Blue Jackets-Red Wings: Not Detroit's Best

Bleacher ReportSenior Analyst IMarch 17, 2008

Well, I'm back from my break. It turns out I wasn't as cut off from the Internet as I thought I might be, so I'm not completely out of the loop.

Still, I didn't have time to blog. Thanks to Sarah for posting on the Mattias Ritola call-up.

I missed the Blackhawks and Predators games, but caught the two against the Stars and the Blue Jackets. Neither were the Wings' best.

Against Dallas, if it hadn't been for Pavel Datsyuk and a monumental Stars' meltdown, their win streak would have ended at four.

Yesterday in Columbus, though the Wings out-shot the Jackets 46-17, they were out-hustled from the drop of the puck to the final horn.

Columbus refused to let up and played a gutsy game with a very aggressive forecheck and a whole-sale shot-blocking mindset. By the time the Wings started taking the game seriously, they were already in a hole against a team that was earning its breaks.

Obviously, the Jackets didn't play great or they wouldn't have been outshot by such a wide margin. Still, their efforts easily doubled that of the Wings, in my opinion.

I couldn't help but wish Mike Babcock had pulled Dominik Hasek after the Jackets went up 2-0. At that point, it was becoming clear that it wasn't Dom's day.

A change may have lit a fire under the skaters' collective rear ends. I don't really blame Dom for the four goals, though it would have been nice if he'd stopped that first one.

By the way, it's painful to see Dallas Drake just miss pokechecking the puck away from Rick Nash on the replay of that one. Another inch or two and we might have had a different game.

It was interesting to see Babcock mix up the top four yesterday, and by interesting I mean I'm mystified by his reasoning.

Brad Stuart is just getting used to Niklas Kronwall. Why break such a new pairing up? Stuart's certainly not hurt by playing with Nick Lidstrom, but I don't know that Brian Rafalski and Kronwall comprise the best second unit.

After all, they are the two most offensively-minded defensemen on the team and aren't as defensively responsible. It's my opinion that Lidstrom and Rafalski belong together, while the Stuart/Kronwall pairing should be allowed to continue to gain familiarity.

Those units have the right balance of offensive flair and defensive responsibility.

It's great to see Johan Franzen take off at this stage in the season. Here's hoping it carries over to the playoffs.

I thought Henrik Zetterberg had a higher profile than Datsyuk yesterday. Of the games I've seen recently, it's been the other way around.

With Jarrett Boll throwing his body around with impunity yesterday, I was wishing Aaron Downey had been in the lineup.

The comeback attempt was solid, but, pessimist that I am, I never really believed they'd complete it.

I was thinking it could happen after the Tomas Kopecky goal, but the Nikolai Zherdev tally killed it for me. They came close toward the end, but it was one of those games where they weren't going to get any breaks.

The team has today off and can turn their attention to exacting revenge upon the Blue Jackets Wednesday night.



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