I know Frans isn't Datsyuk but it will be nice to rely on another top center playing over 80 games this year. Frans has only missed 5 games in the last 5 years which bodes well for us since we always have injured players.
I'll point out the obvious here: there is no reason to expect Pulkinnen to score 20 NHL goals unless he learns to hit the net, skates better, gets bigger and stronger (or maybe he just plays small?), and somehow manages to shave a second or two off of his telegraphed-way-in-advance-slap shot. And even then he's a one trick pony with a skill that you can only really get away with if you're Ovechkin.
I know I don't mean this, and I'm going to regret it the moment I hit "post", but sometimes I wish we had Toronto media in the room to ask point blank, even purposefully incendiary questions of the coach like "Coach, AA seemed to have a lot of energy out there, create scoring chances, and carry play, what was behind your decision to play Tatar/Nyquist/Richard more while he rode the bench?"
Hahahaha keep spewing the same ol' s*** despite the fact that literally every stat tells a completely different story... He IS our best puck moving defenseman, whether people want to admit it or not...
That datsyuk line has played together and I loved the way they played never understood why it was broken up
Second line has speed on the wings with the size in the middle of sheahan
Third line has Z playing wing in a little reduced minutes with Richards who's had lots of jump and AA who can fly. Veteran presence will help AA and he'll help the vets with energy. AA and Richards have shown great chemistry
4th line this is your grind line and they should play all damn night against Johnson. Grind on those guys and make them feel it every damn shift, you shut that line down we win
The Wings need to grow, change, reinvent. Datsyuk's early retirement represents an opportunity -- and an excuse -- to do so. The Powers That Be (mainly Ken Holland) must embrace it. If losing the magical crutch called Pavel Datsyuk means the team must crawl on the ground and learn to walk again, so be it. The team must be allowed to crawl so that it can learn to walk again and allowed to walk so that it can learn to fly again. The team must be allowed to struggle, must be allowed and encouraged to find a new, post-Euro Twins identity. The team must get younger, faster, harder to play against.
I firmly believe Larkin and Athanasiou are our new franchise centermen, that they can one day match the Euro Twins in greatness.
I believe Mantha can be a force as early as next season -- hell, as early as these playoffs.
I believe Svechnikov is going to be a beast, someone a bit like Tomas Holmstrom in that he'll allow us to get to our forechecking game (which, like many things, we're going to have to rebuild from the ground up) -- but owning better size and skill and and skating ability and an incredible shot.
I don't believe Tatar and Nyquist have taken a step back this year, I think -- and the numbers bear this out -- they've seen a reduction in ice time this season and that this alone can explain the drop in their production. Similarly, I don't think Jurco and Pulkkinen's "struggles" are indicative of what they truly have to offer.
All of this is to say, I think our head coach and/or general manager has/have to come to understand and appreciate what many fans already know: Joakim Andersson and Jonathan Ericsson are not The Answer. Limiting Athanasiou to five minutes of ice time in big games is profoundly foolish, especially with Datsyuk leaving in the summer and an enormous void opening up at the top of our depth chart. The priority this season and next season has to be transitioning to a younger core, not trying to squeeze one.more.playoff.berth. out of our veterans' butts.
By all means, try to land a Martin Hanzal, someone who can play against the opposition's best players, allowing Larkin and Athanasiou to develop their game against weaker matchups. But don't cage creativity. Don't stifle scoring ability. Don't preach defense for the sake of "learning how to defend real well." I don't even want our defensemen worrying about defending. I want a precise, relentless quick-strike transition game. I want the game to be played on the opposition's half of the ice, because we always have the puck and we're always forcing the other team to play without the puck and "defend real well."
1. Darryl Sutter:
“The big thing in today’s game is you have to be able forecheck and backcheck, and you have to have the puck. You can’t give the puck up. We don’t play in our zone, so there’s not much defending. I’ve coached in three decades now and this stuff where they said Marian had to play in Jacques’s system is a bunch of bull-crap. The game’s changed. They think there’s defending in today’s game. Nah, it’s how much you have the puck. Teams that play around in their own zone think they’re defending but they’re generally getting scored on or taking face-offs and they need a goalie to stand on his head if that’s the way they play.”
2. Dave Tippett:
"We had a player that was supposed to be a great, shut-down defenseman. He was supposedly the be-all, end-all of defensemen. But when you did a 10-game analysis of him, you found out he was defending all the time because he can’t move the puck.
"Then we had another guy, who supposedly couldn’t defend a lick. Well, he was defending only 20 percent of the time because he’s making good plays out of our end. He may not be the strongest defender, but he’s only doing it 20 percent of the time. So the equation works out better the other way. I ended up trading the other defenseman."
I wish Pavel the best and he doesn't owe anyone a thing.
Besides, with Holland so expertly carefully planning for his (and Z's) eventual retirement (just as had with Lidtstrom), the Wings are in extremely competent hands with a strong core of proven veterans who show up every single day to play and, gosh darn it, they pay to win! But there is more. They also are doing double duty in working with coaching to entrust a strong group of youngsters to take the reins. Just think how lucky we are are! Holland could have easily ignored reality, rewarded poor performing veterans, made high stake losing gambles on free agency, lacked the guts to trade away dead weight, and delayed the development of our young players, all in the name of clinging to useless playoff streak!
Sometimes its easy to forget that while Dan Cleary the player has long since outlived his usefulness as a Detroit Red Wing, that Dan Cleary the man is actually a great person and a wonderful ambassador for not just the Red Wings but professional athletes in general. That story above my post is a good reminder of that.
In no way do I want him taking a roster spot up on the team anymore, but I'll always respect how he turned his career around with the Wings and his contributions to the team over the years.
My sister passed away about 3 weeks ago from cancer.
A couple of seasons ago she had a chance to go to a Wings game.
My dad had been in contact with the Wings people and they were trying to work out who she might want to meet if she got the chance. It was up to me to ask her who she wanted to meet. Of course, we were trying to surprise her so I didn't want to just come out and say "Hey you're probably going to get to meet one of the players, who do you want to meet?"
So i would ask, "Hey Care, if you got to meet anybody on the wings who would you want to meet?"
"DAN CLEARY!" she'd exclaim.
So a couple of days later I would ask again. "DAN CLEARY!!" was the answer I got again.
She knew they were going to be going to the game when she went down to Ann Arbor, so I tried again, "No..Seriously....If you really got to meet one of the current Wings players when you go to the game, who would it be?" I could not have given her a bigger hint without flat out just telling her!
So she and my dad and uncle went to the game and had a good time. Then the game was over. As they are trying to 'leave' the building, my uncle is leading the way with directions on where to go with my dad and sister following him. She still has no idea.
They end up in an area where she figures they aren't supposed to be. "Are we allowed down this way?"
Finally they end up standing against a wall with a bunch of other people with a Wings/arena employee telling them to just wait where they are.
"Are we meeting players?!" She had finally figured it out.
While they were waiting she felt she had accidentally bumped into someone behind her. She turned to say she was sorry to them. But nothing came out of her mouth. It was Nicklas Lidstrom that she had bumped into!! (This was during his last season when he wasn't playing due to his ankle) He saw she was trying to apologize and told her it was no big deal. Other players like Pavel and Zetterberg had walked through the hallway where they were waiting.
Finally Dan Cleary came out and asked "Are you Carrie?"
I don't remember much of what else happened (I wasn't there, just heard the stories afterward), but he was super nice to her, took a couple of pictures, and signed some things.
The jersey says
"To: Carrie Best Wishes
Your friend, Dan Clear 11"
He also had a signed bobble head sent to our house a couple of weeks later.
I always teased her about wanting to meet Cleary over anybody else, but she really enjoyed the whole experience
Man, I don't know s***. If I did I'd probably be in Biotech. In all seriousness, judge Rosen, who acted as mediator between Detroit and its creditors, taught my evidence class. He had some pretty fascinating insight on the process. I would have been happier with preserving the budding, but the creditors were not going to pass up that real estate, especially with the state footing the bill for demolition.
How sadly ironic. The great Joe Louis was hounded by creditors for much of his life. And now the building named after him is being demolished because of some inept city's creditors.
I'm still pissed they're going to demolish the arena with the greatest non-corporate name in sports.
This new arena looks cool, though, and I understand they want to be on par with other new arenas around the league. I just wish we weren't so keen in this country with demolishing legendary arenas. They don't do s*** like that in Europe.
With the 8 extremely good young forwards that we have in our system right now (Nyquist, Tatar, Jurco, Sheahan, Pulkkinen, Athanasiou, Mantha and Larkin) I don't think we have much to worry about up front. I think all of these guys are / could be legit top 6(3) NHL players, and I think it's very possible that at least 1 or 2 could become elite. Defense is definitely our area of weakness right now and in the future in my opinion. We have 4, maybe 5 young defensemen (DeKeyser, Smith, Sproul, Ouellet, Marchenko) that could become top 4 guys.
I think either way you look at it, we are set up pretty good when Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Kronwall eventually retire in the next 3-5 years (which by the way, is still a ways away yet...)
As for the great Howard vs. Mrazek debate, I still think Howard deserves a shot to prove he is the Red Wings best option in goal for the time being. After all, like many have already pointed out, he was putting up great numbers and having an All-Star year prior to his injury. In saying that, I do believe he should be on a somewhat short leash, and Mrazek stealing the job at this point should be a real option. I don't think you go with the veteran goalie into the playoffs if the rookie is playing substantially better.
I've always been a Howard supporter and still am, but I don't buy that the team just happens to show up when Mrazek (or Gustavsson) is in net, and play like s*** when Howard is in net. I think the teams play is a result of the goalies play. It's much easier to get going on the offense when your goalie is making the huge key saves in a game. If the goalie lets in a softie or two, it usually does effect the teams overall play. Howard is very capable in making big time saves from time to time but he is also known to let in a few weak goals at inopportune times. Another obvious contributing factor in the team playing better when Mrazek is in net, is his ability to play the puck. As cliché as it sounds, it really is like having a third defenseman back there.
Howard has been awful 1on1 recently and has never learned how to play the puck. Mrazek is pretty good 1on1 due to his aggressive style, and can play the puck as well as any goaltender in the league. The kid oozes confidence and if he's able to string together another few great performances down the stretch and Howard struggles, I think he should be our guy for the playoffs. However, I do still believe it is Howie's job to lose...
Howie definitely doesn't have it together right now. He may have pushed himself back a little bit too early. From the games I've been able to watch, there were a number of goals where it looked like he gave up on them. I'm not saying he would normally do that, but I think it's an indication that he's still hurting.
Mrazek is still young and that means the occasional rookie mistake, but his puck handling just completely changes the game in our favor. I know I've been kind of scoffed at for stating how much it would help, but I hope people have been able to see the difference and might be coming around to it. And I don't mean to be a dick, but let's not forget how Howie injured himself in the first place.
I remember when Howard first came up and started splitting starts. I kept thinking "this is the guy? This is our goalie of the future?" Five years later he's improved no doubt, but he still plays like a timid kid. I just don't get that vibe when Mrazek plays.