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Morning Papers take

Morning Papers Take: Wings not looking for reinforcements

Ken Holland continues to stay the course with his current roster, and that’s a good thing. I tell you why after the jump.

In this morning’s Western Conference Morning Papers, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press notes that Ken Holland isn’t looking for any reinforecements in the wake of Jason Williams’ leg injury:

Holland was emphatic when asked if bringing in a fresh face was a possibility.

“No,” he said. “We’re in a cap world. The plan is at some point in time to have a healthy team. If I start acquiring guys now, how do I get rid of money in March?”

Holland has been essentially a cap expert since the introduction of the salary cap after the lockout.  These comments continue to underscore the importance of Holland’s awareness of the salary cap and the importance of never being under the gun in that respect. 

The fact is, the Red Wings clearly miss Filppula, Franzen and are going to miss Williams but they can withstand these losses.  Even without the aforementioned players, the Red Wings still boast a top six of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Cleary, Bertuzzi and Leino.  Now, I know this isn’t exactly what Wings fans had in mind in the summer but let’s be honest here–Zetterberg and Datsyuk are still two of the world’s best players.  They are capable of carrying a team for a month or two. 

That said, the Wings are going to need/already have clamped down in terms of defensive responsibility.  Remember, the Wings still have their top-six defense corps in place.  When you have Lidstrom, Rafalski, Krownwall, Stuart, Ericsson, Lebda, Meech, etc. you can afford to play a defensive game.  In fact, I still believe that is the best defensive group in hockey.

Even with that top notch defense, the key for the Wings this season is really going to be goaltending.  Can Chris Osgood give them at least average netminding for the entire season?  If he can, the Wings will be fine and make the playoffs.  The team has exhibited the ability to slow things down, not pursue offense as much and pick their spots.  Additionally, their puck control is still terrific.  Unfortunately, the Wings don’t have the offensive weapons to come at teams in waves anymore.  Instead, the Wings need to play solid defense, lower scoring games and excel at special teams in order to win.

Mike Babcock has a difficult task this season but Ken Holland isn’t one to look short term at the expense of the future and good for him.  This season doesn’t look like it will be as successful as the past couple Red Wings seasons, but that doesn’t mean the future is dark in Detroit.  As Holland is demonstrating, patience is a virtue.