Grades after three games
Datsyuk B – Playing pretty awesome hockey at times, but it’s not turning into goals. His wingers have sucked, but oh well. A little loose with the puck in his own end.
Zetterberg A- -- Offense has been pretty good. Defense has not been great at times.
Filppula A – No player has “stepped up” more. Still, he tends to get weak on the boards and work in his own end isn’t always top notch.
Bertuzzi B – Good production. Too many giveaways or botched chances. But he makes room out there for his linemates and gives the Wings some strength in a tough series.
Holmstrom D – Fluke goal. Nothing more.
Franzen D – One goal. Otherwise he’s been a liability.
Cleary C -- Work ethic is top notch. But lacks the speed he once had and that hurts.
Helm D – Doesn’t have that electrifying speed and isn’t delivering the hits like we’ve seen in past years.
Miller C – Really quiet series.
Eaves C – Can’t fight his way to the net.
Draper C – Seems unable, physical, to meet the demands of the series. Spending a lot of time on the ice.
Abdelkader B – Abdelkader had a huge goal and has been a force, physically. But he loses his defensive assignments and he took a bad penalty.
Williams D – Benched.
Lidstrom C – Great work keeping pucks in, but he’s been beat too often in his own end.
Rafalski C- -- This might not be the series for a smooth skating defenseman. Bad pinches. Bad coverage. Weak on the boards.
Kronwall C – Giveaways, poor communication with Howard. Hasn’t looked himself with hitting or jumping into the rush.
Stuart B+ -- Solid all around work.
Ericsson B- -- Gets beat too often one on one, but has kept the puck out of the net for the most part.
Lilja B- -- Saved a couple goals. Made some Lilja-esque gaffes. But has been solid on the PK.
Howard C – Hasn’t been bad. Hasn’t lost a game for the Wings. But he hasn’t won anything for them either.
Babcock D – Doesn’t seem to be making any adjustments to the Coyotes’ attack.
Rafalski D+ (bro needs to step it up)
Lidström played strange at times. Not Lidströmesque by any stretch. Most glaring thing was that 2-on-1 goal in game 1. He did not cover his man and overplayed the situation. Howard challanged the shooter, came out long way - which was a good move, having the best defender on planet earth for the last 2 decades on the backcheck. But Lids didn't cover his man and Howie was beat out of position on the passing play.
I cannot remember seing a mistake of that sort from Nick *ever* before.
That is also not a question of age biting him. It was no lack of speed or anything. That is what puzzles me. I have no explanation...
Anyway I think especially the first line has to elevate their games. Franzen, Homer and Dats must become more effective. The need to support Z and Flip on the scoresheet. If they do we are fine. If not... well.... that will become a very, very tough series.