After watching this game last night until Calgary scored to make it 4-1, the only thing I can say is ugly. Here are the problems.
Top 2 lines are good. Bottom 2 lines are not scoring. We need our bottom 2 lines to chip in some points.
The injuries are killing us. (1)
Howard has played great this season. The goals scored against him he has had zero chance on tonight. The screened shot to make it 3-1 was just what Mickey said it was, "A puck that had eyes." He isn't allowing softies, but he also isn't getting goal support either. We weren't winning this game even if he robbed Calgary on 2 of the 4 goals they scored. (2)
I really don't understand why people here think Dekeyser is going to be some stud when he gets out of school. So far, he is just a prospect, and I am not convinced this guy is NHL material yet.
Cleary sucks so bad. He really needs to be benched or put on waivers. (3)
1) Yes, and no. Having Smith and Helm out for a prolonged period of time is hurting the Wings. Other than that, I'm not sure we've "missed" White during his time out or Sammy. Yes it sucks to have patchwork defense, and yes Helm drives the bottom six, but other than that, its the players who are on the ice that are the problem. Quincey is dreadful, and both Ericsson and White (albeit not nearly as bad) have both been burned for several breakaways/dumb penalties this season. The rest of the bottom 6 without Helm should at least be capable of physicality and energy. Besides a Tootoo fight every night (all staged), no one is doing anything.
2) In my opinion, Howard has not been great this season. He has had a few stretches of being good, but his job is keeping pucks out of the net, and in the cold light of day, he hasn't done that. Howard sits at 30th in GAA and Save% among the 40 goaltenders who have played 3 games or more. That's right, Howard is near the bottom in both of the major goaltending categories, so how has he played great? Goaltending comes down to providing confidence as backstop and making up for the team's mistakes until they can right the ship. Yes, he has faced some tough shots, through bodies or on breakaways, but his job is to stop the difficult shots, too. His rebound control has always been an issue, but its much more glaring without Lidstrom, Stuart, and Rafalski clearing juicy pucks from the crease. Rarely do we see him stopping quality scoring chances, and he has a habit of allowing goals in the first and last minute of periods, which are deflating to a team that's already being frustrated on the other end. Yes, he needs goal support on the other side of the ice, and in most of the games he hasn't been the glaring reason why they have lost (as you said about last night, whether they score 4 or 2 goals doesn't matter when you can only muster 1), but to say he has been great, or even very good is a stretch.
3) Cleary in his present state is nothing like he was early in his time with the Wings, and is starting to show why he was here on try-out coming out of the lockout. He has always had potential, but lacked the motivation and focus until he was about ready to be drummed out of the league. I'm starting to feel like years with the Wings have made him overly comfortable, less and less effective, and more and more vocal (to his detriment). Cleary talked a lot during the lockout and got himself and the Wings organization unnecessary attention. Also, whether he is still seen as a leader in the dressing room or not, there is nothing more annoying than what Cleary has been this season, essentially the opposite of a leader by example. He has become the guy that isn't physical, isn't going to the hard areas, isn't making smarter passes, isn't shooting more, so when they ask him in interviews between periods or after games what is going wrong and he sites those things as areas the team needs to improve in, I don't think "he's going to go show them how its done", I think "and you're the worst offender! You apparently know whats wrong, so why aren't you fixing it?". Now when I see him on the ice, his shots are lazy, his passes are complacent and the penalties... oh the penalties. Cleary needs to move on, or at the very least, start seeing his ice time diminished until he snaps out of it. Another relic we keep because of "familiarity" and describe the way he WAS not the way he IS ("versatile", "physical", etc). Also, without Cleary how can we justify bringing players past their prime or on an obvious downswing into the fold while believing the Wings can just turn them 180
Edited by b.shanafan14, 06 February 2013 - 11:31 AM.