The Dynamic Duo and the Death of a Bromance (on the ice)

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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Simon Edvinsson, Detroit Red Wings, Red Wings
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Meanwhile, Red Wings prospect Simon Edvinsson won over a new fan on day one in Dan Watson.

Edvinsson has been consistent in practice with high pace and execution, according to the head coach. Additionally, Edvinsson is in a great spot mentally. Interestingly, however, Watson mentions that in several games in a row, Edvinsson has demonstrated high-quality hockey. I couldn’t agree more.

Watson wants Edvinsson to continue to grow. He still thinks that little stick details off the rush is something that Edvinsson can improve.

Edvinsson mentions, in a Media Availability from November 9, 2023 (his portion starts at 6:33, just be careful Edvinsson sits back–great as it shows comfort, but he’s quiet so you might need to turn up the volume, then turn it down afterward…I forget then blast my eardrums on songs), “I’m just trying to get better, to get more secure when I get up there.” It’s great to hear, as the biggest thing I want for Edvinsson is to trust himself. No matter the league, the day, or the stakes of the competition, Edvinsson has the skills to compete with the best.

His ability to make plays is incredible, and I wish he hadn’t doubted himself.

Edvinsson has such a great attitude, even with the assignment to Grand Rapids (he could be sour about it, but he’s taking the high road and will be all the better for it). Maybe he can also implement that positive thought process on a shift-by-shift basis.

Checking my notes against Watson, I’m learning from his feedback and what he might be seeing differently. We seem to be at odds with who might be more ready for the National Hockey League (NHL), but as I step back, I realize that’s the wrong question entirely.

Instead, let’s touch on this: Why are these two incredibly gifted together?

When I watch Johansson on a great night, he is ending plays in the defensive zone before they begin for the opposition. His sharp mind helps immediately move the puck up ice.

Whether passing to a teammate for a rush up the ice or driving through teammates because they’re standing around while covered in the Griffins’ defensive zone on a penalty kill (get open or get out of his way), Johansson gets the puck out.

As Lashoff points out, Johansson’s mobility is also great, especially laterally.

His biggest opportunity, I think, is his gap control and defending from the blue line to the goal as opponents enter the Griffins’ defensive zone. At times, he can get a bit turned around—dare I say flustered for the cool as a cucumber Johansson, I think so.

On the other hand, Edvinsson shines at gap control. Although Watson says Edvinsson’s stick work could be improved on his gap control, Edvinsson has excellent positioning. He’s strong on his feet while being shrewd with his decisions.

His most aesthetically pleasing skating isn’t just for looks. It helps him catch opponents who thought they were heading for a touchdown. Edvinsson is as smooth as I’ve ever watched. I could literally watch him skate in circles all day.

When he’s feeling himself, Edvinsson dances so far up the ice my sister thinks he’s a forward as he’s about to score from the offensive zone goal line.

Where he can stand to improve, aside from gaining confidence in himself (something I struggle with, too), is ending plays in his own zone consistently. Most of the time, Edvinsson ends plays well, but sometimes it’s just a little off.

When plays are ended, Edvinsson could make wiser decisions on a more consistent basis. However, if Edvinsson continues to play like he has the last few games, I may have to scratch this opportunity off the list as he’s been stellar.

Whether it’s intuitive, they have learned each other’s tendencies, are reading each other, it’s communication-based, or a combination of things, Johansson and Edvinsson complement each other so well.

Defending off the rush, Edvinsson takes over while Johansson is lethal in his own zone. They have confidence and trust in each other, which is refreshing to see.

It’s kind of like watching Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King. We might never know which Griffin’s team will take the ice (as the Griffins are still finding their consistency as a team), but at least when the dynamic duo is on the ice, we can sing Hakuna Matata.

Much to my chagrin, Watson has split up the dynamic duo over the last few games. Seemingly, Watson wants to spread their wealth across multiple defensive pairs. That is understandable, given the circumstances of the Griffins at the moment.

As William Wallinder and Antti Tuomisto take flight as Griffins and Eemil Viro get healthy (poor Prince Charming), the dynamic duo will reunite like a couple of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

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Until then, I’ll continue jamming out to the Barenaked Ladies. The odds are that the Red Wings and Griffins are going to be all right.