We have rarely found ourselves in this position. We've lost each a number of times, but scarcely have we missed both at the same time.
That's right: The Euro Twins are both on the shelf.
In the midst of the growing concern of when superstar Pavel Datsyuk will return from concussion symptoms after Jared Cowen's dirty hit (yes it was dirty, stop making excuses), Captain Henrik Zetterberg is now out for at least two weeks with a herniated disc. The Wings had been playing their hardest and best hockey all year in Datsyuk's absence, but the question now is whether or not the team and continue that trend with their leader (and leading scorer, to boot) out of the lineup as well.
Contributions from Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and many others have kept the ship afloat with #13 not playing. Not least of the surprises has been the rebirth of Darren Helm, who is bringing new meaning to his nickname, 'Danger'. 6 points in his last 6 games, 5 of which have been goals. Helmer has been on fire since being promoted to the 2nd line center position, and it is my hope that we see him keep improving with the added responsibility of knowing that the dynamic duo is not going to be around to provide any offense for the foreseeable future.
The ones who really need to step up, though? Look no further than the bottom of the barrel at forward. Detroit must have the most overpaid and under-performing 4th line in the league, even at a glance. Almost $10 Million tied up in the ass-crack of our forward lines, and what do we have to show for it? 4 goals. 5 assists. That's it...9 points. Most expensive damned points on this team, to be sure. These three: Samuelsson, Cleary and Weiss need to start earning their keep or one or more of them will not be around much longer. Even a stubborn Ken Holland won't be able to keep weight that blatantly dead on a team that may find itself fighting for the playoffs if the offense suddenly dries up again.
We'll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow against the Flyers. The line has been drawn, time to separate the men from the boys on this team and who can crank it to another level.
Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Posted by Brad Butland at 5:58 PM
Monday, December 2, 2013
The man who was, and arguably still is, the face of the Ottawa Senators franchise returned for the first time as a visiting player. Daniel Alfredsson, 17 years a Senator and 13 years an Ottawa captain, made his debut in the nation's capital as a Detroit Red Wing last night. His new team made sure to do him justice for leaving his old home.
The Wings got out to a 2-0 lead in the 2nd period and never let go of that lead for the rest of the game, which culminated in Alfredsson scoring on an empty net to drive home the dagger in a 4-2 victory over the Sens. Drew Miller scored a pair and Johan Franzen also contributed by opening the scoring for Detroit in the win. Jonas Gustavsson made 30 saves for the win, which puts him remarkably at 7-0-1 on the season.
This was a statement game for Detroit. We had to win this game. Ottawa is not a good team and even if they were, they have not been playing like it of late. Weak teams or good teams playing weakly need to be taken advantage of. Those are your write-off points, the games you should almost be mailing in for the W. Teams that don't win those games are the ones hovering in the middle of the pack or worse, fighting (and praying) for a playoff spot come April. The Sens had taken advantage of us when we weren't playing well and got 4 points out of us. Now that the tables have turned, it was good to see Detroit return the favor and take some of those points back.
I'm still concerned mostly with our defensive core. Even when Danny DeKeyser does return, the elephants in the room have got to be Kyle Quincey and--to a lesser extent since returning from injury--Brendan Smith. Smith has improved his game a lot...the bar, however, had been set fairly low in that regard. Quincey has just consistently been terrible, with the odd happy accident of him managing to properly block a shot or pass. I'd seriously like for KH to consider getting a dependable 3rd or 4th D-man if at all possible. I'm not assuming it's totally possible, I'm just saying I think we still need the help on the back end. For now though, we work with what we have.
The Wings are off till Wednesday when they face the Flyers. Still no word yet of whether Pavel Datsyuk is feeling up to returning. I remain vigilant in my wishing for him to come back.
Posted by Brad Butland at 7:34 AM
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Where was this all year??
The Wings welcomed in the Boston Bruins last night, but once the puck was dropped, they were anything but welcoming. With 10 different players on the scoresheet, Detroit dominated play for long stretches of the match and absolutely embarrassed the Bruins, driving the score all the way to 6-0 before Boston got their only goal in the dying minutes of the game. Justin Abdelkader, Tomas Tatar, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller scored the Red Wings' half-dozen, while Jonas Gustavsson made 16 saves in the contest before Jarome Iginla finally got one past him at 17:35 of the 3rd.
So much went right in this 6-1 win that it's hard to criticize anything in the Wings' play yesterday. Passing was better, guys were obviously communicating more, there was more push through the middle of the ice, guys were driving the net, rebounds and corner pucks were fought for, the team worked together defensively to shut down the opposition...in short, the Wings finally played 60 minutes--or pretty close-- of Red Wings style hockey, and were rewarded.
Playing without Pavel Datsyuk up front and Danny DeKeyser on the blueline didn't stop Detroit from putting on a clinic, with Boston as the very unwilling patient. The team seems to have woken up somewhat after losing two very important regulars on the roster. If the boys can sustain anything close to this level of play until Dats and Kaiser return, imagine the jump they'll have once those two get back!
Next up is the New York Islanders, and a chance at a winning streak for the first time in a month. We'll see then how much of this momentum carries over.
Posted by Brad Butland at 8:34 AM
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Well I've found a new team to hate.
After a disgraceful display by the Ottawa Senators last night, which was highlighted by an elbow delivered directly to Pavel Datsyuk's jaw, the Red Wings lost 4-2 in what was easily the ugliest game of the season so far. Datsyuk is being evaluated with concussion-like symptoms and will not be in the lineup later today when Detroit plays in Buffalo.
|DIVE! DIVE! ...Oh, see I thought that's what|
you say when ANYONE falls down, as
Sens fans were quick to demonstrate.
And for the record, for any Sens fans reading this: Take a slash to the back of your knee on your lead foot, let's see if you 'dive' or not. Stop deluding yourselves to think that what your pathetic excuse for hockey players did on the ice last night was anything close to legal or clean. And people talk shit about US wearing tinfoil hats and being homers...right. At least the Sens can get jobs as lumberjacks in a few years if there's another lockout.
I suppose if there was a team to play without Datsyuk, it would be Buffalo. I expect to see better work ethic for the Wings defensively though, because as suspect as they've been this year, Datsyuk's defensive capabilities will be sorely missed.
And by the way, make sure not to tell any Sens fans about our faking Datsyuk's injury, because we obviously do that all the time and don't want to be found out. Definitely.
Posted by Brad Butland at 8:21 AM