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The Malik Report

The Wings’ Issues

from Brian Stubits of CBS Sports,

The injury issue is very real but that doesn't mean other issues aren't present. For one the Wings don't scream greatness down the middle. Get past the awesome Pavel Datsyuk and you're talking about a center corps that has Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist (who has been most productive of this bunch), Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss among a few others who have popped up from the AHL. Weiss was supposed to be the No. 2 guy but he's been felled by the old injury bug and before that was having a dreadful beginning to his Wings career with four points in 26 games.

There is also the issue of a lack of offense from the blue line. Niklas Kronwall is fourth on the team with 29 points but among defensemen Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl are next with a whopping 11. The defensemen not named Kronwall have combined for a goal and six assists on the power play, a power play that is 22nd in the NHL at 16.8 percent. It's pretty apparent Niklas Lidstrom isn't back there anymore.

It all helps to explain why the Red Wings, the high-powered Red Wings just a couple of seasons ago, are 23rd in the NHL with 2.45 goals per game. When we adjust for the goal that absolutely should not have counted against LA as it was scored by the mesh above the boards, the Red Wings have scored six goals in the past six games -- three coming in one game.

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Comments

Hank1974's avatar

I don’t know why, but it bothers me greatly when people who don’t follow a team mess up the players positions, haha.

Datsyuk and Zetterberg are both centres.
When Weiss is healthy, they split them up, but they centre their own lines here and there.

Nyquist hasn’t been a centre at any level since his NCAA days.

Anderson and Helm are prototypical 3rd line pivots and Sheahan has shown some ability to centre a third line as well.

So when all is healthy, they could easily put Zetts(or Dats), Weiss, Helm, Anderson down the middle.
Not too shabby.
It’s even better if they split up Z and Dats.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/22/14 at 12:50 PM ET

Chet's avatar

seems like he doesn’t really know who plays center for the team, but otherwise most of this is pretty tough to argue with.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 01/22/14 at 12:50 PM ET

SK77's avatar

“The Wings have been beset by injury!”

“If you study the numbers you’ll see that they’re not producing like they used to!”

Hrmmm .... better get some forensics going. See if there’s any correlation there.

Posted by SK77 on 01/22/14 at 01:02 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

I don’t know why, but it bothers me greatly when people who don’t follow a team mess up the players positions, haha.

Posted by Hank1974 on 01/22/14 at 11:50 AM ET

I’d say that’s pretty reasonable. If they don’t know the players’ positions, especially ignoring Zetterberg as a center and thinking Nyquist does play center in the NHL, it shows they aren’t knowledgeable about the team. That doesn’t mean they’re wrong, because even someone who knows nothing can make a lucky guess, but I wouldn’t go back to them for commentary.

I’d say one of Detroit’s strengths is its centers, in fact. It’s pretty unlikely that so many of a team’s centers and back up centers get injured, but that’s the case right now, with Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Weiss, Franzen, Helm, and Andersson all missing some time and most missing a substantial number of games (basically every center, since Glendening was a call up).

Posted by EDJ on 01/22/14 at 01:04 PM ET

Avatar

So when all is healthy, they could easily put Zetts(or Dats), Weiss, Helm, Anderson down the middle.
Not too shabby.

You think that group matches up favorably with Thornton-Couture-Pavelski or Crosby-Malkin-Sutter, Kopitar-Richards-Stoll, Getzlaf-Cogliano-Koivu, etc?

Posted by RoneFace on 01/22/14 at 02:20 PM ET

Avatar

You think that group matches up favorably with Thornton-Couture-Pavelski or Crosby-Malkin-Sutter, Kopitar-Richards-Stoll, Getzlaf-Cogliano-Koivu, etc?

Posted by RoneFace on 01/22/14 at 01:20 PM ET

Absolutely.

Posted by godblender on 01/22/14 at 02:29 PM ET

Avatar

This guy thinks Gustav Nyquist plays center…Clearly not much of a hockey analyst here.  He writes a long article about the Red Wings and hasn’t even watched a single game…

Boring..

Posted by cochy on 01/22/14 at 03:39 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

You think that group matches up favorably with Thornton-Couture-Pavelski or Crosby-Malkin-Sutter, Kopitar-Richards-Stoll, Getzlaf-Cogliano-Koivu, etc?

Posted by RoneFace on 01/22/14 at 01:20 PM ET

They match up, but a lot depends on wingers (and also a lot of those player are going to get double shifted and play some time on the wings as well). A line with Datsyuk, Abdelkader, and Bertuzzi probably won’t match up well against either of the Penguins’ top two lines, for instance, even though Datsyuk can probably go head to head with Crosby or Malkin.

 

Posted by EDJ on 01/22/14 at 03:42 PM ET

alwaysaurie's avatar

...Gustav Nyquist…

Nyquist hasn’t played center… quit reading

Posted by alwaysaurie on 01/22/14 at 04:01 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by EDJ on 01/22/14 at 02:42 PM ET

I hear you but I just don’t see it.  Datsyuk is obviously a world class player who I think can hold his own against anyone, but the drop off is precipitous after that.  I take your point about the players on the wing making a difference but I’m not sure who those impact players are for the Wings that could close the gap down the middle.  You could throw Chicago’s group into the mix of teams with a better situation down the middle, and maybe Boston too.  The Avalanche are strong and figure to get stronger over the next couple of years, and with Stamkos healthy the Lightning are nothing to laugh at.  If you’re talking about right now then maybe the Wings sneak into the top 10, but more realistically whether you’re looking at 2014 or the next 2-3 years I think that’s a middle third group.  I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Wings have the look of a middle third team, and one that’s trending in the wrong direction if you look at the last 2-3 years.

Posted by RoneFace on 01/22/14 at 04:13 PM ET

BenjaminKGT500's avatar

Its sort of hard for the D to rack up points when our not-as-smart-as-he-thinks-he-is broken system coach won’t use them on the PP and uses Samuellson (urk) instead and pees himself whenever they (Smith in particular) goes in deep in an attempt to be creative. He doesn’t develop talent. He ruins it.

Posted by BenjaminKGT500 on 01/23/14 at 08:36 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.