All I can figure is that zone entries are a problem. They were an issue last season as well. That plus the insane fact that there is only one right-handed shot on the team and his name sure as hell isn't Alexander Ovechkin.
This, and I'm surprised that zone entries are an issue with this team, and I disagree with the way that our coaches are trying to establish the offensive zone on the power play.
The past decade or so, the Wings' identity has been all about meticulous puck possession, and precision-passing, and being very patient with the puck and waiting for a hole to briefly open up somewhere and exploit it. We had the personnel to thread the needle on every play, and the intelligence to position ourselves one step ahead of the opposition. That's how the Wings dominated the previous decade. The past few years, while our roster has been largely the same, some key players retired, others got older and more broken-down, and all of a sudden the "well-oiled-machine" that was the Red Wings wasn't functioning like we expect it to. Thankfully the kids came in last year and the team was able to keep the playoff streak alive, but wait, these kids are a whole different breed of hockey player than we're used to. They're all fast and aggressive, and force the tempo of the game up on opposition. This year the Wings look very different, and its not just the roster. Its the way the team is approaching the game. Instead of relying on precision passing, and superior hockey IQ, and patience, this team is playing hard and fast (like Brannigan's love), quick on the forecheck, quick on the backcheck, playing what can almost equate to an offensive swarm. Even the defense have been getting involved, forcing the play at both blue-lines, and carrying the puck up more, instead of playing more passive and patient. It has been awesome to watch at even-strength, and even if the Wings don't necessarily have the goals to show for their work, they certainly have created chances, power play opportunities, and limited the opposition from properly setting up their game plan.
So WHY is it that our team is still holding onto this "patience, and precision-passing and higher hockey IQ" identity on the powerplay? I could understand it for a line that had Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Franzen, because they can still play that way. But Tatar, Sheahan, Jurco, Helm (if he gets another crack at the PP), Smith (if he ever gets a crack at the PP), Dekeyser. These kids are about speed. Let's play to their strength and attack the neutral zone on the power play with speed and numbers. If we have to chip the puck deep, lets continue to swarm the play and choke off the opposition. They haven't been doing that. They've been playing the patient game that isn't best suited for their skill-set. And I think if the coaching staff gave them the green-light, we would see more zones established, more scoring chances, and more goals on the power play, at least from their line. I'm willing to keep the old identity for the first power play line now that Datsyuk is back in the mold, but if line one is a change-up, line two needs to be a fastball.
- rick zombo likes this