This is my first post as the lead writer for OctopusThrower. I previously was the lead writer for Dont Mess With The Johan on blogspot.com, however i jumped at the chance to come over and write at fansided sports. My name is Nik Narguch, I am a US Navy submariner, but more importantly I am a huge Red Wings fan. I currently live in Virginia but grew up and lived in Michigan for most of my life in the Saginaw area. I look forward to bringing you up to date news and helping OctopusThrower continue to bring you everything you’ve ever wanted from a Red Wings blog.
So now that the formalities are over I figured what better way to kick this thing off, than to give you a midseason report so that you know where I stand on how the team is doing at the midway point of the season.
Right now, after the loss to Colombus on Monday, we are looking at 27-11-5. We are leading the central division, and are 2nd in the west. We are tied for 2nd overall in the league. Our power play is 3rd in the league at 23.2%. We are definitely sitting alot better than we were at the same time last year. Alot of players have stepped up when needed, but there have also been some letdowns, well one in particular but we’ll get to that. Here is how I think are guys are looking at this point in the season:
(B+) Justin Abdelkader(LW) While he has spent most of his time on the 3rd and 4th lines, abby has used his size to help provide us with a physical presence wherever he is needed. He currently has 3 goals and 7 assists, but he’s tied with Rafalski for highest +/- with a +12.
(B) Todd Bertuzzi(RW) Bert is currently sitting at 7 goals and 27 points, not much change from last year, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You don’t always have to improve. At this point in Bert’s career all we ask is that he doesn’t get worse. He started the season strong leading the team in goals through the first month with a +13, thought he was going to amaze me this year, then he kind of fizzled out. Still love you though Bert.
(A)Danny Cleary(RW) Cleary was hands down having the best season of his career before his injury. When he was injured he was leading the team in goals at 16. At 26 points he was 8 points shy of his total for all last season. Not bad. He will still easily shatter it even with missing 2 months.
(A) Pavel Datsyuk(C) There are few men that possess the sight of the offensive zone that Pav does. The man always seems to be in the perfect spot for a shot, or knows exactly how to get there. He can get from the blue line to the goal like none other. He is having his best year since 07-08. He is currently out with an broken hand but should be back after the all-star break(which he would have been picked for had he not been injured). He is sitting at 12 goals and 39 points.
(C+) Kris Draper(C) After missing the first 2 months after having surgery for a sports hernia, he came out strong from his injury. He has been providing on both sides of the ice, but not as much as we would like. He has 3 goals and 4 points. Definitely not on track to meet his 22 points from last season.
(A-) Patrick Eaves(RW) Eaves is a player that has benefitted from the injuries. He has been able to really step his game up while some of our top players have been out. He has provided us with 12 goals and 3 assists, and realized that he has a wicked wrist shot, which gave him his first career hat trick this season. I have been surprised this season with what Eaves has been doing in the offensive zone.
(A) Jonathon Ericsson(D) Jonny must have really been working on his game during the off-season. He definitely has improved every aspect of his game. He is getting involved more offensively with 8 assists, and has dramatically decreased his amount of turnovers. He also has an impressive +7.
(B) Valtteri Filppula(C) He is a solid 2nd line center, enabling Babcock to keep Z and Pav both on the 1st line. He has 10 goals and 15 assists so far setting him up for at least 50 points for the season provided his groin doesn’t keep acting up.
(A+) Johan Franzen(RW) tied with one other person as highest on my list. At 18 goals he is leading the pack. At 33 points he is doing what he always does, wooping ass in everything that he does. That is why he is my favorite player, no matter where he is put or what is asked of him he excels. If Babcock asks himself who am I going to put here? He can always answer, “The Mule”, because he works and works hard(as long as you don’t mess around with his knees). Also he is leading Power Play goals with 7.
(A) Darren Helm(C) Before the injuries, he centered the most dangerous fourth line in the league. With his speed he has been killer on the forecheck and the PK. However, he has been trying to harness the speed offensively to good success. He is at 4 goals and 17 points. Will easily slaughter his total of 24 from last year.
(B) Tomas Holmstrom(L) I don’t know how he does it year after year. He’s nothing defensively, but when they get in the zone and he goes to his home right in front of the goal magic happens. With his nefront presence on the same line with Datsyuk’s moves and Z’s playmaking abilities they are a formidable foe for any defense.
(B+) Jimmy Howard(G) Jimmy started strong and picked up right where he left off last season. He has since calmed down and has not not needed to carry the team again. But he is still boasting a .907 save percent with a 2.78 goals against average and leads the league with 22 wins. Great to see he’s not affected in the least by the sophmore slump.
(D-) Jiri Hudler(C) The only reason I didn’t give him an F is the fact that he’s a Red Wing. He has been a huge disappointment. After one year in the KHL he has returned to the Wings with a pitiful 12 points so far(down from 57 in 08-09). He also is bottom of the team with a -8. He is an embarrassment and I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
(C) Jakub Kindl(D) Hasn’t really shown me anything special this season. With no points and a -1, he’s still figuring out how to do his job in the NHL.
(A) Niklas Kronwall(D) Im not happy that he toned down on the hits this year, but he has been working more offensively. He is already at a career high 8 goals, and is on track for at least 40 points. Not seeing people get “Kronwalled” any more though is kind of a downer.
(A+) Nicklas Lidstrom(D) What can you say about the perfect man? At 41 years old and 41 points our captain is tied for most points by a defenseman in the league, looking at possibly his 7th Norris trophy, Maybe his first Lady Byng and playing his best hockey he’s ever played. I never would of thought he could play better. The perfect human has shown us that he doesn’t get old he just gets better. I don’t know what we will ever do without you Lidstrom.
(B-) Drew Miller(LW) As a Grinder and a penalty killer he does what he needs to. However his offense hasn’t clicked much, leaving him with 8 points not doing much from his 19 last season.
(B+) Joey Macdonald(G) haven’t really seen much of him, but what I have seen I like. In his only game so far (he was put in after jimmy let in 4 in the first on Monday) he stopped 15 out of 16 shots and leads the team with a .917 and a 1.85 GAA. That’s only one game though, those stats wont last sorry Mac.
(B) Mike Modano(C) I can’t say the man didn’t try. After being coaxed back from his retirement decision in the summer, he started hitting his stride a couple months in, scoring 2 goals and 6 assists. I don’t really see him doing much when he comes back, and I don’t see him coming back next year. You are probably hands down the greatest american born hockey player, and have done more for this game on and off the ice in your 20 year career than anyone else.
(B) Jan Mursak(LW) another guy we haven’t seen much of. He got his first NHL goal the other night, that’s about all I got.
(B-) Chris Osgood(G) 400 wins….. need I say more? The man will be in the hall of fame. However, he has slipped quite a bit and I believe he is nearing the end of his career. He hasn’t done as well as we would have liked this season, with a .903 save% and a 2.77 GAA, he has solidified himself as our backup goalie. You are still my hero Ozzie! Good job hittin’ 400.
(A-) Brian Rafalski(D) Tied with abby for team high +12. He has 3 goals and 27 assists, he is on track for 60 points this season, blowing out his 42 from last season. His presence next to lidstrom on the PP is amazing. When he was injured early in the season, we definitely felt it.
(B) Ruslan Salei(D) He does exactly what he needs to, stays where he belongs and applies pressure in the defensive zone. He has 6 assists and a +2.
(A) Brad Stuart(D) A stay at home defenseman, he leads the team in hits and blocked shots. Sitting at +7 and 12 points he’s on track to at least match last seasons totals. The funny thing is with stay at home defenseman, you don’t really notice what they do until you don’t have them. With Stuart out with a broken jaw, there is definitely a huge hole in front of our goal where Stuart used to be. Get well soon Stewie, we need you bad!
(A) Henrik Zetterberg(LW) Future Captain! When lidstrom is 55 and finally retires, Z will wear the C, try and argue. He is leading the team in assists and points, 33 assists 49 points. He also sits 4th in the league for assists. While already having his best year since 07-08, he stepped up huge when Pav went out and has led this team through these injuries.
Hope this gave you a glimpse into how I feel about our team right now. Hope you guys enjoyed it. Let me know if you have any recommendations. Im always open to criticism. I hope you guys have half as much fun reading these as I do writing them! Remember: for all your Red Wings needs visit octopusthrower.com, and for all your other sports needs visit any of the wonderful fansided sports blogs. Go Wings!