Blog Entry

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:20 am
Edited on: May 13, 2011 12:44 am
 

Entering Game 7, it was clear which team would have the advantage in the intangibles: experience, momentum, poise, etc. Those all belonged to the Red Wings. And it showed. They were the veteran group comfortable in the spotlight as they had been there so many times before.

Perhaps Detroit was too comfortable. The Wings came out knowing all too well they had to stem the tide in a rocking arena on the road. They weren't taking many chances, trying to make their way through. As a result, they were outworked and outplayed in the opening period. And they left it trailing by two.

They did have 11 shots on net in the first, but a lot was just firing from beyond the dots. The quality chances weren't there. The team was not interested in being caught in transition. They were relaxed. It looked like they weren't willing to take the risk for a shot at the rewards.

But the somewhat sleepy first period doesn't explain the night away. As much as they were dominated in the first period, they were as dominant in the second, getting one goal to show for their efforts.

"We pushed the issue the rest of the game, but their goalie was outstanding. I thought this series was a good series. It was entertaining, it was fast," coach Mike Babcock said after the game.

Babcock credited some line changes necessitated by the injuries to Todd Bertuzzi and later a friendly-fire hit on Dan Cleary as being the catalyst to get them back in. Yes, for a team that had erased a 3-0 deficit to get here, a 2-0 lead in a game didn't seem insurmountable. That doesn't mean those guys going down didn't hurt.

"We missed those guys, but it was an opportunity for other guys. I'm proud of our group, our group worked real hard," Babcock said.

On this night, though, it was the special-teams battle that didn't go Detroit's way. Not only did they give up a goal on the penalty kill, but they couldn't get much going on their own opportunities a man up. It seemed that everytime there was a faceoff in the offensive zone, it went the Sharks way. Then it was an adventure just to get the puck back into the zone for a great puck-controlling team.

The special-teams difference was one goal, and wouldn't you know that was the difference.

"Your disappointed tonight for sure, you're disappointed in your heart as you felt you were going to win tonight for sure."

Now you have to wonder if this is the last we've seen of this group of Red Wings. No, the window isn't completely closed. If we've learned anything in the last two decades it's that Detroit always does a goob job of restocking without becoming irrelevant. Take, for example, that this is the 20th straight season the Red Wings have been in the postseason, the same number of seasons the Sharks have been in existence.

"I'm pleased with the growth of our young players. Our high-end forwards. [Pavel] Datsyuk and [Henrik] Zetterberg were fantastic in this series and I think that's real important," Babcock said. "They showed great leadership quality, which is fantastic. We still feel we have a real young core and an opportunity to get better. As we continue to change our organization to try and be current, we need these guys to be great."

It's very possible Nicklas Lidstrom has played his last NHL game. But would anybody be surprised if he returns after watching the way this team never quit in this series? Regardless, the stalwarts from the last decade-plus are going to make way for the next generation of Wings soon.

Either way, we're talking about probably the classiest franchise in the game. There's a reason the Red Wings have become a playoff mainstay. It was on display all series long. It was a team that never quit, never panicked. They did Hockeytown proud.

-- Brian Stubits

Comments

Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:17 pm
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

Very good point Redwings1969.  Some of the most recent picks definitley need to step up and become contributors.  However IMO one reason why they havent yet is because of some of the veteran talent including free agent signings ahead of them.  The Wings always have a "win now" attitude and since they are in the hunt every year for the cup I would think it would be that much harder for the younger players to crack the starting line-up compared to other teams.



Since: Nov 20, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

That was the best series of the playoffs. Extremely entertaining, everything that makes playoff hockey the best sport of all. I think those were the 2 best teams. But...No way are the Wings finished, they're the Yankees of hockey and will always be a factor. 



Since: May 18, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

Did I hear that correctly? Someone said that Detroit should give Nashville...a team in our own DIVISION, 4 draft picks( number 1's he said btw ) for Shea Weber. Your going to have to a long way, but dig that head out of your ass. We don't trade draft picks. Let alone 4 first rounders to a team withing our own division. So guess what? That will never happen, and no one in their right mind would make that trade. Does anyone remember Eric Lindros being traded for all those pics? Guess what that led to? A nice 10 year run for the Avelanche that incuded the likes of Forsberg. So, that's not going to happen. And your right, Kenny Holland is a GM genius. He's not an idiot and only an idiot would make that trade.




Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 12:21 pm
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

Helm 5th round 2005
Franzen 3rd round 2004
Filppula 3rd round & Ericsson 9th round 2002
Datsyuk 6th round 1998
Zetterberg 7th round 1999
Holmstrom 10th round 1994
-just a few examples of core players that the Red Wings have been able to have success with.

You are correct, the Wings have done a great job in the draft in previous years.  But notice how the most recent player you mentioned in your list comes from 2005?  We are now going into the 2011-2012 season...  We need some players that were drafted from 2006 to at least 2008 to be NHL ready soon.... if there is a delay in the happening then Holland is going to have to be very active in free agency.....



Since: Mar 5, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:30 am
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

To echo the comments of the other posters...there is no way this is the end of the Red Wings run.  There is a reason they have made the playoffs 20 years in a row.  There is a reason they have played in 6 Stanley Cup finals winning 4.  They don't have a "down" period...they simply retool and reload!  
Helm 5th round 2005
Franzen 3rd round 2004
Filppula 3rd round & Ericsson 9th round 2002
Datsyuk 6th round 1998
Zetterberg 7th round 1999
Holmstrom 10th round 1994
-just a few examples of core players that the Red Wings have been able to have success with.  The key to the organization as with any sucessful business is the Red Wings staff of Jimmy D(past), Ken Holland, Jim Nill and European scout Hakan Andersson.  Their ability to find hidden gems over in Europe combined with solid free agent signings have kept the Wings winning for two decades.  Sure not every draft pick, trade or free agent pans out but based on their track record as a Wings fan I feel pretty good about the future! 



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:29 am
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

First off NO WAY is this the end of the WINGS being a strong contender, and Hopefully it is also not the end of a STELLAR carreer for Lidstrom, he has shown again he still has enough gas in the tank for another year or two if HE choses to play, if not and he decides to hang up the skates THANK YOU for some great moments in hockey and Red Wings history. And may you get in the HOF the first try you deserve it and no one could blame you for hanging them up if that is what you do.

Lidstrom is a first ballot hall of famer and I've been a Wings fan quite a few years longer then he's been in the NHL.  I appreciate everything he has done on the ice, the class he's shown off the ice and his loyalty to the Wings.  But Lidstrom is no longer worth 6 million dollars per season in hard cap league.   This year for the first time in 20 years his plus minus was in the negative.... think about that for a second.. a minus player on D for the first time in 20 years.  There is a reason for that... the reason is he's 41 years old and his best years are behind him.   You'll tell me he's nominated for the Norris trophy again but that was more because of his offence then anything else.  And thank God for that because if not for the points he put up his plus minus would have been a lot worse this year.  Is he still a good player? Yes. Can he easily play another season? Absolutely.  Do I want him to? Sure I do... we aren't going to have 6 dmen better then he is, even if he's not as good as he used to be.  But is he worth 6 million dollars against the cap? No way.

Stevey Y took a nice paycut to play his last year with the Wings and so should Lidstrom.... he's made over 80 million dollars playing for the Wings and yes, earned every nickel of it.  But combine that with endorsements and over 100 million dollars in career earnings and Lidstrom should take one on the chin for the Wings and help them free up some money for the future.  Don't hold  a gun to their head and take advantage of them knowing full well they can't say no and force them to overpay for his services.... The Wings took very good care of Lidstrom, they were never cheap with him.. never challenged him at all.  His one contract alone was for 5 years and 50 million dollars years ago for 10 million per season... another contract or two was at 7 million per season... the Wings did their part, now it's time for Lidstrom to do his part and help this team clear some cap space for the future...

Lets see if he does the right thing.... as great a player as he's been though, I doubt it... money rules in sports today and since he knows the wings won't fight him, he'll demand big bucks and probably get it. 



Since: Jan 16, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:28 am
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

This is Destiny folks. 3 players who were traded or let go from the Canucks (Ryan Johnson, Shane O'Brien, Kyle Wellwood) all stated on record that they thought the Canucks werent good enough to win the Cup. interesting the Canucks would face the Blackhawks, Predators, and Sharks in the playoffs. Kesler is on a huge mission right now. As good as this series was with the Wings, get ready for things to get really hairy as two battle primed titans clash on the West Coast!



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:20 am
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

Brian.  It's not that you weren't clear enough because in your case you actually complimented the Wings.  The reason Wings fans get a little irritated when they see words "verteran" and "era end" is because for almost 20 years a lot of people have the Wings are too old. The Wings need to get younger.  The Wings aren't a playoff team.  They aren't gritty enough.  They won't win again without Bowman.  They can't win without Stevey Y. They buy players so a salary cap means death for the Wings.  Do you have any clue how many times we've had to read crap like that on sites just like this??

The funny thing is the Wings have proven everybody wrong year after year after year.. it never ends.  No, they don't win the cup every season and they don't even get to the finals every year... but boy oh boy I bet the other 29 or so teams would LOVE to have the success the Wings have.... it's a tough league and it's my opinion the Stanley Cup is the toughest championship to win in sports...  82 games in a physical and taxing NHL season with an average of about 24 more games necessary for the champion.... crazy.

As for the era you speak of, you are probably right.  But here's the thing.. if Lidstrom retires Holland will find a way to keep the Wings contenders.. he's good at what he does.  If the Predators can't afford Shea Weber I wouldn't be surprised at all if Lidstrom retires that the Wings don't put out a massive offer sheet and give up 4 first round picks for Weber... not a bad start if you have to replace a guy like Lidstrom eh?  Maybe I'm dreaming but not so much I don't think... the Predators will NEVER max out on the cap and with Weber a RFA and Rinne the next year becoming an UFA they can't keep both,,, no way.

Only thing I really disagreed with you on was your assessment of the Franzen signing.... the reason I don't agree is because when the chips are down in the playoffs he has been one of the top producers in the NHL come playoff time.  Look at his stats and pro rate them and you'l see aside from maybe a guy like Crosby you won't find many if any others with those numbers... the guy is clutch to say the least.  The injuries his last 2 years are a big problem though.... but how do the wings anticipate that happening come contract time? 



Since: Aug 28, 2006
Posted on: May 13, 2011 11:02 am
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

First off NO WAY is this the end of the WINGS being a strong contender, and Hopefully it is also not the end of a STELLAR carreer for Lidstrom, he has shown again he still has enough gas in the tank for another year or two if HE choses to play, if not and he decides to hang up the skates THANK YOU for some great moments in hockey and Red Wings history. And may you get in the HOF the first try you deserve it and no one could blame you for hanging them up if that is what you do.

Howard removed any doubt about being able to play and WIN in the playoffs Zetterberg and Datsyuk came out strong the entire series and the team as a whole palyed well against a very evenly matched Sharks team. UnfortunatelyThis time though it just wasnt the Wings time to win and advance. And hats off to the Sharks they played a hell of a series. Every dog finds a bone once in a while. Regardless the WIngs will be back next year it may be a slightly different group of players but they will be back.... 



Since: Jun 8, 2009
Posted on: May 13, 2011 10:43 am
 

Veteran Wings see season, possibly era end

I too agree with much of yaveyork's post - I was particularly unimpressed by Rafalski's play, he seemed to be moving in slow motion much of the time that he had the puck and I feel that contributed to Detroit's poor power-play performance last night.
As for Wings that I was impressed by - Eaves, Helm, and Miller - none of whom put up big points, but all played with intensity and energy every shift they saw. Detroit could do far worse for their 3rd/4th lines, provided they can re-sign Eaves and Miller to reasonable salaries.
No, this is not the end of an era in Detroit - merely a changing of the guard. 


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