My interests primarily reside in <br />1. Raising my children to be happy, healthy and aware<br />2. Recreating a sane and sensible life for working folks in America.<br />3. Writing ASP.NET software that rocks<br />4. Red Wings - baby!
I hope Babcock was just resting gus for the game on Friday, because that is the only excuse I can think of. I only seen him out there once in the third.
News flash - Babcock is not a good bench coach and never has been. Unlike Scotty, he's never shown an ability to adjust lines and ice time based on the what's happening in a particular game. He got out-coached by Blasma the last time we were in the finals and I don't expect that he's going to out-coach Ken Hitchcock to get out of the west. Basic execution on PP and PK are mediocre at best. Bad line changes and too many men penalties are too frequent. This team is getting sloppy in details and Babcock pouting like my wife isn't gonna fix it.
Either personnel needs to change or Babcock needs to go. Should be an interesting offseason.
First the positives: Smith really looks like he will develop into a very good NHL defensemen. I've seen improvement in his game since he has been up. I postulate that within a year or 2 he will surpass Ericcson in the depth chart. Nyquist looks like he could easily fill in for Hudler and bring more speed and defense to the top 6. Which begs the question as to why Holland refused to make the trades necessary to impove this team. Both Zetterberg and Fil look like they are getting in good form going into the playoffs.
Now the negatives: Stuart looks pretty s***ty these days. Maybe he is getting too many minutes - but beyond the occasional big hit, I won't miss him too much if Smith is up to stay. Kronwall is not actually a very good defenseman in his own end. Sorry, no Nick Jr, afterall.
Emmerton and Mursak are... meh - inconsequential on any given night. Danf****** Cleary. (Yes that is his new legal middle name) is so bad I cringe whenever he is on the ice. Can someone explain to me how the coach doesn't see this? Can someone explain to me why is he on the ice in OT? Bertuzzi is a wash - pretty much costs as much as or more than the value he gives.
I think if this team gets Nick back, Helm healthy and Dats and Howard playing well, they could maybe get past the second round, but that would be tough without home ice.
What's also extremely frustrating is the lack of game preparation and execution from a coaching point of view. PP and PK not where they should be - even before injuries. Mental mistakes like tonight are par for the course. I think this is the dark side of never making personnel changes. It's called complacency, tuning out the coach and getting sloppy.
The other frustration is that we have as good a defensive group including the goalie as we have had since the mid 90's and yet we have not been able to create a supporting forward cast able to validate Datsyuks talent or in the end to win a cup. I believe 2008/2009 was the last great run and we won't be seeing another until the GM and or coach are fired.
One win in the past seven games and the one win was very fortunate. All I can really say right now is Franzen has to be a playoff beast or it's going to be an early exit. The top-six is really more like three players and maybe Franzen if he feels like showing up.
With all that cap space, Holland has no excuse to not address the glaring need yet again for a goal-scoring winger like Parise. Pavel Datsyuk should not be playing on a line with Bertuzzi and Cleary -- what a complete waste of the most creative player in hockey.
I've been saying this all season - before and after the home streak. Holland rarely makes glaring mistakes. He gets good value out of his contracts (more or less - except for term) but he takes zero chances. For example, White and Qincey are useful pick-ups. The defense and goaltending are as solid as they have been the last 15 years.
The top 6 forwards are really only top 3 (Flip is now w/ Dats and Z) plus an occasional appearance by Mule - and really other than Dats none of them show up on a consistent basis.
Holland is a loyalist to a fault. He really needed to shake up this team to get a pure scorer w/ Dats, but he didn't have the balls to do so. He has completely blown it this year given the cap space and guys that could be traded to create a more viable top 6. He didn't do it and it is sad give the last year or 2 of Lidstroms career plus having one of the best forwards in the game. What a waste....
Honestly, I can not put into words how much Cleary is a waste of space this year. Every Time he is out on the ice he does NOTHING, like on the OT goal there, he just waves his stick then is standing around and watches the goal go in....I just don't know what is wrong with him this year, but good lord has he been TERRIBLE this all season....
As soon as I saw him out there, I said to myself "wtf is he doing out there? ... watch San Jose will score". And sure enough. Babcock has a man-crush on Cleary which I have not been able to figure out all season.
This shows how much Datsyuk makes Bert look good. When Bert is alone he makes stupid plays, tries to do too much and takes stupid penalties. With Datsyuk he has more space and can actually do something.
What burns my ass is here we have one of the top players in the game in his prime and the best Holland can do is surround him with Bert and Franzen. Really? This is like a crime against humanity. Imagine Dats with Perry, Kessel or Gaborik - or even Kovalchuk - it boggles the mind how Holland has wasted the top 2 or 3 forwards in the game.