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The Malik Report

Weiss Gets Bumped-Up To The First Line

added 11:50am,

 

added 12:16pm, from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,

Wings coach Mike Babcock has decided to insert Stephen Weiss to replace Henrik Zetterberg on the line with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist.

“Weisser came here and got hurt and then he got hurt again so here’s an opportunity,” Babcock said. “I thought he was really starting to play for us on the West Coast trip and then he came back and he was injured. When you’re a guy coming in and trying to fit in and probably played when he shouldn’t have, and didn’t let us know, so he’s out for a while and it didn’t go as good for him. Bottom line we’re in the winning business so we’re going to do whatever we can to win.”

Weiss, who signed a five-year deal worth $4.9 million a season, has just two goals and an assist in 22 games this season.

“He’s in a situation, just like everyone else, Pav (Datsyuk) and Z aren’t here, (Danny) DeKeyser isn’t here, so those are good players that eat up a lot of ice time so someone’s getting the ice time,” Babcock said. “For me it doesn’t matter who gets it it’s just a matter of someone playing good and takes it. If you’re like DeKeyser was when (Jonathan) Ericsson was out he grabbed hold of it and proved his game and now he’s earned the confidence so someone can do that so ideally that’ll be Stevie.”

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Comments

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Good, let’s see what Weiss can do now

Posted by George0211 on 12/04/13 at 12:30 PM ET

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Time for Weiss to prove his worth. I’m very supportive of this decision. If Weiss can step up and the rest of the team continues to play well and actually wins without Pav and Z it will do wonders for the teams overall confidence.

Posted by Robert on 12/04/13 at 12:31 PM ET

DocF's avatar

This is the only logical thing to do.  Why disrupt Helm’s and Andersson’s lines that are playing well?  Emmerton and the two worn down wingers can play 5-6 minutes a game.  Emmerton can take a turn killing penalties. 

On the second power play unit, I would stick Samuelsson at a forward spot and let two of the more offensive blue liners play the points. 

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 12/04/13 at 12:50 PM ET

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I’m SUPER excited for this game but sort of nervous. I watched Philly have a tough loss to the Wild two nights ago so I expect them to come at the Wings with Everything.

Posted by Pasha1277 on 12/04/13 at 12:51 PM ET

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When your forward lines are a mess what really matters is that the defense and goaltender step up.  They’ve got to make sure 2 goals (3 max) can win the game.

Also, the next time someone stupidly says how much Babcock hates playing young players, note where he’s playing the older players on the team at forward.

That said, this regular season has now become about making the top 8 and getting as close to healthy as the team can by February.  Z’s out a month (probably), Datsyuk’ll miss about two weeks total, Dekeyser gone for another month.

Just survive, Detroit.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/04/13 at 12:52 PM ET

topshelf14's avatar

big time bummer to hear Z out for so long, and more than likely to miss the Winter Classic.  Good to hear Dats is getting right, and should be back by next week.  Excited to see Weiss given some time to play with some legit scoring wingers.  His price tag in the long run will be fine, especially with the salary cap increasing over the next couple years.

Posted by topshelf14 from Detroit, MI on 12/04/13 at 01:24 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

This is the only logical thing to do.  Why disrupt Helm’s and Andersson’s lines that are playing well?

You beat me to it. smile

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 12/04/13 at 01:25 PM ET

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Also, the next time someone stupidly says how much Babcock hates playing young players, note where he’s playing the older players on the team at forward.

Note also that he sat Tatar in favour of Samuelsson at the beginning of the year even though Tatar was one of the better forwards during the pre-season and Samuelsson was one of the worst.  Does “tie goes to the veteran” not ring a bell?  Does it not speak to who he would prefer to play?

Just because he’s doing it out of neccesity (and because he has eyes that allow him to see who is playing better) doesn’t mean he likes it.  You using the current situation as an “I told you so” is as misguided as those who claimed the Wings were “embracing a youth movement” last year simply because they had to play younger players due to injuries.

When Babcock had the luxury of a mostly healthy roster he chose to play an older, clearly inferior player over a younger one.  Period.

Posted by Garth on 12/04/13 at 01:30 PM ET

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I sure hope this is the opportunity/kick-in-the-hockey-pants that Weiss needs to be the player Holland signed him to be. Having a $9.65 M fourth line is painful to see. (Weiss $4.9M, Samuelsson $3M, Cleary $1.75M)

Posted by IMOrthodox13 on 12/04/13 at 01:30 PM ET

Figaro's avatar

Having a $9.65 M fourth line is painful to see. (Weiss $4.9M, Samuelsson $3M, Cleary $1.75M)

The Cap Line

Posted by Figaro from Los Alamos, NM on 12/04/13 at 01:40 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Just because he’s doing it out of neccesity (and because he has eyes that allow him to see who is playing better) doesn’t mean he likes it.

I’m sure that Babcock sits up late in his office angrily pounding his desk over how Tomas Tatar is outplaying Mikael Samuelsson, who scored a goal on opening day.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/04/13 at 01:44 PM ET

SnLO's avatar

strange. I made a comment that didn’t appear.

Posted by SnLO from the sub great-white north on 12/04/13 at 01:54 PM ET

SK77's avatar

I’m sure that Babcock sits up late in his office angrily pounding his desk over how Tomas Tatar is outplaying Mikael Samuelsson, who scored a goal on opening day.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/04/13 at 12:44 PM ET

Nice nice, very nice.

Posted by SK77 on 12/04/13 at 02:05 PM ET

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I’m sure that Babcock sits up late in his office angrily pounding his desk over how Tomas Tatar is outplaying Mikael Samuelsson, who scored a goal on opening day.

Relevant point.  Thanks.

Posted by Garth on 12/04/13 at 02:20 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

  Having a $9.65 M fourth line is painful to see. (Weiss $4.9M, Samuelsson $3M, Cleary $1.75M)

The Cap Line

More like The Cap-Buster Line.

I’m surprised Weiss had some sort of injury and kept it from the trainers and Babcock. Playing with an injury when you don’t have to (especially early in the season) doesn’t make you a hero. It makes you a liability.

So, let’s see if he’s healthy enough to do some damage with Franzen and Gus. I’m hoping for the best.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/04/13 at 02:56 PM ET

pilgrim's avatar

I’m sure that Babcock sits up late in his office angrily pounding his desk over how Tomas Tatar is outplaying Mikael Samuelsson, who scored a goal on opening day.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/04/13 at 12:44 PM ET

Nice nice, very nice.

Posted by some kid on 12/04/13 at 01:05 PM ET

Busy, busy, busy.

Posted by pilgrim from the ice at the bottom of the world on 12/04/13 at 03:07 PM ET

EDJ's avatar

I’m surprised Weiss had some sort of injury and kept it from the trainers and Babcock. Playing with an injury when you don’t have to (especially early in the season) doesn’t make you a hero. It makes you a liability.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/04/13 at 01:56 PM ET

I don’t know if he kept it from them, or if they all just thought they could play through it. I don’t know anything about the process though.

Posted by EDJ on 12/04/13 at 03:37 PM ET

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Never mind Z and Pav. When’s George coming back!

Posted by manitobaredwingfan on 12/04/13 at 03:43 PM ET

Paul's avatar

manitoba,,, George told me today he will try to return for the game tonight.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 12/04/13 at 03:45 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Relevant point.  Thanks.

Heck, you’re the one who wanted to impart a state of mind on Babcock in regards to this decision rather than making it a hockey decision.

The early part of the season, the Red Wings had an immovable $3M asset who sucked last year because of some bad luck with injuries.  Ready to take his place they had a guy who couldn’t be sent down, but also had just been pestered by the press about the signing of another guy and, although he recovered very well, did get caught up in a few stories attributing a narrative of impatience/worry on him (how true that narrative was isn’t something you or I know and how understandable his impatience was isn’t meaningful in such a consideration either… even if it was COMPLETELY understandable).

Mike Babcock gave the tie to the veteran because every conceivable outcome from having done so was more beneficial than harmful. Tomas Tatar became a roster regular for the Wings on October 21st when the Wings were a 6-3 squad. He hasn’t missed a game since then.  In the meantime, veterans Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo have found their way off Detroit’s roster through having been offered at face value to every team in the league and having been passed over for that.

But these are all things that Mike Babcock apparently dislikes because Tatar is younger than Mikael Samuelsson.

The fact is that the Wings are in better shape if Mikael Samuelsson is given his chance and doesn’t suck than they are if Tomas Tatar is given that same chance from October 2nd and doesn’t suck because if Mikael Samuelsson produces even at a decent pace, it simply makes everything easier from both a coach’s and a GM’s perspective whereas immediately replacing him makes things every bit as clogged as they are now… only it does that sooner with less of a chance that the veteran breaks out and plays anywhere near the level he did when he put up 30 goals.

Sure, it’s not a likely gamble to pay out, but what exactly did they gamble there? Tatar didn’t play in eight of the first nine games the Wings played. Detroit won six of those games. What did Babcock lose in the time he tried to get the more-expensive veteran going?

keep in mind that this is the same time frame that guys like the same-aged Danny DeKeyser and the one-year-older Brendan Smith are both playing hybrid 2nd/3rd pairing minutes for the Wings and the one-year-older Joakim Andersson is playing above the level of the older Cory Emmerton

But hey, that’s just me looking at it pragmatically.  It’s entirely possible that the reductive “Mike Babcock hates younger players” is the more-likely scenario there.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 12/04/13 at 04:01 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I don’t know if he kept it from them, or if they all just thought they could play through it.

Posted by EDJ

This is quoted from the info above (with my bold added)...

Babcock said. “I thought he was really starting to play for us on the West Coast trip and then he came back and he was injured. When you’re a guy coming in and trying to fit in and probably played when he shouldn’t have, and didn’t let us know, so he’s out for a while and it didn’t go as good for him.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 12/04/13 at 04:23 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Looking forward to Weiss playing in a more familiar role when he was with FLA.  Step it up.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 12/04/13 at 04:52 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

Weiss is far more familiar with the top lines of the Eastern teams.  Maybe that will help get him going, knowing the opponents tendencies. Here’s hoping to a great game from Mr. Weiss.
Let’s go Euro Twin minus Red Wings!

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 12/04/13 at 05:44 PM 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.