Detroit Red Wings players Tomas Tatar, Anthony Mantha and Frans Nielsen and coach Jeff Blashill answer questions Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, at Little Caesars Arena.
Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press
It’s December, which means it’s time for a Detroit Red Wings Twitter mailbag, mixed with some seasonal cheer.
Frans Nielsen made an observation this week, calling it “mind-boggling” how the Wings can have the talent they do, and yet find ways to beat themselves. They have looked so good at times — the games in western Canada (I include Calgary, because they tried hard to overcome mediocre goaltending), the Rangers game, even the first period of the first Montreal game. As you note, sustaining success has been a problem. Partly, it’s young players still learning how much it takes to grind every shift. Partly, it’s that the Wings can afford very few errors, because they don’t have the talent to outscore their mistakes. The Wings basically need near-peak performances out of everyone every game, and that’s a tall order. They should feel good about themselves after the victory over Winnipeg though — that was an overall solid 60 minutes. As for my favorite holiday tradition, I love all of them, especially Christmas Eve dinner.
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If they think they can make it into the playoffs, they probably will hold on to Green. He’s their only real source of offense from the back end. If, like last season, they deem the playoffs unlikely, absolutely he will get moved. And he should fetch a nice return — Brendan Smith yielded a second-round and third-round pick, and Green has way more offensive skill. Green will be highly attractive to a potential contender looking to add scoring. As for Zetterberg, I think it will depend mostly on how he feels, and, to a lesser degree, whether he is having fun. I’ve never seen him as upset as he’s been at times this year (after the Oct. 26 game at Tampa Bay, after the Montreal game). When he signed his 12-year, $73-million contract in January of 2009, those long-term deals were in vogue as a way for a team to sign a star player to a front-loaded contract, with the expectation the player would walk away before it expires without consequence. Since then, cap-recapture penalties have been instituted, so teams are penalized if a player retires. If a player is unable to finish his contract because of a medical condition (such as Chicago’s Marian Hossa), he can be placed on long-term injured reserve.
That’s a role Justin Abdelkader trained for even while Tomas Holmstrom was still on the team. Pavel Datsyuk liked playing with Abdelkader because he did what Holmstrom would do — retrieve the puck in corners, pass to Datsyuk, then go to the net. It’s a good role for Abdelkader because he’s one of the few physical players on the team.
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Whenever makes you merry! I start in early December. And if you want a recommendation, “Ella wishes you a swinging Christmas” is fantastic.
It would depend on the situation. If the player would be needed for only a game or two, they’d probably go with a veteran AHLer. If it’s more like at least a 10-game stretch, they’d go with a prospect. Tyler Bertuzzi has points in three straight games for the Grand Rapids Griffins, and nine points overall in 12 games. Wings coach Jeff Blashill had hoped Bertuzzi would make the team out of camp (he was injured during exhibition season) because of his combination of skill and grit.
Contact Helene St. James: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames.