Last week, Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg made waves in the Detroit media when he called out teammates for "poke-and-hope" hockey. Specifically, he seemed to be referring to Anthony Mantha, who "poked and hoped" immediately before the third goal against of the game, and whose giveaway created the second goal against of the game.
It's been hard not to feel some compassion for Zetterberg, who has dutifully taken questions from the Detroit hockey press after every ugly loss during this long, boring season. One can forgive him for blowing off some steam.
Still, it was strange to see Zetterberg publicly rip his teammates.
Especially since he singled out the team's leading goal scorer. Especially since the veterans, including Zetterberg, himself, have performed so poorly.
Somehow, at the age of 37, Zetterberg is playing more than he has since 2013-14. He's averaging 19:46 per game - three seconds more than last year.
At 5-on-5, only two forwards in the NHL have played more than Zetterberg. Connor McDavid and Artemi Panarin. Every NHL forward with 1,000 minutes at 5-on-5 has a postive corsi rating. Except Zetterberg.
Until last night, Zetterberg was in points/60 at 5-on-5 among NHL forwards with 1,000 minutes.
Zetterberg's 5-on-5 production is downright pedestrian, at 1.6 points-per-60.
Last year, it was 2.32 -- a really, really nice number.
But the truth is, his production has been pretty poor in three of the last four years.
The truth is, looking at production, the kids have produced. The well-paid veterans have not.
Again - points/60 at 5-on-5
Tyler Bertuzzi 2.29
Andreas Athanasiou 2.11
Dylan Larkin 1.93
Anthony Mantha 1.85
Martin Frk 1.68
Justin Abdelkader 1.66
Henrik Zetterberg 1.60
Gustav Nyquist 1.56
Darren Helm 1.39
Frans Nielsen 1.19
Luke Glendening 1.15
Notice the trend? All the young guys are at the top. All the old guys are at the bottom.
No exceptions. Not a single exception.
So sure. Criticize Mantha and Athanasiou if you want. Helene St. James appears to be getting comfortable about confronting the Red Wings' young forwards with negative comments from the team's coaches and leadership.
But it sure would be nice if the Detroit hockey press summoned the fortitude to ask the veterans why they're not living up to their contracts.