There is a lot going on here. A big win against a playoff contender for the Red Wings. The mad-dash scramble for the final playoff position. A relatively young, anxious roster playing for a franchise that has not missed the Stanley Cup playoffs since 1990. Everyone scrutinizing the standings, factoring in the scores. And the Wings even got three power-play goals in one game for the second time all season. But amid drama and action that feels almost like the playoffs is something less discernable, which ultimately might be far more important. Whether by design or necessity — and which might long be debated — the Red Wings went with a ton of youth this season, their first in the post-Nicklas Lidstrom era. And now, the relatively inexperienced are getting lots of ice time in games like they have never played. New contributors Mike Babcock says it is the players, not him, who decide by their performance who plays. And so with Dan DeKeyser and Brendan Smith in the lineup and veteran late-season performers like Ian White and Carlo Colaiacovo out, it appears that DeKeyser and Smith's foot speed and quick puck movement trumped the veterans. Jakub Kindl is a fixture. Joakim Andersson is out there constantly and responsibly, along with Gustav Nyquist and, of course, Damien Brunner, whose late first-period goal against the Coyotes Monday was critical to the big victory. Cory Emmerton almost seems like the old guard at this point. Back in the pre-salary cap days, when Mike and Marian Ilitch were free to spend and Scotty Bowman scoured the Social Security lists for defensemen and spare forwards to add some seasoning, dressing such youth would have seemed seditious.
Youthful determination fuels Red Wings playoff drive
Detroit News | Apr 23