We're closing in on Thanksgiving, and the Detroit Red Wings are sitting in a pretty nice spot in the Atlantic Division. Every team is looking to improve as the season goes along, though, and the Red Wings are doing everything they can to get better and contend for a Stanley Cup.
Sources with knowledge of the situation have informed Winging It in Motown that the Red Wings are trying something quite unconventional in their attempt to get better as a team.
One source said that the Red Wings got inspiration from today's trade between the Dallas Stars and San Jose Sharks. The Sharks shipped Jason Demers and a third round pick in 2016 to Dallas in exchange for Brenden Dillon.
Sharks needed a lefty, Stars a righty. Sharks get size, Stars a puck-mover. Dillon is cheaper, but will be RFA. Trade helps both teams.— Nick Cotsonika (@cotsonika) November 21, 2014
I have it on good authority that, after general manager Ken Holland failed to sign a right-shooting defenseman in free agency, Mike Babcock decided to take matters into his own hands, so to speak.
"I talked to Kenny yesterday and we both decided we needed to get better as a team, so we decided to make everyone on our team shoot right," the Red Wings' head coach said. "We told our equipment guys to get everyone's sticks like they usually would be except make them right shots."
Another source claims that, in fact, the Red Wings have been phasing this change in since the beginning of the season.
"Yeah, Babs told me to practice with it when I was out with that injury a couple weeks ago," said Red Wings forward Johan Franzen. Asked how he felt about being forced to switch such a major aspect of his ability to play hockey, Franzen couldn't take out his mouthguard to answer the follow-up question because he looked disoriented about which hand he should use to take it out.
We reached out to general manager Ken Holland for comment, and he responded by releasing the following statement:
We like our team. We think we have the personnel to go deep into the playoffs, and this is just one more step toward getting our team there. We realize it's a bit unconventional, but after consulting with an outside analytics group, they think we'll confuse opponents most and gain a competitive advantage if we have almost all right-shooting players instead of almost all left.
We contacted our sources to ask one more player about this new development. How will this affect the team's best stickhandler Pavel Datsyuk?
"I like it," the Russian superstar said. "I practice with it now I'm hurt. Maybe use it when I get back to play." Asked if it would affect his world-class puck-handling abilities, Datsyuk responded, "I like it. It like playing in mirror world."
It remains to be seen how this move will affect the Red Wings. Will the players suffer any setbacks in their performance? Will team chemistry be affected? Will Babcock need to change a lot of what and how he coaches this team? Is this going to trickle down to the players in Grand Rapids?
"I hate this," said Luke Glendening, the team's only right-shooting player prior to the move. "They're making me switch to being a left shot."
Apparently, not everyone on the team is a fan of the move.