Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Red Wings-Sharks Game 2 quick take: Inefficient

The Detroit Red Wings’ late rally against the San Jose Sharks came up short, and the Wings are heading back to Detroit down 2-0 via a 2-1 loss that was a case of too little, too late—and inefficient play by the Wings.

It’s not that the Wings can’t hang with the Sharks. It’s that the Wings are facing must-win games from here on out because they’ve played scatterbrained hockey, and sometimes they’ve plain old looked intimidated by a Sharks team that’s clearly transferred its playoff hex to Detroit.

It’s…Scary. Scary to watch the Wings’ forecheck be neutralized, scary to watch the Wings lose so many 50-50 battles for the puck, scary to watch the Wings try so hard and accomplish so very little, while the Sharks seem to be able to generate the kind of forecheck, sustained pressure shots, screens, tips, rebound retrievals and secondary scoring chances that the Wings are so very desperate to accomplish themselves, but are too tentative and skittish to achieve.

Jimmy Howard has been wonderful. Johan Franzen’s worked very hard. The Wings’ defenders have done their best, and Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom and Pavel Datsyuk have obviously done a fantastic job. But Justin Abdelkader, Darren Helm, Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary have disappeared, Brian Rafalski and Brad Stuart are coughing up the puck, and every Wings scoring chance was a one-and-done opportunity—with the Sharks getting a rush, shot or three and “o-zone time” and “grind time” on the Wings’ defenders…

So the Wings head home having to win Wednesday’s game, Friday’s game, and the rest against a team they’re truly matched up evenly against because the Sharks are executing and the Wings are not. It’s the Wings who, despite their physical flourishes on Sunday, don’t seem to want it as much as the Sharks do when the puck’s dropped and play’s underway.

I don’t know what else to say, other than that the Sharks have earned their results, as have the Wings…Who may very well be golfing by next week because the Wings haven’t screened Niemi or earned many rebound opportunities—I don’t buy this Niemi’s been fantastic BS when he’s rarely, if ever, seen Tomas Holmstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Danny Cleary or Johan Franzen’s butts in his face, nor have the Wings retrieved the rebounds that pump off his pads—haven’t gotten their forechecking and may have “one to grow on” after a fantastic third period, but…

A good effort doesn’t matter. It’s about results, and the Wings haven’t produced them. Without Howard, Datsyuk and Lidstrom [edit: and the shot-blocking machine that is Niklas Kronwall] in particular, the Wings would be in much more trouble, and there are clearly too many passengers, too much intimidation and too little focus, will, heart, and plain old swagger from a team that exploited the Coyotes but are being exploited by a team that simply looks better than Detroit, and better than it really is, thanks to s***ty special teams play and indecisiveness by the Wings’ players.

Uphill. Not vertical yet, but the Wings’ climb is steep, and the task ahead if going to be incredibly difficult.

When you give Niclas Wallin an end-to-end rush, there’s something wrong with your team’s confidence, and these Wings need a talking-to from both coach Mike Babcock and Lidstrom, because the Wings can come back from this deficit, but only if they have the will to utilize their skill and make their effort count.

Final Stats:

Shots 37-34 San Jose overall, breaking down as 12-7 Detroit in the 1st period, 19-9 San Jose in the 2nd period and 13-11 Detroit in the 3rd period.

Power plays: The Sharks went 1-for-5 in 8:22 of PP time; the Wings went 1-for-6 in 8:15 of PP time.

Howard stopped 35 of 37 Shots; Niemi stopped 33 of 34.

The 3 stars, per Dan Rusanowski, were Niclas Wallin, Ian White and Antti Niemi.

The Wings’ goal: Zetterberg (1) from Datsyuk (6) and Holmstrom (3).

Faceoffs 38-33 San Jose (46% won by Detroit);

Blocked shots 24-23 San Jose;

Missed shots 13-10 Detroit (total shot attempts 71-70 Detroit, with the Wings firing 34 on Niemi and 37 wide or into Sharks players);

Hits 31-19 Detroit;

Giveaways 11-5 Detroit;

Takeaways 15-5 San Jose—and those two stats tell you all you need to know about how often the Wings have coughed up the puck in this series.

Update: The press conference feed from San Jose broke up, but Babcock says that the team won’t practice on Monday.

Individual Stats:

Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 9-and-11 (45%); Filppula went 6-and-10 (38%); Helm went 5-and-6 (45%); Franzen went 2-and-4 (33%); Zetterberg went 3-and-4 (43%); Cleary went 3-and-2 (60%); Abdelkader went 4-and-1 (80%); Eaves won his only faceoff.

Shots: Zetterberg led the team with 6 shots; Cleary had 5; Filppula, Ericsson and Franzen had 4; Lidstrom, Abdelkader, Datsyuk and Zetterberg had 2; Rafalski, Bertuzzi and Holmstrom had 1.

Blocked attempts: Rafalski had 4 shot attempts blocked by Sharks players; Salei and Zetterberg had 3 attempts blocked; Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Filppula and Kronwall had 2 attempts blocked; Cleary, Eaves, Stuart, Helm, Filppula and Holmstrom had single attempts blocked.

Missed shots: Datsyuk missed the net 3 times; Lidstrom and Zetterberg missed the net 2 times; Abdelkader, Eaves, Salei, Hudler, Bertuzzi and Franzen missed the net 1 time.

Hits: Abdelkader had 5 hits; Helm ha 4; Datsyuk, Miller, Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 3; Abdelkader and Filppula had 2; Eaves, Hudler, Rafalski, Zetterberg, Franzen and Holmstrom had 1 hit.

Giveaways: Ericsson had 2 giveaways; Abdelkader, Cleary, Salei, Rafalski, Zetterberg, helm, Filppula, Franzen and Howard had 1.

Takeaways: Stuart, Salei, Zetterberg, Helm and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 7 shots; Stuart blocked 3; Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen blocked 2; lidstrom, Abdelkader, Eaves, Rafalski, Helm, Filppula and Ericsson blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Bertuzzi took 2 minor penalties, as did Holmstrom; Abdelkader, Rafalski and Zetterberg took single minors.

Plus-minus: Abdelkader, Cleary, Salei, Bertuzzi and Kronwall finished at -1, so the team was a collective -5.

Points: Zetterberg had a goal; Datsyuk and Holmstrom had an assist.

ice time: Datsyuk led the team with 24:11 played; Lidstrom played 23;33; Zetterberg played 23:22;

Stuart played 21:50; Kronwall played 21:20; Rafalski played 21:17;

Ericsson played 18:55; Cleary played 17:34;Filppula played 17:01;

Holmstrom played 15:41; Franzen played 15:24; Helm played 13:38;

Salei played 13:07; Bertuzzi played 12:51; Hudler played 8;33;

Abdelkader played 6:33; Eaves played 6:32; Helm played 5:53.

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Comments

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Red Winger's avatar

but they are overpowering us with pure canadian muscle, speed, and forechecking.

Oh, okay Don Cherry.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 05/01/11 at 10:43 PM ET

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I posted my opinions and he posted his.

I actually agree with just about everything you’re saying.  I think the Wings have 2 things working against them at this point:

1. Lidstrom is no longer a 28-30 minute a game player, even in the biggest games of the year, which negates a huge advantage that Detroit has always had against opponents.  The Detroit defense is built around having Rafalski or Lidstrom on the ice almost all the time, and then working in the other 4 guys but Babcock just can’t do that anymore.  This has kind of exposed the lack of depth back there.  Brad Stuart is serviceable but he’s not an elite player, and Ruslan Salei (Ruslan Salei!) is getting big minutes.  Losing that much time from Lidstrom and Rafalski really hurts the Wings’ ability to start their transition game, which has always been their strength, and leads to…

2. The forwards for Detroit are maybe not totally 1 dimensional as individuals, but they collectively don’t seem to have the type of complimentary skill sets that allow the Wings to play a variety of styles based on their opponent.  That top 6 excels at moving the puck and finding the open man, but as you’ve noted the game is moving more towards a game played down low and along the boards where players cycle and move their feet and work for a shot between the dots (and the ensuing rebound).  The Wings don’t have a lot of bulk, they don’t have much of a speed advantage, and they don’t have that Shanahan/Hull type of player that can uncork a blast from the circle.  Being a smaller team has really hurt their all important puck possession game because they just can’t win those 50-50 battles against bigger guys who are stronger on their skates.  I think a pretty prime example of that was when Murray knocked over Helm coming through the neutral zone during the 3rd period.  Helm didn’t even get into Murray’s body, let alone have any chance of putting him down.

It’s hard to argue with keeping a group together when they’ve had such success, but I wonder if there was any conversation in the Wings front office over the last year about making a big trade to take 1 step back in the hopes of taking 2 steps forward in the future.  Datsyuk is pretty clearly untouchable, and I think Zetterberg’s contract makes him an immovable object (he’s worth more to Detroit than other teams because of his history there), but they might have been able to get a nice collection of draft picks and prospects for Franzen.  Or maybe they could have moved 2 guys from the Cleary/Filpula/Hudler trio in separate deals to bring an infusion of elite young talent into the organization (being able to keep Ville Leino would have certainly helped as well).  Ken Holland has done a tremendous job of developing lower level draft picks and finding free agents from across the pond, but at some point you have to bring in guys that might end up being the future cornerstones of the franchise because your current cornerstones are going to leave and/or decline eventually.

Bill Walsh used to really love his players but he kept a distance from them during their careers because he knew that it was better for the franchise to get rid of them a year too early rather than a year too late, and he never wanted his personal feelings to get in the way of his ability to do that.  He knew that when he could no longer make those difficult decisions it was time for him to walk away, and knowing that he would soon have to part ways with Lott, Montana, Craig, and others was one of the reasons he retired as coach of the 49ers.  I wonder if Ken Holland and Mike Babcock haven’t violated that rule over the last year or two, and held on to some guys a year too long rather than cut them a year too early.  It feels like Detroit’s roster got old all of a sudden and there don’t seem to be any young, versatile top 6 forwards or top 4 defensemen ready to come up and and pick up the slack from the aging championship group.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 11:07 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Or maybe they could have moved 2 guys from the Cleary/Filpula/Hudler trio in separate deals to bring an infusion of elite young talent into the organization

Care to give concrete examples of this “elite young talent” that’s available in a trade?  And Cleary/Filpula/Hudler will only get you drft picks or young talent that hasn’t quite lived up to potential.

Posted by calquake on 05/01/11 at 11:23 PM ET

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And Cleary/Filpula/Hudler will only get you drft picks or young talent that hasn’t quite lived up to potential.

Obviously.  But that’s what I was saying, you’d have to take a step back in order to take 2 steps forward in the future.  Maybe you could get 2 first round picks and 2-3 prospects, plus if the Wings weren’t as good for a year or two their own draft position would improve.  You’re not going to get Shea Weber or the top overall pick, but if you can get 5-6 players and end up with a top 6 forward, a top 4 dman, and some depth you’d ultimately be in a better position.  As currently constructed I don’t think the Wings can win 4 7 game series without absolutely everything breaking their way, including top players from other teams being lost due to injury during the playoffs.  Plus, what’s the plan for when Lidstrom leaves?  It’s either happening after this year because he realizes they can’t win and doesn’t want to go through the grind again, or next year.  It’s not possible to continue on with the same group of players forever, so the options are either go through some short term growing pains or watch your franchise drop off a cliff.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 11:30 PM ET

calquake's avatar

The Salary Cap has changed the game on so many levels that you will never see a “dynasty” again.  Detroit is the closet thing in the last 20 years.  Now, at best, it’s going to be 5 year cycles where a young team matures, wins a Cup and then is partially dismantled due to the Cap.  Just look at Chicago.  They could have made a serious run this year, if they hadn’t had to of gotten rid of half the team.  That was a direct result of the Salary Cap.

Posted by calquake on 05/01/11 at 11:30 PM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

I was going to say something, but I agree with about 90-95% of Johnson22’s arguments.

Instead I’ll thank J22 for putting up such encyclopedic, well-thought out stuff. That’s hard to find anywhere on the Internet these days.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 05/01/11 at 11:34 PM ET

calquake's avatar

  As currently constructed I don’t think the Wings can win 4 7 game series without absolutely everything breaking their way, including top players from other teams being lost due to injury during the playoffs.

That’s an awfully fine brush you paint with my friend.  Insert any team name in that statement and the same holds true.

Posted by calquake on 05/01/11 at 11:35 PM ET

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The Salary Cap has changed the game on so many levels that you will never see a “dynasty” again.  Detroit is the closet thing in the last 20 years.  Now, at best, it’s going to be 5 year cycles where a young team matures, wins a Cup and then is partially dismantled due to the Cap.

It’s tougher, but I disagree that it’s impossible.  Chicago ran into trouble because they had a lot of players at the same stage of development and because they have a couple of players that are massively overpaid.  You can compete for the cup over an extended period b ut you have to have a lot of things working in concert:

1. 2-3 franchise type players
2. A variety of support players at various stages of their careers so that you’re never hit with 4-5 important players becoming RFA or UFA at the same time.
3. At least a couple of players on contracts slightly below market value
4. A relatively inexpensive goalie
5. An organization with the kind of scouting and development abilities to find key support players who both fit a specific role and can be found in later rounds so that when players have to be let go for financial reasons there is someone ready to take over that role.

It’s possible, but it’s certainly harder than it used to be.  One thing I’d like to see in the next CBA is some sort of flexibility to keep players that were drafted and developed by the organization so that a team could designate 1-2 guys whose contract was either outside the cap or where their contract only counted for 50% or 75% against the cap.  I don’t think a team should be able to keep everyone, but if they are doing things the right way they shouldn’t be punished for it and forced to run a development system for the rest of the league.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 11:38 PM ET

calquake's avatar

And besides, if San Jose is all that and a bag of chips, how come they haven’t won a Cup yet?  That team is essentially the same as last year.  Detroit may or may not come back in this series but I don’t see San Jose running away with the Cup.  The journey is a marathon… and we’re only 7 miles in.

Posted by calquake on 05/01/11 at 11:40 PM ET

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Insert any team name in that statement and the same holds true.

The Sharks, the Canucks, the Caps.  Heck, the Lightning and Blackhawks might even fall into that category (at least starting next year).  The Wings don’t have the depth or variety of skills to compete with those teams, and at their age are much more likely to be injured and less than 100% (see Zetterberg and Franzen).

What I meant was, let’s say the Wings make it to the WCF and face the Canucks.  I don’t think the Wings can beat the Canucks.  But then let’s say Kessler breaks his leg at the end of the WCSF, and one of the Sedins is playing at a lot less than 100%.  In that scenario I could see the Wings being able to win but that’s asking a lot.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 11:41 PM ET

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I am disappointed after game 2 but if Helm had scored on his breakaway it could have been a game changer. Howard is playing great letting in only 2 goals a game and the Wings should be able to win with that kind of goal tending. But they are not. I tend to agree with Johnson22. This is basically the same team that won the cup in 2008 and came within a goal of winning in 2009 before running out of gas. Since then the NHL in general has improved and the Wings have stayed the same. Players are now younger, stronger, faster and with a lot of skill. Sometimes I watch the games and it seems the Wings want to get something going so bad but they are just being out muscled and the middle of the ice is being closed off. I remember the last game against Dallas, a team that did not even make the playoffs. Dallas came into the Joe and laid the wood and the body checks to the Wings and came away with a win. They were not intimidated at all. All the teams dump the puck in behind the Wings defense to make the defense turn and then check and take the puck away. I’m starting to ramble so I’ll shut up but one day Mr Illitch will want another cup and a lot of the older players and the smaller players will be gone in favor of the big younger players. We could be seeing the end of the European player dominance in the NHL. Here’s hoping for a big win in game 3. LGRW.

Posted by Mackster on 05/01/11 at 11:42 PM ET

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And besides, if San Jose is all that and a bag of chips, how come they haven’t won a Cup yet?  That team is essentially the same as last year.

There’s a first time for everything, including the Wings (if memory serves they went through an extended title drought right?).  I look at the west and I think the Canucks and Sharks are the best teams, and there’s a big dropoff after that.  Doesn’t mean either of those two teams will win, and I actually give the Preds a pretty decent chance to win that series based on how they are constructed and how Rinne is playing, but I do think the Canucks and Sharks have the greatest margin for error in the west.

By the way, I don’t see the Sharks running away with the cup either but I am starting to see them run away with this series.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 11:46 PM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

the Sharks seem to be able to generate the kind of forecheck, sustained pressure shots, screens, tips, rebound retrievals and secondary scoring chances that the Wings are so very desperate to accomplish themselves, but are too tentative and skittish to achieve.

maybe because Bab’s is always yammmering on and on about the Wings needing to stay out of the box and they know if they breath on a Shark they will get called, yet the sharks can hook and hold and ride Z and Datsyuk’s back all the way down the ice and get called for nothing ?  that could be part of it maybe???  Bab’s needs to start whining about the officials like the other coaches do.  Whats that old saying ...the squeeky wheel gets the grease. 

This league is becoming like the WWE and its not entertaining in the least.

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 05/02/11 at 12:13 AM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

I hate to admit this, but I’ve been having thoughts similar to those of Johnson22, above.  Maybe small Euro players are just not going to get it anymore.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Florida, wishin’ I was back in the Mitten on 05/01/11 at 07:04 PM ET

not when the refs don’t call what is suppose to be called .. I’ve seen Z and Dats get mugged out there and no calls .. used to be if you took your hand off your stick and grabbed a guy it was holding (and still is when a Red Wing does it) but their opponant does it all the time and no calls

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 05/02/11 at 12:22 AM ET

calquake's avatar

1. 2-3 franchise type players
2. A variety of support players at various stages of their careers so that you’re never hit with 4-5 important players becoming RFA or UFA at the same time.
3. At least a couple of players on contracts slightly below market value
4. A relatively inexpensive goalie
5. An organization with the kind of scouting and development abilities to find key support players who both fit a specific role and can be found in later rounds so that when players have to be let go for financial reasons there is someone ready to take over that role.

Thank you.  You’ve described the RedWing blueprint to a tee.  And, as you can see, that only buys you a ticket to the dance… not a guaranteed ride home.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:23 AM ET

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In the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as in life, will triumphs all else…in this case stick-handling ability, shooting a puck with pinpoint accuracy, stopping pucks from going in the net, giving and receiving passes, clearing out the front of the net etc etc. That’s what I’m seeing: the Sharks imposing their will on the Red Wings. It’s a cliche, and it happens to be true. I don’t watch this series thinking, “wow, SJ is so much bigger, faster and stronger. Boy that Todd McClellan sure is next coming of Jesus, er, Scotty Bowman.” And I sure as hell don’t see Ryan Clowe as a player who is “deceptively fast”.  I see a team that has made a clear, conscious decision to go out and beat another team at the game of hockey, period. Call it desire, call it heart or want, but whatever you call it San Jose has it…and are willing their way to victory.

This nonsense about being too slow and/or too small, or European for that matter, is just that…nonsense.

Posted by godblender on 05/02/11 at 12:25 AM ET

calquake's avatar

The Sharks, the Canucks, the Caps.  Heck, the Lightning and Blackhawks might even fall into that category (at least starting next year).  The Wings don’t have the depth or variety of skills to compete with those teams,

You have got to be kidding.  All anybody talked about in the Phoenix series was Detroit’s depth and variety of skills. You don’t lose that from one series to another.  I’ll take Detroit against any of those teams.  San Jose has been the better team so far.  I realize you’re trying to write the Wings obituary but reports of their demise (besides being said for at least 5 years) are greatly exaggerated.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:33 AM ET

Chet's avatar

This league is becoming like the WWE and its not entertaining in the least.

i agree officiating is different than it was right after the lockout. SJ definitely plays a physical style, probably hooking, holding, and even tripping more than detroit. they’re also getting called less.

still, this series and the current 2-0 deficit cannot be blamed on the refs alone; it’s not even 5% of why the wings are in this hole. SJ has been bigger, better, and faster.

i can name at least seven sharks forwards who scare the hell out of me every time they have the puck in a scoring area; aside from datsyuk, can you say that about any other detroit forwards? zetterberg and franzen are clearly not 100%, and almost every other forward has been all but invisible.

on the defensive side, SJ’s D is good enough-to-better than detroit’s right now, but playing far more physical and maintaining puck possession far better.

goaltending has basically been a push, but when you’re losing in every other area of the game, so what? detroit’s been outshot by a total of 24 over just two games. no goaltender is going to get a W under those conditions…

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/02/11 at 12:33 AM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

I never really understood a fan going on another teams board or blog just to TRY TO cause trouble.  ...  are they so jealous of the success our team has had and that us Red Wings fans have enjoyed for so long that that is ALL they have to do in their life? pretty pathetic IMO

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 05/02/11 at 12:35 AM ET

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You have got to be kidding.  All anybody talked about in the Phoenix series was Detroit’s depth and variety of skills.

If by “anybody” you mean “the people who typically post comments on this blog” you’re probably right.  But I think people who actually watch the rest of the league didn’t really believe that.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/02/11 at 12:35 AM ET

MsRedWingFan's avatar

yeah I agree with you Chet but it sure is disgusting as a fan watching this chit

confused

Posted by MsRedWingFan from West Michigan hometown of Abdelkader on 05/02/11 at 12:37 AM ET

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I never really understood a fan going on another teams board or blog just to TRY TO cause trouble.  ...  are they so jealous of the success our team has had and that us Red Wings fans have enjoyed for so long that that is ALL they have to do in their life? pretty pathetic IMO

I never really understood people who can’t handle being confronted by any information they don’t want to hear or that doesn’t agree with what they think.  Pretty pathetic IMO

Do you not understand how Kukla’s Korner works?  I’m not going in search of your blog, it comes up in the feed of a site that covers the entire league.  If you want your world to be totally insulated and cut off from reality disassociate with Kukla’s Korner.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/02/11 at 12:38 AM ET

calquake's avatar

If by “anybody” you mean “the people who typically post comments on this blog” you’re probably right.  But I think people who actually watch the rest of the league didn’t really believe that.
Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 10:35 PM ET

Really… go back and watch NHL On the Fly or Versus or even NBC for that matter.  Oh, that’s right… you know more than the people on TV who make a living at it.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:43 AM ET

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Really… go back and watch NHL On the Fly or Versus or even NBC for that matter.  Oh, that’s right… you know more than the people on TV who make a living at it.

So the people you always call idiots and claim are biased against the Wings are your proof?

Posted by RoneFace on 05/02/11 at 12:45 AM ET

thethirdcoast's avatar

still, this series and the current 2-0 deficit cannot be blamed on the refs alone; it’s not even 5% of why the wings are in this hole. SJ has been bigger, better, and faster.

i can name at least seven sharks forwards who scare the hell out of me every time they have the puck in a scoring area; aside from datsyuk, can you say that about any other detroit forwards? zetterberg and franzen are clearly not 100%, and almost every other forward has been all but invisible.

Quoted for truth. SJ has consistently muscled DET off the puck in the first two games. Datsyuk and Z have more will than anyone in the NHL, but that doesn’t make up for the fact they’re giving up 20-40 lbs. against 2/3rds of SJ’s lineup. That’s huge, especially since it seems as though SJ can skate with DET.

If you disagree, I recommend running a couple flights of stairs, then doing the same thing wearing a backpack or weighted vest with an extra 40 lbs. in it. You will be shocked at how much more out of breath you are with the extra weight. Now think about how much energy someone would expend pushing that extra 20-40 lbs. around for three periods of hockey. It’s kind of frightening.

Posted by thethirdcoast from Algiers, DZ on 05/02/11 at 12:48 AM ET

calquake's avatar

So the people you always call idiots and claim are biased against the Wings are your proof?
Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 10:45 PM ET

First of all I’ll assume you are using “you” in the collective sense and not me personnally.  Otherwise you’d better bring proof of that statement.  And your proof is?

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:52 AM ET

Chet's avatar

guys, why not just talk about the games as opposed to this pointless bickering?

any time you demand proof of something or quotes of this or that in an argument, you’re losing.

so knock it off. it’s childish and lame.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/02/11 at 12:54 AM ET

calquake's avatar

But I think people who actually watch the rest of the league didn’t really believe that.

In case you misunderstand me…. I’m asking for proof of this statement you made.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:55 AM ET

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In case you misunderstand me…. I’m asking for proof of this statement you made.

I watch the rest of the league, and I didn’t believe it.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/02/11 at 12:56 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/01/11 at 10:54 PM ET

The games are over, I’m willing to move on but I will not stand by and let people make statements that are not true.  Sorry if that bothers you.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:57 AM ET

calquake's avatar

I watch the rest of the league, and I didn’t believe it.
Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 10:56 PM ET

Do you do stand-up?  Because that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard on here in a while.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 12:58 AM ET

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Do you do stand-up?  Because that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard on here in a while.

Do you read?  Because I said it before the series started, said it after game one, even said it last year.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/02/11 at 01:01 AM ET

calquake's avatar

Do you read?  Because I said it before the series started, said it after game one, even said it last year.
Posted by RoneFace on 05/01/11 at 11:01 PM ET

In deference to Chet this is my last post on this.  Just because you say it doesn’t make it true.  It is an opinion not a fact.  I’m done.

Posted by calquake on 05/02/11 at 01:03 AM ET

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In deference to Chet this is my last post on this.  Just because you say it doesn’t make it true.  It is an opinion not a fact.  I’m done.

4-1 is a fact.
3-1 regular season is a fact.
2-0 is a fact.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/02/11 at 01:05 AM ET

Chet's avatar

mmm. check out this news on bin laden.

that’s reason enough to feel OK about sunday, may 1. time for some bubbly!

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 05/02/11 at 01:18 AM ET

moocat's avatar

What’s weird about it? Howard has answered the playoff demons and is playing lights out. The rest of the team hasn’t given him a damn thing.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 05/01/11 at 06:59 PM ET

Yeah, our goalie has been our best player, very unredwing like and it still probably won’t stop the goalie mafia from calling for his head if the wings lose this series.

Posted by ChrisinA^2 from the switch is a lie on 05/01/11 at 07:05 PM ET

EXACTLY 5 minutes later, like clockwork the goalie bashing begins as ChrisinA2 predicted.

Posted by Johnson22 on 05/01/11 at 07:10 PM ET

Writes

They don’t play a pretty game. They haven’t scored a highlight reel outside of Boyle and… Ben Eager… in like a decade. They’re not going to score like Datsyuk does, or like Franzen did before he got injured. They throw it on net 90 times per game and “we like the percentages” (an old line from Mclellan in his early years in San Jose). You control the game, you dominate possession, you throw it on net a lot, and you’ll get a deflection, you’ll get a luck bounce. And if you’re facing a goalie who gives up soft goals, it suits that style even better. Howard has made a large quantity of saves, and some very nice ones, but the fact of the matter is 3 of the 4 pucks he hasn’t stopped this series have been soft .

What??

The 1st one tonight, he was way out of position, too far left in his net, and way, way too far back.

Maybe a bit deep but not out of position. He was looking to his left around the screen when the shot came to his right. It was good screen not a bad goal.

If he’d just gone out straight and cut off the angle, only a corner shot beats him. That White shot would have hit him in the shoulder if he was just in normal good position. And the game winner was really bad.

Howard was on the right angle. The release point was obscured by Kronwall’s stick which (if it wasn’t slightly deflected) which can kill a goalie reading the puck, and it was right up next to his ear which is very hard to get to. He almost got it. It was unfortunate that it hit his mask and still went in. You’re looking to place blame where it doesn’t belong.

Maybe the one way Detroit wins this series is if Howard makes those few nice saves per game on the hard chances (which a good goalie does. Not every good opportunity goes in against the average goalie even. Goaltenders usually have an advantage, even on the breakaways and what not), and he makes the ones he’s supposed to make. Making spectacular saves is great and all, but it doesn’t mean you’re standing on your head if you let in easy ones a few minutes later. You have to do both. In fact I would prefer he make the saves he should every time over what he’s doing now.

Again…What? You’re just looking to make things up to blame the goalie. This is the kind of goaltending we’ve been begging for and it’s still not good enough?

Bottom line is if Howard doesn’t play lights out in both games we get destroyed and there no chance of it being close. 2 goals against is what you should be dreaming of. Honestly I don’t get the pathological need to blame the goalie sometimes.

Posted by moocat on 05/02/11 at 01:58 AM ET

Lucce's avatar

They look tired, uninterested. No passion absolutely no passion. Where has it gone?

Posted by Lucce from Kingdom of Zweden on 05/02/11 at 05:11 AM ET

Avatar

Moocat:

I’m not blaming Howard. If you read all my other posts, I’ve said that the Sharks are bigger and faster, and they are dominating play. And they probably should have won by greater margins. However, if you’re looking for some way the Wings can beat the Sharks despite all that, they probably could have stole at least one game had Howard played even better than he did. Like I said about the Sharks shooting 90 pucks at net a game and liking their chances, well, the first two games, they weren’t getting as many as those good deflections as they were used to. The pucks were hitting Howard or going just wide. Whether that means Howard is standing on his head or things are just going good for him is debatable. He did also make some of the much more difficult saves. But goalies have to do that sometimes. If he was just able to stop everything he should have on top of that, the Wings at least win game 1. What I’m saying is if Pekka Rinne is in net for the first two games, or Thomas, the Wings probably win 1 of them anyway. With that said, the Wings have never needed a Pekka Rinne to win the Cup before. Your Cup hopes shouldn’t be pinned on the hope that your goalie will be perfect. So I’m certainly not blaming Howard. I am blaming the Wings being slower and smaller and everything else I’ve said.

All I’m saying about Howard is that despite being outplayed, in game 1 in particular, the Wings were still in a good position to win that game, but then Jimmy Howard let in a very soft goal at the worst time. And he just tends to do that a lot. Last postseason it was the last minute goals, the five-hole awful goal off Couture… And this season, it’s 1-0 Detroit in game 1 with 10 minutes left in the game, and it’s a simple, unscreenshot shot from the blueline, right at him, off Joe Thornton’s stick no less, and he shoots the rebound straight towards Pavelski. Even the game winner, it was a really unlucky deflection, but he wasn’t ready. He wasn’t in his butterfly. If it deflects into the top corner, fine, there’s nothing you can do. But five hole? Ferriero is about to shoot, it’s not from the best shooting position, so the second that puck leaves his stick, he should have been down on his pads already, square to the shooter, cutting off the angles.

And then in game 2, despite being outplayed badly, the Wings are only a goal down going into the 3rd. They have a chance to mount a comeback (and they did get that goal back later), and he lets in a simple, unscreened wristshot from Niclas Wallin.

The Sharks have certainly outplayed the Wings the last two seasons, but for them to be 11-2 or whatever it is, and for the Wings to almost always come out on the wrong end of 1 goal games, it suggests Howard is consistently letting in that 1 key, game-deciding goal against, when his team can’t afford it. And he has. He’s been better this postseason than last, and his team has been even worse in front of him, but the fact is he’s still doing it. He’s still letting in the key softies. The difference is now he’s also making some spectacular saves to balance the soft goals out. But a goalie is supposed to do that anyway. I would rather have one less spectacular save, and 2 less soft goals, know what I mean? Or I would like, for once, for him to make the spectacular saves, and to not let in a soft one. It’s not like the Sharks are getting breakaways regularly. Antti Niemi saved a breakaway last game, anddd he didn’t let in any soft goals. That’s what I want to see from Howard. It would be great if the Wings were still so good that they didn’t require that type of goaltending in order to win, but they don’t seem to be. And in truth, that’s not even what great goaltending is. Saving a breakaway, two even, and letting in no soft goals, that’s just good, normal, NHL goaltending. NHL goaltenders face breakaways. There are 2 on 1’s sometimes, and shots from the slot sometimes. NHL goalies still save a very high % of those. If Howard makes 4 good saves from the slot in one game, that doesn’t mean he’s standing on his head. Sometimes it just hits you, or you throw your glove up and it hits your glove. They have huge equipment. The odds are in their favor. Making a bunch of good saves does not excuse the soft goals, or mean you stood on your head despite the soft goals.

So I don’t blame Howard for the losses. I think he’s been good. Not good enough to win, but good. It’s just his team has played very poorly.

In general, it’s a hard thing, weighing the blame of a soft goal. If your goalie plays spectacularly for 20 minutes, but then lets in a soft goal, how has he played? How much value do you allot the spectacular 20 minutes vs the soft goal? Whatever disagreement we have about Howard here, that’s where it probably stems from. I feel as though the odds are always in the goalies favor, and that the percentages dictate, over the course of a series, even a game, every goalie is going to have stretches where he makes a bunch of great saves. It just happens. Bobrovsky or Boucher or whoever was in net for the Flyers did in game 2 vs Boston, even though he bombed out the previous series. It doesn’t mean he’s a good goaltender, or he made a great performance. It just happens. So I probably don’t give as much credit to goalies as others do when they make a group of spectacular saves, or play really well for 40 minutes, especially against the Sharks, who take tons and tons of low-quality shots, and have historically made many goaltenders look amazing when they really weren’t (Turco, Hiller, Anderson, whoever I’m forgetting). And at the other end of the spectrum, soft goals are just free. And in tight, 1 goal games, they are free wins for the other team. It’s just my opinion so I don’t expect everyone to share it, but that’s how I see it. I do give Howard some credit because he has made a lot of very good saves, so I do struggle with, like I said, how much credit does he get for that vs how much blame he gets for the softies. But, at the end of the day, you just can’t fricken give up those soft goals with the game on the line! The tying goal. The goal ahead goal. The goal that puts you down 2-0 in the 3rd period and basically puts the game out of reach for your team. They are just crippling. I allot huge amounts of blame for those. They are killers.

So that’s how I feel about Howard’s performances. I guess you could say I have conflicting feeling about his performance. But, again, I must re-iterate, I don’t think Holland’s offseason plan should be “upgrade the goaltending and you’ll win the Cup.” I don’t think that would be remotely accurate. I think the team in front of the goaltender is the big problem right now. I’m just not going to let Howard off the hook either. A goaltender who, whether he’s played spectacularly all game or not, always seems to let in a soft, crippling at the worst time, is a very worrisome thing to have.

Anyway, conflicting feelings like I said, but I’m not blaming Howard in the way you assumed.

Posted by Johnson22 on 05/04/11 at 04:08 AM 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.