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kipwinger

Second Line Woes

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I was just commenting on this in another thread and thought I'd start something here. Looking at the season splits on ESPN I noticed something problematic. I know the Wings are the best team in hockey right now, and I'm not trying to be overly pessimistic, I think we're largely as good as anybody out there and I can't complain, but if you look at the areas where we're weak something stands out pretty obviously.

Datysuk (+/-) Overall: 18, On the Road: 4, In Wins: 25, In Losses: -7

Franzen (+/-) Overall: 27, On the Road: 7, In Wins: 33, In Losses: -6

Bertuzzi (+/-) Overall: 21, On the Road: 9, In Wins: 20, In Losses: 1

Filppula (+/-) Overall: 15, On the Road: -6, In Wins: 28, In Losses: -13

Zetterberg (+/-) Overall: 8, On the Road: -6, In Wins: 26, In Losses: -18

Hudler (+/-) Overall: 6, On the Road: -9, In Wins: 21, In Losses: -15

Kronwall: Overall: -1, On the Road: -11, In Wins: 16, In Losses: -17

Stuart: Overall: 16, On the Road: -4, In Wins: 28, In Losses: -12

White: Overall: 28, On the Road: 10, In Wins: 22, In Losses: 6

Lidstrom: Overall: 26, On the Road: 2, In Wins: 35, In Losses: -9

I wanted to compare the top two lines as whole units considering +/- is a group stat. What jumps out at me is that while we don't lose much, when we do lose, it's usually (and obviously) on the road, and it's usually the second line getting scored on/not scoring. Aside from trading for a top six guy, which we've all talked about to death, does anybody see a solution to this problem or are we just going to have to deal with it and hope our first and third lines win us games on the road. I mean, presumably we can't win all our playoff home games...um...right?

Note: I guess I should add that while Filppula and Hudler's production has dipped slightly of late, Zetterberg's is picking up, and all of them are having good seasons IMO. So don't take this as a knock on individual players, but as a unit there's something not quite clicking for them on the road.

Edited by kipwinger

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yeah, you're right. But when you can look at all five guys on a unit and see some consistency in their +/- then it's still troubling. The stat is helpful, just not for an individual player.

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It's all about the last change.

Teams have been lining their shut-down line up against Pavel and letting their #1 scoring line go wild on Z. Hudler, while playing well, is not a great defensive forward. Also, Z's line doesn't have the tools (read: size) to eat up valuable minutes in the other team's zone and spend more time than they should in their own end.

It will be hard to find an offensive upgrade over Hudler for cheap at the deadline and I'm not suggesting they do. But they might want to think about foresaking some offense from Z's line in order to make it better defensively. In other words, replace Hudler with Cleary, or upgrade for a sizeable defensive winger with speed at the deadline.

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Now that Filppula is cooling off a bit on the scoring and Zetterberg is just getting warmed up, maybe it's would help to switch the two at wing and center. Don't know if this will help, but Zetterberg is definitely the better shooter of the two. Might give him some higher quality chances while not sacrificing a lot of offense from Filppula. Plus, it may help Zetterberg offense rebound, if Filppula is carrying the puck into the zone from here on out. Don't know if this is the only fix, or even if it would work, just something I thought of.

Like you said, maybe bring Cleary up and Huds or Fil down, but I'd hate to lose their offense.

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I hope you're ready for the +/- is a useless stat flamethrower

It doesn't mean everything, but it certainly doesn't mean nothing.

maybe bring Cleary up

lol

I guess bringing Cleary up to the second line would help defensively, but we want that line to score as well.

Edited by Z and D for the C

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It doesn't mean everything, but it certainly doesn't mean nothing.

lol

I guess bringing Cleary up to the second line would help defensively, but we want that line to score as well.

You're absolutely right, and maybe there's nothing to be done about it. There really are no easy answers, which is tough when a problem is easy to identify

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Thought I'd bring this thread up a little. Now that Dats is gone and Z is off the second line, it's looked like complete s***. Cleary has been terrible the last 2 seasons, and every time the last few games he's gotten the puck I've cringed. Fil tries so hard to win battles, and Cleary just immediately gives the puck back to the other team. At this point, in my opinion, he's no more than a 3rd liner. Huds has also been knocked off the puck a ton recently. Without a second solid person on the second line it's not a threat at all. This could very easily be a problem in the playoffs. Franzen also looked spectacularly bad vs Vancouver. We seriously do need another threat for the top 6 otherwise 1 injury to a key player could easily get us knocked out of the playoffs very quickly.

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So Cleary's still adjusting with his knee. I can see why Babs doesn't want to break up the Helm line. Is it such a bad idea to put him on the 4th line? If it is then where else can you put him? It doesn't seem as if they're going to trade him. Babs just loves Cleary and Franzen.

For now I wish they would just put the Zetterberg line back together for 5 on 5.

Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler

Cleary-Franzen-Bertuzzi

Yeah the Cleary-Franzen-Bertuzzi line can seem like sending s*** out there but at least the team will have two lines with good mojo. That is, Zetterberg's and Helm's.

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Must say I kind of puked when I read a line of Cleary-Franzen-Bertuzzi. The sad part is Bertuzzi would look like Bure compared to his counterparts.

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Must say I kind of puked when I read a line of Cleary-Franzen-Bertuzzi. The sad part is Bertuzzi would look like Bure compared to his counterparts.

So did I man. Ugh...

But I feel like they should go back to the Fil-Z-Huds line that worked well and you don't want to mess with the Helm line.

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I guess the good news is that our competition for upcoming games are fairly easy, even without our best player.

Datsyuk HAS to be back before the western road trip.

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Hudler is absolutley the weak link. He can pick corners if you put the puck on his tape 20 feet out from the net - but THATS IT. He might be the slowest top-speed scoring winger in the game right now... Incredibly 1 dimensional player that is too small and immobile to be effective on a regular basis. Want skill on that line? Throw Hemsky on it. Want grit? Let Gaustad crash and bang for Z and Filp. Trade Hudler for a washing machine and a carton of chocolate milk.

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Hudler is absolutley the weak link. He can pick corners if you put the puck on his tape 20 feet out from the net - but THATS IT. He might be the slowest top-speed scoring winger in the game right now... Incredibly 1 dimensional player that is too small and immobile to be effective on a regular basis. Want skill on that line? Throw Hemsky on it. Want grit? Let Gaustad crash and bang for Z and Filp. Trade Hudler for a washing machine and a carton of chocolate milk.

Cleary has played substantially worse than Hudler. Seriously, ever time Cleary touches the puck I know the outcome, and it's never good.

dobbles and Z and D for the C like this

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Must say I kind of puked when I read a line of Cleary-Franzen-Bertuzzi. The sad part is Bertuzzi would look like Bure compared to his counterparts.

Franzen is an excellent skater.

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Cleary has played substantially worse than Hudler. Seriously, ever time Cleary touches the puck I know the outcome, and it's never good.

I cut Cleary some slack because he is coming off an injury. He'll play better in the playoffs. As for Hudler, his game is not suited for the playoffs. I don't believe the Wings can win a Cup with Hudler in their top 6 group of forwards. I know he has had a bounce back season but I think Cleary will be more valuable when it really counts. I hope I'm wrong on Hudler.

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Hudler and Filppula can NOT compete against teams who have size.... period. They will be pummeled in the playoffs. Look at their stats against teams like Vancouver, San Jose, Chicago.... and now St. Louis. I don't understand why peeps can't see it. All night against Vancouver the Cleary, Filppula, Hudler line played at the Detroit end.... and the Miller, Helm, Abby line played at the Vancouver end. Hudler and Filppula are third line players at best.

If Detroit does not get a top six forward who can skate well with some grit by the trade deadline they are done. If Datsyuk is not 100% for the entire playoffs Detroit is done. Datsyuk sets the pace of play.... after him it is players like Helm and Abby... there is no one in-between.

Edited by Icesurfer

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Hudler and Filppula can NOT compete against teams who have size.... period. They will be pummeled in the playoffs. Look at their stats against teams like Vancouver, San Jose, Chicago.... and now St. Louis. I don't understand why peeps can't see it. All night against Vancouver the Cleary, Filppula, Hudler line played at the Detroit end.... and the Miller, Helm, Abby line played at the Vancouver end. Hudler and Filppula are third line players at best.

If Detroit does not get a top six forward who can skate well with some grit by the trade deadline they are done. If Datsyuk is not 100% for the entire playoffs Detroit is done. Datsyuk sets the pace of play.... after him it is players like Helm and Abby... there is no one in-between.

I agree on Hudler. However I do believe that Flip is a 2nd line player. I've been very happy with his development this season. I think he has taken the next step.

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I agree - but Cleary is just a temporary patchup until Pavel gets back and Hank centres that line again. Regarding our regular top 6 (Bert, Franz, Pav, Hank, Filp, Huds) Hudler really is a guy that cant get the job done with any consistency. For a guy thats so small his skating is just terrible - I mean, if he has half the wheels Martin St Louis does he would be so much more of a threat. But because hes slow (and gutless) is makes him weak on the forecheck, hes useless off the rush, and is defensivley weak and cant go from the half-boards to the point quick enough to keep dmen from shooting on net.

Filps play has slipped lately ... hes hacking the puck square be fumbling and overhandling it and he hasnt been skating with the puck nearly as much. That being said, when Filp is on and Hank is on they both have the skating, tenaciousness, and skill to be effective as little men. Hudler - despite his goal scoring ability is purely opportunistic and dependant on his linemates for chances. At his best Hudler is not a top 6 forward on an elite team because for a small man hes so 1 dimensional ... hes basically a crappier version of Heatley that gets bumped off the puck easier.

Cleary has played substantially worse than Hudler. Seriously, ever time Cleary touches the puck I know the outcome, and it's never good.

Edited by jroc86
kipwinger likes this

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The second line certainly is a mess. But we can't put it all on Hudler.

Flip has been inconsistent of late. He had a few great stretches, but I haven't seen so many missed wide open nets in such a small amount of time as the last 10 games for him.

Z has also been sub-par. This is not just noticeable to Wings fans, but to national media as well. I have read several articles on Z being worse this season than his previous worse season.

Cleary has been hurt often, so his numbers are not reliable for comparison to others.

For what it's worth with Dats out this may be the perfect time to play around. I know that we need all the points we can get in his absence, but there may not come a time (we are in first place) to see our true weaknesses when there is less on the line.

Franzen-Z-Flip

Bert-Helm-Cleary

Homer-Abdelkader-Hudler

Miller-Emmerton-Mursak

This mixes things up and allows for possible "duos" to appear. Cleary and Bert have worked well together in the past, and Helm would add to the great board presence of that line. Z and Flip work well together, and Franzen would give them both a good target for passing (something Hudler does) and a great net front presence (something Hudler cannot do). The third line would allow for a forecheck with hitting. The fourth line would undoubtedly be a great energy line with 2 players itching to stay on the team.

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I was just commenting on this in another thread and thought I'd start something here. Looking at the season splits on ESPN I noticed something problematic. I know the Wings are the best team in hockey right now, and I'm not trying to be overly pessimistic, I think we're largely as good as anybody out there and I can't complain, but if you look at the areas where we're weak something stands out pretty obviously.

Datysuk (+/-) Overall: 18, On the Road: 4, In Wins: 25, In Losses: -7

Franzen (+/-) Overall: 27, On the Road: 7, In Wins: 33, In Losses: -6

Bertuzzi (+/-) Overall: 21, On the Road: 9, In Wins: 20, In Losses: 1

Filppula (+/-) Overall: 15, On the Road: -6, In Wins: 28, In Losses: -13

Zetterberg (+/-) Overall: 8, On the Road: -6, In Wins: 26, In Losses: -18

Hudler (+/-) Overall: 6, On the Road: -9, In Wins: 21, In Losses: -15

Kronwall: Overall: -1, On the Road: -11, In Wins: 16, In Losses: -17

Stuart: Overall: 16, On the Road: -4, In Wins: 28, In Losses: -12

White: Overall: 28, On the Road: 10, In Wins: 22, In Losses: 6

Lidstrom: Overall: 26, On the Road: 2, In Wins: 35, In Losses: -9

I wanted to compare the top two lines as whole units considering +/- is a group stat. What jumps out at me is that while we don't lose much, when we do lose, it's usually (and obviously) on the road, and it's usually the second line getting scored on/not scoring. Aside from trading for a top six guy, which we've all talked about to death, does anybody see a solution to this problem or are we just going to have to deal with it and hope our first and third lines win us games on the road. I mean, presumably we can't win all our playoff home games...um...right?

Note: I guess I should add that while Filppula and Hudler's production has dipped slightly of late, Zetterberg's is picking up, and all of them are having good seasons IMO. So don't take this as a knock on individual players, but as a unit there's something not quite clicking for them on the road.

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Part of the reason for the second lines woes on the road are. Babcock quickly puts hanks line out after teams focus

On datsyuks line on the road, the home gets the last line change. Which means more minuses if the opposing team is scoring. Which is exactly

Why the wings need a scorer come deadline not a fourth line grinder.

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