I start this because a discussion circling around the Wings West Coast trip and Zetterberg performances surfaced here and there, this meant to focus it.
There will be a lot of cliches!
Like: It's a process!
You through young guy in there and he goes some games on emotion. And the moment the emotion fades and the inner drive should take over and he sags. Because there is no inner drive, he does not know where he is, he does not know where to go or what to do. There are coaches there are veteran player to guide, but they can do only that (guide) you have to figure it out for yourself! That's the starting point, the fundamental stepping stone from which you start to build.
And though somewhat different it's the same when a player returns from injury. He goes a couple of games on emotion and fressness and then he sags. And needs 4-5-6 games to gets his timing and operativeness up to the realities of the game. And that's what hurt Wings the most I think.
Holland personally pointed it:"Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall, Howard are the core around we will build".
Howard was the first to go down. The Monster fill that hole for a while, but then he got down. Pavel went gown. Then Z followed. Pavel got back played 7-8 games, just when he was getting back to his usual self, he went down again. Same goes with Ericsson and DDK on defense. And what makes it worse is that the people that could help negate this to some extend were out also (Alfredsson, Ericsson)
In that sense I think it's beyond words what Kronwall means to this team so far. Some may argue that he is no Norris, but being the only one healthy, with everything that went around him especially on defense, he's been the Anchor for the Wings and MVP to me so far.
Now Z is in the toughest situation possible. Back from injury. still working to get to his usual self, the opposition throughing everything at him and beyond him there's no one.(Any body heard Babcock say "there are roles for grabs!"?!)
So Wings need to get the quartet healthy. Get them to play 10-12 games (they are not 20 any more) to get to their usual game level. (That is why Babcock kept Howard in after the games in Nashville and San Jose) Stick around that Helm, Alfredsson and Ericsson. And then let's talk about spare parts!
Detroit Red Wings with a healthy spine of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Helm, Kronwall, Ericsson, Howard, I don't think any body in NHL can survive that in a series!