Thorsten Kaye is back for his third season blogging for NHL.com. ALL POSTS | BIO
I mean, it's the playoffs. And you want to go in there positive. But what I'm most concerned with, is that we haven't been good enough playing with a lead. Which is something I've never worried about with the Red Wings before. This is a brand new issue.
It starts in net. That's not the entire problem, but you can't hang on if you aren't getting good goaltending. Osgood has got to be better. Simple as that. And not a whole lot better. Even if he's just a little better, and the back end picks it up, I think we're in a whole other situation.
See, it's been a strange year like that. I don't know what the problem is. I don't know if they're as hungry - and people saying they're going to repeat, that's not good, I never like being the favorite - but it comes down to hunger.
Last year, they had it. The last time they had a shot to repeat, in 1998, they had it. This year, I don't know. I just don't think they're as hungry as they were in 1998. You have guys signing 10(+)-year contracts, you have an entire team almost with at least one Stanley Cup ring, and you have a Cup hangover that's really lasted a full year.
Can they turn it on? They better. This time of year, anything less than 100% is going to put one in the loss column. Because there are no longer any bad teams left. The cream has risen, and from here on out, that's all you get.
It's not the offense, either. Scoring goals isn't a problem. The problem is keeping it out. When was the last time the Wings were beaten they way they were this season? I mean, six is one thing… but eight? On back-to-back Saturdays?
I'll be honest. I'm a little concerned. More than a little concerned, actually. And you watch the Blue Jackets, they play solid defense. They play hard. They play desperate. They have Ken Hitchcock coaching them and he knows playoffs.
This is the kind of team that are fighting for their jobs next year, and that doesn't bode well for their opponents. In the playoffs, that hunger can win you a series. That's what I want to see out of the Wings. Because if they play like that, like they can't bear to lose, then - and I'll say it - they probably won't.
This team, when they play desperate, when they play scared, hungry, they're the best in the League. I know that. Hopefully, Babcock knows how to get them going.
Babcock has to sit some guys down and remind them that there is a lot of work to do.
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Just the feel for the direction they were headed and what they're trying to do, it just felt that this is a really good thing for this organization. They've got the pieces. We can put something together and go on a run or two and be together for a while, and I'm really excited about that opportunity. The team we have here has an opportunity to win, and that's the most attractive thing.
— Washington defenseman Matt Niskanen on why he decided to sign with the Capitals