In Red Wings Land
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Some of you will no doubt think I am being too harsh, but I’m really grumpy lately so you’ll just have to deal with it. Thing is, the Red Wings were so tremendously godawful this season that it’s almost unfair to grade any of them.
It is hard not to give Robby Fabbri anything but an “A” for this past season. He went from a potential first round bust and being traded for a guy with 13 career goals in 229 games to playing at a 22 goal/50 point pace. Sure, his defensive numbers were far from great and down across the board from where they were with the Blues (a much better defensive team mind you), but he was not really expected to be a dominant two way forward when the Red Wings traded for him either.
Around the NHL
At the same time, though, you can’t just be moving the puck side-to-side and low-to-high around the outside. Once you’ve made the defence switch and think, you’ve still gotta find your way in. Teams like the Islanders and Blue Jackets, who have the work ethic and communication down to voraciously defend, are more than happy to let you have your party out by the yellow paint and trust their goaltenders to stop any pucks that come from out there. They work to keep you to the outside.
You’ll notice the Wings fall into this where they’re just not good at keeping the puck to the non-dangerous outside area in their zone and at the same time are not good at penetrating this in the offensive zone. Good look at the bumper-shot role that we saw that was last consistently used by the Wings by Gustav Nyquist.