Posts filed under “2011-2012”

First Stab

This is the first chance I’ve had to post today and I’m doing it from my phone, so I’ll be brief.

The Wings picked just the right time to hear up to make the playoffs and, once in, the perfect time to cool. Aside from a decent first period, last night was pretty much textbook 2013 Red Wings: sloppy passing and low-percentage shots making the opposition goalie look even better than he already was.

There was enough to suggest that the Wings can hang with the Ducks if they chose to, but the question is whether or not they have the mental discipline to put it together across a full game.

“It” does not mean lean on Jimmy Howard and hope he enables a goal or two output to be enough. Forced plays aren’t going to get it done. They need to find a way to be patient with the puck and proactive without it.

I hope last night was a reality check for them and that they’ll bring a more appropriate game to the ice tomorrow night.

Wings 0, Blues 6

Okay, Get It Out of Your System: It’s only the first game of the season, but it was pretty terrible. It’s far too early to panic, but color me concerned. In a season this short, they can’t afford not to show up every night. They need to move onward and upward from this or it will be a long season despite being a short one.

Life After Lidstrom: Okay, so it wasn’t responsible for everything that went wrong last night. But let’s not kid ourselves, either: it played a role. There were a few cracks about Lidstrom finally winning a Hart Trophy and voters apologizing for ever depriving him of the Norris and for good reason. The Wings need to find their way without him, but last night, they looked completely lost.

Kronwall: The guy you most expect (and need) to step up, didn’t. Two penalties brought on by failure to do his job…not encouraging.

Quincey: Before the game, FSD played footage of Quincey saying that while he was away, he wanted to prove he belonged on this team. Well, he didn’t last night, unless this team is going to be terrible. In which case, he showed he’d fit right in.

But because I’m hoping that’s not the case, I’m also going to hope that his complete inability to defend an unknown quantity like Vladimir Tarasenko boils down to a lack of time to prepare due to the rushed start to the season.

The Defense In General: Was terrible. Quincey stood out in a specific way and Kronwall failed to show the leadership the unit needs from him, but it wasn’t just them. And it extended to the rest of the team’s own-zone play. It of course remains to be seen whether the system will take off from here, with a little more practice, but this wasn’t a good start.

Jimmy: The best player on the ice, but that wasn’t saying much. He wasn’t great, even accounting for the fact that he was hung out to dry all night.

Eurotwins: Zero shots. Unacceptable.

Brunner: Had three shots, but still adjusting to the rink size. Understandable.

The Offense: Didn’t crack double digits in shots until the third period and only reached 14 in the end. They had 44 shots in even their 10-3 drubbing at the hands of the Blues two years ago and that game was a real low point. I’m not saying 44 shots as ineffective as those two years ago would have been great, but this offense should be able to generate more than 14 against even a team as defensively systematic as the Blues.

Forwards on the Power Play: I guess Tom Renney has inherited Mike Babcock’s predilection with forwards on the power play. I think Brunner’s going to be an asset when he adjusts to the rink size, but those adjustments probably aren’t going to add weight to his shot. When he did get set up for a blueline blast, it was always more of a blueline bloop.

And he wasn’t very good when circumstances dictated he play a more defensive role back there. But I’ll mark that down to the aforementioned rink adjustment process.

Samuelsson got some time back there too, with predictable results.

David Backes: Played like a wrecking ball and demolished Mursak into the bench boards (taking him out of the game with a shoulder injury). The Wings’ wrecking ball, Jordin Tootoo, got a 10 minute misconduct for missing a hit. A new era.

Next: The Wings head to Columbus for a chance to redeem this performance. The Jackets are already off to a better start, with a win over Nashville under their belt. With Nash no longer with the team, the Wings should be in good shape, right?

What’s the Hold-Up, Carlo?

Oh, yeah, it’s that you want 3 years. Chuck Pleiness (snarkily?) points out young Colaiacovo hasn’t played more than 67 games in a season, due to injury. Apparently, the Wings offered him one year at the start, which makes sense. You don’t want to commit too hard to a guy who hasn’t shown he can hack a full season yet.

But Carlo is banking that we’re past the point where the Wings can ask guys to prove themselves before rewarding them with a longer deal. The market is that thin.

LAL: Maybe It’s Not About the Money For Suter

Effectively, Suter is sitting out July 1st, if this story holds. George writes

If Suter thinks that he can simply field offers on his own time and still land a “lifetime contract” at an incredibly high cap figure on July 2nd, 3rd or 4th, he’s sorely mistaken.

Maybe he doesn’t think that. Maybe he’s interested in the situation more than the money. No doubt he’ll still get a killer contract, but this news suggests to me Suter isn’t just looking at the payday aspect of free agency. The team that lands him may have sold themselves to him more than (or as much as) they will have bought him.

Work to Do

So that’s it. The Wings are done in five.

This sums up the situation for me:

(“Tom” being autocorrect for “ton”, obviously)

This group had the potential to go the distance, but couldn’t put it together. I don’t know where they go from here, but it’s going to take work to get back where they want to be.

I just hope it wasn’t the last we see of Nick Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom. Not the way I want either of them to go out. They deserve to end it at home, at least.

Kudos to Pekka Rinne and the Predators. They worked hard and earned this.

No recap for this game. But I’ll be around.

Game 5: @ Nashville

Update (1:56 PM): No lineup changes for the Wings. - Matt

Update (12:33 PM): Gill’s out, per Trotz. Wings with the optional skate, too. - Matt

Tonight, the Wings’ season is on the line. They’re on the road again, having lost their two home games and need to find a way to repeat Game 2’s result in order to continue forward in the series.

All the Predators need to do is squeak out a win.

Key to the game for them:

  • Pekka Rinne: Just one for the Preds tonight. Because it all comes down to Pekka. If he owns the Wings, the Predators get the series. It’s that simple.

The USS Hal Gill took a few more spins around the harbor yesterday and might be ready for blockade duty tonight. I hope the Wings’ blockade runners are ready for that possibility. He’s a game-time decision.

So far, the Wings have faced a couple what you might call soft must-wins situations in this series. Tonight, they face their first hard must-win situation. They really do have to win.

Keys to the game for the Wings:

  • Puck carrier, this is the middle: Mike Babcock says the Wings haven’t had trouble getting to the middle. That may be true, but the part of getting to the middle that matters is getting the puck there with you. I don’t think the Wings have done that as much as Babs would have us believe. They need to do it tonight. Rinne is going to stop perimeter shots all night long.
  • Jimmy: I would love to see the Wings own this game in every phase of it, but the most critical claim of ownership needs to be made by one James Tiberius Howard. He’s been solid, but tonight he needs to be stellar.
  • Puck Ownership: This is just about as critical a claim of ownership that needs to be made. The puck is the property of the Detroit Red Wings tonight. It has to be. And the only appropriate storage place for it is the back of of the Nashville net.

The Wings skated yesterday but haven’t hit the ice in any fashion yet today. My guess is they’ll be optional again. Shouldn’t be any lineup changes.

Eric Furlatt and Francois St. Laurent are reffing tonight. I don’t recognize either, so I had to look them up. Furlatt’s most memorable reffing moment is when he first officiated a Red Wings playoff game. So there’s that. St. Laurent’s bio says this is his first playoff game, but that can’t be right. Right?

Game 4: Wings 1, Predators 3

The Goal: If the Wings do end up going out of the playoffs to the Predators, Nashville’s second goal last night will be the moment I’ll go back to as The Moment. In a year full of plenty of bad defensive plays, that one takes the cake. It’s honestly hard to imagine a positive way forward from there. That’s the kind of play you see during a pee-wee intermission scrimmage, not from men collectively making $14.2 million.

Not far behind it is the way three Wings flow to the left side of the ice on the Predators’ first (counted) goal.

Fruitless Dominance: The Wings owned this game territorially pretty much from start to finish. At least, they owned everything but the homeplate in the Nashville end.

And it counts for jack. Because they couldn’t crack Pekka Rinne, who they’ve turned into a composite of the NHL’s all-time goaltending greats by taking the majority of their shots from the outside. Take a look at the Ice Tracker (take out the Predators and check just the Shot box). If that doesn’t make you said, you’re a disgustingly cheery person.

The Predators were on the road to victory every minute of ice time it was tied at zero.

Zetterberg: Followed not too far back by Jimmy Howard, Z is the one Wing to consistently show up on virtually every shift so far in this series. I hope this at least shuts up his detractors. Though I will say I was pretty annoyed by the late penalty. That was unfortunate.

Quincey: Had his best game of this tour as a Red Wing. A pity it was wasted.

Lidstrom: Looked disturbingly human. I don’t want my last sight of him on the ice to be him losing the puck at the blueline. Please bring back android Nick, Nick.

I’ve Got Nothing More: I don’t know what else to say about this game. The Wings need to find a way to dominate Game 5 in a way that’s actually fruitful. Or get dominated in the same way the Predators were and squeak something out. Anything else, and they’re done. And we’ve got some big questions.