Red Wings Rollin’

The Kids keep going

Well, it’s been a while. Since we’ve seen this level of  play from the Wings, since I’ve posted anything, and since I thought Babcock and Abdlekader should go somewhere else. How bout we take a quick look at how things have changed and what’s been happening.

Rewind to the off season, July thru…pre-pre-season? Is that a thing. It is now. There was a lot of distaste in my heart surrounding my beloved Wings. No real moves were made, Cleary was re-signed, everyone was talking about bringing Alfie back, fans screaming for Mantha to make yet-again over committed roster. Looking at our line-up at that time, I thought things looked bleak. Our defense was best described as “meh” and our forwards looked like there would be scoring issues, with Babcock making the lines.

However, then, my negative outlook started to get more positive, as Babcock allowed youth to flourish. Giving faith and opportunity to the young forwards, desiring young defensemen like Oullet and Sproul make the lineup. Unfortunately, he didn’t get the defensemen he wanted, but there was still hope that Babcock stopped his hatred of anyone under 33 years of age.

Fast forward 10 games into the season…

The Red Wings defense and goaltending was performing better than anyone expected. Looking solid. The penalty kill on fire, and things back there looked very good, promising more than most die-hard fans could have hoped for. However good the defense played, we couldn’t score enough to win a game. It felt like every game we went into overtime. Our forwards looked like how it was feared, unable to score consistently. Datsyuk and Helm were in injury trouble, and Nyquist was our only shining star. Franzen peeked his head out for a second there somewhere, but then disappeared again, as he does. Tatar, Sheahan, and Jurco were struggling not just to score, but to even make a difference. Our power play was laughable, and no one knew what the heck they were doing out there in the slightest. Then, in the midst of it all, something broke.

Looking at it now, over my plate of crow, I think it was…this is hard to admit for me…Abdlekader…that started it all. He started playing well. Very, very well, actually, far better than I thought he could. Tatar found the net and didn’t stop. Sheahan seemed to wake up. Helm and Datsyuk got healthy again, eventually. Then the Wings power play snapped and figured out what they are doing, and are now one of the best teams in the NHL on the power play.

When Datsyuk and Helm came back, they started scoring and improving everyone around them. Weiss finally paid someone in an alley for a new groin, and he immediately started lighting the lamp. Now, with our lines forwards scoring, our defense holding on, the Wings are in the top 5 of the NHL. We have 3 potent scoring lines, like our Cup years. The fourth line is chipping in offensively and smother teams defensively, and Babcock is able to, and actually does, trust them to play in every situation of every game. Just like our Cup years. I’m not making predictions here. I’m simply here to say that I have been proven wrong by Babcock this year. And I’m loving it.

I credit Babcock’s change of heart when it comes to youth, and Datsyuk’s ability to keep his youth, for our successes. Not to mention the continued good play of our defense.

Look at these lines and tell me they are not drool-worthy

Nyquist-Zetterberg-Jurco

Tatar-Datsyuk-Helm

Franzen-Sheahan-Weiss

Miller-Glendening-Andersson

Cleary/Abdelkader

In conclusion: Gatoraide cures hangovers.

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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Indecision 2013

Comedy Central maaaaay sue us, but whatever, it’s not an election year. Hey, did you guys see what Cowboy posted the other day? Pretty good stuff, right? Except for his nonsensical fancy for Sammy over Beardtuzzi. I’m going to offer my rebuttal to Cowboys post about who stays and who goes. I think he’s pretty right on about a lot of it, but I have a few changes I’d like to see vs what i think will actually happen.

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Holy 2-1 Lead, Batman!

Even Adam West would be surprised at what has transpired, and that man was surprised by nothing…ever. Unless you’re just the most intense of homers, Red Wings fans didn’t see this series being at this point right now. Would this be an accurate assumption? I know I didn’t see it being here. Call it blasphemy, but I figured the Hawks would take it in 6 games. I just call it being realistic. Now, being three games into this series, fans find themselves wondering what exactly has happened, here. The answer isn’t simple, but it sure is fun!

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Raise your hand if…..

…you expected any of that to happen? I know some people picked the wings to win, but to win in the way they did, after losing one of their best d-men and having to play with players who haven’t played on defense in a month. What a gritty, awe-inspiring, cry in your sleep because you’re so proud win.  I am proud of what they did. More importantly, I’m proud of the players who we needed to step up, stepping up and putting on their big boy pants and making it happen.

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Home stretch

Roughly 20 or so games left for the rest of the season, so we are going to take a bit of a look at what’s going on in the world of red and white winged wheels.

On a very up to date note, the wings have acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey. He was actually drafted by Detroit and brought up in the system. He’s skilled, big-ish and has lots of upside. He didn’t play much for us because we had a very deep and good blue line. His future in the league was in doubt and the wings waived him at the start of the 08-09 season. He was picked up by Los Angeles in a move that would fast track his career. He got good minutes as a top 4 defenseman and was eventually traded to Colorado. All we lost in the deal was a first round pick and a defense prospect who never would have seen Detroit.

In case you’ve been loving under a hockey rock, the wings have tied, broken and then destroyed the NHL record for consecutive home wins. Currently sitting at 23 with Vancouver coming to motown on Thursday. The closest was 20 shared by the bruins and flyers from like 37 years ago. Apparently 21 wasn’t enough, we had to humiliate the record and make it sit in the corner. I’m fine with that. I hope we don’t lose for the rest of the year at home. We need it seeing as we are very pedestrian on the road.

The wings currently sit atop the NHL standings despite a loss last night and having played more games than most. This may be hard to keep as the loss of arguably the best player in the league, Pavel Datsyuk, will be tough. He’s not the entire team but he is the straw that stirs the drink, that’s for sure.

This, IMHO, points out a glaring need for another top 6 player. Apparently we are still looking for a bottom 6 sandpaper guy with experience but we have 100 of those, just without the experience, either with us or who can fill in from the minors. Sure we have highly skilled prospect Gustav Nyquist but if Pavel, Zetterberg, Filppula or Franzen go down in the playoffs, we are forced to either out Nyquist in the too 6 or bump up a guy like Cleary or Abdelkader, which makes no sense. In our top 6 we have only 4 legitimate top 6 players, so a loss of one of those and you’re relying on someone to over achieve, and I’m not down with that.

So, the stretch is here, the trade deadline is 5 days away and things are getting exciting.

Until next time.