Posts tagged “Notes”

On European Wings

There are a lot of takes on the Wings’ attendance problems, but none is more ridiculous than the idea that the Wings have too many “soft” Europeans. After all, the Wings have had a healthy dose of Europeans for almost 20 years, and didn’t have trouble filling seats until recently. A particularly ridiculous manifestation of the idea that there are too many Euros is the opinion that there are too many Swedes. Not surprisingly, this is an opinion held by the ultimate hockey dad (in the negative sense), Viktor Fedorov.

Reading a recent Russian interview with the man, it’s easy to attribute its incoherence to him rather than the loose translation.

Understand, the American fans appreciate action, “action.” And here they have received group of melancholic and languid Swedes yes a line [of] “driving off [to the] fair” veterans. In the country where elements of aggression are present even at children’s cartoon films, such academic hockey does not cause interest.

You have to wonder if this guy ever actually watches a Red Wings hockey game. He suggests that the team was much more rough-and-tumble when his son was here as a member of the Russian 5, with Bob Probert and Joey Kocur patroling the ice. It’s hard to argue the last point, as there is a marked difference in toughness between this team and the Probert-Kocur era teams, but it’s ludicrous to suggest that the Swedes are somehow less appealing to the bluecollar folks of Detroit than the Russians were. One of the biggest criticisms of Sergei Fedorov, for example, was that he didn’t lay it all on the line in every game or even in every shift. You would have to look very hard to find a Swede on the current Wings who takes shifts off like Fedorov did.

This goes back to the idea that the Wings’ Europeans are soft. Anyone who’s watched Tomas Holmstrom or Johan Franzen play knows they do not shy away from physical play. Ask anyone whose seen Niklas Kronwall lay out someone at the blueline whose the team’s big hitter. Talk to anyone who knows the pain Henrik Zetterberg played in last year. Sure, the team isn’t made up of a bunch of Derek Boogaards, but there are bluecollar heroes aplenty and lots of excitement to go with it. Maybe the team could use one big star to bind fans together like Steve Yzerman did, but if fans are looking for individual players to follow, they don’t have to look far. The problem with attendance in Detroit is tied much more to economic issues and a disillusionment with the Red Wings monolithic organization, not with the players themselves.

4/2 Notes

Update (2:30 PM): Helene St. James reports that Pavel Datsyuk “denies Hull’s claim,” about his relationship with Mike Babcock.

You might say, “Of course that’s what Pavel’s going to tell her. He can’t speak out against his coach now.” And that may be true. But, I’m inclined to think there’s nothing there and that if Pavel leaves, it’ll be because he’s offered more somewhere else, not because of a problem with the organization. Not that his leaving for money would be any easier to take, by the way. - Matt

… Well, I’ve got internet access again, but I haven’t got much to say today. I caught the game and was impressed with the Wings’ effort, but the most important thing about it was the fact that the win put them three points ahead of Nashville with three games left for both teams. That’ll be a tough lead for the Predators to overcome unless the Wings totally fall apart this week.

Dave at Gorilla Crouch has a good game recap posted. He was also interviewed by Christy for her Behind the Blog series.

… Anyone notice that the commentators for the game yesterday on NBC spent very little time actually calling the plays? It seemed to me like a group of guys getting together to have a few beers and talk about everything but what was going on down on the ice. Now, for a long-time fan, that’s okay because I don’t need a play-by-play man to interpret the game for me, but for a new fan or someone just flipping through the channels, I don’t they’re interested in three guys gaffawing at Brett Hull zingers.

… Speaking of Brett Hull, the man spoke out of his rear end yesterday and proclaimed Pavel Datsyuk won’t be returning to Detroit next season. Apparently, he has a problem with Mike Babcock. This coming from the man who never got along with a coach in his life. Hmm. Well, we’ll see what happens, Brett.

As IwoCPO’s readers have pointed out, Datsyuk is building a house in Birmingham, he has a leadership position on one of the league’s elite teams, plays with one of the best young players in the game in Henrik Zetterberg, and has chances to win that he wouldn’t have in a place like Washington. I think Pavel wants to be back in Detroit, but I admit his chances aren’t so great as long as he gives his agent, Gary Greenstin, such a free hand in negotiations. That guy could very well ruin all.

… Writing on the new AOL Fanhouse NHL blog, Eric McErlain has a question about a player who, as his wandering habit has become more pronounced, has become a little bit of a concern for me over the past couple weeks: Dominik Hasek. Eric asks whether or not Dom is the Wings’ weakest link and points out that he has the save percentage of Olaf Kolzig. Eric’s right, one of the ugly truths about Dom this year has been his save percentage, and his corresponding penchant for giving up a backbreaking goals in the midst of strong defensive efforts by his teammates.

Still, I don’t know that you can necessarily call Dom the Wings’ weakest link. He is a goalie who thrives when he is busy and the downside of the Wings’ system is that he’s often spending long stretches of the game bored. However, when the defense isn’t so good and he is getting work, he’s generally been very good. So, when the defense isn’t playing up to snuff, Hasek generally covers for them, and vice versa. It just gets ugly when neither are playing well.

I think, in some backwards sort of way, the thinning of the Wings’ defense may be a good thing for Hasek, as he’ll see more action, and thus be less bored and prone to wandering.

If you’re looking for a weakest link, look at Robert Lang or Andreas Lilja.

… Eric also answers a question of Paul Kukla’s about a former Red Wing, one of the best ever to wear the Winged Wheel. Couldn’t agree more, Eric.

3/18 Notes

… The Wings blew their Division/Conference/League lead last night when they lost 4-1 to Vancouver while Nashville and Jordin Tootoo were beating up Dallas to win 3-2.

I missed the first period, which I see was penalty-ridden, but I got to see the second and third periods and it didn’t seem much better. I haven’t got much more to say, except that they need to stay out of the box better than that. When they’re getting bench minor penalties for having six players not just on the ice, but in the zone playing, something’s wrong. They were obviously not on top of the mental game.

Anyway, if you didn’t read the liveblog from last night, read it now.

… I had a reason to mention Tootoo above and the reason is this:

For that disgusting example of disrespect, Tootoo was given a roughing penalty while Robidas was called for charging. Did I mention that Robidas had to be carted off the ice on a stretcher? No? Oh. Well, he did. How, exactly, does that work?

Now, Barry Trotz obviously isn’t going to throw his own player under the bus, but his defense of Tootoo sickens me:

“Toots obviously hit their top player, and the current response in hockey is someone has got to get over there and defend your honor. Robidas was really charging at Toots, and he just reacted. I give him a lot of credit – he kept his gloves on.”

“The current response in hockey”? That’s how it’s always been, Trotz. Robidas was going in to defend Modano, which is exactly what he should have done.

I’m not convinced Robidas was technically charging, but all Tootoo had to do was sidestep it or absorb it (Robidas wasn’t going that fast). If he had a chance to swing, he had a chance to step aside instead. I don’t know what condition Robidas is in, but had Tootoo had a chance to drop his glove, Robidas might have been seriously injured. Oh, and Tootoo would probably have a broken hand, so I guess Trotz is right to give him credit for that.

Robidas obviously has a concussion, but it doesn’t seem like the League is looking at a suspension. If there isn’t some kind of disciplinary action, the League is going to look incredibly stupid. That kind of stuff has no place in the game, whether it’s Tootoo or anyone else doing it. The kid’s had a red-letter week, that’s for sure.

… Apparently, this is the week that Todd Bertuzzi will return to the ice. He’s had a number of pain-free practices and should be good to go Thursday or Saturday. I’m definitely looking forward to it. I want to see what he’ll do for us in the Winged Wheel.

3/10 Notes

Helene St. James reports that Johan Franzen is day-to-day with the upper body injury that forced him to leave the game last night. Either no one has been called up to replace him in the lineup, or the AHL transaction page hasn’t been updated (as of 9:37 AM). I suppose that they’re waiting to see if Tomas Holmstrom really will be able to return tomorrow. If not, they’ll need another body.

Both Ted Kulfan and St. James elaborate on the reason Danny Markov sat out last night: he had upper body soreness that hadn’t gone away and needed to rest. According to Kulfan, the team isn’t sure when he’ll be back.

According to the Boston Globe, Former Red Wing goalie Joey MacDonald will play today, but will sit tomorrow when the Bruins come to visit the Wings. Joey has assumed the role of the #2 man in Boston and has been getting regular starts. (via. Snapshots)

… Both Detroit papers (Freep and News) have pieces on the Wings’ reaction to the Chris Simon incident of the other night.

All I’ll say about it is Simon should have thrown off his gloves if he thought Hollweg’s hit was questionable (which I think it was, honestly). There’s no excuse for what he did, I don’t care how fuzzy his head was after having it planted into the glass. It was an impulsive attack and one instantly regretted, I’m sure, but he ought to have the book thrown at him.

… Lastly, a correction: apparently, Matt Ellis’ son is named Haeden Matthew Ellis, not Matthew Hayden. (via Kulfan and St. James)

3/5 Notes

Update (6:17 PM): TSN reports that the Wings have called up Darryl Bootland to fill in for Tomas Holmstrom. On the surface, that could make things interesting tomorrow night, when the Predators are in town, but I think it’s more likely Booter will be on a short leash. Mike Babcock is not his biggest fan. - Matt

… The Wings lost 4-3 in overtime to the Avs yesterday in one of their most uninspiring performances of the year. They looked completely flat through two periods, and though they got it going in the third period, the outcome never really seemed in doubt. Just a bad game overall, for just about everyone. The Avs’ game-winner was a the Wings’ performance in a nutshell: uncharacteristic mistakes by normally reliable players, on which Colorado easily capitalized.

Other than that, I haven’t really got a lot to say about it. See Gorilla Crouch, who’s always got good, succinct game reactions, and Abel to Yzerman, whose post I actually agree with completely, for once, if you want more.

… More great news, which actually didn’t come from the game: according to Ansar Khan, Tomas Holmstrom will be out for a couple games with an upper-body injury sustained during the third period of the Chicago game Friday night (remember how he left the game with six minutes left?). He played through it yesterday, but is now listed as day-to-day. Babcock told Khan on Saturday that there were no injuries during the game the night before. Hmm.

A forward will be called up from GR, but the wire doesn’t list anyone yet.

… Khan also says Dominik Hasek is due back later this week, which means he’ll miss tomororw’s game against the Predators, but could be back Friday night to play the Kings.

1/29 Notes

Update (7:40 PM): … Ansar Khan, easily the most accessible Wings writer, has published a blog post in response to a claim by a certain St. Louis hockey media personality that the Red Wing lockerrom is at the point of revolt against Mike Babcock (see A2Y for details). Read the whole thing. – Matt

… The Wings beat the Avs yesterday, 3-1, and ended their losing streak. I wasn’t able to watch the game, so I can’t do a write-up on it, though it sounds like it was a bit more lopsided than the score indicates. Though the Wings outshot Colorado 41-12, they only led by a goal until Kirk Maltby scored at 18:54. It was a good thing Kirk put one in the net, though, as one of the Wings’ goals was disputed, a Tomas Holmstrom marker at 14:02. There wasn’t conclusive evidence to turn it over so the goal stood and the Avs aren’t happy, though Joe Sakic was sober enough to realize it didn’t matter in the end because his team lost the game for themselves.

Anyway, the Wings can now go to Long Island with a win behind them and perhaps build up some momentum for the stretch run.

… A big thank-you to the Avs for being so lethargic yesterday. It meant Dominik Hasek didn’t have to exert himself too much in his return to the lineup after getting over the flu. 12 shots? I know the Wings have one of the best defenses in the league, but 12?

… That’s all for now. I feel completely out of it since I missed the game. I’ll probably update this post throughout the day, but I have to go to class in a few.

1/25 Notes

… Drew Sharp’s bi-, tri-, or whatever-monthly piece on hockey is out today and this time he’s spouts off on how the Wings need to acquire Peter Forsberg and how they need to do it whatever cost. Sharp believes that even Forsberg at 60% on the third line would be the answer to the Wings’ playoff question (in my opinion, if he comes here and is on the third line, there’s a problem). What about Forsberg at 0%? With that ankle problem, the man might not even finish the season.

The Wings have taken a risk on Dominik Hasek, another player with health questions, and have been successful so far. However, it cost them very little to go with Hasek and his health issue is entirely preventable. With Forsberg, they’d have to give up a lot to acquire him only to inherit his chronic ankle problems and have to hope some kind of solution can be found, even though there probably isn’t one.

Forsberg is an incredible competitor and will play if he can, but what if he can’t? This isn’t about throwing around money, like it was with Hasek. It’d be about throwing around the team’s present and future, as someone from the current roster and someone in the system plus a draft pick would have to go.

Say he comes to Detroit and is able to play. Great, but in the end, Forsberg will be gone this summer, especially if he ends up having a great finale and postseason. The Wings wouldn’t be able to hold on to him, whether because he’d retire or because he’d sign elsewhere. Would it be worth it? If the Wings win the Cup, of course the answer is “yes,” but not otherwise.

… Some more thoughts on the new jerseys after seeing them during the All-Star Game:

Given that the league is serious about these things, they need to start thinking about implementing an equipment change as well. The shoulder pads, especially, are too big and make the players look like they’re suiting up for the Colts or Bears.

The jerseys are too tight around the forearm.

If the League was trying to elminate individualist uniform cues a la the No Fun League, they failed. Everyone looked neat and clean before the game, but within minutes of the puck dropping, the jerseys of certain players had somehow ridden up over their pants and straps were flapping in the wind.

Other than that, they looked fine, for the most part, though the East All Stars’ jerseys were painfully white.