Three Questions: Wings-Thrashers
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' fourth preseason game
Where does everybody go? That question might be the biggest on Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s to-do list heading into the regular season opener on October 9. The Red Wings have an overflow of talent, and some line-juggling will be in order. But early line choices in the pre-season seem to indicate that Babcock might have his mind made up for his top two lines. Newcomer Marian Hossa has been skating with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, while tonight’s game has showcased Henrik Zetterberg centering Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler. Babcock has said that he wants Hudler (who picked up two assists tonight) to be on the top two lines, and it looks like he might be skating with the big guns when the Wings take on Toronto in their quest to repeat.
Is Chris Osgood going to be able to stay awake between the pipes?
Judging from tonight’s game (which, mind you, is still just pre-season), Ozzie might want to load up on energy drinks before the opening face-offs this season. In the first period, he saw two shots from Atlanta. In the second, he saw four. In the third, he saw seven, which means he faced only 13 shots in the 4-0 win. Credit the Red Wings puck-possession style of play and stellar defense in front of Osgood for keeping the puck away from the Detroit crease. And if there’s any goalie in the league that’s mentally prepared for staying focused while the puck lives in the other end, it’s Osgood (he should be used to it by now).
Is Darren Helm going to make the opening night roster?
After only seven regular season games last year, Helm exploded onto the scene in the postseason, working his way into 18 playoff games. However, with how deep the Red Wings are, a roster spot for the speedy center isn’t a lock. He’s making his case though, especially with a good performance in tonight’s game. Helm picked up the primary assist on Ville Leino’s goal to give the Red Wings the early lead, which they never gave up. The native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, played for 16:54, and demonstrated his versatility by spending 2:53 of his ice time killing penalties. He also drew a penalty on a breakaway he created with his blazing speed that he nearly scored on.