Wednesday, December 30, 2009
No Surprise If Culpepper Starts
It wouldn't surprise me if the Lions start Daunte Culpepper Sunday vs. Chicago. The thought "they need to find out" about Drew Stanton is something the organization determined long ago. They don't think he can play, and the Lions' actions down through the years - including this year - have spoken volumes. Stanton not playing well in San Francisco only further clinched the notion. The question remains about what the Lions should do about backup quarterback next season. I expect Culpepper and Stanton to both be gone. And don't be surprised if they draft a quarterback a little later in this draft.
- I've always thought David Lee would be a perfect fit for the Pistons. I think even more so after the way he dominated Tuesday's game for the Knicks at The Palace. He is not huge, but plays bigger than his size. The added benefit - he is exceptionally athletic.
- Losing to Toronto and New York is disappointing for the Pistons because those are the type of teams they are being measured against. So are the Bulls, up next on Thursday at The Palace.
- Prediction: The Tigers' bullpen is going to be better than many people think. I expect Ryan Perry to step forward this season, and Robbie Weinhardt to come on quickly. He pitched exceptionally well in Arizona. Not quite as sure about Cody Satterwhite, though.
- I am stunned Wisconsin manhandled Miami that way. Maybe the Big Ten will surprise this bowl season.
Note: This blog will be back on its regular 5-day per week schedule beginning Jan. 4. Hope everybody is having a great holiday. Your support is greatly appreciated. Will be writing columns from the Pistons game for Friday's Oakland Press, a column on my baseball Hall of Fame ballot for Sunday's Oakland Press and a column from the Lions' game for Monday's Oakland Press. Will post columns on blog and Twitter per usual. Happy New Year.
Labels: Daunte Culpepper Detroit Lions Detroit Tigers Detroit Pistons Ryan Perry Cody Satterwhile Robbie Weinhardt
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Gosder Cherilus Is The Least Of The Lions' Problems
Lions head coach Jim Schwartz singled out offensive right tackle Gosder Cherilus for his mistakes Sunday against Arizona.
That's a good and bad thing. It's good because it keeps his feet held to the fire for mistakes, like moving before the snap. It's bad because many fans don't really watch offensive line play that closely, but are quick - especially in this town - to make the offensive line the scapegoat for everything that is wrong about the Lions.
In actuality, Cherilus has made significant progress this season from last and has a chance to be a very good NFL player.
- What a night for college basketball in this state. Everybody lost except Michigan. Wow.
- The Pistons haven't been playing well on the road and it is a concern. They should beat Charlotte. Those are the type of games that will determine whether or not they make the playoffs. Road games against bad teams from the Eastern Conference.
- Brian Rafalski has the flu and may not play tonight against the Blackhawks. Can this get any worse for the Red Wings? The Blackhawks are outstanding - clearly the best in the Western Conference perhaps the entire league.
- I think Fernando Rodney pitched well for the Tigers last season in this bottom line sort of way, but don't expect him to repeat his performance this season, if he is a closer. Best role would be as a setup man.
- Lets see, the Tigers don't really have much of a bullpen nor much when it comes to left-handed hitting. Still much work for Dave Dombrowski to do.
- To put Magglio Ordonez's 2009 season into full perspective - he nine home runs with 50 RBI in 465 at bats. Ryan Raburn had 16 home runs and 45 RBI in 261 at bats. And Raburn won't even make a tenth as much as Ordonez this coming season.
My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press on the Red Wings, a long with updated "Caputo And His Boss" video http://tinyurl.com/yche7cb
Labels: Godser Cherilus Fernando Rodney Magglio Ordonez Ryan Raburn Brian Rafalski
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Is Drew Stanton Better Than, Say, Chad Pennington
The Lions should start Drew Stanton Sunday at San Francisco to find out if he is capable of being their primary backup to Matthew Stafford next season.
The expectation should be the Lions display significant progress next season in regard to wins. We're talking 6-to-8 wins. But it can't be that if Stafford misses a game or two because of injury, the Lions fall completely flat because of the quarterback position. Can Stanton win the Lions a game or two or three if called in for a short period?
Doesn't look like it.
Yet, in fairness to Stanton, how much of an opportunity has he really had? Give him a full week of practice with the first unit. Let him go from the start of the game and see how defenses react to him, and Stanton to defenses. It's obvious Daunte Culpepper isn't the answer to anything for the future. Don't think Stanton would do any worse if he were to start ahead of Culpepper this week.
Stanton didn't play well Sunday. The Lions rallied despite Stanton, not because of him. He was good on one drive, but the Cardinals inexplicably let him throw underneath. But it's not an ideal situation to go into a game at halftime down 17-0. Or to play at all when having not taken first-team reps in practice.
The Lions will have some options for veteran free agent backup quarterbacks in the off season - Chad Pennington, Rex Grossman, Senaca Wallace, Chris Redman and Kyle Boller are going to be unrestricted free agents.
The Lions should play Stanton Sunday so they can legitimately ask the following question: Is Drew Stanton better than all of the above?
Labels: Detroit Lions Drew Stanton Chad Pennington Rex Grossman Kyle Boller Senaca Wallace
Friday, December 18, 2009
The Silverdome: It Was Ugly, But It Was Ours
I know this is going to sound strange, but I am starting to have sentimential feelings about the Silverdome.
Yeah. I miss it. Seems odd because it wasn't charming in its structure. When it opened, there were leaks in the roof. The roof collapsed once. The parking lot was a disaster. It was the most difficult stadium in the world to drive in off the freeway. The carpet artificial turf during the Silverdome era is my most-hated sports playing surface ever. Ford Field is a beautiful venure. Huge upgrade.
But you know, the Silverdome sure was loud on football Sundays. The Lions of that era were more disappointing than successful, but they at least they were exciting. And if there was ever a place made for Monster Truck Smashes, it was the Silverdome.
Come on. $583,000? That's all it's worth?
Seems like the memories are worth a lot more.
- Curtis Granderson in a Yankees uniform is more like Lance Parrish in a Phillies' uniform than Travis Fryman in an Indians' uniform. Let me explain.
Fryman was a fine player with the Tigers, but this town connected with Granderson. It doesn't connect with too many ballplayers like that. There is just a different feeling when a player like Granderson becames part of another town.
- Have to admit I didn't think this was possible, but Jimmy Howard is saving the Red Wings' season. They are only six points behind San Jose, with a game in hand, for the top spot in the Western Conference. Wouldn't be possible without Howard.
Labels: Silverdome Detroit Lions Curtis Granderson Lance Parrish Travis Fryman Jimmy Howard Detroit Red Wings
Thursday, December 17, 2009
No Obvious Answer For 12th Big Ten Team
I have long been on the record wanting the Big Ten to add a 12th team and hold a conference championship football game - hopefully at Ford Field.
What is admittedly perplexing, though, is pondering which school should be added, and how the divisions should be set.
Can't be East and West - at least based on geography - because all the power would be in the East. Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State would all have to be in the same division - if for no other reason than to protect rivalries. Not having those teams play the Minnesotas, Iowas and Wisconsins on an annual basis could hurt those schools in regard to attendance and prestige. There would be obvious balance of power issues.
And what school do you invite in? Notre Dame isn't going to share, so the Fighting Irish don't fit. Missouri? Pitt? Syracuse? Cincinnati? West Virginia? None are obvious choices, that's for sure.
- Just my opinion, but the Lions chances to beat the Cardinals Sunday - slim regardless - go down much further if Matthew Stafford doesn't play. And it is unlikely he will play.
- The offensive line position is particularly thin in this upcoming NFL Draft.
- When you watched Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones this season, did you think you were watching a first-team All-American? Me neither. Not that he isn't a solid player, but...
Labels: Big Ten Football Detroit Lions Greg Jones
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
No, I Wouldn't Trade Calvin Johnson
Count me among those who don’t think the Lions should trade Calvin Johnson, "for a boatload of draft picks."
First of all, Johnson has been the only Lions’ first-round draft choice that has panned out. Secondly, because the Lions’ other receivers are so mediocre, he basically gets all the attention from opposing defenses. The Lions should try to improve the weapons around Johnson. Right now, he is playing uphill on a slanted field. And he’ll have better production as QB Matthew Stafford matures. The Lions expected more from Bryant Johnson this season - and didn’t get it. Calvin Johnson is the one paying for it. The Lions missed badly on Derrick Williams in the third round of the draft. Calvin Johnson is paying for it.
What is it about this town lately anyway? If they get a top player, and he is about to hit his prime, they want to trade him. The Lions are living proof how difficult it can be to hit even on early first-round draft choices. So they do find a player there - so trade him? Based on what? One game by Ndamukong Suh? It was a great game. Suh has a chance to be a great NFL player, but I’ve talked to a couple NFL people who told me he projects best as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme. By NFL standards, he is more of a smaller, active inside player than this massive gap control machine. Ever check the record of defensive tackles taken early in the NFL draft, especially with the first overall pick?
Calvin Johnson is not Roy Williams. Certainly not Charles Rogers nor Mike Williams. If the Lions move him, it will comeback to haunt them.
My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press on heat facing Lions coach Jim Schwartz: http://tinyurl.com/ybx8sv3
Labels: Calvin Johnson Ndamukong Suh Derrick Williams Bryant Johnson Matthew Stafford Roy Williams Mike Williams Charles Rogers
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Can The Tigers Compete Against The White Sox?
The Tigers obviously dumped payroll and looked to their future by trading Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson. They still "hope" to contend in the American League Central, though.
A lot will depend on the White Sox and how their off season moves pan out. The White Sox have acquired a lot of players since near the trade deadline last season. Obviously, Jake Peavy is a huge addition to a starting rotation that floundered a lot. I have a little doubt he is going to be very good, especially after he pitched so well late in the season.
Chicago’s other moves I am not sure of. Outfielder Alex Rios hasn’t played well for quite awhile. I have always liked third baseman Mark Teahen’s potential more than his actual production. Both those players are expensive additions. Rios has a huge contract he signed while with the Blue Jays, and the White Sox gave Teahen a $14 million, three-year pact to avoid arbitration. Reliever J.J. Putz at $3 million could be a steal or a waste of money. There is no middle ground there because of injury issues.
The killer for the Tigers is that Juan Pierre seemed to fit their needs because they want a leadoff hitter, a left-handed batter and a veteran option for center field. And the White Sox got him. But at more than $9 million per season for the next two years, and for two players, it wasn’t a bargain.
At this stage of his career, free agent outfielder Scott Podsednek is really a fourth outfielder. He is probably the Tigers' next best veteran option. He doesn’t have good range in center field. He struggled in the spacious center field in Denver, which is similar to Comerica Park, prior to last season. Played mostly left last year in Chicago’s tiny park. Still has some speed and is left-handed, but doesn’t draw many walks.
Labels: Curtis Granderson Edwin Jackson Jake Peavy Juan Pierre Mark Teahen Alex Rios Detroit Tigers Chicago White Sox
Monday, December 14, 2009
Definition Of Losing Culture: Detroit Lions
I am a firm believer the Lions’ biggest problem is a longstanding losing culture. The difficulty is how vague the statement "losing culture" is.
Want a definition for it? I can’t really give you one. I can only point to the Lions as a prime example.
Conversely, I also believe there is a winning culture.
We’ve seen it this season with the Pistons. They are a winning organization. It’s why they were able to recover quickly and thrive after Grant Hill’s departure. It’s why they have been performing surprisingly well this season, despite injuries that should have put the team in the tank during what figured to be a transitional season.
Players get better when they come to the Pistons. If they have a rookie with talent, he develops. It’s happened over and over again. Also, the Pistons went through a terrible streak recently with two thirds of their key players out. They lost a lot of games in a row at the time, but what was really admirable during that period is how hard the team played in those defeats. They didn’t even remotely rollover, which the Lions have done routinely for years at the first sign of any adversity.
The Red Wings are another example of a winning organization. Look at how many players join that team and just play better. Daniel Cleary is the prime example in recent years. We may be seeing it again with Todd Bertuzzi. There is another Detroit team that could have folded. All the excuses in the world are there.
It’s like that in the NFL, too. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz’s former team, the Tennessee Titans, are prime example of a winning culture. They lost a game 59-0 early in the season. Their season began with a six-game losing streak. They won 47-7 Sunday - and have won six of seven games.
- I have no problem with Mark Ingram winning the Heisman Trophy. Do wonder how Michigan State’s football fortunes would be different if Mark Dantonio had been able to land him, and if Nick Foles, who transferred to Arizona, where he has starred, had stayed with the Spartans. He transferred also immediately after Keith Nichol transferred from Oklahoma.
- Big win for Oakland over Wisconsin-Green Bay Sunday. It’s the first time the Golden Grizzlies have displayed their potential this season. Wisconsin-Green Bay had Wisconsin, which routed OU early in the season.
My column in Monday's Oakland Press about the Lions: http://tinyurl.com/ycdjypb
Labels: Detroit Lions Detroit Pistons Detroit Red Wings Mark Ingram Heisman Trophy Nick Foles Oakland University Basketball
Friday, December 11, 2009
On The Heisman, NFL's Most Underrated Player, The Pistons And Tigers Closer
- I've voted for the Heisman Trophy most years in the past, but don't have a vote this season. If I did, I would have voted for Texas quarterback Colt McCoy. He didn't play that well in his last couple games, but the Longhorns did win and are undefeated. And his body of work overall at Texas has been extremely impressive. I would have had Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh
second on my list, and would have had to make a choice between Stanford running back Toby Gerhart
or Alabama running back Mark Ingram third. Both are truly great college running backs. Not sure who I would have picked between the two.
- The NFL player I'd most like to see wind up on a competitive NFL team is Cleveland's Josh Cribbs
. Is there anything that guy can't do on a football field? On the right team, he becomes one of the NFL's
most valuable players.
- The Pistons win over Denver Thursday was meaningful. What was even more meaningful is late last month, even when they were losing most nights, the Pistons were playing exceptionally hard. Fun team to watch. Lots of energy.
- Count me among those who feel Ryan Perry is capable of being the Tigers' closer next season. He did remarkably well last season considering he had pitched so little professionally coming into it. He has a terrific upside. Command of the baseball was an obvious issue, but it got better as time went on. I would be surprised if he isn't a quality closer - and soon.Caputo
And His Boss video on the future of MSU
football in light of charges http://tinyurl.com/yjnp5pw
Labels: Colt McCoy Ndamukong Suh Toby Gerhart Mark Ingram Josh Cribbs Ryan Perry Detroit Pistons Detroit Tigers
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Some More Thoughts On Granderson Trade
- My biggest issue is the Tigers doing this after giving Ordonez his $18 million option. Granderson will make $5.5 million next season. His contract is not out of line. So the Tigers are carrying a number of ill-advised contracts, so they dump one of their better players in his prime.
- For all that is being made of Granderson’s failure’s to hit left-handers, did anyone notice Austin Jackson is a right-handed hitter? Who is going to hit left-handed in that lineup? Other than a couple video clips, and in this year’s Triple-A All Star game, I have never seen Jackson play.
I do wonder why, though, if he is so good, why the Yankees didn’t just plug him into their lineup.
Don’t say they haven’t done it with young players before, They have. Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano, in addition to rebuilding their bullpen around young arms.
- Granderson didn’t have his best season last year, but the notion he had a "bad" year just isn’t true.
- I don’t understand why Arizona made this trade. Max Scherzer has star potential. And soon.
- I still anticipate the Tigers being in the American League Central race. There is a chance their starting pitching could be dominant. It is the most important facet of the game. And the division stinks. But a key for their staff is defense. Who is going to be playing outfield at spacious Comerica Park behind these guys? Magglio in right, Guillen in left and Raburn in center? Ouch. Phil Coke is pretty good and should help the bullpen, but it is still a work in progress.
- One of the things I’ve come to understand about baseball is the value of a genuine major league player. In an average season, Curtis Granderson, who will only be 29 next season, produces 25 home runs, 72 RBI (as a leadoff hitter), 14 triples and 30 doubles. Despite what I’ve read from a couple anonymous scouts the last couple days, he at least plays above-average center field. It’s very difficult to draft and procure that type of player. When you get one, you keep him. You don’t just hand him to the Yankees. Maybe Austin Jackson will be a quality major league player. I am not saying he won’t be. I’m talking about the odds. Right now he has a chance, but it’s just a chance. He is far from a sure thing. Curtis Granderson is a proven commodity.
Labels: Curtis Granderson Austin Jackson Max Scherzer Phil Coke Detroit Tigers New York Yankees
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
On The Tigers Trade Rumors
A few things about the trade rumors swirling around the Tigers...
- You hope Austin Jackson, a solid prospect, becomes as good a major league player as Curtis Granderson - and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
So if the Tigers were to trade Granderson and bill Jackson as his replacement, it does scream "salary dump."
- Why would the Yankees want to part with Phillip Hughes? His radar gun readings skyrocketed while pitching in relief last season, but he did not handle the pressure of the postseason well. I wouldn’t give up that much for Hughes.
- If the Tigers wanted to dump salary, they should have released Magglio Ordonez last summer when it was evident he had lost his tools. Period.
- All this talk about the economy is being overblown in this regard: The Tigers drew well last season when they were in contention. And the economy was at its lowest ebb last season.
- Going into any sort of rebuilding mode does not make sense when Jim Leyland is the manager.
- I wouldn’t be so quick to point the finger at general manager Dave Dombrowski from this standpoint: A lot of times, when things go nonsensical in baseball, it’s because there are orders coming from the top. Certainly, it has been like that in the past when owner Mike Ilitch has spend money recklessly, only to pull the purse strings tight to cover his tracks later. Thought Ilitch was past that, but perhaps not.
- The Tigers, player-by-player, are no worse off than the other teams in their division. Not playing to win the American League Central this coming season makes no sense at all.
- I could understand the Tigers trading Edwin Jackson to Arizona for Max Scherzer. He has a big-time arm and is on the verge of becoming a very good major league starter, perhaps better than Jackson as soon as this season. But why would the Diamondbacks do that?
- Gerardo Parra, the young outfielder from the Diamondbacks, is a left-handed hitter who doesn’t hit left-handers well. He is not nearly as good a center fielder as Granderson. Nor necessarily a better leadoff hitter. He walked 25 times last season.
- And salary dump - Granderson is making $25 million over the next three seasons.
Labels: Curtis Granderson Edwin Jackson Dave Dombrowski Mike Ilitch Max Scherzer Gerardo Parra Phillip Hughes Austin Jackson
Monday, December 07, 2009
One Word Describes Ndamukong Suh: Wow
Watching the Big 12 title game Saturday night, I was trying to think of a college defensive tackle I have seen dominate a game like Ndamukong Suh did for Nebraska. He single-handily kept his team in that game by repeatedly collapsing Texas’ offensive line in the middle.
The name that came to mind was Steve Entman, the defensive tackle at Washington in the early 1990s.
Suh has been doing this a lot late in the season. He wasn’t nearly as dominant early in the season. He has clearly separated himself from the rest of the pack to be the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. And that is saying a lot because this is a deep draft for defensive players, particularly linemen.
He is a perfect fit for the Lions, who unlikely will have the first pick in the draft, though, because they beat the Browns.
Suh should come with the following warning: Defensive tackles taken first overall in the NFL Draft have generally not gone on to become dominant players in the NFL.
The last three defensive tackles selected first overall in the NFL Draft were Dan Wilkinson, Entman and Russell Maryland. Wilkinson and Maryland had long NFL careers, but were hardly dominant NFL players. Entman only had a brief NFL career because of lingering injury issues.
It’s rare the defensive lineman that can control a game from the inside. Warren Sapp was probably the best example. He provided the best of both worlds - gap control and plays. Shaun Rogers had fleeting moments doing it for the Lions.
Mostly teams want gap control. It is hard enough to find. Maryland, Entman and Wilkinson were the first overall selections in three of the first four years of the 1990s. Notice how teams haven’t gone back to that position since?
That thinking could play into the Lions’ hands on draft day. Maybe the Browns would pass on Suh?
- The Red Wings are finally showing something on the road. Big comeback to earn a point in New Jersey Saturday. Nice win last night against the Rangers in New York. Now they must take advantage of their home games this week. Jimmy Howard has played well for the Red Wings. It’s starting to look like he is a keeper. Still, if the playoffs started today, the Red Wings would not be in the field.
- Just so you know, Texas Tech, Michigan State’s opponent in the Alamo Bowl, beat Nebraska and Oklahoma by a combined score of 72-23 this season.
- I think the BCS title game will be terrific. Alabama is a slight favorite, but I see it as a pick ‘em game. And, no, I don’t think the other unbeatens are getting a raw deal. Cincinnati, TCU and Boise State would not have come close to running the table in the SEC or Big 12. I’m not sure about the Big Ten, though.
My column in Monday's Oakland Press: Stafford Must Play Better http://tinyurl.com/ygm3ady
Labels: Ndamukong Suh Steve Entman Dan Wilkinson Russell Maryland Jimmy Howard
Friday, December 04, 2009
Will Attention On Tiger Hurt Or Help PGA Tour?
I think of all the public criticisms I can recall in sports, Jasper Parnevik's
of Tiger Woods is the most stinging. He introduced Woods to his wife, and just ripped Tiger for having his affairs.Parnevik
was obviously a friend, and feels betrayed, but I can't help but wonder what Tiger's other competitors on tour are thinking. Most of the comments players are making about him are, predictably, generic. But I wouldn't be surprised if there is more than a little smirking about this behind the scenes. Can't tell me many of them didn't know what was going on. And that Woods' sterling persona, which has been blown to smithereens, is something they didn't resent. That, and the idea golf was all about Tiger - and seldom about them.
What I don't know is whether this will help or hurt the PGA
Tour in the long run. There will be more attention on the events Woods enters than ever. When he comes back and wins, it will be how he, "overcame it all." On the other hand, the rest of the PGA
Tour just got smaller and even less significant. Strange dynamic.
My column in Friday's Oakland Press about why I expect the Tigers to contend in 2010 http://tinyurl.com/yk6mml6
Labels: Tiger Woods Jasper Parnevik PGA Tour
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Ron Artest Should Be Suspended
is a pretty good basketball player, and most of the time, his presence on his team is OK.
But his bad moments are just so weird. And his recent reference to Ben Wallace in the Sporting News, "I'll just fight him right there," should draw some form of reprimand
- perhaps even suspension - from the NBA.
I think we've come to a point with Artest
, that when he says something goofy, to think, "Ah, it's just Ron Artest
..." It's a dangerous trap. There was nothing funny about the brawl at The Palace in 2004. It was the worst case of player-fan violence in the history of sports in this country. What? He is going to fight Big Ben again? Can you imagine what a dangerous proposition that might be for those attending the game. Or for the safety of the players on the court. Or the officials, who would be put in position to break it up. Doesn't seem like Artest had much remorse for what happened that night, either, does it?
NBA commissioner David Stern can't just let this pass. He must act now.
My column in Thursday's Oakland Press on Michigan State's football program: Has Mark Dantonio
lost control? http://tinyurl.com/yg6323t
Labels: Ron Artest Ben Wallace David Stern The Palace of Auburn Hills
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Unfortunately, The Human Side Of Tiger
I am not surprised Tiger Woods had an affair with a women that has come out publicly in light of his traffic accident Friday night. It wouldn’t surprise me if there are others.
I do find it disappointing.
I’ve always thought Woods measured himself by a higher standard, both on the course and off it. But ultimately, like I wrote in my column in Tuesday’s Oakland Press, it comes down to him being human. We’re not machines. Even Tiger. It doesn’t mean you condone such behavior, or not feel for his wife and family, but it doesn’t necessarily suggest judgment so harsh he becomes a pariah. And I don’t believe, in the long run, that will happen.
To me, the more serious matter, at least legally, is whether he covered up a domestic violence incident.
Evidently, law enforcement officials in Florida, didn’t find that he did.
- What is the shock of Placido Polanco not being offered salary arbitration by the Tigers? General manager Dave Dombrowski made it clear from the first day of the off season Polanco wasn’t going to return. Sure, it’s a lot to put on rookie Scott Sizemore, especially considering he is coming off an injury. Boy, I just have a feeling the Twins are going to sign Polanco and move Nick Punto to third. And Polanco is the prototypical Twins’ player, too.
- North Carolina is to Michigan State basketball what Waterloo was to Napoleon
Labels: Tiger Woods Placido Polanco Scott Sizemore Detroit Tigers Michigan State Basketball
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
On The Red Wings, Richard Hamilton, Manny Harris And Vince The Prince
The Red Wings' depth in the past has been exceptional, but this season it is much different. Especially, obviously, after numerous injuries.
Their top power play unit is as strong as usual with Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski on the point, Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk along the wall, and Tomas Holmstrom in front of the net. It's the second until that is a stretch. Derek Meech was on the point Monday, for example.
A couple things:
- Lidstrom must start producing. He still plays 25 minutes a night and the key role on the power play. He looks fine. It just he never garners goals or assists. That's an issue. In the Red Wings' losses this season, he has one assist. He has two assists in the last 10 games. One goal all season.
- Jimmy Howard is playing well. You don't see the same type of soft goals he allowed during his previous stints with the Red Wings, and on the trip to Sweden to begin this season.
- Todd Bertuzzi is a key for the Red Wings. I know that isn't necessarily comforting for Red Wings fans, many of whom don't seem to like him, but he is exceptionally skilled for his size. Did you see how easily he got the puck on edge and flipped it in backhand during the shootout Saturday in St. Louis?
- I do believe the Red Wings' injuries will allow them to peak at the right time for the playoffs. But first things first. They must get there. And it should not be minimized just what an edge home ice can be.
The win in St. Louis Saturday was important from the standpoint it was on the road. Traditionally a very good road team, the Red Wings have had several stinkers on the road this season, most notably at Buffalo and Toronto.
- Where is Richard Hamilton? Saw Tayshaun Prince on the Pistons bench when I was at the game Sunday vs. Atlanta? It's almost like Hamilton is no longer even on the team. Thought it was just a sprained ankle.
- Still think North Carolina is too strong inside for the Spartans to beat tonight, especially on the road. The Spartans miss Goran Suton. That much is already clear.
- It wouldn't surprise me if Manny Harris is the Big Ten's Player of the Year.
- Now wouldn't that be something if Jim Harbaugh ended up at Notre Dame.
- Vince Young's comeback has been remarkable. There are some people who cave into adversity. Obviously, he is one of those people who grew because of it.
My column in Tuesday's Oakland Press on Tiger Woods: http://tinyurl.com/y8dskj3
Labels: Nicklas Lidstrom Henrik Zetterberg Pavel Datsyuk Todd Bertuzzi Goran Suton Manny Harris Jim Harbaugh Vince Young