Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Red Wings Better Be Careful

Panic and the early season don't exactly fit the Red Wings. And while it certainly hasn't gotten to that point, there are red flags flying - and they aren't atop car hoods - about the Red Wings start this season.
Their loss Tuesday at Buffalo was one of their worst performances I can remember. It was the second time in five games this season they have been outscored 4-0 in the second period. In hockey terms, that's akin to caving.
The Red Wings are last in their division, the Central. In the past, that wouldn't have mattered much because all the teams in front of them - except Nashville once in awhile - were not remotely good. That is no longer the case. The Central might be the strongest division in the NHL these days. All five teams have a shot at the playoffs. Four made it last year, and every one of them, except the Red Wings, appears to be improved.
The Red Wings Modus Operandi is get way out in front of the division, leaving little doubt about their status in the playoffs. It's not going to be so easy to do that, with the salary cap era catching up to the Red Wings in the off season with lots of scoring lost, and Johan Franzen out for such an extended period.
The Red Wings need to tighten up defensively and take care of the puck. They didn't Tuesday. The Red Wings need increased production from Pavel Datysuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Neither has a goal so far.
Think it will be easier Thursday when the Kings visit Joe Louis Arena? Think again. The Kings are much better with Ryan Smyth and Justin Williams. Anze Kopitar has gotten fitter and is having a breakout season, averaging two points per game. In the Red Wings' favor: The Kings must play the Rangers tonight in New York and it will be their third road game in five nights Thursday.

My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press. What would the Tigers have done with a rare shot at the Yankees?



Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are either just writing the article about the possibility of the Tigers beating the Yankees because -

1. you're just "exciting" the Tigers fans about the possibility or
2. after 30 years in the business, you're still betting with your heart and not your brain

By the way, there are about 20 Las Vegas books that would like you to call them.

I'm a "damn yankee" hater as much as the others, but there's no way that was going to happen.

12:13 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It happened in 2006. Tigers had lost 31 of their last 50 games. Blew the Division title. Backed into the playoffs. Lost Game 1 to the Yankees. Won next three. Twins were very much in last two games of their series with Yanks.

11:23 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good point ... but odds were greatly against winning vs. a team that won almost twenty more games during the season and well-rested .. but, you're right .. that's what's great about sports, there's always a chance, especially in baseball with a team with good pitching and playing best of five.

9:24 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I am totally in agreement with you this. I think the Tigers probably would have gotten crushed by the Yankees. But how often do they get the shot? That was the premise of the column.

11:30 AM 

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