Friday, May 07, 2004

5/7 Notes

Mr. Holland's Summer GM Ken Holland has a long summer ahead of him, courtesy of the Wings' early exit from the playoffs. What's troubling is that the Wings lacked energy when faced with elimination, and couldn't buy a goal from guys paid millions to do so. For the second-highest scoring team during the regular season, how is it possible to be shutout for close to seven periods of hockey? A possible answer is that the Wings might've been hungry, but their average team age of 31.4 years just caught up with them. Guys were tired and couldn't keep up with the speedy Flames. The Wings ended up dumping the puck in the Calgary zone because they didn't have the jump that allowed the Flames to gain our zone on the go. I find the philosophy calling for veterans and experience over young talent rather overrated. We all saw the inexperienced Calgary Flames defense play solid defense. Look over at Tampa Bay, and you'll see that five of their six 20+ goal scorers are rather young: Vincent Lecavalier (24), Brad Richards (24), Martin St. Louis (28), Fredrik Modin (29), Cory Stillman (30), and Dave Andreychuk (40). And San Jose has snuck into the Western Conference Finals with a young and stifling defensive squad. It is also possible that the Wings are built as a regular season team. You can definitely say that's how they performed this season. They dominated the 82-games of regular season play and won the President's Trophy with ease. They scored tic-tac-toe goals and Pavel Datsyuk left a few jockstraps hanging from arena clocks. Unfortunately, none of this mattered in the playoffs. You just don't score as many tic-tac-toe goals in the playoffs, and the Wings couldn't find "garbage goals" from their forwards. I think it's a valid argument that the Wings had a hard time transitioning from their regular season style to becoming an effective playoff team. With that said, if I were Mr. Holland, these are the moves I'd make: Bon Voyage: Dominik Hasek Boyd Devereaux Brett Hull Steve Thomas Chris Chelios Keepers: Jamie Rivers Kris Draper Jason Williams Steve Yzerman Mathieu Dandenault Jiri Fischer Mathieu Schneider Questionable: Dave Lewis and coaching staff Brendan Shanahan As for those in the "questionable" group, it comes down to negotiations. The Wings will not exercise the $6.5 million option on Shanahan, so it comes down to whether he's willing to play for a lower salary and retain his leadership role. Shanahan has always been one of my favorite Red Wings, since he was traded here on October 9, 1996. I'd definitely feel sad if Game 6 was his last go in the Winged-Wheel, much moreso than when Sergei Fedorov mysteriously left. As for Lewis, his contract is up and he'll be looking for a multi-year deal. I just don't think that the Wings can/will give him that much considering his lack of playoff success. If Lewis is re-signed, it'll be a one-year deal. Part of me would like to see him back, considering that the big names available in Quenneville and Martin are also playoff losers. But part of me also says that Dave Lewis has been around the organization long enough, maybe not Wally Crossman long, but 18 years is quite a stay. I think that a new voice behind the bench might do the team well. WHA News The team set to play in Detroit will be called the Daredevils. They will move into the Lion's old den, and play their 38-game home schedule in the Pontiac Silverdome. Senticore, Inc. recently purchased the Detroit franchise. The WHA will begin a 76-game schedule on November 1, with at least seven teams. The WHA draft is set for July 15, with a minimum age of 17. This makes Sidney Crosby eligible. Crosby will otherwise be the first pick of the 2005 NHL draft, as minimum draft age is 18 in the NHL. Other NHL News After deciding not to re-sign Brian Burke as President and GM of the Vancouver Canucks, Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment has decided to hire Dave Nonis as GM. In addition, chief operating officer Dave Cobb will take on the role of president. Nonis will remain the team's senior vice-president of hockey operations. After disappointing second round exits, the Maple Leafs and Avalanche have decided to keep Pat Quinn and Tony Granato as their respective head coaches. Boy, is Dave Lewis jealous that things aren't that easy around here...


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