If you follow the Red Wings with rose tinted glasses, last night's TSN (Canadian cable network) broadcast of their game against the Edmonton Oilers would have a been a shock to your beliefs in the team.
You would probably say they were over-critical of your favorite team, but in reality they were simply being brutally honest.
Chris Cuthbert does the play-by-play with color commentary provided by former player Ray Ferraro. Ferraro's son Landon was the Red Wings first pick in the 2009 Entry Draft. Between period analysis is provided by host James Duthie, and analysts Bob McKenzie, and former Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.
The Oilers had not scored a goal in their last seven periods heading into last night's game, but found themselves up 1-0 just 42 seconds into the game and ahead 3-0 by the 13-minute mark. They stretched the lead to 4-0 with another first minute goal to open the second period, and it was 5-2 after 40 minutes of play.
During the broadcast Ferraro had some biting comments about the goaltending in particular but also had some observations about the play of the defense as well. His comment just prior to the second period was particularly insightful and the timing of the comment was incredible. He pointed out that from a player's perspective when your team is not getting good goaltending you play with a lack of confidence because your worried that every turnover or giveaway you make will end up in your net, and that's how it appeared Detroit was playing. One minute into the period Todd Bertuzzi made an ill-advised pass to a flat-footed Brian Rafalski at the Oilers blueline that the Oilers turned into a turnover and scored on the ensuing breakaway.
Later, Ferraro noted that the Red Wings defense has become a giveaway machine, and moments later Jonathan Ericsson was weak on clearing pass and the Oilers were able to generate a couple of opportunities off the turnover. Ferraro was also fair in his analysis, as he astutely pointed out that the Red Wings had found and exploited a seam in the Oilers neutral zone coverage with long breakout passes resulting in two goals during the Red Wings furious comeback in the third period. He also noted that the Oilers were unable to withstand the comeback because the Red Wings had returned to their game plan and did not allow the Oilers to have the puck for much of the period.
During the second intermission Duthie asked if it was too soon to question what's wrong with the Red Wings, to which McKenzie responded that is not too soon, after all this is a team that has competed for the Stanley Cup the past two seasons, and the expectation should be that they would play better than they have. McKenzie pointed out two factors for the slow start, the first being that the goaltending has not been good, and they have had injuries to significant players such as Johan Franzen who is out of the lineup, Henrik Zetterberg who missed all of training camp, as did Darren Helm, and Pavel Datsyuk has also missed games. He also factored in the large roster turnover from last year. MacTavish was far more blunt stating that the Red Wings have not played well enough to overcome "mediocre" goaltending.
Valtteri Filppula did not play the third period last night and has been diagnosed with a broken wrist. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks.
For some photos of last night's game be sure to check out the slideshow at: TSN analysts brutally honest
For more Red Wings articles by Mike, check out his examiner page at: Examiner