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Wings Plan For Another Playoff Run

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

“I think we’ve done a lot of good things,” coach Mike Babcock said. “I think we’re a way better team than we were. We’re way quicker. We skate, our young kids are good players. We need a few more of our veterans to be better than they’ve been and we’ll be fine.”

They have gotten a tremendous boost from young forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, each of whom has 24 points. Nyquist has nine goals in his past 10 games and 14 for the season. Tatar has 13 goals....

“It’s encouraging to see these young guys that really have taken steps in their development,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “That’s made us a faster team and a better team.”

They need more consistent play from goaltender Jimmy Howard and better defense.

If they make a move before the March 5 trade deadline, they’re more apt to pursue a top-four defenseman than a forward. But the pickings are slim, and to acquire any player the soon-to-be capped out Red Wings would need to shed an equal amount of salary. That will make it tough to deal.

If they have to make do with what they have, that’s fine by them.

“I think we’ve been playing a lot better the last 10 games, going the right way,” Zetterberg said. “Hopefully we get some guys back after the break. We’re going to have a fun run all the way into the postseason.”

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They have gotten a tremendous boost from young forwards Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar, each of whom has 24 points. Nyquist has nine goals in his past 10 games and 14 for the season. Tatar has 13 goals….

I’m so glad I’m not one of those idiots who thought that Nyquist was actually going to be good.  How pathetic would those people feel, knowing that this waste of space is only on track for a measly 41 points in 57 games (that’s 59 points in 82 games, by the by)?

Hopefully Holland can unload him at the deadline for, I don’t know, a bag of pucks or maybe some water bottles or maybe he should just cut his losses and waive the dud.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/14 at 10:40 AM ET

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Im not looking forward to Weiss coming back into the lineup. That’s really going to screw everything up. He won’t be as effective as Sheahan’s replacement on that line with Jurco and Tatar.

By the way,

Sheahan 18 GP, 3G, 8A, +2
Weiss 26 GP, 2G, 2A, -4

Posted by callmedrw on 02/10/14 at 10:48 AM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Im not looking forward to Weiss coming back into the lineup. That’s really going to screw everything up. He won’t be as effective as Sheahan’s replacement on that line with Jurco and Tatar.

Well you should ease your criticims|apprehension for two reasons:

1. It’s possible that he was playing on an injury and this affected his ability to produce,

and,

2. There won’t be enough time after the break to show him enough to move him, so he’s likely staying on the roster anyway.

Posted by MoreShoot on 02/10/14 at 11:12 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Nyquist spent the first 22 games of the NHL season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins due to the Red Wings’ roster and salary-cap squeeze.

“Nyquist spent the first 22 games of the NHL season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins due to Holland’s and Babcock’s love affair with Daniel Fricking Cleary.”

There. That’s a more accurate statement.

Im not looking forward to Weiss coming back into the lineup.

Posted by callmedrw

I understand what you’re saying, but I’m one who is anxious to see Weiss come back – supposedly injury-free. Now is the time to find out if this guy can play within the Wings system. If he can’t, maybe some GM who needs to reach the salary-cap floor will take him off our hands this summer.

I know, I know. Fat chance. But a guy can hope.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/10/14 at 11:24 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

I agree I’m not looking forward to seeing Weiss take one of our current Center’s spots, though who says Pavel is going to come back and be able to play.

Word around the camp fire is that Weiss came into the season fat and out of shape, not ready for Babcock to run him through the paces, and over-extended himself, his body was broken down, and he ultimately got hurt, and was unable to recover, and got hurt more. 

As George mentioned the other day, we can’t buy him out after season’s end because we signed him after the last CBA, so we’re stuck with him.

Hopefully he learned that he can’t just show up like he did in Florida, he’s not playing for 1,000 people anymore that are more interested in how the water turned into this ice substance, that what’s going on ontop of it.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 02/10/14 at 11:33 AM ET

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As George mentioned the other day, we can’t buy him out after season’s end because we signed him after the last CBA, so we’re stuck with him.

He can be bought out, he just can’t be bought out “for free” using a compliance buyout.

Either way, he is and was not ever going to be bought out after one partial season.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/14 at 11:36 AM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

“Nyquist spent the first 22 games of the NHL season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins due to Holland’s and Babcock’s love affair with Daniel Fricking Cleary.”

On the flip side, that ended up benefiting Tatar.  Had Babcock not had to sent Nyquist down because of the roster size, Tatar would’ve spent more time on the bench in favor of Gus, and may not have been able to show what he’s shown.  Ultimately it would’ve worked out with the amount of injuries we had, but you never know.  There was much more confidence that Gus was going to be a top 9 forward, than Tatar.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 02/10/14 at 11:39 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

Come on Garth, you know that’s no fair. Small sample size.

You wouldn’t find many folks saying Nyquist wasn’t going to be GOOD. The argument that I’d make is that it was, and still is, entirely unrealistic to expect Nyquist to be Datsyuk or Zetterberg good. I hope I’m wrong, but looking at his entire body of work, Nyquist still looks a lot more like a winger version of Filppula (more goals, less defensive impact) than he does Henrik Zetterberg’s long-term replacement.

That’s all I ever meant. Not saying you were doing this, but certainly a lot of Wings fans were really elevating what Nyquist and Tatar really appear to be into something more… as fans tend to do. Us Wings fans seem to especially be bad at creating unrealistic expectations for what a prospect should be because we’ve been fortunate to follow a team that has hit the lottery on Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Fedorov, Konstantinov, and heck, even Nick Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, and Johan Franzen.

I hope the Wings don’t do a damn thing at the deadline this year unless an opportunity for a legitimate top four D comes up, and it’s a guy that’s 27 or younger. Otherwise, they’re best off just staying where they are, dumping salary if you can convince some of the old guys to waive NMCs (and convince teams to take them). They will get into the playoffs if Weiss gets healthy and plays well down the stretch… if Datsyuk gets healthy… if Howard plays more consistent. The cap will go up and they can set themselves up for much better opportunities the next couple years with their young players stepping in around the core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Kronwall. I still think the main issue boils down to defense… they need another piece to go in the top four with Kronwall and Ericsson.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/10/14 at 11:40 AM ET

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I understand what you’re saying, but I’m one who is anxious to see Weiss come back – supposedly injury-free.

As am I.

Weiss wasn’t a panic/moron signing like Colaiacovo or Cleary and it wasn’t a “we’re re-signing him because he was good when he played for us a few years ago so it doesn’t matter that he’s 35 now” signing like Samuelsson.

He’s a guy that Detroit targeted and it’s a signing that most people seemed to agree was a good one, and an upgrade over Filppula, so I’m willing to give him more than a half-season in which he was coming off an injury, learning a new system that he was maybe not prepared for, and has missed more games than he’s played due to injuries.

I’m really hoping he can come back and be the guy they thought they were getting when they committed $25M and five years to signing him.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/14 at 11:42 AM ET

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Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 02/10/14 at 10:40 AM ET

For the record, my comment was specifically targeted at one person who said Nyquist wasn’t anything special and who used a short, five-game pointless streak, to strut around, wag his finger and say “I told you so”, telling us all that Nyquist was never going to be anything more than a 10-15 goal, 30-40 point player.

Also, I agree with you about the deadline.  If they can swing some sort of deal for a solid, young defenseman then I definitely hope they do (and let’s be honest, they have a LOT they can offer with too many Griffins on the verge of losing their waiver exempt status and nowhere near enough spots on the roster next year) but otherwise doing anything else would be pretty pointless.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/14 at 11:50 AM ET

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Nyquist spent the first 22 games of the NHL season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins due to Holland’s and Babcock’s love affair with Daniel Fricking Cleary.”

There. That’s a more accurate statement.

Not really.  it’s a more delusional statement, sure, but not a more accurate one.

From the start of the season Cleary was pegged to be a third fourth line forward, and that’s what he was.  What people like OTC (stupidly) complain about is that somehow had Nyquist been on the roster sooner he’d have been playing in the top 6 sooner, which is a) not smart and b) not true.

Were Nyquist up early in the season he would have been behind D, Z, Franzen, Weiss and Alfredsson at the very least, and likely Bert and Abby as well.

He’d have been playing (at best) on a third line with Andersson and Miller, not playing a top line with Z and Alfredsson.  Do you think he’d be putting up goals and points playing with depth forwards for less IT like he does with scoring forwards for more IT?  No?  Then you’re smart.

All missing the first month or two of the season did is spare Nyquist the very real possibility he’d have come up, failed in an inferior role behind a healthy top 6 with good players in it, and just had a flop around season like he’s had up in Detroit previously.

There’s zero chance Nyquist would have been playing in the top 6 to start the year because if he was that good in the estimation of the team he’d have been up early.  Like Fil was, like E was, like Kronwall was, etc etc etc.  The way this season played out was the best possible outcome for Nyquist, as it provided opportunity largely without risk, either for him or for the Wings.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/10/14 at 11:52 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

It’s hard to take someone seriously when they’re calling other people stupid and wrong for voicing an opinion on a hypothetical. There are no facts here, it’s an imagined situation.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 02/10/14 at 12:24 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

On the flip side, that ended up benefiting Tatar.  Had Babcock not had to sent Nyquist down because of the roster size, Tatar would’ve spent more time on the bench in favor of Gus…

Posted by MurrayChadwick

I don’t think that’s true. Nyquist wouldn’t have taken Tatar’s spot. He would have taken Cleary’s spot on one of the top two lines if Buckets hadn’t been signed.

Tatar “earned his way” from the press box to the 4th line and then to the third line because he learned to play the “Babcock way.” I don’t think having Nyquist on the roster would have changed that progression at all.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/10/14 at 12:33 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Word around the camp fire is that Weiss came into the season fat and out of shape

Which campfire?

This is the first I’ve heard such accusations and I’d like a name to associate them with.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/10/14 at 12:38 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

J.j.  If hes had a chrnic abdominal injury wouldnt you expect that to be the case.  I think thats a more likely reason than laziness

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 02/10/14 at 01:05 PM ET

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HiHD - you attack and dismiss someone’s hypothetical argument (Nyquist is proving he’s a good player in the top-6) by using your own hypothetical argument (Nyquist would have been buried in the bottom-six, struggled to score, and lost his confidence). They are both hypothetical arguments, yet you treat the other argument as though it is flat-out stupidity but your only crutch is your own hypothetical argument.

Don’t be so condescending when all you have is your own pie-in-the-sky storyline, rather than something close to factual or that can be supported in reality. It’s just an idea that you’re spouting. I’d say your idea relies far more on leaps of faith (first, that he couldn’t crack the top-6, then, that because of that, his line wouldn’t score, and then because of that, his confidence would be shaken and he’d really struggle) than the argument that is based on the fact that he’s scored on a 60/82 pace. At least the other person’s argument is based on some numbers, some reality. Yours is pure conjecture and imagination.

So don’t slap down the other argument as ridiculous when it has way more basis in reality than your argument.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 02/10/14 at 01:21 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

Nyquist wouldn’t have taken Tatar’s spot. He would have taken Cleary’s spot on one of the top two lines if Buckets hadn’t been signed.

Tatar “earned his way” from the press box to the 4th line and then to the third line

Don’t let your Cleary hate cloud your memory.  Cleary was never in consideration for our top two lines.  He played at best 1 game on Pavs’s line, I remember the crying, and maybe another period or so when Babs shook the lineup around, moving Abby.  From the start the plan for the top two was Hank Pav Abby and then Franzen Weiss Alfie. 

Cleary was at best on our 3rd line and that was as lines shuffled. Healthy team with Gus as the season started,  our 3rd would’ve been Gus Jokim Bert with Helm on the shelf, and our 4th line being the 1st and 2nd unit PK guys,  Cleary, Glenn/Emmerton, Miller, Tootoo, Eaves, along with seldom puck back Samuelsuckson

I’m not saying Tats would never have earned the playing time and ultimately his spot in the lineup,  just saying he would have had less to audition with Gus around, injuries aside.

Posted by MurrayChadwick on 02/10/14 at 01:27 PM ET

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Posted by HockeyinHD on 02/10/14 at 10:52 AM ET

Your longwinded diatribe did nothing to refute what OTC said.

OTC said “Nyquist spent the first 22 games of the NHL season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins due to Holland’s and Babcock’s love affair with Daniel Fricking Cleary” and that is 100% true.

Would he be in the top six?  I don’t know, probably not.  But he absolutely, positively, 100% would not have played the first 22 games of the NHL season with the AHL Grand Rapids Griffins if not for Holland’s and/of Babcock’s love affair with Daniel Fricking Cleary.

Please read what you’re responding to before responding.

OTC’s statement was 100% accurate and you were 100% wrong.

Posted by Garth on 02/10/14 at 01:43 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

hahaha.

Thank the hockey gods that Dan Cleary was signed because it kept Gustav Nyquist from failing.

Hoo boy. Even in retrospect I’m not really bitter about the Cleary signing which is currently showing to be a mistake, but my goodness that’s the kind of jump down a slippery slope that would make Armin Zoeggeler blush.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 02/10/14 at 01:55 PM ET

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if he was that good in the estimation of the team he’d have been up early.

That is an entirely false statement unless you think Ken Holland was lying on Oct. 1 http://www.mlive.com/griffins/index.ssf/2013/10/gustav_nyquist_tries_to_remain.html

“We like him,’’ general manager Ken Holland said Monday. “He’s a guy we want on the team sooner than later, but unfortunately, we’ve got some difficult cap issues and we’ll start out the way we start out and sort out as we go.’‘

Or Babs on Nov. 21 http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2013/11/red_wings_recall_gustav_nyquis_3.html
“He was a good player for us last year and a key for us on our second-unit power play,’’ Babcock said. “Played real well for us in the playoffs.

“He’s quick, generates offense, gives us another skilled player to play on our top six, which is real positive for us. We knew all along that we were going to try to get him here; we just financially had no way to do that. It’s great to see him here.”

Or Khan on November 20, http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2013/11/red_wings_split_up_pavel_datsy_2.htmlDETROIT – Gustav Nyquist earned a spot on the Detroit Red Wings’ roster based on his performance last season but was a victim of the salary cap and the club’s roster squeeze.

So the talented young forward started the season with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

 

Posted by jkm2011 on 02/10/14 at 02:18 PM ET

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I will admit, however, that the signing of Dan Cleary didn’t keep Nyquist off the roster.  He wouldn’t have been on it before they signed Cleary since the Wings were ALREADY over the salary cap and roster limit when they signed Cleary.  Signing him only added to the problem Holland aleady had, which was why it was completely moronic—not just stupid.

And whether Cleary was slated for top 6 or not doesn’t really matter.  He played there more than one game and more than one shift in another game b/c Abby started so slow.  He also was a fixture on the second PP up until about 6 games ago.  He did take a lot of ice time away from Tatar.

Posted by jkm2011 on 02/10/14 at 02:24 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Herm and I were wondering aloud on Twitter the other day about how Weiss might fare playing on the blueline.  If you don’t want to mess up your forwards and he comes back… would he be a downgrade from someone like Smith, Kindl, or Quincey?

I know Weiss is known as a defensively-responsible C… have to wonder if he couldn’t be a puck-mover back there.

Not that it matters of course, they’d never do it.  But interesting idea regardless.

Posted by Primis on 02/10/14 at 02:55 PM ET

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There is no chance that Weiss playing D for the first time is better than Quincey at the position. As reviled as KQ has been, he has played much better recently. Regardless, there’s no way a first-time DMan not named Sergei Fedorov would succeed back there. In my opinion, #91 is one of the most gifted players to ever play the game - in my top 10. He had every tool, including brains. Bowman knew he could win the Norris if he stayed at D.

Weiss ain’t #91.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 02/10/14 at 03:08 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Bowman knew he could win the Norris if he stayed at D.

Weiss ain’t #91.
   
    Posted by
     
    VitoLambruski
     
      on 02/10/14 at 02:08 PM ET

LOL

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 02/10/14 at 03:17 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

Don’t let your Cleary hate cloud your memory.  Cleary was never in consideration for our top two lines.

I think you might be the one with the “cloudy” memory, Murray. But regardless of where Cleary played or where Nyquist would have played, the fact that Buckets was on the team meant Nyquist wasn’t.

And since Nyquist’s cap hit is less than Cleary’s, simply not signing Buckets would have allowed the Wings to keep Gus in the NHL. Once Tatar earned his spot in the line-up, I don’t believe it would have affected Nyquist’s spot (or vice versa) one iota. They’re two completely different players.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 02/10/14 at 04:49 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Bowman knew he could win the Norris if he stayed at D.
Weiss ain’t #91.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 02/10/14 at 02:08 PM ET

Yeah, but he wouldn’t need to be Fedorov, or be a Norris candidate.  He just needs to be better than Kindl, Smith, or Lashoff, if you think Quincey’s ok now (which I don’t necessarily).

I just don’t know where a defensive solution is coming from.

Posted by Primis on 02/10/14 at 07:44 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Regardless, there’s no way a first-time DMan not named Sergei Fedorov would succeed back there.

Posted by VitoLambruski on 02/10/14 at 02:08 PM ET

Apparently you never heard of Mathieu Dandenault.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 02/10/14 at 08:46 PM ET

SK77's avatar

Apparently you never heard of Mathieu Dandenault.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 02/10/14 at 07:46 PM ET

Apparently you missed where he said “succeed back there” ...  LOL

Posted by SK77 on 02/10/14 at 09:06 PM ET

Avatar

Hey that reminds me, Meech is available out there somewhere.  Since we are bringing up Dandenault and Feds playing D.

Posted by maltby18 on 02/10/14 at 10:46 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Apparently you missed where he said “succeed back there” ...

Posted by some kid on 02/10/14 at 08:06 PM ET

Did he not play for the Wings for four seasons on the back end? Did he not move the puck fairly decently, better than 4 of the current defensemen?

Sounds good to me.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 02/11/14 at 12:06 AM ET

SK77's avatar

Did he not play for the Wings for four seasons on the back end? Did he not move the puck fairly decently, better than 4 of the current defensemen?

Sounds good to me.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 02/10/14 at 11:06 PM ET

I’ll never forget his gaffe during overtime in Game One of the 2003 Playoffs versus the Ducks where he literally stopped playing/skating if I remember correctly, giving Kariya the chance to skate in on Joseph and score the game winning goal. Bastards.

Anyway, Dandenault was lousy as fuch. He’d still be a 5/6 d’man on the Wings today with Kronwall, Ericsson, and DeKeyser, easily slotting ahead of him. Even giving him the 4th slot only makes him better than 2 active defensemen on the roster .. and I’d still take Smith over him, and Queasy when he’s not sharting the bed.

So, I guess what I’m saying is Dandenault never qualified as a success “back there” in my book.

Posted by SK77 on 02/11/14 at 02:03 AM 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.