The Detroit Red Wings (11-7-7) had a busy 4-game week going 2-2-0 (finally, no overtime). From the good to the bad and everything in between, I’m here to break it all down in my plus/minus report. Then later, I will take a brief glance at what’s in store for the Red Wings this upcoming week with my predictions (which I can’t seem to get right lately).
+ Nyquist’s homecoming
The wait is over. Gustav Nyquist is a Red Wing once again. Throw out all the cap space talks because he is here to stay. The crafty winger is just what the Red Wings needed to jump-start their offense. I could easily see Nyquist filling Pavel Datsyuk’s role whenever the Russian decides to hang up his skates and head to the hockey Hall of Fame. Nyquist has that much potential.
There is however an underlying downside to Nyquist joining the Wings now. Detroit will be put in a difficult budget crunch when Danny Dekeyser is ready to return from the long term IR. But just like the Red Wings’ management is doing, I’m going to sweep that point under the rug and deal with it when the time comes.
+ No more streaking
We can finally stop hearing about the home losing streak. With the win on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Wings snapped their 8-game skid at Joe Louis Arena. They also put an end to their 7-game winless streak with the victory as well. Both streaks sound awful, but we need to keep things in perspective; the Wings have still racked up 15 points in their last 13 games which isn’t bad at all.
+ This is a special team
Let me clear that heading up: this team is special when playing with an extra man or when they are down a man. The Wings are ranked 6th in the NHL in both power play success percentage and penalty killing success percentage. When you add up both percentages, it equals 107.9%. The last season the Red Wings finished with a combined percentage over 107% was in 2006. A combined percentage of 100% is considered above average for the NHL.
– Oh Danny Boy
Hockeytown, prepare to start missing Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Chelios once again. With Danny DeKeyser placed on the LTIR, the Wings will have to rely more on Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, and Brian Lashoff on the blue line. This may sound harsh but I would have more faith in Lidstrom and Chelios, even at their age, to clear the puck out of our zone than those other three combined. Smith and Lashoff are still getting used to playing in the NHL so I have reason to believe they are still learning, but I still find myself scratching my head every time Quincey makes a mistake.
It’s going to be a long, stressful month as we wait for DeKeyser to return.
– Dats concussing
Pavel Datsyuk didn’t play against Buffalo because of concussion like symptoms after taking an elbow to the head versus Ottawa. Although the team did beat the Sabres, the Wings can’t afford to be without Datsyuk for a long period of time. Pavel and Henrik Zetterberg have been the only constant goal scorers for them this season.
Reports have already confirmed that Datsyuk won’t play against the Boston Bruins tomorrow. That means Detroit will have to manufacture goals in his absence, or else the Bruins could easily make a mockery out of the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena once again.
Get well soon Pasha! The Wings will need some of your magic to survive tomorrow night.
– Where did Tootoo go?
Who said the Red Wings didn’t need an enforcer? Oh wait, that was me.
The Ottawa Senators bullied their way to win on Saturday with hard hits and cheap shots. And the Red Wings allowed that style of hockey to get in their heads. Brendan Smith did stand up for his teammates, but that wasn’t enough to stop the Senators from pushing them around.
I’m not saying Jordin Tootoo would have changed the outcome of the game, but I would like to think that Pavel Datsyuk wouldn’t have concussion symptoms right now if Tootoo was out on the ice protecting his teammates. It’s a very interesting concept to think about. However, I still think the Wings made the right decision by waiving Tootoo to Grand Rapids.
(I have the right to retract that statement if more teams start playing physical hockey against the Red Wings. Then Tootoo should be recalled to be a security guard to beat up some of these goons or the Wings could just toughen up.)
+/- Rating = Even
The Wings had two wins and two losses this week, so I decided to split the plus/minus in the same fashion. That seemed fair and balanced to me, so each side got three points.
Speaking of three, the Red Wings have three games this week.
November 27: vs. Boston Bruins
7:30PM EST on NBC Sports (or Fox Sports Detroit)
Standings: (16-6-2) 1st Atlantic Division, 1st Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Oct. 14, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 3 – Bruins 2
Prediction: No Pavel Datsyuk, no offense. Cover your eyes; I see the Bruins winning this one in a blowout. Red Wings 1 – Bruins 5
November 29: @ New York Islanders
4:00PM EST on Fox Sports Detroit
Standings: (8-13-3) 8th Metropolitan Division, 14th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Nov. 16, 2013 at New York/Islanders 5 – Red Wings 4 in a shootout
Prediction: Tavares isn’t the type of superstar that can carry his entire team past an all-around good team like the Wings. Wait, he already did that this season. Okay, so he shouldn’t be able to do that twice in one season against the Wings. Red Wings 4 – Islanders 2
December 1: @ Ottawa Senators
5:30PM EST on TSN (or Fox Sports Detroit Plus)
Standings: (9-11-4) 6th Atlantic Division, 12th Eastern Conference
Last Meeting against the Red Wings: Nov. 23, 2013 at Detroit/Red Wings 2 – Senators 4
Prediction: Not these guys again. Ottawa has frustrated Detroit all season and I can’t see that changing here. Red Wings 1 – Senators 3
It is Thanksgiving week so just be thankful that your Red Wings are still occupying a playoff spot. They have lost way too many games to inferior opponents lately and that will eventually catch up with them. But, for now their relatively easy schedule (Boston excluded) rolls on.
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