The Malik Report
by George Malik on 04/21/12 at 03:26 PM ET
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:
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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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.