Maybe I won't have to defend the idea of keeping Alfie another year for a couple weeks now. Good stuff.
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gcom007Member Since 18 Dec 2003
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Posted by gcom007 on 18 March 2014 - 09:54 PM
I'm really kinda getting tired of everyone blowing up when Howard has a good game, and I'm talking more on the media and coaching front. I don't think it's doing him any favors. He's struggled to have a consistent stretch the entire season and every time he has a good game, people make a big deal out of it and hope for the turnaround. Then he ends up struggling again a game or two later and people make a bigger deal about that. It's not like flipping a switch where having a good game is going to make a consistency problem better, and sometimes the way he responds to it all makes it seem like he almost thinks it is, and then when it isn't, he's just right back to the opposite extreme.
I know it's never going to happen, but I just wish we could leave the guy alone for a few weeks and not focus too much on the ups and downs. Right now his biggest problem is performing consistently, and dwelling as little as possible on the ups and downs might help his mental approach to it all. I don't know if it's possible to ban him from doing media, but I'd love to see that go down. No need to have the media poking and prodding someone struggling when they already have a bit of a polarized personality.
Bottom line, Jimmy Howard needs to get his head clear and find some balance. He's more than capable of being a much, much better goalie than he's been this year. He's not a technically perfect goalie, but not many are and I really don't think the weaker technical areas are ultimately what has caused him to struggle with consistency. I'm really more convinced at this point that it boils down to his mental game, and if he's going to improve in that area, he's got to get better about not getting too caught up on good and bad games and find a way to stay level.
Posted by gcom007 on 18 March 2014 - 09:26 PM
And while we may not have had a great 3rd period, but bear in mind, we've had a lot of bad 3rd periods and we typically end up losing or heading to a shootout to lose. We pulled it off tonight. Ugly as it may be, we found a way to win. That's a positive worth acknowledging despite the issues. They obviously have to improve, but they didn't quit and scored a couple goals to ensure that we didn't lose or head to OT.
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Posted by gcom007 on 17 March 2014 - 11:12 PM
I haven't read the article, but if that's the key quote, there's something very important that's missing: "I need to work harder and I need to want the puck more."
He's right in calling out the team's effort as it's been lacking, but he is not a guy who tends to characterize maximum effort. If he wants to be a leader and make statements like that, that's great, we need more of that, but he needs to walk the walk, lead by example, and be the first to admit he needs to be better at what he's saying.
Posted by gcom007 on 17 March 2014 - 12:42 AM
Nothing like a game vs the Hawks to see what this team needs soooooooo badly.
Every single one of their D can move the puck. And they have zero clowns on the back end. We have at least 2.
Talent attracts talent and Chicago has been aggressive at signing talent when the opportunity presents itself. You get enough guys in there that believe they deserve to win and play like it and you keep winning. Everyone loved to criticize Chicago for the moves they've made in the last 5-6 years, declaring again and again how screwed they are as soon as they sign anyone, yet they keep coming back strong, and they've won two Cups in that span of time. They don't appear to be slowing down and will certainly be making a run this year again.
Some may disagree with me, but honestly, I think if we had signed Hossa in 2009 instead of letting him go to Chicago, those two Cups would've been ours and this team would be in a lot better shape than it's in now. Again, there's the whole talent attracts talent angle, but also, some of the fat we'd have to trim to keep Hossa and Franzen wouldn't have hurt us at all relative to what we ended up having to do anyways. Furthermore, staying more competitive while also running a bit more lean and mean with role players would've likely prevented us from having some of the bonehead stupid contract issues we've been stuck with because we were so "smart" to not get in all the "cap trouble" teams like Chicago got in again and again.
Seriously, think about it, we keep Hossa, Chicago's missing an important piece, especially considering he's a big part of their two way game, we're all the stronger for having him, we pick up guys like Eaves and Miller anyways because it's who we can afford, but they play better because there's more legitimate top-tier talent around. Worst case scenario at the time in terms of the roster is that we might've had to deal Flip, but he left anyways for nothing and at least we would've been able to get a return for him if he were traded. But moving forward again, if we win another Cup in that span of time, which I think would've happened, when it comes time to deal with the Lidstrom transition, I bet we'd have a much easier time finding a guy who can make a dent in filling those shoes not just willing but hungry to play for us. We are not a destination team at this point.
Ever since Holland let Hossa go to chase scraps, things have been going down the tubes here and they've been on the up in Chicago. It was a huge mistake to let him go, and again, I really, truly believe we'd have at least one more Cup right now had we kept Hossa and the team and it's status as a destination would still be very well intact. And hell, maybe Lidstrom would've even stuck around another year or two if we were still as competitive. Signing Hossa certainly wouldn't have solved all the problems we've had to deal with, but I can't help but think it'd sure as hell make it a lot easier while helping us stay competitive, and by sheer virtue of the lack of cap space we'd have available, it would've help us avoid some of the utterly terrible signings we've made the last few years.
Ugh, I hate thinking about this crap. It's just depressing.
Posted by gcom007 on 16 March 2014 - 10:41 PM
You've hit the nail on the head on most points but I'm not sure how much of a leader Alfie is in the Wings clubhouse. In Ottawa he had status and a real presence; on the Wings he seems to be overshadowed by guys that don't have the same pedigree that he does, but have been here longer. I've definitely haven't seen his presence on the ice these last couple weeks, he might be a good guy in the locker room; but being the new guy and playing on the third line, I'm just not sold on his leadership ability on the current team. Plus with his experience and track record you just know Holland will give him at least 4 mil a year, and that just makes me cringe.
I completely agree with your second paragraph. 100%
I'm not 100% sure as I'm not an insider, but given how he's looked his worst since the Olympics, I'm wondering if he's not a) exhausted and/or b) nursing some sort of injury. And I'm not saying that he's like an Lidstrom/Zetterberg-level leader just because of his role in Ottawa, but a guy like him is going to bring leadership-qualities to any team he's on. Even the fact that he's not relied upon as the most important leader here might be a good thing. The guy isn't going to change the way he works and handles himself just because he isn't being asked to take on a very specific leadership role. He's going to be sharing a role with kids that also don't have leadership roles, but they're going to be able to look at him and see how a guy who has had an incredible career does it without the pretense. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think having a guy like him taking on a lesser role raises the bar for what's possible in that role as well as how anyone on the team ought to carry themselves on and off the ice, and I think it's good for the kids to see that.
But again, my thought process has a lot to do with the thinking that we're going to have the cap space to sign him, and if we're not going to sign anyone else, I think he'd contribute in his final season on and off the ice, and even if it's debatable how much he'd contribute, that kind of guy's presence is worth more than leftover cap space that will never be used.
But if he gets $4 million...unless he signs right before camp and we have tons of money to spare, I just won't get. But I bet he comes back for around $3 million, and with a healthier team, what he might contribute could make the deal look like a bargain.
And in the playoffs, you have to think that guy would be inspired and inspiring...
Posted by gcom007 on 16 March 2014 - 10:18 PM
That's simple - everyone knows already and everyone is tired of repeating it.
As said in my post above, if we'd signed him earlier in the season for a more reasonable amount, say $4 million, I think it would've been better for everyone. Less pressure on himself to play up to his contract, less pressure from management, the fans, and the media to justify his contract, more money to sign help on defense. You've gotta look at it with the perspective that his career has been inconsistent from the AHL on up and acknowledge the fact that you're not likely to just let the guy go, so you get the deal done before he has the time to play his value up. Again, we've seen too many times that he can go from being outstanding to barely even average, and he's yet to have a really noteworthy playoff run. He'd come out looking better in a more balanced system, and his off nights might not come out looking as bad as they do now when he gets little help and has that big contract hanging over his head when everyone wonders why he keeps giving up so many goals in the 3rd.
But my mind has has just been blown again and again by what Holland is and isn't willing to spend too much money on. That's a way bigger problem than Jimmy Howard.
Posted by gcom007 on 16 March 2014 - 09:17 PM
The only positive that can happen with missing the playoffs is the firing of Holland and Babcock.
Of course, it won't happen, because the owner is too old to care (unless it's about the Tigers)
Holland has lost me but Babcock has not. I don't think Babcock's been thrilled with the pieces he's been given. He's expressed as much multiple times in the past, and that's on Holland. I think he's doing more than most would when you consider the adversity he's faced with the injuries to key players, the inconsistent goaltending this year, and a team the last couple years with $5-7 million in salary going to a few guys who aren't playing or are barely playing because they're just not good enough to even beat out AHL guys. He lost his 3 of his top 4 defensemen and got Quincey. Ken Holland's management of this team has done Babcock absolutely no favors, yet Babcock has still found a way to keep them in the hunt, even this year without Dats and Z down the stretch and a Howard (3rd highest paid player behind Dats and Z) that seems to always find a way to give up 2-3 goals in the 3rd period (not all Howard's fault directly, but he's not stopping many to save games or keep it close either...).
Babcock doesn't sign guys. I think Babcock would rather have Samuellson's and Tootoo's $4.9 million combined salary go towards signing a halfway descent defenseman, and imagine the difference that could make on this team right now? Again, when you really look at what's happened to this team the last 3-4 years, it all goes back to Holland dropping the ball again and again. Sure, we've struggled with injuries, but given that we haven't completely crumbled in spite of that, imagine how much better off we'd be if Babcock had a more balanced roster to work with and not too many average forwards and too few even average defensemen.
We also can't be wholly sure who else is hurting more than we know. You have to imagine that some guys are playing through more pain than they might this time of year if not for so many guys with more serious injuries.
Something has to be done about this team's roster, sooner rather than later. It's not going to get easier as Dats and Z age and waiting until they retire to find replacements doesn't aid in a smooth transition nor put us in a good negotiating position. Holland needs to get his act together or they need to replace him. Then we need to get any training issues addressed this summer as a start to trying to sort out the injury issues. Once Babcock has a roster that makes a little bit of sense and has some balance, I think it'll be fair to get back to judging him. Until then, he'll continue to have the benefit of the doubt with me, and more so, respect for what he's managed to do in spite of all the issues.
Posted by gcom007 on 16 March 2014 - 08:41 PM
Totally glad we kept Franzen over that other guy.
What was his name?
Nothing stings from the last few years like missing out on locking up Hossa for life. You don't turn your back on a player like that who wants so badly to play for your club that he'll take a significant discount relative to market value and contracts he was offered the year before. All to try and keep junk guys that ended up leaving anyways. As much as people make it about Franzen, and he certainly was part of it, let's not forget that the biggest reason Holland didn't go harder is because he was trying to resign scrubs who left anyways. We ended up signing cheaper guys in August that we would've had to sign if we'd picked up Hossa, but I'd rather have those guys anyways over what we lost. So again, why, why, why did we not keep Hossa? Again, it still just blows my mind. Huge mistake.
Posted by gcom007 on 12 March 2014 - 11:20 PM
lol, Osgood again? Osgood had many a bad periods of shaky play, hell no one even thought he could win a cup for us. he was ripped on worse then howard is most of the time, everyone forgets the bad and remembers the good. Osgood was not some poster boy of mental edge on the ice. He was a good goalie behind a great team. In fact his stats are actually pretty bad considering the teams he had in front of him, so i think you should look at it a little more realistically and take ozzie off the pedestal you've placed him on.
Who gives a s*** what some people thought about him? They thought he couldn't win a Cup for us? Well, he won us two Cups at very different stages of his career. He also made the All Star team twice in the 90s and then again ten years later in his mid-30s. That's the only reason he managed to become only the 10th goalie to hit 400 wins too, I suppose, right? And I guess he was once a Vezina runner up solely because he had a good team in front of him? And he only lost because of Jim Carrey's freak season. But I bet if you ask Carrey if to trade his Vezina season for Osgood's career, he'd do it in a heartbeat. So, why should Chris Osgood give a s*** about the tiny voices of tiny people who seem to get off on tearing him down?
And besides, that's ultimately the whole point! He didn't! Osgood put up with far more s*** than the average goalie mostly because his lowlights were of the tremendously ugly and shocking variety that hit every highlight reel. But he always came back. He never crumbled, never folded, never gave into a feeling of defeat. And again, most people who have been in the Chris Osgood bashing camp tend to ignore the fact that aside from a few center ice goals against, he also managed to have some very impressive stretches that earned him some decent league-wide recognition as an individual, and he performed well in his time away from Detroit on much weaker teams sans a season in which he struggled with an ongoing injury.
He went to a terrible New York Islanders after Hasek arrived in Detroit and lead the team to the playoffs for the first time in 7 years. I'd love to hear how that was a great team that Osgood owes his decent stats and winning record to. And again, he posted winning records in each of the three seasons he spent out of Detroit on much weaker teams, despite struggling with an ankle injury throughout his second year on the Islanders. And if you look at his stats in those three years, they were pretty good in the first and third, in each posting a .910 SV% and a 2.5 and 2.24 GAA respectively. The middle season with the rough stats was the injury-plagued season, and again, once that was out of the way, his numbers returned to pretty decent form.
When Osgood struggled most (outside of 2008/09 which was a bizarre anomaly in his career) it was when he was struggling with legitimate injuries. But he'd always battle back. He'd give up terrible goals at terrible times, but he always bounced back. He was criticized by countless fans and never given much credit in Detroit early on in his career, but he always battled back. Even when he got kicked out of town, he eventually came back. He battled through injuries, a changing league where his style and size put him at a disadvantage, a backup role, and still went on to have some of his best performances at the tail end of his career. Like I said in a long post a page back, Osgood had a tremendous amount of mental toughness that kept him hanging around and finding success despite all the adversity that tends to bury most goalies. Chris Osgood never stopped believing in Chris Osgood, and his belief served him well.
People can say all they want, but the guy has two more Cup rings won on his own efforts than most everyone who criticizes him, and no one can take much of anything away from his two outstanding playoff runs at the tail end of his career. Again, ordinary goalies don't shut out Sidney Crosby and the Penguins in the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals; it doesn't matter what team they have in front of them. In those 2008 Finals, he got the job done better than anyone would even imagine would be possible with the greatest goalies at the height of their careers. And then in 2009, despite a team riddled with injuries, despite even struggling through Lidstrom being so injured that he missed games, he had an individual performance that exceeded his 2008 performance and lead the team all the way to game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and they lost by 1 goal. He had great teams in front of him, but he was every bit as great as anyone on the team on an individual level, and at times, he was better. He would've easily picked up the Conn Smythe trophy in 2009 if we had pulled the series off, and if not for so many injuries to key guys, I have no doubt we would have done so.
I'm not saying he's a legend or an all-time great at the position like a Roy, Brodeur or Hasek, but he absolutely had a great career. When you really look at all he accomplished, it's pretty foolish to try and suggest that he's not a great goalie. Yes, great. Again, not all-time great, not a legend, but certainly, a more generic form of "great." Most goalies don't even hang around the league as long as he did let alone pick up 400 wins. He's easy to pick on because unlike most goalies who end up crumbling under the pressure of the position as criticism mounts, Osgood just kept hanging around. He never gave up; he never stopped believing in himself, and it paid off, not just for him, but for the team and it's fans as well.
You did enjoy that Cup win in 2008, didn't you? I can guarantee you this, without Chris Osgood in the picture, it would not have happened.
Posted by gcom007 on 12 March 2014 - 12:52 AM
#1 - #4
#4 - #6
#6 - #6
Hard to be a successful Starter with that crew in front of you. Howard is a legit starter, just not elite, much like Osgood. He can take us to the promise land but we HAVE TO upgrade at D, or at least have D, Smith, Kindl take big steps forward. Kindl really stepped up in the playoffs last year, and Smith looked great with sheltered minutes in his debut. If they can mature to that we'll be great
The difference between Howard and Osgood though is that Osgood, despite being an incredibly relaxed and non-stereotypical goalie, still had an ego and cockiness that he fought for and believed in. When people say he didn't get rattled and could just turn the page on a bad game, it's because he really could, because there was never a moment in his career where he didn't believe that he could get it done when it counted. If you really listened to Osgood through the years, it's hard not to pick up on how quietly competitive he is. The guy had no problem going toe to toe with his coach to the media, because as much as he's a fun-loving team-first guy, he never stopped believing in Chris Osgood either. When Osgood had terrible games or gave up terrible goals, he'd look flummoxed and dissatisfied, but he never looked defeated, and when it mattered most, he came back the next day and played lights out. Chris Osgood always believed in Chris Osgood and nothing ever shook that, even in his final year when he struggled while only getting a start every 4-5 weeks.
That's why Chris Osgood won himself two Stanley Cups as a starter, and I have no doubts that he could've gotten the job done in 2002 when he was shipped off for Dom. And if not for a decimated squad, he would've likely had a 3rd ring in 2009 while pulling perhaps the most classic Osgood turnaround of them all.
Jimmy Howard is definitely relaxed compared to most goalies, but he is not at all relaxed like Osgood was, at least yet. Jimmy Howard is very good at saying that he doesn't let stuff get to him, but far more often than not, his face says otherwise, on and off the ice. His neurotic tendencies betray his stock lines, as he tends to waver between apathy and depression in terms of his tone when things are bad, which they've often been, to being far too excited after the little victories. Mentally, he's just not that tough yet. Everyone knew it when it took him ages to develop too. He took too long to put in the work to be physically ready and almost squandered his chance to be an NHL goalie because of it. If he was inherently confident and hungry enough, he would've been on this team a lot sooner, and his first season wouldn't have started out as the giant question mark-shaped last chance that it was.
His first season and last season were clearly his best seasons thus far, and both were seasons where he was forced by external circumstances to be the goalie his skill might allow him to be consistently if he was better at channeling it. If he didn't get it together in his rookie year, his NHL hopes would be all but dashed. Last year he had to play for the long term contract that would not have been on the table if he had just an average year coming off a very questionable playoff performance. This year, he's got the long term deal, he's got the big money, and he's been perfectly lousy, injured team or not. We know how capable Howard is, and we've seen him carry injured teams that didn't deserve to deserve to be in games, and those teams would post winning streaks on his efforts. But he hasn't come close to looking like the goalie that this season, and it's terrible timing after signing a deal like he signed and dealing with all of the injuries, and you know he knows it too. What scares me is that he still hasn't figured out a way to play around it and it's March.
To be perfectly honest, I like Jimmy Howard a lot and I really want to see him find success here. He clearly has a tremendous amount of skill, and if we're just looking at raw skill and physical potential, it's obvious that he has the tools to be a better and more successful goalie than Osgood was, and I don't say that to minimize Osgood's skill set and hockey brain. I always felt that Osgood was under-appreciated and largely misunderstood, and I think he's a far better goalie than most are willing to admit. But Howard should be better, if we're just talking physical skills, not to mention the huge size advantage. I'm more than convinced that the only thing holding him back though is that he's just not nearly as mentally tough as Osgood was, and he doesn't seem to be taking active steps to really grow in that area. He can do it. I really have no doubt that it's possible, but I'm starting to worry that it's going to be a situation that won't e able to come to fruition in Detroit, especially with Babcock as coach. And if I'm choosing between Babcock and Howard, it's Babcock any day.
Osgood may have had great defensive squads playing in front of him, but he played every bit as great as they did when it mattered most. Hell, after a crazy career and a crazy season in which he was supposed to be a backup to the inimitable Dominik Hasek, he lead the Wings to the Stanley Cup Finals, went toe to toe with the golden boy of the NHL, and shut his team out in games one and two. No ordinary goalie posts two shutouts to open up the Stanley Cup Finals against Sidney Crosby and the Penguins, let alone at the age of 35. He was probably second in votes for the Conn Smythe that year but still won his Cup, and had the Wings pulled out that game 7 in the Finals, Osgood easily would've walked away with the Conn Smythe. With as much as Osgood always had going against him, he never gave up, never stopped believing in himself, and as his career went on, he became a master at channeling adversity and flipping the switch to elevate his game when it mattered most.
As much as I like Howard and believe in his potential to get there, he is just not operating on that level yet.
He's not even close.