I've been thinking about this for a while. Ok, so maybe just the 6 days I spent on a mini-vacation with my wife and (now) 2 kids.
When will the Red Wings management finally decided to bite the bullet and throw the 'kids' in the fire? Tatar is reportedly upset with being in GR again. Nyquist, by most accounts, is ready. Not to mention Jurco, Pulkenin, Sheahan, etc. But what do we have instead? Ian White, Todd Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, etc.
The Red Wings aren't 'just any other team' in the league. There's a reason they're going for 22 straight seasons in the playoffs, they operate very differently from all the other teams. Everyone knows they operate differently.
Are the Wings really a Cup contender or just a Dark Horse? To me, I see them more as a dark horse. I don't see them as being a viable contender when they're asking Bertuzzi, Samuelsson, White, Cleary, and to a lesser extent, Ericsson and Colaiacovo to play roles more important than they would on a true contender. Ericsson should be a 4th defenseman, Colaicovo and White shouldn't be on the team together. Bert and Sammy should be done and Cleary should be a healthy scratch.
But management wants to 'see more' from the prospects in the AHL. We have 2 more years of Bert and Sammy. TWO MORE YEARS before their roster spots are occupied by legitimate future stars. When Hank and Pasha were up and coming, they played on lower lines with the likes of Shanny, Stevie, Lucky Luc, and Brett Hull powering the top lines. They had veterans like Drapes and McCarty to show them how to work hard for everything. But we don't have the star studded team anymore. We have 2 super star forwards and 1 all star defenseman. I know, there's a cap now that there wasn't before. But without the super stars of the past and the wiley veterans, it seems to me that it would be better to get these young kids as much time WITH the super stars as they possibly can. Nyquist already proved he can cut it.
I almost get a feeling like management is trying to hold on to loyal skaters so they can dump a whole load of players at once and blow the ship up. I don't feel like they need to do that.
I like the Datsyuk-Zetterberg line with Brunner. But Filppula proved last year that he's so much better on the wing than as a C. Jarnkrok and Sheahan aren't ready to be a C on the big club, but Andersson paired with Filppula and Franzen would bring him along quickly. Helm could bump up to line 2 for stretches to take some pressure off, but also adding a depth, veteran C who didn't play everyday would have been a better choice than Sammy. On line 3, I don't mind Bert and Cleary with Helm, but I'd rather kept just Cleary and Helm and added Nyquist or Tatar to that line. Tootoo isn't a bad signing, they need the fighter but not a 5'6 guy who tries to take on 6'5 guys and looks funny doing it (yes, I'm exaggerating). Abby isn't a bad LW or C, and pairing him with Miller and Eaves makes an interesting line. They can get more production from their 4th line than some teams could get from their 2nd. But that removes Tootoo.
I'm a dreamer. I know it, and if you've read any of my posts, you know I mix and match and mess with stuff. It's what I do. But I'd rather see more young guys getting playing time with Dats, Hank, and Kronner, even if it means we're the 8 seed in the West. It can't be that bad. The 8th seed just won the Stanley Cup!