As I said before, for years the Wings made up for their lack of size and could beat a strong forecheck by superior skill. But that skill has been declining season after season so their ability to beat it through puck possession and outlet passes has gone away season after season as well. Lids retiring was certainly the biggest hit to that puck possession style.
So now what exactly is the system?
You're my favorite LGWer, Sir Snepsts.
I think we're coming up on an identity crisis.
I've beaten this horse to its bones. Now I'm gonna pick and grind those bones:
Skill. We've been blessed with oceans of it. This has allowed us to be a kill-with-skill (and only skill) team of frail little Euro-ninja assassin specialists. Beyond skill, we suck. At everything. Always have. So what happens when you take that skill away? Even Homer - he was the "ugliest" player ever, but damn if his one big asset made him uniquely valuable and effective in that one area of the game. Now? The skill is watered-down, worn-down. In a big-picture sense, the skill level that we've come to expect is altogether gone; it's just not there anymore. It's Datsyuk Zetterberg, maybe Kronwall. Maybe Brunner. Franzen has golden hands, but his heart is a cheeseburger and his brain is a coconut. So we've padded things with some garbage grinder types who don't actually do a whole lot of garbage grinding, and who certainly don't score a whole hell of a lot. And we're caling this...?
I mean, we can keep doing the whole puck-possession dealy. There's no law against it. But to be really effective at it, and successful with it, (never mind challenging for the Cup), (never mind winning the Cup), you need a requisite skill level. And we don't have it anymore. And we're certainly not getting it back, unless we make, like, two huge trades and two major UFA signings. Because, think about it: how many other teams do the kill-with-skill puck-possession thing? How many teams have done it really effectively? How many teams have won the Cup with it? The answer is, None. It was our thing. And now it's pretty much dead. And so, the brain trust really has to be asking the $60 million question.
I actually have a bit of a hard time giving the players crap for this problem. You could say Babs could be smarter about the lines or whatever. Ultimately, though, I think if this develops into a full-blown Thing, it's on Holland to try to turn it around.
Which reminds me: "We may not make the playoffs this year" = "We're really not very good at all."
It's just one game. Can we please not fly off the handle after game 1? We still have a solid team and the layoff has alot to do with it. Keep in mind most of our guys didnt play a whole hell of alot during the lockout.....Jeezus what is it with you ppl already counting us out?
Flying off the handle after one game is what we do best. We also specialize in throwing people under the proverbial bus after two games.
On a more "serious" note - "You have to remember, most of our guys didn't play a lot during the lockout" is a very lame excuse. No offense, of course. Just sayin'.
One thing I really like about the signing, and him as a person and player, is that he seems really big on expanding his game, learning to play in key situations - becoming a more complete player. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'd say that the majority of ultra-pests and enforcers (lightweight, middle, and heavy) are mostly very content with what they bring to the fold. "Right, I'm gonna destroy #19, and draw a penalty, and my work is done for the night." I like that Tootoo seems to want to be more - and, at the same time, has no illusions or delusions re: his biggest "draws," if you will.
Maybe some of that is about distancing himself from his darker days. I don't know, and I'm not going to pretend otherwise and turn this into That Kind of Thread.
I just think he deserves some props - and if not props, then at least a clean-ish slate. Not to knock Trotz, who I happen to have a pretty good deal of respect for, but,
Trotz Tootoo = Babcock Tootoo? Not likely. (All the good, a bit of the bad.)
Or, bottom line, I guess: Preds Tootoo = Wings Tootoo? Not bloody likely. (ditto)
A friend of mine suggested the whistles have some kind of Pavlovian effect on him, i.e. they turn him into a ****** bag. Which, at the time, I took to be kind of a racist put-down. But, actually, I think it's sort of an intriguing idea. (OK, not really. I'm procrastinating/killing time.)