Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tape to Tape Pass: Pre-Columbus Update

Detroit is resembling their brethren in Grand Rapids less and less at just the right time (i.e. right before the playoffs). The Mule and Ericsson are back in the lineup tonight, and Gustav Nyquist has played himself in as well. Jimmy Howard, who was on pace to start Friday vs. that team down south, will now likely start on Sunday instead. Ansar Khan has all the updates here. If Khan's lines are the same ones Babs goes with tonight, then I'm not a huge fan. This is mostly in regard to Nyquist's use. Granted, I don't know who I think I am to question Mike Babcock, but here are the lines I'd rather see:


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

21 for 21

21 straight playoffs appearances means 21 lasting years of memories. Some playoffs runs have left us with indelible images, building legends and strengthening a franchise. Other runs have left little besides disappointment and frustration. Captured here is a mix of both, from the most euphoric moments to the most soul-sucking.


Like the choices? Hate 'em? Let me know on Twitter @TGOBlog1, by email at, or by leaving a comment

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In Babs we trust...but who should he trust?

It's late in a game, and there's a faceoff in your defensive zone. Obviously the goal is to win the faceoff, but how important is it to do so? There's a must-read article by Gabe Desjardins of over on Hockey Prospectus that answers this question. Go there, read the article, have your mind blown by the two graphs, and come back here to figure out how it applies to the Wings.

The first three charts below show total faceoffs a player was on the ice for in each zone, how many were won, and how many were lost. This isn't the number of faceoffs the player took because there's obviously no way Ian White's taken over 400 draws. Instead, it's purely how many they were on the ice for. The top portions of the tables aren't all that useful because it's all defensemen and they really don't have much of an impact on faceoffs. It makes sense that they were out there the most as their shifts are typically longer and their ice time higher. If you're on the ice more than a forward, you're going to be on the ice for more faceoffs than a forward. The charts become more useful a little further down, when we can see what forwards tend to be on the ice in what situation and how they tend to do.

We really want to focus on defensive zone faceoffs for the purpose of this post, but I threw in the offensive and neutral zone charts as well. Why? Because they were already open in my browser and I spent time on them this weekend, so why not. Also, like I mentioned earlier, you can track performance across situations with them. Expect some sort of more fully developed post about them in the near future.

If you didn't read the article listed above (and really, you should) you need to know that average opponent shot rate increases to about that of a 5-on-3 powerplay during the first few seconds after a lost defensive zone draw. That means a defensive zone faceoff specialist, or at least someone halfway decent at d-zone draws, plays a critical role in reducing shots faced. 

Before really delving into the players and their faceoff percentages, I should note how I got from the chart above to the one below. The chart below is looking only at centers who have taken over 250 faceoffs this season. Typically the center is the player who is expected to take the faceoff, and even though said player can sometimes get tossed from the circle it hasn't happened enough this year to be worth accounting for. The next highest forward is Franzen with 176, and there's a huge dropoff after that. 

Do the Wings have a defensive zone faceoff specialist? Yes, and then some. Datsyuk and Helm are both winning over 60% of their d-zone draws, and only Emmerton is really struggling in this area. Little things like this are the reason that Datsyk is perhaps the best forward in the world, and the reason that Helm keeps racking up minutes in spite of his hands of rock. Mike Babcock is in the enviable position of having 5 centers  he can trust to win a defensive zone faceoff, two of which could be considered elite.

Moral of the story: if it's late in a playoff game and there's a faceoff in Detroit's end, hope that 13 or 43 are in the circle to take the draw. If they are, there's a good chance Detroit won't have to handle a barrage of shots against.
All raw data via

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Pavelian Retrospective

The always interesting Puck Daddy blog posted a fantastic interview with Pavel Datsyuk today that touched on many topics, including alternate career choices, fellow Russian-born players, captaincy and more. The interview added depth to a player who, at least locally, is already known for his subtle wit and humor.

Compiled here are all of the Datsyuk interviews I could find, a sort of one-stop-shop for more information about everyone's favorite magician. The interviews reveal that the league's quietest superstar may be its most thoughtful as well.

Puck Daddy chats with Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk about NHL playoffs, using figure skates and Giroux’s ‘Datsyuk’ move
Dmitry Chesnokov's latest lengthy interview that touches on the aforementioned topics

Puck Daddy chats with Pavel Datsyuk about Red Wings, realignment, working at Tim Horton’s and Halloween

Puck Daddy chats with Pavel Datsyuk, Part 1: Defending the Cup, committing to Detroit and debating hockey's best player

Puck Daddy chats with Pavel Datsyuk, Part 2: Dream linemates, Russian Olympic gold, fast cars and embarrassing ringtones

THN in Russia with Pavel Datsyuk Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3 Pt 4 Pt 5 Pt 6 via The Hockey News
Very thorough account of Pavel's summer hockey camp in Russia

IN HIS OWN WORDS … | via Mitch Albom's official site
A great piece, and one of the first that I can recall revealing the personality of Pavel

Datsyuk settles in: ‘This is my second home’ via The Macomb Daily
Insight into Datsyuk's hometown and comparisons between it and Detroit

I'll continue to update this as I find additional interviews. Found one I missed? Let me know on Twitter @TOGBlog1, via email at or by leaving a comment

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tape to Tape Pass: Finally, light on the horizon

Tonight, we've reached rock bottom. It's unfortunate that it had to happen against the Eastern Conference leaders in the world's most famous arena, but that's what being ravaged by injuries will do to a. team. The news out of today's injured-players-only-plus-the-guy-who-might-start-if-the-other-guy-can't-make-it-here-in-time skate was positive, and wholesale changes to the lineup may be coming as soon as Saturday.

Ty Conklin starting for Wings vs. Rangers per Free Press
Video of the morning skate, plus injury updates

Wings' Ty Conklin clears waivers, will start vs. Rangers per Detroit News
Lots of quotes, including one from Ericsson that he should be ready by next Wednesday's game

The front page of
Just read the first three articles. The loss candy is so sad, and yet so, so appropriate. The injury updates in the first article are in bullet format for those who are looking for the quickest way to read up on today's news

There's a lot to be encouraged by today. Lidstrom and Howard will likely be back Saturday, and Ericsson and Kindl should be back by next Wednesday. Franzen still doesn't have a timeline for his return, but not having an MRI done on his back could be taken as a positive sign.

Let's look at tonight's defensive pairings:

Let's look at what we might see next Wednesday:

We'll likely look back on this and appreciate the experience it gave the young guys, especially the forwards, but I like the look of next Wednesday's lineup. Maybe a lengthy playoff run isn't as ridiculous as it seemed just a few days ago.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tape to Tape Pass: Hurting in so many ways

Everyone is hurt. Radulov is coming back to the Predators. The Wings are down 4-1 after 2 against Washington at home (y'know, that place they used to be unbeatable). It's 80 degrees in March. What is happening?

Red Wings' Darren Helm out for at least a month with an MCL sprain and Oh swell: further clarification needed for Red Wings goaltender Joey MacDonald's back issue per The Malik Report

All the injury news fit to print

Red Wings Gameday Updates: Lidstrom Talks Recovery per Winging It In Motown

Woo not everything today is awful!

Why did KHL allow Alex Radulov to leave for Nashville? Because they expect him back next season per Puck Daddy
We will hope that Nashville, even stronger with the Kostitsyn brothers and Radulov, won't last long in the Stanley Cup, and Alexander gets free in time for the Russian National team.             -Alexander Medvedev 
....and I've found common ground with Medvedev on the Radulov situation. Still can't believe he's actually going to suit up for an NHL game, but it's hard to rule anything out when it comes to the KHL. Personally, I liked the theory that the NHL granted Radulov permission to return knowing that the KHL wouldn't, therefore absolving themselves of any blame the NHLPA could place on them when it comes to CBA talks later this year.  

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tape to Tape Pass: San Jose Gameday

One in, one out. The Wings haven't been able to keep guys healthy over the past few weeks, but luckily the player they do get back tonight is the second best in the world (according to his peers).

Pavel Datsyuk in, Johan Franzen out for Red Wings against Sharks per Detroit News

A quick update on the roster adjustments for tonight's game

A little lengthier gameday update, but lines for tonight's game

Great insight into the behind-the-scenes events that are in play regarding Stuart's decision (or lack of, to this point) to re-sign with Detroit

CSSI Analysis: Red Wings 0- Ducks 4 per Winging it in Motown
A forgettable game, mostly just linked to because I love JJ's CSSI breakdowns. If you've never read one, go check it out.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tape to Tape Pass: Pre-San Jose

Two big stories out of practice today. The good news- Datsyuk will play tomorrow night against the Sharks. The bad news- Franzen left practice early with back spasms and, though it isn't confirmed, probably won't play tomorrow.

The Wings can't seem to make up any ground in their battle against injuries. Regardless, I'm remaining optimistic that everyone will be back and healthy with four or five games left in the regular season, plenty of time to rediscover their rhythm in preparation for the playoffs.

The unfortunate truth is that they'll likely be getting their rhythm back in preparation for a round one matchup with Nashville, a matchup which I highly doubt any Wings fan wants to see, it possible for a goalie to be suspended for a hit to the head? I swear I've seen Rinne do it to Holmstrom, and I'd feel a lot better about that series if he was in the press box for a couple of games. Anyways, on to the updates....

Red Wings' Pavel Datsyuk to return again Sharks; Johan Franzen hurting per Free Press

St. James' practice post. Essentially everything I wrote in the first paragraph, but with some quotes from Pavel and Babs.

Red Wings practice day news; Datsyuk will return on Saturday, but Franzen doubtful w/ back spasms per The Malik Report

All other relevant quotes and articles can be found here, because that's what TMR does.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tape to Tape Pass: Post-Anaheim and Injury Updates

Welcome to the first of what should be an almost daily feature here at The Octopi Garden. The aim is to provide links to any interesting or relevant articles, hastily judged and comment on by yours truly. Hopefully this will provide some extra content between the statistical mumbojumbo and fancy schmancy pictures that I love to post so very much.

As for the post title, why call it Tape to Tape Pass? Because the goal is for the posts under this heading to be quick, efficient, and right on the money...just like a tape to tape pass. I'm embracing the corniness.

'Discouraged' Red Wings send Nicklas Lidstrom home; Joey MacDonald hurting per Free Press:

TPH got sent home because he isn't healing as quickly as the team had hoped. Ken Holland spoke for all Wings fans when he said that the situation had him "...discouraged and frustrated." Joey Mac is hurt as well, and Pearce will be called up in his absence.

I like George's take on the Lidstrom injury. Also linked to because of TMR's general awesomeness.

Griffiti magazine per Griffins official site:

I'll admit that I didn't know the Griffins published their own online magazine, but there are a couple of interesting articles in here about Brunnstrom and Minard

Great post-game recap by Graham. The first bullet point in the article sums up exactly how I felt yesterday.

Not related to the Anaheim game, but a great post by Petrella regardless. This situation could get very interesting over the next few weeks as the CCHA season wraps up.

2008 All Over Again? per Nightmare on Helm Street

Good article about the similarities between this year's squad the 2008 Stanley Cup champs, something I agree with and wrote about at the All Star break

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Film Study: What's Wrong with the Power Play?

Hockey is a game of ebb and flow. It's a natural and integral part of the game. On a micro level it can be seen in the up and down movement on-ice, the fluid transitions from offense to defense and back again. On a macro level, it can be seen in the tendencies of players or teams to get hot or go cold.

The Red Wings are currently laden with a power play that's not just cold, not just slumping, not just ineffective, but is straight up nonexistent. Power play problems began on February 28th against Columbus, a game in which the Wings went 1-for-6 with the man advantage. Since then, they've gone 0-for-24, and including the goal against Columbus they're 1-for-30 over their past seven games.

What's going on? Let's go to the tape.

Hudler carries the puck into the zone, and as two defenders collapse on him he moves the puck to Cleary on the wall.

Cleary sees Hulder turning up ice, which has drawn the near-side defender at the bottom of the box formation towards the corner. Cleary dishes to Hudler and moves towards the corner as well.

The near-side defender's paying attention to Hudler, so Happy Huds makes the smart pass and moves the puck to Cleary down low. Holmstrom is trying to screen, but Emery has moved around him and is tracking Cleary.

Cleary gets a quick shot on net, but Emery is ready for it. Barring a fluky bounce, this puck isn't going in. The goaltender sees it and has a chance to prepare for it, and that's really the antithesis of how shots on a power play should work.

Traffic in front of the net (or lack thereof) was a recurring issue in the film I was able to dig up. It seemed to be about 70-30 in terms of having someone in front of the net versus no one being in Holmstrom's office, and this led to a few slap shots from the point that were easily stopped by opposing netminders. There were also a few times where the situation above played out again. The Wings were able to get pressure deep in the offensive zone (mostly below the box formed by opposing team's defenders) but goaltenders were able to see through screens and stop shots, especially from the side of the net.

This drought can't last forever. All it's going to take is one good point shot or one crisp pass before this thing is at least temporarily buried. In the meantime, spending a little practice time on utilizing netfront screens doesn't seem like a bad idea.

I'd love to hear what other people have to say. Let me know on Twitter @TOGBlog1, by emailing me at, or by leaving a comment on this post.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Loss of Lidas: What Lidstrom's Injury Means

Those were the days...

I didn't want to write this post. I put it off longer and longer until I couldn't ignore it any more. Nick Lidstrom is reportedly feeling better and will likely be back in the lineup soon, but it's worth looking at what his loss has meant to the Wings as they're playing sub-.500 hockey without him. Beyond that, I can probably include this as a chapter in my manifesto on why Lidstrom is the best defenseman of all time (and yes, I've heard of Bobby Orr) so that's a plus.

Everything written after this needs to be viewed with this in mind; it was done against the best. Lidstrom's Relative Corsi Quality of Competition is 1.628 at even strength, far and away the highest on the Wings. Ian White is next at 1.222, and Kronwall is third at 0.641. Lidstrom is consistently drawing the toughest assignments, night in and night out while playing 17.49 even strength minutes per 60 minutes played.

Lidstrom has long been known for his ability to quarterback the powerplay, but he's just as adept at generating offense at even strength. His on-ice Corsi is 14.06, more than two shots higher than the next leading Wing (Ian White's 11.87). For every 60 even strength minutes Lidstrom plays, he generates over 14 more shots than he allows.

Relatvie Corsi compares a player's Corsi against his team's Corsi, and Lidstrom shines here as well. He leads the Wings with a 7.8, three shots higher than Ian White's 4.8. The Wings can count on Lidstrom to generate about eight more shots for every 60 5-on-5 minutes he's on the ice than when he's off the ice. Put simply, Lidstrom generates shot attempts more frequently than any defenseman on the team.

Lidstrom is averaging 0.79 points per 60 minutes, or 0.34 goals, 0.17 first assists, and 0.28 second assists. He's been on the ice for 57 goals for and 30 goals against. This works out to be 3.21 goals for per 60 and 1.69 goals against per 60, a +1.52 goals +/- per 60 minutes. Without Lidstrom, the Wings' goal +/- is only +0.72, almost a full goal less than when Lidstrom is on the ice.

On the powerplay, Lidstrom is averaging a defesemen-leading 3.57 minutes per 60 played. To account for any perceived inflation/deflation in scoring stats, we should look at Relative Corsi Quality of Competition. On the powerplay, the closer the Relative Corsi number is to zero the more impressive, as this is a measurement of the weighted average number of shots an opponent is taking or allowing while on the ice. Lidstrom's Relative Corsi QoC is -3.478. This is fourth among Wings d-men, but still respectable as the bottom two numbers are -12.457 and -14.567.

Lidstrom is putting up phenomenal numbers against relatively good penalty killers. He leads all defensemen in Detroit with 3.85 points per 60 minutes played despite not leading a single individual offensive category. Those 3.85 points can be broken down into 1.10 goals, 1.38 first assists, and 1.38 second assists per 60 minutes.

The goal differential while Lidstrom is on the powerplay is +6.33, while Detroit's goal differential on the powerplay with Lidstrom on the bench is +3.70. This is the largest disparity among Detroit defensemen, with Lidstrom's play generating an extra +2.63 in goals differential per 60 minutes.

For as good as Lidstrom's even strength and powerplay stats portray him, his penalty kill stats are just confusing. He's averaging 1.91 minutes on the PK per 60 played, which is the fourth highest total for Wings defensemen. He's being utilized on the penalty kill, but not as much as Stuart and Kronwall.

Relative Corsi Quality of Competition points towards Nick drawing week competition at -1.238. This would mean that the players Lidstrom lines up against are actually allowing more shots attempts than they're taking, despite having a man advantage. That's just bizarre.

The second bizarre stat of the day comes from goal differential. Lidstrom is -6.19 per 60 minutes, while the Wings without Lidstrom on the ice are -5.54. Lidstrom is allowing more goals while he's on the ice than the team allows when he's off it. This seems counterintuitive, and is something that I'll probably write a post about in the future.

What are the Wings missing?
By all accounts, they're missing the defender who draws the toughest even strength assignments and plays the second most minutes. An apt points producer at even strength, Lidstrom is downright spectacular on the powerplay. Penalty killing stats are a surprising weakness, but Lidstrom provides more than enough value in other facets of the game to make up for this, and for the Wings subsequently to be greatly impacted by his loss.

With so many other players injured it's difficult to say that the last few games are a true indication of what life after Lidstrom will be like. If, however, there's any area that may provide clues it's the Wings' 5-on-4 game. I'm looking at you, 0-13 powerplay. Regardless of whether it's life (temporarily) without Lidstrom or life after Lidstrom, this life is sans one of the premier 5-on-5 and 5-on-4 defenders in the league.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lazy Mule or Workhorse? Inside Franzen's Numbers

Ah, the angry playoff Mule

Seems like everyone's on Johan Franzen's case these days. Even Mike Babcock demoted him to the third line a few nights ago in an attempt to light a fire under the power forward's derriere. The Mule always shows up in the playoffs, but it's his regular season consistency and effort that were a talking point headed into this year. While he leads the team in goals and had a great beginning of the season, it looks like Frazen has regressed lately. What can his stats tell us about his performance so far this year? 

There are some things that just can't be covered in this post. Does Franzen go to the net as much as he should? Has he been giving his all on every single shift? Both are good questions, but both require an in-depth film analysis. The purpose of this post is to look at The Mule's quantitative performance and judge it against the other Detroit forwards in hopes of answering the question posed in the post title.

The first batch of statistics discussed are 5-on-5 stats, expressed per 60 minutes of even strength time played.

Relative Corsi Quality of Competition is a good place to start when comparing the talent level Franzen regularly plays against. His Relative Corsi QoC is 1.197, fifth among the Wings' regular forwards. The top two are Filppula and Zetterberg at 1.45, then there's Bertuzzi and Datsyuk at 1.28. Basically, this confirms that Franzen is a top six forward in Babcock's eyes because that's the quality of player that he is regularly deployed against. 

As a confirmation, we can look ice time. Franzen is one of four players averaging over 14 minutes of even strength time. Zetterberg is the highest at 14.80, and Franzen is the lowest at 14.02 The middle consists of Datsyuk and Filppula at 14.49 and 14.14 minutes, respectively.

So Franzen is getting lots of ice time, and it's against quality competition. What's he doing with all those minutes? Looks like he's directing shots towards the net. On-ice Corsi counts goals, saves, blocked shots, and missed shots to give a number that tells us if a player is generating activity in the offensive zone. Franzen is third on the team in On-ice Corsi at 13.58. This is behind only Pavel Datsyuk (which like...duh) and Dan Cleary (which like...whoa). 

This segues nicely into the next point of analysis, Relative Corsi. This takes the Corsi number of the player and subtracts the Corsi number of the team when the player isn't on the ice. If the player has a good Corsi number and the team can't generate shots when he isn't on the ice, then the player's Relative Corsi rating is going to look good. It's even better when a player generates shot attempts when he's on the ice and his team gives up more shot attempts than they take when he's on the bench as this leads to subtraction of a negative number, but that doesn't happen with Detroit. Puck possession style of play and whatnot. Franzen's stats look good here, as he's second the team with a Relative Corsi of 6.1. This is second to only the incomparable wizardry of Pavel, who clocks in at 13.4. For every 60 even strength minutes Detroit plays they'll be gaining 6.1 shot attempts compared with every 60 minutes Franzen is off the ice.

Franzen's penalty stats are worth mentioning only in passing as it's almost a wash. He's taking 0.9 penalties while drawing 0.7 for every 60 minutes of even strength time he plays.

As far as zone starts go, Franzen start his shifts in the offensive zone 55.9% of the time and ends there 54.5% of the time. He's in the middle of the pack in offensive zone starts, but he leads the team in offensive zone finish percentage. When Franzen gets on the ice he follows the rule your mom always told you before you went to a friend's house; he leaves things the way he found them. In a more hockey-oriented sense, he isn't as apt as teammates to start in his own zone and end having left the other team a chance to generate shots.

Another stat that Franzen is in the middle of the pack for is goals. He's averaging 0.81, and the team leader is Hudler at 1.21. First assists show a little more productivity from The Mule, as he's third (0.95) behind Zetterberg (1.22) and Datsyuk (1.00). The guy knows how to set people up at even strength. Franzen averages 0.54 second assists, fifth on the team. The Mule finds himself fourth in points, averaging 2.31. Datsyuk leads the way with 2.57, followed by Filppula at 2.53 and Zetterberg at 2.45. 

Much like the above scoring statistics, goal differential again supports Franzen's case a key offensive piece in the Wings' lineup. Franzen's on-ice goal differential is +1.63, while his off-ice (or team) goal differential is +0.79. Detroit generates 0.84 more goals per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play with The Mule on the ice than they do when he's sitting.

Next, we'll look at special teams numbers. First, we'll break down Franzen's penalty kill stats. Franzen doesn't play on the penalty kill. That was simple enough

The Mule does, however, get ample power play time. He's fourth on the team at 2.89 minutes per 60 minutes played. Hank and Homer lead the team with 3.07 and 3.05 respecitvely, followed by Datsyuk at 2.99. 

On-ice Corsi doesn't say much about the power play because you better be generating more shot attempts than the opponent when they're down a man, but it's still fun to look at. Franzen is third among the regulars at 92.54. Dang. 

Useful information doesn't really come from the humangous big (I do know how to spell, that was a Bryzgalov reference) number above. It can be gleaned from Relative Corsi, where Franzen is third on the team at 5.3. This is behind Datsyuk's 20.0 and Holmstrom's 17.9. Franzen is good for more than five additional shot attempts when deployed relative to the rest of the Wings.

A potential doghouse-inducer is penalties taken while on the powerplay. Having any numerical value here is bad, but Franzen is fourth among guys who average over 2 minutes on the PP. Homer is a painful 1.8, Bertuzzi is at 1.2, Zetterberg is surprisingly at 0.9, and Franzen is at 0.7. Timing of the penalties would be interesting to look at, but I haven't found any data for that.

Perhaps Franzen's most impressive stat is powerplay goals per 60 minutes. He's the team leader at 3.29, far above Holmstrom's 2.50. In this case the old adage appears true; feed the mule. If he's well-fed, the guy puts the puck in the net at an alarmingly high rate. Feeding other isn't really his things, as he's averaging 0.33 first assists and 0.33 second assists for a point total of 3.95 per 60. That's third on the team, behind Pavel's 6.58 and Filppula's 4.12. Powerplay goal differential sees Franzen at +6.59 when he's on the ice versus +3.64 when he's not. 

From the numbers, it looks like Franzen has a scoring touch at both even strength and on the powerplay. He truly shines with the man advantage, while his lack of penalty kill time means he may not be the most responsible of defenders. That's not to say he's terrible, as his goal differential at even strength is impressive. Franzen has scored against good competition, and really looks like a true top six forward. In most of the measurables, he was in the top four. 

All of the numbers make it look like Steve Yzerman was right back in 2005; the guy's working as hard as mule and he's reaping the benefits, at least in terms of offensive production. What else could be going on? Why would Babcock demote him? For starters, streakiness has been an issue. The Mule went from February 19th-28th without recording a point, and while I don't like the stat it's worth noting that he was a -6 during that time. Things have since turned around, as he's recorded a goal and two assists in his past two games, despite not having Datsyuk to center his line. 

At the end of the day, all that matters is that the playoff Mule shows up. You know, this one...

All statistics from and

Friday, March 2, 2012

To Move or Not To Move: Analyzing Detroit's Trade Deadline Moves

I was doing my daily read through of The Malik Report a couple of days ago and found one of the articles George posted to be particularly interesting. It comes from a Rant Answers column by ESPN's Pierre LeBrun:
stunard2000: Another year, another non-trade by the Wings. Are you kidding me? Don't they know the spark it provides to sign a big name to the roster? Don't they know it gives the guys a feeling that 'Hey, our management is doing all it can to get us deep into the playoffs?' Don't they know that it's just in time for the playoff push? And don't they know that, historically, the Wings have exited the playoffs early because they didn't make a move to shore up some part of the team? Where's the Shanny deals? The Brett Hull, Larionov, Dino C trades? Give the team a spark. Give them something they're missing (um, how about an enforcer, which has been missing since the middle ages?). 

My take: Boy, some of you Wings fans are hard to please. You’ve got the best GM in the NHL and you’ve been the model franchise for 20-plus years and it’s not good enough? Yes, the Wings were quiet on deadline day, but they acquired Kyle Quincey prior to it, a solid addition on the blue line. Yes, I would have like to see them add some size/grit to their bottom six forward group. But the price for Paul Gaustad was a first-round pick, which the Wings didn’t have. Pittsburgh, Washington, Toronto and Philadelphia also didn’t do much on deadline day. It was that kind of year. Not many sellers. I wouldn’t sweat it if I were you. The Wings are still big-time contenders. 
 When I think of the stereotypical fan's response to the (insert year here) trade deadline, this is it. My natural inclination is to believe that nothing could be further from the truth, but I think it would be interesting if we looked at all of the Wings' trade deadline acquisitions in recent memory and look at how they've impacted Detroit's playoff performance. We'll go back to the 1996-97 season, as it seems that the season with the Wings first Cup in 42 years is as good a place to start as any.

March 18, 1997: D Larry Murphy traded from Toronto to Detroit for future considerations
Playoff Outcome: Won Stanley Cup

March 24, 1998: D Jamie Macoun traded from Toronto to Detroit for Tampa Bay’s fourth-round pick in 1998 Entry Draft (previously acquired)
March 24, 1998: D Dmitri Mironov traded from Anaheim to Detroit for D Jamie Pushor and Detroit’s fourth-round pick in 1998 Entry Draft
Playoff Outcome: Won Stanley Cup

March 23, 1999: NY Rangers trade D Ulf Samuelsson to Detroit for a second-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft and a third-round pick in the 2000 Entry Draft
March 23, 1999 - Detroit Red Wings obtain Chris Chelios from the Chicago Blackhawks for 1999 and 2001 first-round draft picks (Steve McCarthy and Adam Munro)
March 23, 1999: Detroit traded G Kevin Hodson and San Jose’s second-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft (previously acquired) to Tampa Bay for LW Wendel Clark and Detroit’s sixth-round pick in the 1999 Entry Draft (previously acquired)
Playoff Outcome: Lost in 2nd round

Playoff Outcome: Lost in 2nd round

Playoff Outcome: Lost in 1st round

March 19, 2002: Atlanta traded D Jiri Slegr to Detroit for C Yuri Butsayev and Detroit’s third-round pick in the 2002 Entry Draft
Playoff Outcome: Won Stanley Cup

March 11, 2003: Los Angeles traded D Mathieu Schneider to Detroit for C Sean Avery, D Maxim Kuznetsov, Detroit's first-round pick in the 2003 Entry Draft and second-round pick in 2004
Playoff Outcome: Lost in 1st round

Playoff Outcome: Lost in 2nd round

Playoff Outcome: Lost in 1st round

The Detroit Red Wings acquire forward Todd Bertuzzi from the Florida Panthers for forward Shawn Matthias and a conditional draft pick
Playoff Outcome: Lost in Western Conference Finals

The Detroit Red Wings acquire defenceman Brad Stuart from the Los Angeles Kings for a 2008 second-round draft pick and a 2009 fourth-round draft pick
Playoff Outcome: Won Stanley Cup

Playoff Outcome: Lost in Stanley Cup Finals

Playoff Outcome: Lost in 2nd round

Playoff Outcome: Lost in 2nd round

The Tampa Bay Lightning acquire Mike Commodore from the Detroit Red Wings for a 2012 7th round draft pick
Playoff Outcome: TBD

From here, the list can be broken down into pre- and post-salary cap implementation. The pre-cap acquisition that may have had a real effect on the team was Larry Murphy being pulled from the burning wreckage of Toronto. The post-cap acquisition that one could argue helped bring the Cup back to the D was Brad Stuart.

After those two...meh. Chris Chelios won 2 cups with Detroit, but I don't see a 1998-99 Stanley Cup Champions banner hanging from the rafters so that move doesn't fit the criteria of a game-changing deadline acquisition. Mathieu Schneider had a good career in Detroit, but he never won a title here. Bertuzzi has been a great addition to the Wings (and one could argue that he fills the enforcer role the above fan was complaining about without being a true fighter, but that's another post for another day) but if it weren't for the hockey gods smiling on him and granting him a second go-round with the Wings we wouldn't be saying that about him. 

There isn't much use in analyzing pre-cap moves because gone are the days of free wheeling and free spending, along with Murph being the only deal worth mentioning. Hot dogs, folks. Hot dogs.

Post-cap, there just haven't been many deals. Welcome to the new budget conscious NHL, where parity means few are sellers and prices are higher than Armani. The Stuart deal paid off and continues to do so, but that's it. One deal. Seven years. 

Seven years in which the Wings have advanced to the second round or beyond all but one time. That's a pretty good track record, and it wasn't achieved through trading. If your team is skilled enough and has the right personnel for your system, there's no need to move players to provide a "spark." This organization has been serious about winning for over 20 years, and they don't need to make a trade to show that they're serious about going deep into the playoffs.