Year in and year out I’ve questioned Ken Holland‘s decisions regarding off-season acquisitions. Names like Bertuzzi, Samuelsson, even extending the invitation to Knuble for training camp…I get the value of a veteran presence in the locker room and on the ice, but let’s be honest here – the Wings haven’t seriously challenged for a Stanley Cup in four years. And I got news for y’all – as a team we’re not getting any better, and we’re DEFINITELY not getting any younger.
That’s the problem.
Yes, the Detroit Red Wings did defeat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime on Friday Night at Rexall Place, but the game was still a prime example of why the Wings need to take a little hint from the Oilers organization…like they should’ve done prior to hiring one Mr. Tom Renney…
Edmonton opened the scoring just 3:34 into the first period when 20-year old sensation Taylor Hall dangled through the entire Detroit team and beat Jimmy Howard five-hole for his sixth goal of the season. The play was very representative of the entire first period; Edmonton outskated, outshot, and outhit the Wings in an embarrassing fashion. Datsyuk put on a little mini-clinic late in the period, but came out with nothing to show for it, leaving the Wings heading into the intermission down a goal.
The second period started off a little better, but barely enough to draw even as far as the pace of the game went – again, Detroit looked tired (or old, perhaps?) compared to the fire under the asses of the younger, more spry Oilers team. They picked things up later in the period, even showing an impressive display of pressure in the offensive zone near the end. However, a great play between Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov, and again, Taylor Hall, put the Oilers ahead by two with only 3 minutes remaining in the period. That’s how the period ended, and Detroit went into the second intermission with double the deficit they had in the first.
Period three started off much, MUCH better, as a great forecheck by Henrik Zetterberg, followed by a *beautiful* backhand by Valtteri Filppula halved the Oiler’s lead near the beginning of the period. This helped set the tone going forward, as the Wings were able to give as good as they got for the rest of the game. An impressive powerplay midway through the period saw chance after chance fly at Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk, but the Wings didn’t find the net again until unfortunate Oiler Jeff Petry put the puck in his own net off of a Kronwall rebound. Oh well, another road powerplay goal! That’s good no matter how it happens, right?
The rest of the third passed without scoring, and the teams headed into overtime. Some very fast hockey and good end-to-end play from both teams was overshadowed by one of the best goals of the season off the stick of Pavel Datsyuk. After feeding a perfect cross-ice pass to Johan Franzen, he got the puck back at the Edmonton blue line, deked through both Oiler defenders, and put the puck over
A few random notes:
– Where the hell is Tomas Tatar? I like Nyquist, and I understand that he has a higher ceiling than Tatar, but at least Tatar was effective. Nyquist is trying, and he’s creative with the puck, but he’s just not strong enough or confident enough to be a force on the wing yet.
– Howard makes some ridiculous saves sometimes. I’d pay him upwards of 5 million per season.
– Speaking of 5 million per season, I can’t believe that Filppula is asking that much. One 60+ point season and defensive prowess? I mean, I guess if Ryan O’Reilly is a comparable…
– What would it take to pry Taylor Hall out of Edmonton? The kid’s an absolute beast.
– I’m really gonna miss you, Datsyuk. A lot. You were one of the only bright spots tonight.
– Why does ANYONE doubt that Devan Dubnyk is the future starter for the Oilers? He makes saves when it counts.
– If Detroit keeps playing like this, they might have a shot at drafting Elias Lindholm. Frankly, especially with Datsyuk leaving, I’d take that over any playoff run the team could drum up this season. Google the kid. He’s incredible.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on twitter: @dzkefalas. I’ll answer any questions or hate mail you got for me.