In an effort to become more “in touch” with the community that follow along here at SIM, I have decided to go ahead and start up the ol’ mailbag feature, where you, the readers, send in questions about anything at all, and I answer them in a slightly amusing, yet informative way. There will be no set timeframe for when I will answer these questions, but if it’s important to me, then it will get answered more quickly than someone who wants to know “Why is the sky blue?” or “Is Greg Robinson’s hair real?” (The answer is yes…for both.)
For today’s inaugural edition, it’ll be all questions that I have been asked in person or via twitter (@chollis), as opposed to the e-mail stuff. However, if YOU have a question you want me to ponder and subsequently address, shoot me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now then, on to your questions.
What do you think about Hossa/Kopecky/Samuelsson/Conklin/Hudler all leaving the Red Wings this off season? Who’s the biggest surprise in your mind?
If you’re surprised about this being the first question, you obviously don’t A) read the blog enough or B) follow Detroit sports. The Red Wings off season has been dissected more carefully than a frog in a freshman biology class. Opinions range from “extreme anger” to “they deserve this” to “they could lose everyone except Zetterberg and Franzen and STILL win the Cup.”
I’d say I am somewhere in the middle. I never had any doubt that Tomas Kopecky and Mikael Samuelsson were out the door. Initially, I really thought we would keep Ty Conklin, but as the numbers situation kept developing, it quickly became obvious that we had nowhere to stash both him and Jimmy Howard, so losing Conks isn’t a huge surprise in the end. Which leaves us with the two head-cases: Marian Hossa and Jiri Hudler.
Quite frankly, we should have seen this coming with Hossa. He’s been a mercenary pretty much his whole career, and with the Wings inking Zetterberg and Franzen to long term deals, the writing was pretty much on the wall for Hossa. Except he started talking about wanting to stay. And we got greedy. Then, like a bad one night stand, Hossa rolled to our division rival, and the media claimed we were taking the “walk of shame.” Spare me.
Look, I can admit guilt and say I wanted Hossa to stay around. But as this mess dragged on, I quickly lost respect for him and realized that he wasn’t sticking around. Ken Holland and the Wings organ-i-zation did everything they could to keep him, and he just wasn’t willing to take the hometown discount. So be it. Happy trails.
Now, about Hudler…
Look, WTF is right. Yes, I said I thought he was gone when the season ended, but that was under the assumption that we would get Hossa to stay. When Hossa jumped ship, Hudler seemed to be a pretty sure bet to stick around. Then Sammy bolted, and Hudler looked even better. Next thing ya know, we have arbitration on our hands. OK, it could be worse. Then, BOOM! Here comes the KHL throwing around boatloads of tax free money to a kid like Hudler, and he is outtie 5000. But before Wings fans can even be pissed, the NHL and USA Hockey are claiming foul and a hearing is in the works with the IIHF. Meanwhile, the Wings can’t sign any free agents because we still have to go to arbitration with Huds to determine his future contract, since he is still our property, plus the stink the NHL and USA Hockey are raising could wind up bringing “Happy” back this season. A bonafide “Hockey Cold War” is underway and the Wings are stuck watching the free agent market deplete.
To get to the point: let Hudler go. He wants the jingle, so let him make his jingle. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: If a guy doesn’t want to be here, show him the door. We have so much talent waiting in line, and I guarantee you those guys will work for every friggin’ inch on the ice. Get Hudler out of town, sign a free agent like Mike Grier or P.J. Axelsson and get back to work.
Are the Tigers the real deal this season? Is this the year we finally win the division? And what do you think our chances are of doing some damage in the playoffs (if we make it)?
So we are at the All Star break and are hanging on to a 3.5 game lead in the division right now. 75 games to play. I’m not convinced we win the division.
The Tigers have the talent to do it this year, and they very well may take the Central, but they have been plagued by inconsistency this entire season. Some nights, this team looks like world beaters. Other nights, they couldn’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. I think the starting pitching gives them a shot to win on any given night (except Armando Galarraga, who is so up and down that I am getting whiplash), but the bats still aren’t instilling alot of confidence in me. Here’s the good thing, though: Leyland has had plenty of time to get a good look at some of the younger guys, and he knows he has options as we head into the division race.
As far as the division goes, it’s all about who gets hot at the right time. The White Sox made a steady push heading into the break and we know the Twins will be lurking the entire rest of the season. But is it ours to take? Absolutely. Solid pitching and some consistent hitting should give us as good a chance as anyone else at winning the Central.
As far as the playoffs go, I think it’s too early to tell. If they started today, I don’t know that we make it out of the ALDS. The Red Sox, Yankees and Angels could all easily take us down, and the aforementioned inconsistent play would do us no favors. That said, there are 75 games to go and alot could happen. Let’s see how the division shakes out first.
Let’s wrap it up on a fun note…
Worse GM: Glen Sather or Dale Tallon?