The transformation from a team that typically overwhelmed opponents with skill to a more grind it out philosophy is a major change, but fun to watch. Injuries have played a role for certain in the approach, though I don't think it's a bad thing at all the Red Wings are playing a simpler game and focusing on attention to detail. They can't win anymore outscoring teams or relying on skill to bail them out in troubling situations. The only way they can compete at a high level is to play with effort for as close to 60 minutes as possible and avoid costly mistakes. There have been huge leaps of improvement in that regard individually and as a team since that first night in St. Louis.
There are a lot of players that have been impressive too, particularly some of the youth that has gotten an opportunity. Tatar, Andersson, Smith and Kindl have all stepped up and proven to be NHL-quality players this season. Even someone like Emmerton has been far better than I ever anticipated in his role.
Zetterberg and Datsyuk have been exceptional. Brunner is exceeding expectations and looks to be a piece for the future. Ericsson is the best d-man on the team and remarkably reliable. Howard is performing much stronger as the defense in front of him isn't leaving him out to dry most nights now.
I don't know that we will be celebrating a championship in June, but I've had fun watching this roster kind of mold into a competitive team. Some of the major questions marks are becoming promising answers. I will admit the Red Wings are in better shape at this point than I would have guessed a few months ago. They need Helm and Filppula back because the schedule is about to get grueling. However, their play lately has inspired more confidence in me going forward.
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