Bruce MacLeod momentarily broke away from the Jedi mind control of his employer to write about the Red Wings. Today he threw up a bunch of stats on the Wings' start to the season. You could probably guess how this graphic would look before seeing it:
Obviously these numbers have to (and will) turn upside down in the coming weeks, but like many others have said, if the slow start to the season costs the Wings a valuable playoff seed, then games like Saturday night will look even worse. Yes, I'm talking about losing the Central to the Hawks, a notion that some Wings fans were unwilling to even contemplate before the season began. Oh shit -- that was me.
Losing the 5-on-5 battle is not something that we're accustomed to seeing. The Wings have finished among the top five teams with their even strength goals/goals against ratio every year this decade. In Babcock's four full years, they've finished 1st, 1st, 1st, and 2nd since 2005-06. That's a phenomenal level of consistency. Right now they look really average and the power play has saved their asses.
One of my favorite new reads is The Scrappy Octopus. I hope that this is the type of content that will be shared for the duration of its existence:
I thought I would share something that was so funny, it made me spit out my pumpkin latte onto my desk, sent to me by Brian, courtesy of Deadspin. Enjoy.
Kyle Dennis, a math teacher and boys basketball coach in Boise, is in trouble for giving us one of the best police reports in recent memory:
Dennis "knowingly engaged in obscene conduct...by manipulating his penis with his hands while walking around a Costco store with an erection."
Despite that "knowingly," I might be willing to cut him a little slack here. Who among us can see the amazing deals on bulk pricing and not get at least semi-chubby?
(Obligatory "it's still early" caveat) ..... But honestly. Look at this shit.
How long can the Avs stay this hot? Hopefully not too much longer because I don't want to regret "selling high" on Craig Anderson in my fantasy league. Enter Kent at Five Hole Fanatics:
The Avs are looking real good right now, but it isn't going to last. They have a terrible shot differential, a 935 SV% and a team SH% of about 14. Both percentages are unsustainable (although I think Anderson is the real deal) and once one or both fall back down to earth, the Avs will too. They're roster is really, really young to boot and will probably hit a wall half way through the season. Best in NW right now, perhaps, but my bet is they still finish last.
Sounds reasonable enough. What about Bruins?
Most writers in this corner of the web could have called the Bruins decline. not only did they lose a number of decent players this summer (Ward, Kessel, Yelle), much of their success last year was derived from out of this world percentages. The regression was inevitable, which is why I picked them to be a middling club in the EC this season.
Exactly what my gut feeling was before the season started -- before going against it and picking them to make the Finals. (Speaking of predictions, let's never mention the Minnesota Wild ever again.) And the Wings' next opponent?
I know. I can't believe it either. I've seen the Coyotes play a couple of times this year and they look...good. It's a foreign feeling. They are currently 5th in the league in terms of SA/G (26.7) and they have a positive shot differential. Tippett is the real deal and the club actually has some strength down the middle in Hanzal, Lombardi, Lang and Mueller. Doan is, of course, excellent while Michalek and Sauer are underrated, good value players. Bryzgalov and Labarbera are a good bet to prove better than average goaltending as well. I doubt they'll continue to lead their division much longer, but be prepared for them not to suck for the remainder of the year.
And finally, I overlooked the fact that our last post was our 400th. (Cue music.) There are too many people that I have to thank for reaching this unbelievably irrelevant milestone.
First off, I'd like to thank my lord and savior Stephen Gregory Yzerman. Big thanks goes to whoever it was that invented the quesadilla maker -- and while I'm at it, colby jack cheese and Frank's Red Hot. Thanks to Daryl Blogger for taking a chance on me when guys like Michael Wordpress told me to fuck off earlier in my career. But the biggest thank-you needs to go to my homework, which inspires me daily to stay on the Internet for about 2 1/2 hours longer than I should and is the lifeforce behind this blog. Thanks to the both of you reading out there, and Yzerman bless.