In what is becoming one of our new features, we're reaching out to the SBN blogs of our opponents on Game Day to get a sense of the match-up from the other side. Today, I posed three questions to J.J. From Kansas over at Winging It In Motown. Without further ado...
1. We all know 2012-Nicklas-Lidstrom certainly wasn't as dominant as he was in his prime, but he was still a huge part of the Detroit team and culture. How does losing him affect the Wings' defense, and how does losing him in the dressing room affect the entire team culture?
JJ: Even without the step that he had over every other defender in the game, Lidstrom would still easily be the best D-man on the Wings. Even 18 minutes a night with Lidstrom on the ice is 18 minutes of the Red Wings playing better. In the locker room, I feel things probably got less calm. Lidstrom didn't get rattled. He would speak up if he had to, but he was usually pure business. That could go a long way towards helping make sure that a deficit didn't turn into a chasm.
2. We here in Columbus have a pretty long-standing hatred of Tomas Holmstrom. How does his retirement affect the Wings' deadly Power Play?
JJ: Without Homer on the ice, the Wings may have to come up with an entirely new setup. While Cleary is decent at the net-front job and Franzen can do the job, nobody is as good as Homer was. Honestly though, with his declining skill set and increasingly-bad reputation. Holmstrom's absence should work out to a net positive for the Wings this season over last. Reputation calls which ended power plays and got goals waved-off were a frustrating norm with Holmstrom in the last year.
3. What happened against St. Louis? Chalk it up to rust? Are the Blues *that* good? Are the Red Wings in trouble?
JJ: I wish I could point to a single thing that the Wings could pull out of their game and then not suck, but there seemed to be quite a bit wrong. All three pairings are new to each other and one of their top-line wingers has never played an NHL game before, so there's quite a bit of room for improvement coming as people just get used to each other. Still, the concern that the Wings just aren't a fast enough team to compete came roaring back. Watching guys get beaten to pucks across all four line and in all three zones is a problem which falls on management. The Wings are certainly a better team than they showed on Saturday, but we're not confident they're better to the needed extent.
Our thanks to J.J., and be sure to head over to WIIM for their Game Day coverage!