Coming into the season, Detroit’s defense was a question mark.
Here’s what I expected: Kronwall to be Detroit’s undisputed #1 one guy. After that, I thought White, Smith, Colai-howeveryouspellhislastname and Quincey to also provide some offense. I expected Big Rig to be overwhelmed at any spot over the bottom pairing. And I thought Kindl was going to be the odd man out...again.
Results? It has been less predictable than a Brett Lebda turnover. Kronner has been a legit #1, offensively at least. Ericsson has turned into a reliable partner for him on the top line. Quincey went from being the worst hockey player on the planet into a serviceable, if not offensively challenged #4 guy. Colaiacovo is still made of glass. Smith has been so-so and looks like a rookie. White has been up and down, but whiney throughout. And Kindl has grown into the first round draft pick we had hoped he’d be.
Hit the jump for more on #4:
I love it. After being benched at the beginning of the season and regulated to the #7 position that he’s held for the last few years, something magical happened to the Czech. He’s been playing with confidence and an offensive flair that we so desperately need. He’s a huge addition to the second power play line and isn’t afraid to fire a quick slapper through traffic (now if we could only teach Ericsson about a quick slapshot…). Right now, he sits in second on the team in defensive points with 11 in 26 games, one more than Dan Cleary (sigh).
He has four points hte past five games. And oh yeah, he’s plus 17 on the season, nine more than Quincey, the second best D-man. Damn. Sure he’s taken some bad penalties and stupid plays, but you can’t argue with the results.
Kindl has been exactly what I hoped Smith was going to be this year—an offensive force mixed with a few rookie mistakes here and there, but would keep the blue line a threat. Hopefully Smith picks his game up, I expect he will. But until then, Kindl has done a fine job.
It took a while, but we’ve got ourselves a keeper in Kindl.
He's been better than Smith for sure, who hasn't turned out how I hoped...yet, he will though. There was a time when I held my breath whenever Kindl touched the puck, or stepped on the ice, or was even mentioned. Those days are over at least.