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yave1964

Red Wings midseason report card

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 Back by @SpikeDDS popular demand,

 

The Wings enter their bye week halfway thru the season sitting at 17-17-7 good for 41 points, 12 points out of third place and looking to be a mortal lock to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Some highs and lows, here are how I rank the players:

 

GOALTENDING

JIMMY HOWARD: A OR EVEN AN A PLUS. On n almost nightly basis he is the reason the Wings are in most games, his 2.64 goals against is over a goal less than the other netminder. Speaking of whom:

 

PETR MRAZEK: D OR D MINUS 3.78 goals against and save pct of .889 looks like something Eddie Mio would have put up in the high scoring eighties, he lost it two years ago in a game that I attended on his birthday against the Bruins, at that point he was a future all star, since then he has crashed and burned. Simply awful hockey for 24 consecutive months.

 

DEFENSE

MIKE GREEN A MINUS Playing for his supper in a contract year, he has been nothing short of brilliant although he does get caught pinching.

NICK KRONWALL D PLUS He has been okay, although misused by Blash. At least he is healthy, sort of.

ERICSSON C Average is much better than he has been in years. He has been okay and serviceable.

DEKEYSER D MINUS Missed time to injury, seems to have lost his offensive skills entirely.

DALEY C minus. Another misused player has offensive ability, Blash refuses to play him in situations where he can use it.

JENSEN C MINUS. Better than I thought he would be but still pretty bad.

WITKOWSKI D Not really an NHL player but fun to watch.

OULLET F Contributes nothing.

 

OVERALL DEFENSIVE GRADE: D AND SINKING. The reason I say sinking is Green will soon be gone and a bad defense will lose its only offense.

 

FORWARDS

LARKIN A He is in competition with Howie for the teams MVP has bounced back nicely from a sophomore season to forget.

MANTHA B MINUS seems to be Blahsill's personal whipping boy in spite of poor ice time he leads the team in goals scored

ZETTERBERG B Still trying, hustles every shift.

ABDELKADER B MINUS Contributes at both ends of the ice always hustling, all you can ask

HELM C PLUS Move to wing seems to have helped him, doing okay.

NYQUIST C PLUS tied with Mantha for team lead in goals, contributes nothing more.

TATAR D MINUS Has eroded to nothing since signing his long term contract.

NIELSEN C MINUS great penalty killer and shootout specialist, offense is slipping.

GLENDENING B MINUS was playing very well within his role until injury

ATHANASIOU C OR C MINUS He held out, once he signed he was scoring like crazy but has done zero for nearly two months now until the last week when he started heating up again. A favorite but has really been a non factor most nights.

FRK C MINUS OR D PLUS Has a wicked hard shot from the point on the power play with no idea where it is going.

BOOTH F great warm and fuzzy story, has no business in the league.

BERTUZZI INC. Too early to call.

 

OVERALL FORWARD RANKINGS C PLUS the forwards are doing a decent bordering on good job, only Tatar is a complete washout. The problem is the defense. If the back end was as strong as the forwards we would be a playoff contender.

 

JEFF BLASHILL F Seems to hate Mantha and AA, doesn't know how to use Daley, I have to believe his days are numbered.

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@yave1964

 

OK, for the first time in a while, I’m gonna make changes more than a + or -.

 

One note on Howard, just to emphasize how good he has been: remove the two games with Toronto and Montreal—and Montreal was a team problem in which he was more just a victim—and his numbers are right up there with the best in the league. If you’re gonna play badly as a goalie, do it all in two games, and then forget about them, I say. That’s what he has done. He’s the main reason we are in as good a position as we are.

 

Spot on with your defense grades. No changes.

 

On offense:

 

Nyquist should not be in the C’s. A month ago, he would have probably been a D+/C- player. But you can’t give a guy whose primary role is scoring a C if he is leading the team in goals, which he is now. He is more than doubling his goal pace from last year (which was DISMAL!). I feel ya on his defensive liabilities. He is NOT an A player. He is a B, though. 

 

AA is a B-. Take into consideration that this is kinda his sophomore season. And although his goals per game is down from last year (it HAD TO come down), he usually gets a QSC or two per game. Good on the kill. I think Blash is holding him back, as you noted.

 

Tatar: I think his overinflated contract is slanting your view. I don’t think he has been as bad as a D. Low C. Still just below last year’s goal pace. He’s streaky as we know, and always seemingly opposite Nyquist’s streaks, which means he’s slowed down while Gus is hot. Frustrating, but better than a D-. C-. D+ at the lowest. He is NOT earning what he is being paid to do, but not as horrible as you paint.

 

I might also up Glendening to a B. 7 goals at midseason? And it’s not as if the rest of his game has gone to pot. For what his role is, he is having his best year ever. He has a limited and defined role, but he is playing it AND scoring more than he ever has before.

 

Can’t agree more on Blash. “The Process” seems to be misusing players. We need a coach that is able to release some of these guys and let them do what they do well.

 

Moving forward: Sell what we can, make good picks of players we need. Rasmussen was solid, but not what we needed most. Can’t afford to take our eyes off of filling the positions where we desperately lack in talent. New coach that can give our young players inspiration for individual achievement as we rebuild, because the days will be dark here for a while. As we lose more, we will need inspiration to know that things are coming along. Let ‘em go! Show us what they can do. Develop the chemistry. Define the roles. And hopefully in 2-3 seasons, our drafted D talent will be NHL-ready. Until then, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

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@SpikeDDS

 

Yeah Glendening has stepped up his game, he brings it defensively and his offense is improved so I can see going with a B, Gus leads the team in scoring but is so dang streaky, maybe a B or B minus is apropos but I am not sure. Tats is on pace for his lowest point total as a pro and is a minus 10 to boot, I absolutely feel I am fair with his ranking however.

  Now on to Athanasiou.

  First off, I love the kid and see a bright future as a middle six forward and I agree that he is being misused by Blash, 18 minutes one night 10 the next, top line top power play followed by bottom line penalty kill the next. I get it that his skill set can be used in all situations but find a role and let him grow, let him have a month with Zetterberg or a month with Larkin and see what he can do. 

 The reason I rank him so low however is after holding out to start the year here is his breakdown:

 

First 11 games: 5 goals 8 points, plus 1: played like a man on a mission.

Next 15 games 0 goals 4 assist and a minus 11: Played like a man trying to get sent to the AHL. He deserved to be dropped to the bottom six.

Last five games 4 goals 5 points plus 2 seems to have found his legs.

 

  He gets a breakaway a game but he needs to bury more of them IMHO. He has speed like few others but he needs to finish. His passing skill is okay, average at best which is fine for a winger, his shooting is above average and very good for a middle six forward. He just needs to work on consistency.

 

  Now it I possible that Blashill got a memo from on high, during his first 26 games AA played over 19 minutes a measly two times, he has been over that for each of the last five games. I am hoping it continues coming out of the bye. He seems to play much better with ice time. Some players cannot handle it, he appears to be able to. Here is his stat line in games in which he appears in less than 14 minutes versus 18 minutes or more:

LESS THAN 14 MINUTES

10 games 1 goal 2 assists minus 6. 

MORE THAN 18 MINUTES

8 games 7 goals 3 assists plus 4

BETWEEN 14:01 AND 17:59 MINUTES

13 games 1 goal 3 assists minus 8

 

Clearly the man thrives on ice time. The fact that he has appeared in 31 games and only broke 18 minutes of ice time in a quarter of them is criminal. I think after writing this and studying the breakdown a bit more I can see the case for moving his ranking up as it clearly reinforces that a lot of his struggles are due to poorly being used.  The fact that he has 10 point in the 8 games that he gets quality ice time versus 7 points in the 23 games that he is being held back says a lot about how badly Blash is doing. I could probably do the same with Mantha and see the same pattern. Let those two loose, give them 20 minutes a night and time on the top power play and a lot would click.

  

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Okay, what the Hell. Quickie one for Mantha.

 

OVER 19 MINUTES

games 9 goals 5 assists 6 minus 5

UNDER 19 MINUTES 

games 30 goals 9 assists 8 even

 

so 11 points in 9 games but a minus 5 with good ice time so defensively he is exposed a bit defensively if overused, but he only has 17 points in 30 games with less ice time.

 

  Both are better than a point a game player when used right.

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@yave1964

 

Now we are talking!

 

And I will concede on Tats.

 

And today’s game? UNWATCHABLE! Granted, I expected them to play poorly first game after the bye, except that IT WAS ALSO THE PENGUINS’ FIRST GAME AFTER THE BYE!!!

 

We looked like an AHL team today. Man, did we look slow!

 

Yes, Pittsburgh looked really good—and this is when they seem to turn it on. But as good as they looked, we looked WORSE!

 

Ugh!

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@SpikeDDS

 

  When a team has their top tier players going like the Pens did with Crosby, Malkin and Kessel against us we simply cannot keep up.

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@yave1964 

 

And in contrast, we caught the Blackhawks dreaming of beaches in today's game.

 

Our PP looked almost as bad--we never scored on it, even though we did have 1/7 yesterday. But other than the end of the 1st/beginning of the second, we actually played hockey!

 

I think they could smell it on the Blackhawks. They looked like a team ready to go on vacation.

 

Athanasiou had several good plays, even though he didn't score a goal. Great dish to Larkin on the first goal. He had other opportunities and was in good position for rebounds on at least one other goal that went in.

 

Bertuzzi continues to play well, and ya gotta love him scoring his first goal, a reward for his good play.

 

Mantha had moments of good, moments of not-so-good. Gosh, I just wish we could put NHL star drive into his chest, where he just goes all the time. I wish Z's heart was contagious. Perfect set-up on his goal by Z. Fun watching the Chicago D fall down like bowling pins before the shot! Nice pass to Mike Green on his goal.

 

Mrazek. Solid. Looked a bit less jumpy, which is a GOOD thing! Shutout #2 for him. Couldn't come at a better time for either him or the franchise. Now he's gotta follow it up with another good performance the next time he's in. Holland is going to have to let him play a little more before the deadline to try and make him more marketable. If he gets on a hot streak, he becomes sellable.

 

This was a very good game for our young talent. Even Turgeon played well in his first NHL game, helping with the PK, which was perfect, obviously. We needed this after a stinker yesterday.

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    • 1
      Post
      @yave1964   OK, for the first time in a while, I’m gonna make changes more than a + or -.   One note on Howard, just to emphasize how good he has been: remove the two games with Toronto and Montreal—and Montreal was a team problem in which he was more just a victim—and his numbers are right up there with the best in the league. If you’re gonna play badly as a goalie, do it all in two games, and then forget about them, I say. That’s what he has done. He’s the main reason we are in as good a position as we are.   Spot on with your defense grades. No changes.   On offense:   Nyquist should not be in the C’s. A month ago, he would have probably been a D+/C- player. But you can’t give a guy whose primary role is scoring a C if he is leading the team in goals, which he is now. He is more than doubling his goal pace from last year (which was DISMAL!). I feel ya on his defensive liabilities. He is NOT an A player. He is a B, though.    AA is a B-. Take into consideration that this is kinda his sophomore season. And although his goals per game is down from last year (it HAD TO come down), he usually gets a QSC or two per game. Good on the kill. I think Blash is holding him back, as you noted.   Tatar: I think his overinflated contract is slanting your view. I don’t think he has been as bad as a D. Low C. Still just below last year’s goal pace. He’s streaky as we know, and always seemingly opposite Nyquist’s streaks, which means he’s slowed down while Gus is hot. Frustrating, but better than a D-. C-. D+ at the lowest. He is NOT earning what he is being paid to do, but not as horrible as you paint.   I might also up Glendening to a B. 7 goals at midseason? And it’s not as if the rest of his game has gone to pot. For what his role is, he is having his best year ever. He has a limited and defined role, but he is playing it AND scoring more than he ever has before.   Can’t agree more on Blash. “The Process” seems to be misusing players. We need a coach that is able to release some of these guys and let them do what they do well.   Moving forward: Sell what we can, make good picks of players we need. Rasmussen was solid, but not what we needed most. Can’t afford to take our eyes off of filling the positions where we desperately lack in talent. New coach that can give our young players inspiration for individual achievement as we rebuild, because the days will be dark here for a while. As we lose more, we will need inspiration to know that things are coming along. Let ‘em go! Show us what they can do. Develop the chemistry. Define the roles. And hopefully in 2-3 seasons, our drafted D talent will be NHL-ready. Until then, it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.
    • 1
      Post
      @SpikeDDS   Yeah Glendening has stepped up his game, he brings it defensively and his offense is improved so I can see going with a B, Gus leads the team in scoring but is so dang streaky, maybe a B or B minus is apropos but I am not sure. Tats is on pace for his lowest point total as a pro and is a minus 10 to boot, I absolutely feel I am fair with his ranking however.   Now on to Athanasiou.   First off, I love the kid and see a bright future as a middle six forward and I agree that he is being misused by Blash, 18 minutes one night 10 the next, top line top power play followed by bottom line penalty kill the next. I get it that his skill set can be used in all situations but find a role and let him grow, let him have a month with Zetterberg or a month with Larkin and see what he can do.   The reason I rank him so low however is after holding out to start the year here is his breakdown:   First 11 games: 5 goals 8 points, plus 1: played like a man on a mission. Next 15 games 0 goals 4 assist and a minus 11: Played like a man trying to get sent to the AHL. He deserved to be dropped to the bottom six. Last five games 4 goals 5 points plus 2 seems to have found his legs.     He gets a breakaway a game but he needs to bury more of them IMHO. He has speed like few others but he needs to finish. His passing skill is okay, average at best which is fine for a winger, his shooting is above average and very good for a middle six forward. He just needs to work on consistency.     Now it I possible that Blashill got a memo from on high, during his first 26 games AA played over 19 minutes a measly two times, he has been over that for each of the last five games. I am hoping it continues coming out of the bye. He seems to play much better with ice time. Some players cannot handle it, he appears to be able to. Here is his stat line in games in which he appears in less than 14 minutes versus 18 minutes or more: LESS THAN 14 MINUTES 10 games 1 goal 2 assists minus 6.  MORE THAN 18 MINUTES 8 games 7 goals 3 assists plus 4 BETWEEN 14:01 AND 17:59 MINUTES 13 games 1 goal 3 assists minus 8   Clearly the man thrives on ice time. The fact that he has appeared in 31 games and only broke 18 minutes of ice time in a quarter of them is criminal. I think after writing this and studying the breakdown a bit more I can see the case for moving his ranking up as it clearly reinforces that a lot of his struggles are due to poorly being used.  The fact that he has 10 point in the 8 games that he gets quality ice time versus 7 points in the 23 games that he is being held back says a lot about how badly Blash is doing. I could probably do the same with Mantha and see the same pattern. Let those two loose, give them 20 minutes a night and time on the top power play and a lot would click.   
    • 1
      Post
      Okay, what the Hell. Quickie one for Mantha.   OVER 19 MINUTES games 9 goals 5 assists 6 minus 5 UNDER 19 MINUTES  games 30 goals 9 assists 8 even   so 11 points in 9 games but a minus 5 with good ice time so defensively he is exposed a bit defensively if overused, but he only has 17 points in 30 games with less ice time.     Both are better than a point a game player when used right.

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