The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/22/14 at 06:53 PM ET
The Red Wings' "out of the playoff mix" status in terms of their spot in the Eastern Conference Standings yielded what the Free Press's Helene St. James reports was a twist in the subject matter discussed at the Wings' mid-season organizational powwow.
Instead of discussing draft prospects, St. James reports that the front office--Ken Holland, Ryan Martin, Kris Draper, Mark Howe's pro scouts, Tyler Wright's amateur scouts, the team's prospect and goalie mentors and font-of-knowledge Jimmy Devellano--both prepared for a possible non-playoff draft outlook (which would involve qualifying for the NHL's draft lottery) and attempted to assess which players might help the cause of a roster so beset by injuries that one must look back to October to see what a "fully healthy" (or nearly so) Red Wings team was capable of producing in terms of points and wins.
Holland told St. James that the Wings may or may not "buy" at the deadline...
There’s extra pressure to win the rest of January and early February because the NHL shuts down for the Olympics from Feb. 9-25 (there’s a roster freeze from Feb. 7-23, preventing any trades). Post-Sochi, the Wings have just three games before the March 5 deadline, when decisions will have to be made on what to do — if anything.
“The more we win, the more you can think about being a buyer,” Holland said. “Last year, we were on the bubble, we made a decision to hang on to everybody and felt that if we got healthy, we could make a run. As it worked out, that’s what happened — we got healthy, we played our way in, we got to game seven of round two.”
Holland is evaluating the Wings more on the 15-8-7 record they put together the first 30 games than the 6-10-3 record between games 31 through 49, a stretch that began with having neither Henrik Zetterberg nor Pavel Datsyuk.
“We looked like we were putting something together,” Holland said. “Then Zetterberg went down, and we haven’t really been able to gain any traction. We’ve lost a lot of ground to a lot of people. We’ve played under .500 since early December.
“I’m hoping by the weekend, early next week, we’ll have a couple more people back. Games are running by here, and we have some decisions to make by the fifth of March. We’ve got about 10 games before we really have to make some decisions.”
And instead of looking at Brian Rafalski (St. James reports that Jimmy Devellano's watching Raalski's comeback attempt with the ECHL's Florida Everblades as Devellano spends part of his winter in Florida) as a quick and easy fix, Holland's crossing his fingers that the "fix" will come from within until it can justify making moves to fortify a real and honest playoff push:
“We’re hoping we can play our way into being a buyer, or at least stand pat,” Holland said. “But the next 10 games are critical.”
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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.