The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/01/13 at 02:51 PM ET
Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika penned this in last night's "Three Periods" column, but given that Ian White may very well be out of a job, and Carlo Colaiacovo may or may not join him as the suddenly-healthy Red Wings' defense consists of Niklas Kronwall and a cast of under-30 players in Jonathan Ericsson, Brian Lashoff, Kyle Quincey, Jakub Kindl and Brendan Smith, I thought this was particularly pertinent:
Already thinned by personnel losses, the Wings have been thinned further by injuries. They have lost more than 120 man-games even though they have played only 20 games. Divide 120 by 20. That’s six players out of the lineup per game.
As a result, they have played six rookies – and that doesn’t count Damien Brunner, who came over from Switzerland and had never played a pro game in North America at any level, even in the preseason. He has 10 goals but is ineligible for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year because he turned 26 before Sept. 15, the cutoff date.
“Obviously, the Detroit Red Wings at this time in our existence, we’re in a bit of a transition,” said Wings GM Ken Holland.
Holland talked about how Scotty Bowman loved veterans as a coach because he knew what they would do. He listed players like Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Chelios. He could have gone on and on.
“Well, those days are gone,” Holland said.
The Wings still have Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, but they’re also playing Tomas Tatar and Joakim Andersson.
“We still think that we’ve got the potential to be a good hockey team, but with all the injuries that we’ve had, we’ve been forced to probably play a lot more kids than we had planned,” Holland said. “They’re going to make mistakes. That’s a part of being a young player. We’re prepared to live with their mistakes.
“We think that most of them can develop into good, solid NHL players, but they’re going to make mistakes along the way. That’s just part of developing players. We believe we’re going to wake up down the road and we’re going to be a better team because of the adversity and because of the experiences these players are getting.”
Cotsonika duly notes that the Wings dearly miss Todd Bertuzzi's size, Darren Helm's grit and jam and possibly Mikael Samuelsson's shot--as Cotsonika suggests, the Red Wings' "real team" has yet to appear due to injuries, and a Mule with his sea legs under him and Colaiacovo's puck-moving poise wouldn't hurt...
But I get the feeling that, barring a signifcant upgrade on defense and/or a top nine forward with size and strength, the younger Wings may be given the opportunity to strut their stuff and show what they've got, with the Wings waiting until summer and a round of amnesty buyouts to truly address the issues that this year's trades may not be able to address without selling the horse for a top-pair defenseman and big, bruising top-six forward.
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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.