Friday, May 11, 2012

Thoughts From Abroad: More Off-season Reflection

Originally written May 3, 2012:

I'm currently 33,000 feet above the Atlantic as I write this. I'm going to the place where I first experienced a world that spanned continents rather than merely cities.  The excitement is such that I simply cannot sleep, despite the fact that our flight left Halifax at around 11:30PM and gets into London's Heathrow at just south of 9:00 in the morning.

As I shoot through the sky at nearly 500mph, I try to think of things to distract myself from the exhaustion that should be overtaking me.  If one thing can drive me to distraction, it is my Red Wings.

As the playoffs continue on without Detroit, the Wings, as it has already been painfully discussed, need to address a number of concerns that led to their quick post-season demise. Some of the thoughts I type here may echo my previous article, but again, I do what I must to stave off the thought of how tired I am while not being able to simply drift off.

Detroit's depth did not factor into their match-up with Nashville, and though there were key injuries, that is no excuse for the amount of no-shows who wore the winged wheel.  Changes to the bottom half of the lineup, both forwards and defensemen, would be welcomed.  A team's loyalty to a player can only extend as far as that playe is able to consistently contribute to the club.

As much as I hate how it will affect Nicklas Lidstrom's decision on retirement, I truly feel it is time for Tomas Holmstrom to call it a career.  Age has caught up with Homer and his ability to dominate in front of the opposition goaltender has drastically declined.  The perfect example came in the 1st round as Holmstrom was tossed aside like a cheap Swedish ragdoll by Pekka Rinne during play.  You can use Rinne's size as justification, but most goalies are picked to be big, and Homer is not getting any stronger.

Some players will also see the door, either by their own choosing or not.  Brad Stuart made his choice obvious by his terrible play in the playoffs, and some of the youngsters like Jakub Kindl and Jan Mursak are starting to feel the heat for not meeting expectations. With the projected cap increase and the potential exit of a number of last year's Wings, it could be a more interesting offseason than any of us imagined.  Jimmy Devellano went on radio basically stating that Detroit was looking to be aggressive this summer, and they really need to follow through with that plan of attack if they hope to make the necessary changes needed to compete at the top tier of the new, parity-obsessed NHL.  Whispers of Parise and Suter have already blown through the ranks of Red Wings Nation, but I'm willing to bet there are other names out there that Detroit has its eye on.

Until we know more about who is available for free agency, and who is hanging around opposed to leaving, it's hard to guess what direction next year's Red Wings will take, but we'll stil have fun playing armchair GM and analyzing what we think is the best course of action.

My flight will be touching down soon, and my thoughts are coming back to the present.  Next time, I'll be taking a look at a tactic that has been used to aid in Detroit's bid for success--and whether or not it should apply to the decision of a certain perect human.