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SpikeDDS

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Everything posted by SpikeDDS

  1. @yave1964 I think AA must read HF! Three goals in the next two games? Coincidence? I think not! ;-D And just in case it’s true—Hey Larkin! If you’re reading this, a hat trick would be a really good idea!
  2. OK. I over sold it in the title. But Andreas Athanasiou gets more golden opportunities than any other Red Wing. But they guy has forgotten how to finish. If I was AA, I would try to “recharge” by practicing breakaway moves every chance I could get after practice! First Draper. Then Helm. Now AA? We always seem to have a speedster who is lightning fast, but doesn’t know how to fiiish. Well, AA is better than the first two, but he is also better than he is showing right now. Whaddya gotta do as a coach to get him going again?
  3. Another couple of games here where we played pretty well—in last night’s game against the Canucks, I thought we played DARN well almost all game—but lost leads in the third period and ended up losing close games. You can see the frustration is getting to them in their post game interviews. And I understand it. It’s frustratibg as a fan to watch a game like that. Certainly, our 3rd period was our worst one, but it’s not like we played too badly. And we DOMINATED the first two periods! There was a LOT of O-zone time. But Markstrom was huge, and stopped a lot of pucks. We should have been ahead by 3 goals. But we weren’t, and you could almost feel it coming. Blash sat Cholo last night. He’s been quiet on the score sheet of late, and his +/- has been dropping. I like the move for a night. Hopefully it motivates him. I’ll give Blash credit. He uses the press box better as a tool than Babs did in general. (He does have a younger team, so it’s somewhat different, but still.) What’s tough as a fan is that they aren’t sucking, but they aren’t winning! I expected us to suck. And if you look at our record, we do! But I expected us to suck because we would t be able to compete. I expected far more unwatchable hockey. Not that there has not been some. There have certainly been some unwatchable games, and even more so, unwatchable periods. But this season has been FAR better hockey than last season, but it’s hard to tell by the results. I have to be honest and say I’m struggling with it a bit. Last year, I stopped watching as many games. I actually thought about not buying the annual NHL.TV subscription. But I did buy it, and I’ve watched a lot more this year than last. They’ve played better...for the most part. The old saying that if you keep playing good hockey, the results eventually come, are we breaking that? It sure feels like it! And then I saw the article on Zadina. Not close to ready. He had a bad WJHC (1 assist in 5 games). He hasn’t scored in several games. And he has the team’s WORST +/-. HE’S DEFINITELY not ready! And I was hoping that I would be able to see him play once we dump some of our veteran talent at the deadline. However, the article reminded me that with the 2021 expansion draft coming, if Zadina plays 10 NHL games this season, he will need to be protected in the draft. So if the Wings are smart, I won’t be able to watch him play but 9 games toward the end of the season. I CERTAINLY don’t want the Wings to expose him. That would be dumb. But it does mean that as a fan, I’m not seeing what I was thinking I was going to see this season AT ALL! It’s frustrating right now, but for different reasons than I expected.
  4. @yave1964 And I AM grateful that Vanek has upped his game of late. Might as well maximize our deadline assets. I hope all of our potential dealables play their guys out and get dealt to real contenders for solid draft picks. I’m drinking to that!
  5. @yave1964 I hadn’t actually noticed that we had dropped that far! LUGHES FOR HUGHES!! ;-D (Might even change my sig line to that!)
  6. No doubt! Had they stayed healthy—even 2 of the 3—I would have been eating my own words on my preseason expectations for this team.
  7. @yave1964 I was just saying the very same thing to my brother after last game, though I included DDK in the discussion also, as he contributed 2 good assists in his first game back. I do think you can single Green out a bit more, but DDK’s contributions don’t always show on the scoresheet. But the difference between the Red Wings as a whole when we have any or all of our top 3 veteran D-men on the ice is obvious. Without them, at times we are just plain awful, especially defensively. How many stupid, easy giveaway goals did we allow in their absence? Even in some games where we otherwise played pretty well? The biggest difference I see is that we are not giving up multiple easy goals. When we spot opposing teams 2-3 goals, even if we play great hockey, odds are we are losing those games...and we DID! It’s really about structure. Green and DDK help maintain a structure that allows more chance-taking, because there is someone else behind you in case there’s a steal. For a young offense like we have, that’s critical, because youth, even Larkin—who is without a doubt our best skater on most nights—will make bad judgment calls as they learn to adapt to the pace of the NHL game. The importance of this cannot be overestimated. And the offensive numbers just reflect that in addition to Green’s deft playmaking ability. He is our best D-man, and the most critical difference between when we have gone 1-7-2 and when we have competed like a low-seed playoff team. And of our best players, he’s the one we should hang onto the most. I don’t think I want him dealt at the deadline. We need him as these kids figure out who they are, and as the Wings organization figures out what they really have in them.
  8. @yave1964 I would think we would be quite fortunate to get a second for Abby. Third is much more realistic in my view. But I also don't see KH letting go of him. He was given term which, to me, sounds like they think he's at least part of "the future." <sigh> More in response later.
  9. Well lookee here. For several games, we look bad again. And when we don't look bad, we still don't win. Over the weekend, we started getting some of our wounded players back. Helm comes back. Scores in his first game back. Mantha returns and scores a very nice goal on individual effort in his second game back. But more importantly, we look better as a hockey team. Mike Green came back, and he did look a bit like he's not up to game pace, but over the next few games, I think that will improve. Even against Washington--a team that CLEARLY has far more talent than we do, we stayed with them until they took over in the third and won. We are not a Cup-competing team. We are not even a playoff-competing team. But we are playing well enough to make a game with Washington interesting, when we have a full squad, or close. But our hockey is still improved over how we were playing, say, 8 games ago. It was getting unwatchable again. And now it isn't. We are playing better. It is easy to judge Blashill because we are losing games, but the fact is that we just don't have the talent yet. And when you have injuries like we have had, it's tough to compete and look like a decent hockey team. The young talent is there, but it still needs more development to achieve closer to their potential on a fairly consistent basis. I DO think that Ras needs to play more minutes. I would rather him develop his net-front skills now, even if it is done in losing efforts. He can't do it if he doesn't play much. IF the objective is to develop the talent of these young players and get them playing better--and yes, that means that winning games is NOT the most important thing, because you have to do the playing better thing FIRST in order to win more consistently--then you actually have to PLAY the young players and let them figure things out. But when our players return, we DO look like a better hockey team. Still lacking in talent, but better. And if you judge Blashill on how we play, you have to give him credit for when we play well as well as judging him when they suck. They did suck. He deserved blame for that. They are playing better now. He gets credit for that too. I almost wish we would either really suck or compete and not go back and forth, especially in conjunction with our injuries. It makes it harder to judge whether Blash's coaching is bad enough to warrant dismissal vs. having insufficient talent making competing in this league very difficult to do, if not impossible. It IS frustrating when we have a period like the first period against Washington, where we look like a VERY good hockey team. But to think we can maintain that level of play consistently with the roster we have is probably a foolish thought at this point. Do you blame lack of developed talent or coaching for our inconsistency?
  10. Filip Zadina was sent to play for the Czech Republic in the World Juniors. The idea was to let him gain confidence, hopefully scoring a bunch of goals. And the good news is that he was successful in that department. 7 goals in 7 games, 4 on the PP. I just hope he can bring that confidence back home to GR and start really tearing it up.
  11. Aaaaand I feel like to total idiot. I was looking at LAST year's numbers. This year: 5 games. Total of 1 assist. Juniors did NOT meet the objective! I was wondering, as when I watched what I could, they weren't highlighting him. I was asking, "Why aren't you highlighting a guy who has scored 7 goals in 7 games?!" Because he didn't even score ONE! Bad news, not good. <sigh>
  12. @yave1964 Did you see Helmer's goal last night? I don't really see Helm as a finisher. IMHO the lack of knowing how to finish is Helm's greatest disappointment. But that goal last night was pretty. I hope it boosts his confidence and that more will follow. He and AA, together, make a complete, fast player. Both are fast skaters. One knows how to finish but is more of a defensive liability. The other is more defensively responsible but doesn't know how to finish as well. I wish we could put both of these players together in one body...or even three! The two together almost sound like Larkin! ;-D
  13. @yave1964 I think I jumped ship on KH a little before you did, IIRC. And the reason was that I saw that keeping the playoff streak alive was hurting the team long-term. KH, instead of giving up trying to keep the streak alive, chose to try to resuscitate what we had by adding “that one piece” to try to make us “competitive.” Of course, that word “competitive” meant just enough to make the playoffs, the last year or two with losing records. The result was the sacrifice of five years worth of young talent for these “rentals.” When Jarnkrok went, I knew we would be regretting that in a few years. I think having Datsyuk join the kids for a year would be fun. Three words for Kenny Holland though: One. Year. Deal.
  14. @rottenrefs I would like to point out one thing that makes using the Dallas/Wild comparison somewhat unfair. Dallas was moved during an era where you could buy teams. It was pre-cap. Being a GM trying to build a winner with a pre-cap system is VERY different than trying to do it under the salary cap...unless you are the Golden Knights who were given WAY to much leverage as a new team entering the league. They didn't "build" anything. They were handed a situation where they had only themselves to blame if they couldn't make a competitive team within a year or three. Kenny Holland was a MUCH better GM pre-cap than he has been under the cap. Yes, he succeeded at first when the cap started, but that's because his team was already built pre-cap. He has had a lot of trouble trying to rebuild it, and has repeatedly made the mistake of overpaying current players and giving to long a term to others. Of course, having an owner who was willing to spend beaucoup de bucks pre-cap made being a GM a LOT easier. I guess what I'm saying is that you have to know WHEN and HOW to spend under the cap. If you can build a team from within your own system, you are probably either the Buffalo Sabres, the Edmonton Oilers, or the Toronto Maple Leafs. These teams have benefitted from sucking at the right times and, in Edmonton's case, getting lucky in the draft lottery multiple times. I like how the Preds were built. I like how the Lightning were built. A lot from the inside. But knowing, selectively, when to and when not to spend is key. When to cut your losses might be even more key. Even Yzerman had to deal with the Drouin situation, and I think he did it quite well. To Holland's credit, he was able to dump Pavel Datsyuk's cap hit and we've come out a better team as a result. We just discussed this in the RW forum. It's not all about numbers. It is about talent evaluation and prediction. In today's cap world, this may be THE most important aspect of GM-ship. If you can't, with reasonable success rate, predict the development of talent well, you WILL SUCK as a GM. I might also add balancing and timing of retaining talent vs. developing talent from within. It's tough to balance creating a team where good play is rewarded...unless everybody plays well. Because you can't afford to reward everybody. There is skill in knowing how/when to let go of older talent and replacing it with younger talent. There is error in both directions--you can try to keep older guys too long in thanks for their contributions, but you do so risking the loss of young talent. See the Detroit Red Wings of the last decade or the Chicago Blackhawks of late. OTOH, you can cut too many second-tier players too soon, and prevent your team from ever gelling. At some point ya gotta cut the cord of some players that is gonna hurt both sides some for the long-term benefit of your franchise without tarnishing the reputation of your brand. This is what Yzerman did so well.
  15. I'll do you one better: I hope he scores 4...and the USA scores 6 to win 6-4.
  16. @yave1964 We liked this deal the moment it was announced. Of course the picks had to be solid, and they were. Kenny Holland was on our poop lists at that time, but both of us recognized that that trade was GM magic. Kenny has done some good things since that move. It had been a long time prior to that move that he had done ANYTHING. Note that this does not mean I’m not ready for Stevie Y to take the GM chair and for KH to be “promoted” to.VP of Somethingorother. But his more recent moves have made the waiting more bearable.
  17. @Hockey Junkie Certainly, our defensive mistakes, more than any other issue, will be what prevents us from contending. We have the offensive skills on hand to compete for a playoff spot. Our goalies have both played more than well enough to warrant a playoff position. Our Achilles heel is and will be the learning of and commitment to playing responsibly on the defensive side of the puck while maintaining offensive pressure and skills. This will take some players longer than others to grasp. Vanek is probably not the best example for our young players in THIS regard. In fact, after Zetterberg retired, it left a void in our veteran staff for a player who is a serious offensive threat who also plays a consistently solid two-way game. Nielsen may be the closest thing we have in our forward corps, but his offensive threat is nowhere near “elite.” Truthfully, the player who best emulates this is...Dylan Larkin. He is now the example to follow. The stats confirm this. No one on our team is as well-rounded at such a high level as he. Green is good for Cholo though. But even Green can get caught forward at times. But on the D side, Green is about as good an example at present (Tip o’ the hat to Kronner for his past play) of a two-way D-man. Oh, Dekeyser is an example of a relatively solid defensively-minded D-man, but not nearly as much puck movement or distribution as we had hoped. The only players that I might say are elite two-way players are Larkin, Green, and maybe AA. There are solid guys like Nielsen, and guys like Nyke and Vanek who are better on the offensive side with some defensive deficiencies, but the very young will have to look more to the young for examples of two-way play than to the true vets.
  18. @yave1964 The reason I didn’t pick Larkin is that his play has pretty much been consistent from Day 1. It wasn’t like suddenly after 10 games he turned it up a notch. He has played up a notch since the beginning. i do think the return of the veteran D-men is a good choice I neglected to add. That’s a good thought.
  19. @Podein25 Relative weakness. It came at just the right time to allow our young players a few games to figure out what they have to do and gain enough confidence to encourage them to play better. They ARE playing better overall. But in the first 10 games, they would play well for 20 minutes, but were anywhere from mediocre to dreadful the other 40. Had we started playing better against top-tier teams, we would have played well...and still lost. Tough for young players to build momentum without W’s. This isn’t to belittle the improvement in our game. What the weak schedule did was allow us to increase the speed of our gaining confidence more than it otherwise would have been, even had we played the same.
  20. Hasek redefined how his position could be played. No one had ever seen anyone do it like him successfully. That is when your play "transcends the game." This is why, though a red-bleeding Red Wing fan through-and-through, I still put Bobby Orr above Nick Lidstrom as the greatest D-man of all time. Orr redefined what a defenseman could do, even leading the league in scoring! No one had ever seen anything like him before (or since, really). He changed the role of what D-men can be expected to do forever. He changed the game. Hasek wasn't quite as transcendent as Orr was, but enough to get him in the HOF for sure. Goalies following him are expected to be much more athletic and mobile AS WELL as being in good position as much as possible, more like Roy or Brodeur. Again, he changed how the position is played. He changed hockey.
  21. @Hockey-78 Not a big fan here either. The Red Wings have a recent history of being too loyal to their own players, rewarding them with either too much $, too much term, or both in order to retain them. There is a noble side to this, of course. It is nice that a franchise shows that they will reward players for achievement. The trouble is that the bar for achievement is lower than it should be, which has resulted in several contracts which make obtaining talent difficult. Helm. Abdelkader. Tatar (thankful that we were able to shed that one!). Nyquist. Dekeyser. I'm probably forgetting one or two others. Oh yeah, Dan Cleary, another example. This only adds to guys like Kronwall and Ericcson who are on the ends of their too-long terms. Kronner may have actually earned his, but that doesn't mean it still doesn't hurt now. Had Howard not turned his game around in the last 2 1/2 seasons, I might have added Howard to that list. I probably still can, but he is at least earning most of it now with his more recent play. Another reason for so many of these is that we didn't have good alternative options for replacing them if they walked away a the time their contracts were up. We didn't have youth that were ready to play at the NHL level, and we couldn't afford to pay someone on the FA market with similar skill level. Finally, and this goes back a few years, but still matters now, some of these contracts were the result of trying to maintain the playoff streak instead of cutting some losses and starting the rebuilding process, so we wouldn't be non-competitive for as many seasons as we will be. So Abby's contract? Just one of many that make me <sigh> and say, oookaaayyy. As @yave1964 said, he's not bad. He's just not worth what we are paying him. After the game Tuesday night, he was being lauded for "the perfect screen." Abby mentioned Tomas Holmstrom's name, saying he learned from watching Homer. Uh, maybe you watched him, but so did I, and Justin, you are not Homer. Delusions of grandeur if he thinks so. It was one screen. One. Homer did these in his sleep.
  22. @Hockey Junkie There is no doubt in my mind with the young talent you guys now have that this is the most exciting hockey you guys have watched in at least a decade. Good for you guys! Hasek was a delight to watch. Kinda like watching Barry Sanders in the NFL. You never knew when he would pull off the most unbelievable play, but it WAS coming, eventually. Hasek was like that. He redefined a new way that good goalies can be.
  23. @Hockey Junkie Which is why I did this: As compared with other, more historic, and more successful franchises, the list is pretty short. Not non-existent. Out of curiosity, how many of those listed are in the HOF as Sabres? Seriously asking. Not mocking.
  24. @Hockey Junkie Well, that’s why some of have left the door open a crack. @radoran said it short and sweet, and the odds are he is right. If I’m placing a bet right now on whether Vanek makes the HOF, my money’s on NO, and it’s a pretty safe bet. He should, without a doubt, have his number retired in Buffalo. On the Sabre’s list of career All-Stars, he’s on it. It’s a relatively short list though. And I’m not saying that as a poke (OK, a little ), as much as I’m saying it as fact. But there are few journeymen who made the HOF without, at some point of their career, being an integral part of a Cup winner or a “dynasty.” On the national level, being on a team that makes a few Conference Finals in a row, but falling short each time, isn’t all that compelling. He’s got the goal numbers. But I think the list of questions above is a good list, and honestly, there aren’t too many yesses. Not zero. But not as compelling as it needs to be. As it stands, and very likely WILL stand.

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