As of this writing, the Wings are 3-2-1 and sit in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference. Not bad, considering their D was significantly worse than last year and the team signed stupid Mikael Samuelsson (who has been hurt and hasn’t skated in over a week..DARN!!!!). Players like Datsyuk and Zetterberg are doing what they do, having 8 and 7 points respectively. Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff have been solid, and hell, even Kyle Quincey has been solid after a horrendous first game. I’ve noticed two players who need to get their shit together more than most: Dan/Danny/Daniel Cleary and Niklas Kronwall.
Kronwall covering Cleary – freep.com
Let’s start with Cleary. Take a quick look at his stats this season. No points (zero, zilch, nada) in over 16 minutes a game, including over 3(!) minutes a game on the power play. Yes, I know the entire PP has sucked this season, but Cleary is part of the reason. I know he’s usually the “front-net” guy, so his role is somewhat limited. He still hasn’t been able to create anything or do his job and get proper screens/tips on a regular basis. Another thing to look at is that he has 12 penalty minutes, all minor penalties. In…6 games. He’s putting his team shorthanded once a game so far this season. That is unacceptable for anybody, let alone a second/third line player with no points.
We all know what Cleary CAN bring to this team – all around solid, two-way player. A few years ago, he was that solid third line player who could still player the power player and kill penalties. Now, I don’t think he can do that anymore. I know he’s probably “good in the room” and all that crap, but with his recent injury issues and lack of productivity, I think it’s time Cleary gets let go after the season is over.
The other player I think needs to step up is Niklas Kronwall. Look, we all know that the D is suspect and Kronner was put in a situation he doesn’t belong – that of a number one guy. However, he sometimes looks like he’s not even his old number three self. His stats don’t look that bad, with 5 assists in 6 games. However, he is currently at 16 penalty minutes, good for over a penalty a game. I know it’s an adjustment this year, with the refs calling everything again, but make an adjustment, dude. You’re too good for that.
I think Kronwall will get better this year…as soon as Brendan Smith gets moved to his rightful place on the top pair. I’m still positive about Kronwall, but need him to get his shit together. If he can, it’ll greatly help the Wings chances to make the playoffs.
That’s all for now. Until next time…