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EcholaliaMember Since 21 Mar 2007
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Posted by Echolalia on 20 April 2015 - 12:18 PM
Posted by Echolalia on 17 April 2015 - 12:19 PM
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?
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.
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.
Posted by Echolalia on 16 April 2015 - 09:49 PM
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.
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Posted by Echolalia on 16 April 2015 - 09:26 PM
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.
Posted by Echolalia on 14 April 2015 - 01:28 PM
Smith doesn't have the highest corsi on the team. Here's his individual corsi.
What he has is a high "SAT" score. Which is a team measure.
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.
Posted by Echolalia on 14 April 2015 - 12:48 PM
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.
Anyway, those are my thoughts.
Posted by Echolalia on 13 April 2015 - 12:18 PM
Between the news of Mrazek starting over Howard, and Marchenko starting over (likely) Smith seems to imply that Babcock wants a fast transition game to combat the Lightning's offense. I'm hesitant to see Mrazek get the nod simply because he's been unable to string together a series of solid games, but nobody can deny the kid moves the puck phenomenally, and I don't think Babcock will look to Mrazek for game 2 if he doesn't have a strong game 1. Jimmy might come in and play with a chip on his shoulder, should he get the opportunity.
Posted by Echolalia on 11 April 2015 - 04:00 PM
You're right, there is more to it than production. It also has to do with lack of responsibility with the puck, consistent turnovers and losses of possession when he's out there, particulalry in the offensive zone, being a non factor along the boards and in the corners, having no defensive game, no ability to retrieve loose pucks or force turnovers. You can point to just about any facet of the game and Weiss has been below average.
Weiss has a better PPG than our current #2 center. Sheahan. There's more to it than just production. Seems like Babs just doesnt like the guy. We really don't know what happens behind the scenes. Maybe he dislikes Weiss's work ethic during practices or in the locker room. Who fricking knows.
This is necessarily directed at you, but I'm shocked that there are so many Weiss apologists on the boards given everything the guy has shown us. Especially considering how quickly people turn on players like Howard, Smith, Ericsson, etc and go out of their way to look for ways to blame them, you'd think there would be more people who can just say "Weiss has not been good." I was as excited as anyone when the Wings signed him, but it hasn't been working out for him, and at this point I would be very nervous to see Weiss playing in the top six, against top six opposition.
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Posted by Echolalia on 05 April 2015 - 05:16 PM
Maybe I'm remembering incorrectly, but I seem to recall Weiss has been given multiple opportunities on the top six throughout the year and aside from that one brief stint of productivity in December or so, has been equally as brutal as he is now. And also, I don't get this whole "he's not here to play defense" argument. Playing defensive hockey and playing responsible hockey are two different things, neither of which Weiss has shown at any point with the Wings he is capable of. I don't care if he's not the first guy back into our zone. I don't care if he back-checks like a dog out there. I don't care if he doesn't orient his game to protect the middle of the ice and siphon pucks to the perimeter. I don't care if he doesn't force turnovers and regain puck possession. These are things defensive forwards focus on. What I do care about is his poor pass decisions, particularly at the offensive blue line. And I care about his inability to keep an attack alive. And I care about his incompetence along the boards, and in the corners, where even the slightest pressure against him seems to lead to a lost puck. Putting him on the top 6 isn't going to magically give him tons of time and space to work with. Playing smart with the puck is still an important quality to have on the top 6; in fact its more important to have, because now instead of offensive attacks breaking down with Jurco and Glendening on the ice and wasting their opportunities, Datsyuk and Zetterberg are losing opportunities when Weiss loses the puck. To complicate matters, instead of turning the puck over to other team's third line players, he's now turning the puck over to top-six talent. He's a liability. And he's consistently been a liability, regardless of when, and regardless of who he's played with. This is why Babcock has him playing sheltered minutes on the third line and on the powerplay. Its all Weiss has shown he can handle.
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Posted by Echolalia on 24 March 2015 - 05:02 PM
I'm going to address two of your points...
1. "I firmly believe Quenneville is the beneficiary of the skill on his team, and he doesn't bring much to the table".
Who's better, Toews, Kane, and Keith or Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Lidstom? If you answer the latter, as I suspect you will, then your argument applies even more to Babcock then it does to Quenneville. Babcock's best teams were better than Quenneville's best teams, or Sutter's best teams. Yet they won more Cups with theirs.
Babcock's 2005 roster was WAY better than anything Quenneville has ever coached. It's better than anything ANY of those guys have ever coached. He had four 80+ point players. And he lost in the 1st round. So don't act like he's been given some hard road and the rest of these guys had a cake walk based on their rosters.
2. "But I'm not willing to say Quenneville is one of the best coaches in the league based on four solid postseasons and ignore the rest of his career".
The rest of his career where he had more wins and more playoff appearances than he had in Chicago?
Quenneville's got over 700 wins. He had as many wins in St. Louis as he does in Chicago in roughly the same amount of games. Chicago is not an anomaly. It's more of the same. True Chicago's where he won his cups, but that's true of Babs and Detroit too. He didn't win anything until he had Dats, Z, and Lids to work with. In fact, he missed the playoffs 50% of the time he wasn't with the Wings. That's right, Babs missed the playoffs with a team that went to the finals the year before...just like Sutter.
Cherry picking three players from a team of 20 players isn't an effective defense of saying one team is better than the other. It also doesn't discredit anything I've said. I think the Wings were the best team in the league in 2008 and 2009 skill-wise. I think since then, its been the Blackhawks. Both teams have experienced success in those periods, as expected they would given their makeup on paper.
Babcock's 2005 squad was a solid team and they underperformed when the got to the playoffs. The same way Quenneville's Chicago teams underperformed when they were eliminated in the first round two years in a row after winning a Cup, and the same way Quenneville's Blues underperformed earlier in his career. I would say its the same way Sutter's team is currently under-performing, but if the reigning Cup champs end up missing the playoffs altogether, I think that's taking it to a new level, and I certainly don't think that is something that would be on the resume of one of the best NHL coaches in the league. We'll have to see what happens on that one.
Also, forgive me if I don't jump up in disbelief of Quenneville's 700 wins. The guy has been coaching playoff caliber teams his whole career dating back to 1996-1997. That's almost 20 years of opportunity to work with. Also your comparison to his time with the Blues and Blackhawks ("He had as many wins in St. Louis as he does in Chicago in roughly the same amount of games") is flat out wrong. 307 wins with St. Louis in 593 games coached =/= 266 wins with Chicago in 454 games coached. That comes out to 51.7% wins vs 59% wins, which isn't a small margin. That amounts to an extra six games won per 82 games, or a 12 point gap in an 82 game season. So while they were both playoff-caliber teams, his time in St. Louis definitely isn't "more of the same". Its quantifiably worse. And the contrast between the two teams in the playoffs is even more apparent. 34 wins, 34 losses in seven playoff appearances with the Blues. 57 wins, 37 losses (and two aforementioned Cups) in six playoff appearances with the Hawks. Definitely not more of the same. But considering those Blues teams only made it past the second round once in seven seasons (eight if you include the year he was fired) it does further support the notion that Quenneville is unable to achieve any level of success with teams that aren't totally stacked and favored to win the Cup. In short, Quenneville's teams don't exceed expectations. They either meet their expectations, or they fall short.
And yes, Babcock has missed the playoffs 50% of his time not with the Wings (n=2, ie one time in his career). Its also worth mentioning the skill level of that squad was marginal at best. The year the Ducks went to the finals they went as a 7th seed, and unlike Sutter's Kings, the Ducks weren't a Cup favorite that for whatever reason barely squeaked into the playoffs. The Ducks went as team that higher seeds thought of as a stepping stone to get to the next round. Then they swept the defending Cup champion Red Wings team in the first round. Then they beat the top seed in the West, the Dallas Stars 4-2. Then they swept Minnesota in the Conference finals, before finally losing in seven games to New Jersey in the SCF. The next season (and after losing their top-scorer Kariya when he bolted for Colorado in the offseason) they played closer to their skill set and missed the playoffs. And just a side note: the Mighty Ducks team Babcock inherited ended the season in 13th place the year before he took them to the finals. But that's neither here nor there. The real beef I have isn't with how you perceive Babcock. Its how you perceive Quenneville and Sutter. Two guys who I think are somewhere between average and above average, but not cream of the crop.
edit: sorry for the wall of text, I'm on a study break and wanted it to last as long as possible lol
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Posted by Echolalia on 24 March 2015 - 01:07 PM
Looking forward to the postseason, I think the biggest name on there is Abdelkader. He has become the epitome of a playoff style player (well.. I suppose we'll see if that's true when we get there). His goals are greasy, dirty, and he has been wreaking havoc in the crease, in the corners, and is still defensively sound. As Cole continues to mesh with the Wings I think having him and Abby as a one-two punch in our top six could be the difference between success and failure in the playoffs.