RICK: The thing with Weiss is, he's actually a really, really good player. True, we haven't seen that really, really good player in the Winged Wheel yet, but the reason seems to be mostly that he was playing injured. Like, that seems to be a more or less established fact now, as opposed to baseless speculation/rationalization. Point being, there's still a 90% chance that we have this on the way. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.
Our PP has no teeth. I think the argument could be made that that's hurting us more than anything else. Like I've said many, many times, I'd sure love a QB like Lubomir Visnovsky. It's incredible how much we miss Lidstrom and Rafalski on the point. Smith should probably get a look. Failing that, I'd almost consider trying out Pulkkinen, maybe on the point. We don't have a pure sniper, and it shows. Or we could dress Sproul as a PP enforcer, playing him only when we have the man advantage. His shot is a cannon, and he knows how to run a PP. Or there's a guy like Ryan Smyth, good net front presence. Or we could pay up for a power forward, maybe Chris Stewart. Or we could simply bear down, try harder.
Whatever we do, we need to be practicing the power play ad nauseam. Devote entire practices and film sessions to it. Go over it again and again and again and again. We're winning/losing games on the strength/weakness of our play with the man advantage. It's a big deal. Even the smallest improvements could be huge for us.
If I'm Pittsburgh, the last team I want to face in the 1st round is a healthy Detroit. Z is Crosbys kryptonite, we can roll 4 good lines, and Howard is easily capable of outplaying a flaky Fleury.
On the other hand, if I'm Detroit, the last team I want to face in the 1st round is a healthy Pittsburgh. I fear Crosby and Malkin alone would make short work of our blue line and Fleury would stand on his head because of course he would.
I had to give up hockey at a young age because of heart-related health issues. I'd always known there was something wrong with me health-wise, but it wasn't until I'd started really pushing my body to its limits that the true problem reared its very ugly head. Now that I'm older, I appreciate that it was probably a major blessing. By bringing out this issue I didn't even know I had, hockey might have saved my life in the long run. And this was before the Fischer incident and everything that's followed, all of which makes me really worry about high-level athletes. You could be in "top shape" and yet you might also be a ticking time bomb, and without even knowing. It's scary. It puts things in perspective.
Sorry, that all probably seems narcisstic. Just felt like sharing.
I love the fact that neither Nyquist or Tatar are afraid of or taken a back by the big stage, they have no fear when it comes to shooting, carrying the puck, or just making plays in general.
I would think it would be tough for a youngster to walk into the Wings locker room with all those vets and not be taken a back or play a little bit more conservative.
Not that I have any great insight to share on this, but I tend to think it's a number of things...
Blashill uses very similar - if not identical - systems in Grand Rapids
We've got a Grade A locker room, one that is, of course, very friendly to HSE (Highly Skilled Euros)
Nyquist and Tatar each came into this season with something to prove, a statement to make, a chip on the shoulder (both of them having had to wait probably a season more than they needed to/should have had to, and Nyquist having had to start this season in GR)
...At the same time, they're not super-hyped-up Top 10 picks, so not necessarily a ton of pressure
Generally, if you're gonna be a really small and skilled player in today's NHL (and both Nyquist and Tatar are small), you'd better be damn good and damn sure of yourself, a point which Mickey Redmond has made about Tatar about 15 times this season. Nyquist and Tatar (can we call them NAT? Or TAN?) definitely have the goods, and certainly in Tatar's case there's no shortage of swagger. I think now we're seeing a little more swagger from Nyquist. (Worth noting: Nyquist, though a playmaker more than anything else, has been known as a formidable scoring threat since at least his college days)
Z. Captain Clutch. Hank. Mister Emma Andersson. Zeddar-Cheddar. Grizzly Beard. The Most Interesting Man in the World (Early Years). Henrik Zetterberg has got some profoundly sick telepathic chemistry going on with Gustav Nyquist. I could watch these two set each other up on the cycle all. day. long. (DATSOOK WHO???)
Wheels. Nyquist has them
I'll also second the Abracadabrabdelkader love, though I've been really high on his potential as a poor man's first-line power forward since last season. He may have hammer hands, and he may make costly, boneheaded mistakes now and then (see: running the Stars' goalie late in the game for absolutely no good reason), but he's always contributing in some way, whether it's leading the team in hits or setting great screens. He makes stuff happen. Which maybe shouldn't be all that surprising, given that he's at That Age now. God help the opposition if he and Helm ever get real hands. Like, with fingers and stuff!
Andersson is probably the more valuable player. He can play on the third line, he's clutch in the faceoff circle, and he's a very good PKer. But, as I've said many times, I'm just not terribly fond of him.
Glendening has been a nice surprise. He gives us a good agitating presence, some spunk, a right-handed shot. But let's also be realistic: he's a career fourth-liner.