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Red Wings’ loss to the Blues is a new low point (so let’s vent about it)

The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 10-3 decision to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, seriously endangering their hopes of finishing 2nd in the Western Conference and at least letting the Nashville Predators off the mat in the Central Division race by playing perhaps the worst game they’ve issued in a season or three, leaving Joey MacDonald out to dry and doing the same to rookie Thomas McCollum.

In theory, I’m supposed to say something that is either inflammatory, like, “This proves that the Wings are too old/slow/vulnerable and will totally bomb in the first round!” or, “No no, really, they stank on ice, but this is a regrettable aberration, and while the Wings went an ugly 1-2-and-2 on their 5-game home stand and have been playing plain old incompetent hockey, never mind lackadaisically, of late,” and while I do lean toward the latter suggestion…

I am a Wings fan, too, and in lieu of swearing, I’ll offer you a list I wrote during the game…

Players who have shown up to play tonight:

1. Nicklas Lidstrom
2. Jakub Kindl
3. Tomas Holmstrom
4. Johan Franzen
5. Mike Modano
6. Darren Helm
7. Joey MacDonald
8. Thomas McCollum

That’s not to say that the above-mentioned players didn’t struggle like nobody’s business—Lidstrom finished at -3 and the team was a collective -30—but they did work hard and do their best to actually play hockey, which can’t be said of their other teammates.

I actually thought that the Bertuzzi-Filppula-Franzen and Abdelkader-Modano-Holmstrom lines looked very good in terms of offensive chemistry, too, but no one looked decent defensively.

And before opening up this thread to discussion, laments and criticism toward the Wings’ horrific effort—and the Wings earned everything you’re about to say and more, so please do vent—I’d encourage you to watch the following video, because there’s nothing like a North Korean dance party when it comes to cheering me up.

Also: When the Wings lose, I tend to buy a pack of hockey cards because I feel the need to do SOMETHING that involves spending money to realign hockey karma. I’m gonna try to find a box of cards at Wal-Mart tonight.

Also II: I’m interested in starting a TMR membership drive for charity. Any lurkers interested? Send me a tweet or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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edillac's avatar

just found this at PD,courtesy of Voline:

Associated Press
March 30, 2011 at 11:47 PM EDT

DETROIT — A wildcat strike by the players of the Detroit Red Wings professional hockey team has entered a third week. The Red Wings are in the midst of a work slow-down to press their demand that the remainder of the NHL regular season be cancelled and the playoffs begin immediately.

The players are practicing an unconventional strike tactic known as “work to rule.”

“We learned it from some of the old auto-workers who remember job actions,” said Red Wings starting goaltender Jimmy Howard. “We’ll show up to work, put on our uniforms and take the ice, but we’re not going to do any more than the bare minimum required by the rules.”

“Look, we’re bored out of our minds, here”, said veteran forward Todd Bertuzzi. “We’ve known that we were going to make the playoffs since November. You can’t expect Jimmy to stand in front of 100 mile-an-hour slapshots for no reason. We’re ready for a game that means something, already.”

The Wings have done little more than skating and breathing, and occasionally waiving a stick at a puck for over three weeks. Surprisingly, they have still managed to win 5 of their last 10 games.

Centerman Kris Draper insists there is no crack in the players’ united front. “Everyone is on board. The Swedes are from a country that’s 90% unionized and Pav insists that this is the way they brought down Communism,” he said referring to Russian-born center Pavel Datsyuk. “Still, sometimes Pav’s mind wanders and he scores on a breakaway. But it’s inadvertent. He’s totally down with the program.”

“We are prepared to continue to go through the motions until mid-April if need be.” says team Captain and six-time Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. “Really, what are we going to prove by playing the Wild? Let’s start the playoffs now and everyone will be happier.”

Posted by edillac from isolation on 03/31/11 at 06:31 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Posted by edillac from Rollin’ down the street on 03/31/11 at 05:31 AM ET

Funny post. And that’s why I have a hard time for bitching too much about this team.

Then again, the playoffs are right around the corner, if the players have this “I don’t care about the regular season” mentality, it’s time to start caring.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 03/31/11 at 07:34 AM ET

Rdwings28's avatar

George says, “I’m gonna try to find a box of (hockey)cards at Wal-Mart tonight.”
Please make it a whole case if they have one.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 03/31/11 at 09:02 AM ET

WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Last night’s route was an obvious defensively inept effort.  The score shows that.

Going along with the “players tuning Babs out” theme, could it have been a possible coup d’etat by the defensive core?

I know it would be extremely unprofessional but could they have been so upset that Babs is throwing a veteran such as Selei under the bus, this late in the season, that they decided to “throw” this game in protest?

Just a thought.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 03/31/11 at 09:21 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I know it would be extremely unprofessional but could they have been so upset that Babs is throwing a veteran such as Selei under the bus, this late in the season, that they decided to “throw” this game in protest?

I sincerely pray that this is not the case.

This is the kind of thing that would make me stop rooting for a team.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/31/11 at 09:59 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Posted by edillac from Rollin’ down the street on 03/31/11 at 05:31 AM ET

That reads strangely similar to a couple of pieces I wrote several years ago.

The Datsyuk difference?  Didn’t catch it exactly as my eyes couldn’t focus very well last night:

With Datsyuk.      .750
Without Datsyuk.  .560

With Datsyuk.  0.50 Fewer Goals Against per game!

Those are astonishing numbers, and of great concern that the health and performance of just one player is the only thing separating you between Conference first place contender and #9.

Posted by RWBill on 03/31/11 at 10:08 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

And do we really want to put Datsyuk, our apparent key to a playoff run, on the ice at a venue where NHL, Inc., has consistent selective amnesia about protecting players’ heads? 

Anyone remember the direct blow to the jaw of Abdelkader which was reckless and far more dangerous than for what Bertuzzi was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct? 

In an atmosphere where players heads are fair game and condoned by NHL, inc., I don’t really want to see Datsyuk making his first appearance back from an injury.

Posted by RWBill on 03/31/11 at 10:23 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

I think because of the way the Wings played the first few seasons after he left, we all figured we had dodged the “OMG Yzerman is gone we’re screwed” bullet, when what we were really seeing was “afterglow.”

Excellent point, Paul. I’ve thought much the same thing.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie, MI on 03/31/11 at 10:38 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by AxeMaster9 on 03/30/11 at 10:38 PM ET

The negativity about this team (at least any that I’ve brought forth) is purely self-inflicted.

If you look at their play objectively since early December, it’s clear that the five game winning streak was the aberration, and the rest is what they really are.

Yeah, we’ve seen them flip the switch, like in ‘09, but this is different. In ‘09 they were relatively healthy and had more talent, so flipping the switch was a more realistic thing to expect.

This year, they have had some significant injuries and regardless of that, aren’t as talented. God bless the likes of Miller and Eaves—they are two of the only players that seem to have put forth a hard-working effort each night this year—but talent-wise it is a far cry from when those spots were taken by Hossa and Samuelsson.

If the Wings want me to say something positive, they can do something positive.

Regardless of how crummy they’ve been, none of it changes the fact that I watch every game, root for them no matter the situation, and want nothing more than for them to flip the switch.

Just that my better judgment tells me not to hold my breath for that to happen.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/31/11 at 11:34 AM ET


I was wondering how you were going to spin your “buddy” Tom’s mess into a good game.  “He showed up.”  I guess that’s about all you can say, so I’ll let you pass.  But he did look really bad in there.  Hope we don’t see him again for three years.  There’s a reason he’s in Toledo.  Maybe KH will throw a bunch of money at Larsson soon.

Posted by jkm2011 on 03/31/11 at 11:44 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 03/30/11 at 10:59 PM ET

I know some people will say you are overstating a regular season game for a team that will make the playoffs regardless, but I agree with you.

The way they’ve played since December, culminating in the stinkers they’ve laid recently, puts us into the dangerous territory where you have to at least ask some hard questions.

If things don’t find their course over the next two weeks, my questions for Holland, Babcock, and the players are:
- What’s wrong?
- The talent hasn’t changed much, so why was the team so bad most of this season?
- Does that indicate a coaching problem? If so, what’s the solution? Babcock has proven he’s a top-notch coach, and many of the players have proven they are top-flight talents. So if they don’t get along, how does this get solved?
- Or has the talent lost a little something? If so, what changed in the talent? Did Holland overrate Franzen? Filppula? Kronwall? Ericsson?
- Has loyalty been part of the problem? It’s one of the things that makes the organization great, and great to be a fan of, but has the clinging to guys like Maltby, Draper, and Osgood wasted cap space and prevented cheaper yet more talented players from playing?

My optimistic view is this—they had such a struggle with injuries last year, and once they were healthy, were the best team in hockey. They ran out of gas against the Sharks, which is reasonable—it took a lot for them to go on that 30 game run to get in the playoffs and all the way up to the fourth seed. So maybe organizationally—management, coaching, players—everyone thought, alright, we’ll get healthy, we have a longer summer than usual, so we’ll get mentally and physically recoup’d and get back on the track we had in ‘07 - ‘09. And after a good start to the season with a lot of home games and quality wins, maybe they got a little cocky. And just figured, hey we’re healthy, feel good, this will be easy. And so mentally all this conspired to damage their focus and mentally soften them. And hopefully hopefully hopefully this season will have taught them a hard lesson, and they will all come back next year with true determination.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/31/11 at 11:49 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

The Zetterberg stuff is stupid. Players don’t have the like the coach, they just have to trust him and listen to him appropriately. Considering how the team played in ‘09 and even how they were able to flip it on once they got healthy last regular season, Zetterberg’s comment is really just something many of us have thought ourselves. It might be a little careless for a player to say it, but it isn’t that big of a deal.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 03/31/11 at 11:52 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.


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