Posts tagged “Brett Lebda”

Your Morning Must-Read

Petrella has an interesting one over at TPL. Welcome to my radar, Danny DeKeyser.

Of course, we all know what happened to what I believe was the last undrafted collegiate defenseman the Wings took in, right?

On Brett Lebda

Petrella has a solid piece on Brett Lebda out today that’s a definite must-read. There’s no denying Lebda’s become a running joke around the League, but Petrella offers a nice check to taking that too far.

I always tried to be fair to Brett, taking the stance that he was screwed by having to babysit a player far more worthless: Jonathan Ericsson. He was looking like a decent enough hockey player while under Chelios’ wing, if you remember. But being the guy shoehorned into a role holding Jonny’s hand (rather than, say, a more experienced guy, as is traditional) set him up to fail big-time. And guess what? He failed and became a punchline in the ‘base.

Going to the pressure cooker-slash-fishbowl in Toronto was good for his bottom line, but not so great for his, you know, actual hockey playing. But it did offer him the chance to become a joke to fans across the League. That was hard to watch, as Megan and I always liked him.

I thought ending up in Nashville would be good for him, that he’d be sheltered some by their system and have some room to grow.

Then he got bought out. I feel bad for the guy. It’s not a great way for a career to go.

That said, he got to wear two of the most storied uniforms in hockey and won a Cup. And he still has a chance to make a comeback. Maybe he’ll find the right place for his skating ability and have a bit of a reset on his career.

In the meantime, maybe there’ll be fewer Lebda cracks around the hockey intarwebs?

See ya, Brett

Lebda’s signed with Toronto, which means the fanbase’s favorite whipping boy gets to face the glaring floodlights of Maple Leafdom. But at least he won’t have to babysit Jonathan Ericsson, so he has maybe a fighting chance of not underperforming.

I’m sure Lebda’s biggest fans have already marked March 26th down on their calendars.

Cap Talk

Update (8:17 PM): Just realized I left a hole in this post: if Lilja can’t make it back in a meaningful way, the Wings will only be about $650,000 over the cap, which means Leino’s the most likely odd-man out. The question becomes much, much easier in that case.

Easy’s good, but I can’t hope for that. I want Lilja to get back to hockey. Weber’s fists can’t be the way he goes out. - Matt

So, according to Ken Daniels last night, the Wings will be about $1.9 million over the cap assuming everyone comes back with no further injuries to anyone else.

That may be a big assumption on Lilja’s part, as he still has to prove he can take the daily grind of being a hockey player again. The projected conditioning stint in Grand Rapids is going to be hugely important and the Wings are going to have to make a decision based on a scant two weeks. Not a whole lot to go on.

Just for fun, let’s assume Lilja’s going to be healthy and everyone else is going to come back. No more injuries. Isn’t that a fun fantasy?

The Wings need to ship off some cap space, either through waivers or a trade. And I tend to agree with Daniels’ analysis that they won’t be looking to move defensemen. You can’t have too much depth at D and the guys everyone talks about, Lebda and Meech, are dirt cheap. That means two things: their movement won’t mean much and they’re a steal.

And we have a couple guys in Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves that no one wants to see shafted. So we’re looking at forwards, but, I hope, not those two.

May’s a given, I would think. But he’s only pulling in $481,865. More guys have to go. Some possibilities:

Scenario A:

May ($481,865) + Maltby ($883,333) + Leino ($800,000) = $2,165,198. (Roster: 22)

This one bothers me. I don’t care about May and Leino, who have been busts by just about any definition. Leino’s upside would normally make dumping him tough, but he’s shown so little promise in delivering that upside that I’m not attached to him in any way. I like May on a personal level and thing he’s great in front of a camera with a mic in his face. But other than that, he’s dead weight on this team. So no problems there.

It’s, predictably, the Maltby part of the equation that gets me. Maltby is a shadow of his former self. He’s no longer so integral on the PK and is nowhere near the SHed threat he once was. He’s a fourth liner at best these days. But he’s Kirk Maltby and he’s put in years of service for an organization that values that above little else. I would hate to see his career ended on anyone’s terms but his. And it should end with him as a Red Wing.

The math may work here, but if that’s not bad math, I don’t know what is. I know this is a business, but I don’t want to see the Wings become the Tigers and make decisions like that with so little regard for loyalty and character. They’ve painstakingly built a reputation as a team that takes care of its people. I think they value that reputation quite highly, given the return on investment they’ve seen, so I’d be fairly shocked if they unceremoniously dumped Maltby off.

On a tangently-related sidenote, some of my attitude over the Osgood/Howard situation comes from being surprised an organization with such a reputation of even-handedness in the veteran-to-new-guy transition has been so heavy-handed in this scenario. Anyway. Update: By the way, I’m not trying to start another Osgood/Howard debate here. My focus is the cap situation. Unfortunate toss-away comment on my part. - Matt

Scenario B:

May ($481,865) + Jason Williams ($1.5 million) = $1,981,465 (Roster: 23)

This would slide the Wings in just under the cap, presumably. And at first glance, isn’t likely. Williams is meant to be a top six guy on this team, you say. True. But they went without him for nearly half a season. You might respond that the Wings didn’t exactly tear it up in his absence, so maybe they need him. I’d say I doubt the absence of Jason Williams is the reason the Wings haven’t done better this season.

Think about it: which of the injuries was the biggest, accounting for talent and length (so, not Zetterberg)? Franzen, followed closely by Kronwall. So maybe the Wings win a few more games with Williams around, but I wouldn’t call him critical like those two. Maybe it’s highly unlikely, but this scenario has the benefit of the Wings already seeing how they might do without one of the guys. Not very well, you’d think, until you remember Franzen and Kronwall are back in the picture.

Maybe I like this scenario because I’m not a Williams fan. And maybe I like it because they’ve already traded him in the past. They may just do it again.

Scenario C:

May ($481,865) + Leino ($800,000) + Lebda ($650,000) = $1,931,865 (roster: 22)

I’m sure this is one a lot of people could get behind. Not my wife, who’s a big Lebda supporter, but all of his detractors. This one may be the most likely, which is unfortunate for those of us (Megan and I, and some others) who believe Lebda can be a strong third pairing guy given the right partner (i.e. not a rookie). I think Daniels is right and that the Wings will try not to move a defenseman, but if they are, Lebda’s salary may make bring him forward in Holland’s mind.

Scenario D:

May ($481,865) + Leino ($800,000) + Eaves ($500,000) + Miller ($413,472) = $2,195,337 (Roster: 21)

Yeah, this one’s a mixed bag, eh? Two players we’d love to be rid of and two players we’ve all grown attached to over the course of this screwball season. Two guys who’ve been bright spots through the crap. I hate this option. As I’ve already said, I want to be talking about Helm and Eaves for years to come. And Miller has really shown himself to be a great combination of incredible work ethic and surprising hand-eye coordination that has serious potential for some big goals over a career here. I really don’t want to see either of them traded or waived. Someone would claim them on the wire.

Scenario E:

May ($481,865) + Leino ($800,000) + Meech ($483,333) + Miller ($413,472) = $2,178,670 (Roster: 21)

If, as I hope, Holland finds Eaves too valuable, here’s a possibility. Of the two, Miller’s likely more expendable. And if Holland decides Lebda worth of sticking around, Meech could get the nod. I’ve felt for a while that Meech is a bit of a deadman in the organization as his development’s seemingly been mothballed and he’s been relegated to spare part status when he could have been a Quincey-level player. But he does come at a bargain-basement price and that makes him a handy asset to have.

Scenario X:

Chances are, Holland’s going to figure something out no one else thought of. That’s how he works. So in some days, this is a pointless exercise. But it’s definitely an interesting one.

Of course, it may turn out that Lilja’s can’t make it work.

What do you think?

(numbers via CapGeek).

Minor Injuries: Datsyuk, Kronwall Skip Skate; More Franzen Details

Update (4:42 PM): Datsyuk is now listed as day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury. His status for tomorrow night’s game is uncertain, but it’s possible he could be cleared to play. Babcock claims the injury is minor.

Meanwhile, Kronwall’s still expected to suit up. – Matt

Ansar Khan reports that Pavel Datsyuk and Nik Kronwall skipped practice today with what are apparently minor injuries. Datsyuk’s is “upper body” and Kronwall’s is “lower body.” Both are being tested, but both are expected to be in the lineup tomorrow.

Pavel’s injury doesn’t totally let him off the hook for his uninspiring start to the season as he sustained the injury last night, but his invisibility in Buffalo could have been due to it. Kronwall’s may explain his disappearance after a sorta decent first period, as well.

Khan also has more from Franzen on how he tore his ACL: he and Brent Seabrook collided during the Wings’ first power play Thursday. Apparently, he checked out during the following intermission, though he did put on a brace. The real pain started later. Non-catastrophic (i.e. not obvious major blow-outs) ACL tears are fun that way: sometimes you just don’t know until the next day.

He’ll be having surgery on Friday. No word yet on a more specific recovery period. That should come following the operation.

Also, Brett Lebda apparently will be allowed to venture out of the doghouse tomorrow night, though he’s sure to be on a short leash. Derek Meech will sit. Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby will be back in as well, which likely means Patrick Eaves and Brad May will sit.

Osgood will be back in net.

10/7 Lineup Update

Update (2:08 PM): Tomas Kopecky’s talking smack before the game, saying “”It’ll be fun, and more fun when we beat them.”

I include this in a lineup update post because there’s a reasonable chance he trips and breaks his clavicle or face, or tears his ACL tonight. Just in case, you know.  - Matt

Update (1:19 PM): Chris McCosky has actual quotes from Babcock on the possible fourth line change, and also puts forth Maltby’s name as a possible scratchee. - Matt

Update (1:12 PM): Also some news on the Chicago side:

Coach Quenneville after practice: Bolland and Eager out tomorrow at DET. Bolland shooting for Saturday vs. COL.

– from the official Blackhawks’ Twitter feed. - Matt

Update (1:04 PM): Turns out there is some news: Helm is definitely out (as expected), reports Ansar Khan, and Eaves might be in.

Eaves worked in on the fourth line and could replace Abdelkder, according to Khan’s speculation. I’m not sure I fully buy that they’d sit Abdelkader, to be honest, given that he’s in Detroit to play, not to sit. Maltby, the typically obvious odd man out, though, didn’t have a bad weekend and would really be getting the shaft if scratched. But his sitting would surprise me less than Abdelkader, given Babs’ history.

All that said, Khan is just going off Babcock saying he might make a change. So, there might not be one at all. - Matt

Nothing new from today’s practice, reports Bruce MacLeod. Derek Meech is still entering the lineup tomorrow night at the expense of Brett Lebda, who is taking the fall for the Wings’ 0-2 start. No other lineup changes, despite the availability of Patrick Eaves.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks may be without Ben Eager (upper body) and Troy Brouwer (lower body) tomorrow. Eager was described as questionable yesterday and Brouwer is day-to-day.

10/5 Lebda, Helm Update:

Based on this Ansar Khan report, it sounds like Chris McCosky’s speculation on Lebda’s sitting on the bench Saturday was correct.

Khan says Derek Meech will be in the lineup Thursday for Brett, and mentions nothing about any injury to Lebda. Instead, he cites Lebs’ performance over the weekend and claims he was benched in the second game. Unless Khan’s leaving something out, it sounds like Brett’s not hurt (except for his pride, presumably).

This gives Meech a chance to prove himself, which won’t be too easy given how little he’s actually played over the last year. He’s sure to get limited use.

As for Lebda, I’m not going to pretend he was stellar this weekend. He wasn’t, not by a long shot. But he’s taking a fall here a bit unfairly. He’s certainly not the reason the penalty kill sucked or the reason the power play was underwhelming.

If today’s practice units are any indication, there won’t be any other lineup changes Thursday. Except, that is, for Chris Osgood, who’ll start in favor of Jimmy Howard. Patrick Eaves is still working in on the fourth line in practice, having apparently found it difficult to beat out Kirk Maltby for a forward spot.

In other news: according to Khan, it looks like Darren Helm is still at least a game away, as he has some recovering yet to do. Abdelkader’s NHL stint will continue, unless Helm has a speedier recovery than expected this week.