Monday, October 27, 2008

So About That Blog Thing

Yeah yeah, it's been like a million years since I've posted. Lots of reasons.
  • Pretty depressing to see all those talented youngsters get sent to Grand Rapids for another year, or more. Who knows what a year will bring in their development. You've got Jimmy Howard and Daniel Larsson eating into each other's minutes, you've got Jonathon Ericsson and Ville Leino, both legit Calder candidates if they were here, toiling in Western Michigan. All the while, Lilja and Samuelsson remain. I wept.
  • Haven't been able to see many games. Various feeds of varying quality are all I've got at the moment. It remains to be seen if I'll pony up for NHL Center Ice. Actually no, I won't.
  • I know this becoming a mantra around here, but grad school, as it turns out, is a bit of a commitment. On the other hand, did you know 'muzungu' is Lugandan for 'white person'?
But all this having been said, here's my take on the Wings lately.
  • So, uh, what the fuck is up with the defense? I told you we should have traded Lebda and Lilja. I haven't seen enough games to determine if they're the problem, but I'm going to assume they are, because that makes me feel the best.
  • Not sold on the Conkblock. He's been solid at times and all over the place at others. At least one weak goal against St. Louis.
  • Franzenstein down again. WTF. Couple of silver linings though: one, we might get to see Ville Leino alongside Val Filppula. Two, at the rate Franzen and Mars Hossa are scoring, there is no way we will be able to keep them both. None. And, if this cap goes down, as I read was possible on some Snapshots-linked article, it's not a guarantee we keep either. So this may sound awful, but the bright side is that the injury will diminish Mule's numbers. Yeah basically awful.
  • Holmstrom is leading the Wings in goals. Hossa is leading in points. The Wings' best player? The guy in between. 8 assists, +7, working magic as always. He is the proverbial straw that stirs the proverbial drink. I read the ESPN award predictions a while ago and as for the Selke there were a few votes for Hank, a few for other people. None for Dats. Uhh. Easily the most underrated player in the league. I'm thinking about changing this blog to Datsyuk Is God.
That's all for now. Should catch the Kings game and I'll see if I can shirk responsibility long enough to lend you all my thoughts.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ericsson, Leino Still Here

Khan: Ericsson and Leino are both practicing with the team. No reason for that if they aren't making the squad, since there are no pre-season games left. Quincey, Helm, and Downey are not on the ice, perhaps indicators that they will be/have been waived or possibly in Quincey's case, traded. I still find it hard to believe the Wings could get anything more than a last-round draft pick for Quincey, but on the other hand he has that Red Wings pedigree so Holland might be able to get more for him.

Back to Leino and Ericsson - Ville might be practicing just to fill in for Holmstrom, and if Homer's injury keeps him out of action on Thursday Leino is the obvious fill-in. So it may just be a "call-up" and not a sign Leino has made the permanent roster. Ericsson, however, has no business still being on the team if the Wings are sure Lilja and Lebda are the final pair.

Might be I'm just clinging to the hope that the Wings will dump Lilja and go with Ericsson, which, I must repeat, makes so much sense. Might be I'm just procrastinating doing my homework. But whatever, this team's winning the Cup regardless of its 5/6 pair, and homework is only like, 20% of the grade.

Edit: Okay, just saw MacLeod, Helm and Downey have been waived (Downey must clear). Either a) McCarty won the final spot and Leino is here until Homer is healthy, b) Leino won the final spot, McCarty is here until he's healthy sign you can't waive injured players (I doubt it since his injury is very minor I think) or c) the Wings will not carry a 13th forward, and both are still here for the aforementioned reasons.

But since the Wings have made the very tough move of assigning Helm (sorry Helmer...) it makes no sense that they would not also do the same for Ericsson. Yes, I'm very sure now, they're got more than just moving Quincey in the works. That is my ardent hope anyway.

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.