There's a bit of a disconnect between the Red Wings' top two lines and the Wings' bottom two lines.
You expect the top six forwards to carry the load offensively — but this is becoming ridiculous.
Through eight games, including Saturday's 4-2 loss in Columbus, a widening gap is developing offensively between the groups of forwards.
Six players — Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, Damien Brunner, Pavel Datsyuk, Valtteri Filppula and Todd Bertuzzi — have combined for 18 goals and 45 points.
But then you get to the bottom two lines.
Daniel Cleary, Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller, Jordin Tootoo, Cory Emmerton and Patrick Eaves have produced one point between them — an assist by Eaves on a Zetterberg power-play goal.
The Wings have missed Darren Helm (strained back), who centers the third line, and whose return would put players back in regular roles and theoretically stablize things. Helm is scoreless in his only game.
But right now, the imbalance is startling.
"We need some balance, some support," coach Mike Babcock said. "The whole group has one assist, six guys have one assist, I mean."
Cleary is one player the Wings need to get scoring.
A three-time 20-goal scorer (Cleary scored 26 in 2010-11), Cleary isn't happy with his lack of production thus far.
"I have to be better," Cleary said. "That's it, the bottom line. What else do you want me to say? Have to get it done."
When the Wings have been successful, a large reason has always been the balance between the four lines and the offensive contributions of the bottom two lines. That isn't happening right now.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130204/SPORTS0103/302040334#ixzz2JwBtqTfN
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