Has it really come down to a desperation situation with Justin Abdelkader on the first line with Pavel Datsyuk? Possibly in the eyes of Mike Babcock.
The Red Wings have not been scoring a lot of goals recently with the obvious exception being that massive 8-3 blowout against the Canucks where it seemed like primary and secondary scoring weren't even close to being a problem. It seems like Babcock and the coaching staff have been forced into the mindset of altering the lines to develop some sort of consistent forcecheck and offensive opportunities. You'd assume right away that "altering the lines" means juggling Franzen and Filppula within the top-six, or coming to the decision of whether you want to seperate or keep Datsyuk and Zetterberg together possibly, but no, that's not the case.
The proclaimed solution seems to be Justin Abdelkader. Yes, you read that right. A bottom-six forward that Babcock couldn't decide on when he was thinking of who was going to centre the third line in the 2010-2011 season. Obviously, Mike Modano popped along and Darren Helm evolved into Kris Draper 2.0, so Abdelkader was slated to the fourth line.
Fourth line. Justin Abdelkader. Two sentences, or four words if you want to be picky, which explain what Abdelkader truly is: a fourth line player, no more and no less (though some may argue he doesn't even deserve an NHL role.)
Abdelkader was once a prolific power-forward with an edge to him, totalling 94 points and 281 penalty minutes in 124 games for the Michigan State Spartans. Why hasn't that translated to the big show? Well, there's no doubt that there's a massive difference between university hockey and the type of hockey that you find in one of the biggest sports leagues in the world. I'm sure many knew that Abdelkader wouldn't be capable of bringing his offensive game from his junior hockey days to the NHL, but it appears Babcock has some faith in him. The faith for offense? The faith for being a power-forward? The faith for being an agitator to support Datsyuk? Whatever exists in the mind of Babcock, I'm certain no one knows.
The experiment is over. Justin Abdelkader doesn't belong in the top-six, let alone the first line. It's bringing no success. If you can't at least get the occasional assist playing on a line with one of the best players in the league, then you have to figure that you don't belong there. Obviously or at least highly likely, Abdelkader surely knows he's not first line quality, but why not enjoy it while you can?
I can tell you a few people who aren't enjoying it. Well, more like an entire fanbase.