Hockey

Now begins the portion of the preview to this “series” where any parents allowing their children to read this should probably be reported to DCFS. While both the Hawks and Oilers boast varying concentrations of firepower among their respective forward corps, to call both of these teams a bit of an adventure on the blue line would probably be a bit complimentary. There are gaping fissures in the space-time continuum to be found on either side of the ledger here, and it will be up to the coaching staffs to find them. Ten guesses as to which one is more likely to do so, with the answer to be given on Thursday for the coaching preview.

Hockey

Schadenfeude: noun, 1. Pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. 2. When your rival team is even worse than your team. See: 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings.

2018-2019

32-40-10 74 Pts. (7th in Atlantic Division)

2.73 GF/G (21st) – 3.32 GA/G (27th)

47.1 CF% (28th) – 44.5 xGF% (31st)

18.1 PP% (19th) – 77.1 PK% (28th)

Goalies: In my mind Jimmy Howard is at least 65 years old, but turns out he’s only 34. Only. It’s safe to say his best years are behind him, and while he wasn’t a trainwreck or anything last year, his .907 SV%/3.07GAA at evens isn’t exactly going to save this shitshow of a team. Jonathan Bernier isn’t going to do it either. He’s certainly a serviceable back-up, and let’s be honest neither of these goalies are going to be what sinks the Red Wings’ season, but neither of them are good enough to bail out this team either.

Defense: Why is Mike Green still playing? I guess plenty of Wings fans could yell that right back at me but with the words “Brent Seabrook” in the middle of that sentence. But that doesn’t change the fact that if Mike Green is on your top pairing, you’ve got issues. Last season the Wings were 28th in the league in terms of shots against per game, placing them in the esteemed company of the Rangers, Hawks, and Senators. Only one defenseman (Filip Hronek) was above water in possession last year, and just barely—he had a 50.3 CF%. We know a few things about shitty defenses around here, and that’s what the Red Wings have.

Green will probably pair with Danny DeKeyser, Hronek and Dennis Cholowski maybe, and Patrik Nemeth and Jonathan Ericsson will round out to the main six. Will Trevor Daley stink up the joint for a while? Probably! But who cares? Fuck this team.

Forwards: A lot of teams are stuck with one top line and nothing else, but the Red Wings are really taking this situation to a new level. Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha is a decent top line—really, Dylan Larkin is probably the only good thing on this team. But all three are young and could be good pieces to build around. Or maybe they can gtfo to better teams, I don’t know.

Frans Nielsen and Valtteri Filppula are your centers behind Larkin, with Luke Glendening probably centering the fourth line. Andreas Athanasiou isn’t horrible, but I swear I hate that fucker so that’s literally the nicest thing I’m going to say. Justin Abdelkader is still playing on this team, for God’s sake.

Now, they have young guys like Filip Zadina, Taro Hirose, and Michael Rasmussen, who may develop into something, but that’s by no means certain and they weren’t lighting up the scorer’s sheet in the playing time they had last year. This team was dead-ass last in expected goals for. And so it goes with a rebuild—it’s going to be a lot of trial and error.

Prediction: Yes, Steve Yzerman is back and people will try to find the upsides, but let’s not kid ourselves—the Red Wings are going to suck this year. It’s entirely possible they’re at the bottom of the division, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If they’re not, it’s simply because the Senators are proving yet again why relegation is a viable strategy the NHL should adopt. The Wings will end up with somewhere between 75-80 points, and Larkin will be like a poor man’s Connor McDavid—not, he’s not anywhere near as good as McDavid so please do not misunderstand me, but he’s young, talented, and wasting it on a terrible team. But too bad. Fuck this team.

Stats from NHL.com, Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick

Previous Team Previews

Carolina

Columbus

New Jersey

New York Islanders

New York Rangers

Philadelphia 

Pittsburgh

Washington

Boston

Buffalo

Everything Else

 at 

Game Time: 6:30 CST
TV/Radio: NBCSN (Chicago & National), WGN-AM 720
Mom’s Spaghetti: Winging It In Motown 

With the homestand that spanned the the bye week now sufficiently flushed down the crapper, the Hawks hit the road again for their inaugural visit to Little Caesar’s Palace in Detroit, or The House That $5 Hot and Readies Built, to face the Red Wings for something that is supposed to vaguely resemble a rivalry.

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

A few things to cover this week, some from Tuesday night’s affair and some that have nothing to do with Tuesday night.

–It only took about 15 seconds for the Capitals to put Joakim Nordstrom to the test. In their first four power plays, the Capitals were running their power play on whatever side Nordstrom was playing on. Nordstrom, understandably so, was caught in between a lot of times, having a difficult time deciding whether to take away time and space or give his man room.  Skill guys like Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin chewed that up.