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‘Three Things’: A possibly prophetic statement, Ericsson’s ‘numbers,’ etc.

Of Red Wings-related note this morning:

1. The AP's Larry Lage spoke with Joe Pavelski, Brent Burns and Justin Abdelkader regarding the World Cup of Hockey, whose training camps begin today across North America and Europe, and Abdelkader issued a statement that I can only describe as summarizing what everyone's afraid of happening, and what everyone hopes will happen, at the same time:

"We're going to go from 0 to 100 mph right away," Detroit Red Wings and Team USA forward Justin Abdelkader said. "Knock on wood, no one gets injured, and they'll be in great shape to help their NHL teams."

[edit: Yes, people will get injured going from 0-100 mph right away, and yes, some will be in fantastic shape to have a stellar season. /end edit]

2. And DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji penned a "By the Numbers" look at Jonathan Ericsson's 2015-16 season. It's accurate:

Ericsson, 32, was like many of the Red Wings this season, playing some excellent games and some that were not up to his usual standards. Yet Ericsson did match his career high in points and was one of 12 players to finish with a plus-rating.

Coach Jeff Blashill said the team needs everyone to play better defensively, but the defensemen in particular.

"The D corps has to play better," Blashill said. "Is that a fix from outside? Is that a fix from within? We’ll certainly look at both. Is there a fix from outside? I don’t know. What I do know is as a group we can certainly be better and that’s including in the D corps."

15 | For the third time in his career, Ericsson reached the 15-point mark, his career high. He also reached 15 points last season and in the 2010-11 season. Interestingly, each time Ericsson has achieved that mark, it has been three goals and 12 assists. Last season, it took all 82 games to get 15 points. In 2010-11, it took 74 games. This past season, Ericsson reached 15 points in 71 games.

Wakiji continues, and as she suggests, as frightening as it may seem, the Red Wings need Jonathan Ericsson and his peers in the lineup to step up this season for the team to succeed.

I know it's hard to "root for" players as unpopular as Ericsson, but ultimately, the better Ericsson and Kronwall play (for example), the better the Red Wings play as a team. Jonathan Ericsson isn't my favorite Red Wings defenseman, but I want him to do well. I completely understand the lamentful suggestion that he suck on ice to prove a point, but proving that point doesn't help the team--and with so many uncertainties surrounding the Red Wings' fate, they need help from everybody.

[edit: Oh the comments section is going to be fun today, isn't it? I'm not suggesting that Ericsson and Kronwall are the Wings' saviors, just that even the mediocre-or-sucky-this-past-season have to step up...and that you're not a bad person if you spend your time doing something other than actively rooting against players who aren't your cup of tea. Anyway, yell around, I'm sure it's coming. /end edit]

3. And yes, I have to post this. I'm down to 11 days and about $1,200 to raise to get up to Traverse City, so I'm singing for my supper:

There's less than a month until the Red Wings' fall prospect tournament and main training camp in Traverse City, MI. In the past, you've been kind enough to help me attend Wings events in Traverse City, and I need to request your assistance again.

I'm kindly requesting that if you are able, you might be able to lend a hand in my quest to make it to the Cherry Capital to cover the prospect tournament and training camp from September 16th through 26th. Any amount is helpful and the smaller donations tend to pave the road up US-127 and I-75.

I use Paypal as it's the easiest manner to get things done, but you can email me if you wish to employ an alternate method.

I am incredibly grateful for your readership and I thank you for your time.

Update: Ken Kal spoke with the NHL Network on September 1st, discussing Henrik Zetterberg's injury, the expectations for this season's team and the Wings' new rink over the course of a 6-minute interview, and Kal's commentary is worth your time:

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Comments

Hootinani's avatar

but proving that point doesn’t help the team

and neither does having unreal expectations for under performing middle aged players

Posted by Hootinani from the parade following Babs out of town on 09/05/16 at 12:46 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

No, it doesn’t. Somewhere in between not openly rooting for people to suck and not expecting miracles from the mediocre lies a tenuous balance.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/05/16 at 01:07 AM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

Errorsson had 56 points in 71 games last year. Those are great numbers. He should be considered the wings best dman.

Posted by Keyser S. on 09/05/16 at 02:15 AM ET

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Seriously, rooting for Ericsson to suck?  Sometimes I wonder what comments you read, George.

There is no Wings fan who wants Ericsson to suck.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/16 at 10:36 AM ET

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There is no Wings fan who wants Ericsson to suck.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/16 at 10:36 AM ET

While it may be difficult to find a comment that echoes that thought, if it meant buying out his contract next summer I bet the line would be very long of those that want him to suck.

Posted by Steve in SE MI on 09/05/16 at 11:19 AM ET

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I don’t think it’s about wanting Errorson to suck as much as wanting someone else to be in his place… There are tons of comments saying Errorson sucks (which he does, and many of us know he’s not going to just become a top four d… His ceiling is reached) AND that we would love to see either a kid or trade take his place.  I think that’s what George was trying to say.  For the record… I don’t want him to such but I’m all about LTIR for the rest of his contract.

Posted by SevensForTed on 09/05/16 at 11:48 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Oh, we’re having fun with, “What did George mean,” are we?

I’m letting you figure that out for my amusement’s sake today.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/05/16 at 12:12 PM ET

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I want the Wings to ice their best D-men and that does not include Big E much of the time. He can and does play well sometimes but his inability to skate and pivot, possibly due to his hip issues, means he gets beaten a lot.

I don’t subscribe to the notion that most posters want Big E to “suck” but I am one who would favour a demotion to the third pairing. His value was, and is, overrated by management and the coaching staff, both last year and the previous year….and it cost the team dearly at times.

Ideally, he will play better but, if not, I wish the coaches would stop trying to use him on the #1 unit…and that goes for Kronwall as well.

Posted by NewfieWing on 09/05/16 at 12:13 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

What I meant to suggest was simple: there’s a group of fans (not necessarily in the comments section) who believe that if you don’t absolutely adore everybody on the team, the best thing to do is to root against it and hate it until the coaches and management make the exact moves that you want them to, and not before.

That strikes me as a pretty weird way to “cheer” for a sports team. And that’s a lot different than the discontent with “mediocre” performers that is elucidated at length on this forum…

But it’s there, and it’s weird.

And I expected the negativity about Ericsson to be a lot higher and a lot harder-core today given how unpopular he is—and given how weirdly negative things have been around here of late (I wish I could explain it, but I think we’re all tired of waiting for the multitude of questions about this team’s performance to be answered more than anything else).

No harm meant or intended. Just some observations and some questions about those who beat themselves with wet noodles if their sports team isn’t perfectly aligned with their managerial philosophies.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/05/16 at 12:21 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

Lesson learned: Any attempt to suggest “how to fan” is a dangerous path to tread, especially when one’s relationship with one’s audience is strained. I’ll keep my nose out of that topic for a while.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/05/16 at 12:44 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

HTO just stirring up trouble. First Neff, now George. Get a hobby, dude

Posted by ilovehomers on 09/05/16 at 12:48 PM ET

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Time to stop reading the comments section again. Too many “fans” just itching to start a shitstorm….or their underwear are way too tight.

Posted by Steve in SE MI on 09/05/16 at 02:31 PM ET

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Oh, the comments section is going to be fun today

there’s a group of fans (not necessarily in the comments section)

So which is it, George.  You expected the comments section to be full of your mythical Ericsson-cheer-againsters or you don’t think they show up in the comment section.

I’m just curious since you seem to have written to absolutely contradictory statements.

Also, if these haters aren’t in the comments section, where are they?

There’s a lot of negativity towards Ericsson to be sure (and IMO it is completely warranted because he is not very good at his job) but aside from hoping that someone better come see long and supplants him, I don’t see people rooting against him so much as they’re rooting for the team to get better.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/16 at 03:08 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

Who knows he may surprise us in a good way this season. The Red Wings need all the help they can get this season. LOL

Posted by bigfrog on 09/05/16 at 07:26 PM ET

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At least half of the negativity “toward” Ericsson is just negativity “around” him.

Posted by captaineclectic on 09/06/16 at 06:53 AM ET

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I’m not sure negativity is the right word. Instead I think a lot of fans are very pessimistic, angered and frustrated with what has happened with the team over the last few seasons.

A good chunk of this anger is directed at players like Ericsson who many of us feel have been given more ice time than his actions on the ice warrant. He (and Cleary) are symbols for how much the Wings have valued experience over skill. It’s stood in the way of developing younger players.

I don’t think we would have seen near the same amount of anger thrown Ericsson’s way if he as playing on the bottom pair. The fans might have found someone else to target though.

I always go into a season with a bit or optimism but I’m also a realist and if Ericsson is playing significant minutes, its a mistake Those minutes need to be given to someone who actually has some upside. If that means the Wings won’t be as competitive this year, so be it. It will be better for the team in the long run.

As a side note. If Kronwall is part of the reason Ericsson plays so much, put them both on the bottom pair.

Posted by evileye on 09/07/16 at 09:33 AM ET

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About The Malik Report

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.