By: Jeff Riger
“The Blame Game” is radio 101.
When the Wings lose like they did in game 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs there was plenty of blame to go around afterwards, and rightfully so. Detroit was forced to play Boston’s game, they were dominated in almost every facet and even when they cut the lead to a single goal, you had the feeling that it just wasn’t meant to be.
So what do you do on the post-game show? You play “The Blame Game.”
Who do the callers blame the most for the loss?
The candidates were obvious…
Jimmy Howard took most of the blame considering his play. 3 of the 4 goals he allowed could have been qualified as “soft” despite a couple of them being on the power play and he was also out of position various times as well.
Defenseman Brendan Smith was also named quite a bit. Smith was on the ice for 2 of the Bruins goals and also seemed to be the target of Boston’s muscle. Smith even tried to take on Bruins massive D-man Zdeno Chara at the end of the first period. Chara just stood there and laughed at the potential bout.
Fans were also quick to blame the power play too. The Wings are zero for 6 on the PP for the series and went zero for 4 on Sunday. Not only did the PP not work it was ugly. Detroit is lucky if they registered 3 shots on net during that extra attacker time.
Of course Johan Franzen got his fair share of criticism too. Franzen vanished for minutes at a time on Sunday and even though he finished the game with 3 shots on net, he failed to be a serious scoring threat.
Brian Lashoff, Drew Miller and Daniel Alfredsson also got called out as having played a poor game on Sunday. Alfredsson didn’t register a single shot and has just 1 goal in his last 13 games.
Despite a poor showing in game 2, Detroit still accomplished what they set out to do. They wanted to take one in Boston, stealing home ice back in the series. So the trip was a success. However it’s hard to get past the Wings lack of goal scoring. The team has scored just 2 goals in 2 games and some of Detroit’s veterans have been non-existent for quite some time. Franzen, Alfredsson and even David Legwand have not been good enough.
So while fans will focus on Howard and the Man advantage, it’s the veterans that need to step up and lead the way in game 3 and beyond. Pavel Datsyuk can’t do it alone and it’s unfair to expect “the kids” to carry the torch, they got them here. What more can you expect for them?
Franzen has to be that guy.
He has the talent, ability and contract to put this Detroit team on his back. But does he have the drive? That’s a legitimate question. He has one goal in his last 20 games going back to the regular season. Too many times he disappears. Too many times you’re left wanting more.
If the Wings are to upset the Bruins, Franzen will have to take over the way he has done in playoffs past, Howard won’t be that bad again. Alfredsson should be driven enough to bounce back. Even that defense has proven they can be a whole lot better. The Wings can still win this thing; they’re still very much alive. But they need everybody to beat a great Bruins team, everybody including #93.
It’s time for Franzen to be a Mule again and not a Dog.
What do you think?