Whatever became of the Ruslan Salei that rammed an unsuspecting Mike Modano into the boards years ago?
I'm guessing that's why Babcock had mixed up the pairings this year. Stuart and Lids never really played particularly well together this season, but it mixes up some size and physicality on the pairings. It's not like the early years when Murphy and Nick could handle the Legion of Doom line by playing the puck and not the body. It's been a continuing strategy for the Wings with having guys like Schneider and now Raf on the top pairing, but the reality is that Lids and Rafalski are getting up there in years and have lost a step, so against a team like San Jose it would be too hard to battle around the net.
Stuart and Kronwall can hold their own fairly well. Assuming we keep Ericsson he still needs to play more physical. More like he did in the first round. And Salei has apparently stopped playing with an edge. Kindl's got good size, but it'd be nice to have someone big that will really make guys pay around the Wings net.
Not saying this team needs thugs, but we could certainly use some added size/grit on this team at both forward, and defense.