Friday, November 18, 2011

Curse of the Sharks Continues, Wings get Whipped 5-2

See that in the corner? That is what I'm left with after last night's game against the San Jose Sharks.  It is what I've been left with after many games against the San Jose Sharks.  It is also what I seem to see floating over every Red Wings player's head when they PLAY the San Jose Sharks.

So...SO many questions I want to ask.

The Red Wings dropped yet another match to the Sharks in San Jose last night, getting embarrassed on the road 5-2 by the home team.  This was made worse by the fact that, for the 2nd straight game, the Wings scored first and had a lead to hold onto and botched it completely.  This leads me to my 1st question:

Why do the Red Wings players seem unable to communicate with one another at all during games?

I said on Twitter last night that, at least usually, I can predict how rough of a game it's going to be for Detroit based on their passing.  If the passing is clicking, then it's going to be their game to lose.  The intensity is usually better, there's better pressure in the offensive zone, minimal turnovers, and more wearing down of the other team.  What I saw last night worried me from the beginning.  Bad passes, sloppy, errant throw-aways to no one or, sometimes even worse, right to opposing players with no Wings even in the vicinity of the puck.  This is amateur-ish play, and completely unbecoming of the talented roster that rides the Red Wing pine.  You want a perfect example of the lack of communication? Look at the tying goal at the end of the 1st period last night.  Whether or not the puck was going to be playable for Jimmah is irrelevant.  When an opposing player is barreling toward the puck the way JOE BLOODY THORNTON did on that play, you do NOT back off!  At least get down there and give your goaltender some support! As it turns out, the puck DIDN'T make it to the trapezoid, and as a result, Howard could not play the puck, and it was a freebie scoring chance for the Sharks, which they gladly obliged.

It all just went downhill from there, with the Wings piling shots on net only to see San Jose's side of the scoreboard keep rising.  This brings me to question #2:

Why do our scorers never shoot the puck anymore?

We went through this with the Mule.  Now we're noticing it with other forwards: Filppula, Zetterberg, Datsyuk.  NOBODY IS SHOOTING!  How in the name of the hockey gods do you expect to score goals when the superstars on your team are not shooting the puck!??  You know who led our team in SOG last night?  Dan Cleary.  Yeah, DANNY CLEARY, because he's definitely the biggest offensive force on this squad.  How many shots did Datsyuk and Zetterberg combine for last night?  2 shots, Datsyuk with a pair, and Zetterberg with none.  Hank almost had a shot, but he'd been so quiet all night that when he finally decided he'd give it a try, he telegraphed it so bad that he helped make Joe Thornton look like Datsyuk on the takeaway.  Oh, and guess what? That one ended up a goal, too.  Just another odd-man rush Detroit allowed San Jose which led to high percentage chances as opposed to Detroit's crappy, low percentage chances.  I still believe there's no goal scored last night that anyone can blame on Jimmy Howard of the 4 that went by him.  Which leads me to the final question of the evening:

What in the hell was Babcock thinking pulling Jimmy Howard for the 3rd period???

I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I seriously wondered if coach Babcock had a stroke or something when this decision was made.  Ken and Murph tried to play it off as trying to shake things up on the ice, and guess what? It worked...for San Jose, as they added another goal in the final frame, woo!  Seriously, Mike: What did you think that would accomplish when you're supposed to be trying to WIN the game!?  I was frustrated with Detroit last night, but that game was not out of reach going into the 3rd; however, pulling Howard irreparably made it so.  Jimmah did not play poorly, in fact he made some great saves to minimize the damage his lackluster teammates were allowing.  Supposing Howard had enough in the tank that night to keep the rest of the pucks out, you're looking at a 4-2 score when Cleary netted his goal in the 3rd, which came at 13:38 of the period.  2 goals in 6 and a half minutes is far more realistic than trying for 3.  Even down 2 goals, you think about pulling the goalie for the extra man in the final minutes.  You can't do it down 3, it's too far.

In summary, I guess I'm looking for a few particular things from the Wings in the next few games to improve, these are:

1.) Simplify the passing game/Minimize turnovers.
2.) Scorers NEED to shoot the puck, need higher percentage chances.
3.) Better on-ice communication is sorely needed.
4.) If Babs wants to mix something up, don't start with your goalie when he's not playing poorly.

We'll have to wait and see what Red Wings team we get next game.

Class Dismissed.