Conklin Outplayed by Vokoun

The Detroit Red Wings went into today's game against Washington looking to keep their undefeated streak going for a sixth game. The only problem was, Washington wanted to keep theirs going a lot more than the Red Wings did.

The Capitals beat the tar out of Detroit, putting up seven goals, the exact number the Wings have let in in their previous five games, only tonight, it was all in one. Ty Conklin only had 25 shots on him compared to Detroit's 33 on Tomas Vokoun.

Niklas Kronwall scored on a powerplay for Detroit, which was the only bright spot for the Wings. I'm not even going to put who scored for Washington; it doesn't matter that much, they scored seven times. Let's leave it at that.

The fact is Conklin looked terrible. Sure, there were some very bad giveaways, but his positioning was worse. The Caps picked him short side and it worked after a Cory Emmerton giveaway. He also let a squeaker through from the point, going as fast as a snail on top of a turtle, which was poked in by Mathieu Perrault. Conklin was beaten on clean shots from everywhere on the ice, and did not display the same confidence he did when he shut out Colorado 3-0 in his first game of the year.

Vokoun, on the other hand, was solid and made the stops he needed to. He shut down the Wings after Kronwall's goal and let the Capitals' offense take over from there.

The irony of the game was the two goalies in between the pipes. Vokoun signed for next to nothing with Washington, but also said Detroit displayed an interest in him, before turning to Conklin. This might be the one that got away for Detroit. While I am very comfortable with Jimmy Howard in between the pipes, I can't say the same if he went down with an injury and Conklin was in between the pipes. 

If Detroit did indeed land Vokoun, they would have a one-A and one-B punch with him and Howard. But this did not happen, and Washington lucked out.

Many Wings slappies will rip Mike Babcock for playing Conklin against Washington. True, it might be throwing him to the dogs, but the fact is Detroit is a better team than they showed tonight. Conklin let in seven goals and that's a problem that needs to be fixed. Babcock knows best, so things will work out.

The reason Conklin played might be as simple as giving Howard a break and Conklin a challenge, but it doesn't make sense based on wanting to win games, and against a 6-0 team, you ice your best team. They should have played Conklin against Columbus, who look like the jokes of the NHL right now, and palyed Howard against Washington. 

All of this is in hindsight. Wings fans, if you think Babcock made a mistake playing Conklin, then you are just a negative person. He always has a reason for everything. This might just be to play through some adversity. A positive is we'll see how they bounce back from an embarassing defeat like tonight's and blow Columbus out of the water again in a few days.

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Kyle Busch

kylebusch@thecheckingline.com