FGD: The Red Wings are Coming!

Kent Wilson
November 01 2013 09:49AM

 

 

The former juggernaut Detroit Red Wings aren't quite as run down as their unfortunate home town, but cracks are finally starting to show in the armor. Right now, Detroit is 14th in the league in terms of score-close possession, a metric they routinely dominated for years. Datysuk and Zetterberg are growing long in the tooth, but for now remain top drawer two-way players. 

The divide between them and the rest of the club continues to grow, however. Absent Lidstrom, the team doesn't have a third elite leg to support the rest of the average stool (yeesh...talk about your clumsy metaphors). Only three other forwards are in the black in terms of possession so far - Bertuzzi, Alfredsson and Abdlekader. And Bertuzzi mostly plays with Datsyuk and Zetterberg (meaning he's not driving that number). Alfredsson is 40-years old and Abdelkader hangs out at the end of the rotation. Johan Franzen is close (49%), but there's a big drop off after him.

The biggest disappointment for the Wings must be Stephen Weiss. He has the worst possession rate on the team (43%) even with a sky-high zone start ratio (57%). Weiss was a pretty good player in Florida for a long time, but his numbers started slipping over the his two seasons as a Panther. He was supposed to anchor the Wings second scoring line, but he's sinking the boat instead.

All of which is an overly long way to say - the Red Wings are still good, but they don't appear to be ridiculously good anymore. They have two elite forwards, some decent support pieces and a whole bunch of meh. If the Flames can cage Datsyuk and Zetterberg (easier said than done, I know), then they have chance to outplay the Wings so-so depth.

The Lineup

Hartley announced yesterday Backlund would slide back into the line-up and Joey MacDondald would get a turn after Ramo's *ahem* "performance" against the Leafs. Her's how things will probably shape up:

  • Glencross - Stajan - Jones
  • Galiardi - Colborne - Cammalleri
  • Baertschi - Monahan - Hudler
  • Bouma - Backlund - McGrattan

  • Russell - Wideman
  • Brodie - Butler
  • O'Brien - Smith

  • MacDonald

A lot of plaudits have been handed to Joe Colborne over his recent play and particularly his 23 minute game vs Toronto the other night, but I still find the decision making governing his usage rather bizarre - at least relative to other players on the club. Colborne has certainly looked better over the last few games compared to his first few (where he was completely lost) and in general I am not opposed to coach playing the heck out of a few young guys this year for informational and developmental purposes.

Here's the thing - Colborne hasn't been that good so far. Certainly not "usurp Backlund" good. The former Leaf has been fed some of the softest minutes of any forward on the team (65.5% zone start) and yet on Wednesday night he boasted the worst even strength scoring chance ratio on the Flames (3 for, 9 against). He's nowhere near a 20 minute per night center yet and I don't see what he's done to privilege him above players like Backlund or Baertschi (who have seen their minutes limited or slashed at both ES and on the PP).

Maybe it's a motivational thing. Maybe Hartley is using different reinforcement techniques with different players. But on the face of it, the disparate treatment of certain guys on the team seems...incongruous.

The Opposition

It's the Datsyuk line and then everyone else. Via Daily Faceoff:

  • Zetterberg - Datsyuk - Bertuzzi
  • Cleary - Franzen - Alfredsson
  • Tatar - Weiss - Abdelkader
  • Miller - Andersson - Eaves

  • Kronwall - DeKeyser
  • Quincey - Smith
  • Kindl - Lashoff

  • Howard

Detroit's blueline is somewhat underwhelming as well. Kronwall is a legitimate top pairing guy at this point and most teams could probably get away with Smith and Ericsson (currently injured) in their top-4, but the rest of the defense brigade is trouble.

DeKeyser was a highly sought after College free agent, but he's only 24 games into his NHL career. Quincey is kind of the Wing's version of Chris Butler - he has some tools, but always seems to end up a scapegoat at the end of too many games. Kindl is still trying to find his way at the NHL level and Lashoff (Brian, not Matt) is a 23 year old rookie and former free agent signing who has been plying his trade in Grand Rapids for the last few years. HIs resume reminds of Adam Pardy's when he made the Flames a few years ago. 

We've discussed the forward unit, though I'd like to add I continually wonder what power Todd Bertuzzi holds over the Detroit Red Wing organization - he's 38 year old, he was a suspect two-way player even as a Flame back in 2008-09, he hasn't scored more than 45 points in six seasons and he only has four points 12 games this year...and yet he's skating with Dats and Zetterberg at ES. I don't get it.

Sum it Up

Detroit's first line is a powerhouse and can take a game over all by themselves. Calgary has no true power on power option that can be reasonably expected to take them on, but some nights you have hold the big guns in check via luck or hard work (or both). The key to the game will be to minimizing the damage from those guys and then outplaying the Wing's much softer underbelly.

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#101 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:01PM
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@Baalzamon

This site tries to

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#103 Nighteyes
November 01 2013, 09:02PM
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Macdonald, I have one question for you. Why?

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#104 prendrefeu
November 01 2013, 09:03PM
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FFFFFuuuuuuuuuuuuu...... McButterlegs.

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#105 jonahgo
November 01 2013, 09:06PM
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was macdonald literally asleep on that shot?

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#106 ChinookArch
November 01 2013, 09:07PM
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Clyde wrote:

This site tries to

Well then, it's back to Calgary Puck for you.

On you bike, and on your way.

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#107 funkyjaman
November 01 2013, 09:07PM
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I feel bad for the young guys on this team. It must be frustrating to put forward good efforts each night only to be let down by below NHL level goaltending and poor motivation levels by the (most) vets on this team. Its going to be the un-doing of this rebuilding team this season.

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#108 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:11PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Well then, it's back to Calgary Puck for you.

On you bike, and on your way.

I guess you don't like alternative opinions

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#109 Baalzamon
November 01 2013, 09:16PM
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Next game: Ramo in net, Stajan on line 4.

Although with that "big" save MacDonald just made, you never know.

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#110 KetchupKid
November 01 2013, 09:19PM
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@Clyde

Wins are a metric.

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#111 maimster
November 01 2013, 09:19PM
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Not watching the game, but I will say that I was really having fun watching this team when Stajan and Cammy weren't in the lineup, when they were playing Backlund a bunch and depending upon mostly young guys. Add in Ramo to that, and I'd be happy to watch the effort. I think they're less fun to watch with Backlund on fourth line and Glencross/Jones/Cammy playing so many damn minutes.

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#112 beloch
November 01 2013, 09:20PM
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Brutal giveaway by Glencross on that PP. Yes, circle back into your own end and then try to thread the puck through two Wings. Brilliant!

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#113 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:25PM
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KetchupKid wrote:

Wins are a metric.

You are correct. And, the only one that really matters.

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#114 prendrefeu
November 01 2013, 09:28PM
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... and that's the night.

It's been real, McDonald, it's been real.

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#115 Brent G.
November 01 2013, 09:28PM
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Man this crazy is on a crazy down swing. I guess that beginning of the year play was more flash in the pan than pleasant surprise this year.

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#117 jonahgo
November 01 2013, 09:29PM
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this is a very unprofessional way for macdonald to announce his retirement.

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#118 And
November 01 2013, 09:29PM
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RKD wrote:

Brian Burke is coaching this team from behind the scenes, already called Sven out publicly. I don't think he is a fan of Backlund either. He wants guys like Colborne playing a lot. He probably wants truculence in the lineup as well. This is why we see Jackman and McGrattan over guys like Roman Horak.

That is why we lose so many games!like we will tonight!

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#119 ChinookArch
November 01 2013, 09:29PM
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Clyde wrote:

I guess you don't like alternative opinions

You are a troll. And I think you meant different opinions.

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#121 maimster
November 01 2013, 09:32PM
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Clyde wrote:

You are correct. And, the only one that really matters.

Holy hell, is this a tired discussion! The battle over whether smart statistical analysis has value in understanding and appreciating sports has been over for a long time. If you choose to ignore it all, fine, go ahead. But if you think you can't appreciate the wonder of the athletes playing hockey at the same time you're doing a deeper dive into their performance through numbers, that only says something about you, not everyone else.

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#122 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:33PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

You are a troll. And I think you meant different opinions.

No, I'm not a troll. I'm a hockey guy. Sorry I have caused such an intelligent person to resort to name calling. And, thank you for the correction. I am not a great writer

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#123 maimster
November 01 2013, 09:33PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Wins the thread.

Will second that sentiment.

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#124 Brent G.
November 01 2013, 09:35PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

You are a troll. And I think you meant different opinions.

Shouldn't be such a dick dude

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#126 yomamen11
November 01 2013, 09:39PM
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So, just another game that can bring us points if we have at least average goaltender in the net. 81.82%? Cmon!

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#127 beloch
November 01 2013, 09:42PM
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@Kent Wilson

Can't we all agree to just call MacFivehole names? He's so bad that, if we promised to keep playing him, the city of Edmonton would gladly volunteer to cover Mac's salary!

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#128 ChinookArch
November 01 2013, 09:49PM
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@Clyde

I actually expected that you would have embraced the title, since you get a lot of attension working it. You don't present any supporting arguments for you opinions. No clear reasoning, no new information, nothing new. By my observation, you simple mock anyone that utters anything that isn't generally acknowledged by mainstream media. So yeah, you are a troll. And, by the way no body cares that you are a hockey guy - whatever that means.

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#129 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:50PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Let's cut the name calling guys. Clyde likes his conventional hockey thoughts. That's fine.

Thanks kent. And, if I seem to be offending people who are stronger proponents of advanced stats, that is not my intent. I happen to use some to inform me as a former player and coach myself. But, I am trying to offer some differing opinions. I am not offended by being called a name. He is just a passionate Flames fan with an opinion.

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#130 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:55PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

I actually expected that you would have embraced the title, since you get a lot of attension working it. You don't present any supporting arguments for you opinions. No clear reasoning, no new information, nothing new. By my observation, you simple mock anyone that utters anything that isn't generally acknowledged by mainstream media. So yeah, you are a troll. And, by the way no body cares that you are a hockey guy - whatever that means.

Hi , I guess by hockey guy , I have been around the game for over 40 years as a player, coach, athlete developer for about 40 years and a a Flames fan since Lanny came to town. Not trying to mock you and sorry if that is your perception.

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#132 seve927
November 01 2013, 09:56PM
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Clyde wrote:

No, I'm not a troll. I'm a hockey guy. Sorry I have caused such an intelligent person to resort to name calling. And, thank you for the correction. I am not a great writer

We're all hockey guys. That's why we read this site. That should be self-evident.

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#133 Clyde
November 01 2013, 09:58PM
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seve927 wrote:

We're all hockey guys. That's why we read this site. That should be self-evident.

Point taken.

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#134 Burnward
November 01 2013, 10:00PM
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One save away again. Monahan sure be filthy though...that kid is officially legit in my book.

Oh...and Clyde, I got your back.

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#135 Clyde
November 01 2013, 10:02PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Which is why I don't boot you from the site clyde. I disagree with you, often, but I don't simply want an echo chamber here either.

Have we ever agreed? Lol

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#136 Burnward
November 01 2013, 10:04PM
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Re: Advanced stats

My thinking on the whole debate can be boiled down into this:

No stat will ever make me disbelieve what I see with my own eyes.

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#137 Clyde
November 01 2013, 10:04PM
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Burnward wrote:

One save away again. Monahan sure be filthy though...that kid is officially legit in my book.

Oh...and Clyde, I got your back.

I really wanted us to get lindholm. Although very early, I am really liking how things turned out. And, thanks.

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#138 ChinookArch
November 01 2013, 10:07PM
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@Clyde

Okay, I didn't intend on starting anything with you or anyone else here, but you may want to look over your comments tonight. Maybe you were just having fun, but it came off (to me anyway) like you were mocking. I apologise for the fireworks.

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#140 Clyde
November 01 2013, 10:16PM
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ChinookArch wrote:

Okay, I didn't intend on starting anything with you or anyone else here, but you may want to look over your comments tonight. Maybe you were just having fun, but it came off (to me anyway) like you were mocking. I apologise for the fireworks.

No biggie. I am serious about not being a great writer. I get a little lazy and sometimes don't read over before posting so understand your perception

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#141 kittensandcookies
November 01 2013, 10:17PM
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Hey MacDonald, Halloween was yesterday. Take off the goalie costume.

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#142 kittensandcookies
November 01 2013, 10:18PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay. So...

If you watched a car speed by you and thought "That guy's going really fast. Like, 100." And a cop beside you with a laser guided speed recorder leaned over and told you it was actually 65, would you discount his evidence?

Depends. How much grit did the car have?

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#143 Clyde
November 01 2013, 10:18PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay. So...

If you watched a car speed by you and thought "That guy's going really fast. Like, 100." And a cop beside you with a laser guided speed recorder leaned over and told you it was actually 65, would you discount his evidence?

If that car was moving faster than Taylor halls, i would

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#144 piscera.infada
November 01 2013, 10:21PM
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kittensandcookies wrote:

Depends. How much grit did the car have?

Great.

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#145 Veggie Dog
November 01 2013, 10:23PM
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@ChinookArch

For someone mocking the grammar of another, this post is rife with mistakes...

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#146 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 01 2013, 10:25PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay. So...

If you watched a car speed by you and thought "That guy's going really fast. Like, 100." And a cop beside you with a laser guided speed recorder leaned over and told you it was actually 65, would you discount his evidence?

well, i just got three pictures in the mail of me doing well over... I wish i could prove statistically that i was actually doing 65

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#147 flameon47
November 01 2013, 10:26PM
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Another horrible night in net for Macbackup and Ramo doesn't seem to be all that much better (neither one of them have been putting up close to average numbers in net). I think Feaster and Hartley are secretly trying to tank the season by purposely giving us bad goaltending. So we can still watch our scorers score and get all excited, but while still making sure we have horrible goaltending so that we don't stay ahead in the goal department, but to be honest Abby probably has better goaltending than our Flames team because Ortio and Berra must be better options in net than Ramo and are CERTAINLY without a doubt better options than Macbadbucks(since he was a waste of money). Although playing in net behind defencemen like the SOB trio cannot be an easy task even when we have better options than either of those three too. It will be nice to see Billins play for us and show he is one of those better options.

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#148 Jeff In Lethbridge
November 01 2013, 10:26PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Let's cut the name calling guys. Clyde likes his conventional hockey thoughts. That's fine.

thank you. It get's very uncomfortable.

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#149 gussey
November 01 2013, 10:38PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay. So...

If you watched a car speed by you and thought "That guy's going really fast. Like, 100." And a cop beside you with a laser guided speed recorder leaned over and told you it was actually 65, would you discount his evidence?

Not necessarily. But cops radars, like stats, are not always right. That's why there is court.

If your walking downtown and get approached by two shady crackheads.. Do feel safe because you were told crime in downtown has dropped by 38 percent this year? Or would you like to have a guy like mcgratten standing next to you?

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#150 Burnward
November 01 2013, 10:39PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

Okay. So...

If you watched a car speed by you and thought "That guy's going really fast. Like, 100." And a cop beside you with a laser guided speed recorder leaned over and told you it was actually 65, would you discount his evidence?

Caahhhhhm ahhhhhnnnn Kent.

You know that's a silly argument to use here. Simply talking about breaking down a hockey game.

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