Why? Because Miller was put on the first line. Which is great for him, no doubt. But man, doesn't this just magnify what's wrong with Detroit right now? The team is injured and has to rely on guys like Miller for production. I mean no offense to Drew. But, this sucks. I'd love to see Miller score and create some offense - on the third or fourth line.
I really feel like I'm watching some sort of nightmare. There are so many horrific things going wrong in the Wings games. I'm just going to have to focus on one issue.
This is the big issue, which I am sure to get some shit for - the system.
Yes, you know what I'm talking about. The Red Wings have a strict systematic game plan which has three parts - control the puck, control the puck and control the puck. It works wonders when the team has a bunch of guys who can actually control the puck. This is not the case at the moment.
So I'm calling on Mike Babcock to change it up a bit. He needs to tell these guys to crash the net, skate like hell and fore check to the point where they begin to punish some defensemen. And for God sake, dump the puck in the zone.
Every team in the NHL is crashing the net. Goals are not pretty. No one comes screaming down the wing ripping shots to the top corner anymore - maybe a few super star players do. No one is creating beautiful plays where all five guys touch the puck. That's just not working right now. Defensemen and goalies are way too big and fast to allow that crap anymore. In order to score, teams have to create traffic in front, shoot and crash. I know, it's sad, but right now it's true.
I find it really annoying that a month ago I was ripping on the defense. Now, I have to worry about this offense which likes to pass up open nets in order to make a pretty play. It is quite embarrassing to watch. Brian Rafalski was guilty of it in Monday's game. Always one pass too many. If it's not a pass, it's a shot to the goalie's glove or stomach.
I had a coach who used to call this type of play "patty cake" hockey. It can be defined as the point when a team starts doing too much. A lot of times guys wind up on their asses because the other team finds them looking to do too much. Before they know it, they're looking for the puck while the other team is looking to lay them out. Basically, "patty cake" hockey is for girls. There, I said it.
In the Red Wings' case, this type of play has lead to turnovers - and plenty of them. Far too many times I see Detroit cycle the puck around in the offensive zone, looking for that perfect pass, and when it's not there, the other team has an easy breakout. Detroit won't even get a decent shot on net. Literally, I'll watch guys have clear lanes to the net and opt to turn around to make a pass or "set something up" - just patty caking it. Stupid. Drive the net!
Which leads me to my next issue. OK, this promises to get ugly: Todd Bertuzzi. WTF?!?!
Have you ever seen a guy's hands go to shit like this? Yeah, I guess Kieth Primeau comes to mind. But Bertuzzi, and I quote someone else on this one, "Does a whole bunch of stuff and then forgets how to use his stick when he gets to the net." Truth. He is venturing to a state far beyond the normal snake-bitten one. He is entering a dark place.
Someone get this man a goal. He apparently cannot do it himself. It's the most frustrating thing to watch. I can see he's thinking about it. He's starting to be self-destructive. For a while he was playing well and just hitting posts, etc. However, now I can tell he's rattled. He's letting it get to him. Understandably so. But he's beginning to hurt the team a bit with stupid turnovers and pensive play in the offensive zone - which usually leads to a turnover. If he doesn't score in the next game I will continue to call him out on it. Detroit is paying him way to much money for what he's doing right now.
Well, next game is Wednesday against Atlanta. Win.