What a difference a couple games makes. As much as the defensemen have looked bad this season, I agree with Babcock that a huge part of fixing that is getting the forwards to come back and help in the defensive zone. They've done that the last couple games and the difference is night and day. They're protecting the crease and clearing rebounds and the defensemen aren't being hung out to dry.
They've also cleaned up the passing game. These games against Boston look like Red Wings hockey again.
In all honesty how responsible is McCrimmon? Is he like a defensive coordinator in football? If it was a scheme thing shouldn't we ultimately hold Babs responsible?
I don't buy the scheme thing. It's players performing badly. There's no scheme that dictates Rafalski and Kronwall put the puck on the stick of an opposing forward every other time they attempt a first pass out of the defensive zone. The scheme doesn't tell the penalty killers to make limp-wristed clearing attempts that have no chance of getting out of the zone. No scheme is responsible for all the passes that arrive in skates and the Hail Mary attempts that almost never connect and instead almost always result in a giveaway and an odd-man rush the other way.
Coaching shares in the responsibility of players not performing to their abilities right now. But I don't think the problems stem from a systemic problem; they're happening because of guys making bad plays.
The collective defense of this team has been awful for most of this season. Nobody on the roster gets a free pass on that point. The defense corps is especially bad, but they've been masking their defensive deficiencies with offensive production. Not a single defenseman on this team, including Lidstrom, is getting it done. And Howard is just not the same goaltender he was last year so the team is not able to keep the puck out of its net.
Just getting outworked by the Oilers now. They're busting ass to get to loose pucks and Detroit just wants to make it all happen with passes, which don't connect and turn into turnovers. Anything but but moving their feet and skating, I guess. That's just too much work.
The Wings have a 3 on 2 nearly every other possession and can't even get a whiff of a scoring chance. DRIVE THE NET. Too much east-west garbage again tonight. Crash the goalie, make the penalty count, at least.