The Detroit Red Wings are off to a 2-0 start for the 2013-14 season, but those wins haven’t come without raising a few concerns. The Wings knocked off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Wednesday, but a lackluster third period made that game appear closer than it actually was. On Friday, it took a late goal by Henrik Zetterberg and an overtime goal from Stephen Weiss for the Wings to salvage two points from a game against the Carolina Hurricanes that they probably should have lost. While most veteran players have performed well, a few appeared tired or were ineffective on Friday, and with a Saturday night game against the Boston Bruins head coach Mike Babcock needs to strongly consider putting Tomas Tatar in the lineup.
Tatar has been a healthy scratch for both games so far, while the playing time he deserves has gone to Mikael Samuelsson and Dan Cleary instead. Sure, Samuelsson scored in the season opener on a lucky bounce but he barely played in the third period Friday and failed to register a single shot on goal. Speaking of shots on goal, Cleary also finished Friday without one despite playing 15 minutes (2:30 of it on the power play). The late signing of Cleary did not go over well among Red Wings fans, and it’s becoming pretty clear why. When Babcock is presented with ineffective veterans, he has other options. A Bruins team that is one of the best in the conference will present the biggest challenge of the young season, and Tatar’s speed and tenacity certainly can’t hurt things. Tatar had four goals and seven points in 18 games with Detroit last season, and scored 16 goals in the AHL playoffs to help lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to their first-ever Calder Cup championship.