When I wrote that Valtteri Filppula was outplaying Stephen Weiss two weeks into the season let’s just say I got my fair share of flack. Feedback I received from my loyal readers included some of the following sentiments:
”Your an idiot. I’d take Weiss over Filppula any day.”
”Why are you bringing this up? It’s way to early to be talking about this.”
”We’re not even through the first month of the season relax moron.”
Well we’re in November now friends and guess what? He’s still terrible.
He needs more time you say?
I thought so at first, but now I’m singing a different tune. A tune that goes something like this: forget giving him time to progress because as time goes by Weiss’ play continues to regress.
He started the season centering the second line between Johan Franzen and Daniel Alfredsson. Before the year began coach Mike Babcock said that he was expecting Weiss to bring more offense than Detroit’s former second line center Filppula (who by the way is still tearing it up in Tampa).
Babcock even went as far to say that he believed Weiss could put up 60 points for Detroit this year.
If you say so coach.
As of today Weiss is on pace for a 14 point season.
Over a month into the season Weiss has been demoted to a third line checking role and has been taken off the power play. Through 15 games Weiss has put up 2 points and is a minus 3.
Yup, you read it correctly… 2 points.
2 goals and 0 assists from the $4.9 million dollar man. For a Red Wings’ team that has scored 2 goals or less in 9 of their first 15 games this is a bitter pill to swallow.
And, as nice as it sounds to let Weiss acclimate himself to his new team by fine tuning his defensive game in the bottom 6 of the lineup this isn’t what he’s paid for.
For that matter, in the best division in hockey Detroit doesn’t have that kind of time.
They need production from Stephen Weiss right now.
Simply back-checking and clogging up shooting lanes is not enough. Goals are at a premium for the Wings and Weiss is one of the players counted on to produce them.
Sure, he hasn’t played a lot of hockey over the last year and is coming off a serious wrist injury, but he’s not the first player to suffer a setback. As far as I’m concerned he’s had enough time to get his legs under him.
At this point it’s no longer a rust issue… it’s a confidence issue.
How can Detroit help Weiss find his confidence you ask?
Well, I don’t think he’s going to find it in his own end surrounded by third and fourth line checkers.
My advice is to give him some significant minutes with Zetterberg or Datsyuk…or both. I know it may look strange rewarding a guy who has played terrible with this kind of opportunity, but you have to look the bigger picture here.
Detroit is going nowhere if Stephen Weiss doesn’t find his game, and I don’t think he’s going to find it buried in the bottom of the lineup. Weiss is a skill guy and he needs to play with some talent around him.
It doesn’t get anymore talented than Pavel or Henrik. Even I could score a few accidental goals playing with those guys.
If he can’t find his game alongside those two, then he probably never will… but at least we’ll know.