It's been 12 games, so we can start to make judgments about our new Wings. So Ruslan Salei, what to say about him? Has he been what we wanted? Does he suck? I'm not quiet sure yet. Here's a few things I am sure of however:
- With that crazy stare, he's gotta be related to Danny Markov somehow. It's that stare that says, "Yeah, I've ate a child before. Try and arrest me for it, I dare you..." One wrong move and little Johnny suddenly goes missing two days later.
- Unlike Lilja, you actually have to try to notice him on the ice. Last year, guaranteed, twice a game you yelled "What the f$#@ Lilja!" when either: 1) he gave the other team an easy pass for a breakaway; 2) FSN showed a close up of him revealing the fact that he was still the only player in the NHL wearing ear guards. With Salei, you really don't have either of those two things.
- He's apparently just as useless offensively as Lilja. He's on pace for a solid 13 points this year. Lilja's all time high was 15. If he scores just three more points than he's predicted to, he'll shatter Lilja's hopes and dreams of holding the most points from the least offensively talented player ever on the Wings.
- I seriously don't ever notice him on the ice. For a #5/6 guy though, that's a good thing. So in that avenue, he's been doing well.
- I haven't seen him tear anyone hearts out on the ice yet, Mortal Kombat style, which is disappointing. I was especially hoping to see it Saturday facing Samuelsson. If anyone deserves that, I'd say it's that caps lock loving Canuck.
So yeah, not a clear picture. Babcock's been pretty happy, yet sees things he could be doing better:
“I still want him to get there quicker and move his feet more and get involved,” Babcock said. “I’ve been saying that ever since I coached him (in Anaheim from 2002-04), so that would be three straight years of that.
“I still think Rusty’s got a lot more upside. He’s kind of like (Red Wings center Mike) Modano, he’s just getting better every time they play.”
First, thanks for clarifying who Modano is Khan(!). That's often a problem Wings fans have, confusing him with the other popular Modanos involved with this team.
Anyways, in the end the question should be: Would I trade Lilja for Salei if I had the opportunity? I think that, yes, yes I would. So I'm going to go with pass, reserving the ability to change my answer should things change.