The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/15/13 at 12:30 PM ET
Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji wrote an excellent article discussing the state of the Red Wings' defense, speaking to Wings coach Mike Babcock, new captain Henrik Zetterberg, youngsters Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl, would-be top pair defenseman Jonathan Ericsson and alternate captain Niklas Kronwall about the state of the team's somewhat thin defensive corps.
She found that Kronwall is taking something of a stand regarding those who suggest that the Wings' Lidstrom and Stuart-less blueline will serve as its Achilles' heel:
"I think in here we truly believe that we have the right pieces, and hopefully, that's something we'll show you here in the next few games," Kronwall said.
Babcock has never been one to focus on what the Wings don't have. He's thinking there's an opportunity available for anyone who wants to take it.
"Nick played 23-4-5 minutes and Stuie played 23-4-5 minutes, so there's a ton of ice time right there for somebody to grab hold of," Babcock said. "I think there's going to be huge growth, obviously, in Kronwall and (Jonathan) Ericsson. But Q (Kyle Quincey) is a guy who can really take a step for us. Whitey (Ian White) had a pretty good year last year. (Jakub) Kindl, (Carlo) Colaiacovo, (Brendan) Smith, what are they going to grab?"
A lot of the load is going to fall on Kronwall, who turned 32 on Jan. 12. He's now the grizzled veteran on the blue line.
"Of course, now with Nick being gone and Stuie being gone, obviously, it's going to be maybe a little more responsibility," Kronwall said. "But at the same time, I have to try to go out there and play my game, not try to over exaggerate anything or try to do too much because that's how you end up in trouble."
Continued, and the article's worth your time.
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