October 31, 2008

Wings @ Sharks

Red Wings 2-4 Sharks
**********
  • God the Sharks owned the first. If it wasn't for Ty Conklin making a few huge saves it could've been 3, 4 nothing. Maybe worse.
  • Conk might over-anticipate plays occasionally but you've gotta commend how confident he looks. Not only has he made a handful of humongous saves in each game he's played but you know that he won't be crapping his pants at every opponent's scoring opportunity. I like how sure of himself he seems in the net.
  • The Sharks were really flashing the speed. The Wings looked tired and slow, which isn't that surprising given the game from the night before. But credit the Sharks for playing a really solid game.
  • I don't know if it's just me or not but Lidstrom looks off. He seems to make 2 to 3 little mistakes per game that he just hasn't done before. I hope I'm just imagining this because it would be depressing to come to the conclusion that he's lost a step.
  • Kopecky made the only notable positive play for the Wings in the 1st by intercepting a puck and drawing a penalty. Everyone else was sludge.
  • The defensive zone passing was as bad as I've seen it in some time. It got better as the game went along but it looked like there was a lot of tired plays, just throwing it forward at the first chance they got and it led to a lot of mistakes. There was a whole lot of reaching and not a whole lot of skating.
  • Shitty Wing stats from the 1st: outshot 12-5. Out-hit 14-4. Out-faceoff'd 11-6. Am I getting the point across that it was a bad opening period?
  • Wings get a couple days off before taking on the Canucks Sunday night. They could use the rest. This game was the perfect storm of the Sharks being completely ready to play and the Wings stuck in slow motion. And I can't lie, I was a tiny bit intimidated by how good the Sharks looked.

October 29, 2008

It's going down

Wings are in Anaheim for a hockey game tonight. Big game. The Wings have been successful record-wise in all these one-goal games but they gotta tighten their shit up. They looked better toward the end of the Kings game but it's still a far cry from the way they were cruising in the spring. But, surprise, this is a basketball post.

**********

I haven't acknowledged the Pistons in quite some time on this blog but I did document their adventures of last season with a game-to-game regularity, and I wanted to put something out there before they kick things off against the Pacers tonight.

I love the Pistons. I may not be a b-ball connoisseur but I still root on the Stones to the best of my fanatic ability. They are the most frustrating of the Big Four to follow, however. At least they have been to this point in the decade. You know the Lions will suck. You know the Red Wings will be great. We witnessed a pleasant turnaround for our beloved Tigers. The Pistons, on the other hand, have turned into the Atlanta Braves. You've heard it a million times but it's hard to deny it. Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals will remain one of the most aggravating games I've ever watched for the rest of my life. Incredibly, soul-sucking-ly disappointing effort from the Pistons. I didn't take it well.

So what's to say that this year will be any different? Despite the threat of Earth-shattering changes from the front office, nothing exciting went down. It seemed very apparent that something needed to be done if the Pistons couldn't gather up the nerve to match the Celtics energy in that series, but the biggest shake-up was letting Flip Saunders go (rightfully) and hiring the inexperienced Michael Curry. We'll see if it works.

Predictions? I'm not going to go all out like I did with the NHL. I will say that I like the Pistons to make the Conference Finals for a preposterous 7th year in a row. As Chauncey and Sheed start to slow down, the youth movement off the bench will spark even more excitement than it did last year. Rodney Stuckey will fight to the death with Jason Maxiell for the right to be dubbed my favorite player. That last thing isn't really relevent. Whatever.

Go Pistons.

October 28, 2008

Wings @ Kings - recap

Wings 4-3 Kings (SO)
**********

Thoughts.

  • Fil's anticipation on the takeaway that led to the 3rd goal was a thing of beauty. The slow-mo replay really showed how he was watching the pass like a free safety about to pick off a QB. Then he finished with a terrific shot. (Which brings me to this: how would you rank, let's say, the top 5 Red Wing forwards on defense? This is a question that I'd like any readers out there to answer, just because I'm curious what others think. Or you can tell us to eat shit and die, any amount of attention will suffice.)
  • It's not an arrogance thing, I swear to any Wing haters out there, but: You just knew the Wings were going to tie this game before it ended. Sure they'll choke in the early rounds of the playoffs in certain years, but in the regular season against inferior teams, there are no nerves. You are positive that they will score, it's just a matter of how much time will be left on the clock when they do. And when they don't, it's a fucking weird feeling.
  • Yeah, I'll bitch about it: Sammy's goaltender interference call -- while handling the puck ... just ... good God. Come on now, NHL.
  • The Grind Line! It's back! Call all of your 90's bandwagon Wing friends and tell them to start watching hockey again! What?!? Wait -- say that one more time. A little louder. Oh. Uh-huh. Got it. Let me jot this down: Drapes and Mac are nonexistent, and Maltby has aged like 40 years since the end of the lockout. Hmmmph. Kinda sad when you spell it out like that. Why can't they just play Darren He ... okay okay, right -- I won't ask. Sorry I even brought it up.
  • 37 shots for the Wings, this against the steel curtain defense that is the LA Kings -- the NHL leader in shots against before this game took place. 7 of those shots came off the stick of Marian Hossa. He missed 3 others, too, so he obviously read this blog when I told him to shoot the puck more last week. All me baby, no Babcock invovled whatsoever.
  • If Zetterberg had scored on that play at the end of Overtime where he split two defenders and got a shot off from his ass, I would've lost control of my bowels. What an effort.
  • Congrats to Brett Lebda, who escaped this game without hurting his already atrocious plus/minus -- which I'm probably just going to start calling his "minus" -- but was still dubbed Worst Player in the NHL (so far) by one blogger this week.
  • LaBarbera was good in regulation, but in the S.O. he looked bad. How's that for in depth analysis? It's late, suck it. Go Wings.

October 27, 2008

The 'ing Rivalry

Wings are in LA, game at 10:30 tonight. Franzen out for a month with yet another knee sprain that took place in Chicago. Maltby sat (discuss amongst yourselves). Plenty to talk about but I've been a little slow on it.

I should be able to 'cap this game since it's a late one. For now: some random thoughts on the last week or so before we cremate the Kings.

  • Marian Hossa is leading the way in the scoring department (4-7-11) for a team that has been racking 'em up on the offensive end. His highlight reel goal against the Thrashers was sick and an alert to the league that he's clicking in Detroit.
  • Hossa is one of six Wings that are playing with point-a-game averages. The others being Rafalski, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Holmstrom, and ... Mikael Samuelsson??
  • Very entertaining game in Chicago Saturday night, finished by Hossa's "fuck you" slapper in the shootout, but the defense is becoming a bit worrisome. They're in the middle of the pack statistically which just isn't the Wing brand of hockey that we're used to. The 3rd and 4th lines haven't been great but the blueline has been equally faulty. Brett Lebda has no points and is already a -7. Drapes is a -6, also with no points. Plus/minus is a weak stat but it still has a way of making you look really shitty.
  • The Stuart/Kronwall pair hasn't been solid like they were in the playoffs last year. Kronner admits to not being anywhere near as effective as he was when he was leaving his skates to kill people in the spring.
  • The Kings are 26th in points, with 3 wins and no OT/SO losses on the year, but they're in the top 10 in goals against and just outside (11th) in goals for. They have the 3rd best penalty kill in terms of percentage (93%). They're giving up the fewest shots per game in the league at about 24. All of this makes them sound a bit less push-over-y than we're used to.
  • Dustin Brown has been the Kings main producer thus far (3-4-7 in 7 games) and is taking the bulk of the shots. He's good.

October 22, 2008

Wings @ Blues

Since Tyler's at work tonight and I'm just sitting around watching the game I figure I might as well write up a little summary.

***1st Period***

-Right away something odd with the boards caused a 5 minute delay as they had to fix it.

-Conklin (From here on out known as Conk-Blocklin) gets start number two and shows he wants to keep inpressing with a nice save.

-Guess who's baaaaack? Samuelsson swings around the back of the net and flips a quick pass a completely wide open Zetterberg. I suppose St. Louis forgot he suited up for tonights game.

-Another nice save from Conk-Blocklin. I think what I like most about the Conk is the fact that he wears a normal style goalie helmet. None of that bubble head shit Chris wears. It looked even worse on Hasek.

The first period ends and Henrik skates off the ice and walks straight up to John (Red Faced) Keating for the quick intermission interview. I assume John's face is always so red because he hit the bar before the game. After a quick interview where he asked the greatest of questions like "Do you guys lose any chemistry after you miss a stretch due to injuries or is it easy to just come back and play." To which Z responds "Well I only missed two games." To top things off when the interview is over and Z is already walking away John says "We missed you!" in a very heartfelt way like in the movie Anchorman when Ron starts hanging out with the girl and the guys get mad. Which all the more convinced me that he's wasted.

***2nd Period***

-Not even two minutes into the second period and Holmstrom scores a power play goal. Great passing all around was the key to that one. 2-0 Detroit.

-Detroit seems to be running on all cyllinders tonight and it's showing on the forecheck.

-Second power play of the night for St. Louis and second Blues power play of the night without a goal.

-Second Detroit Power play of the night. Samuelsson had to save one after Conk-Blocklin left the net to cut off the puck, close call. Lidstrom scores with a cannon of a slapshot top shelf.

-St. Louis gets yet another power play and finally get their goal.... Not much Conk-Block could do.

-End of an exciting period. 3-1 Detroit.

***3rd Period***

-Conklin is just on fire tonight.

-We have one minute of 4 on 4 action.

-After the Detroit power play ends the St. Louis man came straight out of the box and into a 2 on 1 rush which ends up in a Blues goal.... damn them 3-2 Detroit.

-The St. Louis D has a stick break and Franzen shows some great puck handling and takes advantage of the situation with a rocket of a wrist shot. 4-2 detroit.

-Maltby and some douche from St. Louis get matching minors for to minutes of 4 on 4.

-St. Luois pulls the goalie with 3 minutes left?

-Kronwall takes a penelty and the Blues get a goal playing 6 on 4. 4-3 detroit.

-Micky Redmond - "The clock didn't start! the clock didn't start for a few seconds after the faceoff!

-A close call and Conk-Blocklin almost let in a 4th... Followed by a two minute cluster fuck in front of the net after the whistle.

-The last 40 seconds are going to be played 6 on 4 again.

-Datsyuk holds it on the boards for the last five seconds and Detroit pulls off the win.


Deffinatly the most entertaining Wings game I've seen this season. It still pains me to see Manny Legace get beat up like that. If we can keep up the heat and keep down the penelties we're in good shape this season.




Don't overlook Blues

Wings are in St. Louis to take on the division-leading Blues tonight at 8:30. A few reasons to do a double take when looking at anything St. Louis-y are as follows.


HockeyTownTodd -- many a good point ...

"With both Cheli and Lilja out, watch for the Wings PK to suffer.

Meech paired with Lebda...will be interesting...
don't turn your back on the TV and miss the
odd-man rushes by the Blues. Meech and Lebda
both jump into the play and like Kronwall, they
often pick the wrong times. (lacking veteran savvy)

9 of STL's 20 G are PP.
Say a little prayer for good officiating."

**********


Paul Kariya and Keith Tkachuk have jumped into their 1996 time machines for the first five games. Kariya has 9 points (1G-8A) and Tkachuk has 6 points, all coming from goals. If Brent could go back to 1996 for a day, I bet his first order of duty would be to not piss his pants as much. Lots of 3rd grade urine going on with that guy. Lots.

**********


Blues expected line combos; MacLeod ...

Stempniak-McDonald-Boyes
Perron-Berglund-Kariya
Backes-Oshie-Tkachuk

Zetterberg WILL play. Helm down to Gr. Go Wings. God I really phones this one in.

October 19, 2008

Quote of the day/week or whenever it was first muttered

This fun fact was brought to us by now Dallas receiver Roy Williams.


"I'm more happy to be a Dallas Cowboy then when I got my first bike!"


If you're happy, we're happy.... I'm just glad we got so many picks for your lazy ass

October 16, 2008

Home Opener Re-do, Game Recap

Red Wings 3-4 Canucks (OT)
**********


Not a great game to watch. Weird pace, lot of mistakes, lot of garbage.


1st Period
  • A stupid missed shot/pass went wide on Ozzie, came careening off the boards and Jannik Hansen was there for what was basically an empty netter.
  • Line 2 put on a ton of pressure in one segment, leading to a PP ...
  • Weird first goal, but an awesome one: Pavel throws a puck at the net, and Homer sneakily deflects it off the ice as it goes by, sending it off the back bar in the net, making a goofy noise but play still went on. Then Mickey Redmond proceeded to scream "I heard it!" roughly 125 times.
  • What was really weird was that, after the puck went in, there was an interference call on Rafalski, even after they ruled the play a goal when they reviewed it at the next stoppage of play. The gave him a penalty despite resetting the clock to the time when the puck went in the net. What in the hell. They explained later the ruling later but it's still bizarre.
  • Homer is off to another quick start, similar to last season: in '07-'08 he began with 4 goals in his first 4 games, as he has now done this season.
  • Ryan Kesler had an equally nice deflection for the Canucks to make the score 2-1 Vancouver. Ozzie may have been slightly out of position as he was trying to get a view of the shot.

2nd Period
  • Rafalski adds his sixth point in four games, and his first goal this year on the Power play. Score tied, 2-2.
  • There was a prolonged period where not a whole lot went on. A lot of choppiness.
  • But then, Cleary netted a breakaway goal right out of the penalty box -- 3-2 Wings. Heady play to immediately bang the rebound in after the initial stop by Luongo.
  • Osgood made an unbelievable glove save from his chest to keep the lead for the Wings. One the most spectacular Ozzie saves I think I've ever seen.
  • Shane O'Brien got two minutes for Being A Fucktard when he tried to bully poor Darren Helm, who had a typicall Darren Helm game. Hmmm ... I'd love to see him play on a regular basis ...
  • Line #4, with Helm, really bringing it in the 2nd period. Kopecky, Helm and Maltby pouring the heat on.
  • Marian Hossa: SHOOT -- THE -- PUCK.

3rd Period
  • Franzen turned the puck over in the offensive zone, fell down, Vancouver gets an odd man rush and ties the game at 3. Frustrating.
  • Osgood and Rafalski teamed up for a glorious give-a-away in the defensive zone that nearly led to a goal. Raf had a few of those tonight.
  • Datsyuk ALL over the place. I'm guessing he covered twice as much ground as anybody else not named Helm. 16 for 24 in the faceoff circle, too.
  • Sammy had a rather below-average game. Well, a lot of guys did.

Overtime
  • Blah. Canucks score. The end. Despite it being a 7 goal OT game, this one wasn't too exciting.

Final Thoughts
  • How does a great possesion team completely suck shit and lose? How about 13 give-a-ways to the other team's 3.
  • The 2nd line was not good aside from the shift that forced the first power play really. Fil was OK but I'd put Mule and Sammy in that Below Average/Maybe We Should Play Better At Home Against The Canucks category.
  • Line 3 wasn't too much better ... Hudler looks lost out there and was on the ice for three of the four goals against. Cleary played hard but still wound up with a -2.
  • Rafalski got his first goal but other than that was shaky on the back end.
  • The one thing that I never even dared mention after the signing of Marian Hossa was to acknowledge the opinion of many others who claim he disappears for long stretches and doesn't fully utilize his all-world talent. Well, let's still give him a few more games to get into a groove, but he needs to stop being so passive.

Home Opener Re-do

Let's pretend that zombiefest vs. the Leafs just didn't happen. The new home opener is tonight against Vancouver (who -- as Brent reports after doing some serious undercover work -- are never referred to as "the 'Couve").

**********

George James Malik relays the Vancouver Sun's report that Hank will sit out with a sore groin.

"The Detroit Red Wings will be without their best forward when they face the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at Joe Louis Arena.

Wings' coach Mike Babcock announced this morning that the groin injury Henrik Zetterberg suffered in practice Wednesday is severe enough that the high-scoring dynamo will be unable to play Vancouver. The Wings have recalled minor-league forward Darren Helm from the American League."

And there goes the 50 goal season. He's "day-to-day" but it's a groin, so it will probably linger until Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. (I'm a little grouchy so my actual opinion on this matter may be a little skewed.)

At least Helm gets a chance right away. He'll backcheck the shit out of the Canucks, just you watch.

**********

Def Leppard Curse update: Chris Chelios thinks that asswipe knowingly set the Stanley Cup upside-down. What a douche bag.

"We know he did ... we talked to people at the show and the guy was being real rude to everybody," Chelios said. "He was in a bad mood when they got there, so for whatever reason he didn't want to be there. And that's his way of showing it and taking it out on the NHL ..."

We're doomed. Wait a minute...

(... "Gasp" of realization ...)

Z's groin! Def Leppard! It's only the beginning!

Nooooooo!!!

**********

Hudler is a grand disappointment to his coach already this season, and we're frigging three games in. Huds, buddy, come on now. They're gonna have to make a separate doghouse just to house you on a permanent basis.

(MacLeod again:) Coach Mike Babcock explained earlier today that his problem with Jiri Hudler's performance so far this season is that he isn't shooting enough. Thus the switch to the third line.

"One of the things is when Huds plays with those guys (Zetterberg, Franzen), all he does is pass them the puck," said Babcock. "He's always deferring to Z (Zetterberg), deferring to Franzen. I think he's a good offensive player. I want him to shoot the puck. If he plays with Fil (Filppula) and Cleary, he'll shoot the puck."

This is what I was afraid of before the season started. Well, no, technicaly it was his liability as a defender that I wondered aloud, but retroactively I'll point to his lack of game-to-game concentration and ability to put all his talent together. Yeah that sounds way better.

**********

And:

Learn how to shoot like Nick Lidstrom.


Go Wngs.

October 15, 2008

So long, Roy


I first got word of this news yesterday when I got home from class, pretty much as it was happening. My girlfriend's brother broke the news to me, relaying the the Lions had A) traded the unhappy/underacheiving wide-out, and B) actually got something relevant in return. The "A" portion of this conversation was not shocking. But the "B" part had me in denial: the Lions actually swung a 1st, 3rd, and 6th round pick for next year's draft, plus a 7th rounder for 2010. For most people this might not be viewed as THAT unrealistic, but keep in mind that we Lions fans have had our team held hostage by a guy who never made it past the 3rd grade and eats his own poop. So for us, this trade is a blinding beacon of optomistic light.

Also remember that Randy Moss was traded to the Patriots for nearly nothing last year, so Roy garnering 1st and 3rd round picks + some bonus picks is incredible by comparison. That's not to say that the Cowboys foolishly gave up the farm, like I initially assumed (and this guy not only assumed but ran an entire column with), because Dallas already had some picks stockpiled and can essentially view this as a #1 pick on a Wide receiver. But if the Roy/T.O. marriage doesn't work out then I'll probably contradict myself by saying this is a horrible deal for the Cowboys.

In any event -- good job, interim GM Martin Mayhew, good job indeed.

October 14, 2008

Conked

Red Wings 3-1 Hurricanes


Nick Lidstrom led things off by making the Canes defense soil themselves. There was some confusion in the crowd after the goal as numerous Carolina fans turned to their neighbor to ask if shooting from beyond the two "big circle thingies" counted as a 3-pointer.


With the game tied at 1 in the 2nd period, Ty Conklin makes an absolutely rifuckulous save. (Puck Coloring™ is a registered trademark of The Triple Deke and may not be used without written concent and/or the supplying of a 25 dollar Bennigan's gift card.)


On the power play later in the 2nd, a beautiful one-touch pass from Hossa set up Homer for his third goal in as many games. 2-1 Wings.


Hank sealed it with his first of like a zillion goals on the season, making the final 3-1 Wings.


**********


Quote-worthiness

Bruce MacLeod ... "Ty Conklin got the job done, allowing just one goal. But he really overplayed most everything and was out of position several times."

Very interesting take. The casual eye tells you that Conk allowed 1 goal and had 27 saves, including one mind-blowing stop, and he looked pretty outstanding. Then MacLeod's observations make you think about something else entirely. My biggest fear is that one day this blog will become so pointless that all I do is quote MacLeod's work and babble about it like a deranged psychopath, which would earn us the crown of the most frivolous waste of web space on the Internet (right now we're sitting in 37th place, which is right between a site where you guess people's ages and the Wiki page of the dad from ALF.)


More Conklin, from Michael Caples ... "Terrific could possibly be an understatement when describing how new goaltender Ty Conklin looked between the pipes ... Conklin showed that he can handle the difficulties presented while playing in goal with the Red Wings – meaning that he can keep focused when he doesn’t see shots for several minutes, and then face a flurry in an instant."

More Caples, on Lidstrom ... "On a 5-on-3, Lidstrom interrupted the Hurricanes drive into the Detroit end three times in a row, stealing pucks and interrupting dump-ins, and on the third attempt actually drew a penalty on Brind’amour, thus negating the powerplay."


Mike Babcock on Hudler/Samuelsson line shakeups ... "I don't know if I didn't like what was going on with either one of them, so I just flipped them around. I don't know what I'm going to do ... I like the Hossa, Homer, Datsyuk line. I haven't been as crazy about Z's line since exhibition."

Line 1A = solid last two games. Line 1B isn't up to Babcockian standards though .. the Mule had two goals against Ottawa and the coach still managed to remark about how he didn't like the way he was playing.


**********


Sucking

Your Chicago Blackhawks, now 0-3.


**********


Not Sucking

NY Rangers, 5-0??


**********


Sucking, again

Us, for not ridding the scroll on the bottom yet, and not settling on a new layout. It shall be done soon. Or not for a while, rendering this sentence moot.

October 10, 2008

Everyone is pissed at Def Leppard

Alfredsson a no-go for the Wings/Sens game. But that's not the big news.

**********

Search any number of hockey blogs or general sports sites today and you'll see Def Leppard committing the most heinous crime ever captured on television.


Even if you've never seen the Stanley Cup, how can you think that this is the way you set the fucking thing down. It's got a fat ass base with that rubbery black thing on the bottom. Yeah, the BOTTOM, you ass wipes. And, it's got a bowl on top... usually those things point up. I'd like to see how this cock-bag eats his cereal.

If the Wings happen to not win the cup for like another 90 years or something, we'll look back upon this moment as the Def Leppard Curse -- the year that the dipshit band soiled the Red Wings 2008 Cup defense by desecrating on decades of hockey history in one swoop of unscrupulous idiocy.

October 9, 2008

Opening Night: Red Wings vs. Leafs

Red Wings 2-3 Maple Leafs
**********

Last time we were here the crowd was in a rabid state that hadn't been seen for some 5 or 6 years. Tonight started with a similar feel with the raising of the Stanley Cup championship banner. Then the Wings kinda sleepwalked through the opening night of the NHL season. Hangover? Okay, let's not go there yet, it's one game. Still disappointing though.


FIRST PERIOD
  • Trouble getting the puck out of the zone early. Looked like there was some evident rust or something.
  • Hossa's speed drew the first power play of the season, this coming after Homer sacrificed his life to get the puck out the zone before getting annihilated.
  • Samuelsson manning the point on PP. I wonder how long until Brad Stuart get's a shot at it. Real bad first power play for the team, btw, no movement at all.
  • Filppula: very tenacious on the defense against the puck carrier. Best Wing player through first 7 minutes, one of the only ones taking the action to the Leafs.
  • It took 10 minutes before some sustained offense took place. Led by Fil, the 3rd line was the best through this time period. And man, Dan Cleary has a canon for a shot -- had one power through Toskala's right leg and just go outside the post.
  • Zetterberg watch: looked bottled up at times, just throwing the puck to the middle and not getting a chance to carve out space on the ice for himself.
  • Leafs first goal: unmarked Kubina came down the middle from the blue line, Osgood caught off guard while sweeping it away, and the Leaf fans make some noise. Osgood with the complete give-away on that one.

SECOND PERIOD
  • Leafs beating out the Wings to some pucks early in the period. Good play by them in the center ice area. Jamal Mayers was untouched walking down the middle and nearly deflected a puck home.
  • 3rd line still doing the most buzzing around the net ... Cleary nearly snuck one around Toskala's skate while he bobbled a rebound.
  • Osgood with another huge misplay, miscommunication with defenseman Stuart, who is not having one of his best games.
  • I'm going to try to not complain about penalties this season because it seems childish. So I'm not going to say anything about Stuart getting called for "cross checking", an infraction that was less physical than a Christmas Day hug between my two grandmothers.
  • The ensuing power play results in a 2-0 lead for the Leafs. Kronwall failed to clear the net-front area and a pinball shot led to a rebound and then a goal. Kronner is also not having one of his better games.
  • 16 minutes into this period: absolutely nothing is happening. Nobody taking it to the net, centering passes finding nobody and an overall lack of intensity put the Wings behind.
  • Wings score, 2-1 Leafs. Homer -- in front of the net -- takes a blind wack at a lose puck with his back to Toskala and it finds it's way in.

THIRD PERIOD
  • Dan Cleary give-away: 3-1 Leafs. This is a crap game to this point.
  • If you're not too tired of TBS still promoting the shit out of Frank TV, flip on over to Versus and watch them shove Sports Soup down your throat.
  • Homer with another garbage goal, 3-2 Leafs. Homer has worked harder than anybody else to this point.
  • Continuous turnovers, icing the puck late in the 3rd not a good sign of how things are going.
  • Kudos Ron Wilson. Neutral zone was clogged as hell, guys still putting forth more effort than the Wings.
  • Sammy had a golden oppotunity with about 2:30 left but couldn't lift the puck over Toskala's left pad. If he gets it up at all, it's in. (That's what she s ... okay I'm not going there.)
  • Hossa doesn't always look like he's in top gear, but his hands always are. He can be stand still and make something out of pretty much nothing.
  • Wings got a PP with about 30 seconds to go ... Hossa walked down the middle waiting for a centering feed, but with his lefty shot he was tied up and got nothing out of it. Wings lose, 3-2.

Final thoughts
  • This did not look like a typical Red Wings game at all. The passing was terribly subpar compared to what we know they can do.
  • Holy shit, Brian Engblom got a haircut.
  • Giveaways: Wings 19 (!!!), Leafs 5. What in the hell.
  • Credit the Leafs and Ron Wilson for having his boys ready to go. They played a great defensive game and looked much more prepared than the Wings did.
  • Also credit the Leaf fans, who seemed to make up like half the fucking arena tonight.
  • Where was Jiri Hudler? Did he get off the bus for this one?
  • Dan Cleary had a good game and led the way with 5 shots on goal but his turnover proved to be the difference.

Pointless NHL Predictions

I didn't get to every Wing player like I had hoped on the preview thing. Not even close. But on the eve of the NHL's opening night (fuck Europe), I wanted to make sure I got this overtly pointless forecast of the hockey season out of the way so that we can have something to look back on and laugh about in the spring. Oh, you don't think we'll laugh? I'm the same asshole that picked the White Sox and Twins to finish 4th and 5th in the A.L. Central this year, thought Edgar Renteria was a great addition and that Justin Verlander was a lock for the Cy Young. We're laughing now, alright. We've gone manic-depressive over it, but we're laughing.

Next to Top 10's, my favorite guilty pleasure that the Internet has given us sports fans is preseason predictions. Don't know why, can't really explain it. So here's one now.

**********

EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS

#8 ~ Boston Bruins

Meh ... somebody's gotta sneak in. Maybe this is the year that Brodeur spontaneously combusts in Jersey around game #70 and the Devils fall out of the playoff picture.


#7 ~ Ottawa Senators

This will be the year that they miss the postseason ... but I'm too much of a ninny to say that in all seriousness. Oh, and good luck with the whole Martin Gerber thing.


#6 ~ Buffalo Sabres

They're not missing the playoffs two straight years. Ryan Miller bounces back in goal, and ditto for Maxim Afinogenov, who will decide to not hit the snooze on this upcoming season.


#5 ~ New York Rangers

Subtracted Jagr, Avery and Shanny and added Naslund, Zherdev and Redden. A good enough supporting cast and a fantastic netminder will put the Rangers at no worse than 3rd in the Atlantic.


#4 ~ Pittsburgh Penguins

Far too much dirt was thrown on the Penguins after they lost Hossa and like half of their roster to the Lightning. Any talk about them missing the playoffs is beyond ridiculous. The Satan/Fedotenko additions will suffice, M.A.F. is the shit, and, as much as we make fun of him, Malkin is an offensive monster. Only thing keeping me from putting them first is the extended absence of Gonchar and Whitney.


#3 ~ Washington Capitals

God this division sucks: Boo to Carolina. Same to hopeless Atlanta. The Lightning are relying on a coach who's still riding the cred from his 1993 Gretzkey team. The Panthers ... I almost said fuck it and put them 8th. Not that anybody is saying they won't, but if the Caps don't win the division this year it will stick with Ovechkin for longer than the duration of his 34 year contract.


#2 ~ Philadelphia Flyers

Holy forward depth. Then again, the rest of the parts could let them down and they could drop considerably.


#1 ~ Montreal Canadiens

Clearly the addition of the great Robert Lang puts them on top in the East this year.


QUARTERFINALS
Canadiens over Bruins
Flyers over Senators
Sabres over Capitals
Penguins over Rangers

SEMIFINALS
Sabres over Canadiens
Penguins over Flyers

CONFERENCE FINAL
Penguins over Sabres

**********

WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFF TEAMS

#8 ~ Phoenix Coyotes

What?


#7 ~ Nashville Predators

Just a hunch: Hawks won't be able to get over the hump and the Preds will find a way to make the playoffs again. Then, demorilized after the league turns down their petition to add a loser's bracket to the playoff format, they will forfeit the franchise.


#6 ~ Calgary Flames

I can't make up my mind whether I'm terrified of playing this team in the playoffs or completely terrified. Kipper has fallen off a bit, though.


#5 ~ Anaheim Ducks

Oh, Selanne and Niedermayer for a whole season this go-around, eh? Still a solid squad. Pronger losing the "C" is good for 2-3 wins by itself.


#4 ~ San Jose Sharks

They won't get be able to get that monkey off their back for at least another year. Keep on truckin'.


#3 ~ Edmonton Oilers

YES, the Oilers ... Minnesota has a down year and the young guns of Edmonton lead the way to a division crown, as well as a classic battle of Alberta in the first round.


#2 ~ Dallas Stars

They've got a lot of the necessary tools to win it all. And Mike Ribeiro is a douche bag.


#1 ~ Detroit Red Wings

The talent level on this team is fucking stupid. Conventional wisdom would say that anything less than Cup #12 would be a disappointment this year. But that doesn't sound like any fun. I don't want to take this shit for granted, having a stellar hockey team. I want to enjoy each and every game this season without having to worry about whether we can crack 60 wins or not, whether Zetterberg hits the 50 goal mark or whether Hossa is as good as he can be. I'm just glad the wait for the season is nearly over. I want to watch hockey again, and, just like any other year, I plan on taking advantage of every opportunity I have this year to watch the Wings. If it's the best season in Red Wings history, that's cool. If not, we'll have to deal with it. I just want to see this squad in action already.

But if they don't win the Cup, so help me God ...


QUARTERFINALS
Red Wings over Coyotes
Stars over Predators
Flames over Oilers
Ducks over Sharks

SEMIFINALS
Red Wings over Flames
Ducks over Stars

CONFERENCE FINALS
Red Wings over Ducks


***** STANLEY CUP FINALS
*****

Red Wings over Penguins




October 2, 2008

Cheli gone 3-6 weeks

OK, so perhaps it's more than a bruise.


"It is likely that either Kyle Quincey or Derek Meech will start the season with the Wings to fill the hole created by Chelios injury."
(TSN)


I'm wondering if this is an educated guess or what ... nothing else was said and I haven't read anything anywhere yet indicating who the main replacement would be. TTD votes a Meech/Ericsson platoon.

Ken Holland speaks about how this will change things.


"You guys have to speculate on who'll be on our roster," said Holland. "But we can't tell you much. We don't even know ourselves right now." (via Bruce MacLeod)


I imagine that when Holland's wife calls him about when he'll be home for dinner she gets a recording of Ken saying "It's just too soon to tell."

Back to my bed of pins and needles.

October 1, 2008

A Day in the Life of Jimmy

I was bored one afternoon a month or two ago and thought to myself... what would a day in the life of manager Jim Leyland be like. After some extensive research I present you with a 100% accurate tale of a day in his shoes.

I should have posted this long ago but I'm lazy and figured now is as good of a time as any with the playoffs today and no Tigers to be seen. (if it's hard to read you can click to enlarge each section)








Wings/Habs quick thoughts

Red Wings 1-2 Canadiens (SO)

  • Darren Helm needs to be on this team. Just from what I've read around the Wing-o-sphere this morning, I gather that everybody is seeing the same thing. Dude wants it bad. In one spot last night he lost the puck in the offensive zone, chased after the thief who stole it and ripped it back from him, which led to a rush the other way for the Wings. And he does shit like this nearly every time he hits the ice.
  • Marian Hossa doesn't appear to be a fan of the preseason. Looked like he was only going about 70% ... as the game wore on his desire to play defense was noticeably lacking.
  • Chris Chelios took a wicked shot off his leg and was hobbling around pretty badly. It didn't look good but luckily it's just a bone bruise. I bet he drinks a lot of milk or something.
  • Game was pretty exciting as far as exhibition goes. Montreal crowd was on fire as usual (Hossa got booed ... the treatment this guy is getting from other teams' fans is just insane).
  • Jimmy Howard was really solid: 26 saves on 27 shots. Then he lost his second shootout of the preseason.
  • Oh, Robert Lang ...