Also, at the risk of sounding callous, a player lives for the playoffs. There's no point saving himself. This is it. No point waiting for the second round if we never make it there. I'd rather him rush back early at the risk of hurting himself so we can get to the second round. In my mind, no other round other than the finals will be as tough as this round. If Z can help us survive, he needs to come back.
I have faith he will do whatever he can, even if he pushes himself. Having him back, even with reduced minutes, would be huge.
What makes you think the kids are "shook"? Sure, they're not scoring...neither is anybody else. Their strength all season was their chemistry. None of Tatar, Jurco, or Sheahan played as well apart as they did together. The same is true of Nyquist with Franzen and Legwand; he never produced as well away from those guys as he did with them.
Babs has yet to use either of those lines in this series. No wonder they're not producing. These guys aren't a Zetterberg or Datsyuk who can produce no matter where you put them. Doesn't mean they're "shook". It means your coach needs to pull his head out of his ass.
They're shook. If you can, rewatch their reaction shots during and after the game. Tatar especially after his give away looked completely near tears. They can't be feeling that emotional in a Game 3. They will learn, no doubt, but for the here and now it's worrying. Nyquist, too, is moving without much confidence out there.
You would think the team has missed the playoffs for 23 straight years given the commentary on this forum.
It's not that. There's a lot to be hopeful for in the future. But the point is you don't just sit and wait for players to develop in sports. If you can do something to make your team better now, you do. We're improving and we're doing alright, but obviously there's room for improvement anywhere. We cleary, clearly, clearly need improvement on defense. We need a puck-moving defenseman. He doesn't have to be the greatest defender, but we need a Top 2 defenseman who can move the puck, play smart with it and score (or assist).
A bottom pairing shut-down guy is secondary but would help us greatly since the bottom pairing is always a glaring weak link.
We could theoretically run with the forwards we have, but if Holland can improve in this area he should. A big guy would come in handy here, so long as he has a knack for getting to the net. Nyquist and Tatar have that attack mentality that we needed, but they're not big enough.
As for Howard, chances are we keep him. He's not terrible like some say. But again, Holland would be wise to at the very least inquire about possibly replacing him with someone better, only after everything else is fixed. I'm just suggesting we should get away from assuming Howard is untouchable and say we'll only go as far as he takes us. So far, we haven't gotten out of the second round. If a better option presents itself, we should take it.