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Defensive Breakdown


WingNut722
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The Red Wings are currently riding a three-game skid, mostly due to the defensive breakdown. Last night's game against the Wild only served to reinforce that point. No short-handed goals yesterday, but then again, the Wings have allowed the most of any team this season (so it was a nice change of pace). But the scoring opportunities,and particularly the breakaways they allow are disgusting. I stopped counting the breakaways after I got to six.

The Red Wings have always utilized a strategy of integrating their defensemen into the offensive play. Many times, you'll see a blueliner grinding out a board battle in the corner, and up to this point it's helped them score more goals and be as successful as they have been. The trick is that the blueline needs to be covered. Younger defensemen are pushing the offense but still need to be aware of their responsibilities at the point. It's also possible that the younger/newer forwards to the Red Wings aren't accounting for an empty blueline when the defense works its way down low. Opponents are seeing that and their planting a speedy forward up high for a clearing attempt and huge breakaway. If Clutterbuck had decent accuracy last night, that score would have been a lot more embarrassing.

The Wings need to figure this out and it's probably best done by instilling a bit more discipline into each player as to exactly when they can aggressively approach the offense or when they should hang back and guard the point.

The funny thing is that the press don't ever see/say anything about this. They have always attributed the Wings' mediocre performance to the absence of Lidstrom and Holmstrom on the power play. While it's true, and the lousy special teams don't help, it's certainly not the only fundamental issue with their game approach.

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@WingNut722 The Wings are still being haunted by lack of scoring depth. In recent days, Babcock has taken steps to address that problem in practise. They have broke up Datsuyk, Zetts and Brunner and made a line of Fippula, Zetts and Brunner....I expect those guys to be on the same line come next game. They desperately need production out of Fippula, so this seems like a last ditch effort to jump start his production. Valleri has been called out for lack of production and tenactiy by Babcock in recent days, so if this does not do it, expect a demotion to 3rd or 4th line or even the pressbox.

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@jammer2 Filppula needs to come around but it's not just him. I'm not seeing a whole lot of production out of Franzen either. Cleary is there, but he keeps getting stuck with bad luck. He's hit more posts than anyone else on the team. Hopefully he can continue to tough it out, and eventually, he'll hit the spot. Bertuzzi and Helm need to come back. Other than that, I think the offense is playing very well for being not so much the Detroit Red Wings but the Grand Rapids Griffins. I give them credit.

Not so much for the defense, who are all NHL veterans, for the most part (with the exception of Lashoff)

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Three straight rookie goaltenders with a combined eleven starts between them. First Jake Allen, his first ever start in the NHL, then Viktor Fasth of the Ducks making his eighth start, followed by Darcy Kuempfer making his second appearance.......If I were Trotz I would sit Rinne tonight and call up Jeremy Smith from the Admirals.....

At least the lines are starting to take shape. We will get it together soon, probably go on a little run, but it will be an up and down season. Just hope we can sneak in as one of the lower seeds. Good write up Wingnut.

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@WingNut722 The Wings are still being haunted by lack of scoring depth. In recent days, Babcock has taken steps to address that problem in practise. They have broke up Datsuyk, Zetts and Brunner and made a line of Fippula, Zetts and Brunner....I expect those guys to be on the same line come next game. They desperately need production out of Fippula, so this seems like a last ditch effort to jump start his production. Valleri has been called out for lack of production and tenactiy by Babcock in recent days, so if this does not do it, expect a demotion to 3rd or 4th line or even the pressbox.

I think that what you are touching on is the BIGGEST difference between Babcock and Bowman. Bowman knew how to use the press box as a tool to get the most out of his players. For crying out loud, how many times did he undress Shanahan? And when Shanny came back on the ice, he was his aggressive, effective self. Babs needs to put the fear of God into his players. We HAVE some young talent to put to the test. If Fils isn't playing like he should--and I like Fils, but agree with Bab's assessment--then take him out for a game and show the players THIS is what happens when you dog it! If you can't will yourself to play with intensity, we will find someone who WILL!

We've got to be looking at the long-term here. Where is this franchise going, and who will take us there? Those questions are due to be answered. This season is an excellent opportunity to decide that. And the cool thing is that the players decide themselves. The coach and GM are just gonna react. And if they don't, then we will know where the problem truly is.

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We have a deep farm system, Andersson, Nyquist and Tatar should all be regulars now.

The number one weakness we have is center right now, with Helm out. Abdelkader and Emmerton are half a step from being useless, both contribute offensively about once a month and we cannot get by with that from third and fourth lines. We are actually fairly well loaded with Wingers, I know they want to get Nyquist quality minutes at the AHL rather than ten minutes a game in Detroit but call him up, move Abdelkader to the fourth line and use Emmerton as an extra forward, it will fix the secondary scoring.

As far as defense goes, half the teams in the league are in need of a top four blueliner, the scant few available will cost dearly but we are loaded with young forwards, pull the trigger, swallow hard and get it done. Huskins is not the answer, Lashoff is a second pair minor AHL player with no business in the bigs, and with Colaiacovo and Smith both out we are dangerously thin. Kindl has been getting power play time for Gods sake.

Bert and cleary are likely in their last seasons in Detroit, Filpulla and Howard are UFAs at the end of the season. Big time need to find out which kids can play moving forward. Still not giving up hope on the season though.

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@yave1964 "Big time need to find out which kids can play moving forward. Still not giving up hope on the season though."

Agree with you and Spike here, this season is HUGE for the Wings in terms of player/prospect evaluation. If Smith looks like he can handle more minutes, the pressing need for another d-man is not so much on the front burner. Can you ever count on Carlo? Is Kindle a legit top 6 guy? That's a lot of questions that still need to be answered on the defensive front. Injuries are getting in the way of properly evaluating these guys, so moving forward, they need to get healthy first and foremost. If those 3 can contribute solid minutes for next year, then the Wings will be able to address the forward situation.....and address goal scoring in general. One thing they have to do/should do is get Nyguist in there and see what he is capable of at the NHL level....the more games you see him the better the read will be on him.

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@yave1964 Ya know Yave, when I hit post there I started thinking.....the Wings need a legit center, the Flyers need defensive help...hmmmm.

I started thinking, B.Schenn and Bruno Gervais for Brendan Smith and a 2nd rounder. The Wings are facing the retirement of Dats and Zetts in the next few years, with no real stars set to take their place on the top line. In Schenn you get a kid with a high ceiling, capable of killing penalites, playing on the top pp unit and contributing pts and grit. They could groom him to be the go to guy in a few years. The Wings will never pick low enough to get a talented young forward like Braydon.

The Flyers get a guy who will be for sure 3-4 depth on defense, but most likely a 1-2 guy who can run the top pp unit and play a ton of minutes wihen it matters the most. The Flyers would finally have their young franchise d-man they have been searching for, the Wings get the next wave of the future at forward. Gervais is a cheap fill in on defense, helping ease the pain of losing Smith with a veteran NHL body. The Flyers get a second thrown in because Schenn is more high profile, a kid who dominated the World Juniors like nobody before him.

Some Flyers fans may balk at this proposal, but not many know Smith, how good he will be moving forward, he's the real deal.

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@yave1964 Ya know Yave, when I hit post there I started thinking.....the Wings need a legit center, the Flyers need defensive help...hmmmm.

I started thinking, B.Schenn and Bruno Gervais for Brendan Smith and a 2nd rounder. The Wings are facing the retirement of Dats and Zetts in the next few years, with no real stars set to take their place on the top line. In Schenn you get a kid with a high ceiling, capable of killing penalites, playing on the top pp unit and contributing pts and grit. They could groom him to be the go to guy in a few years. The Wings will never pick low enough to get a talented young forward like Braydon.

The Flyers get a guy who will be for sure 3-4 depth on defense, but most likely a 1-2 guy who can run the top pp unit and play a ton of minutes wihen it matters the most. The Flyers would finally have their young franchise d-man they have been searching for, the Wings get the next wave of the future at forward. Gervais is a cheap fill in on defense, helping ease the pain of losing Smith with a veteran NHL body. The Flyers get a second thrown in because Schenn is more high profile, a kid who dominated the World Juniors like nobody before him.

Some Flyers fans may balk at this proposal, but not many know Smith, how good he will be moving forward, he's the real deal.

Noy saying that would not be a good offer, but no way no how does Holland trade Smith after cultivating him at Grand Rapids for so long until he finds out what he can do. I agree, the wings need to think long term replacements for Zetterberg and Datsyuk but smith is not going anywhere.
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Kindl has been getting power play time for Gods sake.

And his share of penalty box minutes...and it's killing us! Three whistles in the first period all shorthanded situations? One goal surrendered. This can't go on without finding out what your alternatives are. Can it?

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As far as defense goes, half the teams in the league are in need of a top four blueliner, the scant few available will cost dearly but we are loaded with young forwards, pull the trigger, swallow hard and get it done. Huskins is not the answer, Lashoff is a second pair minor AHL player with no business in the bigs, and with Colaiacovo and Smith both out we are dangerously thin. Kindl has been getting power play time for Gods sake.

Bert and cleary are likely in their last seasons in Detroit, Filpulla and Howard are UFAs at the end of the season. Big time need to find out which kids can play moving forward. Still not giving up hope on the season though.

Agreed, Yave. However, Detroit is in the midst of a deep dark hole in personnel that no GM ever wants to see them in. With so many insurues, Holland is scraping the bottom of the barrel for a warm bodies to put on the ice. Allow me to paraphrase one of your statements: "Huskins is not the answer" => "Huskins is not the long term answer". He won't last beyond the season, and if Colaiacovo and Smith return in any kind of timely fashion, Huskins would be gone in favor of Lashoff. It's all he's got to choose from. Now if there were only some way to dump Kyle Quincey........

Also, I may not be the best person to comment on this because I have always liked the guy, but the Wings do not trade Valterri Filppula. They sign him again to long term contract at the end of this season. Fil's hot and cold right now, and if he needs to be slapped around a bit to get his production going consistently, then that's what needs to happen. My biggest concern is with Franzen. I sure hope Babcock is not putting Franzen in just because Holland wants to get the "most for his money." Franzen is the weak link here (at forward). Not Filppula and not Danny Cleary.

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