So What Was Wrong With the Red Wings?
Not recently, of course, as they’re something like 6-0-0-1 in their past 7 games, w/ the one OTL being a complete fluke.
Of course, everyone’s been quick to spout off on CuJo’s performance, which I agree has been less than hoped for but not as bad as its been hyped up to be. Also up for criticism is the play of our rookie defensive corp (w/ 4 rookies getting large chunks of ice time w/ Fish and Chelly’s 45 minutes of ice time out for the majority of the slump). Really, when you sport a defensive corp of Lidstrom, Woolley, Dandenault, Bykov, Kuznetsov, and Boileau, you have to expect some problems.
However, there is a greater issue at stake here. Fedorov, Hull, and Shanahan were completely silent during our recent slump (I think they combined for like 3 goals during the 7 game winless streak). On the season, they have 24, 24, and 23 goals respectably. In a league where the scoring leader already has 40, this is unacceptable performance. To put this lack of output from our “big guns” in perspective, Tomas Holmstrom has 17 goals already this season. He is seven goals out of team lead. Granted, he’s already put up career numbers 62 games into the season, despite missing 8 games this year. But that still shows a disturbing lack of production from our top players.
More disturbing is Shanahan’s -4. I mean, that’s not good. Heck, Sean Avery is +7 averaging 6:38 a game is 39 games (I have no idea why they don’t play him more).
Just for fun, let’s project Avery’s stats if he played as much as Shanny has this season. He’d have 30 goals and 66 points. :p Obviously, this is an extremely inaccurate way of projecting things. But Shanny, in that time, should realistically be able to put up many more points that Avery could, and you’d think he wouldn’t fall 7 goals and 16 points short of the mark.
The Red Wings are getting relatively good production from their depth players. Draper, Maltby, and Larionov have 30, 28, and 28 points respectively, and Holmstrom and Zetterburg are putting up 26 points each. But with Robitaille being a relative non factor (though he does have 3 goals in his last 4 games), and Yzerman just now returning to the lineup, the prolounged slumps of these 3 players probably do more to explain Detroit’s slump than anything else. When your star players don’t produce, your team goes nowhere.
Now, all 3 players seem to have pulled themselves out of their droughts, and the scoreboard reflects that fact: they’ve put up 5, 4, 3, 6, 5, and 5 goals in their current streak. Considering through their 17 game slump, they only put up 3 or more goals 7 times, and were shut out 1-0 3 times, this is a marked improvement.
Let’s not forget the Red Wings lost only once in the month of December. They were 22-8-7-1 entering January. Throw that month and the first 3 games of February out, and they’re 28-8-7-2 overall. The Wings are still a team to be reckoned with. January is over, and the Wings are rolling once more.