I think making the playoffs is the definition of playoff caliber. It sounds like you are talking about being a Stanley Cup contender. I'm not denying our poor performance in the first round last year. Though I think that was more so due to match-up then anything. I don't see us performing like that against Pittsburgh. Not saying we win, but we definitely do better.
Either way, this is all semantics, we are a playoff caliber team.
We are absolutely a playoff-caliber team with Datsyuk and Zetterberg still around. Even with age and injuries, those two guys are still are remarkable players, and even in their absence last year due to injury, I almost feel as if it's reasonable to say that the hole they left was so large that it had much to do with many of the younger guys rising up and playing above a level that one would typically expect of them. When you still have a core of Dats and Z, you should be making the playoffs. I've said it for years, and I'm still saying it now, even in light of last season.
We are not contenders, and despite what many like to say about how anything is possible if you just get in, it's simply not something substantial enough to be able to bank on. I'm not saying it's entirely untrue, but there is more of a divide between the contenders and some of the teams that squeak in than people realize. And oftentimes, some of the 7th-8th seeds that squeak in and go the distance were better teams than their regular season records showed, and they proved that in the playoffs. We haven't come close to proving that, and one could say last season, quite the opposite was proven.
Many Detroit fans were deluded by how close we came to beating Chicago a couple years back. The reality of that series was Chicago wasn't even close to being on their game and their stars weren't rising up to the playoff challenge as the series started. We took advantage of it early on, and then Chicago came back against significant odds and proved once again why they've won two Cups in the last five years. We certainly didn't make it easy for them, even in the final three games, but they found a way to crawl out of the hole and win, and they went on to win the Cup.
Last year, Boston manhandled us and proved that our kids weren't ready to answer the playoff bell. We just looked weaker and weaker as that series went on. Are we going to be a better team this year? Maybe our kids will improve, or maybe they'll still need more time to be ready. Dats and Z might be healthier, but any way you shake it, they're getting older, so it's tough to say how much of an impact they'll have on the scoresheet. Our defense isn't likely to be any better unless a kid comes up and overachieves. And while my money is on Howard bouncing back strong, he can't do it alone.
I think we'll squeak into the playoffs, but we're not real close to being able to contend for the Cup right now. We won't be until something more dramatic happens to improve the defense in particular, and until our kids mature to a point where they aren't shutdown in the playoffs, or perhaps in general when having to play a lesser role on a less-injured team.
That said though, I don't think that's why Babcock would leave. I do think he enjoys working with the kids, and I don't think money is going to be an issue that affects the decision. I could see him wanting to move on for the sake of new challenges and experiences, and as much as I'd hate to see it, from his perspective, I could understand why he might want to go to a team like Pittsburgh. It's an opportunity that you aren't going to get very often. I don't know if he'd actually do it, and I don't know that he wants to leave, but I do think he's likely more frustrated with the way this team's been run than he's let on lately, and I think he is likely as tired of getting no help from the GM as any of us. He's made enough comments suggesting so in the press to infer at the very least that he isn't thrilled by all that hasn't happened in the last 4-5 years. I'm not saying it's an extreme situation, but I have no doubt that it's something that bothers him because he's been frustrated enough to say so numerous times.
You add everything up, and I could see Babcock going to another team after this season and I could understand why. I hope it doesn't come to that because I think he's a great coach, but it'd be hard to fault him.
Anyone who knows me on these boards at this point knows I'm no longer a Holland supporter, but you've got to be reaching here to be making a big deal out of this. Babcock should get paid, and will get paid, and Holland won't lowball him on money. There's no need and even he's not stupid enough to take that chance. He's just defending the line for the media. If Babcock leaves, it won't be about money. Any amount of money any team would reasonably throw at him would be matched by the Wings.
Here is a tidbit from the article posted in this thread by BottleOfSmoke which is written by Nsar Khan regarding DD & Quincey.
"His defense partner, Kyle Quincey, signed a two-year, $8.5 million contract on July 1. But Quincey's contract has nothing to do with DeKesyer's negotiations. Quincey was an unrestricted free agent with 418 games of NHL experience, regular season and playoffs. DeKeyser is restricted. They're represented by the same agent, Pat Morris, who hasn't used Quincey's contract as a basis in DeKeyser's talks."
That's the point. What needs to be said when all parties involved know exactly what went down with Quincey? What do you expect people to say in the press? I am well aware of the overlap and the differences in contracts and careers; I read the articles. Bottom line is that a player of less value than Dekeyser got signed for more money than the Wings want to give Dekeyser, and whether Dekeyser feels he deserves as much or not, you can be assured that he's not going to go down easy after seeing that Quincey deal.
I adamantly stand by what I said.
"you have to be an idiot if you think that didn't send a message to Dekeyser's camp, and it was the wrong message to send considering Dekeyser stands to be important to this team for the long-run when Quincey should've been a guy shown the door."
I think it's interesting that everyone is blaming KH for this deal not being done, but if it were Tatar instead of Dekeyser we'd be inundated with comments about how Tats is an egomaniac who puts himself before the team. Double standard much?
Dekeyser has only played 72 professional hockey games. Whatever he and his agent are asking based on his modest point production and ice time is almost certainly too much. But god forbid anybody call them out, because he's from Michigan.
I defended Tatar. Some thought it was too much for him at this point, I said, nah, not at all. Why? For the exact reason you referenced, but the opposite perspective. We did jerk him around a bit, and we were right to be generous to make up for it. There's a big difference between being an egomaniac and knowing that you should and would be in the NHL if you were on any other team in the league. I wouldn't have bitched publicly about it like Tatar did, and I don't like that, but I don't think he was at all unjustified in feeling frustrated, and I'm happy he got a decent contract at this point as I think he is deserving of it.
When I think about Quincey's contract at this point, I really just lose my will to even care. Then you add in the whole Cleary thing. I had enough distance as the summer went on to become less inherently frustrated with the moves Holland has made, but as this goes on and I'm forced to remember those deals...I get angry for an instant, and then it's just a sinking feeling. I'm sure this will get worked out, but it's just so stupid that it's actually had to get to this point.
And to be honest, I think the Quincey signing bothers me more, as it was just such a haphazard decision. At least the Cleary deal went down because Holland was being loyal to Cleary after the handshake agreement the year before, and that agreement was made coming off a 10 point playoff performance. Whether that performance had a lot to do with luck or not (I've said "luck" all along despite not being the most outspoken Cleary critic), at least it was something that is somewhat, well, kinda almost maybe a little understandable, albeit colossally frustrating if not infuriating.
That was a stupid, knee-jerk, haphazard decision. And it was for too much money for a guy you clearly didn't want to sign. It's all the more stupid when you consider the fact that you do have to sign Dekeyser still. Yes, it's not a cut and dry comparison as one is a UFA and the other is an RFA, but you have to be an idiot if you think that didn't send a message to Dekeyser's camp, and it was the wrong message to send considering Dekeyser stands to be important to this team for the long-run when Quincey should've been a guy shown the door.
This whole summer for the Wings has been nothing short of a pathetic and unfortunate example of why we are not among the elite teams in the league right now. The elite teams find a way to get it done on and off the ice, and the two go hand in hand.
I have no problem with us signing Daniel Alfredsson.
I don't think we would've made the playoffs without him last year. I think he ran out of gas for awhile after the Olympics, but Kronwall wasn't firing on all cylinders either and he's a good deal younger. It was a long run for the Swedes. If the rest of the team can stay healthier and we can give him some calculated rest now and again this year, and with no Olympics to further muddle things up, I think Alfie stands to have a more impressive year this year, and I say that as someone who thought highly of his contribution last season. He was still an effective player most of the time, he put up points, and provided strong leadership when our big leaders went down.
While it would've been a different story had Dats and Z not been injured, the fact of the matter remains that even at his older age, even given his own injury issues that hampered him throughout the season, even given that he missed 14 games, and even given that he had an extended cold-streak when he was running on empty after the Olympics, he still ended up being our points leader last year while going on to become a locker room leader in the second half that all those kids that exploded pointed to again and again for stepping up when Dats and Z went down.
If we're going to be signing older players, Alfie is the kind we should be signing. When people talk about wanting Ken Holland to stop signing older scrubs, I generally am very much in agreement. But the thing is, Alfredsson never has been and never will be an old scrub. Signing him should never be compared to signing someone like Cleary. It's genuinely irritating to me that anyone would even try to suggest that we're dealing with the same type of player and circumstance here when by any objective measure there's clearly a night and day difference. Alfie isn't as effective as he was ten years ago, most obviously, but he is still an effective player who contributes on the scoresheet and leads, all while providing the kind of veteran presence that you absolutely do want to have around on a team that's getting younger.
Just because Holland made a mistake in signing Dan Cleary again doesn't mean he should make another mistake and not sign Alfie if Alfie decides that he can play.
Again, I have no problem with Alfie coming back, and while I'm certainly not holding my breath, I hope that somehow this ragtag team can pull off a miracle for him. He's a class act and nothing would make me happier next season than seeing him win his first Cup so he can go out on top. Never lose hope, right?
I just watched the 96 Wings Fedorov 5 goal game on NHL network the other day. The Russian five had that amazing highlight real bing bang cycle play you see on all the highlights of them. I pretty much love any game from that era. Does anybody know where I can buy DVDs of the 96-98 team? Maybe like the playoff runs or something. I know I can find them online but I want them to keep
That game was incredible.
Try as I might to come up with something more original, it has to be June 7th, 1997 for me. Nothing has come close to matching the feeling and emotions of that game and the celebration after.
But we got there largely because of games like March 26th, 1997, too, so...that whole season was just special. From the game in which Shanahan debuted, after rushing to Detroit after the trade was completed earlier in the afternoon, through to June 7th, it was just a magical season.
Oh but Holland DOES give out overpriced UFA contracts....see Quincey and Cleary...BOTH overpriced. Waste of money, whether he has $1M in cap space or $100M...they are BOTH grossly overpaid.
It kills me when posters cite Holland not signing all these UFAs to big deals as a good thing, and that's why we want him, when in fact, he is out there pitching the same huge deals to the UFAs as everyone else, he just keeps getting rejected. How do they conveniently ignore that? And it's not just this year! The stupidity of some of the statements in light of the facts is mind-blowing to me. Holland offers a guy the same deal or a bigger deal, guy signs with other team, and somehow we're lucky to have a GM that doesn't sign UFAs to huge deals? Seriously? I just don't even know where to start when people are so loyal that they can't begin to be even remotely objective about the realities of the situation.
I'll make it short: The good (drafting, prospects) far outweighs the bad (arguably the missed FAs, signing of washed up Vets).
And, maybe most important for me, the Organisation is a classy one and Holland is a huge reason for that. I don't want to win a cup if we deal with things like Vancouver or Montreal or with having players who behave like assholes on the ice like Lucic.
Since getting a new GM automatically means we become a scummy, bottom-feeding team full of assholes...
Getting upset over the NTC is just looking for an excuse to complain. We all agree it is not a good signing. We get it. The NTC is a minor detail that Cleary asked for to prevent ending up somewhere like Buffalo. It isn't a big deal. He wouldn't get traded regardless.
I do think calling for Holland to be fired over this is overreacting. You'd think he traded Hank and Dats for a 5th round pick with what's being said about him. If Cleary has a bounce back year, then great. If not, no big deal. His career as a Wing would come to an end. No harm done. But some are acting as if Holland blatantly passed on guys like Vanek or Richards just so he can sign Cleary instead. Doesn't work that way, folks.
This is just the Cleary (couldn't resist) on top of a 5-year in the making s*** Sunday.
A little long, but pretty much sums up how we all feel right now.
I actually think he went a little easy on him.
I mean, seriously, outside of drafting, over the last five years, Ken Holland's management system or style or whatever it may be is a complete mess and an utter failure. He's completely failed to adapt to the cap era since the cap actually started weighing down on the team. He got lucky early on with superstars playing for RFA money and the salary rollback, but since 2009 when he's had to actually deal with legitimate cap issues, he's done nothing but flounder. At this point, when you look at the last five off-seasons, you've got a steady stream of disasters.
Everyone in the media seems hesitant to want to be too hard on the guy based on his reputation, but it's getting too hard to ignore that he seems completely lost as a GM of this team in the cap era. Even if you give him more credit than he could possibly deserve for drafting well, there's far too many other failures and terrible moves to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt. That he ends up looking more lost and ineffective as more major people from his management team leave is also quite telling. I'm not saying that the other management team members were the true geniuses necessarily, but clearly Holland has been less effective since losing them as resources; first with Scotty, then with Yzerman, and then Nill.
However much credit you want to give to anyone though for the past, the fact remains that we have five straight years of Holland failing to help this team slow the decline, let alone actually improve, in any way other than drafting. But he's made so many bad moves outside of drafting that it's begun to nullify the benefits afforded to a team that drafts well, because he fails to build teams that have room for young guys to come up when they're ready.
It's just all so absurd at this point, and it's all been said too many times.
The bottom line is that if there was any doubt beforehand, I think today it's become abundantly clear, enough is enough. It's time for a new GM.