That prediction for last season was essentially just based on the fact that we played above our heads the year before in the playoffs, and because we were moving east. Nobody who seriously looked at our defense would have believed we were going to contend for the division. Even without injuries its not like we were setting the world on fire the first part of the season. I'd say we were worse than we appeared at the beginning of last season, and (if Babcock truly ices the best squad) we're slightly better than we appear this season.
Last season was by far one of the weirdest seasons I've seen. Not sure I can really draw any conclusions from it. The year before we took the Hawks deep in an early round. I don't think that's playing over our heads. They won a series they were predicted to win. We put up a helluva fight against a rival. Tends to happen.
The injuries were unpredictable and ridiculous. The beginning of the season was bad puck luck and just the entire team in one big slump. I actually think the injuries helped in a sense, bc the called up kids sparked the rest of the team.
I think this team really is underrated in a sense. We have some very good players at all positions, and very good young players at all positions. In the end I think we're probably middle of the pack come playoffs if last seasons bad fortunes don't repeat themselves.
Monahan made the Flames and could focus fully on hockey, nobody took cheapshots or borderline hits against him and guess why ? People FEAR McGrattan as every cheapshot artist = rat should. The point of the matter is this Pasha is by far the best player on this team he is wasting his last years on a team that doesn't stick up for each other and where the FO doesn't bring in guys that could help out. It's not just about fighting it's that whole "anti physicality" mindset that I'm questioning Downey said it best himself "hey you can hit our players but if you try to take advantage of star/weaker/smallish players someone sneaky will come around the corner..."
The last player who took liberties with Kessel was a behemoth called John Scott nobody else has done so, because nobody wants to answer to Colton Orr, Frazer McLaren. Phaneuf told Crosby to keep to clean his act up or else he would hit him in the same manner...nobody on our team is doing that and maybe just maybe there is already too much complacensy...
Ok Scuderi laid out a clean hit fine, where are the guys that say "ok it's preseason and they are playing this like regular/playoff season in terms of physicality let's hit Maataa, Kunitz ...in the same manner" there is freaking nobody. Things like this are also a bounding experience for team they rally around each other and know everyone heas each others back.
I love fighting. I like the spectacle. I love that extra dimension it gives to the sport. It's truly unique. I wish the instigator rule was not in place. I loved when their was a heavy weight matchup of Probert v. Domi, and seeing who was going to win the belt from the other. I loved that if anyone touched Yzerman Probie would immediately turn into the hulk and smash their face in, no matter what the consequences were for himself. I loved when McCarty turtled Lemieux, because I literally wanted vengeance and blood for what he did to Draper.
But here's why I think your argument stinks Frank. Everyone who I know that is pro-fighting (including myself) whines about how - since the instigator rule - the enforcers ability to protect and scare off the rats is almost completely diminished. Fighting USED to protect stars to an EXTENT, but not anymore, and that's what pisses off pro-fighting advocates and why everyone calls for the repeal of the instigator penalty.
So please, don't act like having McMeatbag on the fourth line/bench is going to protect Datsyuk. All that guy can do is instigate a revenge fight at a later time. And Scuderi can easily just say no at that time, and then we have another possible Bertuzzi-Moore situation on our hands.
If you want the culture of protective fighting you have to:
1) repeal the instigator rule
2) find a guy who can drop the gloves AND play top line minutes
3) time-travel back to the 1980s
Fighting these days is used to possibly change the mood of a game and/or to seek vengeance. And it puts fans like you and I in the stands. That's it.
Fully agreed with almost everything. Like I said players don't need to fight Scuderi just have someone who will and can hit him - or Crosby, Malkin - equally as hard (but clean) should there be a fight after that ? No, absolutely not if it was a clean hit but keep in mind there is also a fine line.
I fully agree with your statement about someone getting Cowened he should have gotten absolutely smoked or challenged to fight after that and that's exactly my point the Wings need to be a tougher team to play against. One where others know what goes around comes around.
So you've gone from we need someone to stand up for our stars, to we need someone who can hit?
We out hit Chicago and Minnesota, two very good teams, just last season.
When it comes to "hitting-hard" I don't know how you draw the line. But Scuderi's hit wasn't really that huge, he more or less caught Datsyuk in a weird place in a weird position.
I think it is a little too simplistic to look at Bowman getting Yzerman to focus on defense and that resulting in a drop in Yzerman's offensive production. My honest opinion is that I don't think his production was impacted too significantly from his attention to the defensive end. A lot of people might say that if you play great defense, it will give you more time with the puck to play offense.
I think Yzerman played in a unique era within the history of the game. A good part of his prime was during the highest scoring era in league history and his increased age came during the lowest scoring era in league history....which made his drop in production look more significant.
Yzerman's "suddenly found defensive game" happened to exactly coincide with the end of the late 80's/early90's scoring frenzy. Be that luck or not, this comparison is bad.