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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, November 29, 2008

Thoughts on Game 22 (4-1 loss in Boston)

-- In a mistake-filled game, I'll bet you're curious what the one mistake that Coach Mike Babcock singled out afterwards. Andreas Lilja stepping up in the neutral zone, missing his target, creating a 2-on-1 for Boston. That led to the Bruins' first goal.

It was a bad one by Lilja. Niklas Kronwall didn't help any by skating too deep and letting the pass get through to Blake Wheeler. Ty Conklin was playing the shot and Michael Ryder as he should, so he had no chance on Wheeler.

"I thought we played pretty good through two periods," said Babcock. "We made a mistake on their first goal. We stepped up in the neutral zone. They got a 2-on-1 and buried it in the net. I don't think Ty was responsible for that."

Babcock has talked about this throughout his four seasons in Detroit. He would rather a defenseman closes the gap than step up like that.

-- Kronwall letting that Ryder pass through wasn't his worst moment. How can you get stripped of the puck while waiting on the end boards for a breakout to set up? For that matter, why wait near the corner instead of taking it behind the net? Just a bad, bad mistake by Kronwall leading to the Bruins' third goal.

-- I screwed up too. I think in my last post-game post (can I say that?) I labeled Conklin the better of the Red Wings' two goalies. Obviously I put the jinx on him. My bad. I should be benched.

-- Jiri Hudler battled well tonight. Other than the goal, he stepped up nicely and intercepted a Boston pass late in the third period to create a scoring chance. Hudler was fighting well in corners for the puck and winning a lot of his battles.

-- I don't think I've ever seen Pavel Datsyuk knocked down as much as he was in this game. The Zdeno Chara hit was a huge one. But Datsyuk was banged around a lot of other times as well.

-- The bottom line is it points out how spoiled we are as Red Wings fans when a 4-1 loss stands out like this and errors seem enormous. This is a run-of-the-mill game for most teams in half of their contests.

8 Comments:

Blogger pjbags24 said...

Bruce-
Your last point is pretentious, and the wings make plenty of mistakes every night. Taking a 4-1 loss is odd for the wings not because they are that good, but because the team the team doesn't give up. Ty and Ozzie didn't have good nights and couldn't bail out the team when they usually do. 4 goals off of 19 shots tells the story.

November 30, 2008 at 1:02 AM 
Blogger Bruce MacLeod said...

I don't know if I can be pretentious talking about someone else's accomplishments.
The Wings aren't that good? Not sure I agree with that.
And the goalies haven't bailed the Wings out in a while.

November 30, 2008 at 1:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This game was painful to watch. Sure the goalies didn't play well. But 4 goals isn't insurmountable. Look at Malkin, or Ovechkin. Seemingly every night, 2 goals, 4 points, huge victories for their teams. How many games this year has Detroit dominated? Edmonton, Tampa, Calgary and Florida. Every other win is a squeaker.

4:1 lose? Isn't Detroit supposed to have 3 of the best offensive players in the league (Hossa, Zetterberg, Datsyuk)? Isn't Detroit supposed to have the best defense in the league? If you look at the roster, Detroit has the best team on paper in the league. And what's changed since last year? Did any team get that much better?

With forwards like this, a 4:1 lose is kind of pathetic. If this was an isolated problem, but Detroit got shellacked by multiple teams this year. The passion has left these guys. Every night these guys get 35 shots, and most nights only one or two goes in. Something is wrong. If Washington got 35 shots every night, they'd be winning 10-0 every night.

It's time to seriously switch things up. Get Helm and Leino up here. Trade Rafalski to make future cap room for next season. Everyone has the idea that this is just a bump in the season. But maybe they don't improve? Their record is good, but they haven't beat a top team this season.

November 30, 2008 at 5:40 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would really like to see Downey brought up for the game monday against the Ducks. We need someone to be able to go out and protect the Datsuks.

November 30, 2008 at 7:31 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The goalies have bailed the Wings out aplenty. Sometimes it results in a Win, sometimes not. The Defense has left both goalies hanging out to dry more often than not this season, and far more often than the goalies have let their teammates down. As for "jinxing" Conklin.... Nah, you didn't jinx him. You were just in error when labeling him the better of the Wing's two goalies, that's all.

November 30, 2008 at 11:53 PM 
Blogger Nathan said...

Well, the Wings haven't had a goalie bail them out once this season, and they've needed it. I think the confidence of the team in its goalies is weakening. They seem to be gripping the sticks tighter and playing as if EVERY play has to be a goal, and it's leading to turnovers and missed defensive responsibility.

Regardless, this is where Babcock is supposed to earn his money. I expect he will turn it around, but it is admittedly disheartening that we're past the quarter point of the season, most of the problems have been apparent since game one, and little progress has been made (and what progress was made has been undone over the last four games).

December 1, 2008 at 8:51 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bruce, the bottom line is this:

Osgood is by far, the better goalie than Conklin. He is in a slump, and people need to understand this. The guy just won us a cup! He's slumping, he isn't playing well, but in the end, I'll take Ozzie over Conks any day of the week, and twice on Sunday.

It's fair to be critical of Ozzie's game right now, but let's put it in perspective and let him play out of this funk.

Ozzie always comes up big in the crunch.

December 1, 2008 at 9:54 AM 
Blogger Nathan said...

Is a commenter actually suggesting the Wings trade Rafalski? Really?

That entire post is based on panic instead of reason. If Ken Holland thought this way the Wings would have NO Cups since he entered the scouting team and front office.

I do agree with the comment that "the passion has left these guys". But I don't agree with the implication that it has permanently left. The fire will light under them, in my opinion, probably around the All-Star Break when the stretch run comes, the playoffs are around the corner, and every game is twice as important.

Now, that doesn't excuse their efforts to this point. I said it earlier in the season -- I think the team needs a wakeup call, and these last four games might just be it. Really, up until these last four games, the Wings were getting two points out of most games even though they were only playing to about 75% of what we know they're capable of. If what you're doing is working in the standings, what onus is there, as a player, to change anything? Even if the coach tells you to... even if you know that your play won't be good enough come playoff time. Sub-consciously I think it's hard to shake -- it's the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality.

Well, now it has broken. The Wings have been embarrassed by the Habs and Bruins. Had a meltdown against the Canucks. And gave up way too much to Columbus in a game they should've won comfortably.

Let's hope that this little stretch wakes them up, but if it doesn't, it's probably worth it in the long run for them to lose a couple more games here if it's what the team needs to open their eyes, tighten up the D, have the goalies get back to basics, and play true Red Wing hockey again.

December 1, 2008 at 11:43 AM 

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