Back At It

We need you guys back....pretty please?

We need you guys back….pretty please?

This weekend was busy and I was just now able to catch up on the game against Florida. It’s a little frustrating to see the whole “blow a two goal lead late in a game especially against Florida” thing pop back up but at the end of a five game home-stand against some really good teams, you had to expect a little bit of a let down. The encouraging thing about it was that Detroit was in the lead for a large portion of the game and the second period and most of the third was magnificent. Let’s jump in it!

Guys like Bertuzzi (pictured) and Cleary have been healthy scratches in favor of the "kids"

Guys like Bertuzzi (pictured) and Cleary have been healthy scratches in favor of the “kids”

Babcock, as well as pretty much everyone who has watched the Wings play the last few weeks, absolutely loves the way the “kid” line has been playing. Sheahan, Jurco and Tatar have developed quite a good bit of chemistry and are playing very well every single game. Sheahan has proven that he belongs in the NHL and has been a two way force for much of his time up. Tatar is really showing what he can do. Good Lord is this kid fun to watch. He’s like a freakin’ bulldog out there, absolutely nasty on the puck and I really don’t think I’ve seen him take a shift off all year. Jurco shows flashes of brilliance but isn’t quite “there”. However, he’s played a very steady game and, while still learning, is proving his value to this club presently, not down the line. He’s played very physical and just needs to learn how to translate his offensive genius to this level of play. It’s there, just waiting to be released. These kids, along with Luke Glendening playing very steadily, have played so well that it’s forced Babcock to sit guys like Bertuzzi and Cleary (who was actually back in the Florida game because of Zetterberg being a late scratch.) It will be interesting to see what the team does here in the next few days with its roster. Bertuzzi and Cleary both have NTCs and are unlikely to waive them to be moved, but Babcock has made it clear that he wants to play the best players and right now, that means Tatar, Sheahan and Jurco > Bertuzzi, Cleary, Samuelsson.

Quick update on injuries and transactions:

Still no update on Datsyuk but you have to figure he’s getting closer and closer. Hopefully he’ll be back in the next game or so. Andersson could be ready on Tuesday in Philadelphia, which could force Holland’s hand early on making some roster moves.

Goalie Petr Mrazek was sent back to Grand Rapids as Detroit activated Jimmy Howard from IR who is ready to start or back up in Philly. Mrazek will get good starting time in Grand Rapids as the kid has proven he’s capable of being an NHL goalie and looks set to be the back up next year.

League News:

Gustav Nyquist was named the NHL’s second star this week, scoring 6 points (4-2-6) in 4 games with Detroit going 2-1-1 over that span.

I don't....I don't understand what's happening here.

I don’t….I don’t understand what’s happening here.


Post Game and….Waivers!?

Hai guys! You watch the game last night? That was fun, right? The funny thing, and it’s definitely attributed to how this season has gone, is how Wings fans reacted to winning our 2nd straight home game for only the second or third time this year. Who are we, the Islanders? Hell, they’ve done that more often this season than the Wings have. But that’s really not the point. The Wings have put together some solid efforts in three of their last four home games. The lone calamity came against St. Louis in an effort that many players agreed to just “flush”. We’ll talk about that a bit before I have to leave again (busy life), and talk about the Wings’ waiver transaction today that I’m sure most will be happy with.

The Wings won in a really good effort against a good but sliding Montreal team. They’ve now lost three in a row and are just three points up on Detroit for third in the division. If the Wings can win against Florida on Sunday and have a good showing against Philadelphia on Tuesday, it’ll go a long way to making up lost ground. Add to that the fact that we should be getting Franzen back for the game against Florida and possibly Andersson back in the next week and hopefully Datsyuk soon, and we could get rolling soon. Weiss is due back for the first game after the Olympic break so the Wings may finally get the roster they wanted to go with all season. Anyway, the game: Zetterberg, Nyquist, Kronwall and Sheahan all tallied goals. Sheahan’s was especially impressive. Everyone in the building voided their bowels upon seeing it. It was disgusting. I’ve been getting more and more impressed with Glendening’s game. He’s not going to score much, that’s a certainty, but he honestly reminds me of a combination of Draper and Maltby, but still without the offensive acumen. He’s got really good speed and has been getting especially efficient at getting under players’ skin without playing dirty. He’s got an edge to his game and he plays a fast, hard hitting game, but nothing dirty. I’m really loving it. He just needs to work on face-offs and he’ll be good to go.

Ok, and now the moment you’ve all been waiting for……THE WAIVER TRANSACTION!

If you’re reading this you probably already know but LET ME HAVE MY MOMENT.  The Wings have placed forward Mikael Samuelsson on waivers this afternoon to make room for Johan Franzen. Samuelsson has been a healthy scratch for basically the whole year after losing his spot to Tomas Tatar around the 10th game. It’s been pretty telling, for some time, that Detroit has been calling up young guys to keep Samuelsson off the ice. The curious thing, now that they need a roster space, is they’ve opted to keep Jurco up for as long as they can and waive Samuelsson, who won’t offer anything in terms of cap relief. Because he signed a 35+ contract and the new CBA is weird about waiving players, his cap relief will only be $100 thousand so it doesn’t do anything to help our eventual cap issue, which we will have when Weiss comes off LTIR at the end of February. At any rate, I’m sure there was a joyful chorus from Wings Nation when the tweets started coming out that Detroit had waived Sammy. It was a long time coming and I hope he does get claimed, which will mean his entire cap hit comes off the books. I doubt that’ll happen, though.

Happy Saturday, guys. Enjoy your weekend and as always, GO WINGS!

Gameday Update: Here comes Alfredsson!


Quick update for tonight’s game against the Canadians:

Babcock confirms that Daniel Alfredsson will be back in the lineup, tonight, after missing 6 games with lower back spasms. The wings will definitely welcome his leadership and offensive ability.

“It’s been really good three days of skating and no issues so I’m ready to go,” Alfredsson said. “It’s always frustrating to be out and now be able to skate like I have and have no issues it feels great actually.”

Babs is excited to get him back. So are we, Mike.

“Good to have him back; we just have to keep him healthy,” said Babcock. “He’s a smart player, knows how to play. Helmer’s line struggled last game, gives him a change. Helmer, Abby and Alfredsson were good together earlier in the year. I’ve got Cleary playing with Helmer and Alfie today and ideally that’ll give us a good line.”

I guess Babs is thinking Cleary and Abby play a similar game. Similar? Yes. Same worth? No

Alfredsson has gone 3 practices real hard and hasn’t had any issues so he looks to be good to go. With Alfie taking that spot on the third line, Bertuzzi will join Samuelsson and Kindl as healthy scratches and Gustavsson is back in net, according to Babcock. The kid line of Jurco, Sheahan and Tatar remain together after having a very good showing against Chicago. Seems Jurco has earned himself some extra time with Detroit.

Here’s the lines:

Gustav Nyquist-Henrik Zetterberg-Justin Abdelkader

Tomas Tatar-Riley Sheahan-Tomas Jurco

Daniel Cleary-Darren Helm-Daniel Alfredsson

Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-Patrick Eaves

Niklas Kronwall-Jonathan Ericsson

Kyle Quincey-Danny DeKeyser

Brian Lashoff-Brendan Smith

Jonas Gustavsson (starting)

Petr Mrazek


Start of something awesome?

Helm gets the game winning shoot out goal. You didn't misread that, it happened.

Helm gets the game winning shoot out goal. You didn’t misread that, it happened.

Or is it just another “up” in a land of mountains and valleys? Yesterday, the wings managed to outplay Chicago and overcome deficits twice to win 5-4 in a shootout at JLA. Aside from nearly having a heart attack and passing out several times, the game was tremendously exciting. It was wide open at times, it was grinding at times and it was chippy at times. I laughed, they cried, and every passing car burst into flames. WINNER!

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Gameday: Chicago And The State of Things


I know that the collective of Wings fans probably woke up and rolled their eyes this morning realizing that Chicago comes to town tonight. Almost giving up and saying “here we go again”. Let’s all just be honest here, this game has the potential to be a very ugly game. But, realistically, every game has the potential to be a very ugly game. Anyone remember back in February of 09 when Detroit went to Nashville? Detroit was still a very good team and Nashville was meh, Detroit lost 8-0. I was there. It was awful. Anyway, a very good, very fast and very potent Chicago team comes to Motown and face a Red Wings team still trying to find their way through a maze of injuries and ineptitude.

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Oh no, God, why!?

Oh no, God, why!?

The day after a lopsided 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues offers an opportunity for this team to grow, learn and move on. The score wasn’t indicative of just how lopsided this was, one in which the Wings were “manhandled” if we are to take anything Babcock says seriously, which we usually do. Those eyes…..

The Red Wings will have to learn what they can and flush the rest because there’s no time to feel sorry for yourself with Chicago coming to town on Wednesday night. The Wings didn’t play fast or heavy enough, two things Babcock demands of his team. As a result, they were pushed around all over the ice. I’m not sure that anyone had a “good” game.

“Bottom line is they were better in all situations of the game,” Babcock said. “I thought they manhandled us, to tell you the truth. I don’t think we were as good tonight. My big thing here is I don’t want our group to dwell on this,” he said. “We’ve been playing well, and let’s find the positive in what we’ve been doing.”

Very few positives can be taken out of this game. One of them is they managed to convert on the power play in the first period, something they haven’t done in what seems like a decade. They then turn around and fail to convert on a minute and a half of 5-on-3 hockey. You have the usual issues: too predictable, not nearly enough movement, creativity lacking. Your standard work the point and blast a shot and hope something magical happens scenario was in full effect on the 2-man advantage. Not good enough.

howard_bluesAs stated yesterday, Jimmy Howard will be sidelined again and for who knows how long. He tweaked the same knee he hurt in December and recurring injuries are always tricky. Initial reports suggested that it might be a little while but Holland said it’s minor and day-to-day. That being said, I don’t think they’d risk throwing him back to the wolves so soon. With Gustavsson just now coming off an injury, they may turn to young Czech, Petr Mrazek, for help in goal. When he’s played this year, he’s been great, posting a 1.60 GAA while receiving very little offensive help (averaging 1.2 goals a game while Mrazek is in goal). Not the type of run support you want to give a young goalie, or any goalie for that matter.

So, the Wings can’t afford to mull this loss over for too long. They have to get back at it and figure out a way to play better and more consistent because things don’t get any easier. They’ve got to find a way, like life from Jurassic Park.

Let’s just flush that one.

That’s basically what Captainberg said. I’d have to agree with him. This is a classic example of a game in which the team just wasn’t firing on all cylinders. Or most cylinders. Or really very many cylinders at all. Good chances were few and far between and coverage in our own end was just plain sloppy. This, indeed, is one to flush away with the rest of the rubbish.

Let’s be honest here, the Wings can’t keep giving up 40+ shots a game and expect to be competitive most nights, especially with the lineup they ice every night. There is a lot of talent in the lineup right now, but most of that talent have played very little in the NHL and are still learning. On most nights, the Wings ice a team that includes 8 players who played on the Griffins Calder Cup run last summer. Half of them were meant to be in Grand Rapids all to most of this year. Injuries are a given in every season, but the amount that this team has had to contend with on a nightly basis to its top personnel is pretty unreal. Guys like Sheahan, Jurco, Glendening and Mrazek weren’t exactly counted on as regular contributors but have had to step up because of consistent injuries. This isn’t including guys like Emmerton, Eaves and Tootoo who were all waived and have been brought back up at some point. Then you have the likes of Oullet, Almquist and Marchenko who have all seen time with the big club.

On top of all of this is the fact that Jimmy Howard has apparently hurt himself again and his status moving forward is very much in doubt. Preliminary news is that he tweaked his knee, the same one he hurt in December, and is day-to-day. Although thought to be a minor injury, there’s just no telling at this point. And with Gustavsson’s status still in doubt, it appears as if Mrazek will get a few games in.

Having injuries is one thing, but it seems like every game we lose someone and get someone back, this makes for quite the problematic situation. There’s just no consistency with linemates and the lack of consistency and chemistry has shown itself time and time again. At some point, we will get our players back and, hopefully, we will have some good luck with health. Until then, the guys in the lineup will just have to suck it up and push the pace. Too cute with the puck and an unwillingness to put as much rubber at the net has given this team a consistent lack of real threat. This needs to change if this team is to make a real push to the playoffs.