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What's Next for the Red Wings?

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1What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 4:47 pm

davetherave

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The talk of a 'dynasty' is over. The Detroit Red Wings repeated their trip to the Stanley Cup Finals, and as The Hockey Gods would have it, met their previous challengers. But despite the confident predictions of the 'experts', a repeat was not to be.

So what's next for the Wings?

Many have called Detroit the 'measuring stick'...but there were questions this year about a squad that is the oldest in the NHL. And the questions Ken Holland, Mike Babc0ck and the Wings Brain Trust will face include new challenges.

Having gone to the SCFs two years running, the wear and tear on the team which manifested itself this past season, will logically have an exponential effect next season.

Key players like Holmstrom, Draper, Maltby, Rafalski, Lidstrom and Osgood, are over 35...and NHL hockey is becoming, increasingly, a 'young man's game'.

Who replaces the stars, and who carries on the definition of excellence that has come to be equated with Detroit?

Among the issues: free agent signings and the rotation of personnel.

Staying at the top of the slippery slope, not to mention winning successive championships, is becoming more and more difficult.

With the resurgence of the teams in the Central Division, notably Chicago, St. Louis, and Columbus, the immediate competition is more intense. Had Nashville managed to sneak in, all five Central teams would have made the post season.
Perhaps significantly, all four of these teams gave the Wings trouble in their season series in 2008-09. Will these opponents be tougher next year?

The Wings' hated rivals and Cup Champion predecessors, the Anaheim Ducks, have already begun to re-tool and gave the Wings a protracted and debilitating battle this year in the playoffs.

So...changes to come in Hockeytown?

Yahoo Sports gives us this initial snapshot:

INSIDE SHOTS: DETROIT RED WINGS TEAM REPORT, JUNE 13 2009

It could have been a storybook ending for Marian Hossa. Instead, his worst nightmare unfolded.

The Pittsburgh team he spurned for greener pastures last summer defeated the club he hoped would lead him to his first Stanley Cup championship. And to make matters worse, Maxime Talbot, the most outspoken Penguin regarding Hossa’s departure, was the hero, scoring both of his team’s goals to lift Pittsburgh to a 2-1 victory in Game 7.

After leading the Wings with 40 goals during the regular season, Hossa struggled in the playoffs, scoring goals in only three of 23 games (two each in Game 4 of the first three rounds). The Cup finals were an absolute disaster for him as he failed to score a goal and tallied only three assists.

Hossa was particularly ineffective the last two games, when his team needed him the most. The Wings scored only two goals in those two games, allowing the Penguins to complete an improbable comeback.

“That’s life. Sometimes you make choices. … That’s the way it goes,” said Hossa, who signed a one-year, $7.45 million contract with Detroit last summer. “I couldn’t get anything done during the series. You try not to let things get to you, you block it. But everyone’s human.”

Hossa said he doesn’t regret his decision. He was non-committal when asked whether he still wants to re-sign with the Red Wings. The club has a difficult choice to make. If it signs Hossa, it will lose a few other players because of salary-cap constraints.

Penguins 2, Red Wings 1: The Wings ran out of steam. For the second straight game they were lackluster during the first two periods, and their late flurry fell short. The Wings could not sustain much of a forecheck as the Penguins won puck battles and did a good job of moving it out of their zone quickly. Mistakes also cost Detroit.
Brad Stuart was the goat on both goals, both scored by Maxime Talbot. Stuart turned the puck over on the first one and pinched on the second one, leading to a two-on-one break. Still, the Wings had an excellent chance to tie it in the waning seconds, but Marc-Andre Fleury made a chest save on Nicklas Lidstrom’s close-range shot.

Notes, Quotes

D
Chris Chelios, 47, was a healthy scratch in the Stanley Cup Final and is not expected to be re-signed. But Chelios is not prepared to retire. He hopes to play next season for another club. He played in parts of 10 seasons with the Wings, appearing in 578 games and winning two Stanley Cups.

D
Andreas Lilja is not sure if he’ll be ready for the start of next season because of concussion-like symptoms that have gotten worse recently. Lilja, who was punched out by Nashville Shea Webber on Feb. 28, said his headaches have gotten worse.

The Wings became just the third team to lose a Game 7 of the Cup Final at home.

Quote To Note: “It’s hard coming up short one game; you’re so close to the Stanley Cup, you’re fighting hard the whole season to put yourself in this situation.”—Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom.

Player Notes:

D Jonathan Ericsson scored his team’s only goal, his fourth of the playoffs. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound rookie had a strong postseason with eight points and a plus-9 rating in 22 games, securing a spot in the lineup next season.

LW Tomas Holmstrom had a dreadful postseason, failing to score a goal in the last 19 games. He didn’t provide his usual net-front presence and wasn’t as strong retrieving the puck, which hurt the power play.

C Darren Helm had six hits Friday and finished with a team-leading total of 118 in the playoffs. His speed, aggressive forechecking and physical play were vital for the team.

Medical Watch:

D Andreas Lilja was diagnosed with a bleeding vein in his head, which is causing his headaches. He missed the rest of the regular season and the entire playoff run after getting punched in the chin by Nashville’s Shea Webber on Feb. 28.

LW
Tomas Kopecky missed the remainder of the postseason after undergoing surgery to repair a broken orbital bone, sustained during a fight with Anaheim’s Francois Beauchemin in Game 4 of the second round.

---

Much discussion to be had, and the thoughts of GM Hockey Members are sure to varied and passionate.

Over to you...



Last edited by davetherave on Wed Jun 17, 2009 10:23 pm; edited 1 time in total

2What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:36 pm

davetherave

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Detroit Metro Area hockey journalist Pat Caputo provides his view in the wake of the Wings' defeat:

PENGUINS EXPOSED CRACKS IN THE RED WINGS' ARMOR
Pat Caputo, The Macomb Daily, June 14, 2009

It's understood, in the aftermath of the Red Wings' Game 7 defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday that any criticism of the organization is relative.

The Red Wings have claimed one of three Stanley Cup championships the past dozen seasons. They have been in the playoffs 18 straight years. It's the longest active streak in major professional team sports.

Yet, by the Red Wings' high standards, what took place in the Stanley Cup Finals was a meltdown.

The Red Wings won the first two games of the series. Pittsburgh beat them four of the next five.

The Red Wings had a three-games-to-two lead and needed only a single victory to grab their second Stanley Cup championship in a row. They didn't do it.

Sure, the Red Wings were injured and weary. The schedule for the Finals was ridiculous. Back-to-back games to open the series just two days after the Red Wings completed ousting Chicago in the Western Conference finals?

In truth, however, the Red Wings won both those games. And they lost Game 7 on their home ice, while the Penguins were forced to play most of the night without arguably their best player and team captain, Sidney Crosby.

There were cracks in the Red Wings' armor that were exposed by the Penguins, a solid team in their own right, who earned their victories with persistence.

While we were all amazed at the Red Wings' depth throughout the playoffs, as the grind wore on, it became more apparent it is mostly up front. The Red Wings' defense was exposed a bit, not so much in terms of zone coverage, but an inability to get the puck out of their own end when Pittsburgh applied the forecheck.

Granted, much of this had to do with an injury to Nicklas Lidstrom that required surgery during the playoffs, but there were some signs this season that Lidstrom is slowing down, to a degree anyway. He is going to be 40 years old next April, and his partner on the Red Wings' top defensive pairing, Brian Rafalski, will be 37.

Although he has his detractors, the Red Wings missed the stay-at-home toughness of Andreas Lilja in the postseason. His future is in question because of persistent headaches. The development of Jonathan Ericsson was an enormous boost, but the Red Wings don't have Justin Abdelkader, Ville Leino and Darren Helm waiting to pounce on an available defenseman spot. Former first-round pick Jacob Kindl doesn't appear to be ready. Even if he is, the Red Wings still need more help defensively.

It's why the Red Wings should pass on re-signing free agent Marian Hossa. And they shouldn't worry that much if they can't come to agreements with free agents Jiri Hudler and Mikael Samuelsson.

It's not just because Hossa was ineffective in the playoffs. He is a luxury the Red Wings, who already have high-end forwards such as Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen, can't afford given their needs on defense. They have already developed replacements for Hudler and Samuelsson. And the Red Wings are being pushed against the NHL's salary cap, which doesn't have the wiggle room of the ceilings in the NBA and NFL.

There are two very good unrestricted free agent defensemen — Florida's Jay Bouwmeester and Montreal's Mike Komisarek. Both are in their 20s. Bouwmeester, the third overall pick in the 2002 draft, is at the high end because he has offensive skill to go along with his size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) and defensive ability. Komisarek, who starred at the University of Michigan, is a bull with pretty good skill. He is 6-4, 245 pounds and a physical presence. The situation in Montreal deteriorated for a number of reasons this season, and he had a lot of injuries. But he was the seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft and played excellent hockey for the Canadiens leading up to last season.

A change of scenery, especially coming home in a sense to the Red Wings, would really benefit Komisarek.

It's often overlooked, too, how good defense leads to offense. It was apparent the Red Wings weren't making quite as many defensive plays in the Finals. It hindered their transition game, which has long been one of the best in the NHL.

They've got plenty of scorers and young forwards.

Get some "D" men.

Pat Caputo is a columnist for Journal Register News Service.

3What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:40 pm

Guest


Guest
Weakness in the Detroit armour eh... haha, I guess if 1/2 of your team is playing injured, not hurt, injured, then you have cracks in that armour.

I'll still take Detroit over Pitts if I had to choose a team next year. Everyone on that roster was beyond beat up, not so much in Pitts.

4What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 5:41 pm

Hockeyhero22000

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he is soo right the last two games they were stuck in their end didnt realize rafalski was already 37 they definetly need young guys on the blue line

5What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:10 pm

davetherave

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Neely4Life wrote:Weakness in the Detroit armour eh... haha, I guess if 1/2 of your team is playing injured, not hurt, injured, then you have cracks in that armour.

I'll still take Detroit over Pitts if I had to choose a team next year. Everyone on that roster was beyond beat up, not so much in Pitts.

Neely, Caputo being a Detroit area writer, I tend to look at his points more seriously.

And yes, injuries DO reveal 'cracks in that armour'. Because a team requires sufficient depth, and robustness, to get through the incredibly grueling journey to Lord Stanley's silver soup bowl on a stand.

Consider the injuries...from Wings columnist Ansar Khan:


  • Nicklas Lidstrom...surgery during the Chicago series (confirmed, but detials not specified by Ken Holland--Ed)
  • Pavel Datsyuk sustained a charley horse and foot injury in Game 2 vs. the Blackhawks.
  • Brian Rafalski suffered a herniated disc between the first and second rounds.
  • Dan Cleary played the last three games of the finals with a groin injury.
  • Kris Draper missed the first 10 games with a neck injury and five more later on with a strained groin.
  • Tomas Kopecky's postseason ended midway through the second round due to a fractured orbital bone.
  • Andreas Lilja never returned due to headaches from a concussion on Feb. 28.


Lidstrom, Rafalski, and Draper are not bouncing back from injuries the way they did five years ago, and certainly not when they've played hockey from October to June two years in a row.

There a free agents to be dealt with, and Holland already acknowledges there may have to be some movement of players. Again, from Ansar Khan:

Red Wings scheduled to become free agents on July 1:
Unrestricted: Chris Chelios, D; Ty Conklin, G; Aaron Downey, RW; Marian Hossa, RW; Tomas Kopecky, LW; Darren McCarty, RW; Mikael Samuelsson, RW.
Restricted: Jiri Hudler, LW; Ville Leino, LW.

Among the questions front and centre:

  • Do they re-sign Hossa? His acquisition didn't pay off with another Cup...so can/will they say goodbye?
  • Who's the partner/backup for Chris Osgood next year?
  • Does Brad Stuart get it done, after being exposed in the SCPs? The Wings are locked to him for another three years. Detroit had to lose Kyle Quincey last year as a result, do they now have to let Derek Meech go?
  • When and where do Leino, Helm and Abdelkader fit in? Do Draper and Maltby make their exit?

Ken Holland's an outstanding hockey executive, and the Red Wings are an exemplary organization.

But the cracks in the armour are real.

How/if they get fixed, should be interesting to watch.

6What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:18 pm

Guest


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Dave, Lidstrom got sticked in the nuts and had surgery. I wouldnt even bother getting out of bed, this guy played in the Stanley Cup finals.

Datsyuk was injured for 4 games, Ericsson had surgery as well. I dont care if the Pens won the cup this year, Detroit is still the better team. I'm still amazed those guys actually got back into the lineup and took it 7.

Maltby is useless now, he cant play at his age, in this game. He is just about done. Drapper can still play that 4th line role pretty well though.

I dont buy there are chinks in Detroits team, they were injured, simple as that. Might not be an excuse, but that's the reason. I still cant believe how beat up that team truly was.

7What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:27 pm

PKC

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The fact that Datsyuk played a game 7 with a broken foot is ridiculous.

8What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:31 pm

PTFlea

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That injury list is awesome. Just amazing to see how many of their big guys were severely hurt.

They're still the best team in the World behind Pittsburgh - and I actually think they're better than Pitts, but...you know...the Stanley Cup is the Stanley Cup.

I see where Dave is going though. This lineup - while having some fresh legs - also has some older legs. We've all now seen how hard it is to win a Cup - and Lidstrom, Rafalski et. all won't be any younger next year.

9What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:34 pm

PKC

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SpezDispenser wrote:That injury list is awesome. Just amazing to see how many of their big guys were severely hurt.

They're still the best team in the World behind Pittsburgh - and I actually think they're better than Pitts, but...you know...the Stanley Cup is the Stanley Cup.

I see where Dave is going though. This lineup - while having some fresh legs - also has some older legs. We've all now seen how hard it is to win a Cup - and Lidstrom, Rafalski et. all won't be any younger next year.

Concerned about Detroit? You should take a look at Pittsburgh's situation. Their top six wingers, minus Kunitz, are all UFAs...on a team that's already sitting at $47-million in committed salary next season.

Oh, and that doesn't include the fact that they only have four defensemen signed for next year and need a backup goalie too.

Good luck Shero.

10What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 6:56 pm

asq2

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As long as their scouting staff and development methods remain, they'll never have a problem.

The team will keep chugging along. You'll have kids like Filppula, Helm and Hudler taking bigger roles offensively, and Ericsson, Kindl etc. on defence. You've also got some prospects with really nice potential like Dick Axelsson.

The last thing they should be looking to do is make big changes.

11What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 7:25 pm

wprager

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PKC wrote:The fact that Datsyuk played a game 7 with a broken foot is ridiculous.

He was ready to go for game 3 and 4. Crosby had a broken foot two years ago also. I'm not saying it's not a big deal, it's just been done many times over (I seem to remember Gainey not being able to put his boot on, it was so swollen; rumor has it that he spray-painted his foot black and riveted the blade right to the bottom of his foot sole just to get back in the lineup).

12What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:31 pm

davetherave

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Reading through the above, it seems some of the posters think that because Pat Caputo, a Detroit writer, identifies gaps and issues that need to be addressed, that he is criticizing the Wings.

Rest assured that Ken Holland, being the smart executive that he is, isn't satisfied with getting this close to the Stanley Cup and not winning.

If he feels changes are needed, he'll make 'em. Count on it.

13What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:34 pm

Guest


Guest
I really dont see any gaps at all though... where are they weak? Defense? They are still stacked with young and old. Forward? Deepest in the league with 2 of the best centers in Datsyul and Zetterberg. Goaltending? Maybe an issue but Osgood was solid all playoffs.

I dont see any holes just a team that has gone deep into the playoffs 3 straight years and injuries finally hurt them. Cup or not, when healthy, or even 90%, still the best team in the league.

14What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:50 pm

davetherave

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Neely4Life wrote:I really dont see any gaps at all though... where are they weak? Defense? They are still stacked with young and old. Forward? Deepest in the league with 2 of the best centers in Datsyul and Zetterberg. Goaltending? Maybe an issue but Osgood was solid all playoffs.

I dont see any holes just a team that has gone deep into the playoffs 3 straight years and injuries finally hurt them. Cup or not, when healthy, or even 90%, still the best team in the league.

Neely, what Caputo said is worth reading again.

If the Wings were the best, they'd be Champions right now.

That's all there is.

And that's what Ken Holland and the Red Wings organization use as their standard.

What makes a 'best in class' organization, no matter what the area of endeavour, is the ability to look critically at one's own organization.

Holland is one of the best at that, as is his coach and the rest of the staff.

15What's Next for the Red Wings? Empty Re: What's Next for the Red Wings? on Sun Jun 14, 2009 8:58 pm

Guest


Guest
It does, and thats why they are the best. An outsiders, unbias point of view, there are not many, if any holes on that Wings team. If injuries hit like that again, they probably wont win again.

I cant go and look at their lineup and go, right there is where they need some depth, or they could use an upgrade there.

I also dont but the "if they were the best team they would be champs" thing either. Pitts had TONS of luck in the final series and throughout the playoffs. Everything went there way as opposed to The Wings who had basically everything happen to them in a negative sense, and stil got to game 7 of the cup finals. A normal team would fold with those injuries, Detroit still somehow managed to get there.

Going into next year, Detroit is still the favorite to win the cup.



Last edited by Neely4Life on Sun Jun 14, 2009 9:04 pm; edited 1 time in total

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