On the Sum of the Parts

Something about this year’s Detroit Red Wings team and what they accomplished will never really add up.

This Red Wings team was not constructed to make a long playoff run. I’m not certain that they were constructed to make the playoffs at all.

This is a team that lost Nicklas Lidstrom and Jiri Hudler and replaced them with Carlo Colaiacovo and Mikael Samuelsson. That added Jordin Tootoo to an already bottom-heavy forward unit.

This is a team that, midway through the season, had Justin Abdelkader dragging down Pavel Datsyuk on the top line.

You look at the team, you see the gaping holes in the lineup. You see rookie mistakes all season. You see an inability to close out even the worst teams. And yet they ended up one win from the Western Conference Finals.

Things that seemingly shouldn’t have worked did.

Abdelkader and Datsyuk ended up clicking, with Abdelkader looking like he belonged on the top line.

Colaiacovo outplayed Ian White, a top-two defender in 2011-12, to get the sixth defenseman’s spot after Danny DeKeyser (himself acquired midseason) went down to injury.

Tootoo and Samuelsson (and Todd Bertuzzi) were outplayed by rookies like Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson and left out of the lineup.

I’ve said my piece on the Red Wings’ organization’s preparation (or lack thereof) for the playoff run. The team had holes that should have been addressed. For the final weeks of the season, however, the individual players elevated their respective games to overcome that.

The sum of the parts was briefly greater than the whole.

I don’t think we can count on that going forward. The holes are still there. But for a few short weeks, it was kind of awesome to see what these players could do.

Author: Clark Rasmussen

Clark founded the site that would become DetroitHockey.Net in September of 1996 with no idea what it would lead to. He continues to write for the site and executes the site's design and development.

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