April 15, 2009

Red Wings playoff anti-preview: The All-Nemesis/All-Goat teams

We don't have any fancy Blue Jackets knowledge to drop on you. No stats, no depressing Rick Nash soliloquy, no Steve Mason voodoo shit.

Instead, we're harking back upon the nightmarish past of previous Red Wings' playoff failures. Sure they've won four Cups in our lifetimes. But that hasn't exempted us from bouts of sickening anguish -- not in the slightest.

The Triple Deke brain trust has conspired with Cam Kittle from When Cameron Was In Egypt's Land to bring you: the All-Nemesis Team, and the All-Goat Team (Like our Top 10 Red Wing Games, this is limited to the era that we have actually seen). It started as our idea, but Cam (The Wing-o-sphere's "Prince of Prose" ... our words, not his) took it to another level, and for that reason we're keeping his teams intact for the most part and just chipping in with petty comments. Without further adu, enjoy.


The All-Nemesis Team:
G - J.S. Giguere '03

Cam: There's really no one else who can fill this spot. I refuse to fill it with Patrick Roy because a) I hate him, b) the Wings once scored nine goals on him and c) he reeeally didn't steal any whole series from the Wings like this Lucky Duck did. The Wings have been swept only six times since 1950, and the 2002-03 loss to Anaheim was one of them. Giguere was the reason. The only reason, really. I was so tempted to put "Marc-Andre Fluery '08 (Game 5 only)" in this spot just because of how personally violated I felt after leaving the Joe at 1 a.m. that night and having to fly home out $800 bucks without seeing the Wings hoist the Cup. But they won two nights later...sooo that takes some of the sting away. Giguere takes it.

Tyler: Giguere, simply, is the only posible answer. The Wings have faced Patrick Roy the most times (five in all, 3 series wins and 2 losses), but it's hard to make him a first string nemesis after the Statue of Choad and the ensuing 7-0 blowout in 2002. Roy was essentially Red Wings' property after those games. Giguere on the other hand single handedly swept the defending champions in 2003 (one of the most confusing times of my sports-watching life ... I just couldn't comprehend that the Wings could go winless in a playoff series. It literally wasn't until the Ducks scored the OT series winner in Game 4 that I stopped believing the Wings would win that series. And for an encore? 2007 -- just a horrible, horrible series that I can't barely bring myself to talk about. Yet.

D - Scott Stevens '95

Cam: I've never liked him. I think he's a dirty player who threw his arms up and got away with a bunch of calls. But to make this list, he had to hurt the Wings in the playoffs. Try 1995 on for size. The Wings should have won four straight cups from '95-'99 in my opinion, but this hit
turned everything around and knocked off any momentum the heavily favored Wings had at the time. Damn. It didn't matter that much because I became an obsessed fan during that playoff run, but it hurts a little in retrospect.

Tyler: That hit was catastrophic, I thought Kozlov was dead. Stevens was an assassin on the blue line, and because I'm still scarred by how handily the Devils won in '95, he gets the nod. He finished with 8 points in 20 games that postseason, but that hit was worth at least 15 "We're Fucked"s. Yeah, it's a stat.

D - Chris Pronger '06, '07

Cam: Sasquatch: the affectionate name many of us A2Y fans have come to love calling Pronger. He gets that title for a reason. He has no brain, he's an overall asshole and he just skates around trying to cheap shot anyone he can. The only problem: he's a menace to the Wings. While his Ducks have been losing feathers for the past couple years, his year as an Oiler when he upset the top-seeded Wings was painful and the following year as a Duck when the Wings went down in the West Finals was heartbreaking. So, hate him or loathe him, he makes the list.

Tyler: A rather easy yet necessary selection. Cam hits the finer points of Pronger's character, so here's some statistical backup: In 2006, as an Oiler versus the Wings in Round 1, he had two goals and four assists in six games -- including a three assist performance in that disheartening Game 5 at the Joe. In 2007 as a Duck, he added three more assists in five games (t'was a six game series, as you recall ... he was suspended a game for the previously linked cheapshot. His awesome leadership on full display once again.)

RW - Claude Lemieux '95, '96

Cam: It's not possible to make an all-nemesis list without this "human being." I put that in quotes because I question how any person could commit the offenses he has and still be considered "human." He's a menace to society and a menace to hockey. And while that's certainly an exaggeration, he was at least a menace to the Wings. I hate him more than any player ever, if you remember my post from a year ago, and he was a key part in the 1995 and 1996 playoff heartbreaks to the Devils and Avs. Some of it might be forgotten if the Wings play the Sharks and Kronner drops the gray-haired Lemieux for a career-ending concussion, but his hit on Draper will never be forgiven.

Tyler: Claude Lemieux drinks his own sperm.

LW - Adam Deadmarsh '96, '99, '00, '01

Cam: The name just sends shivers down my spine. Deadmarsh. He scored so many timely goals while he was on the Avalanche and then again when he was traded to the Kings and they upset the Wings in the first round in 2001. The worst part: he's not even that good! The guy sucks most of the year, is an average ice-eater in the playoffs against any random team but somehow buries Detroit whenever he sees that winged wheel. Annoying.

Tyler: What an annoying little shit. As a King in 2001, he had 3 goals and 2 assists in the final three games of that dispicable first round series against the Wings -- including the overtime winner that sent Ozzie packing (for a while, anyway). For his Avalanche days: 5 points and a +4 in five games in 2000. 4 goals, 3 assists, +8 in six games in 1999. And as for '96 and '97, well, it's a total bitch finding box scores or game logs past 1998 for some reason. Frankly if somebody knows how to find this shit, I'd like to know. Honestly. This is probably Adam Deadmarsh's fault -- he ruins everything.

C - Peter Forsberg '96, '99, '00

Cam: Forsberg...ohh Forsberg. For a period, there was no one more talented in the league. He could score at will against the Wings, and certainly against Osgood. I don't know what it was, but Forberg could beat Ozzie with a blindfold and without a stick. I was never more scared of any player than I was of Forsberg in the late '90s and early '00s. He was just that good. That is...until the injury bug finally got to him. I guess the lockout
was good for something.

Tyler: Arguably the greatest Red Wing killer of my lifetime. He always, always came up huge against us. And God that pissed me off. Once again I'm limited to '99, '00 and '02 for stats, but for that time period, he had 10 goals and 13 assists in 18 playoff games against the Wings. And on top of everything, he looks like a serial rapist.


The All-Goat Team
G - Manny Legace '06

Cam: While Manny gets too much blame for the team loss against the Oilers in the first round of '06, he was not ready to be the starting playoff goalie for the Detroit Red Wings. He just wasn't. The team played bad and Dwayne Roloson was incredible, but I honestly think the team would have won with someone else in net. His mental demons got a hold of him and screwed the Wings for the series. I will say that Osgood in 1996 and 2001 was an honorable mention for this spot, but he'll be our playoff goalie this year and I can't be giving off any negative vibes right before the postseason.

Tyler: Ditto on the Ozzie thing. I'm not going there. So that said, there is no other choice aside from Manny Legace. He finished the 2006 first round debacle with a 2.65 GAA and .884 save %, which isn't terrible, but because we lost to Dwayne Roloson, Chris Pronger and an 8th seed, coming of a 58 win regular season, in Steve Yzerman's last year ....... I fucking hate hockey.

D - Andreas Lilja '07

Cam: You might notice that the picture above doesn't have Lilja in it. It shows Lebda and a sprawled Hasek next to Teemu Selanne right after his overtime goal sent the Ducks to a 3-2 series lead back to Anaheim in the '07 Western Conference Finals. But the whole play only happened because Lilja gave the puck away. Right to Selanne. I've never seen anything worse in the playoffs from a Wings defenseman, save the time when Paul Coffey scored on his own net in the '96 West Finals. And as good as Lilja has been this year, I can't take him out of this spot.

Tyler: This is pretty cut-throat, but you cannot leave Lilja off of an All-Goat team, even if it's for this one play. His fuck-up and Selanne's subsequent roof-job felt like a knife to the stomach. I will never, ever, get over Game 5 of the 2007 Western Conference Finals. We should've won the Stanley Cup that year. A turd shot ties the game with a minute left, Lilja trips over his ball sack, Selanne finishes, and then I'm left debating with myself whether to go with the noose or the Tylenol PM/Benadryl cocktail.

D - Mathieu Schneider '03

Cam: Not much reason behind this pick. I'm bitter that he left the Wings because I liked him, especially for the damn Ducks, and I'm able to justify his place here because of his invisibility in the '03 playoffs. I was so pumped that year. He was a great pickup at the trade deadline, but then was a -4, had zero points and took three penalties in the Ducks' sweep of the Wings. I'm really stretching the stats to fit my argument there, since no Wing had a good series that year, but Schnieder certainly didn't help.

Tyler: I'll go with Paul Coffey. Not only because of his own goal as mentioned above (and how in the shit is there not video of this??? I searched for 10 minutes and found nothing), but because of the trade that sent him and a certain other goat in exchange for that one guy, which of course led to two Stanley Cups. Anytime you're apart of the team's biggest transaction and it directly leads to that team winning a championship, you have certifiable goat DNA.

RW - Todd Bertuzzi '07

Cam: The 'Tuz is the sole black mark on Kenny Holland's nearly perfect GM resume. I hate him for that. The Wings picked him up and lost Shawn Matthias to get him at the deadline from Florida. Matthias hasn't done anything of note yet, but he's a great prospect lost nonetheless. And after playing less than five regular season games, Bertuzzi did nothing in the playoffs and then jumped ship to those damned Ducks right after the West Finals loss. As Yoda would say, "A disgrace to the logo, he is."

Tyler: Bertuzzi did absolutely nothing except waste a space in the Wings' locker room. Okay, he had 3 goals and 4 assists in 18 games and he was banged up ....... wait, why am I defending this guy? One of the most annoying things that I see in sports is media people or (gasp) bloggers question the toughness of player injuries, but fuck it, Bertuzzi is an exeption. Holland took a chance on him becuase the Wings needed a pinch of size and grit, and then Bert had every ailment known to man during that roller coaster 2007 playoff ride. Oh, and the next year he jumped ship to the Ducks like Schneider, which is morally reprehensible.

LW - Shawn Burr '95

Cam: Wow I'm stretching this. There just aren't that many ex-Wings or Wings that I dislike. There are some (look above), but not that many. So, simply because Shawn Burr was a bust as the Wings' first round pick in 1984 at seventh overall and did nothing in their Stanley Cup Finals loss to the Devils (did he even play?), he gets a place on the All-Goat team. I almost put Mikael Samuelsson right here because he ceaselessly misses the net and rarely scores, but again, he's on the current roster and I'm a bit of a pansy so I don't to root against him right before playoff time.

Tyler: I was thinking Sammy as well because he's just so damn goofy on the ice, and many of us haven't quite come to terms with Babcock's fascination with putting him at the point on the power play, and the fact that he's murdered 18 people in the last three years with wayward slapshots. But in the end, to make this team you either have to be a significant player who didn't produce, or you have to be known for a serious gaffe. And Sammy doesn't fit either of those two things. So who to pick then? While he isn't a natural winger, I can't let an All-Goat team pass without at least discussing Robert Lang. In his three year stay in Detroit, he teased us with his skill, often times leaving us questioning if we had seen his very best. Not always, but sometimes. In '06 he actually had a good series, going 3G-3A in six games. But the next postseason saw him score all of two goals in 18 games, and after that, the team cut ties with him for not getting enough bang for the buck.

C - Keith Primeau '90 - '96

Cam: I couldn't really come up with anything here. (Jason) Williams came to mind because he never did very much with the Wings and he's been great everywhere else. He didn't get as much playing time as he could have someplace else because the Wings were just too good, so he might not be really worthy of this spot. He is a current Blue Jacket though, so I will be heavily rooting for his demise soon anyway. Fedorov in '03 was another possibility, but I like Fed too much to put him anywhere on an All-Goat list. I still miss him.

Tyler: The #3 overall pick in the 1990 NHL Draft -- Keith Primeau. 64 career postseason games in a Wing uniform ... 6 goals. This of course includes an abismal performance in the 1996 playoffs (1 goal in 17 games, and it was an empty netter) after previously establishing himself as a regular season point-producer. He was a human vacuum of suck-i-tude that year. Keith never amounted to what the Red Wings needed him to be, and along with Paul Coffey he was sent to Hartford, and our prayers were answered in the form of the much less goat-y and far more clutch-y Brendan Shanahan.


Osrt said...

Shawn Burr definitely makes the list. He accidentally ran into Federov and hurt him in either 95 or 96, just when Feds was really flying out there. In the 95 finals, he gets tangled up behind the New Jersey net with Scott Neidermeyer (sp?), Scott loses his stick but Burr hands it back to him. Scott then Beats Burr down the ice becoming the late man, takes a pace and beats Vernie. Awesome. Fuchin tool.

The only reason I remember that last one was because Cherry pointed it out as a WTF moment. You're in the freakin Finals and getting your ass kicked. That is not a time to play nice.

Fuchin tool box.

Anonymous said...

I think Lilja sucks. He's given the puck away countless times and for his size he can't cover a beach ball in front of our net. He routinely gets beaten with or without the puck and does not have good hockey sense.

I think Sammy deserves more credit. I feel more comfortable when he has the puck than most of the wings team. Sure he misses the net but he adds more value than most in puck possesion, keeping the play in the offensive zone or stick handling/skating out of trouble.

I can't stand Draper this year and the last several. he should be on the goat list. He's a pretty decent face off guy but talk about defensive and offensive skills going to shit. He has zero puck handling skills, can't catch a pass and just spins his wheels out there with nothing to show for it each shit. And talk about not covering up in your own zone.

Anonymous said...

So, why can't the Wings sell out the Joe for the first round? Word in Columbus is that the big wigs in Detroit have offered Jackets Backers a discount to come to the Joe rather than offer the same discounts to Wings fans and the Detroit metro in general. If I were a Wings fan, I'd be pissed! But money is money, whether it comes from Michigan or Ohio is irrelevant.

Kurt said...

The Claude Lemieux sperm comment almost made me aerate my popcorn and Dew. Great stuff, guys.

Also, I tend to agree with the previous post about Sammy. He can have a shotgun effect to his shots, but at least he puts the puck near the net. Always a chance for that wayward bounce off the boards, or a deflection.

Tyler said...

@ Osrt, excellent point. I had forgotten about that.

@ Anonymous Ticket Inquirer: it almost feels cliche to say anything with the word "economy" in it, so yeah, whatever. Search Detroit news and you'll know. Do other people know what the unemployment rate is in Detroit? It's fucking 25%; every fourth person is jobless.

And for anybody pulling the "Tigers/Pistons don't have a problem selling tickets card": A) those are two of America's three most popular sports, and B) those teams haven't been insanely consistent/perennial playoff contenders since the Civil War like the Wings. So with people scraping together pennies not just in Detroit but Michigan in general, they're not going to throw their lives away on a first round game against the Blue Jackets. That sounds more like logic than complacency to me, I don't know.

On top of everything -- there are boatloads of Wing fans across the country, not as bandwagon jumpers, but as transplants who are from the state. They aren't going to fly back for a first rounder if the team is expected to win the Cup ... they're going to wait until they get deep into the playoffs.

All in all this a depressing topic that I always swear off talking about but end up ranting on, so I'm going to stop now.

Anonymous said...

i nominate tim cheveldae and bill ranford for the goat list...not forgetting that ranford was another of the rare kenny holland mistakes

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping that Lemieux and Bertuzzi are roommates in Hell.


Anonymous said...

Hey! When your in the playoffs so often, your going to have just that many more opportunities to have 'goat' players. The Red Wings have made the playoffs avery year for almost the last 20 years, that's a lot of chances to mess up, and a lot of chances to win it all, which they have. 4 times in 12 years. Time to make it 5 times!