Some teams have a more glaring weakness **cough cough CHICAGO GOALTENDING cough cough** and some teams have a more prevalent strength...like Detroit's ability to play the game of hockey on home ice.
I don't think heading into the season that Detroit would ever think that its powerplay would be one of those key weaknesses at any point in the season. We've been able to win despite its flaccidness, but something needs to change. According to Khan(!), the Wings have converted just thrice times in the past 41 attempts...an abysmal 7.3% conversion rate. They've fallen from a top five spot in the NHL, to the 14th spot.
Make the jump for a few quotes and for the surprising strength that shouldn't be surprising...
"Our power play hasn’t been good enough for a long time. So whether we move the personnel around or change the scheme or whatever, it’s not good enough. It’s not building enough momentum for the caliber of players we have." --Mike Babcock
We have Datsyuk. We have Franzen. We have Zetterberg and Filppula. We have Lidstrom. We have White. We have the greatest player to ever stand atop of the opposing crease, Tomas Holmstrom. We even have little Jiri Hudler...so what, pray tell, is the freakin' problem?
"Nothing’s going on, we’re not getting quality chances, we’re not wearing anybody out. We get break-ins, we get a chance, they shoot it down the ice, the same thing happens. We don’t get enough done. So we’ll take a look at it and get it fixed." --Mike Babcock
Well, it hasn't been fixed in 16 games of futility...but let's hope that Babbles has found the magic bullet over the past few days.
But onto the emerging strength of our team...something that I personally, used to dread.
We are undefeated in four instances this year in the shoot out.
With guys like Dangles, Zata, and Dirty Bert...it shouldn't be surprising that Detroit has done well. But history tells a different tale. Detroit - heading into this season - was six attempts under .500 in shoot out contests since it was implemented by Gary in 2005-2006.
But the Wings have started turning it out around piece by piece each year:
2011-2012: 4-0 (and counting)
"We should win a majority of ours. Datsyuk, Hudler, Zetterberg, even some guys that haven’t gone in a while, Filppula, Cleary; we have guys that can score." --Todd Bertuzzi
Scoring is imporant...but you have to keep them out of your own net too. Our goalies have done a bang up job of that up to this point.
We all know that the shoot out was never Chris Osgood's forte'. The man would try is darndest - but for whatever reason, it usually didn't go well. I think the opposition knew it, and they fed off it. I think Jimmy Howard - as he has become more confident - has that intimidation factor going back the other way now. The glove of James "Tiberius" Howard is quickly becoming the thing of legends.
Oh and of course...our boys are putting the puck in the back of the net.
Columbus roles into town tonight. To tie it all into this post, we'll be hoping to improve on our weakness on the powerplay so we don't need to see our strength in the shoot out.
I people don't like seeing us win in a grinding style, and I agree that its not always pretty; but I thing it makes us a more complete team, since we are showing that we can win in any style.
As for our powerplay, it needs to improve big time and I know we'll turn it around. But I do think this slump is due to those couple of games where the refs weren't giving us any chances at all. There was one games, I can recalled which one, that we got zero PP and couple more in that stretch that we only got like 1 PP. I noticed after that we just couldn't get it going.
Go, Red Wings, Go!!!!!