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The Malik Report

Red Wings-Sharks Game 3 quick take: Shades of 2000

The Red Wings rallied from a 1-0 deficit, got key goals on the power play, got to Antti Niemi, had their forecheck going, worked their butts off, played on even ground with the Sharks…and a fanned shot by Devin Setoguchi and a tip off Brian Rafalski’s stick…Yielded a 4-3 San Jose OT win and a very probable handshake line either on Friday or Sunday, thanks to one of their playoff nemeses in Devin Setoguchi, who had a hat trick.

The Red Wings face nearly insurmountable odds against the Sharks after losing yet another one-goal game and yet another overtime game after blowing a power play.

The Wings insist that they simply have to win the next game, but at this point, it feels like 1999-2000, when the Wings bumped into an “equal” team in the Colorado Avalanche, twice, and lost, twice. They endured another setback in 2001 before winning the Cup in 2002, and there’s no doubt in my mind that you’re simply not going to see many changes if the Wings are swept…But the puck luck hasn’t been with the Wings. The bounces haven’t been with the Wings. It’s tight but the Sharks are winning by that slim margin and it doesn’t look good right now.

This team won’t be scrapped if they lose. The personnel will largely return, with a few exceptions (Salei and Modano will exit, Mursak will enter, and who knows what the future holds for Draper or Osgood), and the if the Wings shake hands with the Sharks on Friday, you should assume that a very similar team will attempt to overcome the Sharks next year at this time.

Statistics:

Shots 41-38 Detroit overall, breaking down as 12-11 Detroit in the 1st period, 14-8 Detroit in the 2nd period, 16-8 San Jose in the 3rd period and 7-3 Detroit in OT.

The Wings went 2-for-4 in 6:38 of PP time; the Sharks went 2-for-4 in 5:35 of PP time.

Howard stopped 34 of 38; Niemi stopped 38 of 41.

The Wings’ goals: Lidstrom (2) from Zetterberg (1) and Holmstrom (4);

Eaves (3) from Helm (3) and Draper (1);

Datsyuk (3) from Zetterberg (2) and Lidstrom (3).

The 3 stars, per Pierre LeBrun, are Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Devin Setoguchi.

Faceoffs 35-31 San Jose (47% won by Detroit);

Blocked shots 24-11 San Jose;

Missed shots 16-11 Detroit (total attempts 81-60 Detroit);

Hits 36-20 Detroit;

Giveaways 9-4 Detroit;

Takeaways 13-5 Detroit.

Individual Stats:

Faceoffs Datsyuk went 13-and-6 (68%); Zetterberg went 6-and-10 (38%); Filppula went 5-and-6 (45%); Draper went 2-and-2 (50%); Helm went 2-and-2 (50%); Abdelkader went 1-and-3 (25%); Eaves went 0-and-2; Franzen went 0-and-2; Cleary went 1-and-1; Hudler went 1-and-1.

Shots: Datsyuk, Salei and Hudler co-led the team with 5 shots; Ericsson had 4; Abdelkader, Rafalski and Holmstrom had 3; Lidstrom, Eaves, Stuart, Bertuzzi and Franzen had 2; Cleary, Zetterberg and Kronwall had 1.

Blocked attempts: Eaves had 4 shot attempts blocked by Sharks players, as did Kronwall; Cleary and Franzen had 3 shot attempts blocked; Salei, Rafalski and Zetterberg had 2 shot attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Filppula and Ericsson had 1 shot attempt blocked.

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

Hits: Datsyuk and Bertuzzi had 5 hits; Cleary and Helm had 4; Hudler and Kronwall had 3; Abdelkader, Eaves and Franzen had 2; Stuart, Salei, Rafalski, Draper, Filppula and Ericsson had 1.

Giveaways: Stuart, Ericsson and Kronwall ahd 2 giveaways; Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Bertuzzi had 1.

Takeaways: Helm had 3 takeaways; Datsyuk had 2; Cleary, Rafalski, Zetterberg, Bertuzzi, Filppula, Kronwall, Franzen and Holmstrom had 1.

Blocked opponent shots: Kronwall blocked 3 shots; Datsyuk blocked 2; Lidstrom, Eaves, Salei, Rafalski, Zetterberg and Ericsson blocked 1 shot.

Penalties taken: Hudler, Rafalski, Draper and Helm took minor penalties.

Points: Zetterberg had 2 assists; Lidstrom had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Datsyuk and Eaves had goals; Draper, Helm and Holmstrom had assists.

Plus-minus: Rafalski and Ericsson were -2; Abdelkader, Cleary, Zetterberg and Franzen were -1; Salei, Draper and Kronwall were +1.

Ice time: Kronwall led the team with 25:02 played; Lidstrom played 23:59; Stuart played 23:18;

Zetterberg played 23:09; Rafalski played 22:57; Datsyuk played 22:26;

Ericsson played 22:18;  Salei played 21:08; Franzen played 20:08;

Filppula played 19:54; Holmstrom played 19:23; Cleary played 19:22;

Bertuzzi played 17:03;  Hudler played 16:54; Abdelkader played 14:00;

Helm played 11:44; Eaves played 9:48; Draper played 8:53.

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Comments

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I wouldn’t mind seeing fillpula gone. He hasn’t done a whole lot since the new contract.

Posted by Stuck in the soo on 05/05/11 at 12:41 AM ET

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You’re assuming Lidstrom comes back.  Given that the Wings aren’t really a juggernaut anymore I don’t think that’s a lock at all.

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

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Sounds promising.

If you’re telling the truth, and Holland plans to do nothing significant, then it sounds like we need a new GM too, in addition to new players. If I recall, the Wings didn’t just stand put from 2000 to 2002 and hope for the best. They made big, big additions. If Holland doesn’t realize this is needed, then he’s lost his touch. It’s been a long time since Lidstrom, Datsyuk, and Zetterberg were drafted. And now we seem to have zilch in the pipeline. More undersized, finesse european forwards. More undersized, soft puck-moving defenseman. Whether it’s blasphemy to say so or not, I’m starting to really doubt Holland.

And ditto for Babcock. Babcock continues to get outcoached, against San Jose in particular. Even if he’s better than every other coach in the NHL besides Mclellan, you can’t have your team coached by someone when his ex-assistant coaches a conference rival, and his ex-assistant has his number completely. Either you get Mclellan fired from San Jose, or maybe Babcock has to go. Because when does this ever change if he stays? Every year it will be Babcock against Mclellan come postseason, and Mclellan will outcoach him badly, and we will lose.

Clearly, something has to change. It’s my opinion that a lot has to change. They better do something significant.

Posted by Johnson22 on 05/05/11 at 12:51 AM ET

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This was the worst game I have ever seen.  My sorrow is utter and complete.  My son is shamed.  Do you think they will use American Hero Mike Modano?  They should.  He is, after all, as aforementioned, an American Hero.  My other suggestion: Bring Hasek back from the grave.

Posted by The Mule's Dad. from San Jose on 05/05/11 at 12:54 AM ET

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Do you think they will use American Hero Mike Modano?  They should.  He is, after all, as aforementioned, an American Hero.

As a Sharks fan I can’t tell you how happy I am that Modano hasn’t been in the lineup.  Pretty sure that dude has a minority ownership interest in the Sharks.

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

Alan's avatar

I wouldn’t want this team scrapped, per say. There are a couple players that I think will find their way to the door (Ericsson and Salei come to mind).

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 05/05/11 at 12:58 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

You’re assuming Lidstrom comes back.  Given that the Wings aren’t really a juggernaut anymore I don’t think that’s a lock at all.

That’s up to Lidstrom, not you. Quit kicking sand.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/05/11 at 01:00 AM ET

sloaner's avatar

I think more changes need to be made than George suggests as well, but calling for the heads of Babcock and Holland is a few years premature.  Like 20. 

Size is the issue I think, not nationality.  You can’t coach size and toughness.  The Sharks have both, Detroit has toughness.  But I don’t think toughness and skill can make up for athleticism and strength in the current NHL.  I also don’t know if it’s possible to improve this team through trades though.  Nobody wants Hudler’s 2.75.  Bert is spotty performer and only chooses to use his size on occasion.  Ericsson is still a 6’4 giveaway machine and we still might have to pay through the nose to keep him.  Fil could still develop and make us look bad for dumping him. 

I really hope Lidstrom takes mercy on the city of Detroit and takes one more swing at it.

Posted by sloaner from Los Angeles, CA on 05/05/11 at 01:01 AM ET

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That’s up to Lidstrom, not you.

Sure, but he was ready to walk away before so do you really think he’s coming back at 41/42 if he doesn’t think the Wings can win the cup?  What more does he have to prove?

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

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By the way, a follow up on Holland:

Trading Ville Leino for a 6th round pick = awful move (but it’s the past, that was last year. More importantly is the following).
Signing Ruslan Salei: awful move.
Signing Mike Modano: It’s the most important time of the season, and coach doesn’t even think he’s better than Patrick Eaves or Kris Draper or anyone else. He’s not even playing. That’s a bad signing.
Signing Todd Bertuzzi: not a great move because the player lacks hockey sense and takes bad penalties.
Signing Filppula at 3mil per season for 5 years: bad move.
Standing pat at the deadline, leaving Ericsson as your #5 defenseman: bad move. Ericsson is not ready.
Overloading the roster with soft, finesse forwards, and not bringing in enough grit: bad decision/philosophy.

He really has not done anything good since signing Hossa, and that was a gimme. Hossa wanted to come to Detroit for one year to try and win the Cup. What was Holland going to do, reject him? Look at the other side of the table, what Doug Wilson has done. He traded for Dan Boyle. He traded for Dany Heatley. He traded for Ian White and it cost basically nothing. He drafted Demers in the 7th round. He drafted Setoguchi. He drafted Couture. You could go on forever.

Teams are generally a reflection of their general manager, and since 2003, Doug Wilson has been consistently adding and adding talent, making big moves when he can, and building and building the team, making it slightly better each season, while Ken Holland has mostly coasted on having a core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom in place. At least a few years ago he signed Rafalski, a very nice signing, and did some things. But since then, since 08, Hossa aside, he has just coasted along with this ever aging roster, never adding, never making moves, never doing anything at all. I don’t know if it’s arrogance, like “we’re the Red Wings, we don’t need to add anything because we’re the best no matter what,” or what it is.

I really don’t know what’s gone through his head, but he needs to wake up.

Posted by Johnson22 on 05/05/11 at 01:02 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Lidstrom can do whatever the hell he wants, just as you can troll in here and be a contrarian, holier-than-thou bully. You’re very good at that.

Suggesting, “Oh, you guys suck, so Lidstrom’s gonna retire”—which is what you’re politely doing—might get your rocks off, but it’s rather insulting to both Wings fans and Lidstrom.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 05/05/11 at 01:05 AM ET

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I’d be surprised if Lidstrom doesn’t return George. He’s still a fantastic defenseman. Players generally play until they can’t so I don’t see why he wouldn’t return.

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

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Suggesting, “Oh, you guys suck, so Lidstrom’s gonna retire”—which is what you’re politely doing—might get your rocks off, but it’s rather insulting to both Wings fans and Lidstrom.

When did I say “you guys suck?”  It’s hardly out of left field to suggest that without major changes the Wings aren’t going to be better than the Sharks next year.  The Blackhawks could be better next year.  The Ducks will be strong.  Kopitar will be back for the Kings.  The Canucks should still be pretty good.  I don’t think it’s wrong at all to suggest that with another year of age the Wings might not be one of the 3 best teams in the west next year.

Wings will have to convince Lidstrom that a. they can win the cup, and b. they can win the cup with Lidstrom being a 20mpg PP specialist.  Can they do that?

Posted by RoneFace on 05/05/11 at 01:10 AM ET

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the issue in detroit is goaltending… howard consistently lets in at least one bad a goal a game… he was beaten by two bad goals this game..  a wrist shot from outside the circle isnt good eneough

Posted by cberth on 05/05/11 at 01:14 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

Trading Ville Leino for a 6th round pick : Gave up his shot at playing in Detroit with his attitude. And did almost nothing when he did get ice time. Was never going to amount to anything here.

Signing Ruslan Salei: Solid defenseman for the price. Fewer bonehead plays than Lilja, who’s making about 500k more

Signing Mike Modano: Disappointing, but very low risk just the same. Personally I think the wrist injury made this one. That doesnt happen and maybe he’s not so eager to talk retirement. At the very least he’s up to speed on the wings game and probably produces so me down the stretch.

Signing Todd Bertuzzi: Would have liked to see single year deals, but again, pretty low cost/low risk move. Expecting him to be a consistent top 6 threat is unreasonable.

Signing Filppula at 3mil per season for 5 years: Find me a more versatile and responsible forward for that price. A bit expensive early years yes, but I’m betting the final 2 will be a bargain.

Standing pat at the deadline, leaving Ericsson as your #5 defenseman: Who was available, for what, and with what cap space? “Well we never should have signed Modano” arguments doent count because that’s hindsight.

Compare this team from the start of the year to any other team in the league and find me one with more depth up and down the lineup. Philly? up front, yes but not on D. VAN? On D, but not up front. Looking back we can say certain players did not live up to expectations. Nature of the beast. Even with that in mind, this team is still deeper than most around the league. Doesn’t always pan out as there are 15 other teams scrapping for the same cup, but its the best way to give a team the chance to outlast injuries and outmatch other teams.

I don’t buy the tear it down strategy here at all. Kenny didn’t have a lot of room to work with going into the season, but he managed to squeeze several quality/potential quality players into the roster. If there’s the chance to improve this summer, I’m sure Kenny will do it. But other teams know the same things about our players that we do, they have scouts too, and everyone is constrained by the cap. Gotta work with what you’ve got.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 05/05/11 at 01:39 AM ET

PuckRules's avatar

the issue in detroit is goaltending… howard consistently lets in at least one bad a goal a game… he was beaten by two bad goals this game..  a wrist shot from outside the circle isnt good eneough

Posted by cberth on 05/05/11 at 12:14 AM ET

Howard is the only reason the first 2 games in San Jose were close.

Draper was really good tonight, why did it take Babcock til Game 3 to dress him? Is Drew Miller really better? Also Modano is a Shark killer yet he is a scatch too.

Posted by PuckRules on 05/05/11 at 01:41 AM ET

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Signing Filppula at 3mil per season for 5 years: Find me a more versatile and responsible forward for that price. A bit expensive early years yes, but I’m betting the final 2 will be a bargain.

$3 million is a lot in today’s NHL for a guy that’s never put up more than 40 pts.

Compare this team from the start of the year to any other team in the league and find me one with more depth up and down the lineup.

The Sharks?  Maybe?  I think the Canucks are deeper too.  Interesting take but I think you’re overrating the Wings after Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstrom quite a bit.

Posted by RoneFace on 05/05/11 at 01:55 AM ET

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Well said, Nate. Obviously significant changes aren’t coming…nor should they. Depth isn’t aproblem for this club, and hasn’t been in forever. IMHO the Salei signing was a fooching great move for what we paid for him.

I remember it used to be “the Wings’ aren’t tough enough…too soft!”. Everyone clamored for Chad Larose, then Torres and last year it was Colby Armstrong that everyone thought we needed. Now, it’s not toughness we lack, it’s simply size. Whatever. Detroit’s not going to win the Cup every year…which bothers me. But 100 point seasons, division titles and playoff appearances will continue in this city. And you know what, the Wings are going to be contender every year…simple as that. People in other cities hate that about this team…we’re ALWAYS good, even if we don’t win a championship. We are the standard by which other NHL teams measure themselves. Don’t believe it, listen to other NHL GM’s sometime.

Here’s to one more strong game and a nice ass-kicking on Friday before SJ moves on to another choke job. Joe Thornton…one of the least classy captains I’ve ever seen in the game…no Cup for you! Yeah, I’m bitter.

Posted by godblender on 05/05/11 at 02:42 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

Does this mean we win 7-1 on Friday?

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 05/05/11 at 02:47 AM ET

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I don’t think the Wings need to be scrapped or changed significantly, but there are a number of changes I would make. And goaltender isn’t one of them.

Let’s not forget how well Howard played in Phoenix and the first two games of this series.

It’s apparent to me that what the Wings are lacking isn’t really size…we’ve played physically, we’ve played with grit and out-hit the Sharks. What we’re lacking up and down the lineup is speed. Our D is slow. Our forwards aren’t getting in quickly enough on the forecheck. They aren’t getting to loose pucks.

Datsyuk is a great skater, but he isn’t particularly fast. Same with Zetterberg. Bert and Cleary, Hudler, Filppula…none of them are fast. The only guy with real, game-changing speed is Helm.

We need more speed. We need to get in on the forecheck more quickly, win more races to loose pucks, and most especially, we need to get younger and quicker on defense. The Sharks speed is really what’s causing all the problems…they’re simply beating us to loose pucks and getting in on the D and causing turnovers.

I’m like a lot of hockey faithful that believes your will/resolve plays a big part in how well you do in the post-season, but in this case, it’s not that we’re lacking in that. They’re just faster, and it’s a matchup nightmare. Until we get more speed on the back end and bring up a couple quick forwards to weed out the Bertuzzis and Clearys of the world, I think we’ll have a difficult time winning the Cup.

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

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Here’s the thing, as far as I’m concerned.  Detroit has consistently for three years now blown third period leads.  Over and over again.  Most of the time it’s because Babcock pretends he has a great defensive hockey team and they can sit back and let the opponent come into the zone over and over again and hold a one goal lead.  You cannot do that against a team as talented as the Sharks and expect to win.

McClellan has thoroughly kicked his ass, and I’m tired of his stubborn desire to play Ericsson every game.  He was awful again tonight.  The only thing that’s good about him is his size, which he has no idea or no desire to use.  If he developed a mean streak and at least started clearing out the front of the net, that would be a huge improvement.

I also think Franzen has been lazy since he got his contract.  Doesn’t back check as hard as he used, doesn’t go to the scoring areas.  He seems to think he’s got Datsyuk’s skill level in Bertuzzi’s body.  He’s a really better skating Holmstrom with a great wrist shot.  He needs go where Holmstrom goes.

Howard I think has been fine (tonight) to great (game 1), but if he ever learned to control his rebounds he could be a truly elite goalie in this league.  He has the talent, but especially with this team and their inability to clear out the slot and net front, he has to absorb more pucks.

There is a part of me that wants to fire Holland and go get Stevie to come home.

Posted by Andrew on 05/05/11 at 05:47 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

I really don’t buy the speed argument.  I mean who does San Jose have that’s all that fast?  Jumbo choke?  Nope.  Heatley?  Nope.  Clowe?  Nope.  Pavelski?  Nope.  The only two on their front line that are true speed burners are Marleau and Torrey Mitchell.  Couture and Setogouchi have good speed, but there’s nothing in their forward group that the Wings can’t match in terms of overall speed. 

On the back end, forget about it.  It’s a group of plodders.  Guys like Wallin, Murray and Vlasic.  Any of those guys fast?  Nope.  Even Boyle is shifty but has never been really fast.  Demers has decent speed, but nothing jaw-dropping.  I watch a lot of NHL hockey and I can tell you there are any number of teams that are slower then Detroit who actually match up better with San Jose.  I’ve seen it.  Speed is not the issue. 

In any case I think we’re way in danger of over-analyzing and over-reacting to some very closely contested hockey games.  In the over forty years that I’ve been watching Red Wing hockey I’ve never seen a run where I’ve felt quite as snake-bitten like this against one team.  Seven straight one-goal losses.  That’s almost not even possible.  Three of the seven went to overtime.  In most of the games there were bounces, shots off posts and deflections that, if even one of them goes the Wings’ way, it’s their game.  That just defies all odds.  It’s not as though they’re getting totally out-classed.  They could easily be up 2-1, or even 3-0 in this series.  And what would we be saying then?  We’d likely be talkin about how skilled,  resourceful and playoff savvy this team is. 

Sometimes the results skew and distort perception like a funhouse mirror and I think this, unfortunately, is one of those times.  It sucks, but honestly, tearing the whole team down, firing coaches and cleaning house in the front office is a gross over-reaction.  Fortunately cooler heads will and should prevail.  I think Ken Holland is smart enough to understand that failing to acheive the objective of winning the cup is always going to offer the challenge of re-evaluating and if that should come to pass some changes will probably be made.

Right now though, game four is scheduled for Friday night and i think the hockey gods owe us a few breaks.  Game seven is scheduled for a week from tonight.  LGRW!

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 05/05/11 at 06:03 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Wings need more SIZE - A lot of people

Yes, because Franzén, Bertuzzi and Ericsson are our MVPs.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 05/05/11 at 08:35 AM ET

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Did Howard really have that bad of a game last night. I thought he played pretty well. Hes been very unlucky. Pucks going off our own guys sticks in overtime, blind pass out to the front of the net right to Boyle, dude breaks his stick and it goes in. Howard and datsyuk gave been the two strong points so far.

Posted by Stuck in the soo on 05/05/11 at 08:49 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

The CAP system and Detroit’s low draft picks since 1997 are having Bettman’s desired effect.
San Jose is a very good team, and playing their hearts out.
mad

Posted by w2j2 on 05/05/11 at 09:01 AM ET

Sal's avatar

Aside from the sit-back-and-let-them-skate-right-in third period plan, which Lidstrom said post-game was not actually the plan, here’s what’s getting my goat about Babcock.  Lidstrom SH time: 0:00.  Sharks PP 2 for 4.

What’s Babcock saving Lidstrom for? Team Sweden at the World Championships?

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 05/05/11 at 09:06 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

$3 million is a lot in today’s NHL for a guy that’s never put up more than 40 pts.

While you’re browsing NHL.com or Wikipedia or whatever site you’re getting your stats from, look at the GP along with the points.  35 points in 55 games is $3M production.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/05/11 at 09:08 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

What has been the Wing’s playoff record since Brad McCrimmon was hired?

The Wings rank 15th out of 16 playoff teams on the penalty kill, allowing 10 goals on 33 opportunities for a 69.7 percentage.

“That’s one area obviously that they’ve been way better than us,” Niklas Kronwall said. “We have to come up with something to prevent that from happening because right now, it seems like they’re real taking advantage of it. If we would have had a better PK tonight, the outcome would have been different.”

Posted by w2j2 on 05/05/11 at 09:25 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

In any case I think we’re way in danger of over-analyzing and over-reacting to some very closely contested hockey games.

Give the man from Portland a cookie.  You don’t dismantle a whole system after one bad playoff series loss.  Not when that system has brought home four Cups.  You assess strengths and weaknesses, you address what you can with what is available, and you keep the faith.  Most importantly, you realize that, as Cal said in another thread, you get a ticket to the dance, but that doesn’t guarantee you go home with the prom queen.  You realize that you can’t win the Cup every year, but getting in the playoffs every year is something that few other teams can emulate, and will bring you home your share of titles.

Calling for the heads of the GM or coach after three tight games is the worst kind of armchair analysis (®2010-2011 RWBill, All Rights Reserved).

The CAP system and Detroit’s low draft picks since 1997 are having Bettman’s desired effect.
San Jose is a very good team, and playing their hearts out.

Another good one from an old-timer on here.  Probably doesn’t realize that the two statements are related.  Let’s look at the skilled forwards that are kicking our butts.  Couture, Setoguchi, Thornton, Marleau, Heatley…now show me one of those that WASN’T drafted in the top ten of their class, bearing in mind that due to our repeated success, we generally don’t get to pick inside the top twenty, and even that is a stretch.  Go ahead and bring up Pavelski and Clowe’s draft positions—I’ll bring up Datsyuk and Zetterberg’s.  Every draft is to a large degree a crapshoot (and the gems tend to show themselves in the development systems), but picking in the top ten generally is a slam-dunk.

Keep the faith, motherf*ckers.  Don’t jump ship after a few tough times.

After all, that’d make you Sharts fans.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/05/11 at 11:03 AM ET

YzermanZetterberg's avatar

The Sharks have definitely had some “puck luck,” including Setoguchi’s misfire trickling in and the blind pass to Boyle. In both of those cases, however, the shooter was left absolutely wide open.

The 5-on-5 defensive lapses and poor PK that the Wings kept saying “we have to fix” all season long have come back to haunt them. This is why the regular season matters.

While Zetterberg is one of my favorites, I couldn’t disagree more with his earlier statement about being able to “turn it on” for the playoffs. Even if you want to argue that perhaps an elite player like him can do so, it’s patently obvious to me that the same is not true for the team as whole.

After this deja vu of a post-season, perhaps Babcock will be able to get them to buy into playing more consistently disciplined hockey in their own end next year. To me, that’s the difference between the Red Wings and Sharks right now…the Sharks have bought into the discipline that McClellan preached to them all season and the Wings—for whatever reason—have not done the same for Babcock. Maybe it’s personnel, maybe it’s complacency, maybe it’s arrogance. I don’t know. What I do know is that it needs to change if this team really wants to be a contender.

Posted by YzermanZetterberg on 05/05/11 at 11:19 AM ET

Leo_Racicot's avatar

You don’t dismantle a whole system after one bad playoff series loss.  Not when that system has brought home four Cups.
Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/05/11 at 10:03 AM ET

I agree, the Wings would be foolish to dismantle this team given the immense talent on this roster.  Arguably the deepest and most talented in the entire NHL.

I am having an extremely difficult time finding much similarity to the way this team executes on the rink as opposed to the way things were done just a few years ago.

I think the phlosophical approach to the execution of play needs to be looked at closely as the numbers do not lie.  This is no longer an elite defensive, puck carrying, special teams executing organization.

Resting laurels on two first round wins over Phoenix and drawing up “bad luck” and “mental lapses” against San Jose seem far too convenient.  It’s unfortunate that the Wings didn’t draw Vancouver, Chicago, or Nashville these past two seasons in the second round, I have little dobut that the results would’ve been very similar to what we’ve seen with San Jose.

Posted by Leo_Racicot on 05/05/11 at 11:29 AM ET

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What’s Babcock saving Lidstrom for?

This is one of the big problems with Babcock in this round.  He’s made a number of stubborn decisions and they’ve really cost the team.

In the last round it was a great plan to save Lidstrom for when he was needed, but guess what?  HE’S NEEDED NOW!!

Lidstrom, Rafalski, Stuart and Kronwall should be playing 25+ minutes per game, and Lidstrom should be playing with Rafi, Kronwall with Stu.  Ericsson and Salei should NOT be playing 20+ minutes per game.

And why is it that, in the regular season when Babcock puts Z & Datsyuk together, at the FIRST sign of trouble he immediately separates them, yet it took him TWO FUCHING GAMES to decide to separate them this time?

And why was it that, when Zetterberg and Franzen were OKed for game one, Babcock scratched Draper, one third of the BEST LINE we had for the entirety of the Phoenix series?

With the way Ericsson’s been playing, why is Kindl not even getting a sniff?

you should assume that a very similar team will attempt to overcome the Sharks next year

I guess it depends on what your definition of “similar” is, but I hope you’re wrong.  There need to be some real changes made.

When we lost to the Sharks last year, it was excusable because of the year we had.  It was legit that we had run out of gas because of the rush to get seeding in the playoffs.

This year, we’ve just been outplayed and outcoached.  There is only one real injury to the team and we haven’t been able to get it done.

Eaves HAS to be re-signed and one of Draper and Miller should be re-signed.  I wouldn’t have a problem if Draper/Helm/Eaves was our everyday fourth line or if it was Miller/Helm/Eaves.

Remember when Detroit built from the defense out?  Let Ericsson go and say goodbye to Salei and pick up a reliable veteran defenseman to play with Kindl next year.  Someone who costs and is worth more than $1.1M, please.

In goal, I don’t care what Osgood’s “decision” is, I think it’s about time, in this third year as a starter, that Jimmy Howard gets an actual backup.  No offense to Joey Mac, but when you’ve got the guy you picked up to be your veteran backup in Grand Rapids as your everyday backup in Detroit, something’s wrong.  Ty Conklin’s going to be back on the market on July 1, howzabout offering him a contract?

You don’t dismantle a whole system after one bad playoff series loss.  Not when that system has brought home four Cups.

No, you don’t dismantle, but you also don’t stand pat when you’ve lost two years straight to the exact same team and you can’t just make changes because people are retiring, you have to assess the team and look at the guys who aren’t working, who have been in the organization for years and haven’t fulfilled the potential that you kept them around for.  Guys like Hudler and Filppula were given the contracts they were given based on potential and it’s hard to argue that you can afford to keep both of those guys on the payroll.  Filppula is good, and if he was “just” a third line centre it might work, but he’s NOT a second line centre, and if your plan is to be able to have Z and Datsyuk playing on a line together full time then you NEED to pick up a legit 2nd line centre, because Filppula is nowhere near consistent enough to be that guy.  And shit, Abdelkader or Helm can fill that 3rd line centre role just fine, so where does Filppula fit?

And yeah, as someone pointed out, 35 points in 55 games last year was in line with his $3M payday, but this year he played 24 more games and got 4 more points.  Is THAT worth it?  I don’t know.

There need to be changes beyond replacing Modano with another old body and replacing Salei with another cheap body to play 8 “reliable” minutes per night.

Posted by Garth on 05/05/11 at 11:47 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Relax, Garth, I actually agree with you.  What’s alarming me is people calling for a whole new system based on size, or speed, or something like that.  You CANNOT change a system overnight—coaching personnel need to be changed, on-ice rosters need to be changed, drafting and development philosophies need to be changed, hell, perhaps even the GM or ownership need to be changed.  Calling for a whole different system based on one bad playoff series in which things have been pretty close is pressing the button as soon as the Soviet ICBM ships set sail for Cuba.  Let’s wait until it’s reasonably clear that things aren’t working before deciding we need to be more like the Sharks/Ducks/Insert Team Name Here.

Are a few subtle and not-so-subtle tweaks needed?  Obviously.  Salei and Ericsson probably need to go.  Miller probably will go in favor of Mursak, and then we might see 5 go up to the rafters this year.  In terms of the bigger changes, maybe Wally is indeed on the trade block, and even Leo might be on to something with a need for change in the coaching culture—this team is not that different in personnel to the one that won the Cup in 2008, but is executing far worse than that one, and has been for a long time, regular season and playoffs.

So what needs to change?  I’ll leave that to the guys who get paid to figure that out.  All I know is that blowing up the whole system and replacing it with the flavor of the month isn’t the solution.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/05/11 at 12:14 PM ET

calquake's avatar

Sometimes the results skew and distort perception like a funhouse mirror and I think this, unfortunately, is one of those times.

The best synopsis of this years playoffs that I’ve read.  Detroit is not as good as they seemed to be in sweeping Phoenix/Wherever and not as bad as some think in this series.  What’s worse… losing to Phoenix last round or losing to the Sharks this round?  Next year is next year… for now, like the Wings, I’m going to focus on Friday’s game.  Pointing fingers and assigning blame can wait until after this is over.

Posted by calquake on 05/05/11 at 12:26 PM ET

Krononymous's avatar

While I am disappointed, it’s mostly because I feel like I am watching the same game over and over again.  As with last season, these are all one goal games.  WestWing stated it much more eloquently but I haven’t seen domination from the Sharks.  I’ve just seen a Wings team that is not clicking.  To say that the Wings need to major changes because the Sharks seem to have our number right now is ridiculous until that team actually makes it to the Finals and wins the Cup.  I still don’t see that happening.  I think we’ll be younger next season due to attrition and that’s the only change I want to see.

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

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I don’t want a whole new system. I just want a new coaching staff. McLellan ran the offense, the PP and was a buffer between Babs and the players. Since he took the SJ job, the Sharks have been on an upward trajectory and the Wings have been headed down. The PP is whiskey. The PK is a sieve. No third period lead is ever safe. All three of those are coaching. The talent and heart of our players are doing their part. They just need a coaching staff that can get the most out of them.

In light of the playoff collapse, all the blown leads, blown PKs and blown PPs, does any one want to reconsider whether or not Zatta’s comments were signs of discord between the players and the coaches?

Babs acts all smug and aloof, like he knows better than everyone else, he rarely talks to his players 1 on 1, and he throws his players under the bus to the media. In other words, he thinks he’s Scotty Bowman. Trouble is, there is only one Scotty. And if Scotty started coaching at the same time as Babs, Scotty wouldn’t get away with that kind of behavior for long either. Scotty got away it with while coaching the Wings because he had a championship resume that stretched back 20 years to the era when coaches could pull that crap. So even though players and society had changed, the team had to put up with Scotty the Anachronism. Babs has a cup, but he’s not Scotty, and the players are not willing to put up with his shtick any longer.

Even if Lombardi came back from the dead, he couldn’t use the coaching methods he employed in the 1960’s.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/05/11 at 01:13 PM ET

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Relax, Garth, I actually agree with you.

Sorry, it ended up being much more of a rant than I meant it to be…

I’m not calling for a whole overhaul, but I do believe that there need to be some real changes, rather than just cosmetic ones, like swapping one 35 year old 5th defenseman for another, or the random aquisition of an aging veteran (McCarty, May, Modano) because apparently the organization thinks the main thing that Dallas Drake brought was oldness.

team is not that different in personnel to the one that won the Cup in 2008

Cosmetically it may be, but when you look deeper it isn’t.  McLellan is gone and frankly, hasn’t been replaced basically at all.  Our defence and PK have been floundering for years and we don’t have the top six players to be winning games 7-6 like we did when we had Hossa.

And frankly, cap management hasn’t been as wonderful as we like to think.  I wouldn’t trade Z or Mule for the world, but consider that in 2008-9 we had Z, Mule, Happy and Hossa for $12M and they netted 128 goals and 260 points combined.  This year we have Z, Mule and Hudler for almost a million more and they totaled 62 goals and 132 points.  That’s 50% fewer goals and points for more money.  Sure, Hossa was a steal, and sure much of that salary was eaten up by locking up two cornerstones, but still, that’s a HUGE loss.

And is our third pairing right now really any better than Lilja/Mebda?

I would much rather see a $3M defenseman playing third pairing with Kindl than and Abdelkader centring the third line than Salei or Ericsson on third pairing and Hudler taking up a spot on the third line.

It just frustrates me that the org seems to have stalled, thinking that they’re good enough to win the Cup when anyone else can objectively say that they aren’t.

Yes, role players play a huge part in winning, but you can’t look at our defense and see that it’s fractured, if not broken, and say “this is our cap room, let’s see who will take that much”.  You need to find the piece you need and make it fit.  If we had better defense including a reliable third pairing then it wouldn’t be a worrisome to have inexperienced guys like Mursak and Emmerton as everyday forwards.

And this is a great year to do it, too.  Bring in Mursak, Emmerton and Kindl as regulars and you can take the space made by not re-signing Modano, Salei and Osgood (and either not re-signing Draper or signing him to something more comparable to what Helm and Eaves make) and make a trade if neccesary, then target someone who can be on your third pairing, someone you can feel good about giving more minutes to in order to alleviate Lidstrom.  It’s a great idea to have Lidstrom not playing 25+ minutes a night for 80+ games, but only if the guys taking up the slack are good enough to carry it.

Posted by Garth on 05/05/11 at 01:24 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

They just need a coaching staff that can get the most out of them.

Trouble is, that used to be Babcock’s strength—getting everything out of every player, even role players.  Getting everyone to fulfill every last ounce of their potential.  Maybe he’s managed to do just that with this crop of players and now they need a coach that will take them in a new direction.  Because if they’ve tuned him out, that’s the only solution.  So who do you get?

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/05/11 at 01:24 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

So who do you get?
Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/05/11 at 12:24 PM ET

I would go with a new, up-and-comer, like Stevie did with the Bolts. There has to be another minor league coach out there, who wants his team to play a puck possession style, and is ready for a shot at the NHL like Guy Boucher.

I would still like to see Barry Smith get a shot in the NHL, but perhaps that ship has sailed.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/05/11 at 01:33 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

I would much rather see a $3M defenseman playing third pairing with Kindl than and Abdelkader centring the third line than Salei or Ericsson on third pairing and Hudler taking up a spot on the third line.

Agreed.  But I was prepared, going into this season, to have Gator centering the third line, and was less than thrilled when we went chasing after Modano.  In hindsight, we may have been right about that, and maybe Gator can indeed center the third line.  We tried it with Modano, now maybe we can try it with him in 2011-12.

And unfortunately, Hudler may be untradeable due to his cap hit vs. production and flaws.  We may be stuck with him for one more season, unless Mike Milbury takes over a GM gig somewhere again.  Pray to the Flying Spaghettti Monster that he regains his 50-70 point form.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/05/11 at 01:36 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.