Tuesday, May 08, 2007

How will Detroit cope without Schneider?

I find it hard to believe any team can lose its No. 2 blueliner and advance to the Stanley Cup finals, something the Detroit Red Wings are going to attempt against the Anaheim Ducks beginning on Friday.

Missing Mathieu Schneider is going to impact this series far more than most expect, simply because his transition game is so valuable at even strength and on the power play. Not a big guy, he has nonetheless had a career year at age 37 and been a very big part of the run Detroit has put together this season.

A lot of the weight of this series would have been on Nick Lidstrom even with Schneider in the line-up, but now the perennial Norris Trophy candidate is going to have all he can handle for 30+ minutes a night. And that's with 64-year-old Chris Chelios playing 25.

The Wings are the underdog in this one, there's no question.

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At 4:53 p.m., May 08, 2007, Blogger El Brucio said...

A friend of mine who is a Red Wings fan said they actually have a better record when he's not in the lineup than when he's healthy. But this is actually a team down 2 of it's top 5, which really hurts. And I'm sure that sample size wasn't large enough to really portray his impact.

Has anyone heard anything on Kronwall? I was under the impression he might return if Detroit went deep into the playoffs.

Lebda being healthy is huge... he helps their back end mobility a lot.

Even with this injury I wouldn't peg the Red Wings an underdog, but they definitely have a formidable challenge ahead.

At 5:14 p.m., May 08, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

Losing Schneider is big, yes, but I still am comfortable with Detroit's defensive lineup.

I don't like Kronwall, I watched him make enough mistakes that cost the wings games this season. Most wings fans will agree with me I'm sure, but I think he's a liability.

The current lineup is

Lidstrom, Chelios, Markov, Lilja, Lebda, and Quincey.

I don't see any of those guys as a huge liability... Even Quincey, who didn't have a great game in that last one against San Jose, hasn't done a particularly bad job. Would I rather see Schneider in there? Of course. Am I worried? Not really.

At 6:08 p.m., May 08, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kronwall might return if the team makes the SCF, but even then it's not a strong possibility. Hasek is going to have to stay strong in the net and communicate with his defensemen if the Wings want to keep winning.

At 11:57 p.m., May 08, 2007, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

But this is actually a team down 2 of it's top 5, which really hurts.

Actually, it's a team that's down three of its top five defensemen. Jiri Fischer is a loss that's going to be felt in the organization for several years to come, just as Konstantinov was. Even if his presence would have meant that they didn't acquire Danny Markov, that would have given them an extra $1.2 million to play with under the cap.

There's an interesting question to ask. Had Vladi's career not come to an end, would the Wings have ever acquired Chelios? At this point, would a 40 year old Konstantinov be as good as a 45 year old Chelios. I doubt it; Chelios' aging curve is just freakish. What would the Wings have done with those two first rounders they gave up in that deal?

At 10:56 a.m., May 09, 2007, Blogger Nick said...

Don't they get that 1.2 million back since Fisher is injured?

At 11:28 a.m., May 09, 2007, Anonymous snafu said...

I think he meant the difference in what they are spending for Markov vs. Fischer's contract (he was an RFA the entire time). They have to pay Fischer, but get the cap exemption IF they exceed the cap; Markov was an UFA signing last summer for $2.5 MM.


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