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betterREDthandead

Thoughts at the halfway mark

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Tonight marks the halfway point of the Wings' season. 41 games down, 41 to go. Just a little something to sum up the Wings' accomplishments and put in perspective where they stand....

- They have a record of 30-8-3, for 63 points. This puts them on pace for 126, which would be their best regular season since the record-setting year of 1995-96 when they racked up 131.

- They have scored more goals than any other team in the league and given up fewer than any other team in the league.

- Red Wings are likely to comprise one-half of the Western All-Star Game starting lineup, and if there were justice in this world, it'd be two-thirds.

- The power play scores nearly 1 out of every 4 chances. (We are used to this.)

We the fans of Red Wings Nation demanded they get tougher. They now have two players who will drop the gloves to protect the star players, and one who will drop the gloves for no apparent reason whatsoever (the Pain Train does not make scheduled stops).

We wondered where the secondary scoring would come from. 41 games later, we have endured a stretch without the #1 and #3 scoring forwards and the team hasn't missed a beat. Rex, Cleary, and Flip have officially answered the bell.

We wanted to see Nik Kronwall finally live up to his potential. He is on pace to be third in defenseman-scoring, which is perfectly understandable given who's ahead of him. We expected Jiri Hudler to get more ice time and shine with it. He is averaging approximately 5-6 extra shifts per game and is on pace for over 50 points. We expected Hank to have a breakout year. Yes.

And then there's the shots-on-goal differential. The Wings are singlehandedly skewing this stat. They shoot more than any other team and allow fewer than any other team. They have a differential of +11.6 per game - no other team even surpasses +5. Because this must average out somehow, there are 4 teams with a worse than -5 differential. Their goals differential per game is 1.3. The next best is 0.79 - every other team is below 0.5.

The Wings have a dominant goalie tandem, a suffocating defense, and an explosive offense. They play to perfection the puck control game they're famous for, and they have added on an uncanny ability to go get the puck when they don't have it. They've shown hustle, grit, and talent.

This isn't a season where the Wings have ridden a few lucky bounces to a record that puts them in contention. They aren't sitting back on cruise control and letting their talent carry them through games against a crummy division. In 26 games outside the division, they are 24-1-1. They're playing 110% from the drop of the puck to the final horn. They're dominating every shift, and they're not backing down from any confrontation.

Tonight's game against Dallas - perfect example of this season. They made the Stars look like they didn't belong in the same league. They thwarted every Dallas advance into the zone. They attacked relentlessly and stepped on the Stars' throats every chance they got. They fought. They hit - hard. They pelted Turco with shots, and quality ones. They scored pretty goals and they scored ugly ones. They dispatched the Stars with brutal efficiency - and Dallas is the second best team in the Western Conference.

Bottom line: I cannot remember the last time I saw the Wings playing this well. They look great. Not great like "this is a great hot dog." Like, Steve Yzerman great. Gordie Howe great. I am not afraid to say this and risk jinxing things. This team looks hungry. They look like they're on a mission. I am going to savor this whole season, because the Wings are giving us a rare treat.

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I agree with pretty much everything you said.

Kronner is becoming a beast, He isnt the best, but he is surely improving every game, same with lebda. The team looks hungry every game. except for new years eves..

you cant ask for anything else.. other then umm more big hits.. and more donnybrooks.

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I agree...Detroit is the best team in the league, and even though any team can beat any team any given night, we're the favorite to win.

Here's to a great final half of the season and a strong playoff run!

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I just can't believe that out of their 11 total losses, 9 came from within the division. If they would have only won 4 of those, they would be sitting at 71 points and be sitting VERY PRETTY.

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this has been the season i dream of, i am so happy with how we are playing and agree with everything in ur post.

even when we dont look hungry enough one game, we come back the next one and chew up the other team

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And for the rest of the season:

I hope someone gets 50 goals and 100 points this season. Doesn't matter who. ;)

I hope Oz keeps it up. He has been refreshingly surprising.

I hope Filppula adds to what he has done, same with Kronvall.

I hope Howard proves without a doubt that he should back up Osgood next year assuming Hasek retires.

I hope that people stop overachieving so much, so that we can fit them all under the salary cap.

I hope we pick it up against the Central Division!

And I'm not even going to jinx beyond the regular season.

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The Red Wings for years (and especially this one) have been THE team to learn how to excell in hockey. From on ice play to scouting and coaching. We've become a Babcock team and what we are seeing is simply fantastic.

Keep up the great work guys!

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The league definatly has more parity than ever it seems...except the Red Wings, who are just sweet. I really like how our team is looking guys who we really needed to step it up are, like Filppula, Hudler, and Kronwall. Now even Franzen is showing signs of life. I just hope everybody can remain healthy.

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you cant ask for anything else.. other then umm more big hits.. and more donnybrooks.

Yes you can...

I want those cheerleader shovel girls Chicago has :yowza:

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even when we dont look hungry enough one game, we come back the next one and chew up the other team

I agree, the sign of an excellent team is when they play bad one night and can bounce back the next night and dominate someone. We don't have too many off nights but its nice to know that when we do have one the streak usually ends at 1.

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We're this good now, how about after the trade deadline... :yowza:

I'm just glad Cleary and Osgood are having great seasons. 2 of the best guys on the team, Drake and Downey have played well lately. Cant ask for a whole lot mor

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Oustanding post BRTD, great read. :thumbup:

Some of those stats are amazing, just goes to show how dominant this team is.

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great post

When other team wants to go purely skill vs skill against us, there is no team that can take us. We will make a quick work and put them in their place.

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And even when we have an "off night" we're still pretty damn good and have to make the other team work. ;D

Great thread.

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You just gotta love the Red Wings right now.

It's all falling in place.

But as the great Ken Dryden once said:

" Anyone can put up great numbers in the regular season, it's all about the playoffs "

That's not a reference to Oz or Dom, but let's be honest: A great regular season, even a 55 + wins season doesn't mean anything when you get your ass kicked in the second round by a team like... let's say the Blue Jackets ..

So I hope the guys keep playing like their playing right now and I hope their good form and confidence will carry them deep into the playoffs !!

Go Wings !

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indeed...

we were terrible...terribly terrible against the blues..yet only lost 1-0 (+En), and still outshot them, and could have won with a little luck..

i'm impressed with this team, but i'm just slightly concerned. The central has learnt they have to play playoff hockey against us, and in a lot of cases we just haven't matched up to them yet, mainly because were not in playoff mode..

i think the end of the season, with the central fighting to get into the playoffs will be great for us, because it'll give us a solid month of teams fighting for their lives. I'm hoping that will prepare us for the playoffs.

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I was disgusted with the game against St. Louis. After seeing they way they bounced back last night, I am stunned... and I shouldn't be. This team is truly something special.

It is hard to fully enjoy this great season we're having because we're always ultimately judged by the playoffs, this has been simply amazing to watch at times. I remember thinking at times last year, that as good as we were, a lot of the games seemed to lack passion. This year, not even close...

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The Wings have played great so far in Larry Murphy's words. What more can we ask for as a fan, nothing. Babcok has kept the team hungry night in and night out. My ONLY concern in that some players might take some nights off on the second half of the season.

It should not happen based on last years second half as Datsyuk picked up his game when Hank went down for 19 games. We added Rafalski who knows how to win championships, he has worked out amazingly. Great leadership and talent, this team has it all.

Great game last night Ozzie, YOU ARE SICK!

too bad the 4th line was on when Ozzie got beat on the wrap around, All Downey had to do it get it out and he whiffed, o well it is only a shut out, wins are all that matters.

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This team is lazy and they suck. :P

Seriously, I couldn't be more excited with the way they've finished the first half. This team came out scary and never looked back. The top line was beyond dominant and no team in the league was able to shut them down. However, people started to question the secondary scoring, myself being one of them. Then all of a sudden around the quarter-season mark the secondary scoring took off. Then all of a sudden both Z and Homer were forced to take some time due to injury. I this may sound bad, but I believe those two injuries were blessings in disguise. Not only did our secondary scoring continue to pitch in, but it did so at a rate even greater than what they were contributing. That's a great sign for the playoff run.

This team never ceases to amaze me, and I'm looking forward to the second half and post-season.

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If I read it right, the Wings set a record for earliest to 30 wins. besting their record of 29 wins set in '95-'96.

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The one observation that I have taken from the first half of the year that stands out in my mind is Dats overall ability.

We knew Zetta was a very good two way forward, we knew Dats was unbelievable with the puck on his stick, but watching the few games that have been either on National TV or Yahoo, Dats backchecks with the best of them.

His stick check when coming at a player from behind is as deft a touch I have seen in a long long time. Does he have any hooking or high sticking penalties, I doubt it, but how many times have you seen him skate up from behind and just nudge the players stick and turn around with the puck to start the O going.

He doesn't seem to be exerting himself (like a certain Swedish defenseman we all know) but I have yet to see him put himself out of position. I am only talking D here, his offense we all know to be great, but his D is what impresses me the most.

This kid is good!!!!!

I can not wait for FEB 2, Wings B's I will be there!!!!

You tell I'm coming, and hell's coming with ME!!!!!!!!

Sorry for the Tombstone reference.

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Yes you can...

I want those cheerleader shovel girls Chicago has :yowza:

I'd prefer not to add another gimmick to going to a hockey game. But thenagain I also don't like how several teams have started concerts and hockey games have broken out.

Plus with the cheerleaders you always have that annoying huckster and stupid mascot running around just asking to get the crap beat out of them.

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Plus with the cheerleaders you always have that annoying huckster and stupid mascot running around just asking to get the crap beat out of them.

but isn't that what we got downey for?? :lol:

seriously, these guys are playing at such a high level almost every night, and with such great chemistry no matter what the line combinations lately, i can't wait for the playoffs ...

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