watch the first goal again, if Helm continued to skate toward the net or just shot it toward it instead if trying to cut back a second time, Stralman doesn't steal the puck and the 1st goal never happens. That momentum change is all on Helm's bad decision. Watch it, you'll see.
Helm turned the puck over, but the Wings were all in good position to handle the rush. The breakdown happened the moment Ericsson abandoned the right side to cover the slot and pass the goal scorer off to Helm, who wasn't in good position to box him out. We had two defensman back, and two forwards backchecking with the play. There's no reason why Johnson should have a clear path to the net, and if Ericsson read the play correctly, Johnson would have been boxed out.
To be fair his last game wasn't bad. There is only a certain number of shots a goalie can save if the defense has a day off.
While I agree with you, if it was Howard in net, LGW would be calling for his head about how he doesn't make the big save when needed or something along those lines.
I think the trade Howard, Mrazek is our savior talk is a bit premature. Mrazek is playing excellent, yes, and Howard hasn't been too hot since his injury. But were still talking about trading away Howard for a kid who seemed to get pulled every other game over the past few months, which is a trend that has actually continued into the playoffs. I do think Mrazek is playing better than Howard right now, but I think the way going forward is to keep both of them on the roster next year, have them continue to push each other and duke it out for number 1, and see how the pieces land. Also during the inevitable case of an injury, I'd be much happier having both Howard and Mrazek on the team, instead of Mrazek and some washed up or unproven backup. But in the meantime I'm just going to bask in this victory.
Earlier in the season I'd have been pissed to see Andersson in over Weiss. But now I just get it. Andy is more responsible with the puck. He might not put up many points, but he isn't giving up glorious scoring chances either.
Weiss is the most frusterating player for me to watch because he clearly has the skill and the instincts around the crease to be an effective player, but he's just awful at every other aspect of the game. I honestly don't get it. But anyway, I'm with you. Andersson, who does nothing great, but plays responsible hockey is probably a better option than Weiss at this point.
I didn't get to see most of game 2, but in game one Marchenko looked a bit out of place, and Tampa was having their way with our defensman in the corners. Smith can make some bonehead plays sometimes, but he definitely isn't afraid to take a hit to make a play, which was something we could have used in game 1. I hope the addition of Smith and Abdekader give us a little more presence in the greasy areas of the ice.
Regular Season average even strength min/game:
First game of the playoffs:
It's really not as big a deal as you're making it out to be...
Helm also played the most of any forward (20min) and Glendening played 18min.
It was pretty clear the minutes for our forwards were heavily influenced by match-ups.
I think Helm was our strongest player out there, and Glendening not far behind him, so I don't mind their ice time, although some of that elevation is due to all the penalties the Wings had to kill. Tatar and Nyquist aren't on the PK unit so that's what, 10 minutes or so of ice time they are ineligible for?
When Abdelkader comes back I think we will see a lot more options become available from a lineup point of view. Babcock will also have the advantage of icing his squad last when the series shifts to Detroit so Tatar and Nyquist can match up against Tampa's third line. But really, I just want to see them (and everyone else) play harder and smarter.
I'm actually not sure about that. Tampa is a very fast team. I doubt we can match that, at least not with all four lines, so positional play might be our only option. I wondered the whole game if the many shots by Tampa were indeed part of the gameplan. I saw our guys mostly covering the slot and the crease. Most of Tampas shots were weak shots from the boards or unscreened from the blueline. If that was the gameplan Babs has balls of titanium. It went well in the end, but yeah, that kind of style won't get us far in the series.
They are fast, but I'm not looking to win a footrace out there. Mostly I want our guys to be aware of where Tampa is operating in our zone, which I didn't see tonight. What I saw was a lot of watching the puck, and forgetting about alot the areas where the puck wasn't. All of a sudden Tampa has an unstoppable cycle and is capable of collecting their rebounds at will, and every now and then, certainly too much for my liking, they were able to slip into the slot for a nice scoring chance. I don't think the lack of defensive pressure from our end comes from us being slower. I think it comes from the Wings reacting to the play instead of actively participating in it.
But you're right, the Wings were collapsing into the slot a lot tonight, and how they performed is not a recipe for success down the road.
Good to scrape by with the win. Mrazek was a wall out there.
I will say the Wings need to do a much better job getting involved in the play and not just watching the puck. I can't believe how many times I saw our guys standing around while Tampa was skating, cycling, attacking, etc. I understand playing positional hockey defensively and trying to protect the slot, but this was atrocious defensive hockey. So many of their scoring chances came because of blown coverage, due to one of our guys not realizing someone was sneaking in behind him. All they have to do is keep their head on a swivel and be aware out there. Do that one thing and I think this game looks much different.
Aside from that, I'm sure everyone saw the lack of hustle, desire to engage or win puck battles along the boards, and so on, so I won't beat that one to death. Helm had a solid game. Glendening had a mostly solid game, but lost his man at one point defensively which lead to a glorious scoring opportunity for the Lightning. In fact it may have been their second goal, but I can't remember for sure. Datsyuk had two goals, but I don't think he played well aside from those shifts. All in all it was such an ugly game from almost the entire roster.
And the reason why he has a high SAT, and not a high corsi, is because he gets put on the ice in situations where the team is likely to get a shot on goal anyway (i.e. he plays in the offensive zone a lot, like Zidlicky). Highly sheltered players are likely to have a high SAT (Kindl is third on the team by the way), but a low Corsi (Smith 11th, Kindl 20th) because they reap the benefits of playing in the offensive zone while not actually generating much offense themselves. The very definition of sheltered.
Smith has 88 shots on goal. That's not much for a guy who gets favorable matchups all season long. That's why his corsi is low. The fact that his SAT is high is the product of sheltered minutes, not because he's a quality possession player.
As a defensman, he has the least amount of offensive zone starts on our team, so if he's playing in the offensive zone a lot as you suggested, its not because Babcock is starting him there. Its because he's skating there from initial defensive zone coverage. Which makes sense, because his takeaway/giveaway per game ratio is excellent. So in that sense, he's the least sheltered defensman on our team. As for his matchups, I agree he's sheltered; in fact I alluded to as much in my initial post.
Corsi is a team measurement in that it assesses how offensive your team performs when you're on the ice, which is what SAT is. So yes, Smith does have the highest corsi on the team out of defenders. Individual corsi, which is not SAT (or Corsi), is essentially just shot attempts, so yeah its an individual stat. Either way, my point still stands. Smiths Corsi is 1st in defensman, and Smith's iCorsi is 3rd of our defensman, behind Quincey and Zidlicky, which doesn't exactly scream "sucks" either.
I'm also in the minority in that Smith gets an unnecessarily bad rap around here, although I will preface this post by saying I haven't caught many games in the past month or so, so my evaluation of the guy is based mostly on pre-deadline Smith. It may be he took a nosedive since then.
Anyway, Smith has a few things working against him from a fan's perspective: 1) he was a highly touted draft pick with an offensive upside, who was stepping into the NHL right around the time when Rafalski and Lidstrom were wrapping up their careers. In other words, there was a gaping hole to fill, and Smith happened to be coming into the league right when we were looking to fill it. Right off the bat there's a lot of things us fans were expecting of him, and in his first 12-14 games up he actually delivered quite nicely. But when he became a Wing full-time his game changed from being an offensive defensman to a more defense-oriented player. That transitition doesn't sit well with several fans because they're either still judging his play based on what a scout said he could be back when he was in college, or they're upset about losing our offensive output in Rafalksi and Lidstrom, and Smith was unable to put up big numbers to help fill that void.
2) I've noticed that many fans judge defensman primarily based on two things: 1. the aformentioned offensive output (which is why players like Karrlson and Green win Norris trophies), and how often they deliver crushing hits and play physicially (which is why so many people suddenly thought Kronwall wasn't a top 2 defensman once he slowed his Kronwalling down). There's surprisingly not a whole lot of attention for actual defensive plays (and if there is, we often forget about them by the end of the game), and frankly its not hard to see why because there aren't many quantifaible stats on defensive plays out there, and the ones that are our there are convoluted and intimidating, and require some introduction to understand. So Smith isn't a big hitter, and he isn't an offensive defensman. Consequently he's not going to have sexy numbers on nhl.com. But that by itself doesn't mean he's a bad defensman. I do think its worth mentioning that Smith has the most amount of takeaways out of all defensman on our team, and is second highest out of all our defensman in takeaways per game/giveaways per game ratio. That second value, particularly, is a good measuring stick for defensive defensman. It means less opportunity for the opposition to generate offense, and more opportunity for the Wings. Thats why its not a surprise to see that Smith also leads all our defenseman in corsi (by alot), which is even more impressive when you note that Smith is last of our defensman in offensive zone start percentage.
3) Probably the biggest thing Smith has going against him is that its trendy to hate him. People go out of their way to find flaws and mistakes in Smith's game, sometimes to ridiculous lengths. I had an argument a few months back with a poster who tried arguing that Smith was also to blame for a giveaway that Ericsson had to Parise at the end of a game against Minnesota (for the record, Ericcson was behind the net, unpressured, Parise was in front of the net, waiting, Smith was the safe outlet pass at the corner, which Ericcson didn't utilize, and instead tried beating Parise with an ill-advised pass). Apparently Smith was supposed to predict that Parise would intercept the pass and cover Parise preemptively, instead of provide an open man for Ericsson to pass to. Now don't get me wrong, Smith does make plenty of mistakes that he definitely deserves blame for, but there are also plenty of times when Smith just happens to be in the same building as someone else's mistake but still gets the finger pointed at him. Similiarly, our other defensman make plenty of mistakes that go unnoticed here, or at the very least people don't make a big fuss about them. Datsyuk has blown coverages quite a few times this year which have lead directly to goals. So has Zetterberg, Kronwall, Dekeyser, etc etc etc. But Smith is the trendy one to hate on now, so his mistakes are the ones that are emphasized.
So echolalia, if Smith is so great, why is Babcock sitting him??
Well I don't think Smith is great, but I do think he's better than LGW values him. I think Babcock plays him appropriately for his skillset to succeed the most, and Smith has been effective in that role. But based on Babcock's decision to play Mrazek over Howard, and Marchenko over Smith, I strongly believe Babs is pushing a fast-transition agenda for game 1. Whatever upside Smith may have over Marchenko, he is not a right-handed defensman and won't be as efficient as getting the puck up from that side simply for that reason. Likewise, whatever advantage Howard has over Mrazek, nobody can deny Mrazek is essentially a third defensman back there, and that is going to help our transition game markedly. The emphasis here is getting the puck out as quickly and efficiently as possible. Afterall, the Lightning can't score if they're not in our zone. Its a risky move, to be sure. Babcock is investing in tactics over experience. But I'm not against seeing where it takes us for game 1.