Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Line is Drawn: How Will Red Wings Cope with Loss of Hank?

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.