In my opinion part of the problem is that we are lacking a legitimate No. 2 guy complementing Kronwall. Until now Kronner was able to cover some of Ericssons deficits, but now that he started slumping himself a little bit the state of our top pair become obvious. I'm pretty convinced that this makes the whole team uncertain in some ways. If the top guys you look up to are failing it's pretty hard to build enough self esteem to carry the team, especially if you're a young and inexperienced player. So while Marchenko is certainly an option I don't think he is the solution to our slump. The team leaders Kronner, Zetterberg and Howard have to find a way to play on the level they are capable and in my opinion neither of them does atm.
Just to be clear : I'm not saying that Kronwall is the only factor, we certainly have other problems, too.
I don't know why not. We played our best hockey, against the toughest competition, on our West Coast trip. Marchenko was in on defense, and Mrazek was in the net. I'm not saying it a guarantee or anything. But we can clearly win with those guys in the lineup consistently. And what do we have to lose? The fragile chemistry that's earning us all these points right now?
"There's always concern, but when I look at our last little bit of games here I like how hard we played," coach Mike Babcock said...We came out, we were organized, we came after them, Babcock said. They scored. We didn't score as (much). I thought (Coyotes goalie Mike) Smith made some real good saves for them."
Dan Cleary will come in and be our best player in the playoffs. He'll do it on heart alone. Because that's what he does. And while we won't win the Cup, the long playoff run will be exactly what Mike Babcock needs to become the highest paid coach in the NHL. He'll enter next season at the top of the mountain, ready to bring his revolutionary new message to the team.
I'm completely perplexed by all of this right now. Sure our goalie isn't playing great. Sure our defense isn't spectacular. I completely get that. But is our defense any worse than Pittsburgh, or Ottawa, or Vancouver, or Minnesota? Is our goalie worse than Winnipeg or Calgary? I mean, what confuses me is why we're falling off a cliff right now. If we were just a mediocre team, I'd get it. But mediocre teams are playing more consistently than we are. We've got the same weaknesses as every other mediocre team, but they're staying the same or trending up, and we are in a tailspin at a time in the season when you want to be heating up. We added a 20 goal scorer, a 30+ point defenseman, and they're both playing great...yet somehow we're worse off for it. How does that happen?
I believe during some pre-season interview Holland said he was hoping for a best-case of 6 or 7 20 goal guys. Funny thing is, if I rememeber correctly, he figured two of those cats would be Franzen and Weiss.
For a minute there, it looked like both of those guys might have been able to do it too. Franzen started out really strong before his injury, and Weiss was going like gangbusters for a bit too. Dang.
People do realize Nyquist is a pass first type of guy right?
That's a pretty tenuous characterization for a guy who has 54 goals, and 55 assists in his short NHL career. Joe Thornton is "pass first". Valterri Filppula is "pass first". I think it would be misleading to describe Nyquist's game in a similar fashion. So far in his short career he's been a significantly better finisher than most NHLers.