September 4, 2009

Red Wings Season Preview: Niklas Kronwall


Because nothing screams "cutting edge" quite like The Triple Deke, we'll be passing on the typical season preview for 2009-10. Instead, we will bring you this: a highly scientific forecast of each player's performance, which will be calculated by using an updated copy of a 13 year old video game -- Sega's NHL '97. Each statistical output will be treated as an irrefutable premonition, and anyone who challenges the accuracy of our system will be burned alive in front of their families.

*****

Niklas Kronwall | #55 | Defenseman


Strengths:

* Very skilled, offensive-defenseman who can keep an eye on his own zone. A good skater and a superb passer from the back end.

* Looks like Brent's brother Jeff.

* Hits like a train out in the open ice. Skating with your head down while Kronner's playing is about as smart as bending over in front of Mike Green with assless chaps.


Weaknesses:

* You worry about his health. Last season was the first time he cracked the 70 game mark (finished with 80) in his big league career.

* Will have the occasional brain cramp in the defensive zone.

* Wakes up screaming every night thinking about "The Crossbar".


NHL '97 Season Recap: 18 goals, 52 assists, 70 points



This picture will never leave my brain for as long as I live. I don't fully know why or what the significance is, and I don't want to take too long figuring it out. It's just one of those things that sits with you. And if that's how I'm feeling about it, I don't want to know what goes through Kronner's mind on a daily basis.

I mean, not only did he look that distraught, but the dude rang a shot flush off the crossbar that would've tied the Seventh Game of the Finals moments earlier. How nut-wrenching is that? That has to mess with a guy's head. I bet it's like a Pavlov's dog situation -- every time the oven timer goes off or a kid rings a bell on his bike he thinks of the *ping* from The Crossbar and immediately starts peeing on people (For the record I'm definitely talking about Nik Kronwall here and not about something that happened to me last Sunday at a family reunion).

So while none of us should worry about his motivation level this season, you may be worrying whether or not his defensive play returns to form. In 2007-'08 he was solid, as he was on the ice for only 25 goals against at 5-on-5, but that number skyrocketed to 62 in 2008-'09, which was most on the team. He did play more games last season than the year before but that is still a noticeable climb. And, he didn't have to play against top competition like Lidstrom and Rafalski did.

So how did he correct that for 2010?


Kronwall's Sega season was a sublime combination of intelligent offensive play, commitment to defense, and staggering physicality that forced the league to adopt 26 different rule changes in order to limit the number of on-ice incidents. Following Gary Bettmen's firing after he was discovered to be a humanoid from the planet Jupiter, new Sega Commissioner Joe Kocur enacted a new rule that teams cannot hide behind one another in their own zone for an entire game without being turned into an NBA franchise. It was all a part of Kocur's new "De-pussifying The NHL" campaign that saw the dismissal of around 90 players and coaches as well as everyone from the San Jose Sharks. Teams around the league complained of bias when Kocur named Kronwall his deputy commissioner, but those voices were subdued when threats of "swirlies" were made public.

Kronwall put up impressive assist totals for the second year in a row and limited his mistakes around his own net, which helped the Wings correct their defensive miscues from the previous year. Overall, his only significant gaff was going a little too hard on Anze Kopitar.




8 comments:

Michael Petrella said...

"I'm going to make Wayne Gretzky's head bleed for Super Fan #99 over here..."

patleb940 said...

I'm still trying to figure out how the hell you managed to update all the NHL 97 rosters! Amazing job man!

On another note, looks like Kronwall will transform into a serial killer during that 2009-2010 season. I hope he doesn't go to jail, we need him for the playoffs. That is, of course, if Sega's predictions are right... oh wait!

Osrt said...

putting assless chaps and Mike Green into one sentence = chrome balls

awesome.

Had fun with the screen shots eh? I love the double homicide on the Pens(?). Dude you're making me miss this game soo much.

Think Kronner makes the all-star team this year?

cmk said...

"For the record I'm definitely talking about Nik Kronwall here and not about something that happened to me last Sunday at a family reunion."

Take my word for it--family reunions are HELL. You're still young, but you will learn.

That is all--back to hockey.

(STILL loving your posts, by the way.)

Triple Deke Staff said...

I don't think Kron makes the AS team until Lidstrom and/or Rafalski are gone. He's just not going to get that kind of recognition as the team's 3rd best defenseman. But in a few years time, once he's getting top pairing/first unit PP minutes, he could have a few ASG appearances in him.

What I think is telling about him is how his numbers have improved from year to year at each level. He had 45 assists as a second pairing guy, which is fairly remarkable. His per/60minute numbers are among the best in the league. I know he was on the ice for a lot of goals in 08-09, but that number is sure to come down this season (my explanation for that simply being that there's no way the entire team's defense doesn't improve. Not very scientific, but hey, suck it.)

- Tyler

Triple Deke Staff said...

and I meant on ice for a lot of goals against. Literally the 3rd site in ten minutes where I've fucked up a comment/status or whatever. I'm going to sleep for the next 15 hours.

-Tylerkadj;a

Osrt said...

Dude, are you FB? I just got in touch with Malik's scary ass on there.

Triple Deke Staff said...

@ Osrt + the whole internet:

if you do a search of Tyler Devereaux on there, I'm the guy with the Irish hat, Wings shirt, and a look on my face that would imply I had just shat my pants.

And yes, Malik looks rather intimidating. He would be the hands-down favorite in a Red Wings Blogger royal rumble -- although I wouldn't overlook Bingo Bango Jessie.

- Tyler