Monday, October 6, 2008

And Now, The Waiting Game.

Okay, so I said I would get back to regular posting, and then went like a week without posting. Whatever. It's still preseason, technically. I think.


In the recurring segment, "Blueline Clusterfuck", I like to talk about the logjam (that's polite-talk for "clusterfuck") the Wings are currently experiencing on defense. Familiarize yourself with the situation by perusing the ever excellent Bruce MacLeod's take. Chris Chelios did his best to ease the problem by going and getting his leg broken, buying the Wings' about a month's time on making a roster decision. Always a team player, that Cheli.

Now if you've been reading Ansar Khan you might think the whole situation is totally resolved. After all, Khan and MacLeod both reported Babcock's praise of Lilja a little while ago, and more recently Khan quotes Babcock, saying Lilja and Lebda are set as the 5-6 pair. However, a few things are important to understand. First of all, Babcock is a lying liar, especially when speaking to Ansar Khan. This is well-known.

Second of all, Jonathon Ericsson is still, at the moment, on the team despite the Wings' preseason schedule being over. The Wings have no more games to evaluate him, and if Lilja and Lebda are set as the 5-6 pair, Ericsson's demotion to Grand Rapids is a no-brainer since the Wings will categorically refuse to put him on the roster in a non-playing role. It's very possible the Wings are trying to work out a deal to trade Kyle Quincey, but trading Quincey doesn't effect Ericsson. The only reason Ericsson could still be on the roster is if the Wings are trying to trade a top six defenseman. Cough. Lilja. Cough.

Trading Lilja makes the most sense given literally any metric. From a player development standpoint. From a financial standpoint (he costs the most). From a, uh, putting the best team on the ice standpoint. You're really gonna tell me Lilja's better than Ericsson? More experienced, yes. Worse in ever other category, however. Here's my conspiracy theory: Babcock is trying to play up Lilja's value to prepare for a trade. Yes he's more experienced, but Babcock is not one to reward experience over skill (see: Brett Lebda, 2006). Sure, Kenny Holland will ride a horse until it is dead in the ground (see: Kirk Maltby) but if Babcock wants Ericsson, Holland will jettison Lilja. I mean, he even admitted the possibility immediately after signing the guy, which is, you know, not usually the time when you discuss a guy's possible trade from the team.

I'm guessing Lilja goes, possibly Lebda too although that may be a pipe-dream for me. Given Kyle Quincey's uninspiring performance the Wings are probably more likely to waive him at this point (I think chances are decent he would make through) or trade him (they would probably get basically nothing in return), leaving no need to trade Lebda, certainly not before Chris Chelios returns, anyway.

The Race For, Uh, Probably Nothing is a little segment where we talk about the forward competition. So, uh, how about that fucking Ville Leino? I really thought I was kidding myself when I projected him on the third line over the summer, figured he was Grand Rapids bound. But holy shit. Holland has said he will not trade a forward but maybe that was before he really realized how good Leino is (and how excellent Helm has been playing). Maybe Babcock can convince him. Is there yet hope for Samuelsson being traded? Pleeeeease God let it happen.

The Wings have until 3 pm EST Wednesday to get under the cap and under the 23 man roster limit.