Hockey

Due to the decade-plus-long streak of Red Wings exceptionalism, it was just a given that Ken Holland was a genius who prolonged the mid-90s dominance constructed by Jimmy Devellano by unearthing gems like Nicklas Lidstrom and Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. And yeah, that’s quite a foursome to back up the free-spending ways of the Bowman Years.

As time went along, it appeared more and more that Holland simply kept Forrest Gump’ing his way into great players, and as the cap took more and more hold of the league, he simply couldn’t adjust. There were some hideous contracts handed out (Frans Nielsen and Trevor Daley, hello!), while the pipeline went dry for years (remember when Tomas Jurco was going to change the sport forever?). That core that ran the league in the mid-to-late 2000s got old and had not support. And then it all collapsed, and the Wings are still trying to get out from under it. Some began to wonder what Holland’s actual legacy was. Was he just born on third in Detroit?

We’ll find out now, because for some reason Holland decided to take on one of the few bigger messes than Detroit in the NHL, and that’s the Edmonton Oilers.

Perhaps like a couple coaches have, the allure and glow of Connor McDavid is just too strong to ignore. Perhaps the name-recognition of Holland in the sport delays any inklings McDavid might have of demanding out (they have to be there, right?). Or maybe it’s just the truckload of cash dropped at his door. Whatever the reason, Holland is certainly up to the knee in it now.

One thing Holland might be hoping is that simply not being Peter Chiarelli buys him a season or two to assemble a couple more draft picks. The Oilers only hope is to get production out of players on minimal deals to offset the shovelful of horseshit they’re getting from some of their higher-paid players.

Salvation might not be as far away as everyone likes to joke. The Oilers only have McDavid, RNH, Draisaitl, Neal, Chiasson, Klefbom, Russell, Koskinen signed for next year, though they only have $23M in space to fill some 13-14 spaces. The only player they are likely to want to keep is Darnell Nurse, but his play has hardly warranted paying him like the angry Seth Jones we thought he might become a year or two ago. Perhaps Phillip Broberg and Evan Bouchard can join the blue line for cheap help in the next couple seasons. Then again, Broberg was Holland’s first pick and was widely panned. Tigers can’t change their stripes, after all.

Which continued the tradition of what Holland had done in Detroit. Over his last nine drafts in Motor City, after they had stopped picking in the high-20s due to on-ice success, Holland provided only Anathasiou. Mantha, Larkin, and (if we squint) Tyler Bertuzzi. There’s some hope for Svechnikov and Hronek, but needless to say no jury is anywhere close to being back from lunch on them. Without reinforcements from within, all the while swearing that they were just overcooking in Grand Rapids, the Red Wings main roster aged and expensed its way out of competence.

One way to goose the process would be to find a trade, but the Oilers don’t have much to make a splash with. Draisaitl and McDavid are immovable and you’d never get fair value for them anyway. The window to move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins along might very well have passed. He has one more year on his deal after this one before hitting unrestricted free agency, and he’ll only be 27, so the time would be at this deadline. Waiting until the offseason will only lower his value. But then the Oilers would have to find another center or winger to make up for Draisaitl moving back to his natural pivot spot. It’s going to have to be more than Kailer Yamomoto, that’s for sure.

While it would be un-hockey-like, there must be a ticking clock hanging over McDavid as well. If any player could pull an NBA-style “Get Me The Fuck Outta Here” power move, it’s Run CMD. He’s seen the playoffs once in five seasons and patience must be thin. If Holland hasn’t presented something of a plan to his captain, he’s going to have to soon.

Holland needs at least one more year of high picks though, and maybe collecting a few more by selling off whatever’s not tied down. Except there isn’t anything. What would be worth anything at the deadline? Kassian? Maybe Benning? Those are worth low-round picks at best. RNH to someone desperate might be his only hope.

Does Holland have the patience for a slow burn that he didn’t show in Detroit until it was too late? Does he have the luxury considering what McDavid’s mood might be? We’ll see what he’s made of now.

Everything Else

To try and add to this would be the definition of overwriting, overthinking, overdoing the story, but that’s what we do around here.

Ever since the rumors started over the weekend that the Oilers brass has backed up an armored truck or six to the door of Ken Holland, and then it came to fruition, I’ve hardly been able to contain my glee. The Oilers evolution has moved from simply trying to cash in on the names of the past from their own organization to cashing in on the names of the past from other organizations. Resumes don’t matter as much as name recognition, and as long as the accomplishments on said resumes are at least 10 years in the past. It’s just so perfect. “Well, we tried hiring our famous alumni, so let’s try hiring someone else’s! That’s the ticket”

To be fair to Ken Holland and what awaits him, there is just about nothing anyone could do here. They have something like $13M in cap space, and need like, six wingers and three d-men. And a goalie. And that number could go down if they re-sign Jesse Puljujarvi, which they kind of need to because they can get him cheap. But things may already be broken between him and the team.

So essentially what the Oilers need, or needed now, is a GM who can be creative and unearth some real gems for real cheap. See things that others wouldn’t. They need this to extricate themselves from the mess their last GM put them in. Which is exactly the kind of mess Ken Holland created in the place the Wings brought in Steve Yzerman to Jazzy Jeff him out of.

Contracts to Andrej Sekera and Milan Lucic don’t look all that different than the ones given to Trevor Daley or Frans Nielsen. Again, to be fair to Holland, Dylan Larkin, Andreas Anathasiou, and Filip Hronek were found with mid-first round or later-round picks, and that’s going to be vital for the Oilers. If he can do that again, maybe two years down the road things will start to be ok.

But you wouldn’t bet on that, because Holland didn’t pick enough of them (until maybe recently) to keep the Wings from being also-rans for the last five years. It’s just so Oilers. A team that thinks its name still carries the most weight in the league and anyone associated with it receives gloss from that simply by being around goes for the only name outside the organization they recognize. Holland was never able to produce another batch of players after his first one, which he may have just stumbled upon anyway. That’s a common affliction in hockey circles, of course. We’re seeing it here with the Hawks, whose current regime was handed the core that produced three Cups and has struggled to feed the the production line behind it. Same for the Kings. The Penguins had to find a new GM to create a second reign.

The Oilers await their first wave, though. What they needed was an outside-the-box thinker, not someone who says, “Thomas Vanek could help.” Someone who can find a way to get out from under a bad contract or two and fleece another GM for a piece or two. Find another Mathieu Perreault or Nino Neiderreiter, a player who is highly effective, not expensive, and probably not rated by their team. What was the last trade Holland won? What was the last signing that portended to any kind of vision?

But vision isn’t what the Oilers do. Seeking headlines is, as well as perhaps satiating their ravenous press corps. Holland is a name everyone knows, he won a Cup or two once upon a time, and that’s all the research the Oilers did. “This will buy us some time,” had to be the overriding thinking.

It’s hard to think of another player the level of Connor McDavid who’s going to see his career chucked down the incinerator by his organization’s incompetence. There was the first batch of LeBron’s, but he was wise enough to fuck off before his prime went away. Mike Trout comes to mind, as the Angels scramble for shore or dock dragging around Albert Pujols and previous mistakes. That’s probably as close as you get, and they’ve each only seen the playoffs once.

At least Trout has the Southern California sunshine to bask in, and the thought that his team is actually trying. How McJesus would love anything on par with Shohei Ohtani. McDavid just as early sunsets and a biting wind, the emptiness between the ears of his bosses.

It would be sad if it weren’t so funny.

Everything Else

It almost seems to perfect. You wonder if Ken Holland even sees it coming. He has to, right? Maybe it was always the plan (not a process). But Steve Yzerman resigned as GM of the Lightning, right before the Wings rebuild is supposed to pivot. They’ll likely have yet another top-five pick to play with. And the patience with Holland seems to have run out as the Wings embark on a third-straight playoff-less season. It’s clear change needs to be made, and when a former team legend who just happened to build one of the best teams of the era is waiting in the suburbs twiddling his thumbs, you don’t have to be John Nash to put it all together.

If that’s how it goes down, then this will be the last Hawks-Wings game with Ken Holland overlooking from a suite. And the next one without him will be the first in over 22 years. That’s a hell of a run, but it’s a lot spottier than you might think.

First off, Holland took over in between the Wings first two Cup wins from Jimmy Devellano. It’s not like there was a lot of building to be done back then. And the Wings were known for splashing all of Mike Illitch’s cash, so it wasn’t like he had to unearth much. Much like Alabama recruiting, he just had to throw open the door, leave a trail of cash, and the top available players would come sprinting. Holland had added Brett Hull, Luc Robitaille, Chris Chelios to the 2002 version that won a third Cup, but again, it’s not like these were hidden gems that only Holland could find (fucking Anders Eriksson).

Where Holland got most of his esteem was in the Wings’ European scouting, which led to him drafting Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Johan Franzen in the head-to-the-shitter portion of the draft. And clearly, that’s not something you just sneeze at. It also appears to have been just a huge slice of luck, which any draft requires. Because since then, the core of the Wings rotted out while there was nothing on the edges to take its place.

Since 2004 when Holland took Johan Franzen, and they were both unfortunate to have his career cut short by concussions, the  NHL-ers that Holland has managed to find are Jimmy Howard, Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Calle Jarnkrok, Petr Mrazek, Thomas Jurco, Andreas Anathasiou, Anthony Mantha, Matthias Janmark, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Dylan Larkin. How many true difference-makers are there? Larkin for sure, maybe Howard when he was younger? You’d really have to squint. Anathasiou has a chance, and maybe, maybe, if you really wheel-pose it out Nyquist. Sure, only recently has Holland had top-10 picks, but if he were the genius everyone would have you believe he’d find a late-round gem again, right?

Zetterberg and Datsyuk and Lidstrom got old, and even with all that time Holland had no one in place to take over. Combine that with some utterly woeful free agent signings. There was the bewildering fascination with Todd Bertuzzi. What is Frans Nielsen doing here? Justin Abdelkader was extended into the Earth’s heat-death. What did he think Trevor Daley was going to do? Steve Ott even made an appearance.

That doesn’t make Holland one of the league’s worst GMs, or anything close. Most GMs who achieve the success he can claim in the NHL were either parachuted right into it, got lucky a couple times, or most likely both (say Stan, what are you doing here?). It’s just been years since the Wings were relevant, and Holland had a ton of time to find the next generation and couldn’t.

Yzerman will be parachuted in, though. He’ll have Larkin, Anathasiou, Zadina, Rasmussen, and a few other prospects below the surface. He’ll have the NHL probably jonesing at the chance to rig Jack Hughes to stay home in Michigan. Perhaps Holland will leave them with parting gifts he’ll never get to enjoy and go without the credit he would deserve. Which would probably cancel out all the credit he got for basically pulling a Homer.

 

Game #61 Preview Suite

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Lineups & How Teams Were Built

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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

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We can thank Dylan Larkin for one thing. And that’s putting end to the always-horseshit “The Red Wings Let Their Prospects Overmarinate” myth. The hockey media peddled that fucking thing for like a decade, and it eventually turned out that the reason they did all that is their prospects were middling at best, fuckwits at worst. Or did Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, Anthony Mantha, Xavier Ouellet, Luke Glendening, and a host of others go on to redefine the sport and we just missed it?

Larkin was one of the few who never spent a minute in Grand Rapids, breeding ground of legends apparently, because he’s an actual player and quite possibly an actual star. Larkin went straight from Ann Arbor to Detroit, and put up 45 points as a rookie on the wing. He further proved that chances are if you’re worth a shit, you get to the NHL directly and quickly and don’t need “seasoning” on the bus in the AHL, especially at forward.

Larkin’s future was always at center though, and his move there proved rocky at times. He had the husk of Henrik Zetterberg to shield him as best he could, but his first attempt in the middle led to an unsightly -28 and just 32 points, while carrying a 44.3 xGF%. The learning curve was steep, let’s say.

Things improved last year, as Larkin set a career-high with 63 points, improved his metrics to above the team-rate, as the Wings finally put him with a non-pylons, ones like such as Tatar or Mantha, and put speedster Andreas Athanasiou with him.

This year things have taken off, as without Zetterberg around Larkin has joined Gustav Nyquist in his contract-push (or trade-push), and they’ve combined to make Larkin one of the more effective centers around. He’s almost at a point-per-game, with 51 in 53 games. And his metrics are glittering. Larkin’s relative-CF% is fifth in the entire league, and second among centers behind only Sidney Crosby. His relative-xGF% is in the top-20, and fourth among centers in the league behind Kevin Hayes, Crosby, and Patrice Bergeron. Not terrible company to be around.

As the game speeds up, that should only suit Larkin more, whose main weapon has always been speed. Larkin has benefitted from slightly cushier zone-starts this year, but not slanted terribly in that direction. Imagine what he could do if he literally had one d-man who could get the puck up to him consistently, which the Red Wings don’t currently possess.

Moving forward, getting Larkin on an extension before William Nylander reset the market is going to be a boon for Detroit. Larkin is only making $6.1M for the next few years, which for a #1 center is nearly criminal. It also helps cancel out some of the galactically dumbass deals Ken Holland has handed out in recent years, such as Justin Abdelkader‘s, or Frans Nielsen‘s, or Danny DeKeyser‘s. The Wings don’t really have anyone to pay up this summer, unless they decide they want to re-sign Nyquist for some reason. The year after should get interesting when Anathasiou comes due after getting screwed over by the team last time he needed a deal, as well as Bertuzzi the Younger.

Still, with Larkin looking like a top line center, Filip Zadina arriving next year along with another top-five pick (most likely, and #1 if the NHL can rig it so which you know they will, because Jack Hughes must stay home), and the Wings might not be the figure-of-fun they’ve been lately. Which is really sad for everyone.

 

Game #56 Preview Suite

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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.

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 #56 Preview Suite

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I Make A Lot Of Graphs

Lineups & How Teams Were Built

Everything Else

You’ve probably heard all the complaints and conspiracy theories about baseball’s offseason. Be it tanking teams, teams that are only “tanking,” collusion, analytic front offices, whatever the cause you might think has led to everyone being quite bored. But if anyone actually paid attention to hockey, or if the players had a union worth a shit, the case of Andreas Athanasiou this past summer would have generated similar talk, especially considering the inaction of everyone else.

Athanasiou came off his rookie year when he played 64 games and scored 18 goals. Hardly Earth-shattering, but given that he’s perhaps the fastest skater in the league and his age, there’s certainly a lot of potential there. A player a lot of teams would certainly like to have in their holster, for sure.

And then he sat. And sat. Now, this is where you’d have to interject that Ken Holland boned himself with a lot of stupid contracts and simply didn’t have the money to pay Athanasiou what he probably deserved. This wasn’t a GM playing hardball, at least not totally. More like the hardball hit him in the head and Athanasiou was left to deal with the dizzy GM afterwards.

But then again, Holland didn’t have any reason not to even if he had the cap space. As Athanasiou was only a restricted free agent, he basically either had to take whatever the Wings offered him, or go to the KHL. It’s quite a league where your promising young players have to threaten going to play in Russia, where they assuredly don’t want to go, just to get anything near the money they’ve already earned. And according to reports this wasn’t a massive gap. Athanasiou wanted somewhere around $2 million.

Hey, we’ve been on both sides of this. We’ve been critical of Stan Bowman and the Hawks awarding contracts to their players well before they had to. The trade of Brandon Saad, the first time, was another example of the Hawks not wanting to play hardball. The system is rigged to let teams do that, and without any punishment. They can play chicken and never have to swerve.

Because no one came for Athanasiou. How many teams could have used a middle six winger with this speed and scoring instinct? All of them? Damn close. And as the Wings only had somewhere around $2 million in space, an offer of more wouldn’t have been beyond most GMs, and compensation would have been a first and third round pick.

And that’s a twofold problem. One, any player making $2-3 million per year, with exceptions, are not going to be worth a first and third round pick, at least to most GMs. The compensation levels are ridiculous. If you go above $3 million, it’s a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Think about a player making $4 million. Probably a 20-goal scorer, yeah? Second pairing d-man? Second tier starting goalie, maybe? Is that worth three draft picks? Then again, that depends on what you think of draft picks, because they develop a lot weirder than they do in baseball. It’s a hard system to judge, but GMs horde them like leprechauns to gold even though most of them don’t have any idea what to do with them.

But for someone it should have been. The Oilers are missing wingers everywhere, they couldn’t give up a couple picks for Athanasiou, who is certainly better than a lot of wingers they have? We could go down the list here. Isn’t Athanasiou the idealized version of Vinnie Hinostroza? What would have been the better signing for the Flames, him or Jagr?

But GMs don’t do it, and it’s not just the compensation. There’s a gentlemen’s agreement that restricted free agents will never be poached. Shouldn’t this be some sort of collusion? Except the compensation is in the CBA and could always be pointed to. It robs the players of all leverage until they’re 28 or so unless they want to go play in a lesser league thousands of miles from home. How can that stand? The idea of an offer sheet is to provide some sort of leverage for younger players and it’s been taken away from them by an unwritten agreement between GMs.

This would be something that the NHLPA should go after in the next negotiation. But you know how that will go.

 

Game #49 Preview

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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

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Game #49 Preview

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I’ll let you in on a little secret. There was a massive brawl here at the Lab over who got to do the Detroit Red Wings preview. After all the shit we had to eat for a decade or more from this Packers fanbase-gone-wrong, and even with all the depression daily life brings these days, the fact that the Wings have cast themselves into hockey oblivion/purgatory will keep the blood pumping through my veins for much longer than logic would suggest. It’s not just that they’re bad. They can’t even be bad correctly. This is a team that desperately needs to bottom out, after all they don’t even have a doddering old owner to placate anymore, and yet is chasing one of its few promising young players off to Russia. Sometimes I still wake up giggling that all the players that every pundit like Pierre McGuire promised us were the “next generation” simply because they were Wings basically amounted to two shooting-percentage spike seasons from Gustav Nyquist. Now everyone is seeing that Ken Holland might just have gotten lucky with a couple late round picks and a completely open checkbook from Mike Illitch when there was no cap. And people, it’s replacing oxygen as my life force. Let’s do this:

Detroit Red Wings

2016-2017 Record: 33-36-13  70 points  7th in the Flortheast which meant…

THEIR BULLSHIT PLAYOFF STREAK THEY HAD TO FLEE TO THE EAST TO KEEP GOING IS DEAD AND EVERY ANALYST IN THE NHL HAD TO CUT THEMSELVES LIVE ON AIR! JUST HOOK IT TO MY FUCKING VEINS!

Team Stats 5v5: 48.2 CF%  (24th)  48.3 SF% (24th)  48.9 SCF% (20th)  7.8 SH% (12th)  91.7 SV% (24th)  15.0 PP% (27th)  80.8 PK% (16th)