It’s been said that one man’s pain is another man’s pleasure. And, for Wings’ defenseman Ian White this proverb holds much merit.
White has struggled to preserve his place in a volatile Red Wing lineup. The defenseman has sat out 8 of the last 9 games, and has only dressed for 15 of Detroit’s 28 games overall. This is a significant adjustment for a defender who played in 77 of the Wings’ 82 games during the 2011-2012 season (the majority of those games on the 1st pair with Nicklas Lidstrom).
With Kyle Quincey suffering a broken cheekbone after being struck by an errant puck during last night’s game this might be White’s final opportunity to get back into the good graces of Mike Babcock. As Kent Huskins is the only other available d-man the Wings have announced that White will be back in the lineup tonight when the Wings take on the Vancouver Canucks.
On the TSN broadcast of Wednesday night’s game play-by-play man Chris Cuthbert provided an interesting anecdote; Cuthbert stated that in his pre-game discussion with Babcock in Calgary the coach told him Detroit’s biggest issue on the blueline is not their lapses defensively. Instead, Babcock said it has been the Wings’ defenders inability to assist offensively that has provided the most headaches for his team.
In other words, the Wings coaching staff believe their lack of offensive production is due to the fact that Red Wing defenders have struggled retrieving pucks and moving them to their forwards in a quick and efficient manner. In fact, as of today the Wings sit 19th overall in the league when it comes to goals for. This is a big drop-off for a team that finished 7th in goals last season.
So, the good news for Ian White is that he has yet another opportunity to reassert himself as a regular in the Wings’ lineup. And, the expectations of him couldn’t be any clearer; retrieve the puck with speed and move it to the forwards promptly with precision.
If White can perform that task consistently he just might remove himself from Babcock’s doghouse permanently.