Continuing with the theme of coaches who are actually working at
improving their team after some disappointing losses, Detroit coach Mike
Babcock is shaking up the lines a bit in an effort to spark better play
in one of the Red Wings’ best players.
13 points in the last 12 games? Not
good enough, Henrik Zetterberg.
“After getting back from the shoulder injury, it’s been
better,” Zetterberg said. “After the Olympic break I felt good. I just
have to get more points on the board to help the team win. I don’t
really count chances, but I’ve had enough to where I should be able to
score some goals.”
“We need him to be better,” Babcock said.
“That doesn’t mean he has to
carry the weight of the world around on his back. Just dig in and find a
way to be better, to be harder. Hopefully as a coach I am putting him
with players he needs to help him out.”
The Wings are putting Valtteri Filppula up with Zetterberg and Dan
Cleary, which should strike fear into the hearts of any opponent.
Normally Babcock prefers to have his firepower spread out a bit but with
Zetterberg in such a bad funk then obviously drastic measures were
Zetterberg can’t let a serious shoulder injury be his
excuse for such a disappointing season; he has just 18 goals in 58 games
this year, well below his over-30 average of the past four seasons.
This is the time of the year where he’ll have to buckle up and start
putting the puck in the net. Anything less than a point per game from
here on out is unacceptable.
If this string of poor play
continues, then I’d expect Babcock to move Zetterberg down to the third
or fourth line and get some players into the top-six rotation who can
actually score on a consistent basis.
Please note that this
entire post was dripping in sarcasm.