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Grading the Wings after 41 games

09 January 2011 - 06:02 AM

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Justin Abdelkader B
**Made an immediate impact on the third line upon returning from a rib injury. He's still learning the league but is generally a hard worker and responsible defensively.

Todd Bertuzzi A-
**Got off to a great start offensively, has played well defensively and showed he can still be a game-changer by scoring big goals.

Danny Cleary A
**Shored up the third line and then capitalized when given more minutes. His work ethic can't ever be faulted. Had 16 goals in 35 games before breaking his right ankle.

Pavel Datsyuk A
**Another guy who benefited from a long summer break, Datsyuk netted 12 goals among 39 points in 33 games before breaking his hand. A creative genius, he's been dazzling to watch again.

Kris Draper B+
**Accepted being in and out of the rotation the first two months and then showed he can still contribute. Provides veteran leadership and helped out with three goals in a six-game span.

Patrick Eaves A
**As good as they come as a role player, he provides speed and energy, kills penalties, and has shown how good he can be with the puck by scoring 12 goals in 33 games.

Valtteri Filppula B-
**He was on a nice roll with seven points in six games before being sidelined by a groin injury. Still needs to go to the inside and shoot more and show he's a bona fide second-line center.

Johan Franzen A-
**Leads the team with 17 goals has at least a point in 27 of his 40 games. He's on track for a career year offensively, using his big body and soft hands to thwart opponents regularly.

Darren Helm A
**His main role is to provide energy and kill penalties, but lately he's also shown the offensive side to him that teammates have long have encouraged, with nine points in a nine-game stretch.

Tomas Holmstrom B
**He's on pace for another 20-goal season and remains as big a pest as ever in front of the net, setting screens and tipping pucks. His four power-play goals are second on the team.

Jiri Hudler D
**He has struggled badly in returning to the NHL after a season in the KHL, and has just 12 points after 36 games, well below what's expected of a guy making $2.875 million.

Drew Miller C+
**He earned a return engagement after a really strong 2009-10, and while he hasn't been bad, he hasn't quite taken another step forward, either, with just one goal and six points in 34 games.

Mike Modano B-
**He spent October adapting and getting his 40-year-old legs going, then showed in November why the Wings signed him by setting up six goals in nine games before suffering a severe wrist injury.

Henrik Zetterberg A
**He looked back on track for a great year from the start, then showed his leadership in doing more after Datsyuk got hurt. Had 15 goals and 31 assists after 41 games.


Jonathan Ericsson B
**He's daily proof why it pays to be patient, as he's looked like a steady, reliable player again, having distanced himself from the turnovers that plagued him all last season.

Jakub Kindl C
**On the balance he's done a serviceable job as the team's reserve defenseman, especially considering this is his rookie season. He just needs to keep focused on learning in practices.

Niklas Kronwall A
**He's already set a career high by scoring eight goals, and in general has looked back to the form he was before getting hurt last season, including going to his shot more.

Nicklas Lidstrom A+
**The team's Cyborg defenseman is likely to win a seventh Norris trophy after a great offensive first half has been coupled with his usual superb defensive play and ever-calming presence.

Brian Rafalski B+
**He was sidelined at the start by a knee injury and has since had to adjust to playing with a brace, permanently. Generates offense with his passes and has two goals and 26 assists in 30 games.

Ruslan Salei B
**His steady presence has had a ripple effect on the whole defense, enabling the Wings to field three balanced pairings and keep everyone's minutes in check. Also good on the penalty kill.

Brad Stuart A
**The team's workhorse, he's been great night after night and been a great partner for Lidstrom. He's fearless when it comes to blocking shots and great on the PK.


Jimmy Howard A-
**He gives his teammates the chance to win on most nights and has been racing Montreal's Carey Price for most wins much of the season.

Chris Osgood B
**Has looked much better than his previous two seasons. Was spectacular in picking up his 400th career victory Dec. 27.


Mike Babcock A
**Babcock and his assistants made sure everyone had the structure down pat in training camp, have juggled lines and reshuffled defensive pairings. Babcock is demanding, but players know he does it to maximize winning.

Read more: Grading the Red Wings' first half | freep.com | Detroit Free Press http://www.freep.com...f#ixzz1AX9eD9iG

Hopefully this will spark some quality discussion.

St. James is obviously a lot more friendly of an evaluator than we are here on LGW, but she's not all wrong imo. The grades are obviously based on what the Wings expect of each player and how well they've met those expectations or perhaps surpassed them.

The Comparison of Helm to Draper

06 January 2011 - 03:33 AM

Wings' Darren Helm plays a style Kris Draper can appreciate

Ted Kulfan / The Detroit News

Calgary, Alberta— Darren Helm has often been compared to Kris Draper.

Both had — and have — a skill set based on speed and the ability to hound opponents.

And after Helm's goal during Tuesday's 5-3 victory over the Oilers, you can add an ability to make scoring look easy to the list.

"When he scores like that, he's definitely a young Kris Draper," Draper said of Helm.

Actually, both are thriving playing on a line with Patrick Eaves (or Tomas Tatar while Eaves has been hurt).

"We need contributions from everybody right now when we're short-staffed," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "Draper has played well and Helmer, he's a real good NHL player."

Draper is 39, Helm 23. Experience-wise, they aren't close, with Draper having played 1,122 games and Helm 138.

Sure, they're headed in different directions career-wise. But, since just before Christmas, they've developed a chemistry using their strength — blinding speed.

"We've been playing pretty well together," Helm said. "It had been a while since we played together. At first it was just mixing and matching, and now we're finding a little spark and chemistry. It's effective when we can use our speed and find each other."

Draper has three goals his last seven games. Helm has one goal and six assists his last eight.

Todd Bertuzzi is an ardent believer Helm will develop into a dangerous offensive player. And Tuesday's goal — a slick shot past Nikolai Khabibulin — only reinforced that belief.

"It's just a matter of him realizing it and working on it," Bertuzzi said. "It's (scoring touch) something you have to develop.

"Sometimes you get portrayed as a certain kind of player (Helm being primarily a checker), but he has another element to his game. He's so gifted with his speed, and for the amount of breakaways he gets, it's just something he needs to work on and gain confidence to try things and be patient."

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/a...e#ixzz1AF0jTI1w

Helm was really good in the last game against the Oilers.

I'm not so sure I completely buy the comparison to Kris Draper however. Maybe I'm just weird but when I hear comparisons I think of a player's main defining trait. To me, Kris Draper's defining trait in his prime was that he was simply annoying. For one, the fact that a guy that small worked harder than them really irritated opponents. They often felt like, "How the f*** is this little midget chihuahua beating me at everything?" Two, he wasn't afraid to chirp away and run his mouth at anyone. His own teammates today will still tell you playfully that he just doesn't shut up no matter what he's doing. Lastly, he was just a fiercely competitive ball of energy all over the ice with speed. So to me, Draper's defining trait in his prime was his many layers of being annoying.

When I think of Helm I see someone who is very different, which of course, isn't a bad thing. He is who he is. He's got blazing speed and is good defensively and on the PK. But right now I don't feel the same annoyance that I did with Draper. The kind of feeling of, "Thank goodness he's a Red Wing because if he wasn't I'd probably send two guys to knock him on his ass all game."

Request: Patrick Eaves Smiley

19 December 2010 - 11:27 AM

Can anyone make Eaves facial expression in this photo...

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...into this kind of smiley... :w00t2: ?

The Red Wings Power Play

28 November 2010 - 11:51 PM

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Just wanted to check on the Red Wings power play numbers and get some thoughts. It's kind of hard to ask questions and not sound like a Complainy Pants but here goes.

To this day (12/18/10):
9th in the league in PP% at 21.3%
7th in PP goals scored
10th in opportunities

Both the Wings PP and PK are within the top ten. So, overall, for the Red Wings standards, not great, not necessarily good or bad, but rather decent, I'd say. But even "decent" to me is somewhat surprising because the power play just hasn't looked very good at all. It seems like they're really struggling to maintain any kind of pressure.

On one hand, a small part me is glad that for the most part they are not relying on their power play to bail them out of games.

On the other hand, you always want the team to be good at everything whether it's ES, PP, PK, etc. So what's the deal with their PP? Too many guys trying to be playmakers? Not being dominant enough on the puck? Not working hard enough?

"We respected the other guys a lot more than they do now."

28 October 2010 - 01:17 AM

"I guess we respected the other guys a lot more than they do now. We didn't run guys from behind. And we didn't try to cut the other guy's head off."

— Hall of Famer Henri (The Pocket Rocket) Richard, talking about the lack of respect exhibited by modern-day players toward one another.

From The Detroit News: Link

Is he right or no?