The Pistons were missing 3 of their top 5 offensive options with Greg Monroe serving his 2-game suspension for a DUI, Meeks recovering from a fractured lower back, and Cartier Martin a late scratch (due to a plantar fascia strain, an injury that doesn't sound bad but can keep you off the court for a while). The good news is, Monroe comes back after tonight's game in Minnesota, and KCP's shot should return soon. This whole game had the feeling of a bunch of guys who hadn't played together before playing in a system they hadn't played in before. They should work out the kinks in a couple weeks or so. Hopefully.
Bright spots: Andre Drummond, while struggling with foul trouble, show a more diverse post game. He still isn't making much outside of 3 ft from the hoop, but he's added some moves to a repertoire that mainly consisted of dunks last year. Jonas Jerebko played well and deserved more than the 12 minutes he got. If someone could have convinced Josh Smith that he shouldn't shoot any threes, he'd have a much better looking shot chart:
Smith is a career .279 3P% shot, and last year's .264% effort isn't the type of thing to give one any mis-placed confidence. Smith, a lefty, tends to shoot a decent baseline jumper from the right-side of the court, a zone that is conspicuously vacant on this shot chart. Outside of those 3 misses from 3, J-Smoove shot 9-19 from 2-pt land. It's not a bad percentage, but normally I'd say 19 attempts is more than I want a notoriously inefficient shooter taking in one game. However, this wasn't a normal game, and Smith taking over kept Detroit close-ish in a losing effort.
The Wings continued a good start to the '14-'15 hockey season, and despite getting totally hosed by a bogus goalie interference call in the 1st period, negating a goal, they went on to triumph. Wings winger/youngster Justin Abdelkader netted 2 goals, including this beauty:
Abdelkader's 2nd goal came courtesy of a nifty move & pass from Pavel Datsyuk, who's clearly still got it. Zetterberg is the Wings' points leader (12 points, 3 goals) and Datsyuk would be up there too, had he not missed 5 games with a separated shoulder, but next on the list is "Abby" with 8 points (5 goals) and Nyquist with 6 points (also 5 goals).
While most of the production has come from the big names through Detroit's first 9 games, recent draft picks & young acquisitions Luke Glendenning (25 yrs old, signed with Detroit out of the AHL), Tomas Tatar (2nd round pick in 2009), Tomas Jurco (2nd round pick in 2011), and Riley Sheahan (1st round pick in 2010) have played well in support and should start showing up more on the stat sheet. After Niklas Kronwall, the Wings top defensemen are Brendan Smith (1st round pick, 2007) and Danny DeKeyser (24 yrs old, signed with Detroit out of the CCHA).
Detroit has the 5th oldest team in the NHL with Datsyuk, Cleary, Franzen, and Zetterberg tipping the scales at 34+ yrs old. Clear is done, but the other 3 still have it (although it's debatable whether Franzen really ever had IT). The rest of the team is actually pretty young, with the rest averaging around 27 yrs old. The Wings showed they could sustain extensive injuries to Datsyuk (37 games missed), Zetterberg (37 games missed) and Franzen (28 games missed) last year and still make the playoffs. With no Olympics to put extra wear & tear on them and a burgeoning young core to shoulder more of the load, the Wings might just have the right mix to get into the Finals again.
I am REALLY sick of Brady Hoke's act. Really. Chris Spielman raised a criticism of Hoke in the MSU vs. U of M game broadcast, saying Hoke isn't developing his players. The original question was something like, "If Hoke has had all these great recruiting classes since he showed up, why does Michigan suck so bad?" Obviously I'm paraphrasing, but since this point was raised on air during a nationally televised game, it has come up here and there.
When asked about it by the freep, his response was predictable.
“I think it’s being done,” he said. “When you look at our roster, we had a meeting the other day with the first- and second-year players — 54 of them — and that’s not counting redshirts. You look at the guys who are getting on the field.”That response reminds me of nothing so much as a politician who has screwed up and is looking to put a good spin on a bad situation. First, let's break down his answer, which is pretty muddled, as usual:
"I think it's being done" (referring to player development) - Of course you do, but you're an idiot. By almost every standard, it isn't happening.
"When you look at our roster" - This is a sentence fragment that is about to wander off into the desert and die...
"we had a meeting the other day with the 1st & 2nd year players - 54 of them - and that's not counting redshirts" - Yep, totally left that sentence fragment for the wolves. Not sure why he's bringing up redshirts, since they don't actually play and therefore no evidence of their development can be seen on the field. In fact, why is he bringing up 1st & 2nd year players at all?
"You look at the guys who are getting on the field." - I assume he's inferring that there is a large portion of those 54 first- & second-year players that are playing for Michigan. That may be, but only because HE'S FAILED TO DEVELOP THE 3RD and 4TH YEAR PLAYERS!
This is the whole point to the question. Where are the 3rd and 4th year players solidifying this roster? Where are the NFL prospects? Outside of LB Jake Ryan, WR Devin Funchess, and DE Frank Clark, who has a shot at making a pro roster? More to the point, why does Devin Gardner look worse than he did when he took over for Denard in 2012? Gardner was a Rich Rod recruit, but 4 of his 5 years have been with Hoke. Michigan was a great QB school, once upon a time. But Hoke has failed to develop Gardner as a viable QB, and he's failed to develop a viable replacement so he can slide Gardner over to WR, where he probably belongs.
Hoke's verbal, mental, and coaching failings are shown in stark contrast with Mark Dantonio. When Dantonio talks, he sounds like he's in command. I know this is kind of superficial, but it's also kind of not. He's direct, to the point, and he usually looks and sounds slightly pissed off, except when he's actually pissed off and then he sounds furious. Hoke sounds (and looks) like a doughy, oblivious guy who you might trust to successfully complete a beer run, but not a pizza run and certainly not a major football program. In other words, if Hoke is a comic book character, he's probably this guy. Or this guy.