While Bertuzzi needs to dial it down a notch, its these kind of guys who play with a little bit of a feisty edge that the Wings really need IMO. Just watch our games with the sole purpose of looking for Wings players INITIATING body contact. There really isn't a lot of it. Ironically, when Z and Datsyuk throw their bodies around, the results are good.
Take a look at the great Wings teams that most of us on this board grew up with. Guys like Maltby, McCarty, Kocur, Shanny, Lapointe, Konstantinov. All willing to punish opposing players and rough it up a little to win. Balance that with the sort of high end scoring talent that this team is developing (in guys like Larkin, Nyquist, Tatar etc) and we may be able to go somewhere. Our D is way too soft. Ericsson, if he applied himself physically game in and game out, could be a FORCE. He's huge, and has some serious strength. None of the fights he got into last year were even close. Neil wanted a piece of him saturday, but you can tell he would have got hammered if the refs had let them go.
Kronwall hasn't played the body now really in the last few seasons, probably because he's now the number 1 d man and was also the primary offensive D man. I also think that his most recent suspension in the playoffs has signalled the death of anyone getting Kronwalled every again. He's too valuable to the team to miss time over a suspension, and he knows it.
This is why Brad Stuart was such a great addition in 07. He played with an edge that the D didn't have and he brought it physically night in night out. I'm not saying the wings need to change everything and go to a bunch of goons, but even 1 hard hitting D man on the back end, and one or two more physical forwards would go a long way in making this team more dangerous.
For an organization rapidly embracing a full youth movement, there doesn't seem to be much logic behind giving up Mantha and/or a first round pick. I personally don't buy it and hope Holland stays the course at this point. If drafting and developing is your thing, then you don't sacrifice that for Dion Phaneuf. Maybe three years ago with a younger Pav and Z, but not anymore.
Many crappy players have their name on the Stanley Cup, as with coaches. Don Cherry was a bit before my time as a coach, so I can't comment on his ability to coach. He's an entertainer now and plays to his audience. I'm not going to judge him as a coach based on what he does now, not to mention he's like 182. But I find his advice on this subject to be sound and based on personal experience.
Babcock is defense first coach. There is a reason for the saying "defense wins championships". because it is true. If the other team doesn't score you have greatly increased your chances to win. His focis is winning game 2-1 or 1-0. Go back the this past Olympics. Team full of the worlds best players and they played a puck control defense first system.
This was also Bowman's system. The left wing lock is all about reducing scoring. he threatened to tradeStevie Y if he didn't start to play d. Federov was the same way. Which is why he went from 120 point seasons to 80 point seasons.
Now if you are playing a defensive system to win, wouldn't you want to play the best defensive forwards? yes. Why have Z and Dat been stars for so long? Yes they score, but they are great defensively.
Now look at our prospects and their development. What part of the game takes the longest to develop? defense. What have most on this site complianed about? Our prospects "overripening" in the minors. What are they learning to do? It isn't offense, it is D. That is Babs/Hollands plan. Play good D or don't play here. IE Hudler and many others.
That's what happens when you base your punishment on the result of the hit instead of the hit itself. An illegal hit should be punished as much if the other guy bounces right back up as it is if he's going to be out 8 weeks.