To an extent I agree with you, in the sense that I REALLY WANT Howard to stand on his head. It would be super nice if he did. But there's no substitute for quality play in front of the goalie. Look at Ryan Miller. The guy's a stud, a veteran, a guy that can steal games for you, etc. etc. etc. Except he wasn't stealing games for Buffalo, he was getting murdered. You could say the same things about him as we currently do about Howard. Then, all of a sudden, he goes and plays on a real team with real hockey players and he's a superstar again. And it's not just that he's benefiting from St. Louis' system, because he's playing better than Halak or Elliot did with the same team.
When we talk about goalies "stealing games" it's easy to think that top flight goalies can play behind HORRIBLE defenses and win games all by their lonesome. That rarely happens. Usually when a goalie steals a game it's because either two very good teams, or two very bad teams are playing and the goalie ends up being the difference. When it's a bad vs. a good team the goalie rarely overcomes that.
Ryan Miller became a "stud" goalie because he did steal games for a really subpar team for a lot of years. I think the only difference now is that he's older and isn't able to do it as much. I don't think Buffalo was giving up a ton of goals, they just weren't scoring many. Goaltending is also as much about when you give up goals as it is how many. Howard has the tendency to let those weak ones in just when the Wings need him to make a big save late in the period or right after they score. No, it's not always his fault and yes our defense is weak, and missing two of the best defensive forwards in the game doesn't help either. Most every goalie makes a few good saves every game.
I'm not saying Jimmy has to have a shut out every game, but there's got to be some games down the stretch where we say, wow, we should not have won that game, Howard stole that one for us. There haven't been many like that this year.
I'm not a blame the goalie type, but he is the one guy who can step it up and lead us and has been a total let down. You can argue that goals aren't "his fault", but come on, make a big timely save, steal a game for us, do something.
Bertuzzi took the shootout goal but now is "injured"? Am I the only one thinking it's somewhat coincidental that Cleary, Samuelsson and Bertuzzi all have these "injuries" after extended lackluster performances?
I get being disappointed, but come on. Fans are really expecting the Wings to dominate with a lineup that is mostly made up of Grand Rapids Griffins? Injuries are hardly an excuse this season. Holland has made his mistakes, to be sure, but he's hardly to blame for the Wings play this year. While things certainly don't look positive for the Wings, fans are throwing in the towel with a month left in the season and 2 points out of a playoff spot? Really? Forgotten about last season already?
I think what works against Kronwall is that he does a lot of things really well, but he isn't dominant in any aspect of his game. He isn't a shut down type defenseman, he isn't a game changer offensively, the occasionally "Krowalling" is entertaining, but his overall physical game is lacking, and what GMP said about his shot. It isn't to say I'm not a Kronwall fan, but I think the fact he's decent at most things, but not great at any one thing is what gives the impression he's not a #1 type defenseman.
There's no guarantee that even if he played in the NHL that he'd stay in NA. I think there's a perception by North Americans that everyone else in the world wants to be here. If he can play at home, still make a good living, play a lot less games, in a much less physical environment, why not?
As far as making the playoffs, it's not just a record thing, it's a business thing. The players make no more money in the playoffs, yet the owners do. Even if they got swept in the first round, two home games is 2+ million dollars for the organization.
I can't believe David Legwand went for anything other than a pick. This was a save the playoff streak move. I wouldn't have minded parting with Jarnkrok for a decent defenseman or Moulson or Vanek. But David Legwand? I'm dumbfounded.