As far as the game goes, I don't really miss much. With the exception of diving, which isn't as out of control as some make it seem, I think the game is better in pretty much every way now than it used to be. Goalies are tougher to score on, forwards are super skilled and moving faster, and even the lower end guys need to be able to play the game. I love not seeing the Marty McSorley types bungling up and down the ice. Tough guys need to be able to play now, and I love it. Sidebar: I love watching Brandon Prust play hockey.
I guess the only thing I miss are the individual players who were so good over the years. Lidstrom, Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanny. All amazing. And when I think about how much time I spent watching them, and knowing that I'll never see them play again, bums me out a bit. I'll see other amazing players...and have (Datsyuk)...but I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't do just about anything to see Fedorov take an outlet pass and race up the ice and do this one more time...
It was a statistical anomaly. Whine all you want. That doesn't change anything. Teams sometimes lose games because of bad luck, bad breaks, or mistakes.
That said, exactly what do you expect Babcock to say? That his goalie make a horrific mistake? That the team is playing horribly? That several players flat-out suck? That the organization is in the pits? Not only would those be untrue, you're also missing some very basic aspects of human social interaction. Babcock can and no doubt does let loose with what he thinks in private, to the players and to those others who need to hear it. When it comes to the public, that not OK. Doing so would cause tension between he and the players. Tortorella is the only coach of note who does it, and it causes serious problems in the locker room.
Give that some thought.
I wasn't suggesting he call them out in the press. The fact that he makes excuses to the press is a symptom in my opinion. If my guys weren't executing for s***, and because of this aren't winning games, I'll let them know it by reducing their ice time/benching them. And then when the media heads ask questions I'll tell them what happened. We failed to execute properly. We made lazy line changes. We left our goalie out to dry. No need to downplay the fact that this team has looked like garbage all too frequently this year. Own it, and prove that you're trying to fix it through your personnel moves.
If San Jose can bench Joe Thornton for playing like sh*t, then Babs can quit making excuses for two f*** ups which cost us valuable points, or saying how consistent we are when after we lose to Calgary (for the third time). To me, that undermines accountability.
I don't see why it has to be one or the other, they care or they don't. Why not just "They don't care enough"? I think that's pretty fitting. Look at what the Stars and Jackets and Flames are doing. Are they better than us? Are they deeper? More talented?
Have we played a legitimate three-period, 60-minute game once this season?
We're not a very good team. Most nights we're going to play teams that are better than we are, and because they're better it's going to make it harder for us to execute...and hence...lots of bad games.
Part of the reason why these guys are professional athletes is because they're SO COMPETITIVE that they're willing to put the time, effort, hard work, and sacrifice into making themselves pro-level athletes. If you don't care whether you succeed or not, win or lose, you don't becomw a professional athlete. You join the band.
Real life is not a movie. The "Miracle on Ice" wasn't a miracle. That team worked hard, prepared, learned from mistakes in their previous game, and executed their game plan properly. That's why they won. Not because the Russians didn't care, or some other silly b.s.
You really, REALLY think they stopped caring? If you honestly believe that then you are REALLY wasting your time here.
It's really strange to me how often people say stuff like that. One too many inspirational sports movies I guess. Professional sports teams don't lose because they "don't care enough" or don't "want to win" or whatever. They lose because they're not talented enough to execute properly, haven't prepared properly, or are simply kept from executing by a superior team. All this ra-ra, win one for the Gipper, b.s. is garbage. They're professional athletes, they all "care".
I said they can't score goals. By that I mean they both seem to be around 20-25g. And you're kind of proving my point. They're not good enough to turn average players into stars. Nothing really wrong with that; few players ever have been. I point it out because it makes it that much tougher to build a team. If we need four 30g wingers, we're probably out of luck. Couldn't afford it in free agency, even if there were 4 available. Nor do we have the trade assets, even if we completely empty the cupboards (which would leave no cheap depth to fill the rest of the roster anyway).
We need to be able to score, even if our top-6 has a couple of guys that can only pot 15-20. Cleary and Abby have 9g apiece. Franzen has 10, Brunner 11, Flip 7...Tatar, Nyquist, and Bert combined have 9 in what has essentially been the same roster spot. That's pretty good scoring depth. That's 7 players with 9 or more, plus 1 with 7.
For comparison, the Blackhawks also have 7 players with 9 and one with 7. In fact, looking at the entire forward corps of both teams, taking out Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen for the Wings, and Kane, Toews, and Hossa for the Hawks... our forwards have scored just one fewer goal. Paid similar money too; we're a little under a million more. Injuries close to balanced. Bolland and Flip roughly equal out. We've had more injuries, but they've had Sharp out for a while. Our replacements have done better. It's a very minor difference. Add in Franzen and Hossa (both have missed 7 games) and the difference is 8 goals, and now the Hawks spending slightly more.
Pav and Hank have 22. Kane and Toews have 42.
It's reasonable to think we could upgrade one of the others enough to offset the 8g difference there. Not so much the other 20g at the top. We need that depth scoring. Need guys like Cleary, Abby, Bert and Sammy who can fill a role on a top line at a fairly cheap price. We can afford one upgrade, and maybe make one other swap for someone of a similar level but who fits better. No guarantees that we can find either, and no guarantees it would be enough, so we don't want to spend to much (in cap commitment or trade) to try for it.
Doens't it seem likely that the reason that Toews and Kane have so many goals is precisely because they've got serious depth across the lineup though? You can't really double team either of those guys when they're on the ice because Hossa and Sharp can beat you on their own if you don't take them seriously. I think both Pav and Hank's numbers are low because teams have figured out that the Wings can't beat you when Pav or Hank are kept off the board. You can't do that with Chicago. By having real depth in their forward core it opens up the ice for the stars as well.
I agree that a lot of them are not good enough, but I think they're misutilized as well. For instance, Datsyuk needs the puck on his stick to be effective but he doesn't like to shoot, Brunner doesn't carry the puck much and does like to shoot. So put them together. Similarly, Zetterberg is defensively responsible and has shown that he can score a lot. Filppula is defensively responsible, and despite every opportunity, has shown he can't score. So why not let Flip center the second line (and take the lion's share of the defensive responsibility) and let Zetterberg play the wing where he can score. The defense is still in capable hands as Flip excels in that area, but at least you'll have someone on the wing that can score. Ideally, for the remainder of the season I'd like to see this.
When Bert gets back swap him with Abby and put Abby where Emmerton is. When Sammy gets back he rotates in and out with Cleary. Also, if we make the playoffs I'd strongly consider scratching both Cleary and Sammy and putting Tatar with Nyquist and Andersson as they've obviously got a lot of chemistry and have worked well together
I've been to some of these game and I've had the opportunity to sit up close (thanks to company tickets my father gets every year), let me tell you guys something. These guys get beat up day in an day out. I've watched Hank get his butt checked by guys almost twice as big as him from a few seats away. I'll tell you one thing though, he protects the puck with one hand very well, something even Datsyuk doesn't do as well. However Datsyuk has been fun to watch with his crazy deking ability that makes some of the D fall on their butts. Anyways the point im trying to make is, these guys are simply beat up. Half the time on ice that I've watch Zetterberg, he seems exhausted 30 seconds into his shift but just keeps on going. My buddy sitting next to me at the Chicago game at home said something like "Zetterberg plays like he's ran 30 miles before the game" Seriously, though up close the man looks exhausted this season.
These two men (zet and dats) have an incredible amount of pressure on them. Datsyuk is clearly in better shape and so he has a bit more stamina than Z but even he doesn't seem anywhere close to the speed he used to have a few years ago. Say what you guys must, but I've been analyzing these two all season long and have had the opportunity to do so from a few seats away.
Of course they look worn out, they're carrying the team on their shoulders, and everybody knows it. Our team is a one trick pony and everybody has figured that out.
My prediction: only one of Tartar and Nyquist will become permanent Red Wings. The other will be dealt.
I agree. But I don't think it will make too much of a difference because at least in the short to medium term all of our prospects are undersize, pass first, perimeter guys, and most of them are centers or converted centers. I can't wait for a couple of years when we've got actual wingers with a little size (like Jurco, Frk, and Tvrdon) ready to be inserted into the lineup.
I don't think size is the issue up front, I think that (to borrow from another thread) the top 6 lack "offensive creativity". I understand what Babcock's tried to do with Abdelkader (puck recovery... ala Saad in Chicago), but it just doesn't seem to be working out. I think we kind of have to wait and see what happens here, but Tatar should at least be on that 3rd line LW when next year starts. Depending on what happens will Filppula and Brunner, we'll have to see.
It's not just size, it's size and skill combined. Abby's got all the size you'd ever need but he doesn't know how to finish. Holmer could finish, Ryan Smyth can finish...Abby can't. He's got no knack for scoring at this level. What we need is a couple bigger bodies who know how to finish on a play. Guys like Horton, Stafford, Clarkson, Paajarvi, come to mind. They've got the size and skill to score down low, which is something we're sorely missing. Ideally I'd like a sniper too, and I think it would help with a lot of things, but until we get a legit net front presence on each of the top two lines I think we'll be kept entirely to the perimeter and therefore easily kept off the scoreboard in tight games.
Here's some perspective. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are the biggest offensive threats we have. You know it, I know it, and every team we play knows it. When they're separated they get double teamed, and when they're together no other line has any potential offense. We simply don't have the horses. That's why they don't score...because everyone and their brother knows to key on those guys to the exclusion of everyone else.