Found February 07, 2013 on
The Detroit Sports Site:
Flickr, Anna Enriquez
To say things haven’t gone as planned for the Detroit Red Wings to start the shortened hockey season is putting it mildly. Plenty of familiar issues, be them with scoring, the power play or the penalty kill have all reared their ugly heads at inoppertune times.
But, have there also been some bigger issues in between the pipes to complicate these matters?
It certainly is feeling that way. So far, Jimmy Howard is a measly 4-4-1 on the year with an ugly 3.07 GAA. He’s allowed 27 goals thus far. The league average for GAA is 2.60, putting him well behind the curve. He’s allowed his fair share of questionable goals, including one in overtime against Chicago, several against St. Louis and Columbus and two from the point he should have had against Calgary on Tuesday night.
With the defense as banged up as it has been, this was supposed to be Howard’s big moment to prove himself as a stopper. He was supposed to put the team on his back and raise his level of play higher, knowing Detroit’s defense needed a hand. Instead, it’s been the same old average Howard in net, failing to corral rebounds, giving up goals at critical moments of the game and failing to adequately protect leads.
Before you hop all over me for being too harsh, let me emphasize again that I realize the Red Wings are a dinged up defensive team with plenty of other issues hurting them. Shouldn’t we expect more out of Howard given these circumstances, though? He’s 29 years old. He’s not a rookie or a fresh faced kid anymore. Goaltenders have a storied history of wanting the pressure of carrying a team. Early in his career, Howard has seemed to shrink from this moment instead of rising to the occasion.
Right now, with everything else going wrong at different times, the Red Wings need much more from their net minder. Instead of complicating matters with average play of his own, Howard needs to be the steady, stabilizing force that allows Detroit to figure things out and get through their injuries and scoring struggles. With the defense going through as many personnel changes as they have, the last line of defense has to dig deep and play much better. Howard himself would likely even admit that.
In Howard’s contract year, Ken Holland should be paying close attention to each of these performances. If Howard is not able to become a dominating force and grab the reigns, there’s no way the Red Wings should consider resigning him long term, especially with the defensive question marks the team might have in the next several seasons.
Fortunately for Howard, there is still plenty of time for a rebound.
Play Of The Week: Henrik Zetterberg’s hat trick goal. We’re going back in time, but Zetterberg rescued the Red Wings against St. Louis last Friday night with an amazing effort. Perhaps his finest goal came as he was chasing down a hat trick. Zetterberg outmuscled a St. Louis player, then barely chipped the puck past sprawled bodies and sticks over the goal line. The hats flew and Zetterberg was the hero. It was a fantastic individual effort.
Game Of The Week: Detroit at St. Louis. Another matchup with the Blues, this one in St. Louis. The Red Wings should be looking for revenge after getting blasted by the Blues 6-0 in their first game of the year away from home, while St. Louis will want payback for their tough loss Friday night, in which they blew a 3-2 lead in the third period. This shapes up to be a good one, provided the Red Wings are skating hard.
Dead Wings Doghouse: Red Wings’ younger players. When are these guys going to start producing? Other than Damien Brunner and Brian Lashoff, none of them have scored or produced much of anything. Gustav Nyquist, Cory Emmerton, Jan Mursak, Tomas Tatar, Jakub Kindl, here’s looking at all of you. These role players need to step up in the weeks ahead and prove their worth. The more scoring and production the Red Wings enjoy from them, the better things will get for the offense as a whole.
Central Charting: Through Thursday morning, the Red Wings’ average 4-4-1 record qualifies them for fourth place in the Central Division. Overall, the team sits two points below eighth place in the Western Conference.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax
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The Red Wings earned all of the zero points they got last night. Calgary came ready to play and Detroit did not. Really, this game was just a replay of the Columbus game from Saturday night. Nothing positive will be said in this post, so if you’re not into that sort of thing, might want to skip this one.
Some brutal honesty after the jump:
Jimmy Howard is not our problem...
From the Red Wings PR department:
RED WINGS FIGHT FIRE WITH 11th ANNUAL SMOKE DETECTOR COLLECTION PRESENTED BY COMERICA
… Fans who Donate on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 are Entered to win Zetterberg Puck and Photo …
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I may be one of five people who had no problem with Red Wings forward Johan Franzen spearing David Perron after Perron smashed Franzen's face into the boards (since Franzen suffered a subdural hematoma after being concussed against the Colorado Avalanche in 2008, and you may remember how Gary Roberts welcomed Franzen back by punching him in the face repeatedly), especially as...
Petr Mrazek (centre) made 26 saves in his NHL debut to earn a 5-1 victory. (Photo from Getty Images) Making his NHL debut, 20-year-old rookie goaltender Petr Mrazek made 26 saves to guide the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-1 victory over their division rival St. Louis Blues. After leaning heavily on their top guns [...]
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from Bob Duff of the Windsor Star,
Ask Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock how he can fix what ails his bottom two forward units and he’ll utter a one-word answer.
“Helm,” is Babcock’s response.
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Detroit (4-4-1, 9 points â 11th, Western Conference) at St. Louis (6-3-0, 12 points â 5th, Western Conference)
Game Time: 7:00pm Central
Scottrade Center, St. Louis, MO
TALE OF THE TAPE
Season series: series tied 1-1-0
-- January 19, at St. Louis: St. Louis 6, Detroit 0
-- February 1, at Detroit: Detroit 5, St. Louis 3
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All of a sudden that 6-0 opening season loss to the Blues seems like a long time ago.
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My 3 stars of the game
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3. Drew Miller, DET. 2 assists.
Honorable mention: Petr Mrazek (28 saves on 29 shots; maybe deserving of a star but I didnât see a lot of âtoughâ saves out of him).
In all honesty, no one really stood out in a positive way...
Post By Franklin Steele:
The Wings just caved in the collective faces of the Blues for the second consecutive time since the opening night fiasco (that's my punk band name for the week... nailed it) and I should be pretty stoked about the final score of 5-1. Petr Mrazek played very well, but there is one moment that stands out to me from this game.