Hey there gang, it’s been awhile. Our last post was October 9th, our last tweet November 4th, and here we are a couple days before Thanksgiving after an entire quarter of the NHL season. Where does the time go?
Anyway, the boys here at GHE had a quick grading session on the Red Wings so far this season. Trev, Jeremy and myself gave them a B+ so far, trev and I citing the plus for being exceeding expectations. Trev also thinks they are fluky, I think they are playing fast and tenacious, and Jeremy’s lack of reasoning for the grade leads me to believe that he is the 5th hour film teacher making his kids fill out a worksheet as they watch video of a D- Michigan State team. Trev is the 4th hour teacher with a split lunch, different moods before and after the meal, like they are playing good, but on 2nd thought you guys do have homework due tomorrow telling me why they are so fluky. I’ll say I’m the 1st hour teacher for the simple fact I like being up early, andddd I’m pretty sure my colleagues here hate me. Bobo gives them a B, citing that the plus was too much for him and when the comment about exceeding expectations was mentioned he said “B is still above average” followed by a slight chuckle. Bobo is clearly the 2nd hour stickler. Trav was the high grader here, the 6th hour gym teacher just looking to get the grades in and get to the bar, with an A-. No reason given, other than I saw him check in on twitter drinking a Beard of Zues by Shorts Brewing Company and I now know that he hates Muse.
Couple other thoughts on the team, well, one other thought, from Bobo “Surprised the D has been as good as it has. I thought we’d have holes”. I may have interrupted our good pal Bobo from some extracurricular activities, that or he accidentally messaged the wrong group.
The Wings aren’t blowing the doors down in any advanced statistic category, music to Bobo’s ears I’m sure, but are in the top half in overall team corsi 5v5 score close %. A big key to their recent success has been special teams, with their powerplay shooting up to 12th in the league after a dreadful start and the leagues 2nd best penalty kill. Despite the high kill rate, the Wings are 1 of 5 teams in the league without a short handed tally. The PP started horribly but it has been hot lately, and Gus Nyquist is tied for the league lead with 6 PP goals.
Speaking of goals, only 2 regular forwards don’t have a goal yet, Andersson and poor Drew Miller. Ericsson, Quincey, Lashoff, and Dekeyser are all scoreless on the blue line. Yikes! Zetterberg seems to have cooled since a scorching start, but still leads the team in points with 18. Nyquist leads the team in goals with 10 but the hottest scorer has been Tomas Tatar. He is up to 9 on the season and has something like 7 in his last 10 games (spitballin here). Franzen has looked good this year, with 6 so far and Abdelkader has surprised many with 6 goals in this young season. The kids are flyin and starting to put the puck in the net consistently and that’s fun to watch.
Biggest turnaround to this point has to be Jimmy Howard. He looks like a different guy out there compared to last year, and I’m not just talking about the riddance of those God forsaken iceberg pads. He’s at 14th in the league with a .920 save %, 7th in goals against at 2.09, which is telling you the defense is doing its part to help, and 2nd in shorthanded save % at.932. Be interesting to see if he can keep this pace up or even increase that save % a bit.
Overall, the team has more good nights than bad, more sharp periods than flat. They have a tendency to play down to the competition though and it would be nice to see them iron out the flat start wrinkles. A big part of their schedule just started as 13 of their next 18 games are at home where they are 7-2-2 so far this year. Earning 2 points at home is a must if they want to make the playoffs.
Hard to argue with the performance so far though, 3rd place in the division, 6 points behind Montreal for first with 2 games in hand. Hopefully the first quarter pace continues into the half way point.