In a Freep piece about the Red Wings' injury depleted defense, the arrival of Brad Stuart, and the return of Niklas Kronwall, a spirited debate broke out in the comment thread. When the top 4 defensemen return to health, along with the addition of Stuart, the question becomes which of the young defensemen will be left out of the 3rd pairing?
The consensus answer? Anyone but Andreas Lilja. A commenter named oregonwingsfan echoes what most Wings fans are thinking...
Who is in the future? Meech is the D-man of the future for Wings. To me, he has out played Lebda. I have been very impressed with his pin point passing and decision making. He is like a young Rafalski, he can certainly develop into a guy who can run the PP for the Wings. Lebda hit his ceiling a year or so ago and he is what he is now. I agree with other poster here...keep Quincey and Meech, work them in the balance of the regular season and expect them to be on roster next year.
The excellent play of Derek Meech Tuesday night in Edmonton, combined with Lilja's mistakes essentially costing the Red Wings what would have been much needed victory, closed the book for Wings fans. They've seen enough of Lilja's turnovers and mental lapses.
Any remaining goodwill Lilja may have had with fans disappeared the same moment the puck sailed into the stands for a delay of game penalty late in Tuesday's game. His mistakes were even more glaring when compared to the great game played by Meech.
At this point, I just want to see the Red Wings get healthy. That will fix most of what currently ails the Red Wings. Think about it. If fans are intensely arguing over essentially the 6th and 7th defenseman, your team is in pretty good shape, injuries or not.
There's one more thing I wanted to bring up in this article. There was one glaringly odd statement from Helene St. James, one that Bill at A2Y picked up on first thing this morning...
Meech will be in a four-man battle with Chelios, Andreas Lilja and Brett Lebda for the last two openings on defense.
This line makes absolutely no sense, even less so when coming from a beat writer. If Chris Chelios is healthy, Chris Chelios is playing. Period. It's a 3 man battle between Meech, Lilja and Lebda.
The fans want Meech, but your guess is as good as mine as to who Mike Babcock favors.