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Wings need to win five of six


Guest yave1964
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The powder puff part of the Wings schedule will soon be over, through the first 23 games we have only played two out west, and he have several exausting trips coming up soon.

Beggining with last nights game, the Wings have a six game stretch against:

Colorado

Edmonton

@Columbus

Columbus

@Edmonton

@Calgary

So far this season we have not faired well agains the bottom feeders, but it is important to get at least ten points out of these six games, as we follow that up with

@Canucks

Wild

@Ducks

@ Ducks

@ coyotes

@ Sharks

Blackhawks

So these six games including the win last night against the Lanche may be the make or break portion of the schedule. After that, if we do not have a fairly decent record, it could be a really, really long season.

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This will be a huge opportunity to rack up some much needed points. However, since the middle of the western conference is bunched together within 2 points (I think there are about 8 teams in this area), it would almost be more important for those wins to come from within that pack in order to put some distance between them. This is shaping up to be very dangerous situation drawing close to the end of the season. The Wings could finish at 4th place with a healthy record, but at the same time, could be kicked out of the playoffs by a few stategic wins from some other teams in the middle of the pack. We'll never catch Chicago for tops in the Central, so a wide margin in points will go along way to securing that playoff berth.

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Chicago can be caught...just not until the playoffs. A team gets hot with a hot goaltender, and ANYONE is susceptible!

This tightly-packed, 3-point-game driven clustering of teams is pretty ridiculous right now. Lose one game (combined with other teams' wins) and go from 4th to 10th and out of playoff position before your next game? That's pretty insane! The Wings just did it a couple of games ago. There's parity, and then there is NHL-parity = SCARITY or BETTMINSANITY!!

I think Kindl's leash has gotta be short. I think that he HAS improved in the last couple of games, but he's gotta be consistent with his game, and it's just not yet. If he can play like he did against the Blackhawks in most games, then he's an asset. He stops checking, and he becomes a liability. Not everyone has Lidstrom's ability to make the amazing first pass. Few do. He doesn't do that consistently. He just needs to make sure he doesn't turn it over and gets the puck out of the zone. He does that, and he's gonna help us.

But we've gotta stop this nonsense of leaving guys ALL ALONE in front of Jimmy Howard with the puck (or without it!). Kopitar--I KNOW E fell down, but there was no one behind him...we were all along the boards, kinda like we were on that last goal in the last playoff game last year--that ridiculous goal is unfortunately burned into my brain and won't go away! Mitchell--let's just say it: Howard was HUGE there! ROBBERY! But Jimmy isn't gonna stop most of those kinds of shots, and we can't expect him to. We can't put him in a position where he has to. If we continue to do that we're gonna lose a lot of games, ESPECIALLY when the offense isn't producing like they can...like right now.

And speaking of that...time to shuffle some lines, eh? When the score stat sheet starts to allow the question "Datswho?" it's time to change up the lines. Whether it's Abby or Cleary, one of 'ems gotta be a third- or fourth-liner. I say Abby. As hard as Datsyuk works, if he's not contributing to the scoring every other game or so, it's likely he's not the problem. Abby's not a top-2-liner. Hard for me to see him ever being that on the Red Wings. But Tatar and Andersson, they definitely have the potential to be up there. Time to give 'em a real go, I think. They will make mistakes, but right now hardly ANYONE is contributing. Gotta get SOMEONE going. We've got too much talent to have little to show for it.

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Spike,

Well that is two for two.

This weekend if we can take four points from Columbus before the west coast trip begins next week, all will be right with the World. The wife and I will be going to nationwide to watch the Wings on Saturday. I am telling you, there are so many Wings fans every time we play there it seems like a home game, lol.

As far as Abdelkader,he is half a step from worthless IMO. He can fight and/or get physical, but seldom does. He cant play on the top two lines because he cant shoot, he has absolutely no idea where the puck is going. He is a poor passer. He is a good checker and seems to have gotten better at not taking stupid penalties, but frankly he is not a very good penalty killer because he lacks instinct. He is capable of playing center or wing but neither well. Quite frankly, I do not know why this man is in the NHL. I think he must have pictures of Babcock with another woman or wearing a dress or something.

Cleary and Datsyuk have played very well together over the years, they seem to have chemistry.

Oh, and Brendan Smith contributed easily his best game of the season tonight, if he gets on track the club could be in really, really good shape back there. Sad to see Ian White not playing but he has been lost without Lidstrom so far this season, and seems to be on his heels every shift so while I like him and wish he was in the lineup, it is hard to argue about the wakeup call that it has given the rest of the team.

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@yave1964 I respectfully disagree about Abdelkader...

Sure he has no "goals" (in quotes to acknowledge the charity empty netter last night), but he's been digging in every game. He's playing hard and is always in the mix. Up until this season, he's typically been linemates with Darren Helm and Drew Miller. But since Helm is out, and Tootoo is still adjusting, he's not been on his game. Babs moving him up to the top line shows a lot of faith in that if he just gets more ice time, and is saddled with a playmaker like Datsyuk, he'll start to resurrect his offense. Matter of fact, that may be why Datsyuk is not scoring as much, simply because, when he can, he's trying to feed Abby.

This is more than just a guy who can't score...this is a team rallying to lift one player who needs a helping hand to get him out of a slump.

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FWIW, I'm leaning more toward @yave1964 than @WingNut722 as far as Abby is concerned. I do not think he deserves the top two lines, but if he can be a part a third or 4th line that is a checking line to wear them down, I think that fits him best. There is a place for a checker on a top-two line, but they better help the scorers score and the playmakers make plays. If not, they are more of a liability than an asset. I think Abby has some things to offer on a 3rd or 4th line. He doesn't belong with Pav, and Pav's recent stats will testify.

As an aside, I there have been a few times recently when Pav has chosen to pass the puck rather than shoot it. Perhaps he IS trying to give Abby or others a boost. Perhaps he's just being his usual, playmaking self. But IMHO, he needs to be more selfish at times, and shoot the puck more. He is at his best when he is less predictable about shooting vs. passing and shooting more.

There! I just told the best player in hockey how to play! Like telling Barry Sanders to just take the one or two yard gain! ;-)

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@SpikeDDS Please don't misunderstand my post. I do not believe that Abby "belongs" on the top lines. I think this is a temporary solution to get him going and get some confidence in him. The option is particularly open while Filppula is out. If Fil were not hurt, I doubt Babs would have made this move, but that's beside the point. If he can get Abby going by sticking him with Pav for the time being, he can go back to the 3rd/4th lines with a stronger confidence and tear it up. I'm certain there will be a time limit on this favor. As long as the Wings keep winning and Fil remains out, Abby will stay in the top spot. Either one of those conditions change, and he goes back to the pack, goals or not.

There! I just told the best player in hockey how to play! Like telling Barry Sanders to just take the one or two yard gain! ;-)

Begs the questions...would you have told Joe Dumars to just stick with the easy lay-ups in '89? :)

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@WingNut722 Ahhh, the Bad Boy's, I swear that was the only era I could stomach in the NBA, but those guys were an entertaining unit! Those back to backs saved the Detroit Sports scene back then!

Yup, we had the bad boys Pistons and Kocur and Probie knockin them out for the Wings. Add in the Lions who seemed to have an arrest every other week and Detroit was an interesting sports town.
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@yave1964 Remember the "microwave"? If I had to make a list of underrated Detroit stars, Vinnie Johnson would make that list hands down, heart of a champ that guy, when he got hot, nobody could stop him, thus the microwave moniker...lol.

With both Vinnie and Salley coming off the bench this was one tough team. Best sixth man, and best seventh man of their generation. Short list of all time.
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@WingNut722

I hear ya, but I guess I'd rather keep Abby as a 3rd or 4th liner, devote him to CHECKING and tell him don't worry about points, just go out and check 'em, wear them down and make it hard for the defense to hang with Pav and Z all game. Takes the pressure to score off of him, and it gives the option of giving a player like Andersson or Tatar a chance to see if they can help support Pav, who needs to be scoring and if not setting up others to score. I know Pav plays a complete game and does a lot more than put up points, but if he ISN'T putting up points, then his game really isn't complete any more, is it? Right now, neither Abby nor Datsyuk are scoring. This CAN'T be helping Abby's confidence, which is allegedly what the assignment is designed to do in large part. It's not working, and actually could be damaging--both to Datsyuk's stats/production and to Abby's confidence.

Putting him on the 3rd or 4th in a checking role, where the pressure to score is lifted to a large degree seems like a wise alternative, especially because some of the young kids are playing like they are hungry--and more able--to assist Pavel.

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@SpikeDDS

Two straight losses against the Jackets and no goals for Abby and no goals for Pav. OK, experiment failed. Back to the 4th line you go. I anticipate Babs putting Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Brunner back on the top line for the next game against Calgary. All of their numbers need to come back up, The other lines will follow suit. Havent' checked the injury report yet, but when's FIlppula due back?

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@SpikeDDS

Two straight losses against the Jackets and no goals for Abby and no goals for Pav. OK, experiment failed. Back to the 4th line you go. I anticipate Babs putting Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Brunner back on the top line for the next game against Calgary. All of their numbers need to come back up, The other lines will follow suit. Havent' checked the injury report yet, but when's FIlppula due back?

I don't know about the other lines' numbers going up, but better to have ONE line scoring than NONE of them. Good grief! When Kindl is your team's leading scorer in the last 5 games, the lines better change!

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filpulla is hopefully due back Wednesday.

As far as lines go, I say give Brunner to Datsyuk, he hasn't had a winger all year. Filpulla and Franzen clicked with Z last year, try brunner and cleary with Pavel and see what happens.

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