Blogs > Red Wings Corner

Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thoughts on Game 2 (3-2 win in Ottawa)

-- Marian Hossa is not finishing. Hopefully, he's being streaky or just adjusting. He's played well in every area -- defense, creating chances -- but he's not finishing chances.

-- Ottawa looked at the Zetterberg line as Detroit's most dangerous, putting its top checking forward (Antoine Vermette) and shut-down defense pairing (Chris Philips and Anton Volchenkov) against Z's line. The Datsyuk line dominated the Jason Spezza line early, but didn't maintain that advantage throughout the game. If you asked me beforehand if the Datsyuk line would be held scoreless against the Spezza line, I wouldn't have believed it.

-- Martin Gerber looked bad. The winning goal was a deflection off Filip Kuba's stick, but the first two goals were both softies.

-- Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Holmstrom were reunited for a power-play shift in the third period to spark the team. No goal, but I wonder if Coach Babcock will be tempted to reunite the trio at even strength if the offense is sluggish.

-- Dan Cleary played a much better game. Had a lot of jump.

-- Johan Franzen scored two goals, including the winner, but he didn't get a lot of praise from Babcock afterwards. "I didn't think the Mule played like he did in exhibition in the first two games," said Babcock. "The Mule's got to understand the reason he's so good is that he's so big and physical. So he's got to be big and physical and the rest of the stuff will come."


Anonymous Mudshark said...

Totally agree with Uncle Mike about the Mule- only I would extend that comment to at least half the team... Kronner and Stuart have looked well nigh invisible these first two games, except when they were getting scored on in semi-embarassing fashion (that Nick Foligno goal was sick, sure, but he never should've gotten through Kronwall and Flip). Lebda has looked particularly bad in this arena as well, and even ordinarily reliable guys like Mule, Cleary, and Sammy have looked, well, soft so far. When your biggest checks- strike that, ONLY checks- are coming from Maltby, Homer and Hudler, that's a problem. Also, I am pretty much at the point where I feel confident predicting Tomas Kopecky is NOT going to be able to fill Dallas Drake's shoes.

And I hope Babs decides to get the Flying Circus back together. Not only does team chemistry flow downhill from that line, IMO, I think a second line with Hossa, Mule, and either Flip or Cleary centering would be a bigger threat than most give credit for. I mean, the Flip-Mule-Sammy line had some bright moments in the post-season last year and, logically, adding Hossa should be a significant upgrade over Samuelsson.

I think the problem with putting the Circus back together really is how the bottom lines shake out. Assume you have a third line of Draper, Cleary, and Maltby, for example- that leaves you with a fourth line composed of Hudler, Kopecky, and Samuelsson. I actually think that line could be better than it sounds, but can anyone say, otoh, it doesn't leave you hoping them bring Darren Helm up, and soon? And what about Mac? Where's he fit in all this?

So, the season is getting interesting already. Thus far, I think team speed/work ethic is clearly on the verge of becoming an issue (which isn't entirely unexpected after winning the Cup, I spose), and I think the experiment with splitting up Dats and Z needs to come to an end, soon. As a poster on another site said, those two have the kind of chemistry you see once in a blue moon, and Babs - God love 'em- is nuts if he doesn't recognize, and soon.

The possible combinations are too tantalizing not to run through-

Z-Dats- Mule;
Z-Dats- Homer;



And so on...

I mean, even the Hudler-Helm-Maltby line looked pretty damn good last season... And I gotta say, Maltby is looking like a guy who is well aware his job is at stake- he's been one of our more fiery, high-energy players so far.

I just don't understand why Babs would lock into a line arrangement that, again, IMO, presents some clear issues... Time to shuffle up and deal, Uncle Mike.

October 12, 2008 at 2:53 PM 

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