Everything Else

 vs. 

RECORDS: Hawks 25-26-9   Red Wings 23-29-8

PUCK DROP: 6:30

TV: NBCSN (with Mike “Handsy Hands” Tirico calling his first ever hockey game)

THEY MAKE PORNO MOVIES THAT START THAT WAY TOO: Winging It In Motown

I guess pretty soon we’re going to have to replace the train-wreck picture. Is there a way to represent “no plan but a process?” We’ll find out. Because here’s something for ya: If the Hawks win tonight and the Jets beat the Avs, the Hawks will hold the final wild card spot. Fuck, they’ll only be two points behind the Stars for the first wildcard spot, and they just happen to wash up here on Sunday. The Avs do on Friday. As stupid and nonsensical as it may be, these are actual big games. If the Hawks were to win the next three, including two over direct competitors, they aren’t just in the playoff race. They’re firmly entrenched. Perhaps even slight favorites.

They’ll also only be .500. And even a win tonight would only see them seven points ahead of this twisted heap of metal that is the Red Wings. They’re only two points ahead of the Ducks, who are unquestionably a fertilizer collection of a hobo.

#EndHockey

Anyway, that’s the scene, and just about every time you’ve expected the floor to drop out from the Hawks they just keep finding a way to stick around. Either loss to the Bruins or Jackets could have easily sent them to a tailspin. Especially as both were followed by piss poor starts against the Devils and Senators, And yet they recovered. Yes, they recovered against the Devils and Senators, which essentially is the hockey interpretation of my crazy, 30-pound husky/spitz mix knocking over a toddler out of sheer excitement (and she’s done this). But whatever. They recovered. And now it’s at a point where you have to say the Hawks can’t really lose to the Wings. It would be a bad loss.

So here we are. Surface details: Cam Ward will start, as it appears Collin Delia has played himself into waiting around until Corey Crawford is healthy and he can be packed back off to Rockford. His confidence could probably use it. Brendan Perlini is sick, might not play, letting Chris Kunitz back in. Brent Seabrook will play, which will assuredly tighten up the defense that was more welcoming than a Vegas buffet. Ha, that’s funny. See what I did there?

As for the Wings, they still suck. Since losing to the Hawks even though they outplayed them, they’ve beaten the Predators and Senators, but lost to the Flyers twice in a home-and-home. They’re just waiting for Monday, when they can eject their flotsam for picks and fringe prospects, and fill those vacated spots with more promising kids. There’s talk talk that last spring’s top pick, Filip Zadina, will come up after the deadline to take Nyquist’s spot. Stuff like that.

Unlike last time, the Hawks will get Jimmy Howard instead of Jonathan Bernier. Howard will be auditioning for the Sharks or maybe Flames or Jackets as trade bait. He’s a free agent in the summer, the Wings are going to have to have a longer term plan in net than him, and he’s actually been pretty good this year. He’s got playoff experience, and this might be a chip Wings cash in for more than they probably should. His .913 is certainly an improvement on what those teams mentioned are getting right now.

Other differences from 10 days ago is that Trevor Daley is back with his chaw and wayward sense of direction and logic. He joins something named Filip Hronek on the third-pairing. Justin “Let Out The” Abdelkader (cuz the revolution’s here and you know it’s right) has been punted to the bottom-six where he’s always belonged, allowing Nephew Bertuzzi to be with Dylan Larkin. Other than that, there’s not much to report.

Again, if the Hawks keep Larkin and Andreas Anathasiou (I can’t wait another dayyyyyyy) on a leash, you’re three-quarters of the way to beating this outfit. There’s not a lot of depth here, the blue line is slow, and when the Hawks were fully engaged last time this was a team they actually looked significantly faster than. Keep that up, and suddenly the weekend is awfully interesting.

 

Game #61 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Kyle has been the editor over at WingingItInMotown.com as long as we’ve been doing this, which means he hasn’t gotten any more of a life than we have. And we thank him for that. Follow him on Twitter @KyleWIIM. Anyway, this is the Q&A we did with him like, last week when the Wings were here. 

Well, the Red Wings seem to get how this whole tank/rebuild thing is supposed to go, or at least the Eastern Conference has made it so. How do you feel about where the Wings are?
The Red Wings are two, maybe three players away from being back in the thick of things, I think. They’ve got a decent crop of young talent in the juniors, and a few youngsters starting to make names for themselves in the NHL.
If they can lock up a top-three pick this year, they’ll be in a good spot.. Problem is, they need to work on the books. Too much cap space spent on old players. That hogties them to try and make a splash in the free agent market if there’s a big name out there.
Dylan Larkin‘s switch to center last year was a little itchy. Seems to be going better this time. What’s the difference?
He’s just a special player, and the team has embraced his ability to be the straw that stirs the drink. Putting him with Gustav Nyquist and Tyler Bertuzzi has been a magnificent decision.
Is Yzerman slotting in at GM over the summer fait accompli?
I think so, but it could realistically happen. I comes down to Ken Holland. What’s he going to do? Obviously the organization is happy keeping everyone where they’re at.. So it really comes down to him.
Andreas Athanasiou already has a career high in points and will soon in goals. What’s been the difference for him this year, and does the team still hate him?
Team doesn’t hate him, I think they’ve just been very critical. Again, he’s been put with the right kind of players, and being put in the right situations. For a long time, I think the team believed his best skill was speed, and while it is definitely one of his best abilities, his playmaking ability has really shined this season.
What will the Wings be doing before the deadline?
If I’m a betting man, I’m guessing they stand pat. They’ve got a ton of NTCs to deal with, and it’s just been so gosh damn quiet that I find it difficult to see something happening. Then again, maybe the quietness should hint that something is in the works.
They should really be pushing to sell players like Jimmy Howard, Luke Glendening, and even Gustav Nyquist.

 

Game #61 Preview Suite

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Not that much has changed since the Hawks laid an egg against the Wings 10 days ago. So here’s what we asked JJ From Kansas then.  You can follow him on Twitter @JJFromKansas and read his work on WingingItFromMowtown.com, if you really feel the need to mentally injure yourself. 

Let’s start here: The Wings are a capped out team, and they aren’t any good. While they lose Mike Green’s salary after the season, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha all need new contracts after the year. So basically… why does Ken Holland still have a job?
Ken Holland still has a job for the same reason Stan Bowman will still be with the Hawks through iteration #4 of “We just need this NEW large pile of also-ran nobodies to give overwhelming value on their low-cost deals because we can’t afford to fit the proper supporting players under the weight of the contracts for Kane, Toews, and Brent Seabrook.” Winning cups buys a lot more leeway than it ought to, even as we approach the end of the 10th year since Holland’s crew last lifted one. Fortunately, the increases to the cap and the other deals falling off should make more than enough space for Larkin and Mantha (with the hope they come to their senses on Athanasiou and don’t end up trading him), but yeah it shouldn’t be Ken Holland’s ring-heavy hand pushing those deals across the table to the only reasons to tune in and watch Detroit these days.
Dylan Larkin had 23 goals his rookie year. That dropped to 17 last year with the move to the middle. He’s only got six so far this year. What’s the deal?
Eh, I’m not so worried about Dylan Larkin the goalscorer as long as he continues to be Dylan Larkin the growing-up capable two-way playmaking center. The 23-goal rookie season was a lot of him being fed by Henrik Zetterberg and defenders not having enough of a concept of how quick he can turn a corner on you. The 17-goal output last season taught him that defenses adjust to one-trick ponies really well. He’s currently on pace to put up 23 more points than in his rookie season and, while I’d like it more of them were goals just because goals are more fun to watch than assists, I can rest well knowing he’s playing better now than he has at any other point in his still very-young NHL career.
Will the Red Wings trade Mike Green, and possibly Gustav Nyquist, before the deadline?
Mike Green seems like such a no-brainer trade that it makes me irrationally angry thinking about how it’s still entirely possible the team holds onto him for some dumb reason. Bob McKenzie seems pretty confident Holland won’t do the dumb thing and hold onto Green, but I need to see it before I can relax. I don’t think Nyquist moving is all that likely though. He had his NTC kick in this year and there really hasn’t been a lot of chatter about moving him out, even though the team absolutely ought to be doing that. Honesty, it might surprise me less if they traded away newly-signed Tomas Tatar this season before his no-trade clause kicks in over the summer.
They wouldn’t really get rid of Athanasiou either during this season or in the summer, would they?
This team once gave up a first-round pick for Kyle Quincey.
 
What gives you hope about where the Wings might be in two or three years?
There’s already a lot of promise in Larkin and Mantha with more promise to come. While the team doesn’t have that real franchise cornerstone piece, it seems the organization has finally gotten the hint that they’re not going to get two of those out of the 6th and 7th round again and that they haven’t yet re-upped Ken Holland to another deal. The rest of Detroit’s division outside of Tampa and Toronto is also wheel-spinning stuck-in-the-mud trash, so that should give them plenty of opportunity to gain traction first and get back to those actually-useful trips to the postseason where you can come out of losses saying at least the kids who are going to lead us in the future learned something valuable. I’m just not sure that two or three years is the realistic timeline for this kind of optimism though. Maybe three or four?

Game #45 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

 

Game #49 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built 

Everything Else

For ten seasons now, when we’ve needed Red Wings info, we’ve been forced to travel to a local swamp and rap on the door of a dilapidated shack where social outcast and deranged gnome JJ From Kansas lives. You can follow him on Twitter @JJFromKansas and read his work on WingingItFromMowtown.com, if you really feel the need to mentally injure yourself. 

Let’s start here: The Wings are a capped out team, and they aren’t any good. While they lose Mike Green’s salary after the season, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, and Anthony Mantha all need new contracts after the year. So basically… why does Ken Holland still have a job?
Ken Holland still has a job for the same reason Stan Bowman will still be with the Hawks through iteration #4 of “We just need this NEW large pile of also-ran nobodies to give overwhelming value on their low-cost deals because we can’t afford to fit the proper supporting players under the weight of the contracts for Kane, Toews, and Brent Seabrook.” Winning cups buys a lot more leeway than it ought to, even as we approach the end of the 10th year since Holland’s crew last lifted one. Fortunately, the increases to the cap and the other deals falling off should make more than enough space for Larkin and Mantha (with the hope they come to their senses on Athanasiou and don’t end up trading him), but yeah it shouldn’t be Ken Holland’s ring-heavy hand pushing those deals across the table to the only reasons to tune in and watch Detroit these days.
Dylan Larkin had 23 goals his rookie year. That dropped to 17 last year with the move to the middle. He’s only got six so far this year. What’s the deal?
Eh, I’m not so worried about Dylan Larkin the goalscorer as long as he continues to be Dylan Larkin the growing-up capable two-way playmaking center. The 23-goal rookie season was a lot of him being fed by Henrik Zetterberg and defenders not having enough of a concept of how quick he can turn a corner on you. The 17-goal output last season taught him that defenses adjust to one-trick ponies really well. He’s currently on pace to put up 23 more points than in his rookie season and, while I’d like it more of them were goals just because goals are more fun to watch than assists, I can rest well knowing he’s playing better now than he has at any other point in his still very-young NHL career.
Will the Red Wings trade Mike Green, and possibly Gustav Nyquist, before the deadline?
Mike Green seems like such a no-brainer trade that it makes me irrationally angry thinking about how it’s still entirely possible the team holds onto him for some dumb reason. Bob McKenzie seems pretty confident Holland won’t do the dumb thing and hold onto Green, but I need to see it before I can relax. I don’t think Nyquist moving is all that likely though. He had his NTC kick in this year and there really hasn’t been a lot of chatter about moving him out, even though the team absolutely ought to be doing that. Honesty, it might surprise me less if they traded away newly-signed Tomas Tatar this season before his no-trade clause kicks in over the summer.
They wouldn’t really get rid of Athanasiou either during this season or in the summer, would they?
This team once gave up a first-round pick for Kyle Quincey.
 
What gives you hope about where the Wings might be in two or three years?
There’s already a lot of promise in Larkin and Mantha with more promise to come. While the team doesn’t have that real franchise cornerstone piece, it seems the organization has finally gotten the hint that they’re not going to get two of those out of the 6th and 7th round again and that they haven’t yet re-upped Ken Holland to another deal. The rest of Detroit’s division outside of Tampa and Toronto is also wheel-spinning stuck-in-the-mud trash, so that should give them plenty of opportunity to gain traction first and get back to those actually-useful trips to the postseason where you can come out of losses saying at least the kids who are going to lead us in the future learned something valuable. I’m just not sure that two or three years is the realistic timeline for this kind of optimism though. Maybe three or four?

Game #45 Preview

Preview

Spotlight

Q&A

Douchebag Du Jour

I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

Strange, the Wings blogosphere is actually one of our favorites, made up of people we somehow get along with. I can’t explain it either. Anyway, we were able to distract Kyle from WingingItInMotown.com from staring at something shiny long enough to answer our questions (on Twitter @KyleWIIM).

We’ll start here. Tatar – 8 goals, Nyquist – 4 goals, Abdelkader – 4 goals (though only 22 games), Larkin hasn’t really scored more than he did last year… are the Wings unlucky and bad? Or just bad?

They’re not a very good team, that is for sure.. Take your pick at what the cause is… Coaching, complacency, bad luck, whatever. I mean, what it boils down to is that the team is underachieving. I’m not convinced that the skill level (or lack thereof) they possess is the culprit of their record.