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Dabura

What Does This Team Need More/Most?

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I think what really kills me is how good our last Cup-winning team was. And it wasn't because we'd gotten lucky in the draft or signed 80 all-star UFAs. It was just a really, really well-built team. There was a guiding vision and a strong identity, like frank talked about. We had everything you'd need to beat any team in a best-of-seven series: tons of skill, tons of (*high-quality*) sandpaper, a great goalie tandem, and a brilliant, hungry coach who felt he had something to prove.

How could The Powers That Be (Ken Holland) let things get so far away from that? What happened to just being super-smart and shrewd, as opposed to bloated and complacent? I mean, when Holland says, "You've just gotta make it into the playoffs, then anybody can win it"...does he honestly believe that? And don't point to LA. I hate it when people do that. Yes, they came in as an 8th seed, but that was a damn good team. And, interestingly enough, you know how their Powers That Be made it so damn good? They took an honest, sober look at the team and said, "You know what? We need to make changes." And that's what they did. They seriously addressed their weaknesses, and it paid off in the biggest of ways. They didn't say, "Hey, we're the LA Kings. No one even thought we'd make it this far. We're ahead of schedule. Let's just be happy about that and see where things go from there. Then, if it looks like we need to make changes, we'll make changes, provided we can find a dance partner who's willing to work with us. Because, you know, there's no Hockey Store. Derp." They didn't say that. They were highly objective.

So you say, "OK, fine. You wish Holland had done things differently. What would you have done differently, since you're so smart?"

Firstly, I'm not saying I'm so smart. I'm not saying I'd be a better GM than Ken Holland. We seriously take for granted what it takes to do the job he does. But, at the same time, we're a proud, winning organization...and now we're flopping about like a fish out of water on the deck of a boat. And I've gotta think Mr. I would say that's unacceptable, even if it is somewhat understandable. (No GM is going to be able to ice a legitimate contender every season. Doesn't work that way. We all know this.)

The big thorn in my side, the thing I always find myself coming back to, is Lidstrom's departure. It's crystal clear now that he wasn't just a legendary player for this team and organization - he was this team and organization, at least post-Yzerman. And, as far as I can tell, Holland just flat-out dropped the ball on the Nick-will-be-retiring-any-season-now-and-we're-gonna-have-to-be-more-than-ready front. Like, I get not being able to replace #5. But, holy crap, man, give us a better safety cushion than...um...nothing?! (OK, fine - Carlo Colaiacovo and Kyle Quincey.) And that's saying nothing of Stuart and Rafalski. We lose Stuart, Lidstrom, Rafalski, and...well, look at our friggin' blue line! What the hell happened there?!

But I could go on for days.

/weekly rant

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But I go on these big rants, and then I think, "Maybe I'm just overthinking things. Maybe I'm not giving nearly enough credit to Ken Holland and the Wings organization. (I know I'm not.)"

Maybe if Kyle Quincey isn't on our team this season, we have a winning record at the 25-game mark and no one's talking about the possible demise of the Detroit Red Wings.

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I think what really kills me is how good our last Cup-winning team was. And it wasn't because we'd gotten lucky in the draft or signed 80 all-star UFAs. It was just a really, really well-built team. There was a guiding vision and a strong identity, like frank talked about. We had everything you'd need to beat any team in a best-of-seven series: tons of skill, tons of (*high-quality*) sandpaper, a great goalie tandem, and a brilliant, hungry coach who felt he had something to prove.

How could The Powers That Be (Ken Holland) let things get so far away from that? What happened to just being super-smart and shrewd, as opposed to bloated and complacent? I mean, when Holland says, "You've just gotta make it into the playoffs, then anybody can win it"...does he honestly believe that? And don't point to LA. I hate it when people do that. Yes, they came in as an 8th seed, but that was a damn good team. And, interestingly enough, you know how their Powers That Be made it so damn good? They took an honest, sober look at the team and said, "You know what? We need to make changes." And that's what they did. They seriously addressed their weaknesses, and it paid off in the biggest of ways. They didn't say, "Hey, we're the LA Kings. No one even thought we'd make it this far. We're ahead of schedule. Let's just be happy about that and see where things go from there. Then, if it looks like we need to make changes, we'll make changes, provided we can find a dance partner who's willing to work with us. Because, you know, there's no Hockey Store. Derp." They didn't say that. They were highly objective.

So you say, "OK, fine. You wish Holland had done things differently. What would you have done differently, since you're so smart?"

Firstly, I'm not saying I'm so smart. I'm not saying I'd be a better GM than Ken Holland. We seriously take for granted what it takes to do the job he does. But, at the same time, we're a proud, winning organization...and now we're flopping about like a fish out of water on the deck of a boat. And I've gotta think Mr. I would say that's unacceptable, even if it is somewhat understandable. (No GM is going to be able to ice a legitimate contender every season. Doesn't work that way. We all know this.)

The big thorn in my side, the thing I always find myself coming back to, is Lidstrom's departure. It's crystal clear now that he wasn't just a legendary player for this team and organization - he was this team and organization, at least post-Yzerman. And, as far as I can tell, Holland just flat-out dropped the ball on the Nick-will-be-retiring-any-season-now-and-we're-gonna-have-to-be-more-than-ready front. Like, I get not being able to replace #5. But, holy crap, man, give us a better safety cushion than...um...nothing?! (OK, fine - Carlo Colaiacovo and Kyle Quincey.) And that's saying nothing of Stuart and Rafalski. We lose Stuart, Lidstrom, Rafalski, and...well, look at our friggin' blue line! What the hell happened there?!

But I could go on for days.

/weekly rant

I think it all went awry when the Wings were unable to secure Suter and Parise. This team would have a totally different look and feel to it. Once he lost out, he had no Plan B, and he still doesn't.

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If Ottawa is so big and bad why are they not even in a playoff spot?

Let's be a little bit level headed: if our PP works okay in last night's game we win that game. We don't have to be able to outmuscle all teams, it's okay to be 'pushed around' as long as we actually win in the end. Last night the Wings lost their cool and also didn't execute on special teams. But they had every chance to win. Did Ottawa destroy Cooke after he took out Karlsson? Not really. These ain't the 90s anymore.

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So many requests for things that aren't available. We have no cap space and no spots on the roster. Everything was sunny after the Carolina game and now the franchise is falling apart again, huh?

Name me 5 LEGIT top-4, puck-moving defensemen or power-forward type scorers that are available right now. Why is that so difficult? Because those players just don't become available anymore. Teams hang onto them like their lives depend on it.

The fixes have to come from in-house or they won't come at all. With that in mind, here it is:

1. Get reasonably healthy

We can't wait for DeKeyser to return to start winning again. Get Alfie back and start scoring goals again. Get the plugs off of the power-play and start shooting when you have a lane. Far too passive and inconsistent.

2. Find some consistency on defense

Find a way to bury the crap and let the cream rise to the top. Limit Quincey and Kindl's minutes and let Smith continue to play well with more minutes. You have to work around them in the lineup, unfortunately.

3. Stop finding ways to lose

This is the biggest elephant in the room. The team consistently finds ways to lose. Whether it's not enough offense, defensive mistakes, shoddy goaltending performances or a lack of a physical response, the Wings are always finding ways to lose games.

4. Waive Cleary and Quincey

I can't overstate how much better this team would be without these two in the lineup. Without even adding anyone to the roster, this team gets a little faster, more dangerous offensively, turns the puck over less and makes less mistakes in their own end. We have the organizational depth at defenseman to fill Quincey's roster spot. No one could possibly be any worse than he has been since being acquired. Same goes for Cleary. Anyone would really be better. Give the meatheads of LGW that actually think the biggest problem with this team is fighting majors Tootoo back, for all I care. Just get these two out of the lineup.

There are no top-4 defensemen or scoring power forwards waiting for us anytime soon. And even if there were, we have no room in any sense to accommodate them. If we really are as bad as everyone says, how have we managed to win 10 games? The team is slumping, not bad. Everyone slumps. I'm as frustrated with it as anyone else but the organization is not on the verge of collapse.

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If Ottawa is so big and bad why are they not even in a playoff spot?

Let's be a little bit level headed: if our PP works okay in last night's game we win that game. We don't have to be able to outmuscle all teams, it's okay to be 'pushed around' as long as we actually win in the end. Last night the Wings lost their cool and also didn't execute on special teams. But they had every chance to win. Did Ottawa destroy Cooke after he took out Karlsson? Not really. These ain't the 90s anymore.

Seriously, Holland has a new nickname now? The Senators couldn't do anything against Cooke because the Penguins had a guy named Steven McIntyre on the bench, ready to go heck they extra called him up for that game. Otherhwise Neil or Kassasian would have went after Cooke.

Look at the cup winning teams they all had skill, size, grit and toughness you can not win with an all skilled team. Sometimes I am really wondering what it needs for some people to realize, that size is still needed and starplayers need ONICE protection. What's next Lucic or Engelland going after Danny K and the rest of the bunch is standing around waiting for ole Shanahan to call for a "tough" phonecall - seriously enough with this BS .

Yeah sadly these aren't the 90s anymore, because back then this actually was a team sure they were bad at the start but at least played as a unit and if you took cheapshots, Kocus, Probert or McCarty were always ready. I am calling it now, if Pavel Datsyuk has a concussion and Kenny Holland stands by his "PP is our enforcer" crap I want him fired, because this is a player who is not replaceable and if the GM isn't willing to sign guys who can protect him, then it's time for another GM.

esteef and GMRwings1983 like this

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If Ottawa is so big and bad why are they not even in a playoff spot?

What difference does it make if they keep us from getting one?

We got pushed around and lost and it's now a mad scramble by the anti-fighting crowd to say " but but, the power play, the officiating!" It couldn't possibly be that a team came into the Joe, intimidated the Wings, got in their face after whistles, threw elbows and won because of it. It couldn't be that right?

esteef

Hockeymom1960 and F.Michael like this

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just an example:

cheapshot Kessel......answer to Orr, Frazer, McLaren or Clarkson

cheapshot Monahan, Bärtschi......answer to McGrattan

cheapshot Landeskog.....answer to Bordeleau

cheapshot Krug..answer to Thornton, Lucic, McQuaid and Chara

cheapshot PD....answer to .....no....ah yes the superb powerplay blowing 5 on 3s........body

Yeah I am gladly be living in the past, knowing that nobody is going to run this team out of their building and taking cheapshots. At least it is way better than living in the present with a GM who thinks this is soccer or basketball on ice.......

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I think it all went awry when the Wings were unable to secure Suter and Parise. This team would have a totally different look and feel to it. Once he lost out, he had no Plan B, and he still doesn't.

My issue there is it shouldn't have come to that. It shouldn't have been Suter-and-Parise-or-bust. It should've been, "Well, we'd certainly love to have Suter and Parise, but we'll still be in very good shape if we don't land them." Instead, it was "We need these guys (more Suter than Parise) or we're majorly screwed." Tellingly, right after we struck out there, Holland's big thing became The Central Importance of Drafting Well and Promoting from Within, Not Trying to Bring in Outside Help. Because that's never been the Red Wing way! (*cough '99*, *cough '02*)

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This team doesn't necessarily need more of anything - it needs addition by subtraction then fill in the holes with hardworking young GR kids with something to prove. Having players with something to prove is part of being successful - look at Nyquist in his "proving" game. Players like Sammy, Cleary, Q, Bert have been there done that and seem happy just having the title of an NHL player - they already have big money, houses, families and are washed up - I want some desperation on our team.

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If Ottawa is so big and bad why are they not even in a playoff spot?

I don't think playoff spots are really the main issue here. It's more (from where I stand, at least) that we got exposed on two fairly distinct fronts: we had no answer in terms of muscle and toughness, and we had no answer in terms of scoring. And, regarding that second one - it's true, all we have to do is score on one of those missed opportunities and we may very well win that game. But...doesn't that sound kinda familiar? Haven't we been saying, "All we have to do is score on one of those several thousand golden, gift-wrapped opportunities and we're in business" for awhile now? That's why I ask: Is it not toughness we need but, rather, clutch scoring? We didn't necessarily lose to the 'hawks because they out-toughed us. We couldn't buy a goal when we really, really, really needed one. Or you could take a different angle and say that more muscle and toughness would lead to more goals.

I'm not trying to make this a "WE NEED MOAR GOONS" show.

Edited by Dabura

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they need more deep dish hot 'n readys... ahem, sammy could you be a dear...


I would ask Cleary to go, but I fear he may fall on the way back and drop all the pizzas

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What difference does it make if they keep us from getting one?

We got pushed around and lost and it's now a mad scramble by the anti-fighting crowd to say " but but, the power play, the officiating!" It couldn't possibly be that a team came into the Joe, intimidated the Wings, got in their face after whistles, threw elbows and won because of it. It couldn't be that right?

esteef

Anti-fighting crowd..lol. Hell Smith had a nice fight, what did it help?

I just don't see how 1 tough guy in the lineup would have changed a thing. We'd be better with Tootoo/toughGuy#127 in the lineup over Sammy/Cleary but then what? We're still not gonna outmuscle certain teams. Our best bet is winning with skill and yes, our PP. Biggest problem last night was the Wings didn't keep their cool. They took penalties of their own. But we outplayed Ottawa, actually we absolutely dominated them in the 1st. It was a fluke win even if they did well to push the game to what they wanted it to be.

We can't be all things at once like before the cap.

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My issue there is it shouldn't have come to that. It shouldn't have been Suter-and-Parise-or-bust. It should've been, "Well, we'd certainly love to have Suter and Parise, but we'll still be in very good shape if we don't land them." Instead, it was "We need these guys (more Suter than Parise) or we're majorly screwed." Tellingly, right after we struck out there, Holland's big thing became The Central Importance of Drafting Well and Promoting from Within, Not Trying to Bring in Outside Help. Because that's never been the Red Wing way! (*cough '99*, *cough '02*)

I haven't been happy at all with what Holland has been doing of late, but really, how exactly do you replace the Perfect Human? You don't. As was stated earlier, it isn't like offensive defenseman grow on trees It isn't like they passed up on a superstar thinking they had Lidstrom forever. Nick was on a totally year to year basis and no one would have been surprised if he had played another 5 years. Rafalski totally caught the Wings off guard by retiring when he did. They thought they had him for another few years at least. He made a move to replace Brad Stuart in acquiring Kyle Quincey. His success with LA and Colorado made it a somewhat reasonable move. Holland could not have predicted how horribly he would play.

With the lack of high draft picks the Wings have had, it's amazing that they have the depth they do in the minors. So long as they still have stars, Holland will always believe we're just a veteran away from being a contender. Holland has made it clear that he likes vets better than youth. It is what it is.

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I don't think playoff spots are really the main issue here. It's more (from where I stand, at least) that we got exposed on two fairly distinct fronts: we had no answer in terms of muscle and toughness, and we had no answer in terms of scoring. And, regarding that second one - it's true, all we have to do is score on one of those missed opportunities and we may very well win that game. But...doesn't that sound kinda familiar? Haven't we been saying, "All we have to do is score one of those several thousand golden, gift-wrapped opportunities and we're in business" for awhile now? That's why I ask: Is it not toughness we need but, rather, clutch scoring? We didn't necessarily lose to the 'hawks because they out-toughed us. We couldn't buy a goal when we really, really, really needed one. Or you could take a different angle and say that more muscle and toughness would lead to more goals.

I'm not trying to make this a "WE NEED MOAR GOONS" show.

Why not? It's fun.

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Anti-fighting crowd..lol. Hell Smith had a nice fight, what did it help?

I just don't see how 1 tough guy in the lineup would have changed a thing. We'd be better with Tootoo/toughGuy#127 in the lineup over Sammy/Cleary but then what? We're still not gonna outmuscle certain teams. Our best bet is winning with skill and yes, our PP. Biggest problem last night was the Wings didn't keep their cool. They took penalties of their own. But we outplayed Ottawa, actually we absolutely dominated them in the 1st. It was a fluke win even if they did well to push the game to what they wanted it to be.

We can't be all things at once like before the cap.

You can see it, you just don't WANT to see it.

esteef

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Why not? It's fun.

Well, I'm just trying to be reasonably open-minded and objective, because I don't want this thread to have an inherent slant with regards to the central question (and because I'm genuinely not sure what I feel we really need the most). That being said, maybe a goon is the answer. I know I wouldn't mind having a Colton Orr in our ranks. But I'm not sure if that's The Answer to All Our Problems, or if such an Answer even exists. Maybe it's like Sean McIndoe says: the Red Wings' suckage has been a true team effort, the result of a host of issues, not just one or two.

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I haven't been happy at all with what Holland has been doing of late, but really, how exactly do you replace the Perfect Human? You don't.

It's a very simple notion that I'm pushing. You can't lose Brad Stuart, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Brian Rafalski and "just kinda run with it." Especially when the clock on your two franchise forwards is ticking ever more loudy. Like I said, you don't flat-out replace #5. But you also don't sit on your hands and assume Lidstrom will play into his late forties, which is what Holland seems to have been doing. Have some kind of safety net in place, an actual plan that you've put into motion. Fortification. Compensation. Hole-filling by committee. Don't say, "Well, when Nick retires...we'll just sign the next-best thing. Boom. Problem solved." Don't say, "Look, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Don't be a lazy fool. Prepare like your life depends on it, because Lidstrom is your team.

Think of it this way. Some animals hibernate in the winter. The ones who have their s*** together well in advance are, generally, the ones who fare the best. Winter is a big-ass deal, but that doesn't mean you get a pass for not really doing much to prepare. You don't want to be the bear sitting in the middle of a blizzard saying, "Well, what was I supposed to do? You can't stop winter."

Edited by Dabura

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Talent, put and simple. On the back end especially.

The toughness/fighting thing is a complete red herring. Go back 5 years to when the Wings had a monster team, and the same people were making exactly the same accusations - "we need more fighters! Our team is too soft! We'll get murdered in the playoffs!"

And Howard going back to last seasons form would help too.

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It's a very simple notion that I'm pushing. You can't lose Brad Stuart, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Brian Rafalski and "just kinda run with it." Especially when the clock on your two franchise forwards is ticking ever more loudy. Like I said, you don't flat-out replace #5. But you also don't sit on your hands and assume Lidstrom will play into his late forties, which is what Holland seems to have been doing. Have some kind of safety net in place, an actual plan that you've put into motion. Fortification. Compensation. Hole-filling by committee. Don't say, "Well, when Nick retires...we'll just sign the next-best thing. Boom. Problem solved." Don't say, "Look, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Don't be a lazy fool. Prepare like your life depends on it, because Lidstrom is your team.

Think of it this way. Some animals hibernate in the winter. The ones who have their s*** together well in advance are, generally, the ones who fare the best. Winter is a big-ass deal, but that doesn't mean you get a pass for not really doing much to prepare. You don't want to be the bear sitting in the middle of a blizzard saying, "Well, what was I supposed to do? You can't stop winter."

Now, to be fair (and clear), I'm not saying Holland was completely unprepared. I'm saying he was inadequately prepared. That's not the same as saying, "He didn't find a new Lidstrom! Hang him!" It's saying, "Our blue line should be better than it is now."

Holland's main job, or one of his two or three main duties, is to make this team as good as it can possibly be. And I think he dropped the ball there, re: Lidstrom's retirement. He was left to make a rather desperate pitch for an all-star free agent and then, upon striking out there, scramble around like a GM who...well...was inadequately prepared. I mean, he snatched up Carlo Colaiacovo at the last minute, and that was supposed to be a pretty big deal for our blue line. That alone should be pretty telling.

I'm not saying I would've been able to do a better job. But I'm not the genius GM, he is. And, honestly, I think he'd probably admit to being underprepared if someone were to ask him about it. He'd almost certainly say you can't replace Lidstrom, and I think that's a lame truism, but I think he'd admit he really wasn't fully prepared, that Nick's decision had suddenly put him in a really bad spot (because he'd just assumed Nick had another season or two or three or four in him).

It just gets to me that the writing was on the wall (especially with Rafalski's retirement), but no one really seemed to notice it. Hell, I certainly didn't see Nick's "early retirement" coming. But, again, I'm not the GM.

Right now, my hope is that we grab an all-star defenseman this summer through free agency. That's our best bet. But it probably shouldn't have come to that.

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It's a very simple notion that I'm pushing. You can't lose Brad Stuart, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Brian Rafalski and "just kinda run with it." Especially when the clock on your two franchise forwards is ticking ever more loudy. Like I said, you don't flat-out replace #5. But you also don't sit on your hands and assume Lidstrom will play into his late forties, which is what Holland seems to have been doing. Have some kind of safety net in place, an actual plan that you've put into motion. Fortification. Compensation. Hole-filling by committee. Don't say, "Well, when Nick retires...we'll just sign the next-best thing. Boom. Problem solved." Don't say, "Look, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it." Don't be a lazy fool. Prepare like your life depends on it, because Lidstrom is your team.

Think of it this way. Some animals hibernate in the winter. The ones who have their s*** together well in advance are, generally, the ones who fare the best. Winter is a big-ass deal, but that doesn't mean you get a pass for not really doing much to prepare. You don't want to be the bear sitting in the middle of a blizzard saying, "Well, what was I supposed to do? You can't stop winter."

It's easy to say that, but what were his options? They knew he would retire at some point, Holland made sure he had enough cap space available for Suter and Parise. He made a substantial offer but he couldn't overcome the hometown pull or that Suter and Parise would tag team it. They can't draft a superstar defenseman when they don't have high draft picks. What other free agents were available that would have filled the void? They've got Smith, Sproul, Oulette. It's not like they haven't drafted some quality prospects. Holland signed Ian White to replace Rafalski. There were no future Hall of Famers in their prime available when Rafalski retired unexpectedly. It's possible to make a trade, but not always easily and the Wings don't have a lot to offer for trade bait. You have to trade quality to get quality.

Signing Cleary this year while already over the cap and roster limit, giving Sammy a 2 year NTC, signing Drew Miller to a long term deal, giving Tootoo a 3 year deal, that was just stupidity on his part and he gets no passes on those.

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