Time to do an assessment of the
Grand Rapids Griffins Detroit Red Wings now that we are well into December.
1. Q: Why are the Wings doing so poorly in shootouts?
A: The Wings have lost 11 straight games that have gone to a shootout dating back to last season. Given the amount of shooters that they have, the numbers should be better.
But why the woes (two shootout goals all season)? Daniel Alfredsson and Tomas Tatar are the only Red Wings to score in a shootout this season.
The answer: no creativity.
Looking back at Thursday's loss to Tampa Bay, it appeared that the Wings' shooters just skated and shot the puck right at Tampa netminder Ben Bishop.
Pavel Datsyuk didn't perform a "Datsyukian deke," Todd Bertuzzi lost the puck, and everyone else just shot at Bishop's chest area.
Throwing shots at the net might work in a game situation, but it doesn't in the shootout.
2. Q: It's still December, but should fans be concerned about the playoff picture?
A: It's perfectly fine to be concerned given the team's performance (count me as one of those concerned).
However, should the Wings end up at home this postseason, they can't use the excuse of moving to the Eastern Conference.
As of this writing, the Wings currently have 39 points, which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and the first Wild Card spot. Toronto sits right behind them with 37 points, and holds the other Wild Card.
The next closest team in terms of a potential Wild Card is the New York Rangers, who sit fourth in the Metropolitan Division, but four points out of a Wild Card.
To put it bluntly, the Eastern Conference is terrible this season. If the Wings were still in the West, they would be well out of the playoff picture.
3. Q: How was the first episode of "Red Wings-Maple Leafs 24/7?"
A: I watched it today, and it was actually pretty good.
I won't spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen the first episode, which aired on HBO on Saturday night. But for anyone wondering, Mike Babcock does not come anywhere close to matching the use of naughty language that was used by John Tortorella in the previous season of "24/7."
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