When Zetterberg has been effective in the past, he has had a "grinder" on his line. Whether it be Tomas Holmstrom, Dan Cleary, or Johan Franzen, there has been someone who created chaos in front of the netminder, and someone who could muck it up, bang bodies, and win battles along the boards. These guys could go get the puck in the corner and get it to Zetterberg in the slot or beside the crease.
You know I had a nightmare that Zetterberg retired after this season...
But anyhow I think Zetterberg has always had to fight a lot of the battles along the boards for his line. Perhaps he's had to do that more this year than any other year, I'm not sure. If that's the case, then that can definitely wear on a player who isn't used to it.
I think his speed is really impacted. A lot of times you'll see him skate from the wing or wherever towards the net but then he'll turn back and pass it to the blue line. Maybe with the extra gear he would have took it closer to the net, if not directly to the net, or draw in more defenders then pass it off to someone. You're right that he hasn't always been the fastest skater. But he used to really fly out there in his own way and we haven't seen that all that much.
I also think his confidence isn't where it used to be perhaps because of the injuries. I don't think his confidence is shot but it's simply not as high as it used to be. When you try to do certain things on the ice that you really like to do but can't execute like you used to because your body is being a pain then undoubtedly your performance will suffer. Furthermore I think those low percentage shots are a part of his whole process or struggle with trying to find a different way to be effective.
Plus I think we need to cut him (or any player for that matter) a little slack when we compare the way he plays now to his past playoff performances. Coaches and players in the league say all that time that the playoffs are like the fountain of youth; that the playoff style makes you feel like an 18 year old kid again. For Z's sake I just hope he gets better and better little by little as the year progresses.
Edited by Red Wings Addict, 04 February 2012 - 12:20 PM.