Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. MLive’s Ansar Khan filed a mailbag article this morning, and he states the following regarding the “state of the rebuild“:
Q: How on earth does this team get any better outside of winning the draft lottery (make that next year’s draft lottery) with all the horrific contracts they currently have? (Justin) Abdelkader, (Darren) Helm, (Frans) Nielsen, (Jonathan) Ericsson: these are all bad contracts. Realistically, the Wings are going to have to ride these contracts out, as it seems unlikely they will be able to trade or will chose to buy out (a bad idea) any of these players. Is there any realistic possibility of improvement with these anchor albatross contracts on the books? – Saskatoon Wingnut
A: They could improve. A better power play and stronger goaltending would help. Continued growth from younger players like Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi, coupled with contributions from potential incoming prospects Michael Rasmussen, Evgeny Svechnikov and Filip Hronek would be a boost.
But unless they make the playoffs, they’re better off not improving, record-wise, to enhance their draft lottery odds in the next couple of seasons as they rebuild. Coaches and players don’t want to hear that because they’re not focused on the future like the front office is, they’re trying to win each game.
I doubt any of the players you mentioned can be traded now, not without the Red Wings retaining a large portion of their contracts or taking a bad contract in return, and I doubt anybody on the roster will be bought out.
Continued, and I get the “tanking is good” philosophy, but I can’t see the Red Wings’ players or management changing their plan to attempt to “squeak into the playoffs” this upcoming season.
Players and coaches are paid to try to win games, and as we witnessed this past season, the Wings’ pride factor remains evident and apparent.
That doesn’t mean that the Wings are going to do anything more than struggle this upcoming season–I can’t say that I’m expecting the team to do much better than they did this past season if the blueline doesn’t improve–but the players, coach, and the GM don’t believe in tanking for tanking’s sake.
2. The Red Wings’ website (via NHL.com’s John Kreiser) posted a reminder of a significant milestone that Nicklas Lidstrom hit during the 2009 Western Conference Final vs. the Chicago Blackhawks, a.k.a. the year that some Wings fans swear that Lidstrom lost a testicle:
THIS DATE IN HISTORY: May 22
2009: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom sets an NHL record by playing in his 228th consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff game, a 4-3 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final at United Center.
Lidstrom breaks the record set by Larry Robinson from 1973-92. He finishes his NHL career with 263 postseason games played, second all-time to former teammate Chris Chelios (266), and plays on four Stanley Cup-winning teams before retiring in 2012.
Update: Make it three things. Team USA posted a video in which Dylan Larkin and his American World Championship-participating teammates talked about the importance of winning a bronze medal at the Worlds: