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. Have the Wings "figured it out" after the slow-ish start? The 2.86 goals-allowed-per-game has to be a little concerning, no?
JJ: They've been defensively much better after opening the season getting their pride handed to them in the season opener, but they need to keep pulling that number down by limiting shots and opportunities. They look a lot better now than they did a couple weeks ago, but there's some concern that this may really be as close to "firing on all cylinders" as they're going to get and if that's the case, then the team is what we feared it would be: just a middle-of-the-road kind of team. Then again, without Darren Helm in the lineup, everything seems harder for the Wings.
2. There's a crop of young guys (Nyquist, et al) that are constantly talked about. Are those guys going to get a chance to play this season?
JJ: As injuries to the forwards pile on, Gustav Nyquist will continue to be the first call-up guy, followed by Tomas Tatar. It seems as though Mike Babcock isn't interested in putting them on lower lines to play limited minutes (despite the fact that the Wings' lower lines have been getting killed on possession metrics so far), so they may have to wait until space opens up on the top six for them. Nyquist already got into one game, but I'm not sure he'll get ten more. Tatar is looking like he'll either be traded or be in the KHL next season. That kid is tired of waiting for his shot.
3. After a big win last night over the Blues, is there any chance the Wings look past--or don't get up for--this Jackets squad? Please? Pretty please?
JJ: I think the Wings know their margin against any team in the league isn't wide enough to take a night off, but last night's win over the Blues was one of those big-emotion, measuring-stick kind of games. After shaking off the Blues, I'm fairly worried that they won't be able to keep up the intensity required to win. If they don't get out to a good start, they're going to struggle to get back into it later as they start to get tired at a faster rate than the better-rested (and younger) Jackets.
Our thanks to J.J., and be sure to head over to WIIM for their Game Day coverage!