Right. The only line I don't like is the top line.
Well, I wouldn't go that far. I obviously don't like the top line. I would prefer the current second line actually be the third line. And I'd prefer Joakim Andersson go the f*** away. But other than that I suppose it's as good as it's going to be until Datsyuk gets back and Weiss figures out the secret handshake or whatever Babs needs in order to accept his bona fides.
As much as the forward lines make me want to puke, I will say that there's potential for the Nyquist-Helm-Nestrasil line to do a little damage. It's the same basic dynamic as the Tatar-Sheahan-Jurco line except that Nyquist is a little better offensively than Tatar and Jurco is a little better than Nestrasil.
I dunno.....Maybe it's the scotch I'm usually enjoying in the evening hours when I watch hockey.....Franzen doesn't look like he's giving 100% a good portion of the night, and he seems to be getting pushed, or knocked down along the boards more often than not.
It's been said numerous times before...Babs is more or less forced to give the Mule top 6 ice time since there's few options...I'd much rather see the young guys get more ice time.
I'm not saying Mule is a workaholic or anything. But I don't think he's "a soft, lazy, floater" either. If you haven't noticed, once people around here (and around hockey in general) start saying something, it keeps getting said no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary. Babcock was using Franzen on the PK last year...before the injuries started to happen. He didn't have to, he chose to. Somehow I doubt that the hockey coach equivalent of IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer would use a lazy, soft, stupid, weak, pathetic, spineless, ***** on the PK just for kicks.
I think the Wings are very easy to play against physically. The big guys aren't known for their hitting. Franzen is big and skilled, but doesn't really battle for pucks. Team speed is supposed to be our real strength, but that didn't really work for us when playing against a team like Boston.
We're certainly not as physical as Boston. Good thing we don't play them 82 times every season. Also, I don't think Franzen is as big a pattycake as everyone makes him out to be. He battled along the walls all the time. Babcock wouldn't play him as much as he does if Franzen didn't.
On the plus side, this might be the biggest group of forwards we've played in a while. A pretty decent mix of size to go with the smaller, faster skilled guys.
Half of the forwards at least 6'1"/200 lbs.
I know Franzen and Andersson aren't overly physical, but as a Wings fan, I'll take what I can get.
I don't think "being physical" matters at much as people tend to think. Many fans (around the league) think if you're big and you're not playing like Backes or Lucic then you're "easy to play against". Which is likely not true. Obviously its harder to play against guys like that, but it's probably no walk in the park trying to body up Franzen for 60 minutes. No matter how "physical" he is (or isn't), he's still 225 lbs. of forward that you've got to try and contain for an entire game.
1. You claimed that Z's production "fell into the floor" with Abby - I showed that he was having one of his best years. Who cares you ask? yes who cares about facts? you take issue with "on pace.", but that's not really what we were talking about - it's the time he played with Abby his production didn't fall into the floor. To be clear, I don't think Abby should by in the top 6, but your claim was off.
2. I also would prefer "to actually have a top line winger" ,but Mantha's injured, Alfie's uncertian. I think Helm's a good option with what we've got. Certainly better than Abby. Not sure why you took exception with my use of the word prefer, haha. Every opinion or claim is a preference. Also, your "this is a business we shouldn't just 'give things a try'" seems weird to me. Coaches "give things a try" all the time - every time they switch lines... Bowman gave Federov a try on defense. Chara was given a try in front of the net on the PP. We are currently trying out the 1-3-1 formation. Maybe I should have used more serious wording.
3. I meant if we got Stafford as a UFA next year he would be a road block and I meant it more for Mantha - I listed Nestrasil because he would probably be pushed off the team, but I agree with you that Nestrasil shouldn't really be a consideration. If he were here for just this year he would only really be a road block to Alfie's return which I think most would be fine with. Could be a good move if the price wasn't too much.
Anyway, I don't think we really disagree about much here.
I agree. We're in the same ballpark.
I didn't take exception to your use of "preference". I bolded it so that you'd know what I was responding to in my second comment. No problem with you preferring things.
Zetterberg's production last season wasn't going to last, regardless of his pace. But you're right, it's probably a stretch for me to say that his production falls through the floor with Abby. Having said that, it's not unreasonable to think that he (and Datsyuk) would see an increase in production should they play alongside a winger who can pass and shoot better than Helm, Abby (or Bert before them).
Again, I don't know that Stafford is the answer and don't want to make it about him in particular. I was just pointing out that if you want an "Abby with hands" go get one. They exist, and are available.
Finally, I don't have a problem with teams trying things. I have a problem with not having any other options, and "trying" weird s*** becomes your only hope. Bowman "tried Fedorov on defense" when he had one of the greatest teams ever assembled. Julien "tried" Chara in front of the net while coaching one of the best teams in the league and having a ready replacement on the powerplay point in Torey Krug. We're "trying" Helm on the first line wing because we've got too many centers and not enough wingers, and our GM isn't willing to part ways with one to get the other. Think about it, each year Z and D start out together and the last four guys to play on the other wing were Cleary, Bert, Abby, and now Helm. We've needed a real winger for years.
Babs' isn't doing it because he's got too many options, he's doing it because he doesn't have enough.
Well, Zetterberg was on pace to have one of his best years before his injury so I don't know about your comment their production "falling to the floor."
Abby on the top line is a hangover from the success of Homer there. it hasn't worked with Abby - hopefully Babcock sees that. But Helm is a different player and has yet to play on the top line. You pretty much quoted earlier comments to you the Helm so I feel i need to respond to the "hoodMy winked" and "monkeys nodding their agreement" comments. It's a very different thing to think trying Helm on the first line is worth a try then mindlessly agreeing with the organization. My preference would be Mantha on that top line, but he's injured. Jurco would be good in that spot, but I really like the T-S-J line and I'd prefer to to keep them together.
Stafford's would be a rental this year with one year left in his contract. I'd be for it if we traded Cleary and Andersson to have him for this year. If Stafford's a worthy pick up he's a UFA next year. Having Stafford would put up a road block for Mantha, Nestrasil.
1. Zetterberg's on pace to have a good season every year (almost). Who cares? Last year Alexander Steen was on pace to outscore Ovechkin for about 20 games. On pace really doesn't mean s***.
2. Prefer whatever you want. I'd prefer to actually have a top line winger (and not a third line center) on the top line. Also, as I've said a couple times already: Sure putting Helm on the first line "is worth a try". But this is a professional hockey team, running a business. If they don't have a better strategy for success than "it's worth a try", we're in trouble.
3. If Stafford is a rental he can't block anybody long term. Short term he wouldn't block anybody on the current roster because you'd have to trade to get him. One in, one out. Also, you could just waive any of Andersson, Glendening, or Cleary as well. Nothing about acquiring one guy would block those two. However, my point was mostly that he's been available for as long as we've been trying this stupid "bottom six grinder" to top line winger experiment.
4. Lets not go anointing Nestrasil some kind of up and comer just yet. He's (so far) yet to show he can even play consistently in the AHL, let alone the NHL . He had a good camp which is good. But if you're reluctant to take on a proven NHL player like Stafford because you aren't sure how that affects a guy like Nestrasil, then you've got some pretty funny priorities.
Look, all I'm saying is that if you need a top line winger...go get a top line winger (or promote one). Abby and Helm are bottom six players. No amount of line adjusting changes their skill set. If you want a top line winger who's biggish, physically tough, and can score ok...go get a guy like Stafford. If you want a guy who's fast, defensively responsible, and can score a little...go get Vrbata.
If you want bottom six grinders who are defensively responsible and chip in middling offense...go get Abby or Helm.
The organization is trying to turn them into something they aren't, and it's detrimental to the team.
There are a lot of teams in the bottom half of the league with a ton of cap space that I think could possibly be interested. I may be naïve or hopeful, but I think Kindl would be an upgrade to a lot of teams bottom pairings around the league. He isn't a terrible defenseman and a change of scenery may be just what he needs. If we can get a late round draft pick for him and get Ouellet in the lineup, I'd be happy.
I think he'd be fine on a team that let him be offensive all the way. He can skate and shoot. He's just no good in Babs' system because Babs' doesn't want offense out of his defense...he wants a very particular type of offense (the kind Kronwall, Lids, and Rafalski provided). That's why Kindl struggles, and that's why Smith often struggles.
If he played a wide open, run and gun, style of hockey I'd take Kindl. Someone like Tampa or Carolina would treat him well.
Come on Kip. Those guys are all good for 40 goals.
Between the 5 of them.
If things go well.
Honestly, the part that irritates me isn't that they're playing. They've all got some value (if used correctly). What gets my goat is the the organization has everyone around here so hoodwinked that they actually buy it when Abby gets put on the top line and we hear "Dats wants Abby to pull the piano". Or "Helms speed will be killer on the forecheck". All us monkeys nod our heads in agreement and then wonder why Dats and Z's production falls to the floor.
Want a guy who can "pull the piano" AND produce in top six? The Sabres have been trying to trade Drew Stafford for two years. He's not a superstar but he's WAY better than Abdelkader.
Want a guy who can use speed on the forecheck and produce in the top six? You've got at least two of them toiling away on your third line (Tatar and Jurco). Or you could have signed someone like Radim Vrbata (a possession monster) who consistently produces offense while being defensively responsible.
Nope, Helm and Abby. That's the way to the promised land. Ugh.