Found May 30, 2013 on The Detroit Sports Site:
The Detroit Red Wings’ exciting playoff run came to a sudden and disappointing end Wednesday, as the Chicago Blackhawks scored a Game 7 overtime victory to bounce the boys from Hockeytown out of the postseason. And now, the Wings’ attention turns toward what should be a very interesting offseason. Their ability to rebuild on the fly in 2013 leaves Detroit with plenty of questions to answer regarding the mix of veterans and youngsters in the system. So, what are the most pressing issues on GM Ken Holland’s plate? Here’s a look at five key questions: 1. Can the Wings (and do the Wings want to) keep Valtteri Filppula?: Filppula, set to be an unrestricted free agent, reportedly has asked for a contract in excess of $5 million per season. The Wings, currently with a little less than $11 million free toward next year’s cap, might be able to swing that … but is the 29-year-old forward worth such a commitment? He has been a key part of the Wings’ top two lines and a valued playoff contributor, but Filppula also has just one 20-goal season and one year of more than 50 points (both accomplishments came in 2011-12). Maybe he’s ready to turn the corner and be a consistent producer, but he slipped back to just 17 points in 41 games this season. Losing Filppula would be a blow up front, though one Detroit might be able to negate by giving Gustav Nyquist more responsibilities (as he received in Game 7 after Filppula was injured) and/or re-signing Damien Brunner. Detroit also could take that $5 million-plus Filppula wants and use it toward a free-agent signing or a trade deadline move. 2. Is Dan Cleary’s veteran presence worth bringing back? ESPN’s Craig Custance wrote Thursday about the value of a player like Cleary in the playoffs. Not only does Cleary have loads and loads of experience, but his physical and grating style of play is exactly what a team needs come the postseason. The question is: Will Detroit’s young guns squeeze him out of the lineup? The Red Wings have bid farewell to most of their get-under-your-skin guys in recent years — Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby, Darren McCarty. Cleary was invaluable in that role against Chicago, especially as the Wings frustrated the Blackhawks while grabbing a 3-1 series lead. The problem is that Cleary will turn 35 next season and his production has waned over the past two years. Still, it’d be hard to let both Filppula and Cleary go, especially if the Wings are at all uncertain about their developing talent. 3. Will Detroit use a compliance buyout? The NHL’s new CBA, which went into effect at the end of the most recent lockout, permits each team to use two cap-free buyouts of any players on their roster once this season wraps. In other words, a team can scrap a player’s contract, pay him a portion of what he’s owed in salary and remove him totally from their salary-cap count. The Wings have some pretty obvious candidates for such a move, too. Namely, Mikael Samuelsson ($3 million for 2013-14), Jordin Tootoo ($1.9 million for the next two seasons), Jonas Gustavsson ($1.5 million in ’13-14) and, of course, Johan Franzen (approximately $4 million per year through 2020). In spite continuing to be a total enigma, Franzen would be a hard one to justify. The Wings already have major issues putting the puck in the net, and he’s one of the few players capable of getting hot there. Plus, since teams are not allowed to renegotiate a player they use the amnesty on, Franzen would be done in Detroit and the Wings really can’t afford that loss. As for the other guys mentioned, put the oft-injured Samuelsson and Gustavsson atop the list of possibilities. The Wings would love to have Samuelsson sniping goals and helping out on the point during the power play, but he barely made it onto the ice in 2013. At $3 million per year, he currently holds the fourth-biggest contract for the Wings’ forwards heading into next season. Unless he’s somehow going to step back in for 70 games and score 20-plus goals, that’s a waste. And Gustavsson was a complete disappointment as the Wings’ backup goalie, forcing Jimmy Howard to man the net almost exclusively. Petr Mrazek, meanwhile, has led a playoff charge for the Grand Rapids Griffins and might be ready to take on an NHL role. 4. How many more young guys are ready to make the jump? Mrazek, for one, has a shot; and Brian Lashoff, following a very solid cameo in Detroit this year, should compete for a job on the blue line. Even more help could come up front, in the form of guys like Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan, Teemu Pulkkinen and Landon Ferraro. The number of young forwards that get a crack will rely heavily on the decisions made on Filppula, Cleary, Samuelsson and others. 5. From where will the elusive top-six scoring come? The Wings more or less knew all along this year that they’d have trouble finding goals, and that frustration played out in the loss to Chicago. Even Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg slumped in the playoffs, with no one around to take defensive pressure off of them. Brunner and Nyquist may be ready for top-six roles, and each of those guys could pop home 20 if given the opportunity. Is that enough for Detroit, combined with Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen and another forward? If not, then look for a couple moves in free agency — in that same article linked above, Custance mentions Nathan Horton and David Clarkson as possibilities for Detroit. Horton scored 13 goals in the shortened season and topped 20 every year from 2005-11; Clarkson lit the lamp 15 times in 2013 and 30 times in ’11-12.

Red Wings stinging after season-ending setback

Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland says its stings to have the season end by losing a 3-1 series lead against the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks beat Detroit 2-1 in overtime Wednesday night to advance to the Western Conference finals. Holland says he has mixed emotions about the lockout-shortened year. He's disappointed Detroit couldn't win one more game...

Henrik Zetterberg responds to Pierre McGuire’s interview request with classic blow off

You’d think that judging by Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg’s reaction to NBC analyst Pierre McGuire’s request for an on-ice interview that this special moment between the two took place after Detroit got bounced by Chicago in overtime of Game 7 of their playoff series. But no, this took place at the end of regulation, as the teams left the ice to prepare for sudden death...

Wings prove there's life after Lidstrom

The Red Wings learned something very important this season: there is life after Nick Lidstrom. That life is not as calm, nor as perfect as it was before, but in the salary cap era, it's still pretty good. There's a reason that general manager Ken Holland's long-running joke was that when Lidstrom retired, so would he. But Holland didn't retire and neither did the...

Red Wings squander two-game lead

Many of us thought that theyd never make it this far. In all honesty, most of us believed they wouldnt even make the playoffs, but here they were - one shot, one goal away from making the Western Conference final. It wasnt meant to be. Detroits season came to an abrupt end Wednesday night in Chicago, as the Wings dropped a 21 overtime decision to the Blackhawks in their winner...

Filppula leaves game with lower-body injury

Chicago -- The Red Wings' quest to advance to the Western Conference Finals got a lot more difficult early in the first period of Game 7. Valtteri Filppula, coming off the ice for a line change at 3:43, was knocked to the ice by Chicago's Andrew Shaw. Filppula appeared to go off the ice gingerly and headed straight to the dressing room. CSN's Pat Boyle reported that...

Red Wings overnight report: Griffins drop Game 3 of Western Conference Final; Wings-Hawks tailings

The Detroit Red Wings' AHL affiliate has out-lasted its parent club, but it had a rough outing on Wednesday night, dropping a 4-1 decision to the Oklahoma City Barons in the AHL's Western Conference Final. The Griffins now trail their series 2 games to 1 with back-to-back games scheduled for Friday and Saturday in OKC. The Griffins' website provides a superb recap:...

NBC thought it a good idea to send Pierre McGuire to interview Zetterberg heading into OT, Henrik disagreed

Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Heading to overtime and friggin' Pierre McGuire tries to grab Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg for an interview. Are you friggin' insane? He couldn't care less... Full story at Bob's Blitz ~

A Brief Redwing77 Season Review for the Detroit Red Wings

Well, our season is over.  We lost in 7 games to Chicago in the second round of the playoffs. To be brutally honest (and probably not the most ardent of Red Wings fan), I'm elated they went that far.  Let's face it:  Did ANYONE think the Wings would take the Hawks (who won the Presidents' Trophy this year) to the brink of elimination?  This gets me in trouble...

Valtteri Filppula Injured After Slewfoot by Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw

The Detroit Red Wings lost Valtteri Filppula — a clutch Game 7 performer throughout his career — early on Wednesday night against the Blackhawks after he was injured sometime during a first-period shift. Whether or not he tweaked something prior to a confrontation with Chicago’s Andrew Shaw, a slewfoot from the Blackhawks’ forward certainly did not help matters. Here’s...

Brendan Smith compliments the Hawks’ competition level…And his own…I think…

I agree with Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji's suggestion that Wings fans need not deem Brendan Smith to be the next Jonathan "*******" Ericsson (who, as it turns out, has developed into a pretty solid defenseman, even if it was three or four years later than people like you and me had hoped), but Kyle Quincey's mentee has been on the ice for...Well, the Detroit...

May 30, Blackhawks vs. Red Wings: One Last Time

Describing and predicting the Blackhawks rivalry match against the hated Red Wings.,

Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Toews (giff)

s/t to Jack who posted this gif in the comments of another post. So, do you think that the refs are not calling the obstruction in this series? This is pre-lockout officiating in the NHL. The calls the officials have let go have been pretty obvious. Zetterberg has been in Toews hockey pants all series long.

Blame the benches

If we are to believe Don Cherry, Valtteri Filppula's injury had less to do with Andrew Shaw slew-footing Filppula and more with the inevitability of collisions and injuries when benches are on the same side of the ice:
NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.