Pavel Played Well. Who’s Next?

Datsyuk scored twice yesterday which makes a lot of us believe he’s back. So now the Red Wings can start winning again, right? Not so fast. There are other guys out there who need to step it up if the Wings want to contend again.

More on this after the jump.

We all know Hank needs to score more and I believe he will. This slow start will kill his overall numbers, but I still think he’ll get close to 30 on the season. Probably about 25ish.

Then there’s Hudler. He started off hot and has since cooled off. He has so much frigging talent, it kills me to see him pass up a shot. 3 on 2 and the other 2 guys are covered, what do you do? Shoot, right? But no. The man forces a pass or holds up for someone else to pass to. Not cool, man. Not cool. Last year was a disaster for him and he’s on pase to be worse. Shoot. The. Puck.

Danny Cleary is a character guy who is the difference between Stanley Cups and early exits. Time and time again, he’s by the net, surrounded by guys way bigger than him, willing the puck past the goal line. He’s money in the playoffs, even when he’s hurt. But is he hurt right now? 3g 3a. He’s still determined around the net and is getting shots, but he’s been week around the boards. It has been way to easy to get him off the puck. He’s not skating, either. Doing a lot of coasting.

Ericsson is not a terrible defenseman. He’s NHL caliber but we have 5 or 6 that are better than him. If he got traded today, I would be fine with that as long as we got another NHL caliber player in return. But don’t hold your breath. The Red Wings are committed to him. Babcock knows that Kindl has been better and that Smith could easily be better, but Ericsson has one thing that those guys don’t have. Size. If they can get Ericsson to a Stuart-like level of ability, he’ll be worth every penny of his contract simply because he’s huge. To get there, he’ll need to hit more, pinch less and pass like a man. So many of his turnovers have been the result of a wimpy pass across ice that gets picked off. Pass like a man, man!

Then there’s Eaves. In his case, I’m not too worried because he just hasn’t been out there enough to make a difference, but he’s such a valuable part of this team. He needs to be able to get it going so he can get back to being our best shootout guy one of our best penalty killers.

Now that Bert is back, look for him to STOP HOLDING GUYS!!! chip in with some points. I have no data to back this up, but when I see Bert playing well, the Red Wings play well. When he takes lazy penalties, turns the puck over and just sucks overall, the rest of the team does the same. I’m pro-tuzzi, but only the one that help the team.

Who did I miss? Who am I wrong about?