Monday, February 18, 2008

Did The Red Wings Peak Too Soon?

Amazing, isn’t it, how a season can turn on a dime? A little more than a week ago, the Red Wings were so far out in front, the remainder of the NHL needed binoculars to see them.
Six games, six losses and just one point later, the Dallas Stars are within eight points of the Red Wings.
And, as if on cue, the schedule maker has ordered up a road trip to Colorado and Western Canada - places not exactly known to be sympathetic to the Red Wings.
There is no sugar coating this. It is not good. Dominik Hasek’s hip flexor is ailing at a bad time. But isn’t that the fear about Hasek - some sort of quirky injury that lingers? Hate to say it, but it is difficult not to correlate Chris Osgood’s recent funk with him signing a three-year contract extension. It did start right when he signed the extension.
There are some inconsistencies about Jimmy Howard. He is not ready yet. Goaltending is a huge concern, particularly in a conference where the goaltending is particularly solid.
But other issues come to light. What is with the breakdowns in the defensive end? Where has the Red Wings’ scoring touch gone?
This team does need an infusion at the trade deadline that is beyond what most thought just a couple weeks ago.
Because at this point, it seems like the Red Wings may have peaked too soon.

Random Thoughts

- I have been down on all star games and the events surrounding them in general, but I must admit the slam dunk contest did catch my eye. Dwight Howard was terrific. It was excellent entertainment. Truly enjoyed it.

- I don’t see where Boston College’s Matt Ryan is necessarily going to be a franchise quarterback. Or Brian Brohm. Andre Woodson was very unimpressive at the Senior Bowl. I like Chad Henne’s pro prospects better, to be honest. This doesn’t seem to be a good draft for quarterbacks.

- I see where Francisco Cruceta can’t get to Lakeland because of visa problems. Every year - visa problems. Just another one of those great spring training traditions. Love it.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Bryan152 said...

Watching that Dallas game yesterday it was evident that the Red Wings were the better team and as I saw it, had more clear cut scoring chances. They just simply could not score. What I thought was quite funny was how much the guys at NBC were overstating this slump the Wings are going through right now as if the franchise was falling apart. They're still in first by eight points!!! By dominating early, they gave themselves room for a stretch of futility like this. It's the standard we set for the Red Wings in the regular season every year that causes us to freak out when things start to go wrong. Much like the latter part of the 2002 season where the clinched a playoff spot a month before anyone else.

Two players the Wings can do without as the deadline approaches: Lilja and Samuelsson. Lilja just doesn't have very good hockey sense and isn't as nearly as tough as his size would lead you to believe. Samuelsson brings really nothing to the table and is probably the least physical player the Red Wings have.

11:43 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bryan152,
Thing is, they lose those type of games in the playoffs a lot. You are right about the players who have been struggling lately. Seems to me like they do need more of a shakeup than I originally thought.
Caputo

12:09 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pat

How often do these trade deadline players really help? Seems to me that more often then not they don't turn a team around. They may round a good team out, but thats about all.

Allan

12:41 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, I also enjoyed the "night before the All Star Game" antics. It was well done and fun to watch. Even enjoyed the 3 point shooting match, the dunks were terrific by Howard, AND what can be better than Laimbeer suiting up for Detroit?!

Cheers,
Danny

2:14 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Allan,
That's a good point. More times than not, they have little bearing on teams.
Caputo

5:15 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
Yeah, that thing with Laimbeer was kind of weird, especially knowing he and Swin Cash aren't exactly close these days.
Caputo

5:16 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book,

Slumps happen. They are still the Red Wings. Could be worse!!

Hear me out.

I am a closet Maple Leafs fan. Okay - slam me now if you want. Last week in Toronto - for the first time in my 25 years back in Canada - I went to my first Leafs game. I could get tickets only because it was valentines day. Any other day they are sold out.

Me and the boys were excited to go. Great seats first row of the upper level. Playing the New York Rangers. They were beaten. Sloppy sad and uninspired. The last goal was an empty net slider. The painful kind that slides slowly across the rink and in.

That loss put the Leafs in last place.

On the drive home we listened to their talk radio - and I could hear them talking the same way you do about the Lions. I was hearing their sports analyst, but I heard him in your soft delta-toned voice:
- "It's been 41 years since a cup"
- "fire that damned Fletcher or he should resign!"
- "The whole organization is screwed. Time to clean house."

I laughed all the way back to the hotel. I think thats where the tears came from.

So stop slamming the Red Wings Book. And please .. where does their bandwagon stop so I can jump on?

Check out "A Week Of Work In Maple Leaf Nation"

5:21 PM 
Blogger Tony said...

True, the Wings are in a slump but, Mr. Caputo, do you really think that we are looking at the beginning of the end? If you want to compare it to the Tigers season then we are in for some bad times. But, the trade deadline has not yet come and there is some room for change. I am crossing my fingers for the return of 91. Pat, who do you think the Wings will pick up or will they not make any moves at all?

6:27 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat: I hope Cruceta arrives soon to create some competition. Never understood why the Gas Can doesn't pitch better. He has a good arm and a breaking pitch but hitters seem to tee off on him. He definitely not fooling anyone. He should experiment and have some fun by changing the ball grip instead of changing side of the rubber he pitches from as he tried last year.

9:51 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
A Leafs' fan, huh? What a surprise. Fred, it's not your fault. Canadians are born as Leaf fans. Or Canadien fans. Just the way it is. I know. My mother was born in Montreal. The Leafs have become the Lions of the north. Anyway, your point about the Red Wings is well-taken. It could be a lot worse. It's just expectations are very high. Now that Lidstrom is banged up, it just seems to be piling up on the Red Wings. Can't say, honestly, that I see that as a good sign.
Caputo

11:18 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tony,
The one good thing is the Red Wings still have time to sort it out. If they are able to do so and are tested in March as a result, it could be a blessing in disguise because it could help prepare them for the playoffs.
Caputo

12:40 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
Honestly, I have no idea what they have in Cruceta. Just know management likes him. As for Grilli, he is pretty good if they keep him out certain roles, like holding late-inning leads.
Caputo

12:41 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Better now than in the playoffs Pat. It may be that they can get resparked - and take it to the end this year.

Their cup is half full.

Was your Mom a Canadians fan?

PS - how true is the recent rumour of Inge being traded?

12:58 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
She died before I knew her, but my grandparents were huge Canadien fans.
Caputo

5:43 PM 

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