedWingsFeed) offers a prime candidate whose name isn’t Franzen:

Brad Stuart, Detroit Red Wings: While this is kicking dirt on the grave, given the Red Wings’ elimination on Friday, Stuart’s feeble 1-assist, minus-5 performance against the Predators shouldn’t go unnoticed. It’s widely assumed he’s played his last game in Detroit, likely joining a West Coast team to be closer to family. After this performance, Wings fans might pay his freight.

Despite Stuart’s assertions to the contrary, he played like someone whose skates were out the door, and in the end, Kyle Quincey, mistakes included, played far better over the last two games of the series than Stuart did. Ditto for Franzen, who regrettably only seemed to hit his stride in Games 4 and 5 (Franzen led the team in shots in Game 5 with 3, and he blocked two more Predators shots), and may have been more hobbled by a back issue than he let on.

There’s more than enough blame to go around, placed on the shoulders of Franzen, Stuart, Kronwall and White (who never got going offensively), Filppula, Bertuzzi, even Hudler, Cleary (despite his injury), Abdelkader, Miller, etc., but the player who played the biggest role in ensuring that Jimmy Howard was hung out to dry won’t be coming back, and maybe that’s a good thing given the way he seemed to check out mentally after the All-Star break, forcing Ken Holland’s hand in having to snag Quincey instead of a desperately-needed forward so that the Wings didn’t extend themselves too thinly looking for both a top-pair defenseman and a utility man like Quincey come July.

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MsRedWinger's avatar

George, just wanted you to know that I’m reading all your great stuff.  Thanks.

Posted by MsRedWinger from the State where Tigers roam in the Spring on 04/21/12 at 03:39 PM ET


I really hope Stuart isn’t made out to be a scapegoat. He is the best #4 d-man in the league.

I really hope he only signs for 1 year elsewhere. Since it is the stepdaugher (going into her Senior year of high school? and subject to a custody agreement where she can’t leave the state) that was the real family issue that is preventing him from resigning.

Posted by dca from in Mich on 04/21/12 at 03:51 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Yes, agreed. These posts, a charcoal grill, and the rest of the Jameson are my friends today. I am reading fewer and fewer of the comments, though. I don’t understand the rationale behind being overly critical of anyone or anything right now, but if it helps folks get through the weekend, who am I to naysay.

Posted by dougie on 04/21/12 at 03:58 PM ET


I don’t care what anyone says, Stuart looked like shit last year in the playoffs. I don’t think he looked any worse this year, but I’m not sure he looked any better.

As far as people saying they were ‘not afraid of bubba’, i think they took 10 points out of the season series. They are a damn good team. And they deserved to win.

Depth? Hudler is a third line wing. Fil would be better as a third line center. Bert should be third line. Cleary should have been third line ( I realize he’s injured and his knee needs a surgery). Franzen, when he shows up is top two lines but most of the time he’s third or fourth line material. Abdelkader should be cut loose. As should Homer, most likely. And Bert for that matter.

The Wings just don’t have enough skill right now.
They need Parise. They need Nyquist to take a step forward during the off season. They need Jarnkrok to come over and play the way he has in the playoffs in Sweden. They need Jurko to come up and be at least what Nyquist was this season. They need Pulkinnen to be what Lang was, someone who can just SHOOT the puck.

As far as D goes. Man. I’m not sure.
Once Stuart goes, Kindl and Ericsson need to step forward in a big way and Smith needs to decide he is a capable replacement for Rafalski. When White’s not paired with Lidstrom, he looks lost. Ericsson’s been better of late, but he’s no #3. Quincey’s looked like a #4-5 at best and most of the time a #5-6. If Kindl can’t beat any of them out for playing time, he needs to go too. Hopefully Almquist, Sproul, or Oullet decide they are going to dominate the world and come to the Wings with Calder Trophy written all over them. Doubt that’s going to happen though.

Unfortunately, I don’t see the Wings getting very far in the playoffs without having some serious luck finding a gem or three in the draft or getting some great UFA’s to sign at very reasonable costs.

Posted by teldar on 04/21/12 at 04:12 PM ET


Fil would be better as a third line center.

That’s an interesting thought.  He clearly had his best regular season offensively this year on Zetterberg’s wing, but he’s been at his best in the playoffs centring the third line.  If the Wings can accept him as a 35-40 third line centre rather than putting him on the wing on the second line then they could make room for a big ticket top six forward.  Of course, if they can get them untethered from the anchor that is Johan Franzen, that would also free up some room in the top six.

I would love to be going into the season looking at the team and shaking my head because the fourth line has to be three of Abdelkader, Helm, Miller and Eaves.

Posted by Garth on 04/21/12 at 04:20 PM ET

Wingfan191's avatar

Stuart was on the ice for 9 of the Preds 13 goals.  That’s very telling.  He shouldn’t be re-signed, his mind isn’t here and he hasn’t been all that great in the Playoffs since 09.  Sure he’s made some amazing goal line saves during the regular season, but he doesn’t really hit anymore, doesn’t provide offense, and is constantly caught out of position.  Even Ericsson was better than him down the stretch and into the Playoffs, and we all know our feelings about Ericsson.

Posted by Wingfan191 from Bothell, WA (originally from Troy, MI) on 04/21/12 at 04:31 PM ET

snafu's avatar

Stuart shouldn’t be made out to be a scapegoat.  The Wings barely managed 1 goal per game, yet Stuart is the problem?  Really?

It’s unfair and he earned his check as a Red Wing.  No one guy is to blame any way you slice it.

Posted by snafu from North America on 04/21/12 at 04:31 PM ET


@teldar - What you sounds harsh and critical, but I agree with just about everything you suggest. Basically, our second line should be our third line, our third line should be our fourth, and our fourth was just deadweight. The bottom line is players have been put in positions of more responsibility than they should bear, and because of that added pressure they weren’t able to produce.

Z needs better support than what he’s been given. Doubly so for Datsyuk. I think Homer should retire, honestly…he was mostly deadweight this year and his net-front presence has regrettably become more of a liability than an asset. Honestly, I think the WIngs need a change in offensive philosophy…asking Hudler to be a net-front screener doesn’t make any sense, he doesn’t have the size!

They desperately need a top 6 forward, for sure. The forwards are the main concern right now, no doubt…need some youthful energy and speed injected into the lineup. Hoping Nyquist can take a step forward, he certainly has shown the potential to do that. But still need a pure goalscorer.

I don’t think they need a major overhaul or anything…but they do need some more significant changes than they’ve had in the past. Minor tweaks won’t cut it anymore.

Posted by tehGOALIE on 04/21/12 at 04:38 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

This will be an interesting off-season.

It’s telling listening to Babcock; he stopped just short of saying Nashville was a better team, all-around. And can you blame him?

The Wings backed into the playoffs, and were still hobbled by injuries. I’ll be honest-after the 23 home win streak ended, and we got hit by injuries, we became a team looking for a spark. We never truly found it, besides a game or two.

This is not to discount Helm’s importance, because he is very important to our bottom 6, but when losing him becomes as dramatic as it was, it shows the lack of depth we have, both top and bottom 6.

I’m optimistic about the future-because, lets face it: if the Wings had beat Nashville, I just couldn’t see us getting out of the West, without a lot of luck. So it’s better we rest up, heal our injuries, and come back re-charged, and re-invigorated next season.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 04/21/12 at 05:11 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

asking Hudler to be a net-front screener doesn’t make any sense, he doesn’t have the size!

Too bad Happy did rather well going to the front of the net. Two of his linemates had 60+ points with him going to the front of the net.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 04/21/12 at 05:15 PM ET


It worked at times this season, but I never had the feeling that the Wings got any consistent offense out of it. Especially the last 1/4 of the season into the playoffs.

Posted by tehGOALIE on 04/21/12 at 05:44 PM ET


the two 60+ point seasons by Hudler’s line-mates are major disappoints for one of them. Z would be capable of putting up 60 points playing on a line with Homer and Mursak.

Hudler going to the net is a joke. A better way to describe it is Hudler cherry picking for rebounds while stationary in front of the opposing net. I mean he doesn’t play defense anyways. Who coughed up the puck on Nashville’s winning goal?

Posted by dca from in Mich on 04/21/12 at 06:48 PM ET

BrendonTO's avatar

Hey George, just thought I would echo the various comments on your posts today thanking you for your tireless work keeping us Wings fans up-to-date and talking.  This was a fantastic year to be a Wings fan on KK, keep up the great work.

Related to the Wings’ exit, I would also just add (and sorry if someone else already has) a little reminder that:

A) Radulov was allowed back onto the Preds when he really shouldn’t have been without clearing waivers....and he scored some key goals for them in this series, and (yes, accidentally) ended Helm’s year.  If things are the way they should be, then he’s not supposed to be in the series (or give them a boost at the end of the season which helped them get the 4 seed).

......and B) Weber should not have been allowed to play a single game in this series after the Game 1 incident, and he also obviously had a huge impact for them.  People keep comparing his move on Z to the WWE, except that the WWE is fake!  There’s a reason they would never allow their paid talent to actually have their heads smashed in.

I’m always big on the fact that the Wings can win, and dominate, regardless of the adversity thrown at them, but Little Gary’s pro-Nashville agenda has gone too far.

Thanks again George!

Posted by BrendonTO on 04/21/12 at 06:49 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Who coughed up the puck on Nashville’s winning goal?

Brad Stuart.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/21/12 at 06:52 PM ET

babymachine's avatar

At this point i think it’s silly to lay blame on any particular Wing. The series is over-it’s best to think of the season and playoffs as a whole, and make judgments there.

The Wings deserved a better fate-they outplayed Nashville often in the games they lost. But they couldn’t finish, and we’re left to wonder what could have been.

Looking back, i think the turning point of the series was Hudler hitting the post in Game 4. That goes in, perhaps it’s a different outcome.

Posted by babymachine from Portland, Oregon by way of Macomb, Michigan on 04/21/12 at 09:13 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

some serious luck finding a gem or three in the draft

why do people talk about the draft?  it’s not like whoever they draft this summer is going to see a minute of ice-time next season.  it’ll be a few years.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/21/12 at 09:26 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Z needs better support than what he’s been given. Doubly so for Datsyuk.

that seems like an obvious solution.  PLAY THEM TOGETHER.

so what if we don’t have enough depth to roll four lines.  make the top two lines GREAT.  the way Babcock did it, he made it so the top three lines were mediocre and each line had a great player with no help.  what’s the sense in that?!

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/21/12 at 09:29 PM ET

Chet's avatar

i’ve had similar thoughts about how radulov and weber shouldn’t have been on the ice beating us, but it’s sour grapes at this point. if will at least negates and sometimes beats skill, can anyone honestly argue detroit was ever a favorite in this series?

given the roster, the injuries, and the scattershot approach to both offense and defense they showed down the stretch, i say it’s still iffy.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 04/21/12 at 09:33 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

At this point i think it’s silly to lay blame on any particular Wing

it seems to me that pointing out the failings of individual players is being mistaken for blaming the whole series on them.

it doesn’t just come down to one player.  but certain players played very poorly.  Franzen and Stuart, to name two.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/21/12 at 09:34 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

last thing I’ll say is one of Babcock’s complaints…not having much help for Datsyuk….is Babcock’s own damn fault.

Filpulla?  Zetterberg?  Cleary?  Hudler?  how much time did they spend on the first line?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/21/12 at 09:36 PM ET


George takes a shot at Stuart. He’s not Swedish enough for the Eurocentric Wings fans.

Stuart rock of the PK, which gave us a chance to win these series.

Stuart didn’t have a good series. But neither did Lidstrom, Flip, Franzen and countless others.

I can’t wait until next year, when our PK is Quincey, White, kronwall and Ericsson…And you’re wondering why our defense is so weak, wimpy and heartless.

Posted by captian bob on 04/21/12 at 10:21 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

Stats don’t tell the whole story, but in terms of +/- Bertuzzi and Abdelkader were also -5.

Emmerton and Nyquist led all Red Wings with a +/- of +1. Unless they totally flame out at camp I think they’re ready for the bigs.

The Wings really need to make a splash in free agency, but getting Parise won’t be enough with all the turmoil about to happen among the defensive corps.

Unfortunately this isn’t the mid-90s when Detroit was on the SC doorstep and adding one Brendan Shanahan, aka the Ultimate Power Forward, plus a reborn Larry Murphy was all that the Wings needed to get to the promised land.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Rochester, NY on 04/21/12 at 11:07 PM ET


This series was won on February 27th.  Look at what Nashville did at the deadline.

They traded for Gaustad, which in addition to helping them, kept one of their competitors from getting him.  Adding Kostitsyn, and Gill (even though he didn’t play) again kept their competitors from having them.

And of course, they got a HUUGE gift from the NHL, allowing Radulov to join them AFTER the deadline without passing waivers (which IMO is pure BS, and I could easily see deep pocketted teams attempting the same stunt in the future).

Josi and Klein played OUT OF THEIR MINDS.  WAAY better than they have EVER been.

And of course, the Wings were stopped by a hot goalie standing on his head.

Nashville should be lucky and get to play the Coyotes next…

But the real story is that like the Hawks before them the Preds HAVE to WIN THIS YEAR.  Rinne is already getting 7M/yr for 7 years.

Predicting salaries for the UFAs:
Player         Previous Salary         Predicted Salary                
Suter           $3.5M                     6.5-7M+
Weber         $7.5M                     7.5M+
Radulov       $900k                     4-5M
Gill             $2.25M                   3.5-4M
Gaustad       $2.3M                     3.5-4M
A. Kostitsyn   $3.25M                   3-3.5M
S. Kostitsyn   $2.5M                     3-3.5M

Their are a few other less expensive RFAs…but they ONLY have 13M in capspace BEFORE doubling Rinne’s salary, AND they are still paying Lebda and JP Dumont thru next year.

They’d better hope they can convince somebody to take a discount or this team will be gutted.

Meanwhile, the Wings will wait on TPH, and have $20M to shop with.  Nyquist will be better and with the club the entire season.  Hopefully, he and Datsyuk (or Zetterberg) spend ALOT of time together in the offseason.

Lastly, I HATED the buttkissing by the announcers last night.  The Wings are hurt Eaves and Helm were out, and Datsyuk, Howard and TPH never really got back in rhythm from their injuries.

Posted by BobaFett from Las Vegas on 04/22/12 at 12:53 AM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Stuart didn’t have a good series. But neither did Lidstrom, Flip, Franzen and countless others.

true, and everyone understands this. nobody is blaming any one player.  however, Stuart is a free agent this summer so we are focusing on him and good riddance.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/22/12 at 12:03 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.


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