For Detroit Red Wings, Scoring by Committee Needs To Become Habitual

Matt Hutter@mahutter12Analyst IDecember 1, 2009

DENVER - OCTOBER 24:  Darren Helm #43 of the Detroit Red Wings as Pavel Datsyuk #13, Nicklas Lidstrom #5 and goalie Jimmy Howard #35 follow the play against the Colorado Avalanche during NHL action at the Pepsi Center on October 24, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Red Wings 3-1.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It's been said that a team's stars are "the guys that stir the drink."

They are the go-to guys, the clutch players, the tip of the spear; they're the ones who will take you to the top.

This is true.

However, secondary scorers in the NHL are a lot like ice at a party—you can never have too much.

For the Detroit Red Wings, guys like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are their metaphorical swizzle sticks.

The only problem with this is other teams know it, and they know that shutting them down gives you a great chance at winning the game.

This task is made especially easier when Detroit is missing players like Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula.

Two star forwards, talented as they are, are a hell of a lot easier to contain than four.

Which brings us back to that proverbial ice: secondary scorers.

The Red Wings' 4-1 win over Dallas on Monday was facilitated by players like Darren Helm, Drew Miller, and Todd Bertuzzi—players that don't immediately come to mind as the guys you have to watch out for when playing the Wings.

Continuing to get contributions from players like this is going to be absolutely essential if Detroit has designs on playing well enough to get into the playoffs while awaiting the return of Franzen and Filppula.

While it's true that "your best players have to be your best players," expecting them to carry your team night in and night out is a recipe for disaster.

In years past, the Red Wings have had no shortage of superstars.

Yet for every Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, or Brendan Shanahan, there was also a Doug Brown, a Kris Draper, or a Martin Lapointe. 

As much as Detroit overwhelmed with mind-bending talent, it never lost sight of the importance of winning by committee.

This is the type of trend that needs to be re-established in Detroit.

If Zetterberg is in a slump, or if Datsyuk is getting shut down, that can't equate to the team being unable to compete.

Admittedly, this is a hard thing to establish, as you can't very well bench your stars in hopes that your role players will step up.

However, Detroit needs to look at games like the one against Dallas as a blueprint for success.

Dallas did a good job of containing Zetterberg and Datsyuk but failed to pursue guys like Helm and Miller with the same intensity, and it cost them.

With any luck, these contributions will become a trend, and Detroit will not only have a way to stir the drinks but the ice to keep them cold.

This established, Detroit will be able to turn most of their games into a party.


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