I doubt any coach would put Abdelkader on the 1st line either.
I spend a lot of my hockey time reading up on other teams. What I've found is that every fan base has the exact same grievances. In Ottawa, for example, MacLean gives quality minutes to Neil and lets Phillips wear an A, and half the fans are howling about such and such a prospect that could be scoring 100 goals if Paul MacLean weren't so effing in love with his precious washed-up veterans. Neil is used on the power play, and Random Senators Fan dies inside.
We have it really good. Really, really, really, really good. As good as it can possibly be in the salary cap era. We're in a bit of a lull, by our standards, but at least we're not looking at 900 years in the gutter (see: Chicago). ("Model Franchise," my ass.) I think Kenny is largely clueless, and I think Babcock might be a bit overrated. But I'd take them over any other GM-coach duo in the league.
Now, on the other hand, I wouldn't be opposed to Blashill getting the gig. I love that guy.
So much negativity. I tend to stay away from here because reading everyone's posts leaves me with negative feelings about the team, but I'll put in my thoughts so there will be something positive.
I don't know what the rest of you are watching, we're playing the best team in hockey, the 2011 Stanley Cup Champs, and the 2013 Eastern Conference Champs. The Bruins have been there, done that. We're the 8th seed, a team with a lot of young players who are experiencing the NHL playoffs for the 1st time. They're learning on the fly. I really don't understand what people were expecting. I've been saying the Bruins would win in 5, but the Wings would make it tough for them. So far I've been right.
Other then the first half of Game 3, I thought we've played well. We're getting a decent amount of shots against an excellent defensive team, and holding our own. If we were playing any other team then the Bruins, we wouldn't be down 3-1.
Maybe it's because I think long term, and a lot of people here think short term, but playing the best team in hockey can be a very good thing a year or two down the road. Our young players can see what needs to be done to win in the post season.
I still think we have one more good shot at a Cup with Datsyuk and Zetterberg on the team. With everyone healthy next year and the experience our young guys are getting this playoffs, 2014-15 could be the year.
There's nothing worse than falling short of the Cup when you'rea serious contender. We all know what that feels like. '95. '96. '99. '03. '04. '06. '09. This? This whole really-young-and-iffy-team-losing-to-one-of-the-better-teams-of-the-salary-cap-era thing? This falls on the other end of the spectrum. Suddenly, we're the young upstarts. Suddenly, everyone agrees that we'd make a great Cinderella story.
I became a Wings fan in '94. So, this is pretty much new territory for me. I'm trying to rewire myself to understand that being knocked out of the playoffs isn't the end of the world. For the first time in forever, if we draw the Habs, we're the underdogs. The Habs. And we'd be the underdogs. (The Montreal Canadiens. Them. The favorites. Montreal. You can't make this stuff up.)
I've stopped s***ting on Ken Holland. I mean, I still hate him, because you're not a True Wings Fan unless you hate Ken Holland. But, seriously, spend some time on SB Nation, go through the NHL chapters. We are so blessed it's disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. We've made the playoffs for 23 straight seasons. This last little bit is the only stretch where we haven't entered the dance as a heavy favorite - and even now, no one really wants to face the Red Wings in the playoffs if they can avoid it. Fans of every team hate their ownership and management and coach and underachieving, over-the-hill veterans. The difference with us is we're flat-out spoiled rotten. We really, truly are.
I'm not saying I don't take issue with any of the decisions made by Holland or Babcock. I'm not saying I have total faith in The Plan. I'm saying, all things considered, we as Wings fans have it as good as it gets in the world of pro sports. Like I said, this will probably be our lowest point, yet we're still a very good postseason team. While I don't think, say, adding Sproul and Ouellet on the back end next season would make us an elite team, our prospect pool is stupid-good and has already paid off in a big way. And free agents and trades are always an option.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg are nowhere near 100%. Ericsson is out. Smith is a kid, DeKeyser is a kid, Quincey is terrible, Kindl is terrible, Lashoff is terrible. Pretty much all of our forwards have disappeared. Our goaltending has been inconsistent. We're young and inexperienced in key positions.
And yet, last night could've gone either way. We could just as easily be tied in the series. And we're dealing with the class of the Eastern Conference, quite possibly the best team in the league, maybe even the best team we've faced in the playoffs in the salary cap era. They're built to obliterate all challengers.
And we've shown we can hang with them.
They're beating us because they're the much better team, but I'm not putting a ton of stock in that. Meaning, I don't think we suddenly have to blow up the team and fire everyone and start from scratch because the best team in the league is going to make short work of us. We won the first game because we had a transition game. We didn't mess around in our zone. We got away from that and basically handed them Games 2 and 3. Last night, we got our up-tempo transition back, and then we backed off and got lazy and cute and stupid in our end again. We're beating ourselves as much as they're beating us. And that, to me, is encouraging, all things considered.
The Bruins have pretty much hit their ceiling; they're about as good as they're going to be. We're going to improve until we're a legitimate contender, which could be as soon as next season. I think this will be our lowest point. Losing to the Blackhawks and then the Bruins will be our lowest point. Not being a lottery team for five straight years. Losing to much better teams in the playoffs for two or three seasons.