Originally Posted by gyldenlove
Halfway report on the Red Wings:
Injuries have really piled on, through 20 games the team dressed 5 different Goaltenders, 9 backs and 18 forwards. Only 8 players have played in all games so far this season, that number includes only 1 defenseman and 2 of the top 6 forwards.
Great players play great hockey, of the 166 points recorded by all players on the roster, 81 (49%) have been recorded by the top 4 point scorers (3 forwards and the top defenseman).
Youth movement, although Detroit is considered by many to an aging team, the oldest currently active players are Danny Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk both 34 and the average age of the team is a very respectable 28 years. More importantly, of the 8 players who have played in every game, 5 are under 30 years old. 3 players under 30 have notched double digit points, Damian Brunner who leads all first year players in goals and points, Jonathan Ericsson who has really found his rythm this year as a number 2 D-man and Valterri Filpula.
Mike Babcock has never coached better than he has this season, he is doing more with less than at any other time in his career. This is not the powerhouse Team Canada he won Olympic gold with, nor the team that could field half a dozen hall of famers he took to the Stanley Cup final 2 years in a row or even the underrated Ducks team he took to the finals. No team that has Justin Abdelkader and Danny Cleary masquerading as top 6 forwards and plays Brian Lashoff for nearly 19 minutes a game can be said to be a talent-laden squad. Still, Babcock has been overcoming the onslaught of injuries, the non-existant offseason and the lack of free agency procurements.
Howard's had a very good year so far and I was shocked to read that Kronwall's a Norris candidate at -3. Brunner's been a great addition and plays well with Z. Still, with Bertuzzi, Sammy, Flip, Mule and Helm out for significant amounts of time, I agree that Babcock's been coaching well. Sleeper for second half: Tatar. I just don't see anyone that can put up consistent offense right now.