The Detroit Red Wings

Well, here it is, game 6 is upon us.  After watching the Wings game on Saturday, I am convinced it isn’t a curse.  A curse you say?  There are a lot of people out there that are saying that the Wings are cursed in the first round of the playoffs.  I disagree.  I also disagree on the fact that Manny Legacy isn’t playing good playoff hockey.  Manny is playing as good as any goaltender in the NHL is playing right now.  So why are the Wings losing?

Edmonton is getting great bounces through this series.  Look at game 5 for instance.  Edmonton got not 1, not 2, but 3 deflection goals.  As a goaltender, I can tell you those shots are the hardest to stop.  Sure, there were 1 or 2 goals that Legacy should have stopped, but for the most part, this series isn’t being won or lost by goaltending. 

Nor is this won or lost by coaching.  Babcock is a great coach that has done very well in Detroit.  You know he will shoulder the blame for the loss, along with Legacy.  That is unfair in my opinion.  Seems that only Scotty Bowman can avoid being fired in Detroit for early playoff exits or upsets in the playoffs.

Edmonton is doing a good job clogging up the neutral zone with a 1-2-2 system that is killing the Wings offense.  Edmonoton is blocking shots and getting in front of the shooters.  In short, they are doing all the little things they need to do to win the games.

If the Wings lose tonight and are ousted from the Playoffs, it won’t be because of any of the things I mentioned.  It will be because the Oilers wanted it more.  Maybe time to shake this team up a little bit more?  I don’t know.  With Yzerman in his last season, and maybe his last game tonight or Wednesday nigiht, that is going to shake the team up more than any other roster move.

4 Replies to “The Detroit Red Wings”

  1. Good post, although Legace isn’t playing as good as any goalie in the league. He even admits that. He is playing average hockey and has let in some goals that he has to stop in the playoffs. The blame is not entirely on him though. I agree that it is mostly a lack of heart. The battles along the boards, the shotblocking, the confidence. They looked like they were playing the Wings’ hockey in the first but couldn’t finish. They got behind in the 2nd and stopped skating. They lost confidence. To win tonight, they have to come out and score early; get confidence and momentum and keep it. The series isn’t over, but they’ll have to fight for it. Legace will have to be stellar, their special teams will have to be great, and they’ll have to find a way to finish. They get their chances, but haven’t been able to capitalize. That’s what great teams do, and the Wings haven’t shown an abililty to do that this series consistantly.
    Go Wings and if this series doesn’t work out, major roster shifts shouldn’t be taken. Yzerman will most likely retire, Chelios will stay, as will the core of our team. We need more grit and hard nosed workers, like McCarty was, or Holmstrom and Maltby are for us. The possible addition of Fischer will help and Igor Gigorinko will help the flashy scoring of Datsyuk and Zetterberg next year but an off-season acquisition of a grindy player or two like Ville Niemennen or someone would help.

  2. The wraparound goal he gave up in game 3 was pretty bad if I remember correctly. However, I really can’t fault Legacy though. As a goaltender, I take it harder than most if my team loses. I am also a realist though. I look back on things and say, “What could I have done to stop those shots?” There are a couple in every game I feel I should have had. However, there are 1 or 2 that I can say, well, I would have had to be damn lucky to stop. If we lose 4-0, then what can you do?

    To be a successful goaltender in the playoffs, you have to be not only skilled, but lucky. If you strike oil (no pun intended when talking about Edmonton) and are lucky at the right times, then you will be wanted on playoff teams. Look at players like Esa Tikkanen and Claude Lemieux. They are players who perform in playoffs because they are skilled, and lucky. For goaltenders, thats what you need is a little luck to go your way.

    Goaltenders who have luck in the playoffs right now:
    Roloson (duh!)
    Theodore – After a half season off, and a subpar first part of the season, he is kicking ass.

    Goaltenders who have no luck in playoffs now:
    Turco – I feel for this guy. He rocks in the regular season, but has only 2 playoff wins in 10 games. Horrible.

  3. I’m sorry but I disagree. Babcock has proven to be a fairly poor coach this year, and the playoffs have only been an extension of that. I’ll give several reasons why:

    * He plays Brett Lebda. Why? I don’t know. Lebda played only 46 games all year and while he was good at the start of the yera when he played, he was less-than-impressive in other appearances. He’s also undersized (5’10”, 195) and inexperienced. I don’t understand how Lebda gets the nod over Cross or Woolley — both of whom are more-experienced and/or bigger. Wouldn’t it be nice to have Cross helping clear the front of the net? I liek Lebda and he may have a future with the Wings. But not this year, not in the playoffs.

    * Can Babcock keep a line together for more than just 3 shifts? Please? Scotty Bowman used to juggle lines to keep his own players sharp. That worked because he was Scotty frigging Bowman and players feared him. Babcock appears to do it to give the guise he’s doing something, and no other reason. All year long he’s broken up line combos right aroudn the time they’ve gotten hot. Do you realize Babcock played Mark Mowers with Zetterberg and Datsyuk this series? In what dimension does someone come up witht hat line? And why did he break up Draper and Maltby? His moves make no sense. What ever happen to the Shanahan-Lang-Willians line?

    * DUMP AND CHASE? Are you kidding me? Here’s where Babcock 100% lost me. He has the Wings playing Dump and Chase because he’s SCARED of the Oilers for some reason. I saw no indications in the first 3 games that the Wings couldn’t fight their way into the offensive zone. Babcock never even tried though — he reverted to Dump and Chase, which the Wings haven’t the personnel to run and have not run all year long. He’s played back on his heels from the very start and… SURPRISE, the Wings have played that same way.

    So yes, there is PLENTY of reason to blame Babcock and his very, very poor coaching decisions…. and it’s not like he has any sort of record outside of Detroit he can point to and proclaim competency. I never felt Dave Lewis should have been let go, but I actively hate Babcock and have from the moment the Wings brought him in. Everything about his past and present screams “good motivator, lousy coach”.

    Now… Legace isn’t to blame at all, IMHO. Nobody clearing out the net in front of him, and the bulk of EDM’s goals are garbage goals like deflections right in front of him. It’s not his fault he can’t stop those, he shouldn’t be facing them to begin with.

    I again go back to the defense. The Wings really, really miss Fischer and his size and style this series (and that’s nobody’s fault of course, just bad luck). Chelios has fought like a demon, but nobody else has fought alongside him. Who else is going to clear the crease? Lidstrom? Lebda? Kronwall (who’s played well, BTW, but isn’t the big body they need)?

    I also disagree that the Oilers want it more. They’ve played hard, but not well at all. Consider that DET has dominated them on Faceoffs every single game (an avg. margin of like 10 faceoffs a game), despite all the hype about Stoll and the EDM faceoff men. It’s more a case of the officiating has been awful and the constant stoppages have hurt DET’s flow and played right into EDM’s hands.

    I’m furious. If DET loses this series, I dont’ think it’s at all unreasonable to call for Babcock’s head. He’s mismanaged lines, rosters, and strategy this entire series when it was still winnable, and his mistakes are laregely indefensible.

    — Primis.

  4. One hell of a reply Primus.

    I really am tired so I won’t debate you. I will agree there were some mistakes he made. However, at the same time, a desperate Oilers team made up the difference. If you saw any of this game, especially the last period of the last game, then you will understand. This team just wanted it more and it was obvious!

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