I never like seeing anyone take a puck to the face like that.
As much as I disliked Weber's head smash on Hank, I was angrier about the lack of punishment. He's one of those guys who sometimes plays on the edge, he just should've paid the price for it, both from the Wings and the league.
I'd still take Weber on the Wings in a heartbeat. Hank could smash his face into the glass during practice and they can call it even.
Kerry Fraser's take on the play, which pretty much sums it up for me:
I say it's time to alter the thought process in situations such as this. No matter how you spin it, the irrefutable evidence is that Pavel Datsyuk's head became the sole point of contact when Jared Cowen made a poor decision to extend his elbow and delivered the late, illegal contact. Datsyuk sustained an injury resulting from Cowen's elbow to the head.
Cowen may not have intended to catch Dats in the head, but he intentionally threw an elbow. When you add to that the league's policy of taking the injury into consideration (which is one I disagree with), Cowen should've been suspended.
If he doesn't throw the elbow, there's no concussion regardless of the move Datsyuk made.
I'm less worried about the preventing goals part. The Goals Against isn't terrible and Jimmy hasn't been great. Plus our young guys should improve with gap control and their zone assignments at NHL speeds.
But the offense starts with the defensive transition game. And with the Wings young and often shaky defensive corps, it has not been good. As a result the forwards spend more of their shifts pinned in their own zone helping the D men get the puck out of the zone.
I'd be curious to know how much time the Wings spend in their own end relative to the the offensive zone. Is there a stat that tracks zone time?
First of all, last seasons 5th place in goals against was almost entirely down to the play of Howard. The problems that afflict us this season are the same as last - the inability to get the puck out of the zone, and if we do we're often just chipping it off the glass and giving possession right back to the opposition. The brutal turnovers. The lack of composure when pressured by the forecheck. Quincey, Smith, and Kindl being particular culprits.
This struggling transition game is IMO the biggest flaw in our team play, and directly impacts our ability to generate offense. The struggles of Franzen and Weiss, the lack of Nyquist and Tatar, and injuries have obviously impacted our goal scoring, but I think we're pretty set now (or will be when Bert and Pav are back).
I could've saved myself some typing had I read yours post first. I think we were typing at the same time but I think you're spot on.
I know under the surface of this question is biting pessimism and my hate of Dan Cleary and his stupid contract. I know there is really no choice in the real world since Fedorov is tied to his team in Russia and Cleary is ANCHORED to the Wings.
But honestly, knowing that Fedorov is well past his prime and likely a waste of a roster spot that should rightly go to an up-and-coming Griffin, I think he would provide more defensive responsibility and a strong point shot for the second PP unit which would outweigh anything that Cleary currently brings to the team.
My vote goes to Fedorov.
As you mention, this thread has no point.
It's just a slight variation on what has become the new sport here at LGW, so it is a duplicate of the Dan Cleary Hate thread. And with every obsessive new post here hating a Red Wings player, Wings fans take a step closer to Philly. Congratulations.
As a preemptive warning, let's keep the conversation well away from any political discussion.
This will likely go down the same road as the NFL. The central issues are really accepting risks to play versus understand exactly what those risks are. And if the NHL did anything to actively hide those risks.
And on a side note, man Rick Vaive is a name I haven't heard in a long time. Brings back memories of the Leafs Wings rivalry in the 80s.
Talent, put and simple. On the back end especially.
The toughness/fighting thing is a complete red herring. Go back 5 years to when the Wings had a monster team, and the same people were making exactly the same accusations - "we need more fighters! Our team is too soft! We'll get murdered in the playoffs!"
And Howard going back to last seasons form would help too.
I agree that the toughness is in part a reaction to last night, but I don't think it's a complete red herring.
Part of the issue is the Wings simply don't have the talent to play the system they did 5 years ago or the draft picks to get those players. They need to adjust their playing style that's less dependent on the high skill level they had then.
Last night was incredibly frustrating and I know people think the Wings suck. But they don't. They're not going to dominate but they're in a lot of these games to the end. Painfully to the end. Like the Detroit Lions style of "you think they're going to pull it out but manage to screw it up" kind of games.
The roster and cap situation is a mess but Babcock is a great coach and the season is long. A few small changes or improvements could get them on the other side of these games.
I have no problem with what you're saying, but I think it obscures the fact that we didn't lose last night because Ottawa was physical. We lost because we could score on any of the three 5 on 3 powerplays we had. Hell, forget about scoring on them, we couldn't even get any shots on goal. Three shots on three 5 on 3 powerplays. Pathetic.
Agreed. To be clear, the problem is larger than signing some tougher players. That's really just one element. The key of what I meant is what I said in the last paragraph. It's not so much about last night, but the bottom six desperately needs to be something other than a junk drawer.
It would do wonders to have a 4th line that put the opposing D-men's face in the glass all night, as Babcock says it. That chipped the puck behind them shift after shift saying "go get it, I'll be right behind you." That crashed the net and made someone try to move them. That kept the puck deep, cycling in the corners, hitting players whenever possible.
The Wings have enough pieces to put together a decent top two lines, even with some struggling players. But there's far too much scrap metal sprinkled throughout the lineup.
We need some more snarl, some more size up front. But at the same time, it isn't just an enforcer. We could use a guy like Chris Stewart, Bertuzzi is a decent deterrent, but you see how the game changes if he doesn't play. We need big guys that can put some pucks in the net. And on the back end, we could use either a guy who blocks shots like a madman or can connect tape to tape on every pass. But all of that is easier said then done, because not only do we have a nonchalant GM, he doesn't have cap space or roster space to make trades.
I agree about Bert, but it also says a lot when the Wings rely on a 38 year-old with a bad back to be a deterrent of any kind. Like when he dropped the gloves to go with Weber after the head smash on Z. Good on Bert for doing it, but I also felt kind of bad for him.
As I've mentioned before, it'd be nice to have someone like Jordan Nolan on the 4th line like the Kings do. He's 6'3" 227 lbs, will drop the gloves with anyone and is a pretty effective grinder who will score a few. You know when the Kings 4th line is out there. And Nolan is only 24 years old, drafted in the 7th round. Dwight King is another one, taken in the 4th round. He has more offensive upside than Nolan.
It's not like the Kings got them because of high draft picks. There are guys out there. You occasionally have to pick them instead of a non-physical skill guy.
To try and head off the inevitable enforcer argument, I'm not talking about the Wings getting a John Scott. But it would be nice if they at least had a 4th line with some size and grit, and would make people answer for playing against the Wings like the Sens did last night. Even before last night many of us have been saying how the bottom 6 are a collection of spare parts instead of one that has a mission and identity when they're out there.