In a game we pretty much absolutely have to win, how the hell do Salei and Ericsson get more even strength ice time thanf****** Nicklas Lidstrom? It's like Babcock thinks Lidstrom's a powerplay specialist now or something. If anything, that would be $6M man Rafalski.
Nick wasn't out for even a second of the penalty kill (which let up 2 goals...coincidence? Probably not when your best penalty killer isn't on the ice.) Kronwall and Stuart probably spent too much time killing penalties compared to the others--obviously wearing them out.
I haven't really felt the need to criticize Babcock so much before. Even if Lidstrom's lost half-a-step and isn't perfect anymore, he's still the one defenseman in the league I would want out there in any given situation. What was the point in limiting Nick's ice time all season? I would think it would be so he could play over 30 minutes in games like these.
EDIT: Also, I just had to mention how I loved seeing Flip, Mule and Hudler suck on the OT powerplay for 1:30 while I don't think Pavel and Hank even got the first 30 seconds. It was only the most important powerplay of our season.
Finally, a post I can agree with.
Rafalski is a better PP man right now. No disrespect to Lidstrom, but Raf probably would have outscored him this year if he had been in all season.
Lidstrom should be on the PK. Hell, at the rate it's going, a duck in a clown suit might be a good bet on the PK.
Our penalty kill problem isn't exactly only defense though. It's clumped offense.
We have two powerplay modes.
1) We pressure the point very hard, and they get it down low and suddenly have 3 guys deep cycling the puck 2 inches from the net.
2) We pressure deep, and end up with 4 guys in one corner, and they have someone standing in the slot clipping his fingernails waiting for the puck to get to him.
Our biggest weakness on the PK is that we can't seem to make up our minds on which strategy to play.
Diamond with aggressive point checking? We always have someone miss an assignment down deep.
Collapse on the net, we let them shoot endlessly from the point.
Collapse on puck carrier, they put a guy in the slot, and we seem shocked when he scores.
Those are the three defensive PK strategies detroit is using, and it's like people are just missing assignments.
If you play Diamond, there needs to be a solid rotation of who is pressuring the point. We miss that assignment a lot, because we'll have 2-3 guys pressuring the point, and one guy deep.
If you roll a collapse on the net, you still need people to be aggressive when the point check presents itself. We usually hesitate and wait.
If you collapse on Puck carrier, well, you can't collapse the whole damn team on the puck carrier deep in the corner, which is exactly how they scored their first goal.
Our PK sucks.
I think, I BET, Detroit has spent so much time working on it since it's sucked all season long, that now guys are just confused.
We are sucking so badly on Penalty kills because it has been screwed with so much all season long, to try to fix it, that nobody has the system down, and nobody is confident. You know how when we go on the PK, you get that gut wrenching feel of "Oh god, please not again". Trust me, the players get that too, pros or not. If it sucks, it sucks....and the players know it sucks EVEN MORE than the fans realize it sucks. It's stressful to watch, imagine how it is to play it?
And now, we'll go golfing because we overtrained, and underestimated the Penalty kill.
Simple. As. That.
We're so solid 5 on 5 because it's the system we played all year long. Our PK was "ok", but our defense wasn't great. We won enough games to get our slot because we could score (2nd highest scoring, overall). We were never particularly good on Power plays, or penalty kills all year long (Not particularly bad either), but now that teams are fighting for gold, our failure to have a solid system in both the PK and PP, has left them an avenue to exploit a clear cut weakness in our team.
And Howard has little to do with it. If anything, our PK could be a lot worse, if he wasn't playing solid.
In any 5 on 4 situation, one man is theoretically always open. The real trick to PK is to ensure that nobody in a shooting position is open, despite the fact that one guy will always fundamentally be open. Four professional players cannot keep five professional players contained at all times, ever. But don't even get me started on that subject. That subject is one of positioning, puck control, and a lot of deep play variables.
Edited by Joey v3.4, 05 May 2011 - 12:33 PM.
And Boom goes the Dynamite.