Found March 07, 2013 on
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Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are in for another fight to the finish this season. They currently sit in the middle of the playoff race in the Western Conference, but just six points separate the third and 12th place teams. The 2013 NHL season has become very much like college football: Every single game has an impact on things. But for the Wings — and, in particular, coach Mike Babcock – there are a few key issue that need to be examined:
The Datsyuk line conundrum
On Sunday, the Wings fought hard but failed in their attempt at stopping the Chicago Blackhawks’ point streak. Goalie Corey Crawford was the star — the save he made on Pavel Datsyuk immediately after a Tomas Tatar snipe was the game saver.
Tatar and Datsyuk — spoiler alert: I like those names together — were the most noticeable forwards out there in that game. The line of Datsyuk, Daniel Cleary and Justin Abdelkader does not work.
How can Mike Babcock justify putting two grinders out there with the most talented offensive guy in the league?
Every time Datsyuk is on the ice with those guys, he looks like he is trying to do it all himself. Cleary seems lost 90 percent of the time, and he has definitely lost a step. Abdelkader, meanwhile, is what he is: a grinder who should be manning the 3rd line.
It’s not a bad idea, in theory — throw two grinders out there to muck it up and get the puk free for Datsyuk. But it’s not happening like it was planned; Datsyuk needs a skilled winger to play with, preferably someone who can find the net consistenyl.
If I were Babcock, I would be trying every single line combination I could until I find the one that works best. Put Tatar out there with Datsyuk, and the magic may happen. Tatar is a young, highly skilled forward with speed and amazing hands, so it’s a no-brainer. Pick whichever one you want to leave Datsyuk — Cleary or Abdelkader — and there’s your line: Datsyuk, Tatar and a grinder.
It seems as though Babcock is biding his time until the injured guys (Todd Bertuzzi, Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula) get back, but the Wings do not have the luxury of time with this shortened season. The wins must come now. Put Tatar on Datsyuk’s line, and Tatar’s game will improve tremendously. Cleary and Abdelkader are not getting better being on that line, and it is wasting the team’s top talent.
It’s time to give Pavel some help.
The Power Play
This isn’t a new problem. Last season, the Red Wings seemed to struggle with the man-advantage as well. They brought in a supposed Power-play guru in assistant coach Tom Renney, but going 0-for-the-road doesn’t put Renney even close to guru status yet.
The problem appears to be in the strategy. The Wings have no issue gaining the zone with possession, but once they establish that, they don’t have a creative plan. It’s just pass along the perimeter, get a good one-timer or hard shot (and hope for a tip or rebound), and then the puck is cleared.
They must try some new things, and use the talent on the roster. Tomas Holmstrom and Nicklas Lidstrom are gone, so the shot from point strategy isn’t going to work as it used to — even with Niklas Kronwall occasionally finding the net.
It isn’t all that effective thus far, but the good thing is we have the skills to make it work. A new plan must be put in place and it can’t be set up for a high shot and tip or rebound. Let’s see some creativity.
The Offensive Woes … All of Them
The Red Wings have found themselves in a rough spot by not being able to light the lamp enough. It may be as simple as jumbling the lines or maybe it’s just the injuries. Whatever the case may be, they are having a hard time scoring, and really having a hard time getting a lot of quality chances.
One thing I would love to see is Henrik Zetterberg and Datsyuk out there together. Babcock won’t put them on a line together, but he can manipulate things to get them out there a few times a period, even if it is for 20-30 seconds. Even those short spurts could do wonders for the psyche of the team.
The impact of Helm and Bertuzzi’s absences is much bigger than anyone could have imagined. Add in Filppula being sidelined, along with Mikael Samuelsson (and Franzen possibly playing at less than 100 percent), and that’s four of the Wings’ top forwards out. That’s not a recipe for a lot of goal-scoring.
The Red Wings have a lot issues right now. Fortunately, there has not any problem in net with Jimmy Howard shining, and the defense seems to be getting better every game.
Some of this is on the coaches — as mentioned above with Renney — to dig deep and figure out some new strategies, in order for the Wings to break the mold and explode like they did against Vancouver not too long ago. Heck, take a page out of Scotty Bowman’s book: tinker with the lines every game, every period, every shift even. The staff can do more, and must do more for this team to move forward and rise in the standings.
BEST OF MAXIM
Detroit Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored a goal in Tuesday night's game against the Colorado Avalanche with an assist from the backboards at Joe Louis Arena.
Kronwall deliberately sent his slapshot from near the blue line just wide of the Avalanche net, but the puck bounced hard off the backboards towards the goal crease, then off the foot of Avalanche goalie Jean...
DETROIT -- The Detroit Red Wings have some excellent hockey players but they don't have a Steven Stamkos or a Sidney Crosby.
You don't get those players when you don't have the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, which the Wings haven't had because they've made the playoffs 21 straight seasons.
Crosby and Stamkos currently lead the league in scoring....
Very interesting stuff: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall spoke to ESPN's Craig Custance for an ESPN Insider blog entry, and the Red Wings' NHLPA player representative told Custance that the NHL provided the PA with multiple mock schedules which illustrated the travel teams would have to face, satisfying the players at least to the point that they chose to consent to the...
From the Red Wings' PR department:
RED WINGS FOUNDATION, TIM HORTONS CAFE & BAKE SHOP BRING BACK ANNUAL WINGS DONUT
... Red Wings Defensemen Brendan Smith To Hold Daily Twitter Contest ...
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop are pleased to announce the return of the “I Love the Red Wings” Donut, a specially-themed...
Via RedWingsFeed, I'm sure this is going to be interesting...The Grand Rapids Griffins have chosen to allow Red Wings prospect Petr Mrazek to engage in an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit:
Head over to @reddit to follow along with Petr Mrazek's AMA: reddit.com/r/hockey/comme…
— GrandRapids Griffins (@griffinshockey) March 6, 2013
DETROIT (AP) -- Niklas Kronwall's shot from the blue line went wide, then caromed back off the boards just as goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was extending his right leg.
The puck bounced off Giguere's skate and into the net, giving the Detroit Red Wings a fluky but important goal.
"I couldn't really find a lane through to the net, so I tried to get it somewhat close...
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun hand out their midseason awards and LeBrun picks Niklas Kronwall for the Norris Trophy.
Kind of amazing when you have a list that doesn't include Shea Weber or Drew Doughty, but I think it's only a matter of time over the last half of the season that those guys will find their way into the conversation. Both players are playing much...
Grr. The Detroit Red Wings' 2-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche was good to see--it was a relief, frankly, given that the Wings need to take as many of the 8 games they're playing over 2 weeks, and were off to an 0-and-1 start--it was great to see Johan Franzen score on a breakaway set up by Damien Brunner, awesome to see Niklas Kronwall rip a shot wide (gasp, with Abdelkader...
The Detroit Red Wings are starting to play better. Surprisingly, so are the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Blue Jackets have won a season-high three straight and have enjoyed success this season against the Red Wings heading into Saturday's matchup in Columbus.
These Central Division rivals complete their season series this weekend with a home-and-home set, with Sunday's rematch...
The Detroit Red Wings neither started nor finished particularly strongly during what was sometimes less than an aesthetically-pleasing 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, but the Wings' company line after the game involved two points of emphasis:
1. They weren't thrilled with the fact that Jimmy Howard had to stop 36 shots, including 16 in the third period, nor were they...
A fortunate bounce helped the Detroit Red Wings extend a successful stretch, but they haven't needed too much luck in recent matchups with Edmonton.
The Red Wings will try to continue their dominance over the slumping Oilers in Thursday night's finale of a three-game homestand.
Detroit (11-8-4) is 4-1-1 since Feb. 23, and benefited from Niklas Kronwall's unusual goal...
Peaking early. It’s one of the biggest dangers in sports, especially during the regular season. Remarkably, the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t tasted hockey adversity in three months, and naturally, they’re getting all the best headlines.
But this is March, and despite all the fluff you’ve been reading and seeing on television, it dosen’t mean the Blackhawks are guaranteed...
Updated w/ confirmation of no lineup tweaks at 1:29 PM: The Red Wings are back on the ice at Joe Louis Arena following their 2-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers last night, and MLive's Ansar Khan reports that all is...predictable, all ahead of the Wings' slate of back-to-back matinees against Blue Jackets (who've won 3 in a row, including a 2-1 OT win over Colorado, a 4...
Draper. Gilchrist. Dallas Drake and hell, how about Darryl LaPlante? Checking forwards, or at least forwards we expected little offense out of, right?
Now you can add Pavel Datsyuk to that list. Finally, after a decade, the Wings have finally figured out how to use this man. It's been frustrating, hasn't it? We've watched him for years, constantly wondering..."...