Answering all the tough Detroit Red Wings questions heading into February

(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /
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Ville Husso, Detroit Red Wings, Red Wings
(Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Do you think Detroit Red Wings starting goalie Ville Husso can keep up with this workload?

Bluntly? No, not really. Ville Husso is still essentially a sophomore goalie on the North American rink. He’s being pounded pretty bloody hard into pulpy Finnish orange juice by an incredibly heavy workload–and we’ve all been told that the Red Wings have the hardest schedule in terms of quality of opponents in the entire damn league over the course of February, March, and early April.

Husso is still learning and growing into his North American game, in my opinion (he throws himself around the net laterally a little too much like Petr Mrazek for my liking when he loses his bearings). I think that the mental workload is a real bastard for him to have to work through right now, more than the physical grind might entail.

Can he keep up with it in terms of generally producing quality goaltending? I mean, I guess, but we’re not going to see a goalie on the “tippy top of his tippy toes” game when he’s playing 90-95% of the time. Unless he’s Martin Brodeur, and Husso isn’t Brodeur.

Can Alex Nedeljkovic win back the no.2 spot behind Husso, or do you expect it to be Magnus Hellberg the rest of the way?

In the words of the Josh Homme of the Queens of the Stone Age, covering Romeo Void, “Never say never.” Especially with goalies, and especially given the physical and mental wear and tear that Husso is going through, I mean, you’ve got to have as many goalies as humanly possible who have some NHL caliber to them. If that means that the Wings keep Ned in the AHL “just in case,” you do that–and you do that for the Griffins’ sake, too, because the tandem of Victor Brattstrom and Jussi Olkinuora wasn’t getting the job done over the first half of 22-23.

Do I think that Nedeljkovic will end up being the #2 goalie? Not if we see Hellberg continue to play some actual games (part one) in which he gets his skates under him and begins to stop some pucks and look like a competent netminder (part two of my evil plan, muahahaha) like he did in the Wings’ final game prior to the All-Star Break on Long Island.

Right now, it’s pretty bloody clear that the coaching staff has lost faith in Nedeljkovic. Nothing less than a “tour de force” (sorry, I’m thinking about that stupid Chinese spy blimp and China’s use of “force majeure” to say, “We totally can’t steer that motherfarker”) in the AHL, combined with a set of injuries, is going to give “Ned” the crease for the remainder of the season.

Now does that mean that you need to un-stitch the “Nedeljkovic” off your #39 jerseys yet? Not quite, because, should Nedeljkovic try his luck with the Red Wings next fall, after a winning, consistent AHL campaign, anything can happen. But for this season, I don’t see him regaining the reigns without a complicated situation taking place in the Red Wings’ crease.