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What Changes Can Babcock Make?

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

The season is barely one week old, but Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock has seen enough to conclude something needs to be changed.

Perhaps a couple of lines will be shuffled. Maybe there will be one or two lineup changes.

Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes at Joe Louis Arena set off an early season alarm.

“That’s not good enough for us. We weren’t good enough in any way,'' Babcock said. “We’ll have to look at our power play and everybody and what we’re doing. Obviously, we didn’t do a very good job as a coaching staff, because we weren’t prepared tonight.''

continued

added 9:25am, from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,

Babcock envisioned his top two forward groups as options 1A and 1B, but there's little evidence of that materializing to this point.

It's only four games, so it's far too early to panic, but there has to be at least a little bit of a concern that Alfredsson has yet to connect.

His presence on the point was also supposed to ignite what was a very dormant Detroit power play last season, but that unit is pitching a shutout so far, going 0-for-10.

For his part, Alfredsson is preaching patience, noting that it will take time for chemistry to develop on the ice between Weiss and himself.

more

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Comments

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What changes? Oh my, I don’t know. The team can’t score, and we have Nyquist rotting in the minors and Tatar warming the bench. But Cleary was re-signed, because of his leadership. His leadership is winning us games now. YEY

Posted by George0211 on 10/11/13 at 09:23 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

Make a trade for Filpulla, &  Hudler ??

Not sign Sammy, toots and buckets????

Get Joey Mac as your backup ????

Bring up the top line from the griffins????

  raspberry

Posted by Down River Dan on 10/11/13 at 09:25 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

If it continues in the first half of Saturday’s game, I’d bet he’ll split up Pavs and Z.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/11/13 at 09:39 AM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Furthermore, that may not be a bad idea.  I have only been catching the games here and there, but from what I’ve seen, it looks like they are trying to be too cute and pass too much.  Simplify the game.

Posted by TreKronor on 10/11/13 at 09:40 AM ET

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watched the game and they seem very confused.

Posted by Its All Hockey on 10/11/13 at 09:43 AM ET

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The “too cute” thing is killing me and has for a couple of years. How often do we see this team (even Dats and Z) on the rush try to make that cross ice pass through traffic. I know when it works it can make for a great looking goal and assist but so many times its just a puck off a skate or stick that gets nowhere near the net.

And every team knows the shots on the Red Wings PP are coming from the blue line. I know it. You all know it. Thats why they get blocked so easily. Pass around a bit then a shot from the D-man, blocked by a penalty killers and cleared.

This team can show great control with their puck possession play, but they just don’t look dangerous right now. 5 on 5 or on the advantage. Dats and Z might get some great scoring chances off of a break away from their defensive play, but for the most part they just don’t look like they are making it hard on the other teams.

And its great that the 3rd line has “size” and “grittyness”. But they don’t hit that much or forecheck that well. They don’t play very heavy on the other team. I love the idea of a line that has size and really takes it to the opposition. There ar teams (St Louis) who give the Wings trouble playing just that way. But THIS 3rd line does not play with size. So either get guys who play that way or try something else.

Posted by lancer on 10/11/13 at 10:02 AM ET

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No shortage of options here.  This one doesn’t require a roster move:

Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Abdelkader
Franzen-Weiss-Tatar
Cleary-Andersson-Alfredsson
Miller-Emmerton-Tootoo

It keeps together the top line, takes pressure off Alfredsson, gives Weiss a chance to get chemistry with someone else, and gets Bert and Sammy off the ice and gives us a real fourth line.

In the long run Nyquist needs to be on the ice, and it looks like Eaves will be available to return at the end of the month, and Helm might follow shortly.  Holland needs to free up the space, because frankly that’s a whole line—and a pretty good one!—that we’re missing out on right now.

Posted by captaineclectic on 10/11/13 at 10:04 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

It’s pretty obvious that the 2nd line isn’t working.
And I don’t like Anderson as our #3 pivot.

Move Datsyuk with Weiss, Zetts with Alfredsson and possibly even move Franzen back to centre the 3rd line.

And while I’m a fan of Abby, I don’t think he should be on the top line.
Last night, he had oodles of chances but couldn’t bury it. Would be nice to see what a guy like Tatar or Nyquist could do with some of those beautiful Dats passes.

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/11/13 at 10:15 AM ET

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Weiss has the biggest problem playing D. That is causing the whole team problems. Sit Him Now. Let him mature like a newbie he isn’t Red Wing Mature.

Posted by Hockeyful on 10/11/13 at 10:19 AM ET

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Weiss has the biggest problem playing D. That is causing the whole team problems. Sit Him Now. Let him mature like a newbie he isn’t Red Wing Mature.

Posted by Hockeyful on 10/11/13 at 10:19 AM ET

He’s been playing very well. He can’t carry the entire line Alfy and Mule have been useless. Especially Mule.

Posted by George0211 on 10/11/13 at 10:20 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Dats-Weiss-Abby
Cleary-Zetts-Aflie
Emmerton-Franzen-Bert
Miller-Anderson-Sammy

What’d I like to see is:

Dats-Weiss-Nyquist
Abby-Zetts-Aflie
Tatar-Franzen-Cleary
Miller-Anderson-Bert

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/11/13 at 10:35 AM ET

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Playing well? He is reacting on the backcheck with zone coverage. He picks up the wrong guy and has the +/- to prove it. The Wings system has nothing to do with anything but man coverage. Carry? Living in Florida I have seen plenty of Mr Weiss and on the ice I believe he is the greatest liability. He has the tools but it learning which ones to use on the defensive part of the ice and how many losses are you going to allow because of a learning curve? His offense is not covering his liability.

Posted by Hockeyful on 10/11/13 at 10:41 AM ET

Hank1974's avatar

Meanwhile, Mr.Lecavailer has been looking pretty good in Orange & Black. wink

Posted by Hank1974 on 10/11/13 at 10:44 AM ET

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His linemates have been invisable. +/- stat is one of the worst stats in hockey. It’s more of a line stat than an individual stat. This guy is known for being good defensively. That was one of the reasons why Wings went after him.
Greatest liability? You make no sense.
He backchecks harder than anyone else on the team not named Pavel or Zetterberg

Posted by George0211 on 10/11/13 at 10:45 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

We just let Harold Snepts walk in ‘87, and people are surprised the effects are still felt today???

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/11/13 at 10:48 AM ET

Down River Dan's avatar

HARRRROOOLLLLDDDDDD

Posted by Down River Dan on 10/11/13 at 10:59 AM ET

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Greatest liability? You make no sense.
He backchecks harder than anyone else on the team not named Pavel or Zetterberg

Posted by George0211

Guess I’m watching a different game. Make no sense? One overtime winner makes up for all his play. There can be many changes and Weiss would be first for me. I am happy to wait it out and let the Coach do his thing. The alarm has been sounded.

Posted by Hockeyful on 10/11/13 at 11:02 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Eh, coverage-wise, Stephen Weiss hasn’t bitten the Wings yet, unless you want to count a cleanly lost faceoff a coverage mistake (which I don’t).

I guess you could also say that not instantly teleporting out of the penalty box and in front of Mike Stone would be a coverage gaffe as well.

Weiss was a Daniel-Alfredsson-getting-stoned-in-front-by-Mike-Smith away from being a hero last night.  When I’m looking at the disappointment on the second line, I’m looking for a third forward whom I haven’t noticed at either end of the ice.

I don’t think drastic panic moves are necessary. Burning Nyquist’s waiver exemption is still not a good idea right now, but Tatar should probably be in for a wholly unimpressive Samuelsson.  Franzen playing the third line center might be a good wake-up/adjustment for him which allows Andersson to move to a more comfortable 4th line role and allows Emmerton to fall out of the lineup.

To take that other winger’s spot on the 2nd line, I could do with either Bertuzzi or Cleary, who made up 2/3rds of the Wings’ most-consistent possession line against Phoenix.  I’d probably go with Bertuzzi because he’s been more-impressive.  All you need in that spot is a banger who actually bangs and Bert has actually been doing that.

The Wings have a lot of forwards who could be put into the “you’re on a rotation until you play your way out of it” system.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/11/13 at 11:02 AM ET

DocF's avatar

At least one other person is thinking like me that the problem with Weiss and Alfredsson is Franzen.  He is even more disconnected than usual.  I do not have a clue what causes this, but I know he showed the ability to pass to the opposition, to fumble a tape to tape pass, to lose his man on defense and just generally sucked rubber donkey lungs.

Cleary played a respectable game.  He was involved all the time he was on the ice.  I have no problem with him at this point in the season.

Alfredsson and Datsuyk did not have good games.  That should be cause for alarm only if it continues for four or five more games. 

No one did a good job on faceoffs. 

The defense was overwhelmed because the forwards were not getting back as they should.  Weiss was pretty much an innocent victim of poor play by others in his minus 4. 

To play Samuelsson and Bertuzzi, given their lack of involvement with what is going on around them is an insult to the guys who are working hard. 

I do not know if Tootoo can actually help the Red Wings as he just does not seem to fit in to their team concept all that well, but he would be a major upgrade over Samuelsson right now.  Benching Franzen and installing Tatar for the next 3-4 games might send a major message.  I guarantee everyone that Tatar, although much smaller than Franzen, will go to the hard areas of the ice when asked and will put forth effort in the defensive end of the ice.

I also have a major issue with the job that Babcock is doing.  If the team is not prepared to play, that is at least 75% the fault of the coach(es).  Could it be that Babcock is so much looking forward to coaching Canada in the Olympics that he is phoning in his job.

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 10/11/13 at 11:05 AM ET

Avatar

Guess I’m watching a different game. Make no sense? One overtime winner makes up for all his play. There can be many changes and Weiss would be first for me. I am happy to wait it out and let the Coach do his thing. The alarm has been sounded.

Posted by Hockeyful on 10/11/13 at 11:02 AM ET

Blaming Weiss for everything makes no sense. Out of 3 players on that line, he is the last one I would blame. Franzen has been invisible and Alfredsson is the 2nd worst.
This line has 0 chemistry so far. Maybe it will change, maybe it won’t. But the problem is not Weiss’ D coverage.

And if we are going to talk about defense in general. Our D-men stink. Am I the only who cringes every time Smith is on the ice?

Posted by George0211 on 10/11/13 at 11:06 AM ET

Gary A$$ SUCK !!'s avatar

I think the Oilers need some defence???  Smith , Quincey and Sammy for Eberle or and hemsky…Me like.. Ohh what a hell..a bag of pucks is okay too..!!!

Posted by Gary A$$ SUCK !! from Fort Myers, Florida on 10/11/13 at 11:14 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

This team needs to figure out how to score. Simple as that. Same as last year, same as the year before. There’s really no excuse for how underachieving this forward unit has been for the last couple of years, but I don’t have any answers.

I have to believe the forwards will come around (then again I thought that last year, too).

The biggest problem with the Wings in my opinion is 3rd D pairing. Brendan Smith is not an NHL-caliber defenseman. Sorry.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 10/11/13 at 11:26 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

It seems pointless to even be upset at Franzen anymore. He is what he is, and he’s never going to be anything more.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 10/11/13 at 11:27 AM ET

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No shortage of options here.  This one doesn’t require a roster move                                                                                                                             Move Weiss to fourth line, #‘s 18 and 25 up one slot.

Posted by guy on 10/11/13 at 11:39 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

and possibly even move Franzen back to centre the 3rd line.

That is one move that needs to be implemented. Sammy should sit. Tartar needs to be on the ice. Babbles plays Smith(who continues to suck) so why not give Tartar some ice time? He deserves the opportunity to sink or swim. 


Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 10/11/13 at 11:52 AM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

We just let Harold Snepts walk in ‘87, and people are surprised the effects are still felt today???
Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/11/13 at 10:48 AM ET

Now look who is on fire. Awesome comment.

I loved Sneptsie even if he is better know for playing for the Blows. Now if you had said Adam Oates instead, I would have thought you were being serious.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 10/11/13 at 12:42 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

It seems pointless to even be upset at Franzen anymore. He is what he is, and he’s never going to be anything more.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 10/11/13 at 11:27 AM ET

While I was reading through the comments I thought the same thing. I’m just tired of the same freak outs. The blame game is just getting old. It’s Babcock’s fault, it’s Franzen’s fault, it’s Sammy’s fault. Fact is, the team has underperformed for a few games. I get that we want to win every game, but why do we expect chemistry out of the second line (three players who have never played together) a week into the season? I also get that there are reasons to worry but as Kenny and Babcock have said in the past, it takes 20 games to really know what you have and make moves…and I believe that. I’ll wait another month or so before I go into full freak out mode.

Having said that, I won’t blame people for trying to figure out what to do differently, that’s what we come here for, it’s just kind of tiring since it’s been the same thing for years now.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 10/11/13 at 12:47 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

Oh and I’ve loved Tatar since his first game I saw him play for the Wings, but let’s not pretend he steps in and all our problems are solved. I want to see him play but we simply don’t know the impact he’ll have. If he was a guarantee to go out there and dominate he’d be playing.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 10/11/13 at 12:52 PM ET

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I want to see him play but we simply don’t know the impact he’ll have.

And that’s exactly the reason he should be playing.

Posted by Garth on 10/11/13 at 12:57 PM ET

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And the idea that the best player in the AHL during the playoffs last year isn’t good enough to be an everyday forward on the team that was 7th in the Western Conference last year is complete horsesh*t.

Posted by Garth on 10/11/13 at 12:59 PM ET

peiz11's avatar

But AHL success doesn’t guarantee NHL success, it’s a different game. I agree that I do think he could be an everyday player in the NHL but if Sammy goes down to the AHL to play in the playoffs for the Griffins he’d probably dominate too.

I’m not arguing that Tatar shouldn’t be playing and gaining experience because I think he should and want to believe he’d be successful. I just feel that a lot of comments about him make it sound that once he gets plugged into the lineup the team’s offensive issues are solved.

Posted by peiz11 from Minneapolis on 10/11/13 at 01:30 PM ET

Avatar

But AHL success doesn’t guarantee NHL success, it’s a different game.

No, of c ourse it doesn’t guarantee success.  But it should guarantee a shot.  A legitimate shot.

It should guarantee that, on a team that needs scoring, you don’t spend three of the first four games immediately following the playoff run in which you won the AHL playoff MVP while leading your team to a Calder cup win, sitting on your ass in the press box.

He’s played fourth line minutes in one game.  Why?  All the anecdotal evidence I read from the pre-season pointed to him being one of their best forwards, yet when it comes to the regular season, according the Babcock “tie goes to the veteran” and somehow his excellent play had him “tied” with Samuelsson?  Bull.

They had an excellent top line in the AHL, made up of three guys who all played well in their stints with Detroit last year, and instead of putting them together and seeing what they can do, one is sent back to the AHL, one sits in the press box and one is paired with two broke-ass veterans.

Fantastic.

Remember when people were saying that Detroit were embracing their youth movement?  Pretty funny…

Posted by Garth on 10/11/13 at 01:54 PM ET

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but if Sammy goes down to the AHL to play in the playoffs for the Griffins he’d probably dominate too.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Posted by Garth on 10/11/13 at 01:55 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Face it, Uncle Mike never met a young player that he would not play unless it was absolutely necessary. Last season was a fluke, a perfect storm of injuries that forced Uncle Mike to play young unknown players. Now that he has a roster of healthy aging vets again, youth (tatar) collects dust while aging vets try not to rust.

You think Smith would be anywhere near the roster if their was a healthy veteran Dman available? Smith’s continued presence in the line-up continually confirms to Babs his bias against youth.

Need a coach to get the best out of a veteran team for a playoff run or an all star team for an Olympic tournament? Babcock is the best there is.

Need a coach to cultivate younger players while re-building on the fly? Uncle Mike is your worst nightmare.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 10/11/13 at 02:04 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Oops, double negative problem. Babs never met a young player he would play unless it was absolutely necessary

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 10/11/13 at 02:05 PM ET

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Last season was a fluke

Oh, it absolutely was a fluke, you’re right.  That’s why I laughed and laughed and laughed every time someone brought up the idea that the Red Wings are embracing a youth movement.

Posted by Garth on 10/11/13 at 02:25 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.