We all know Detroit is a blue-collar town. We also know the Red Wings have been the best franchise in Detroit for a long time. However, it is becoming increasing obvious that the Wings have become way too comfortable in the spa-like atmosphere.
This current team lack heart and toughness. Night after night, teams play the Wings with no fear of being hit or having to face anyone that would constitute an enforcer. Holland, a good GM, is a nice guy who apparently likes to surround himself with similar type players. That's good for team harmony and prevents players from stirring the pot. But it makes for boring hockey and makes it watch as teams push the Wings around.
Game after game, the Wings' opponent know they can punch players in front of their own net without repercussion. It is embarrassing to watch and must get under the skin of Hockeytown Heroes like Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, Joe Kocur, Darren McCarty and guys that played with heart like Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan.
I know the salary cap forces teams to keep players that are not truly NHL caliber. For example, the Wings have Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Holmstrom. They constantly take dumb penalties and give the puck away like it is the object of the game. Johan Franzen leads the team in goals but doesn't show up every night and, although he is one of the biggest players on the ice, is as soft as they come.
This is Detroit, the home of Joe Louis and Detroit Muscle. It is long past time to draft more North American players that play with heart and would do anything to win the Stanley Cup. Remember Stevie Yzerman playing on his busted up leg, trying to win? Do you see any one with that type of heart on this team?
There are some bright spots with the likes of Darren Helm, Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader and, of course, Nicklas Lidstrom. But does this team have the heart and toughness to win it all? I think not. However, there is hope. A trade or two could improve the heart of this club. Yes they have had lots of injuries, but that is part of the game.
Wouldn't die-hard Red Wings fans like to see more players like Howe, Lindsay, Kocur, McCarty, Shanahan, Bob Probert, Martin Lapointe in the lineup. Let's hope the "Holland House" becomes a thing of the past real soon.
sure this is one person with his own opinion, but i call derp on this article.
first off, i am pro-enforcer and i do get tired of watching the players i love get smacked around. even players who don't normally play with a chip get a lot chippier against the wings (jordan staal, you so tough). kostopoulos should have been pounded into pulp. but that didn't happen and won't - this year, and maybe next, and maybe never. and that's a shame.
but to say that these players have no heart is ridiculous. sure, we don't have an extreme example of somebody playing on a knee with no cartilage, needing to use his stick to prop himself up off of the ice. that's symbolic. but i'd say this team has plenty of heart - more than most if not all other teams. brad stuart comes immediately to mind. he takes a slapshot off of the back of his head, misses a few games, comes back, has his jaw broken by a nasty hit (insert enforcer rant here). while walking off of the ice he slams his stick not because of the pain but because he knows he'll be out for a long, long time. these guys want to play and win, and yeah they can be frustrating to watch sometimes when it seems they forget how good they are, but they're hustling their asses off on both ends of the ice.
toughness is another thing. i think the idea of what is consider "tough" gets blurry in a game where fighting is allowed and expected. this team throws their weight around plenty, leading games in hits very frequently. after-whistle scrums and stupid roughing penalties are not tough.
i grew up watching the wings kick the living crap out of everybody and it was fun to watch! but they sure didn't win much. now, they're perennial contenders and the envy of every team in the league as far as management and work ethic. can we have both?