No, this blog is not about Datsyuk or Zetterberg's personal lives, this blog is about a statement coach Mike Babcock made in to The Detroit Free Press today about splitting up the "Euro Twins" Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg:
"Not maybe -- for sure," Babcock said Wednesday. "They're not playing together. It would be crazy to play them together. They both want to play center anyway."
Babcock had attempted to do this at training camp last season (Datsyuk and Zetterberg each centering their own line) but an injury to Franzen derailed that process and the Euro Twins were back together.
With the addition of Hossa and not losing any top 6 forwards along with the breakout of Franzen, Babcock can now easily split them up and have more balanced scoring. I think we will still see that dynamic duo along with maybe Hossa on occasions late in games when behind but for the most part (5 on 5) these 3 will rarely play on the same line. The only worry i have about splitting up Datsyuk and Zetterberg is the first line of Datsyuk, Hossa and Holmstrom only has one natural center on it as oppose to always having 2 centers at all times in case one gets tossed out of the faceoff circle at a key time in the game which happens often.
The other thing that jumped out at me from this article is that Babcock intends on having Datsyuk with Holmstrom and Hossa while Zetterberg will center Franzen and Hudler? I have to say i was very surprised to see Hudler's name on the 2nd line...not because i don't think he deserves it or that he can't do that job but more because Babcock seemed hesitant to use him in that role last season mainly because his defensive game was not on par with most of the other top 6 forwards...hence why he was only playing on the 4th line and the 2nd PP unit. I hope that Hudler or as some call him " Smurf " (because of his small size) does good and can stick on the top 6 but what does that mean for Cleary, Samuelsson and Filppula? That is the last thing that surprised me in that article...Filppula and Draper are going to center the 3rd and 4th lines.
Here is how the lines could look at forward to start the season given this information and provided the players don't get injured or have problems playing up to expectations (some might get traded as Holland has to move one defenseman and might move a forward for cap space). Note: i didn't want to put guys that might or might not be with the Wings to start the season like Leino, McCarty, Downey ect...
Holmstrom - Datsyuk - Hossa
Franzen - Zetterberg - Hudler
Samuelsson (?) - Filppula - Cleary
Maltby - Draper - Kopecky
Now some could change from left wing to right and injuries and sub-par play happens but this seems to be along the lines of the vision Babcock has for this team when healthy. I put a question mark after Samuelsson's name because he could be used as trade bait given his salary along with the losing training camp defenseman to get the team under the cap with some wiggle room to call up players for injuries if they keep Lilja and his 1.2 million cap hit on defense...then again maybe the Wings will move both if one of the youngsters like Ericsson or Leino step up in camp.
With so few roster spots open and so many players trying to win them, i think this should be one of the most competitive and interesting training camps for the Wings in a very long time. I can't wait for the battles to start and see who makes it and who doesn't along with seeing the progress of the Wings prospects which is always a big interest to me with the number of prospects that seem to come out of nowhere and impact the Wings.