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Old
05-08-2007, 06:37 AM
  #1
HockeyinHD
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General Wings Playoff Comments

Hockey in a funny sport. Perhaps the three biggest targets du jour on the club (Lang, Schneider and Samuelsson) were completely key in the SJ series. The fourth target (Lilja) has been so good in these playoffs I think even the fans here will lighten up on him going into next season.

General playoff observations:

-Someone tell me more about how soft and passive the Wings are. Complain about it just one more freaking time. Or how slow the team is. Old how old the team is. It's not (and has never been) about age, passivity, softness, 'grit' or what have you... it's been about the best players on the team (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Schneider) playing like the best players on the team, the most expensive guy on the ice (Lidstrom) playing like the most expensive guy on the ice, and the goaltender playing like someone who is actually willing to make a big save every once in a while. When you get those three things going, everything else falls into place.

-Mike Babcock is a great coach. He -eviscerated- Wilson in the Sharks series. I won't do Babcock the disservice of even comparing him to Playfair, who is hardly qualified to be a scout for the Wings, much less the coach of an opponent. If you watched the way Babcock handled his matchups against the Sharks, even in SJ, it was simply brilliant.

-Samuelsson (1.2 mil a year), Lilja (1 mil a year), Hasek (750k + bonuses), Bertuzzi (Matthias and hopefully a 1st), Calder (for Williams). Filppula, Franzen, Cleary, Lebda. Suck it, Holland bashers. Neener freaking double neener. Hah, I say.

-Going into the Sharks series I said something along the lines of 'If the Wings can beat the Sharks forecheck they can make some hay against the Sharks blueline and goaltending.' They did, and they did. The Ducks are an inverse reflection of the Sharks, in that Anaheim is much stronger back, but weaker up front. At least talent wise. In order for Detroit to win this series I'm going to suggest something that is anathema to most Wings fans: the trap. Not a fancy-shmancy 2-3 left wing lock... I'm talking about an all-out 1-4. Make the Ducks aggressive, because I think the only way Detroit reliably scores against Anaheim is to create odd-man rushes, and a well-played trap can do that when employed against a younger forward corps like the Ducks have. With at least Pronger or Neidermeyer out there 100% of the time I just don't see the Wings being able to establish a consistent offensive zone presence, and either of those Ducks dmen is talented enough with the puck to make an outlet pass and generate some solid breakout opportunities.

-Prediction: Wings in 7. This will be Bertuzzi's coming out party as a Red Wing. 4-5 goals, 10 points in the series, at least 2 game-winning goals. A series against a team like Anaheim is exactly why he's here, and his game has improved every round, IMO.

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05-08-2007, 08:59 AM
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I totally agree with HD.

I have said this numerous of times: this is not the same Detroit Red Wings team from previous seasons. Some players have stepped up form the regular season, Lilja, Chelios, Datsyuk, Cleary, Franzen, etc

The Ducks are a strong team, it's going to be tough

Edit: Like you said. Bertuzzi isn't really playing up to his potential, would be great if he can step up against the Ducks

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05-08-2007, 09:52 AM
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I agree with just about everything you say there HD. The only thing I differ on is calling Lang "key". He had a very key goal, which was huge...no doubt. But he still isnt consistent at all. He still needs to play better. He has 2 very big goals in these playoffs (both were extremely soft from a goaltenders standpoint, btw) but thats about it. We are 12 games in, and I still think he needs to be a lot better. At least consistently effective. He still isnt doing that.

That being said, his goal in Game 4 is the turning point of the playoffs for Detroit right now.

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05-08-2007, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Higgy4 View Post
I agree with just about everything you say there HD. The only thing I differ on is calling Lang "key".

That being said, his goal in Game 4 is the turning point of the playoffs for Detroit right now.
That's "key", IMO. You can't call the series altering goalscorer anything else but key. Consistent? No. Productive? No. A Wing next year? Probably not. Key to the Wings beating SJ in 2007? Abso-freaking-lutely. I don't know about turning point of the whole playoffs (IMO it was Zetterberg's game winner in game 5 vs. Calgary. His first score, which let us know he was back, and the 2 goal lead turned around a series which would have ended had Detroit not pulled out that game 5 at home.) but Lang's goal was the difference in the SJ series, no doubt.

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05-08-2007, 10:55 AM
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I think the real difference on this team is that they do play like a TEAM. I've noticed the media experts picking up on this... yes, the other guys are bigger, faster, younger (them too), but the Wings are a better team. Everyone knows that the top scorers are going to get extra attention from the other teams' best. At this level, you aren't going to face many poor teams or players. Look at the assortment of scorers for the Wings in the first two series: Cleary with some shorties (!), Franzen & Schneider in OT; Lang when we didn't think he should be on the ice and so on. The points totals bear this out-- the big 3 of Dats, Z and Lidstrom lead the team (11, 8, & 11 pts respectively). Next 2 with 6pts are Franzen and Schneider! No one should be surprised to see Matty there, but who picked Franzen to be a tour de force on scoring?

I think the Wings are creating a situation where opportunities are created. Overall they are very deep, a lot deeper than they get credit for being, and the style of play wears opponents down. You know the big guns will get their points but often in the playoffs that isn't going to be enough. The scoring has been spread around the rest of the team quite nicely... heck, even Draper has 2 goals!!! Chelios has 5 pts. Malts, Q, Markov and Lilly are the only Wings with no points in the playoffs so far. I'd call what the Wings have done so far team wins and not really single out any one guy too much. That's okay though.

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05-08-2007, 11:44 AM
  #6
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I think the big difference this year is that the Wings bend without breaking.

i thought the Wings were solid against Calgary, especially at home.

But I thought the Wings were fortunate in games 1-4 against SJ. They didn't play very well. They made big mistakes and paid for it on the scoreboard.

Even in the must win games where this team came back to win, they didn't look that great. Game 4, that Lang goal literally came out of nowhere. While the Wings maintained possession for most of the third, they weren't getting good scoring chances. Then, all of the sudden, a broken play along the boards turns into something because Filppula outworked Guerin, and Marleau just stood there and watched.
Suddenly Lang is coming down the left wing, Rivet overplays the pass, and Lang scores on a shot Nabokov should not have let in.

That's the series. Right there.
If that play doesn't happen, we lose the series.

But it does happen.
And the Wings took full advantage of that moment, stepping on SJ's throats and winning the series.

This team is winning games it would have lost last year.

Why?
One obvious answer is Datsyuk's improved play.

Another obvious answer is goals from guys like Cleary, Sammy and Franzen. That was missing last season.

I think two biggest reasons are this
1) Committment to the forecheck ... even when the team has struggled, for the most part, it continues to work hard.
2) Hasek -- Has hasek been earth shattering? No. But this team knows it doesn't have to shell up when falling behind, 2-0. If Ozzie or Legace had been in goal in games 2 and 4, I sincerely doubt the Wings would have come back.

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05-08-2007, 11:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartestManOnEarth View Post
I think the big difference this year is that the Wings bend without breaking.

i thought the Wings were solid against Calgary, especially at home.

But I thought the Wings were fortunate in games 1-4 against SJ. They didn't play very well. They made big mistakes and paid for it on the scoreboard.

Even in the must win games where this team came back to win, they didn't look that great. Game 4, that Lang goal literally came out of nowhere. While the Wings maintained possession for most of the third, they weren't getting good scoring chances. Then, all of the sudden, a broken play along the boards turns into something because Filppula outworked Guerin, and Marleau just stood there and watched.
Suddenly Lang is coming down the left wing, Rivet overplays the pass, and Lang scores on a shot Nabokov should not have let in.

That's the series. Right there.
If that play doesn't happen, we lose the series.

But it does happen.
And the Wings took full advantage of that moment, stepping on SJ's throats and winning the series.

This team is winning games it would have lost last year.

Why?
One obvious answer is Datsyuk's improved play.

Another obvious answer is goals from guys like Cleary, Sammy and Franzen. That was missing last season.

I think two biggest reasons are this
1) Committment to the forecheck ... even when the team has struggled, for the most part, it continues to work hard.
2) Hasek -- Has hasek been earth shattering? No. But this team knows it doesn't have to shell up when falling behind, 2-0. If Ozzie or Legace had been in goal in games 2 and 4, I sincerely doubt the Wings would have come back.
Good stuff. I completely agree.

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05-08-2007, 02:33 PM
  #8
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Who would have thought that some of the players who we were so rough on all season would be the ones to step up and really show their true colors? In particular, Andreas Lilja. My God, he has really stepped up to the bar and shown what he is capable of. I'm just amazed and happy for him.

And it's so good to see Pasha come away from that playoff demon that he had. I think he's done a pretty good job of putting that myth to rest once and for all.

It's been fun so far. Let's hope it continues.

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05-08-2007, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Higgy4 View Post
Good stuff. I completely agree.
You completely agreed with HD and SMOE. Did they actually agree with each other?

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05-08-2007, 04:17 PM
  #10
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Originally Posted by Higgy4 View Post
I agree with just about everything you say there HD. The only thing I differ on is calling Lang "key". He had a very key goal, which was huge...no doubt. But he still isnt consistent at all. He still needs to play better. He has 2 very big goals in these playoffs (both were extremely soft from a goaltenders standpoint, btw) but thats about it. We are 12 games in, and I still think he needs to be a lot better. At least consistently effective. He still isnt doing that.

That being said, his goal in Game 4 is the turning point of the playoffs for Detroit right now.
I am very glad he is not consistent, cause the only thing he was consistent during the season was giving the puck away. I have not seen any of that in the playoffs and I am very happy for that.
Lang's goals are huge. The Wings and Flames were winning their home games and the Wings did not win a road game until that game. The goal by Lang and he also screen Kiprusoff on Franzen's GWG. Our best forwards/stars Z and D did not have a point on the road at that point of the playoffs. When you consider all this you see how huge that win was.
The tying goal vs the Shakrs. The Sharks take the 3-1 lead and our chances to win the series quickly become theoretical. Still at that point no points from Z and D on the road.
Lang has contributed to this team winning and advancing this year. When in the past playoffs he was producing points, but he Wings were not advancing, then his points did not matter. This year the team is advancing, Lang is not putting great numbers, but the team is winning and Lang has scored/assisted in key situation. Lang finally plays as a team player and is helping the team win.




Quote:
Originally Posted by SmartestManOnEarth View Post
I think the big difference this year is that the Wings bend without breaking.

i thought the Wings were solid against Calgary, especially at home.

But I thought the Wings were fortunate in games 1-4 against SJ. They didn't play very well. They made big mistakes and paid for it on the scoreboard.

Even in the must win games where this team came back to win, they didn't look that great. Game 4, that Lang goal literally came out of nowhere. While the Wings maintained possession for most of the third, they weren't getting good scoring chances. Then, all of the sudden, a broken play along the boards turns into something because Filppula outworked Guerin, and Marleau just stood there and watched.
Suddenly Lang is coming down the left wing, Rivet overplays the pass, and Lang scores on a shot Nabokov should not have let in.


That's the series. Right there.
If that play doesn't happen, we lose the series.

But it does happen.
And the Wings took full advantage of that moment, stepping on SJ's throats and winning the series.

This team is winning games it would have lost last year.

Why?
One obvious answer is Datsyuk's improved play.

Another obvious answer is goals from guys like Cleary, Sammy and Franzen. That was missing last season.

I think two biggest reasons are this
1) Committment to the forecheck ... even when the team has struggled, for the most part, it continues to work hard.
2) Hasek -- Has hasek been earth shattering? No. But this team knows it doesn't have to shell up when falling behind, 2-0. If Ozzie or Legace had been in goal in games 2 and 4, I sincerely doubt the Wings would have come back.
No matter how soft or lucky the Lang goal was, compare it to Lidstrom's goal vs the Canucks '02. Did the Wings look dominant to you vs the Canucks in game 3&4 vs the Canucks '02?
Game 6 vs the Avs we were against the wall, the Avs took the 3-2 lead and then Roy makes a huge mistake and we score 1st in game 6 for the 1st time in the series. Lang's goal came from nowhere?! Where did Lidstrom's goal come from (Nucks/Cloutier)?

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05-08-2007, 04:30 PM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyinHD View Post
Hockey in a funny sport. Perhaps the three biggest targets du jour on the club (Lang, Schneider and Samuelsson) were completely key in the SJ series. The fourth target (Lilja) has been so good in these playoffs I think even the fans here will lighten up on him going into next season.

General playoff observations:

-Someone tell me more about how soft and passive the Wings are. Complain about it just one more freaking time. Or how slow the team is. Old how old the team is. It's not (and has never been) about age, passivity, softness, 'grit' or what have you... it's been about the best players on the team (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Lidstrom, Schneider) playing like the best players on the team, the most expensive guy on the ice (Lidstrom) playing like the most expensive guy on the ice, and the goaltender playing like someone who is actually willing to make a big save every once in a while. When you get those three things going, everything else falls into place.
I am not sure I would put Schneider in that group. What I never understood (I strongly disagreed) you wanted to replace Lidstrom with 2 Dmen (money-wise).


Quote:
-Mike Babcock is a great coach. He -eviscerated- Wilson in the Sharks series. I won't do Babcock the disservice of even comparing him to Playfair, who is hardly qualified to be a scout for the Wings, much less the coach of an opponent. If you watched the way Babcock handled his matchups against the Sharks, even in SJ, it was simply brilliant.
I think the big line of ZDH and the Grind line gives Babcock a huge advantage over all other coaches, it makes the opposing coach''s job much harder.

Quote:
[-Samuelsson (1.2 mil a year), Lilja (1 mil a year), Hasek (750k + bonuses), Bertuzzi (Matthias and hopefully a 1st), Calder (for Williams). Filppula, Franzen, Cleary, Lebda. Suck it, Holland bashers. Neener freaking double neener. Hah, I say.

-Going into the Sharks series I said something along the lines of 'If the Wings can beat the Sharks forecheck they can make some hay against the Sharks blueline and goaltending.' They did, and they did. The Ducks are an inverse reflection of the Sharks, in that Anaheim is much stronger back, but weaker up front. At least talent wise. In order for Detroit to win this series I'm going to suggest something that is anathema to most Wings fans: the trap. Not a fancy-shmancy 2-3 left wing lock... I'm talking about an all-out 1-4. Make the Ducks aggressive, because I think the only way Detroit reliably scores against Anaheim is to create odd-man rushes, and a well-played trap can do that when employed against a younger forward corps like the Ducks have. With at least Pronger or Neidermeyer out there 100% of the time I just don't see the Wings being able to establish a consistent offensive zone presence, and either of those Ducks dmen is talented enough with the puck to make an outlet pass and generate some solid breakout opportunities.

-Prediction: Wings in 7. This will be Bertuzzi's coming out party as a Red Wing. 4-5 goals, 10 points in the series, at least 2 game-winning goals. A series against a team like Anaheim is exactly why he's here, and his game has improved every round, IMO.
I would love the Wings to beat the Ducks 4 games 1-0.

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05-08-2007, 05:25 PM
  #12
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Hasek - besides the goal lidstrom saved. Dom played the puck well. He's been solid and gave the wings a chance to win in every game.

Quincey - I think he took his first penalty of his playoff games last night... learning fast and playing great hockey. Fast to correct himself in situation deep, it seems which is a good sign for Grand Rapids and Detroit

Chelios - Hockey Ironman will draw covering Selanne most likely. They have a history and i'm sure cheli doesn't care too for him. Will be strong to see cheli challenge the finish flash with the brand of great hockey he's played of late.

Babcock - Seems to keep his team in line and be on top of things. Adjustments , Lines, motivation and trouble shooting... mikes been solid and continues to earn that spot along the bench. love to see him stick around for the years to come.

Bertuzzi - shows signs of brillance , needs to bring the whole package together. Finding a line for him still seems to be a question mark. Game 5 & 6 looked decent tho' as he may be gelling with line mates.

Maltby - Still Agitating the lines of the opposition. Not taking dumb penaltys and has been strong on the pk with Draper. Like to see him get some points like mccarty and other role players did in the road to the cup in the past.

Samuelsson - Could maybe replace schneider on the point on the pp. Has been looking good controllling and or holding the puck in the offensive zone. Not as many pointless or bad shot decisions also he buried a pair last night.

Flips - Always strong along the boards , great for the cycle and creating a different look to an offensive charge. Playing a big game and or more physical game in my eyes but has the talent to create wonderful scoring opps.

Hudler - Haven't seen much of jiri of late but this experience can be huge for jiri down the road at developing him further. Smart passer ...Good speed... can't wait for him to polish off.

this is it for now...feel free to knock my lil rants or add to it... love to discuss.

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05-08-2007, 05:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HockeyinHD View Post
-Mike Babcock is a great coach. He -eviscerated- Wilson in the Sharks series. I won't do Babcock the disservice of even comparing him to Playfair, who is hardly qualified to be a scout for the Wings, much less the coach of an opponent. If you watched the way Babcock handled his matchups against the Sharks, even in SJ, it was simply brilliant.
Agreed.

He's gotten this same team as last year who was too soft, too slow and too old to play the style of hockey that people have cried for since we lost to Anaheim in 2003. Sure we added Bertuzzi and Calder, but no one can say that they were a major reason why we're playing like this. Bert has dished out some monster hits, but he's not the one who's set the tone, it's guys like Lilja and Cleary.

He's gotten guys like Cleary and Franzen to play the type of hockey that we need to be able to win in the playoffs. He's gotten guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg to take hits and give hits. His defensive strategy is just as good as I've ever seen, it's like a python, we just suffocate the the life out of the other team.

I know people didn't like the way he handled Hudler, I know people didn't like the way he buttered up Lang so much and I know people didn't like the way he handled his in-game adjustments, but his coaching style works and it's being shown.

This is the first time since 2002 that we've gotten to the conference finals and it's no coincidence that it has a lot to do with Babcock being behind the bench. Teams are a reflection of their coach and their captain, the Wings never waiver, they never seem to give up they're always composed and almost every game these playoffs they've been in it. Babcock puts us in a position to win every night and that's exactly what you want out of your coach. He gets little credit and a lot of the blame, it's to be expected, but you can't deny the great job he's done. It's not something that the players just "got" they didn't just start playing harder. What has Babcock said all season? He wants the Wings to be a hard team to play against and it has worked.

Cleary has been great, but I don't think he's an "unsung" hero, he's gotten tons of press about his play, he's definitely being recognized.

Babcock has outcoached both Playfair and now Ron Wilson. He's gotten almost every single matchup he's wanted and has given the other team little to nothing to work with. He's got line combos that are playing hard and that are playing at a level that we need them to. He's gotten guys like Lilja to play well above his head and he's smart enough to let players do what they can and not worry about holding them back.

People who blindly hate Babcock for little reasons like he plays Lang, sits Hudler and isn't capable of making a top 5 goaltender of all time change his game have no concept of the job that Babcock has done. This is one of the best coaches the Wings have ever had. No one expected the Wings to be in this position this year, the players should get a ton of credit, but Babcock shouldn't be overlooked.

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05-08-2007, 10:00 PM
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Yeah, okay, after all this love for Babcock going on... a question for you guys still lazing around in your euphoric haze.

Why did Babs seemingly get outcoached by MacT last year? I don't see anyone nominating the old tongue ripper for any Adams trophies, btw, yet he mad Babs look ineffective. Shouldn't some of the love be going to the GM that gave him some better pieces with which to work? I don't want to take anything away from what Babs actually has gotten out of this group, but he was the coach last year too, no?

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05-08-2007, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
Yeah, okay, after all this love for Babcock going on... a question for you guys still lazing around in your euphoric haze.

Why did Babs seemingly get outcoached by MacT last year? I don't see anyone nominating the old tongue ripper for any Adams trophies, btw, yet he mad Babs look ineffective. Shouldn't some of the love be going to the GM that gave him some better pieces with which to work? I don't want to take anything away from what Babs actually has gotten out of this group, but he was the coach last year too, no?
Honestly, I think last year this wasn't Babcock's team yet. It just wasn't. It was similar to the bull**** the media feeds us about the Lions and Rod Marinelli. Babcock let the Wings play how they wanted and the team saw where it got them. He's taken the reigns this year and it is showing.

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05-08-2007, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by arice89 View Post
Honestly, I think last year this wasn't Babcock's team yet. It just wasn't. It was similar to the bull**** the media feeds us about the Lions and Rod Marinelli. Babcock let the Wings play how they wanted and the team saw where it got them. He's taken the reigns this year and it is showing.
Agreed.

It takes more than just one season to get your system implemented, Babcock was smart enough to not just come in and try to change everything his first year especially with Yzerman and Shanahan there essentially still running the show on the ice. It's what any smart coach would do, they don't want to come in and burn the bridges and ruffle all the feathers to ruin anything that's there. He got to know his team the first year and unfortunately it didn't work out last year, but he learned from his mistakes.

A lot of credit goes to the GM for bringing back Hasek and picking up Bertuzzi and Calder, but Holland wasn't the one who got Lilja, Cleary, Franzen ect.. to elevate their games.

It's the system and it's working.

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05-08-2007, 10:29 PM
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Anyone have a photo of MacT ripping the Flames' mascot's tongue out. That's one of my all time favorites. I can't believe how much that mascot was heckling the coach.


Agreed that Babs has really made a difference in players like Franzen, Clearly, Flip, et. al.

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05-09-2007, 01:44 AM
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Agreed.

He's gotten this same team as last year who was too soft, too slow and too old to play the style of hockey that people have cried for since we lost to Anaheim in 2003. Sure we added Bertuzzi and Calder, but no one can say that they were a major reason why we're playing like this. Bert has dished out some monster hits, but he's not the one who's set the tone, it's guys like Lilja and Cleary.

He's gotten guys like Cleary and Franzen to play the type of hockey that we need to be able to win in the playoffs. He's gotten guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg to take hits and give hits. His defensive strategy is just as good as I've ever seen, it's like a python, we just suffocate the the life out of the other team.

I know people didn't like the way he handled Hudler, I know people didn't like the way he buttered up Lang so much and I know people didn't like the way he handled his in-game adjustments, but his coaching style works and it's being shown.

This is the first time since 2002 that we've gotten to the conference finals and it's no coincidence that it has a lot to do with Babcock being behind the bench. Teams are a reflection of their coach and their captain, the Wings never waiver, they never seem to give up they're always composed and almost every game these playoffs they've been in it. Babcock puts us in a position to win every night and that's exactly what you want out of your coach. He gets little credit and a lot of the blame, it's to be expected, but you can't deny the great job he's done. It's not something that the players just "got" they didn't just start playing harder. What has Babcock said all season? He wants the Wings to be a hard team to play against and it has worked.

Cleary has been great, but I don't think he's an "unsung" hero, he's gotten tons of press about his play, he's definitely being recognized.

Babcock has outcoached both Playfair and now Ron Wilson. He's gotten almost every single matchup he's wanted and has given the other team little to nothing to work with. He's got line combos that are playing hard and that are playing at a level that we need them to. He's gotten guys like Lilja to play well above his head and he's smart enough to let players do what they can and not worry about holding them back.

People who blindly hate Babcock for little reasons like he plays Lang, sits Hudler and isn't capable of making a top 5 goaltender of all time change his game have no concept of the job that Babcock has done. This is one of the best coaches the Wings have ever had. No one expected the Wings to be in this position this year, the players should get a ton of credit, but Babcock shouldn't be overlooked.
I think you are giving him a bit more credit than he deserves. Lidstrom, Chelios, Draper, Maltby and Hasek need to share some credit for their leadership.
I aslo think that being hungry helps a lot. The Wings are hungry this year. After '02 I do not think we had the goaltending good enough to advance. With Dom, everything becomes very different.

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05-09-2007, 02:47 AM
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"When you look around the league at who's scoring for teams, three points (Samuelsson's total before Monday‘s game) is a lot of points. No one scores," Babcock said. "A lot of these games are real tight, so percentage-wise he's done fine, played real well for us. He's just got to continue to play hard."
And this applies to all players (I mainly refer to the Wings). Franzen's 6 points, Samuelsson's 5 and Bertuzzi's and Lang's 4 points are huge in my opinion. I've seen people complaining about some players' production, but for my part I am more than content.

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05-09-2007, 03:17 AM
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I don't want to take anything away from what Babs actually has gotten out of this group, but he was the coach last year too, no?
Not to draw this comparison (because... really), but Bowman lost in the first round his first year too... and he could coach a little.

Yes, a part of the improvement between this year and last is due to Holland et al and their ability to change the makeup of the team on the fly. A part is due to the players actually performing up to reasonable expectations. A part is due to the style of game Babcock demands, which is much more successful in a capped league than in a non-capped league, IMO.

I think the transitions from Murray to Bowman and from Lewis to Babcock have a ton of similarities, both with regards to how the roster was changed and with how the coaches were different from their predecessors.

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05-09-2007, 03:28 AM
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I think the big difference this year is that the Wings bend without breaking.
That's 100% a reflection on the goalie play, IMO. Last year the team appeared to know, and know deep in their bones, that Legace wasn't going to make that crucial save. You saw the club deflate when Manny gave one up, because they didn't appear to be able to count on him to not give another one up.

This year with Hasek it's much, much different.

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But I thought the Wings were fortunate in games 1-4 against SJ. They didn't play very well. They made big mistakes and paid for it on the scoreboard.
I guess I remain mystified as to what you expect the team to do, Tin. It's not like the Sharks were chopped liver. Sure, Detroit's superiority to the Sharks wasn't as pronounced as their superiority to the Flames... but I would guess that's sort of to be expected as one proceeds deeper into the playoffs.

Do you expect the Wings to look as in control against the Ducks as they did against the Flames? I certainly don't... and that's not meant to be an expression of a lack of confidence in the Wings ability to play well. It's a statement about how their opponent is going to be able to dictate the play to Detroit, as well.

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Even in the must win games where this team came back to win, they didn't look that great. Game 4, that Lang goal literally came out of nowhere. While the Wings maintained possession for most of the third, they weren't getting good scoring chances. Then, all of the sudden, a broken play along the boards turns into something because Filppula outworked Guerin, and Marleau just stood there and watched.
Suddenly Lang is coming down the left wing, Rivet overplays the pass, and Lang scores on a shot Nabokov should not have let in.

That's the series. Right there.
If that play doesn't happen, we lose the series.

But it does happen.
And the Wings took full advantage of that moment, stepping on SJ's throats and winning the series.

This team is winning games it would have lost last year.
Well... yeah. Better goaltending. Better (at least more complete) forwards. Zetterberg and Datsyuk elevating their games. Lidstrom playing like he's actually worth 7.6 mil. Contributions from depth forwards.

To borrow a line from Around the Horn, did the Wings win the series or did the Sharks lose it? I think Detroit won it because they played at a high level and took advantage of opportunities. It appears you think the Sharks lost it.


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05-09-2007, 06:51 AM
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You completely agreed with HD and SMOE. Did they actually agree with each other?
Sort of.

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05-09-2007, 08:01 AM
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LOL, Higgy, that would be the first time ever, I guess

Anyway, I tend to stay more on HDs path. I think that the wings really worked their way towards round 2.

Sure they had their lucky breaks. But afterall you have to DO something to drive a team like San Jose into such a last second breakdown. You got to keep pushing - even if they seem to not let you come through even once. But it will happen once. No man on earth can keep perfect concentration forever. And its a sign of class, to KEEP BELIEVING, keep trying.
They did acutally outwork the Sharks. That was the difference. Both teams were equally talented, maybe the Sharks even a dip more. But the Wings were that slight bit more willing, mor believing. That was it.

And honestly, it ALWAYS comes down to some lucky bounces. Look at the Ducks for instance. They played a one-man team in Vancouver. Nevertheless they were on the brink of falling to a 2-2 before scoring a late goal to tie game 4 and win it in OT. Then, in game 5, they were once again damn close to losing it. They won it on an OT-goal that should not have gone in at ANY goalie. For sure not on a goalie like Luongo. But it did. And they went on. But it was close in the games. Much closer then the series standing tells. Now, what does that tell about the wings having their share of lucky bounces (by the way, think of the unlucky goals they gave up. For example the one of Goc in game 5...)? Does that speak any negative? I don't think so. Every team that advances has them. They are often a result of effort and hard work. For example if you shoot a lot and one would consider that a certain percentage of pucks become "lucky bounces" overall, then your absolute number of lucky bounces will definately improve. Homers goal in game 4 was a lucky bounce too. But he WAS there. He WAS in the position to convert. He DID manage to bring the puck on net in a swing that would leave many baseball-players astonished. They DID win the faceoff. Overall it was a product of willingness, effort, talent and a good shot/pass by Lidström. It was Quality.
Same with Langs goal. I remember what Kelly Hrudey said about his shots. "He has the puck so far away from the body that you think he can only shoot hig. But somehow he brings on net low." That is a quality! And that can fake a goalie to let in a fluke. He forced Kipper into one and he did so with Nabby. And afterall Filps DID actually beat two guys on the boards.

That is quality. Moreso then luck!

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05-09-2007, 08:21 AM
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Well, you expect the competition to get better each subsequent round. So, I dont think it should be all that much of a concern that the Sharks gave the Wings more problems than the Flames did. The Sharks played well in Games 1-4, and with a couple breaks could have easily swept the series, to be honest. But it didnt happen. Good teams have resolve and find ways to win.

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05-09-2007, 08:39 AM
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Well, you expect the competition to get better each subsequent round. So, I dont think it should be all that much of a concern that the Sharks gave the Wings more problems than the Flames did. The Sharks played well in Games 1-4, and with a couple breaks could have easily swept the series, to be honest. But it didnt happen. Good teams have resolve and find ways to win.
The Sharks played well in game 1 and the 3rd period of game 3. They never sustained any type of dominating effort, and usually their pattern was to come out strong for around 10 minutes and gradually give ground and get overwhelmed by Detroit. Saying San Jose could have "easily" swept Detroit...that's a bit excessive IMO. Even in games 1-4 Detroit was the better, more consistent team.

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