Detroit Red Wings: Players That Need to Step Up in the Second Half
The Detroit Red Wings have had a roller coaster ride of a first half of their 2011-'12 season. As they face the remaining half, they still have a lot to work on in order to enter the playoffs and be strong, consistent contenders.
There have been players who have struggled earlier this season that have managed to find their mojo, but there have been others who just haven't found it.
The second half is no time to slack off. The Wings need to build up strong momentum as a team as they head into the playoffs. They need to work hard and contribute.
Here are the players that need to step up in the second half.
Recently, Ty Conklin started in the goal against the New York Islanders and gave up five goals against a team that is 28th in the league in goals against.
Out of the eight games he'd started in, he had only won two of those games. He's allowed 24 goals from the 214 that were shot against him. Statistically, that's not bad. A lot of factors go into why a team loses a game—the defense doesn't show up, the offense can't score, etc.
And you have to give Conklin credit, all those games he's started were on the road. But, you still need to get that win regardless. Maybe he's just not getting enough ice time to feel confident out there.
Conklin needs to step up as a backup, even if he only starts in eight more games the rest of the season.
Nicklas Kronwall has been having a season of ups and downs. Right now, he's letting down the aggressive defensive style that the Wings have discovered during the course of their season.
He's been making bad decisions on the ice as of late and turning over the puck. As of now, he has a minus-two for the season.
Whatever has been plaguing Kronwall on the ice, he needs break out of it. He's a strong defensive player when he plays smart. He needs to step up if he wants to aid in keeping the defense mighty as they enter the playoffs.
He needs to start playing consistently.
Henrik Zetterberg has always been known to be an unselfish player. Last year, he had a season high in assists. This year, his assistance started off slow but has been great lately.
The one thing Zetterberg truly needs to do in the second half is to start scoring more goals. It'll especially help if the Wings fall behind early in the game, the scoring will help turn it in their favor.
In the second half, Zetterberg needs to get some pucks in the net and keep up with his assistance.
Jiri Hudler was expected to have strong "back-to-back" years. While he has struggled in the beginning, Babcock believes that Hudler is rebounding after the weak start.
Lately, Hudler has been on fire. It's not a bad way to start the new year. He's had four goals in the last three games. He's been stepping it up as they face the second half and he needs to keep this going. He'd been a bit dormant the first half of the season.
If he keeps his determination strong and keeps going to the net hard, Hudler will be successful in his rebound year, perhaps even better than before.
If you look at where Dan Cleary was at the start of the season and look at him now, you'll see that he's improved greatly.
Yet there are still games when Cleary fails to show up or allows points for the other team. Mike Babcock counted on him to have a stronger year than last and Cleary has yet to show up. He has been good at assisting the team recently, something he needs to continue to do.
This was supposed to be a good year for Cleary and he still has the second half to live up to it.