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Bad Defensive Errors

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I think that if your name is not Kronwall or Stuart there is no reason for you to pinch in as a defenseman on the Red Wings when the opposing team has the puck. When I see Brian Rafalski step up on a forward coming at him along the boards with the puck I cringe because only 2 things can happen:

a. The forward decides to play hockey and throws an elbow in his face and continues on past the small heap that momentarily slowed him.

b. The forward chips the puck past him and continues on with speed and another forward, forcing Lidstrom's +/- and legend down.

Ericsson and Lilja don't have the speed to get back of they step up and miss. Lidstrom doesn't hit. Stuart and Kronwall are not as fast as Rafalski, but their hitting ability compensate (meaning they know when they should step up and when it is a mistake).

Pinching in on a potential offensive play is another scenario. However, you must have puck handling ability. Leave that to Lidstrom and Kronwall. Rafalski makes poor decisions when pressured at the line, Lilja isn't offensive minded, Stuart is more defensive minded, and Ericsson should just wait at center ice and prevent break-aways.

The Yotes forwards are fast. If the defense continues to pinch to attempt hits, we will continue to see fast breaks and 2 on 1s.

Lidstrom for life likes this

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I only saw the last 8 minutes of the 2nd period, and the entire 3rd period, but that was enough for me to realise how even Lids has lost a step...Overall our D was mediocre, our forwards didn't sustain any pressure in the other end of the ice for any significant amount of time, and Howard looked average.

Basically the Red Wings from top to bottom looked disinterested until the last 3 minutes of the game.

EDIT - I'm a bit surprised that nobody has started a thread on how we need to run McCrimmon outta town :lol:

Edited by F.Michael

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This game marked a VERY dark day...

I found myself, for the first time in at least 15 years, saying "WTF Lidstrom?!?!" and "Babs has got to get Lidstrom off the ice"

He's hands down, one of, if not the best defensemen of all time... but he had a horrible game and that pairing (Rafalski was horrible too and was more at fault than Lidstrom) probably cost us the game today

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I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'd prefer Lebda to be in the lineup over Ericsson. I was at the game yesterday and it seemed every time the Lils-E pairing was on the ice, they were caught flat-footed in their own zone. Phoenix could almost cycle the puck at will when they were out there. Despite having little hockey sense, at least Lebda complements Lilja well and is usually capable of making the safe play out of the zone. His speed allows him to get to a lot of loose pucks in our end.

More troubling though was the first pair. That was surely the worst game I have ever seen Lidstrom play. I've come to expect nothing less than perfection from him. Usually, Rafalski could have the worst game and Nick could still more than compensate for that. But yesterday, something was wrong with Nick's body language. There were so many shifts where he seemed so tentative and unsure about his coverage. Is someone human wearing his jersey or what?

And I didn't notice the Stuart-Kronwall tandem much. They should have been more engaged physically to at least try and energize the team. They're supposed to add sandpaper to our top 4. Instead, like a lot of our players, they were just so emotionally disengaged from the game.

I just complained about each D-pair. That's never a good sign.

Good thing this topic isn't about the forwards though. I'd easily more than double the length of this post.

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Can't believe how a defenseman can become soooo much worse in just 2 seasons :huh:

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I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'd prefer Lebda to be in the lineup over Ericsson. I was at the game yesterday and it seemed every time the Lils-E pairing was on the ice, they were caught flat-footed in their own zone. Phoenix could almost cycle the puck at will when they were out there. Despite having little hockey sense, at least Lebda complements Lilja well and is usually capable of making the safe play out of the zone. His speed allows him to get to a lot of loose pucks in our end.

More troubling though was the first pair. That was surely the worst game I have ever seen Lidstrom play. I've come to expect nothing less than perfection from him. Usually, Rafalski could have the worst game and Nick could still more than compensate for that. But yesterday, something was wrong with Nick's body language. There were so many shifts where he seemed so tentative and unsure about his coverage. Is someone human wearing his jersey or what?

And I didn't notice the Stuart-Kronwall tandem much. They should have been more engaged physically to at least try and energize the team. They're supposed to add sandpaper to our top 4. Instead, like a lot of our players, they were just so emotionally disengaged from the game.

I just complained about each D-pair. That's never a good sign.

Good thing this topic isn't about the forwards though. I'd easily more than double the length of this post.

Ericsson is not the problem - he is a 3rd pairing guy and has not been a minus player once in the 3 playoff games and was a plus 2 after the Olympic break... he is MUCH better with Lils and Lebda is HORRENDOUS... the issue is not our 3rd pairing... it unfortunately WAS our 1st pairing...

Edited by stevkrause

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Ericsson is not the problem - he is a 3rd pairing guy and has not been a minus player once in the 3 playoff games and was a plus 2 after the Olympic break... he is MUCH better with Lils and Lebda is HORRENDOUS... the issue is not our 3rd pairing... it unfortunately WAS our 1st pairing...

Don't get me wrong, he hasn't been bad by any means. But, that's where the issue gets complicated.

If I'm Babcock, I can't really justify taking him out of the lineup for Lebda when he's played alright. It's just that our lack of speed on the 3rd pairing is certainly troubling--especially against a fast Coyotes team.

I thought Ericsson was fantastic in last year's playoffs. So his regular season play this season has been one of the bigger disappointments for me. And we won the Cup with Lebda-Lilja as our 3rd pairing. Yes, I think Lebda is horrendous. But, do you really remember many major gaffes on his part from the last two playoff runs? He usually plays a safe (and useless) game, which is all you need from your third pair.

But, it's a moot point anyways. Unlike Lebda, Ericsson has a future here. So unless he really wants to shake things up a bit, Babcock won't risk shattering E's confidence right now. Though, I would have to think E's on a short leash if he messes up; Babcock wasn't afraid to scratch him for a while late in the regular season when we needed the points.

And lastly, of course you 3rd pair isn't anywhere near as important as your 1st pair. But that doesn't mean you don't look for ways to improve your team all through the lineup. Our first pair can't change. And I'm confident Nick will be able to play like himself here on out.

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I think Ericsson has too much potential for a goal to justify taking him out in favor of Lebda. Example.

Final Score:

PIT 2 (Talbot x2)

DET 1 (Ericsson)

Painful memory, but he was the only reason we were even close to winning that game (on the scoresheet anyway).

Drake_Marcus and Vladifan like this

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I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I'd prefer Lebda to be in the lineup over Ericsson. I was at the game yesterday and it seemed every time the Lils-E pairing was on the ice, they were caught flat-footed in their own zone. Phoenix could almost cycle the puck at will when they were out there. Despite having little hockey sense, at least Lebda complements Lilja well and is usually capable of making the safe play out of the zone. His speed allows him to get to a lot of loose pucks in our end.

More troubling though was the first pair. That was surely the worst game I have ever seen Lidstrom play. I've come to expect nothing less than perfection from him. Usually, Rafalski could have the worst game and Nick could still more than compensate for that. But yesterday, something was wrong with Nick's body language. There were so many shifts where he seemed so tentative and unsure about his coverage. Is someone human wearing his jersey or what?

And I didn't notice the Stuart-Kronwall tandem much. They should have been more engaged physically to at least try and energize the team. They're supposed to add sandpaper to our top 4. Instead, like a lot of our players, they were just so emotionally disengaged from the game.

I just complained about each D-pair. That's never a good sign.

Good thing this topic isn't about the forwards though. I'd easily more than double the length of this post.

Ericsson's only been on the ice for a single goal-against and that was on the PK. I hardly see how Lebda is a better option.

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Don't get me wrong, he hasn't been bad by any means. But, that's where the issue gets complicated.

If I'm Babcock, I can't really justify taking him out of the lineup for Lebda when he's played alright. It's just that our lack of speed on the 3rd pairing is certainly troubling--especially against a fast Coyotes team.

I thought Ericsson was fantastic in last year's playoffs. So his regular season play this season has been one of the bigger disappointments for me. And we won the Cup with Lebda-Lilja as our 3rd pairing. Yes, I think Lebda is horrendous. But, do you really remember many major gaffes on his part from the last two playoff runs? He usually plays a safe (and useless) game, which is all you need from your third pair.

But, it's a moot point anyways. Unlike Lebda, Ericsson has a future here. So unless he really wants to shake things up a bit, Babcock won't risk shattering E's confidence right now. Though, I would have to think E's on a short leash if he messes up; Babcock wasn't afraid to scratch him for a while late in the regular season when we needed the points.

And lastly, of course you 3rd pair isn't anywhere near as important as your 1st pair. But that doesn't mean you don't look for ways to improve your team all through the lineup. Our first pair can't change. And I'm confident Nick will be able to play like himself here on out.

Lebda is a turnover machine... he's worse than E in that aspect and at least E is getting better about it... I do agree with you that Lebda wasn't bad in the past 2 runs and was pretty good in 07 and 08 actually... but that's one of the things that bothers me the most, he hasn't even stayed on par, he's digressed... even for the sake of shaking things up, it's not worth the trade off...

Next, I actually disagree with you to that the first pair can't change and actually think pretty strongly that it should...

Lidstrom-Kronwall

Stuart-Rafalski

Ericsson-Lilja

you have Lilja to cover for E when he pinches and gets out of position and Stuart to cover for Rafalski, PLUS you now have at least one really good hitting, physical defenseman on each pairing... something important against a team like Phoenix

Edited by stevkrause

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Obviously, I don't see every post in every thread - but has anyone given thought to the fact that this time might just be gassed?

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We need Big E, 'Yotes are playing the body hard and Lebda would of probably been dead by now.

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Obviously, I don't see every post in every thread - but has anyone given thought to the fact that this time might just be gassed?

I think this actually is an issue... but these are also professional athletes in TREMENDOUS shape... they can take the toll...

Lids is probably the only one who this could be a legit concern...

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Lebda is a turnover machine... he's worse than E in that aspect and at least E is getting better about it... I do agree with you that Lebda wasn't bad in the past 2 runs and was pretty good in 07 and 08 actually... but that's one of the things that bothers me the most, he hasn't even stayed on par, he's digressed... even for the sake of shaking things up, it's not worth the trade off...

Next, I actually disagree with you to that the first pair can't change and actually think pretty strongly that it should...

Lidstrom-Kronwall

Stuart-Rafalski

Ericsson-Lilja

you have Lilja to cover for E when he pinches and gets out of position and Stuart to cover for Rafalski, PLUS you now have at least one really good hitting, physical defenseman on each pairing... something important against a team like Phoenix

I agree with every word in this post. That rarely happens.

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Maybe we should shuffle up the defense pairs but I don't know if that will help when all of the defenseman are playing so bad. I actually think Kronwall might be having the worst series out of all of them. There was that miscommunication b/w him and Howard that cost a goal earlier and then in game 3 his stupid cross ice pass in our own zone directly led to a turnover and goal plus he was lucky Howard saved the puck he kicked right at our net. Please please turn this around guys :(

Having said that I am going to end this with some positive mojo and say that Kronwall is going to have the game of his life tomorrow, Kronwalling at least 2 Coyotes and scoring a goal while finishing with a +4 rating.

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Maybe we should shuffle up the defense pairs but I don't know if that will help when all of the defenseman are playing so bad. I actually think Kronwall might be having the worst series out of all of them. There was that miscommunication b/w him and Howard that cost a goal earlier and then in game 3 his stupid cross ice pass in our own zone directly led to a turnover and goal plus he was lucky Howard saved the puck he kicked right at our net.

The botched hand off was Jimmy's fault in my opinion. He hurried it to an unsuspecting Kronwall, which he's done a number of times this series including to Lidstrom yesterday. It's obvious that Jimmy is feeling some pressure, as has been noted.

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Ericsson's only been on the ice for a single goal-against and that was on the PK. I hardly see how Lebda is a better option.

In such a small sample size, it's tough to just focus on who was out there for each goal against. It's more about the overall flow of the game. To me, it just seems that the 3rd pair really lacks speed and gets hemmed inside their own zone a lot--and that may catch up with them later on.

Of course, E is a much, much better D-man than Lebda and has more potential. And I'd still go with him for now. It's just that if he looks shaky or we lose another game, I wouldn't close the option of Lebda stepping into the lineup since he's played steady with Lils in the past.

And I've seen a few of your posts before. You often defended Ericsson when he had the roughest of games. He hasn't been bad at all now, so I guess I can't make any argument to you. :lol:

Lebda is a turnover machine... he's worse than E in that aspect and at least E is getting better about it... I do agree with you that Lebda wasn't bad in the past 2 runs and was pretty good in 07 and 08 actually... but that's one of the things that bothers me the most, he hasn't even stayed on par, he's digressed... even for the sake of shaking things up, it's not worth the trade off...

Next, I actually disagree with you to that the first pair can't change and actually think pretty strongly that it should...

Lidstrom-Kronwall

Stuart-Rafalski

Ericsson-Lilja

you have Lilja to cover for E when he pinches and gets out of position and Stuart to cover for Rafalski, PLUS you now have at least one really good hitting, physical defenseman on each pairing... something important against a team like Phoenix

Well, to settle it right now. Let's just agree that no team's fans are ever happy with their third D-pair. You pretty much have to go with whoever scares you the least.

And I like those D-pairs actually. It's just that Babcock always seems to be so reluctant in changing the combinations. Even if he does for a while, you know he's eventually coming back to Lidstrom-Rafalski.

The bottom line though is our entire team has to play better. I've spent way too much time talking about the third pair. It's about our team playing with grit and emotion instead of that pathetic, uninspired hockey I paid to see yesterday after traveling 300 miles.

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In such a small sample size, it's tough to just focus on who was out there for each goal against. It's more about the overall flow of the game. To me, it just seems that the 3rd pair really lacks speed and gets hemmed inside their own zone a lot--and that may catch up with them later on.

Of course, E is a much, much better D-man than Lebda and has more potential. And I'd still go with him for now. It's just that if he looks shaky or we lose another game, I wouldn't close the option of Lebda stepping into the lineup since he's played steady with Lils in the past.

And I've seen a few of your posts before. You often defended Ericsson when he had the roughest of games. He hasn't been bad at all now, so I guess I can't make any argument to you. :lol:

Well, to settle it right now. Let's just agree that no team's fans are ever happy with their third D-pair. You pretty much have to go with whoever scares you the least.

And I like those D-pairs actually. It's just that Babcock always seems to be so reluctant in changing the combinations. Even if he does for a while, you know he's eventually coming back to Lidstrom-Rafalski.

The bottom line though is our entire team has to play better. I've spent way too much time talking about the third pair. It's about our team playing with grit and emotion instead of that pathetic, uninspired hockey I paid to see yesterday after traveling 300 miles.

This is the real issue, through and through... they played uninspired hockey and looked like they didn't care for 55 minutes of the game... you don't wait until you're down by 2 with 5 minutes left to FINALLY turn it up to 100% - it should be that from the first drop of the puck.

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I actually thought that was one of Ericssons better games, he really wasn't as lost as usual. Rafalski literally gave the puck over every single time he touched the puck. They need to play with some ******* interest

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Rafalski has always pinched, this isn't some new thing. That's a centerpiece of his offensive game, and it results in plenty of offensive zone pressure. It's really up to the forwards to recognize the pinch and cover for him. He's had a few bad pinches, but I'm more worried about his weak turnovers in the defensive zone to be honest.

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Ericsson looked better when he played forward for a minute than he did the rest of the game

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also, it's hilarious how Kronwall gets laid out 1-2 times a game now

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The team just isn't play together as a unit. I've seen Mickey point out many times in the past that when a defenseman like Rafalski or Stuart would pinch, you could bet a forward would recognize this and bust his ass back to cover him. It's just good hockey sense and being in sync with your teammates.

I also think it's very important to the remainder of this series how Datsyuk plays and if he can make room for himself. 2 points in three games, and -2 plus/minus last game is unfortunately not good enough for the top forward on the team.

I don't know guys, sometimes I just feel like this team is out of gas over two long postseasons and now a long 2009-2010 season that involved injuries and an intense late season push.

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There are many good points here, none are better than the fact the TEAM had not played well as whole and that they seem like they don't care.

Buuuuut if we are going to talk defense then I just have to ask what everyone sees in Ericsson and Lilja????? Now dont get me wrong I don't believe Lebda is better but when you sign a defenseman who is 6'5" 225lbs (Ericsson) or 6'3" 220lbs (Lilja) you expect them to play like they are. Neither of these guys plays big, they dont hit (probably cause they are slow and not agile enough to line up a hit) and they rarely shoot. These two should be wrecking heads as a pair, teams should be skating around scared but instead they know that these two aren't gonna hit, they will just chase you around.

I like Lilja I really do and he is a decent defenseman but I really dont see much use for Ericsson on the NHL level and I just plain dont get how he is seen by some as the future of our defensive core....I hope he surprises me and makes me eat my words but right now he is just a VERY large waste of space.

Edited by Cheveldae32

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I agree with every word in this post. That rarely happens.

I also agree with this. I changed my defensive pairings to this in NHL 10 earlier this season (actually when the real life Olympics were happening... cuz of the Lids/Kronner D-pairing) and they seemed to be working better!

Kronwall and Stuart are hitting machines... why do they play on the same line? Rafalski takes too many dumb pinching chances.

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