Howard hasn't been stellar this season, but that's okay. He needs to steal an odd game but the defense is terrible. The players, .the strategy, all of it. We don't need an elite defense but a good one would help Howard immensely.
I don't really know much about his kids, but I know a couple of people who have met or worked with them briefly and they all say the Ilitches are down to earth people. Now, that doesn't necessarily equate to competent ownership, but it seems like they will continue the style of ownership Mike Ilitch has used, which is good.
Bottom six has to start scoring for us to be successful this season. Almost 10 games in and we have 1 point from our bottom six. Pathetic.
This illustrates the fact that we have become too reliant on plugs. I hate to sound like I am part of the negative parade, but Cleary is like Scott Gomez out there. It sucks to bench a guy who is trying hard, but Babcock needs to be realistic.
Out bottom 6 lacks an identity, and this team doesn't have lines. It's a problem. For six spots on the bottom two lines we have:
Cleary, Helm, Abdelkader, Miller, Eaves, Tootoo, Emmerton, Nyquist, Sammy. Most play similar styles. Get rid of Cleary and Emmerton, drop one of Miller or Eaves (I hate to say it, its nothing against them, but they've always been similar on what they bring to the team) and bring in a faceoff specialist.
And Babcock is pretty bad at assembling lines. Datsyuk and Bertuzzi should never be separated, neither should Franzen and Zetterberg. Those lines are tge closest to having a reliable identity.
Flip is a goner, I think. He nets us a decent return. Not ideal, but he's the only roster player we have who anyone might want and who we could find a way to survive without.
Look, this was Brunner's only major mistake, let's cut him some slack. If one mistake costs you a game against a tired opponent, you're not playing well enough as a team.
I hate to be a downer, but we still can't score and our defense is okay at best. We've gotten better since game 1, but we are still pretty lackluster. Improvements all across the board should be expected. No one was godawful tonight, but being 'decent' isn't good enough to win in this league.
Damien Brunner is off to a great start, he's playing well in all areas and getting shots on net. What's more, is that he doesn't seem to be struggling with the transition at all. I think Holland and Babcock found a diamond in the rough here. Well, maybe that's the wrong term to use. He was a star over in Europe, but it seems that rarely guarantees success in the NHL. I could be wrong.
Watching him shoot that puck so hard into the top corner of the net is reassuring. The Wings have needed a guy who can score goals like that.
Watched a few highlights from other games. They are starkly different. I know we love hyperbole in bad games, but the Wings honestly look like a minor league team. Even the stars look like rookies. Holy crap.
Let me know if I'm wrong but the amnesty buyouts don't count against the cap. We get two. I'm sure someone would take Franzen on in a weaker team. Buyout Bert, Sammy. Eaves goes on IR. Emmerton and Colo could be traded with their low cap hits. This would easily fit under the cap and you could sign another forward or keep emmerton.
Why would you buy out Franzen? I don't get this. Floater or not, the guy is extra scoring which the Wings badly need, at a reasonable price.
You can't bank on a goalie prospect. Ever. Goalies are generall too flaky.
Which is also why I would not trade Howard for anyone at this point. He shows signs of brilliance, can carry the team, and is a workhorse. Not too many of those in the league, and in today's NHL that's all you need. What good is an elite defenseman if your goalie sucks? Howard has at least shown he can bail out the team when they lapse into bad defense. Ergo, he is more valuable.
I saw him on Sunday, he looked great. He seems to have a little trouble with rebound control, but that's something he can learn over time. He has great instincts, and looks really comfortable in there.
Howard had a ridiculous amount of trouble with rebound control, too. The Griffs and Wings know how to train that out of a goalie.