I disagree, although I can see where you're coming from.
Firstly, I don't think the Wings are any one individual's team, and likely haven't been since Stevie left. Even before he retired, an argument could've been made that it was the entire lockerroom's team, as I'm sure Draper and others were just as instrumental in maintaining team focus. That's one of the great things about this team over the past decade plus -- the team first mentality that brought success. In fact, I seem to recall a story about the team being down heading into the third period and every member of the team having to step up and stare both Yzerman and Chelios in the eye for near a minute before heading back out onto the ice.
Secondly, I think that Datsyuk is the player everyone else looks to in the clutch to step things up. He's the guy who will get you that amazing play to save the game. However, I believe (and this is from a spectator's perspective only) that the person they'd look to bring order from chaos when a series is on the line is still Lidstrom. There is a big difference between being the best and most talented game breaker on the ice and being the leader that everyone looks to for emotional direction. Lidstrom is the emotional bedrock of this team, and Datsyuk is looked upon to be the guy who takes that leadership first (again, IMO).
This, in a nutshell, is why I see Z taking the mantle as a done deal once Lidstrom retires. Not because Datsyuk's english is suspect, not because Z is the better player...but because when the chips are down he seems more the type to be able to tell everyone in the room what needs to happen in order to pull out a victory (and to back it up with his play). Datsyuk's a supreme talent, no question, and by all accounts a great dressing room presence...but talent doesn't necessarily translate to managing a room.
EDIT: I guess what I'm trying to say is that they all look to Datsyuk to save them in a pinch, because he can. They all look to Lidstrom (and soon Z) to ask "what do we need to do?"
Not saying it won't happen, but Ericsson hardly got a look at the PP last season. Kindl even got more PP than E.
Ericsson has a cannon apparently, but his windup is too slow and I wouldn't trust him out there at the point. Of course, Kindl is pretty scary there too, but he at least gets his shot off quicker.
This is true, but I'm guessing this is one of the things that Holland Babcock were talking about when they said Ericsson was going to get an "increased role" this year and that they expect more points out of him. I see the pairings as probably Lidstrom - White and Kronwall - Ericsson on the PP.
Realistically what were you expecting?
Weber, Suter, Burns, and Doughty.
Lidstrom - Weber Suter - Burns Doughty - Kronwall Stuart
Are you saying you were expecting anything less? Fire Holland.
Holland trades down every single one of our picks. We end up with all 30 7th round picks, and draft the entire Swedish pee-wee league championship team. Then, he re-signs Ericsson, Eaves, Miller, MacDonald, and Salei. Finally, on the last day before training camp, Holland completes the roster by signing the wily veteran Joe Skrubz for his invaluable "experience" and "leadership". Holland proclaims the off-season to be the busiest and most successful in Red Wings' history. When asked why the team was barely able to clear the cap floor, Holland cites that free agent prices were "too high" and his desire to save cap space for injuries and make trades at the deadline. LGW members rally in support of their GM, arguing that signing any free agent for anything close to fair market value is ridiculous, insisting that we must save cap space to re-sign our own free agents the following off-season. They then proceed to mock all other NHL GMs for their gross overpayment of trade and free agent acquisitions, and declare Ken Holland the greatest general manager in the history of professional sports.
Not surprisingly, a dejected Nicklas Lidstrom decides to announce he will retire early after reporting to training camp to learn that he is expected to lead this team to the Stanley Cup. Nevertheless, the Lidstrom-less Wings hit the season in full stride, shattering league records for wins, points, and shootout losses while coasting to their 21st consecutive playoff berth. Then, despite most analyst's predictions of an evenly matched, hard fought 7 game series, the President's Trophy winning Red Wings manage to pimp-slap the lowly Albuquerque Desert Mongrels back to the stone age in a savage 4 game beatdown. Puppy dogs and ice cream rule the day as LGW erupts with jubilation, spawning countless "We believe" and "This is the Year" threads. Rested and confident, the Red Wings advance to the second round to face their arch-rivals, the Golden State Toilet Fish...
However, confidence quickly turns to apprehension when it is discovered that the Red Wings might have to break a sweat on their preordained crusade for the Stanley Cup. Though unpleasant to watch, Babcock is not concerned when the Red Wings break an NHL record during their game 1 loss after they suffer the most fatalities in a playoff home game (4), reiterating that "the power play is our enforcer". Holland appears unfazed as well, announcing that the team will promote young players to replace the deceased; Cleary (head trauma), Bertuzzi (complications from bite wound), Holmstrom (natural causes), and Hudler (decapitated while attempting to skate onto the bench, running into the door that has been inadvertently stuck shut. Eva maintains that he is still a top 5 playmaker in the world). LGW reaction is mixed and violent, but all are soothed when they learn that Franzen will return after missing 81 regular season games and the entire first round with a torn Anterior Nejrav Flavin. Their faith is rewarded when Franzen leads the team to a game 2 victory by effortlessly scoring 60 goals in 60 minutes. Replays of the game-winning goal show Franzen yawn as he skates into the neutral zone, deke all 3 Golden State forwards, skate onto the opposing bench, pull out Pavelski's mouth guard and throw it to the ice, pause to text message Bjork back in the Fjordland, jump back onto the ice, split the defense, and deftly flip it in top shelf. The play is featured at #10 on Sportcenter's top 10 plays of the night, followed by 9 different ways LeBron James managed to dunk a ball that night.
Unfortunately the victory is short-lived, as the Toilet Fish manage to eke out a pair of 1 goal games on their home ice. Though the series shifts back to Detroit with the Red Wings facing elimination for the third straight year, confidence amongst the faithful remains high. After all, the Wings have out-scored the Fish by nearly 60 goals throughout the series! Game 5 starts off fast and exhilarating, with both teams exchanging huge saves and momentum-shifting goals. Things couldn't get any more exciting when Zetterberg ties the game at the buzzer and sends it into overtime! Fond memories flood the arena as images of Stevie Y jumping and flailing his arms after his double overtime game winner against St Louis flash on the jumbo-tron. Then the unthinkable happens. As both teams return to their benches at the end of intermission, fans are stunned as they watch Ryane Clowe, sidelined since game 1 with a severed arm, walk down the tunnel and take his seat on the bench. The crowd at the Joe is horrified as they watch, as though it were scripted in a movie, Ryane Clowe manage to single-handedly (!!!) power his way through Ericsson and Kindl (shocking) and jam home the series clinching goal. LGW plunges into agonizing despair for about half a day, until a consensus is reached that injuries and travel are to blame, in addition to Brad McCrimmon, despite the fact that he hasn't been seen in over 8 months after disappearing in a Siberian Gulag. This rationalization allows order to return and gloating over our 4th Stanley Cup in, ummmm, 16 years now??? to resume.