The Start of an Answer: The Wings gave us a partial The Question yesterday. I say “partial” because they’ve still got a ways to go before their answer will stick. This could be a fake-out. But it was a promising start to what I hope will be a return to Red Wings hockey. The effort was good, the team leaders stood out in more positive ways and the played a much more complete game.
Pavel: Of the team leaders, he had the best game. Between his answering the Kings’ shorthanded goal with a goal of his own 37 seconds later, being at the center of some of the best chances of the game, centering the best line of the game and sealing the deal for the Wings in the third with is second goal, there’s no denying Datsyuk answered his coach’s challenge.
Hank: Answered the challenge, but not nearly as effectively as Datsyuk. He was held pointless and was -1, though he did have 7 shots. That’s an encouraging sign, but I would like to see more out of him tonight.
Franzen: Had just three shots on goal, but was at the center of some great opportunities and looked much more involved than he has at times this season.
Helm: Was extremely energetic and effective on the forecheck and the penalty kill. Very good game.
Jimmy: Continues to look sharp. He’s headed for a really great season.
The Kings: A win like this over a team like the Kings is a good sign. LA is a fast, energetic team and with Quick backing them up, they’re a threat to win a lot of games. The Wings could have been walking into a trap, but they showed up in a way that prevented that.
Smith: Earned his first NHL point and didn’t look too bad. He’s still green, but it could be he’s going to be a Jimmy: hits a new level of effort and investment at the NHL level that wasn’t necessarily seen at the AHL level. Megan’s eyewitness reports on Smith with the Griffins have not been encouraging: he’s been lazy and lackadaisical. But apparently, being the NHL has a motivating effect. Which is good. I just hope he has a better attitude when he’s sent back down.
Next up: Anaheim tonight. The Ducks are last in the Pacific, but the Wings can’t slide in there expecting an easy night. They need to be at their best. Whether they can perform as good as or better than yesterday tonight will be another piece of the answer to The Question.