Monday, May 07, 2012

Why it wasn't the Red Wings weren't good enough, but instead underachieved

My view on the Red Wings, and what has transpired during these Stanley Cup playoffs, differs with the consensus of opinion.
Where most feel the Red Wings "just weren't good enough," I, instead, see the Red Wings as having vastly underachieved.
The way the playoffs have unfolded since the Red Wings ouster in five games by Nashville is affirmation.
The Vancanover Canucks and St. Louis Blues proved to be vastly overrated, both getting  knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. The Predators have come unglued in the Western Conference semifinals vs. Phoenix.
The Kings have a tremendous goalie in Jonathan Quick, a world-class defenseman, who had not lived up to his growing after reputation after the 2010 Olympics, though, until these playoffs in Drew Doughty, and a Henrik- Zetterberg-like forward in Anze Kopitar. Otherwise, they have a little grit in Dustin Brown, and not much else. The Coyotes best player is Ray Whitney. Yeah. That Ray Whitney. the former Red Wing, who has been around since time started. And Phoenix goalie Mike Smith is the definition of journeyman.
The Blues and Preds don't have fire power. Vancouver has an excellent team, but the Canucks' issues with being Canada's great hope, and goalie Roberto Luongo having worn out his welcome, led to subpar performance.
This should have opened the door to the Stanley Cup finals for the Red Wings. Instead, we're reading about the exploits of their players at The World Hockey Championships.
Now they are scoring goals. Now Jimmy Howard is coming up big.
It couldn't be be more meaningless if they just remained home and were shooting par on one of the local golf courses.
There is little doubt the Red Wings need to re-tool their roster this summer. But the Kings vs. Coyotes in the Western Conference finals? The Red Wings are still better than both those teams.
It's an indictment on their shaky performance in the Nashville series they are not around to prove it


Blogger Poor Man's Football in Michigan said...

Pat, I think it's because we're talking about the Detroit Red Wings and not any other team. The Wings have set a high standard of expectations, and while it can be a great blessing it can also be a curse. When are you able to say you're good enough when history has proven you're the best...but maybe not doing so great right now? As a fan of any team you always hope that there is some magic. As a realist you question it because there are a lot of good teams. As a Wings fan you expect the best. We've rarely had to use the word "hope" when describing our expectations. Go Wings!

4:16 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's all about health and momentum heading into the playoffs and star players coming up big - all of which went against the team this year.

10:23 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

"The Vancanover Canucks and St. Louis Blues proved to be vastly overrated, both getting knocked out of the Stanley Cup playoffs by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings."

By your logic then didn't the Wings prove to be vastly overrated when they were knocked out by the Predators?

6:22 PM 
Anonymous Scott said...

I think you've brutally undersold the Kings. IE - Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams (any of whom could play ion the Wings top 2 lines or PP), solid depth guys as well like Penner ans Stoll (a face-off ace the likes of which the Wings lack and need badly) and solid if unspectacular d-men like Willie Mitchell, Matt Greene and Rob Scuderi. Fact is every team in the West was solid this year. The Kings may have been an eighth seed, but they're a different team then they were pre-Sutter. If anything, they underachieved through much of the regular season. All in all, as Wing fans, we've been deluding ourselves. The players are still shimmering in the afterglow of the 08 and 09 runs, much in the same way the Pistons roster did post 04 and 05. The Wings still have an enviable core, but the time for retooling was last year let alone this year. How could anyone have reasonably expected the Wings to keep reaching the finals while shedding a Samuelson here, a Hossa there, a Draper and Maltby here, a Rafalski there, not to mention Osgoode. Ozzie wasn't great, but he was a reliable back-up goalie. If the Wings actually made a priority out of getting Howard a solid backup, maybe he wouldn't have been so banged-up and been able to make a few more big saves vs the Preds? Not that it's all on the goalie, but all this said, the Wings have been in slow decline and the rest of the West has caught-up or surpassed them. A solid, maybe even bold off-season is needed to keep pace and get markedly stronger.

12:54 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not refrain from commenting. Perfectly written!

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11:50 AM 

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