Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Predators quick take: Wings, you’ve got some serious-ass problems

My favorite TV show of all time, the Liam Lynch sock puppet spectacular that was Sifl n Olly, had a fake infomercial skit, and the tagline for Precious Roy’s cheap product of the night was, “Well, you know the problems I’ve had with X” by Sifl, answered with, “Yeah, you’ve got some serious-ass X problems!” from Olly.

The Detroit Red Wings ended a lost month’s worth of baffling March losses by allowing the Nashville Predators to walk into Joe Louis Arena and emerge with a 4-1 victory and “home-ice advantage”

1st-place status

in the Central Division for a simple reason:

The Predators, who can pull 3 points ahead of Detroit if they defeat the Blackhawks tomorrow (and Chicago can catch Detroit if they win tomorrow, too), managed to get traffic to the front of the Wings’ net and score “easy,” somewhat unearned goals on Jimmy Howard because the Wings’ otherwise sterling netminder could not see the pucks he was facing until it was too late, Radulov’s 3-0 goal included.

At the other end of the ice, Team Identity Crisis fired oodles of single, unobstructed shots and generally un-retrieved pucks upon a goaltender who almost always stops the first shot if he can see it, and stops many that he can’t if you don’t get traffic in front of him for tipped or screened opportunities and/or secondary and tertiary scoring opportunities from retrieved pucks that catch a big but deep-crease-positioned goalie moving side to side and exposing gaping holes in that 6’5” frame (see Jiri Hudler’s 3-1 goal).

The Wings have a tendency to make good goalies look great and great goalies look like legends, and if there is a mythology surrounding Pekka Rinne, the Wings seem to be well on their way to making Rinne into a rich man’s Dwayne Roloson.

Maybe the Wings are just in a transition year, maybe they were just so shaken up by their injuries and the snowball effect of losing in March, maybe they were unprepared to match their competitors’ desire to beat their archrival, or maybe the Wings just didn’t have the opportunity to be built to beat one team, and can’t match the work ethic, effort, intensity or determination of a team that believes it will only have “arrived” if it tears the poster boy right off the wall.

In any case, the Red Wings didn’t even engage the Predators until the last minute of the 1st period, they were “too cute” and skated too wide and too seldomly in on Rinne with any of the speed or snarl necessary to gain the swagger high ground that Detroit has failed to reach and then flailed like a paper tiger when scored against on an incredibly consistent basis since the last week of February.

Where do the Wings go from here, aside from rooting for the Predators’ opposition?

And after a performance like this, what are the Wings’ chances of salvaging a playoff run as opposed to a “transition year” in April?

I don’t know. All I know is that despite superb coaching, wonderful leadership and all the personnel necessary to get the job done, this team has some serious-ass problems, and they need to get fixed in a hurry.

It’s more than time for Mike Babcock and Nicklas Lidstrom to tell the players to look themselves in the face and decide if they have the desire necessary to salvage their regular season…

Or whether they possess the intensity, attention to detail, effort, determination, work ethic and plain old pride inside themselves to go anywhere other than the golf course (and the managerial tweaking board) after a one-and-done playoff season.

Somebody, call Precious Roy and get the Predator cripplers…Place an order under the name, “One pissed-off Nicklas Lidstrom.”

FTR: Not quite ready to return from my depression issues, but I figured that on a night like this, an expert in the field should weigh in. As an existentialist, I’m also really tired of the Wings wondering about their identity and the nature of their existence on the ice, too—they need to shut the f*** up and play like themselves again. There’s a time to shut up and back up one’s words with actions, or to just act, period, and the Wings haven’t been willing or able to do so since February 19th.

Statistics:

Shots 32-27 Detroit overall. Detroit was out-shot 9-7 in the 1st, out-shot Nashville 17-8 in the 2nd and were out-shot 10-8 in the 3rd.

Jimmy Howard stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced; Pekka Rinne stopped 31 of 32.

The 3 stars, per Michigan Talk Radio’s Rich Kincaide, were Zetterberg, Sergei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne.

The Wings’ goal: Hudler (24) from Zetterberg (46) and Ericsson (10).

Faceoffs 36-27 Detroit (57% won by Detroit);

Blocked shots 14-9 Nashville;

Missed shots 15-11 Detroit—total attempts 61-47 Detroit, with Detroit firing 29 shots wide or into Predators players (and 32 on Rinne);

Hits 16-14 Nashville;

Giveaways 7-7;

Takeaways 7-6 Nashville.

The Wings finished at a collective -16, with Lidstrom and Holmstrom of all people finishing at -3 and Nyquist, White, Stuart and Emmerton finishing at -2…And every wing but Holmstrom had at least 1 shot.

 

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Comments

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Puppies and Hookers's avatar

I’m sick of this stupid team.  Screw the wings.  Time for another drink.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 03/31/12 at 12:11 AM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

By the way.  That’s a lot of words you wrote George.  Did you start it during the second intermission?  Totally agree.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 03/31/12 at 12:13 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, I almost didn’t watch this game because I had a bad feeling. After Nashville’s third goal, I did something I never do. I turned the game off.  It was too depressing. I just can’t figure out what the hell is wrong with this team, but it’s bad, and I’m very sorry to say that I don’t know if it can be fixed.

The only hope I have right now is that maybe - just maybe - if we get Helm back, and Gus gets more ice time (on Pav’s line please), and Smith and some other Griffins come up to add some energy and hunger to this team, maybe the Wings can get fired up and confident again. But I am finding it really hard to believe there’s a switch that can be flipped. I really hope my gut feeling us wrong, because I’ll be thrilled if the Wings can get this turned around.

LET’S GO RED WINGS !!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/31/12 at 12:21 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Started writing it after the 3-0 goal. Didn’t take much effort. I didn’t think about it—just wrote.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/31/12 at 12:23 AM ET

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What the H-E-D-Hockey-Sticks, George??? And the rest of you!  I am really surprised at how quickly you all turn. What is wrong with you- you are supposed to be true Wings fans! You all sound like Hawks “fans”....bandwagon jack-a-lopes. 

Yea OUR team has looked like crap since 5 of our star players got injured and returned- probably not even fully recovered. Yea losing important games Suck, NO we are not used to it and YA its sucks that OUR teams mojo looks like it’s headed for opryland..

But these are YOUR faulking Detroit Red Wings- if you jump off the train when the chips are down, I will shoot your bandwagon tires when you come rallying back in the good times.

Shame on you! I’m sorry,  but it had to be said.  SNAP OUT OF IT.

Posted by LA Juice on 03/31/12 at 12:25 AM ET

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Nashville isn’t in 1st place in the Central.  That would be St. Louis, with 106 points. It’s a night thought, though.

Posted by Genny from Nashville on 03/31/12 at 12:31 AM ET

detroitredwings's avatar

Babock is in disconnect with his players. He and his two invisible assistants shall resign. I wish they could take Mule with them.

Posted by detroitredwings on 03/31/12 at 12:34 AM ET

scottytooshotty's avatar

Let Chicago have 5th. I Want no part of Rinne in the playoffs. The thought of getting butt….ed by Weber and friends in the 1st round is terrifying.  Better in goal. Better defensively.  Their style is suited to playoff hockey.

Posted by scottytooshotty on 03/31/12 at 12:40 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m not jumping off the bandwagon…I’m trying to articulate my concerns, and I think now is time to push the “concern” button. It’s not as if I would have been one of the many fans who simply left the rink. I’m concerned about the team I support.

I’m not going to go and suggest that somehow sitting Franzen/Ericssson/“whoever else pisses people off because they don’t meet expectations” and playing players who have yet to disappoint and/or making coaching/roster/whatever else changes are going to work. The Wings have lost themselves and they have to find whatever “it” is soon.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/31/12 at 12:46 AM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

Let Chicago have 5th. I Want no part of Rinne in the playoffs.

While the Leafs tanks in hopes of a better draft pick.  Time for the wings to tank in hope of 6th spot,  I agree.  This “you don’t want to pick your poison” seems silly.  You want to face the weakest possible sequence of teams as possible (with as little travel and away games as possible, granted). Wings would lose at least 3 of 5 series to the Preds right now.  Can’t say the same for any other Western Conference team they might face. 

But I’m still sick of this team’s failure to battle hard.

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 03/31/12 at 12:50 AM ET

Puppies and Hookers's avatar

You want to face the weakest possible sequence of teams as possible

Possibly redundant, possibly…

Posted by Puppies and Hookers from La la land on 03/31/12 at 12:51 AM ET

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Yea OUR team has looked like crap since 5 of our star players got injured

Not entirely correct, sir.
You gave an accurate description of the quality of their play, but the timing is a little off. It did not started with injuries. It started after the home winning streak was over in a SO game against VAN. They displayed no effort after that, except maybe for the comeback against CAR team that had played the night before and totally lost their legs after 30 min of play.

Posted by Alex on 03/31/12 at 12:56 AM ET

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“The 3 stars, per Michigan Talk Radio’s Rich Kincaide, were Zetterberg, Sergei Kostitsyn and Pekka Rinne.”  Really?  Sergei, rather than any of the Preds who had goals or assists?  I missed the first part of the game, but that seems odd.

Sergei K had no points, was even on the +/-.  Goals by Bourque, Bouillon, Radulov and Weber (EN). Josi was +3 & his return after a 9 game absence was key. Rads had an assist and 3 points total.  Maybe they’re still mad that Radulov is playing?

FSTennessee chose Bourque, Radulov and Rinne. as the three stars, by the way.

Posted by Genny from Nashville on 03/31/12 at 12:58 AM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

Posted by Genny from Nashville on 03/30/12 at 10:58 PM ET


I thought Kost passed it to Radulov on that goal, no?

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 03/31/12 at 01:06 AM ET

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“Babock is in disconnect with his players. He and his two invisible assistants shall resign. I wish they could take Mule with them.”


I don’t think that Bab’s exit will solve the issue. Granted, the 2 new assistants did not do much..that being said, I think we can agree that we do have some talent on this team!!! And regardless of who is coaching, at the end of the day, the players need to look themselves in the mirror. It’s not as if we had a bad team.There are some key elements missing…and that can be said of many teams..I believe that we are missing some important ingredients..a coaching change can sometimes work in the sort term…but often is not the solution. I look at Ruff in Buffalo…many wanted to crucify the man not to long ago…saying that he was too old and the message was also getting old…now, we can argue that he put the ship back into the waters..or…that the players finally decided that they wanted to play.
There is a lot of things that coaches would like to do but simply cannot. For example, I would LOVE to bench Franzen…but your GM might say “dude, you know how much we pay him? We need to get his ass moving” he is one of our top scorers. A bit like the problem we had here in MTL with Kovalev…he had the talent alright, and the fans loved him and hated him at the same time.He played when he wanted to…unfortunately, he was one of the best players, and the coach had no choice but to give him minutes (oh, and the coaches in the past tried benching him with no success..a real diva)...Franzen seems to be a bit of a Diva that needs to be treated with great care…

And Franzen is just one example…. I also would love to get more minutes to other players, but then one might say that the end of the season is no time to make “experiences”...All this mumble jumbo to say that I am not ready to hang the coach yet.Too many factors involved…my god, looking at the coaches face at times during the game..I think he would have shot a player or 2 if he could get away with it..I know I would

Posted by Nat from MTL on 03/31/12 at 01:08 AM ET

DocF's avatar

Babock is in disconnect with his players. He and his two invisible assistants shall resign.

I think this pretty well nails the issue.  Babcock has been saying the same things for so many years that the players no longer hear him.  I thought this in 2009 and it has gotten worse.  The only coach who could sustain his hold on his team for as long as Babcock has been in Detroit is/was Scotty Bowman.

People here are a bit more rational about tonight than on the M-Live boards.  Every poster wants to lynch someone.  When I look at the way individuals played, I cannot find a scapegoat. 

My take.  This is a team that is out of sync.  The coaching staff does not have an answer, nor do they know what is going on.  Babcock makes decisions that are too little too late and do not affect the way the team plays.

My fault with Holland is that he did not dump Babcock when an instant fix was available.  Look what that instant fix has done in St. Louis, which has been as beat up as the Wings.  Hitchcock, for a three year span, is the best coach in hockey.

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 03/31/12 at 01:09 AM ET

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I thought Kost passed it to Radulov on that goal, no?

Yes, but it was the other brother. Andrei Kostitsyn passed it to Radulov, not Sergei.

Posted by Genny from Nashville on 03/31/12 at 01:19 AM ET

Chet's avatar

this team is so complacent! night in and night out there’s no urgency, no hustle, no interest in battling. they don’t initiate physically, don’t stand up for each other in scrums, and therefore don’t look like a team that’s any kind of a threat. just an awful month.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/31/12 at 02:10 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

The only coach who could sustain his hold on his team for as long as Babcock has been in Detroit is/was Scotty Bowman.

Barry Trotz.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/31/12 at 03:01 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Oh bollocks on that “Hitchcock could’ve been coach in Detroit”. Really? Are the Wings built to play the trap? Are they built to just hit the beejesus out of opponents night in and night out and grind out wins?

No. They’re built for puck possession hockey, and they can grind out some games if needed. They haven’t been able to transition back and forth between the two styles even inside a period like they used to be able to even a few years ago. Why? I have no idea…

But this crap on we should’ve gotten hitchcock for three years then moved on to the next coach is bullshit.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 03/31/12 at 03:08 AM ET

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Radulov needs to be Kronwalled….

Chet nailed it - worst month ever. Just right the ship during this last week, and get sh!t done!

Posted by Jesters Dead on 03/31/12 at 03:17 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 03/31/12 at 01:08 AM ET

+19

Hitchcock’s style succeding as wildly as it has this year is indicative that the league has reverted back to pre-lockout standards for neutral zone obstruction.  Go back to calling that kinda crap instead of rewarding teams for playing that style and, well, we all saw how thoroughly average his teams were for the most part when the game was being played at a faster tempo the past several years. 

Now that the game has devolved back into a nightly muck and grind mugging, of course his style is going to work.  Do any of us really want the Wings to play that way?  Really?

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/31/12 at 03:48 AM ET

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I hope that all of the folks who’ve been clamoring about wanting to finish 6th (seriously?) get their wish. San Jose is going to win the Pacific. Detroit can’t beat San Jose. Although I don’t think they’ll beat any other possible first round opponent, either. Nashville would be a much better match up, but it really is a moot point.

This team is hopeless. Sorry. People can hold out hope for a deep playoff run all they want…it’s not going to happen. I’d like to think that Holland will spend this summer filling some of the gaping holes in this lineup (Suter and Parise should both be heavily pursued), but it likely will be business as usual. Hudler and Homer will be extended. Big E on the second pairing. Quincey will be given 4mil per. I shudder when I think of it.

By the way, I don’t think that being realistic about the state of this team is jumping ship, or whatever you call it, in any way. I love this organization with all of my stupid being. I’ll keep watching this wreck unfold. Fu*k it. God fu*king dammit.

Posted by godblender on 03/31/12 at 04:10 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Um, fire Babcock? Are you kidding me? He’s done his damnedest with the crew he’s got. This has been a transition year from the get-go, and right now this team is lost, having misplaced its Babcockian combination of high-tempo puck possession (which worked just fine prior to the lockout) with some layers of net-front grit added in for good measure (which Babcock had theoretically folded into a tried and true recipe).

The boys lost their swagger somewhere along the way, amidst the injuries and amidst the leadership shuffle both behind and on the bench—which is pretty bloody evident given that McLellan’s at least kept a Sharks team whose GM overcompensated like some would like the Wings to do (Holland won’t deviate from the blueprint to go chasing after a Brent Burns) afloat, and that MacLean’s done a helluva job in Ottawa, as well as evident given the fact that anybody who’s seen Draper at work suggests that he’s got serious managerial chops and that Osgood’s presence in the technical department hasn’t hurt Howard’s refined game or the Wings’ attempts to bring Mrazek aboard while salvaging one or both of McCollum or Pearce…

But when I heard Babcock speak after the game, I heard a coach whose classroom’s gone off the lesson plan, and a coach who’s working incredibly hard to keep the team focused on the re-set that’s a little under two weeks away.

This game will either be the foundation for self-examination that will give the Wings some serious pause, or it will be a sign of necessary tweaks to come. The hard, honest truth is that with the CBA being uncertain and Lidstrom’s future hinging on Lidstrom himself, the Wings will tweak as necessary, but won’t make sweeping changes for the sake of sweeping changes’ sake if they do not steady themselves (which is more than entirely possible) and make a playoff run (again, entirely possible), neither in personnel nor coaching.

If this year is a transition year, it will be spelled out as that. You don’t swap out both assistant coaches and de-facto playing coaches in Draper, Osgood or Brian Rafalski without some growing pains, and given the steps forward taken by Hudler, Kronwall and Hudler, and the fact that their absences—rustiness in the past few games included—reminded us how sorely missed Ericsson was on the PK and the ever-casual Franzen was in the size and plain old presence department, regardless of the numerous warts in their games…

This team needs to get its shit together, and Friday would have been the perfect opportunity. Now it’s got a much harder road ahead. It can be done, but it’s gonna be a Rinne-sized pain in the ass from now on out.

And Kincaide? I shake my head when the Wings’ media department lets him pick the 3 stars. He often gets people mixed up (I think he didn’t know his Kostitsyns apart) or names people who had no bearing in the game as “stars” as he pleases.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/31/12 at 06:07 AM ET

Chet's avatar

GM, you’re being too apologetic. realistic or not, we as fans—yourself included—expect this team to compete for the stanley cup year in and year out.

i don’t even like the idea of management hinting, proclaiming, or whispering to insiders that there is ever a rebuilding year. i don’t like reading it on a blog.

we are supposedly the class of the NHL, but that’s becoming a tiresome, boring cliche, is it not?

the fact is that on the ice, this team has all the talent it needs to dominate most teams on most nights. i understand the cap, parity, all that, but isn’t it time to admit the red wings’ room is becoming way too much like a country club?

boudreau time.

these guys *#$%@& coast. these guys *#$%@& miss routine assignments. these guys all want to make the sweet *#$%@& scoring play. these guys don’t *#$%@& get dirty, or as babcock once called it, *#$%@& greasy.

these guys are *#$%@& soft, *#$%@& complacent, and *#$%@& cooked in the postseason if they don’t *#$%@& wake up. and if they think the team will be largely the same next fall if things play out as they look right now, they’re *#$%@& idiots.

LGRW.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/31/12 at 08:29 AM ET

Chet's avatar

oh, and for good measure, *#$%@& march.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/31/12 at 08:31 AM ET

Chet's avatar

oh, and another thought: before you disagree with me, name a guy other than datsyuk who right now looks like he’d go to the net, get his nose bloodied, get knocked down, get slashed or highsticked, to put one in the net. and btw, datsyuk would prefer to pass, so he’s not much of an answer, either.

i challenge you to name one guy on this team who looks like he’s willing to do that right now. babcock isn’t going to put on skates, so he’s not an option.

and don’t mention homer, he’s all but immobile.

in the modern NHL where penalties aren’t going to be called, esp. in the playoffs, that’s how you score. who’s gonna step up?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 03/31/12 at 08:35 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

Juri Hudler is the poster child for what is wrong with the Wings.
They are too small and not tough enough.

They lost a lot when they lost Draper & Maltby.  Soon they will lose Stuart.

They need big, tough, Konstantinov - like players.  (See ... the St. Louis Blues).

All those Predators in front of Jimmie Howard should have knocked on their butts.

Posted by w2j2 on 03/31/12 at 09:44 AM ET

Joe Z.'s avatar

Jiri Hudler and his linemates are the only ones getting sh** done.
What bothers me is Franzen, this dude is simply usesless in todays game, he is good when noone touches him, but as soon there is pressure he falls down. Datsyuk is being wasted with Franzen losing the puck all the time, Nyquist looked much better.

This is a 5vs5 team this year, and look who leads them in even strength scoring, its freaking Hudler. Come on, even Drew Miller has as many ES goals as Franazen. And Miller has no Datsyuk cenetering him. For me it’s clear, Franzen is a PP specialist, who has no right to be on Detroit’s first line.

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 03/31/12 at 10:32 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

Chet, the notion that complacency may very well have become a problem in the organization is a possibility I’ve been concerned about for at least a couple years now.  I’m not a huge advocate of sweeping changes just for the sake of making changes, and Doug Wilson in San Jose is a classic example of a GM who is always chasing the glitter and seems far too easily distracted by the next shiny object dangled in front of him (see Dany Heatley or Brent Burns) to ever be accused of having a long term plan in place.

On the other hand, I also think you can err too far on the side of caution, be far too hesitant and ultimately unwilling to make any bold moves at all.  Having stuck with essentially the same core group of players since 2007, I think a lot of what we’re seeing now is simply the by-product of a lot of teams closing the gap, and in some cases, passing the Red Wings by, in terms of talent.  There are those who will take the position that there were no moves to be made, but that simply isn’t true.  More often than not, the justification for the fact that moves haven’t been made is ultimately less about players not being available than it has been about the organization’s unwillingness to part with roster players or prospects.

Which leads us into a deeper realm of complacency—the message that this sends to the room.  I honestly don’t believe anyone on the current Detroit roster (with the possible exception of Kyle Quincey) feels much of anything in the way of urgency when it comes to job security or earning ice time.  I think this fact, as much as anything else, is deep at the root of the problems we have seen with this team.  The mantra has become “we really like our team”.  We hear it time and time again.  The not-so-subtle message to the players is simple.  Good enough is good enough.

We’re good enough to make the playoffs again.  Last year we were good enough to at least make our second round playoff loss interesting by taking it to a seventh game.  Changes?  Why would we possibly want to make changes?  No, good enough is good enough, and don’t think for a second that the message hasn’t gotten through in the room and an atmosphere with the sort of healthy tension that any business needs to remain vibrant has given way to a country club of sorts in which losing is no big deal because, after all, the big boss has our backs.  “We really like our team” he says, and since no moves ever appear to be forthcoming, why on earth should they feel otherwise?

I’m not an advocate of change for the sake of change.  I’m not a fire the coach kind of guy either.  But I do think now and then you have to take a hard, objective look at the situation, figure out what needs to be done, and tak the bold steps to make it happen.  Otherwise you not only run the risk of becoming too stagnant and being out-gunned by the competition, you also run the risk of your own people losing their edge. 

As others have said, I don’t think these kinds of assessments are heresy and I don’t think having an honest opinion about things makes any of us a bandwagon fan.  When it comes to the issue of organizational complacency, I think it’s interesting that a lot of us are seeing the same thing.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/31/12 at 01:58 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

It’s not complacency. It’s an acknowledgment of transition. The Wings couldn’t afford to spend crazy money replacing Draper/Rafalski/Osgood with bigger, better players in free agency, and as they’re the Wings, their draft position and decision to sink or swim with the “kids,” if you are willing to consider Filppula, Hudler, White, Ericsson, Kindl, Franzen (yes, he’s stank of late, but he’s working harder than you’d think—he’s always working harder than you’d think), Emmerton, Miller, Mursak, Helm, Abdelkader, Howard and the injured Eaves, and to give Smith, Nyquist, Tatar, Conner, Janik and MacDonald (not “kids” in the latter three cases, but solid complimentary players) as such…

Well hell, that IS half a team’s worth of “kids” by Red Wings standards…

And the Wings’ decision to not supplement the leadership core of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Bertuzzi, Cleary, Lidstrom, Kronwall and the departing Stuart (see: adding another “youngster” in Quincey) with cagey veterans, especially given the fact that Babcock and the team are adjusting to two new coaching voices while not hearing three important veterans or McCrimmon and MacLean in their ears…That was a conscious one as well.

Like it or not, this is Ken Holland’s version of a “rebuilding” or “transition” year, and the six-game November slide and the team’s collapse (what did Kulfan say, 5-10-and-3 since the Sharks game on the 19th of February? Yep, 5-10-and-3) due to injuries and said sink or swim philosophy after setting the home-ice winning record are the results of growing pains as the managerial and coaching staff has force-fed something of a sea change upon its under-30 players.

It’s not complacency by the managerial or coaching staffs that is to blame here. It’s injuries and a massive cultural change in terms of leadership and responsibilities that we’re looking at, folks, and something tells me that the team’s personnel issues were very consciously accounted for and anticipated before the season began.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/31/12 at 02:39 PM ET

Avatar

I think it’s interesting that a lot of us are seeing the same thing.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 03/31/12 at 11:58 AM ET

This. It’s like being stuck in a Groundhog Day movie. We are seeing the same thing over and over and over and over….........again.

Revisiting Game 6 of 09 SC Finals is painful for me as a RW fan, but it is very, very instructional. In a nutshell it highlights the major deficiency this team has that has plagued them ever since - a maddeningly consistent inability to score sure goals.

I think it is right there where 09 Cup was lost, not in Game 7.

4:13 - 4:29 segment of this video is just gut-wrenching, but it must be watched. Because nothing has changed since then. Seriously.

www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=7r2nV-JC2UQ

Posted by Alex on 03/31/12 at 02:53 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

at the end of the day

I stopped reading right there, FTL.  sorry. 

I HATE THAT PHRASE

[/rant]

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/31/12 at 03:19 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

make that Nat, not FTL

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 03/31/12 at 03:20 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

A transition year? Transitioning into what?

If it were truly a transition year, we’d se more Brendan Smith and Tomas Tatar with the Wings, and Nyquist would get more than a quarter of the season.

I’m not one to assume Weber/Suter/Parise will be here next year, so the passage of torches would have to be from inside. Truth is, if there’s a transition year ahead, it’s the next one.

I mean, what lesson have we learned this season? Every player is either having a dwon year or just par for the course (except Filppula, who we learned is definetely NOT a center).

Now we’re looking at a season without Lidstrom and Stuart on defense, with bigger roles from Ericsson and Quincey, and the first steps of Smith? Really, that’s what’s ahead?

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/31/12 at 03:22 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

But when I heard Babcock speak after the game, I heard a coach whose classroom’s gone off the lesson plan, and a coach who’s working incredibly hard to keep the team focused on the re-set that’s a little under two weeks away.

George, that’s the point.

We all know Babcock is a great coach, one of the best, no one ever denied that.

But this is the third straight season that we had those “classroom gone” arguments, and what we wonder if it Babcock hasn’t gone past his expiration date.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/31/12 at 03:25 PM ET

WingedRider's avatar

I pretty much agree with everything George has said except Franzen.  I watched him for the games since he has been back. He is often literally standing somewhere on the ice with his stick at his waist.  The officials and goalies move more than he does.

I don’t know what is wrong but a 1st round exit looks pretty realistic!

Stuart already seems to have his head in California and I can actually understand that.

I doubt the room has turned into a Country Club with the leaders the Wings have.

The Asst coaches?  I questioned their roles a long time ago and/or Babs delegation.

This team is and has been in deep trouble for at least a month?

There is no switch to turn on.

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 03/31/12 at 03:31 PM ET

Avatar

A transition year? Transitioning into what?

Into what this team really is - the not-so-physical team overstocked with highly skilled but undersized play-makers. No stones into KH backyard here. That’s what you get when you draft low year after year after year after year ...... Plus a salary cap and parity. You know who’s to thank for that.

Posted by Alex on 03/31/12 at 03:34 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Babcock’s coaching is part of the blueprint. If some of his students can’t keep up, the team will add some new ones…and I dunno if Bill Peters is gonna work out.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 03/31/12 at 03:42 PM ET

Avatar

Can we replace Franzen with Pulkkinen on the Magic line?
I have no idea if this can be done? But at least RW would have one pure sniper on the team. Who knows, it may actually be a plus in the playoffs and since we don’t stand much of a chance why not try to experiment.

Posted by Alex on 03/31/12 at 03:49 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.