This was the most evenly matched game in this series so far. Both teams missed a lot of good opportunities and momentum was shifting frequently. Smith makes a ton of mistakes and his criticism is deserved, but might I remind everyone of Ericsson circa 2010-2011? There are inevitable growing pains with our rookie defense, but we shouldn't be so quick to write these guys off as evidenced by Ericsson's development over the past couple years and, to a lesser extent, Kindl's this year.
Realistically I just cannot see this team going deep this year even if we come out on top in the these last two games, but no one really considered this team a serious cup contender at any point during the season, so are we all actually that surprised that we may not make it out of the first round?
I'm not making excuses but you have to consider all of the facts.
1. St. Louis has essentially the same team as last year. We had several new guys so the short training camp effected them less.
2. St. Louis was at home
3. We were missing our fastest most energetic guy in Helm.
4. We were missing one of our biggest tough guys in Bertuzzi.
5. We had beaten the Blues the last 4 times that we played them (yes, that's true - look it up) so they were obviously out for revenge.
As I said, that doesn't excuse their performance but you need to keep things in perspective.
The Wings don't always disappear in "statement games". You only seem to remeber the ones in which they do. Just ask the Blues whom they beat 4 times in a row before last night.
Tonight is a huge game. If they don't come out and play hard agains the BJ's then there is a real issue. If they do, then we can move on.
The problem with these "facts" are that they only support why the Blues were a more cohesive and prepared team on Saturday. They do not explain why the Wings gave by far the worst performance out of any team playing, both Saturday and Sunday. I watched bits of the majority of games over the last couple days, and the Wings were the only team that looked like they did not belong in the NHL. No other team lost as decisively and by as wide a margin as we did on Saturday. Seriously, the ass-kicking we received on Saturday was magnitudes worse than ass-kickings we've received in recent years (think Islanders, Montreal last year, the 10-3 loss to St. Louis, etc).
Even if injecting a few new players into our lineup is the big reason why we sucked so badly, then why didn't other teams suck who had the same problems? Why were Zetterberg and Datsyuk the only players affected this severely from playing overseas, whereas others were not? I didn't watch every part of every game, so maybe someone could point out another team's performance that was as dismal as ours.
Of course it's still too early to write this season off, but how anyone can see anything positive about the events on Saturday is beyond me.