3 weeks ago
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
First of all I just wanna say that we finally had some luck with other games last night. Dallas and Minnesota played a tewo-point game, the Yotes were blown out by the Sabres, the Leafs beat Nashville and the Sharks absolutely massacred the Flames. So while the Wings are now only three points ahead of the Stars (with a game in hand) and still a point behind the Kings they are now two behind the Flames with two games in hand, two back of the Canucks (in 6th) and five back of the Preds and Yotes with one in hand on the Preds and two on the Yotes. So this is the time to capitalize and win some games.
Anyway.. to the point: As the observant listener might have gathered from the Obstructed View, I don't feel that Brad May has a place on this Wings team anymore. He seems like a good guy and if some young team need some cheap veteran leadership in their room I'd be happy to see him get a chance either this summer or at the deadline. But if it was up to me he'd never play for the Wings again because he is done. Of all his fights this year, I can remember one (the second against Boll) that was a real fight. The rest were showfights where they likely held back a little and were careful not to hurt each other. And that's my point. The guy has played 1050+ NHL games and knows when he should be making his precense known. So I think the reason for him not taking the right fights is fright. He's scared to break his face or get concussion problems or something. Which is fine, I get it, he's old and doesn't want problems like that to fuck up his life after hockey. But if he can't bring it anymore he has to be honest with homself and the Wings, admit he can't and retire. So Brad May, out.
Ville Leino has been spectacularly bad this season and I see no way the Wings are keeping him for next season. He's either getting traded for a fresh start or he bolts to Finland. So no point of keeping him happy now. And right now he cannot contribute to this team. He seems to lack both the strenght, speed and will to make it. So, Ville, out.
The answer (until someone gets healthy) is Mattias Ritola. He played very well in the games he got earlier this season. He seemed fast enough, tough enough and he created chances. A guy like that might be an offensive contributor, something the Wings desperately need right now. And ironically enough, if he plays like he didn't on New Years Eve, he's more of a physical precense than Brad May. At least Ritola can throw some hits. So right now I see him as a better short term solution than both of them. I also think that calling him up and playing him will be good long term. He's gonna be a free agent next year and if he doesn't think he'll get the ice time he is likely to bolt back to Sweden. So let's give him some ice time now to make him feel confident he'll get it next year too. And this also gives the Wings some long term pros. One thing is that they get to see more of him, so they can decide if they think he's gonna bring it next year. And he also gets more experience with the speed and toughness of the NHL, something he will need if he's gonna be a regular next year. He has the talent no doubt, so let's put it to test.
My conclusion is that the Wings should call up Ritola now and play the hell out of him until someone returns.