I thought Babcock was going to go to Minnesota, because his wife's sister lives there with her boyfriend Jeff? Or was it Washington, because Brooks Orpik signed a rookie card for Lil' Mike Babcock? Or was it the Rangers, because Babs' is pretty close buddies with Ken Hitchcock, who used to dream of living the bohemian life in Greenwich Village as a twenty something?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all about adding an offensive defenseman. We struggle to score primarily because our defensemen struggle to move the puck and shoot the puck and put up points. Ericsson is a shutdown defenseman. Quincey is a shutdown defenseman. DeKeyser is a shutdown defenseman. We want to play the way we played in '08 and '09, but we don't have the blue line for it. We had one straight-up shutdown defenseman in that top four (Stuart) and three all-star offensive defensemen (Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall). Now we just have Kronwall. That's not nearly good enough. That's why we run around in our end. It's why we trudge through the middle of the ice, often settling for just clearing the red line so we can dump it in and get a line change. It's why our power play often sucks. It's why we aren't a high-scoring team.
But we also don't have enough scoring depth up front. Even when we had Lidstrom and Rafalski and we'd just won the Cup, we thought it was worth adding Hossa. That gave us Datsyuk in his prime, Zetterberg in his prime, Franzen in his prime, Hossa in his prime, and good secondary scorers in Samuelsson, Cleary, and Filppula. (And even then, we came up short that year.) At present, we have an old Datsyuk, and old Zetterberg, Nyquist (can he be a major factor in the playoffs?), Tatar (can he be a major factor in the playoffs?), and sometimes an old Franzen (when he feels like showing up). Jurco is a possession monster, but he's not a significant scoring threat (yet). Helm's not a goal scorer. Abdelkader's having a career year, but he's not a goal scorer. Miller and Glendening don't score. The jury's out on Weiss. Sheahan's a stud, but he's not a goal scorer. I get that adding a scoring winger isn't going to fix this team's fundamental problems, but there's no such thing as too much scoring depth. If we're not going to put our late first-round pick towards a top-end defenseman like Yandle, if we're not going to use it on a rental like Green, if we're going to use it to select a pimple-faced teenager who won't be a real factor for the Wings until 2019, I think we should consider adding a gritty right-shot scoring winger. If we're loading up for a deep run (and I'm not sure that we are), better safe than sorry. Depth, depth, depth. It matters.
And at some point we do have to add some righties. That's another reason why we don't move the puck as well as we'd like - everyone's a left shot. It's a wonder we move the puck as well as we do, actually.
Agree about the defenseman.
I've been beating this point to death lately but when I watch other teams I realize how often defenseman usually get shots on net from the point and how crucial that is. I've just gotten used to the Wings not being able to do it.
I think Dekeyser is playing great overall, but his slapshot swing is so awkward it looks like he's gonna fall over half the time. Ericsson's windup is slow as molasses. Kronwall has turned into the new shinpad assassin.
It's always great to have depth up front, but I have to think that the most beneficial move is getting a right handed defenseman who can move the puck and get shots through from the point. It's pathetic right now.
I don't have a problem with the newer analytics themselves (admittedly I'm still sorting out what all the stats measure). The problem I have is how routinely they're misused and misinterpreted, including this article.
They call Sheahan Detroit's best shot suppressor, then point out he starts more than 62% of his shifts in the offensive zone. So in one sentence they've drawn a faulty conclusion from the statistics and even included the reason why they're wrong.
Very likely Sheahan isn't Detroit's best shot suppressor. When you start the vast majority of your shifts in the offensive zone, that means your opponent has to go a long way to register a shot attempt. Glendening on the other hand, starts in the offensive zone less than 33% of the time. Two-thirds of his shifts, he's starting in front of his own net, so there's going to be a lot more shot attempts from his opponent.
Then in subtler ways, they often use language that draws conclusions not supported by the stats. It's not that Sheahan himself only "allows" 37.7 shot attempts per 60 minutes of play. It means that when Sheahan is on the ice, the other team only gets 37.7 shot attempts per 60 minutes of play. That's it. But people constantly make the logical leap that the statistic says something specifically that a player is doing on the ice. That's a HUGE difference.
I was going to put this in the "Nashville has yet to lose 2 games in a row this season" thread, but I started going off on a tangent so here seemed more appropriate...
Nashville are the only team to not lose two games in a row this season, but Nashville AND Detroit are the only two teams that have not lost two games in a row in regulation this season. I think the Wings have been pretty consistent this season. Sure, their goal scoring has seen it's ups and downs but the same goes for every team. The key is, when their goal scoring has gone through it's dry spells, they have managed to keep the opposition in check, lowering their goals against. In saying that though, I do believe that Detroit are much better off trying to win games 4-3, 4-2 as opposed to 2-1, 1-0. Unlike past years, this team is capable of scoring at a higher clip, but for whatever reason, Babcock would rather play defensive hockey over offensive hockey, which clearly is not the teams strong suit... I do think Babcock is a great coach, but I think a lot (maybe all) fans get frustrated with his line combinations, ice time distribution, constant coddling of certain players, while other (better) players remain in his dog house (for reasons unexplained...).
I hate when people say things like, "Detroit are lucky they're getting all these "loser points", otherwise they wouldn't be in the playoff picture". No, not at all. This "loser point" as it is so often referred, is the same thing as a point for a tie, the extra point that is handed out to the "winner" is the one that should get the negative connotation in my opinion. These teams that are racking up points in the shootout are the "lucky" ones, and the "bulls*** winner in a shootout point" needs to go in my opinion. Teams shouldn't be able to make the playoffs based on a skills competition. The Red Wings are 1-7 in the shootout, while the Islanders are 6-1. If the Red Wings had a reversed record and 6 more points, they would be first in the league with 55 points, whereas, if the Islanders had a reversed record and 5 less points, they would be a borderline playoff team instead of being tied for second in the Conference. I hate using "what ifs" but that is a pretty remarkable difference, based on an aspect of the game that should be done away with, in a lot of fans opinions...
Anyway, is this team a contender? I think they are a couple pieces away from being a true contender. I just hope Holland makes the necessary moves, without mortgaging the future. The pieces are definitely there, but let's just hope he doesn't move any of the "untouchables"...