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Dabura

What Does This Team Need More/Most?

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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.

I agree that the toughness is in part a reaction to last night, but I don't think it's a complete red herring.

Part of the issue is the Wings simply don't have the talent to play the system they did 5 years ago or the draft picks to get those players. They need to adjust their playing style that's less dependent on the high skill level they had then.

esteef likes this

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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!"

But, regardless of what people were saying, we did have an infinitely better, and tougher, bottom six. The Grind Liners. A young and explosive Darren Helm. Dallas Drake.

Like I said, that was an extremely well-balanced team. It had everything.

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I'm not going to go much deeper into the Lidstrom debate, because it always goes the same way. Someone makes a perfectly reasonable point - that Holland was not adequately prepared (and he wasn't) - and it degenerates into, "Well, tell me what he should've done, or else your argument holds no water."

Again, I'm not the genius GM. He is. Which is why it surprises me that he was caught with his pants down like he was and had to scramble for spare parts...to "replace" the second-greatest defenseman in the history of the game. My ability to make a list of guys who he maybe coulda/shoulda/woulda gone after shouldn't really have any bearing on the assertion that, whatever Holland's options were or weren't, Lidstrom's departure came several years earlier than Holland (and everyone?) was expecting, and, accordingly, he really hadn't put ANYTHING into motion in the hopes of really easing the transition, cushioning the blow.

Deals can always be made. Players can always be had. Things can alwas be done. To say, "There is absolutely nothing Holland could've done to better prepare for Lidstrom's departure" is, I think, really lame - because, as far as I can tell, he didn't do ANYTHING to seriously prepare for the possibility that Nick might be gone sooner than everyone had been thinking and hoping! All - or at least maybe half - of this experimenting we're doing with the blue line, bringing the youngsters along and finding out Kyle Quincey is terrible, should've already been happening, if not as seriously as it is now. It - again - shouldn't have come down to "Suter or bust!"

Again, it's a very simple idea I'm pushing here. Holland was assuming Nick would be around longer, and that assumption was a misstep on his part. Even if I were the most ardent Ken Holland supporter, I'd probably acknowledge this point and conede that, yeah, it does kinda bug me. (Because Ken Holland IS the best GM in hockey. That's why it gets me.)

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To say Ken Holland wasn't prepared for losing Lidstrom is not fair. The expectation was that, even after Nick retired, we would still have a few seasons out of Brian Rafalski, which would have been huge for us. We all know what Rafi was capable of.

I mean what exactly did you want Kenny to do? It is not like he can just go to the store and buy a new Nick Lidstrom. Sutter didn't want to come here, Kenny tried that. Nothing he can do about that. It isn't like we had a chance to draft a guy like Erik Karlsson because the Wings have been getting late picks for a long time. So Kenny drafted Brendan Smith, who no doubt has offensive potential if Babcock would utilize him properly. Kronners and Ericcsson have formed themselves into a solid top pairing, Kenny brought in Danny D, who is going to have a wonderful career with the Red Wings.

We saw the team come together in the playoffs last year. This season, for the most part, we have not had our entire team playing together. Face it, there was nothing Ken Holland could have done to prepare to replace Nick Lidstrom. Rafalski retiring caught everyone off guard and, to be honest, I truly believe if Rafi didn't retire that season then Nick would have. I think Nick held off one year solely because Rafi retired and didn't want to really handcuff the Wings. But none of that was Kenny's fault.

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

Ah, but that's what was so great about the '08 team - it showed that we actually could have a complete team. Or am I looking back through rose-tinted glasses? I mean, I know LGWers had issues with the team...but even so: Wasn't it a pretty complete team?

I totally get what you're saying, and I don't necessarily disagree with any of it. But, I will say: I'm not just looking at this one game. I mean, I guess I am, but as a microcosm. We are a team that has scoring issues and "toughness" issues. It's probably not realistic that we fix both issues, so, which one do you think is the more pressing one? Or could we perhaps kill two birds with one stone? (Taking advantage of our golden opportunities - which we have struggled to do in recent seasons - would win us games, and might get physical teams to think twice before roughing us up. Or, on the other hand, a bigger, tougher, meaner roster - which might be easier to ice than an ultra-elite one - might accomplish the same thing, giving our goal-scorers more space and protection and maybe getting physical teams to back off.)

I'm just curious what people think "The Problem" with this team is. Because it's somewhat rare that you have a reasonably elite team that has issues on both sides of the spectrum (not enough quality skill, not enough quality sandpaper). But maybe that's not really the case at all and I'm completely off-base here. I'm open to that.

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I think we need to tweak, not change the system.

Get more speed through the neutral zone/better breakout schemes.

I also think we need to coerce shanahan to join our management system and get him raising hell to the league about better refs.

Which I don't see happening considering he's apparently not even reviewing the elbow to datayuks chin.

Or start buying refs.

Either way.

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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

It obviously was that, you're right. But that doesn't explain all the other losses which had nothing to do with that. Nobody is saying we are a tough team. We're saying that we've got bigger issues than that. We lost exactly one game because of our lack of toughness. We lost seven in a row before that because we don't hold leads, get outplayed in the third, are terrible at moving the puck, and can't score goals when we need to. Why focus on the most recent loss as if it's indicative of something and ignore all the other ones that had nothing to do with team toughness?

Edited by kipwinger

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It obviously was that, you're right. But that doesn't explain all the other losses which had nothing to do with that. Nobody is saying we are a tough team. We're saying that we've got bigger issues than that. We lost exactly one game because of our lack of toughness. We lost seven in a row before that because we don't hold leads, get outplayed in the third, are terrible at moving the puck, and can't score goals when we need to. Why focus on the most recent loss as if it's indicative of something and ignore all the other ones that had nothing to do with team toughness?

The lack of toughness isn't the only weakness and it certainly isn't anything new.

esteef

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It's perfectly fair to say Holland wasn't adequately prepared for Lidstrom's departure. Because he wasn't. Nick left, Holland wasn't expecting it, he went for Suter, he struck out, and that was pretty much the end of it.

I'm not saying he necessarily should've done this or that. But, I mean, he didn't really do anything until after the fact (Nick's retirement). Which isn't like him.

To be fair, maybe it's not possible to be "adequately prepared" for such a loss. Honestly, it probably isn't. But what gets me is that he seemed content to not do anything. To just wait until the damage was done, and then do damage control. Why not get a head start? Especially with Stuart and Rafalski also being gone. It might save you a season or two of figuring things out, which would be a season or two more with Datsyuk and Zetterberg and the rest of the core. Maybe get Smith in there "early" and give him good exposure to Nick Lidstrom so that, by this point in time, he might possibly be a top defenseman in the league (at the very least, he'd be better than he is now).

Essentially, we lost a living legend for nothing. Which could've been Suter, true - but you don't really want to pin that much on a potential UFA acquisition.

Look, I'm not spewing venom here. I'm saying Holland "fell asleep at the wheel," if you will. And that it bothers me.

Edited by Dabura

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Ah, but that's what was so great about the '08 team - it showed that we actually could have a complete team. Or am I looking back through rose-tinted glasses? I mean, I know LGWers had issues with the team...but even so: Wasn't it a pretty complete team?

It was, but go back and look at how much Hudler, Filpulla, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Franzen, Samuellson, and Cleary were on, and look at how much more they got paid on their next contract. Look at how much (or more accurately how little) we were paying Ozzie and Hasek. The fact that we had so many good players on cheap contracts enabled us to sign Rafalski and then Stuart.

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It was, but go back and look at how much Hudler, Filpulla, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Franzen, Samuellson, and Cleary were on, and look at how much more they got paid on their next many good players on cheap contracts enabled us to sign Rafalski and then Stuart.

2008 was such an anomaly, it's hardly even fair to compare it. In addition to what was already mentioned, the Grind Line was near the end of their careers, and were giving "hometown" discounts. Its not likely that you will ever see a team so good with a top 6 that were all mid to late round draft picks and were all pretty much in their prime at the time. We had the Hakan Andersson card then.

I'm just not understanding the reasoning that it was so inherently simple to replace 2 HOF defensemen and a pretty solid #3 and then saying, hey don't expect me to have any suggestions. We had nothing of solid value to give up for a top 2 defenseman, we haven't had enough high draft picks to "groom" a star or two to have waiting in the wings in preparation, and outside of Suter, there just wasn't anyone that I'm aware of who was available as an UFA or cheap trade that was out there.

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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.

I agree that our #1 issue is a general depletion of talent these past few years...That said - our 3rd/4th lines can be ineffective; maybe acquiring a few players who play with that edge, and don't mind dropping the gloves can bring both some excitement, and quite possibly some production from our bottom pairings.

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Just one thing? A big power forward who can score 30-40 goals. And actually finishes checks.

More then one? A pure sniper who will be top 5-10 in the league in shots on goal hopefully leading to lots of goals....

Hockeymom1960 likes this

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We need a physical scoring presence in our top 6. Dare I say a power forward. And no, Franzen isn't a power forward.

We need a puck moving defenseman for our top 4 on the blueline.

We need over-the-hill players like Samuelsson and Cleary gone. Guys that bust their asses (Tootoo) should be on the 4th line instead of Samuelsson. Blows my ******* mind.

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An Oilers fan's thoughts on "grit":

I think people looking for “grit” are missing the forest for the trees.

Consider the types of plays that are praised as good “gritty” plays:

….Checking an opponent off the puck.
….Outmuscling an opponent for the puck.

….Taking a hit to make a good play on the puck (pass, shot, whatever).
….Digging the puck out of the corner from a scrum.
….Blocking a shot.

Etc.

What do all these kinds of plays have in common? They are plays were physicality is used to get control of the puck, move the puck, or take the puck away from the opponent.

And what are the kinds of physical plays that are considered “bad” grit?

….Taking a dumb penalty.
….Fighting for no reason.
….Leaving your defensive assignment to try and make a hit.

Etc.

The “bad” grit are the plays where physicality interferes with gaining the puck and moving the puck, or which enables the opponent to control the puck more.

In other words. “Grit” is the physical component of PUCK POSSESSION.

And puck possession is the metric that matters. The “good” grit is but a means to an end, and if you can gain that end by other means, you don’t actually need to be “gritty”.

http://www.coppernblue.com/2013/11/23/5126084/on-grit

I like this a lot.

BadgerBob, Nev and derblaueClaus like this

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Team needs a top pairing dman easily. Imagine if we landed Suter, or even Jaybo. I get that they did not want to trade their first again, since it landed us Mantha. But it stings that we did give up that first for Quincey.

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It was, but go back and look at how much Hudler, Filpulla, Zetterberg, Kronwall, Franzen, Samuellson, and Cleary were on, and look at how much more they got paid on their next contract. Look at how much (or more accurately how little) we were paying Ozzie and Hasek. The fact that we had so many good players on cheap contracts enabled us to sign Rafalski and then Stuart.

I get what you're saying, and I agree. And I don't think it really goes against anything I'm saying about that team. It was a very well-built team; Holland was very smart about it. True, there was some luck involved, and, true, players wanting and getting better contracts can make things dicey. But, overall, I think Holland has just gotten away from the model he seemed to be using with that team, and the goals and expectations and motivations he was working with. This team we have now is...a mess. You wouldn't think it had been put together by the same guy who put together that '08 team.

Granted, it's not all entirely on the GM making bad decisions. He inherited a monstrously good machine in the 90s, and, generally, the more distant the '90s become, the harder it's probably going to be for him. Like, I was talking about The Grind Liners being on the '08 team - that was, I guess you could say, very convenient for him. I'm not saying that in a negative way. It's just, we still had some pieces left over from the '90s and the '02 Cup-winner, and that helped a lot. And now all those pieces are gone, which is gonna make things difficult, even if all your decisions are good ones.

But still, I do think things have slipped. Standards, expectations, the actual talent level on the roster...it's been an all-encompassing, wholesale slide.

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But, on the other hand, maybe I really am just way off-base about everything I'm saying, and all it's gonna take for us to become a top team in this league again is a great 2014 offseason (re: shedding dead weight and maybe adding some quality UFAs). I am, ultimately, open to pretty much any good line of reasoning, though I'll dig my heels in here and there (and not without good reason).

Edited by Dabura

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I've said before that the group of kids we've got coming through now are the best we've had since the mid 2000s when the likes of Kronwall, Franzen, Hudler and Filpulla were establishing themselves in the team, to supplement, the high end talent and veteran depth we had.

The question is, will Nyquist, Tatar, Sproul, Oullet, Jurco, Mantha etc be able to establish themselves as cheap bona fide NHLers before Dats, Z and Kronner are over the hill (or gone)? Its why we need to be brave enough to feed the GR kids into the line-up as injury call ups (as we did with Oullet earlier in the season)

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For my money, it's a righty on the blueline with some really good offensive instincts. I think getting the puck up ice, tape-to-tape passing would do wonders for the team's transition game. Would also help a lot on the PP, I'm assuming. I think Sproul fits this mold, but I'd want someone a lot more complete, obviously.

I really think this team has all the tools up front, but are so many issues with "identity" because of how often the lines get shuffled/shifted. If the team could just find some chemistry and stick with it, I don't think they need to tinker with the forwards much at all. Big if.

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