May 30, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1 pregame


It's the Finals.  This means, of course, that it's business time.





MacLeod has the word from Babcock:  "Datsyuk and Draper aren't playing Game 1.  Lidstrom and Ericsson will."  Well, that'll make you limp.  


Franzen-Zetterberg-Hudler 
Cleary-Filppula-Hossa
Holmstrom-Helm-Samuelsson 
Leino-Abdelkader-Maltby


Bruce also knows this:  The Ericsson/Lebda pairing will be all over Jordan Staal's junk.  Don't question how he knows this, just roll with it.


The Wings will go with these pairings tonight ...

Lidstrom-Rafalski
Kronwall-Stuart
Ericsson-Lebda


If Pavel isn't ready by now, 24 more hours likely won't make a difference.  So it's probably safe to bet that he's not going to be in Game 2.

Fuck.


::::::::::



"It's not something I want to go through again," center Jordan Staal said. "I can't say I can really describe it. It was one of the hardest moments of my life, so far.

It's a deep blow that no one wants to go through. I don't know if I'm over it yet. It's still there, at times. It's always still a bitter feeling."

Heavy.

For anyone thinking that the Pens are the same team as last year:  You're out of your mind.  It's going to feel like we're trying to kill Michael Meyers.


::::::::::


A great analysis from Tony at The Confluence.

Slow down the Detroit transition game.  This was the main facet of Detroit’s game that impressed me the most last year.  As soon as one of the Wings got possession of the puck, it was out of the zone, and quick.  It’s not easy to stop that, but you can slow it down by not having the defensemen constantly backing up on their heels.  But it’s that excellent transition game that quite often results in odd-man rushes.


::::::::::


Brent edited the banner up top and the side graphic thing with Emilio.  It's all hockey-all the time around these parts, officially.  Lick our balls, Lions.

***

This weekend we're dealing with a wedding, a graduation, and work.  We'll try to update when possible.


::::::::::


Between ugliness and threatening to kill people, no stone has been unturned.  This series could potentially break the Internet.  There's not much else to add, but it should be noted that Nannerpuss is getting a little help today from a special friend.



(we didn't make this)




May 29, 2009

Rest Easy



Lidstrom is a go for Game 1.

"I skated a little bit yesterday, skated today, felt fine, I'll be ready to go,'' Lidstrom said.


There as a little confusion about Big E's status.  At first Babcock himself said that he was certain to play, but Ericsson is now saying this:

"Yesterday I didn't feel good at all, very, very sore,'' Ericsson said. "I felt sick, too, as soon as I started walking around, really sick to my stomach, wanted to kind of puke. Didn't really eat anything the first 24 hours. Now it feels a lot better than yesterday.

"I'm going to try to skate in the morning, see how it feel,'' Ericsson said. "I don't think anything is 100 percent yet (as far as whether he can play).''


Pavel Datsyuk is obviously a favorite around these parts, but it's Lidstrom we're worried the most about.  If he's cleared to play, we'll immediately shift to wasting every second of our lives worrying about Pav.


::::::::::::::


Puck Daddy invited us to do a round table discussion of the Finals.  It's probably the only time that The Triple Deke and Paul Kukla will co-author anything ever.  We've officially been humbled.

This was TTD's contribution to the three-part questionnaire:


1)  Who will win and why --

TYLER: I picked the Wings over Pens in 7 games back in October. And because I'm a self-serving hack, I'm not going to let petty things like opinion or intuition possibly get in the way of my pathetic destiny. For all you know, I might think the Pens are going to win in 3. But my official prediction reads Detroit in 7.

If I was going to offer some rational insight, I'd say that the big guns will cancel each other out, and the Dan Cleary's and Darren Helm's of the world are going to be the difference. That's a roundabout way of avoiding the obligatory usage of the word "depth" -- a word that will bludgeon hockey fans over the head in Finals previews during the next two days.


2) Which Penguin scares you the most --

TYLER: In the final minute: Max Talbot(notes). Other than that: Sidney Crosby.
It would take me four lifetimes to properly convey how terrified I am of the words "Max" and "Talbot". What he did to Wings fans with 34.7 seconds in regulation of last year's Game 5 can only be described as genocide. He killed half of Michigan.

As for Sid, I'm obviously not trying to be edgy with this pick. We spend an unhealthy amount of time bashing the guy for whining and his, eh, fighting technique -- but if you've watched him the last month, you aren't exactly worried about him sneaking up on Zetterberg's taint (can you say "taint" on Yahoo?  If not the generic "ball" or "yam"bag is fine). He's competitive as hell, and he'd rather watch Michel Therrien play naked Twister with his mom than lose to the Wings again.

The 28 points are absurd. He's also a plus-12. But what seriously has me worried is the Crosby/Malkin/Gonchar power play monster. The Wings' PK woes have been well documented, and they'll face a gargantuan task in the Finals. Malkin leads the NHL with 12 power play points, Crosby is tied with him for the league lead in PP goals (5), and 9 of Gonchar's 12 points have come via the man advantage.
 

3) What do you think of Peguins fans --

TYLER: Pens fans don't seem all that different from Wings fans. They're bipedal, breathe oxygen, and have similar sleeping and dietary patterns. From what I've observed they are as passionate about their hockey as any fanbase in the NHL, which is respectable. If I saw one on the street though I'd slit their throat.

Stanley Cup Finals anti-preview


We've already proved that we're not into doing the typically massive, all-knowing preview.  We suck at those.  And yet, the jabronies at Blogger still demand that we pump out at least one post acknowledging the Wings/Pens series before it commences.

What follows are seven arbitrary comparisons that will ultimately ruin any shred of credibility we had to intelligently analyze hockey.  In other words, we're a step away from being this guy.


::::::::::::::::::


RED WINGS vs. PENGUINS




Humiliating Fights






The first video isn't as much of a "fight" as it is a wayward adventure in repressed homosexuality. But at least Crosby didn't have his skull caved in. Kopecky is out for the rest of the playoffs with a fractured orbital bone, which reportedly isn't bothering him, yet nonetheless he has to avoid contact in order to keep his eyesight.  His last game as a Red Wing was cut short due to a beating by a man named Francois.  That's pretty heavy.  And embarrassing.

Advantage: Pittsburgh

*****


Hatred


Who do fans hate more?  The Penguins hold the scorn of many fans because the league promotes the shit out of them, to the point where shit is literally dripping down Mario Lemieux's leg at all times.  The man wreaks of fecal matter. 

The Red Wings, on the other hand, are the fucking Red Wings.  To the lazy and mentally handicapped, they're the "Yankees of the NHL".  It's a preposterous argument that can be countered on a number of levels, but people still claim to hate them for it.  Some may choose to not make the connection, yet hate the Wings anyway because they win all the time, and that's annoying to them, or something.  Others hate Chris Osgood as though he's a pedophiliac rapist doubling as their child's kindergarten teacher.

In the end, judging by what we read, there's no way we believe that the majority of people are pulling for the Wings.  During the Wings/Ducks series -- the purest "good vs. evil" series we have ever seen -- a ton of people were pulling for the Ducks to win.  This made no sense.  Cheering for the Ducks to win is on par with cheering for toddlers to run out into freeway traffic.  And people still wanted this fucking team to win, despite the fact that they employ Chris Pronger, Corey Perry and about 12 other guys that have been convicted of serial dog sodomy.

Advantage (???):  Detroit

*****


Ugliness


There's nothing wrong with dudes pointing out other dudes who look good.  It's gay as hell -- but wrong?  Please.

One time on this blog somebody commented that we should do a list of who has the prettiest hair.  But prettiness doesn't get you anywhere in this league.  It's no coincidence then that some of the ugliest mother fuckers you've ever seen are also phenomenal hockey players.  Ugliness and hockey go together like Ken Hitchcock and cholesterol.  Ryan Smyth, Rod Brind'amour, and  of course Mike Ricci come to mind as some of the most repugnant people to ever walk this Earth, let alone play in the NHL.  



Jesus Christ.  Did Fedotenko stick his head in a bee hive?


Advantage:  Pittsburgh

*****


Humor





Fans are often drawn to things like this, where sports heroes are "humanized" and shown as relatable people.  It's why we like stories about goofy nicknames and team pranksters.  Obviously we worship their every move out on the ice, but it's still cool to see that they breathe the same air as us mere mortals.

The best part of this video is how it isn't contrived.  Datsyuk immediately starts to dance in his chair the second his phone rings.  Bernie's disbelief is genuine and hilarious.  The world is a better place because this video happened.

Pittsburgh's idea of humor is farting in each others' mouths.


Advantage:  Detroit

*****


Adversity


The Red Wings didn't lose back-to-back regulation games until January 17 and 20.  The worst part of their season was either the funk their PK was in (which has been negated by incredible 5-on-5 and 5-on-4 play), or this past week where injuries have crept up and taken out a handful of our best players.  This is a complete joke compared to what the Penguins have gone through.

 As recently as February 3rd, the Pens were only a game over .500.  It was readily apparent that things just weren't meant to be and they'd be golfing by April.  But with the exit of Michel Therrien, a healthy Gonchar and two of the world's best players stuffing the stat sheets, they've been on a torrid streak for nearly four months.  They've won 30 of their last 41 games.  Crosby and Malkin played about as good as humans can play hockey through the Eastern Conference Playoffs.  The Pens dealt with their own injuries, streaky scorers, and French coaches and have responded brilliantly.  So we're handing out the imaginary Deke points to them on this one.

Advantage:  Pittsburgh

*****


Beards



Advantage:  Detroit

*****


Encounters With Hot Women


Originally we were going to end this with a wives/girlfriends battle, but that stuff is surprisingly hard to find.  We kind of just assumed that it would be easy to find pictures of Jiri Hudler getting dry humped in a seedy nightclub.  It's probably for the better that that stuff isn't available though.

So instead, we're left with this:  In Pittsburgh's corner, we have Evgeni Malkin cooking with Igor Larionov's incomprehensibly hot daughter, Alyonka.  This may have been the best thing to happen to the Internet thus far in 2009.  The video is seven minutes of scintillating awkwardness and sexual tension, or as Wyshynski put it, "This is, perhaps, the first and unforgettable marriage between hockey celebrity and food porn. The music, the food, the playful flirting between the two ... you really can't take your eyes off the thing."

It can be said with no less than 60% certainty that, after the video, the two covered themselves in flour and had sex.  And Kris Letang probably filmed it.

But alas, this is Henrik Zetterberg's girlfriend:





Advantage:  Detroit


That puts the asinine Triple Deke score at 4-3 Red Wings.  Roughly translated this means that we have Detroit winning in 7 games.  Johan Franzen will win the Conn Smythe.  And we'll be forced into retirement when Tyler succumbs to the intensity of Game 7 and dies during the second period.

Go Wings.

May 28, 2009

Wait 'til next year

Western Conference Finals, Game 5
Red Wings 2-1 Blackhawks (OT)
**********


At 3:58 of the 4th period, Darren Helm effectively prolonged Chicago's Cup-less drought to at least year #49.  He did what Slava Kozlov did in 1995 to the Hawks, in the same round, in the same game, with the same score heading into OT.  Along with his shorthanded shift in the 2nd period, his Game 5 performance was borderline orgasmic.

Osgood looked elite in goal, playing one of the better games of his career.  That's just a fact.  Under the circumstances, with the Selke nominee and greatest defenseman of all time scratched, he played about as good of a game as he could.  He was a well-placed backhander away from perfection.  It should be noted that he didn't score any goals and had a bad regular season, so he still sucks ass.

Marian Hossa was physically dominant despite not scoring.  He looks relatively healthy.  After a particularly speedy rush from center ice to the net, the two of us wondered what a race between he and Darren Helm would look like.  It's not a given that Helm is the fastest Wing.  Hos looks like a bull on skates with that powerful stride and humongous ring through his nose.

Zetterberg led like a future captain, and Brett Lebda really stepped up when he was needed.  Brad Stuart is sacrificing dozens of games off his career total with the effort he's giving in these playoffs.  Brian Rafalski -- who at the beginning of the year we complained wasn't being responsible enough in his own end -- has more than made up for that over the last month.  And get ready for this (unless you comment under the name Cmk and you already know) --  Valterri Filppula?  Leading the team in assists (13), and that's four more than anybody else on the team.  He's taken a definitive "leap".

It hasn't been 24 hours yet and some people are already writing off the Wings chances because of their injuries.  Who knows; in two week's time, this could be correct.  We're not guaranteeing anything. But for all the bitching that every one of us did during the regular season, wondering when this team would string together a slew of potential-fulfilling games, the last two games have been incredible to watch.  This isn't limited to just the Wings, but the way each and every player has stepped up shows you why there is nothing better on this planet than the Stanley Cup playoffs.  They could very well lose this series, but it won't be for lack of trying.  The Pens are going to have to bite, kick, scratch, punch, elbow and claw away at the grip the Wings have on the Cup.  We can now say with ultimate confidence that win or lose, we'll be as proud of the way this team has played as any of the four Cup-winning squads of the last 12 years.


17 Minutes of Hell


Oh my God.


Tomorrow.

Words.  Punctuation.  Flimythadonakdaf.


May 27, 2009

Facepalm: Pittsburgh



Noooooooooooo!!


::::::::::


I get the sense that a lot of you don't like the Penguins.  The comments I read on other Wing sites ... man, you fuckers are vicious.  You can't stand this team, their fans, or the perceived love affair that the Commish has with Sidney Crosby's penis.  Even my hetero cohort Brent hates the Pens, and he's a relatively friendly guy (one time he offered to make me a pork tenderloin .... again I stress: hetero.  I swear.)

So I'm going to voice what is probably an uncommon opinion for somebody in my seat:  I'm happy the Penguins beat the Hurricanes.  I want to see a rematch, and not one of the 2002 Finals.  I want to face Pittsburgh not because I think we have a better chance of beating them than the Canes, but because it would be more rewarding.  You might say winning the Cup is rewarding enough, and I understand that, but ideally, to go through the Poster Boy twice in as many years would be rather choice.  It would be the cherry on the icing of the Dynasty cake.  Carolina, to me, would leave something to be desired, mainly because this has felt inevitable since the Pens got hot a few months ago.  That team was deader than dead.  Then, Bylsma happened -- and these two teams have been on a collision course ever since.  Had Carolina won this series, it wouldn't have felt right to me.  I'm excited that we're only a win away from seeing an incredible rematch.

Another thing you might not like:  I don't hate the Penguins.  In fact I liked them all through the Mario years (at least 15% of this "like" is probably attributed to the movie Sudden Death; Van Damme lighting the guy on fire with a squirt gun was one of the 10 greatest moments of my childhood).  I don't like Crosby any more than you do, but the hockey fan in me loves watching them play, especially Malkin.  That guy's an absolute beast.  On the whole I'd be grasping at straws for reasons to hate them, so I'm not going to conform to it.  I mean, I hope we beat the shit out of them, but that's different.  I want to see that regardless of who we play.

And don't doubt that a rematch would be incredible.  Last year's series wasn't quite "great" on the historic scale: from the 3rd person-view, the first two games were duds; the third one was close and extremely tense; the fourth one was a flat-out great hockey game; the fifth one was an epic, Pantheon achievement of human excellence that, for Wings fans at least, was like being put through a five hour-long execution; and the sixth one was an OK game with a terrific finish.  So, just think how insane a rematch would be, as the Champs defend their trophy to the death while the hungry underdogs would rather die than lose once again.  Yeah, that's a lot of dying ... ultimately though a series this huge would not be without such casualties.  We have their hired gun from last year, and that's going to motivate them like crazy, regardless of what they say publically.  They've got the memory and experience of that horrible sting they felt last year, and for that reason alone this series would be very, very tough.  Historic, even.


***

We have got to win tomorrow night.  Championship teams don't have their opponents' as emotionally pummelled as the Hawks are without finishing them off.  A home loss under these conditions would be weak to the highest degree.



Don't fuck up.  Go Wings.

May 26, 2009

Lidstrom, Datsyuk update

We were at the Wings' practice toda--

(wait, scratch that, we're worthless)

Khan reports from Wings' practice that both of our two best players sat out.


Datsyuk, skated for about 15 minutes before practice, the first time he has been on the ice since Game 2 last Wednesday.

"Feel better,'' Datsyuk said. "I tried today on ice a little bit, a little bit hard to turn, we'll see tomorrow.''

Datsyuk, who worked out extensively in the gym, said he blocked a shot during the penalty-kill in the second period of Game 2 vs. Chicago. Oddly enough, the puck hit him in the same spot as it did in Game 5 vs. Anaheim. X-rays revealed no damage, however.

"Usually it's not double-shot in same spot,'' Datsyuk said. "Surprised it's same spot two times.''


They skated the same lines that they used last game:

Franzen-Zetterberg-Hudler
Holmstrom-Filppula-Hossa
Cleary-Helm-Samuelsson
Leino-Abdelkader-Maltby

Ericsson-Rafalski
Kronwall-Stuart
Lebda-Chelios


The change in mentality between those frightening few minutes pre-Game 4 and right now is remarkable.  In the sole context of this series (forget the suicide-inducing thought of missing these two guys in the Finals), my weariness has been swept away by one word:

Quenneville.

I never went deep into any thoughts on Game 4.  But if I did it would've included A) the complete awe that I was in that our two best players -- the greatest defenseman that I've ever seen, and our best forward/MVP candidate -- played zero part in a profoundly destructive and dominant performance (one that won't soon be forgotten, either); and B) that Quenneville has totally gone batshit about losing to the Red Wings.  The dude is looney.  And it's filtering down to his team, as we saw in Game 4, as Hawk after Hawk lost his mind and fell prey to the Wings' own form of, let's call it, "clean thuggery".  It's a stretch, I know.  But as I see it, where other teams lack the talent to affect a game the way the Wings do, they revert to post-whistle scrums, sending messages and other bullshit that people in our camp lash out against -- i.e: Thuggery.  The Wings, however, frustrate the livng fuck out of their opponents until they fall completely off the ledge and forfeit any competitive edge that they once had.  When teams like Chicago reach that point -- as a number of Quenneville-coached teams have over the years -- they're done.  There's no going back.



May 25, 2009

Nannerpuss FTW

Western Conference Finals, Game 4
Red Wings 6-1 Blackhawks
*********


Me, Brent, and our friends spent many nights at the local Denny's where we grew up.  The food was questionable, some of the employees were a little strange, but other than that we have some fond memories of that place.  One time my friend Nick told the waiter that "there was a pube in his fries," -- to which the waiter shouted, "A PUBIC?" loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear.  Another time my friend John nearly killed himself trying to eat three whole pancakes in ten seconds.  On certain nights, when it's like 3 AM and I'm hungry and loathing the idea of going out to the East Lansing IHOP, I say to myself, "Man, I fucking miss Denny's."

For this reason, I have absolutely no qualms about pimping Nannerpuss for the rest of the playoffs.  Do you think it's a just a coincidence that I randomly threw that video up, and then the Wings played as good of a game under the circumstances that they possibly could?  Don't be a dumbass.



Nannerpuss stays until we lose one, maybe two in a row.  He came through in the clutch yesterday.

::::::::::

Reader Jim sent in this fantastic email:


Saw this in a Seattle paper and just had to think of you for some reason and thought you might enjoy this -


Seattle officers were in little position to argue with Robert Cardiel, whom they found hiding in a Little Saigon parking lot.

"When I smoke crack," Cardiel allegedly told police, "I always take off my pants."

Cardiel's appearance at the time backed his claim; clad in a jacket and socks, Cardiel, 40, was naked from waist to ankles, according to court documents.

Police had been called to the South Dearborn Street lot just after 8:15 p.m. on April 8 after a woman traveling with her children was approached by the partially nude Cardiel, police say. The woman told police she saw Cardiel wandering the lot, looking into parked cars before he turned and approached the woman's vehicle to ask for a lighter.

My mom would be proud to know that I've impacted the Internet in such a way that strangers are sending me stories about naked crackheads.


::::::::::


Blogger has given us the holiday off.  We'll be back tomorrow with actual sports content.

Go Wings.


May 24, 2009

Wings @ Blackhawks pregame - Of all the overpriced choke artists...


 ... Brian Campbell is the one who says this:

“I thought (Kronwall) jumped. I thought Marty didn’t have the puck. I thought his forearm came up high. I thought it was gutless all around,’’ Campbell said. “He’s done it hundreds of times in the league and it seems like nothing ever happens. ... These guys gotta pay for it, guys that are taking shots to the head. It’s unacceptable, and it’s not like it’s the first time it’s happened with that guy.”

Apparently Campbell didn't see the handiwork from Nathan at Kukla's Korner.





Turns out there wasn't as much time to talk about Game 3 as was previously imagined.  I was going to bypass the Kronwall discussion until Campbell said that.

Some people are claiming that NHL rules stipulate it doesn't matter how close the puck is to the player -- if he doesn't touch it, it's interference.  So like, hypothetically, if the puck takes a slightly different angle off the boards (I'm talking a variance of maybe a couple degrees), and hits him in the skate, and THEN he has his life wrecked ......... what the fuck are we even talking about?  You mean to tell me that the same people who can't tell a hold from a cock in their mouths can judge the difference between a clean hit and a five minute major/game misconduct?  And this difference is maybe an inch?  The thought of an inch separating a clean hit with no penalty and a major penalty is a joke (I understand what the rule is -- agreeing with it is a different story).  This was a panic call, plain and simple.  Havlat's lifeless corpse was weighing on the officials' minds, and they didn't want a total war to break out, which they assumed would've happened had Kronwall stayed in the game.

Campbell is essentially doing what some fans are doing by saying "his arm came up", "he jumped", etc:  They're using his past indiscretions to explain away any chance that he's innocent in this case.  "Hundreds of times" Brian?  That doesn't sound a little excessive to you?  He did it a few times in the playoffs last year and people called him out on it.  Shit, I'm acknowledging it right now -- he has left his feet and brought up the arm more than a couple of times.





But to imply that it's a weekly occurrence is ignorant.  He went the first four months of the season practically invisible compared to the physicality he showed in the '08 playoffs.  Unless my blinding homerism has washed away memories of a similar instance, I don't recall anything close to last night's hit happening this year, although I could be wrong.

Still, calling it "gutless" is even more ignorant.  That's a heavy word to throw out there.  He's gutless because he didn't do the honorable thing and let Havlat collect himself and walk out of the zone untouched?  Havlat had a fucking death wish coming out with his head down like that.  I hope he'll be alright in the long run but his douche teammates are draining any sympathy from me at the current moment.

And Brian?  There's no way that you can say Kronwall "jumped" into his check anymore than you did three years ago.




Dick.

Both were awesome hits.


::::::::::


Not directly looking ahead, but kind of inferring a possibility here:

Tyler:  "Damn, 6-2 Pens ..... Malkin with two more goals and an assist.  Crosby with his 14th goal."

Brent:  "Oh, fuck."


::::::::::


Abdelkader will take the place of Drapes, who has an ingrown beard hair.  Datsyuk is a maybe for right now.  Although we are still about 12 hours from the opening faceoff.  I have to get this thing up early because I'm going to work in the morning). (MacLeod)

Babcock also said that Pavel Datsyuk's status will be decided tomorrow. Datsyuk injured his foot blocking a shot in Game 2 and missed Game 3. The Red Wings practiced today, however, as though they're not expecting Datsyuk to return. Valtteri Filppula centered Datsyuk's line. 

Plus Babcock said that Abdelkader is in the lineup and will play his natural position, center. If he was planning on having Datsyuk, Abdelkader wouldn't be playing center tomorrow.


"Khabi is doing better today," said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. "We’ll see how he presents tomorrow. He’s made good progress. Marty as well."

If Havlat cannot play, Colin Fraser will dress for Chicago.

My guess? Neither Khabi nor Havlat will play. Huet is talking like he's expecting to play: "Really my test is going to be tomorrow."


::::::::::



The Wings tinkered with their lines a bit, switching Cleary and Hudler.

Franzen-Zetterberg-Hudler
Holmstrom-Filppula-Hossa
Cleary-Helm-Samuelsson
Leino-Abdelkader-Maltby (Meech practiced at forward)
McCarty-Downey

Lidstrom-Rafalski
Kronwall-Stuart
Ericsson-Lebda
Lilja-Chelios-Kindl (scratches)


::::::::::


Pointless Predictions:


* Datsyuk's done for the series.

* Marian Hossa will have a humongous game.

* Huet won't quite be Garth Snow in the '97 Finals, but he'll give up a couple of goals that he shouldn't have.

* Red Wings 6-3 Blackhawks.  Of all the "Pointless Prediction" segments we've done, this one is  the closest to simple "wishful thinking" rather than what the gut is saying.  I'd just really, really like to see an inspired effort today.




I don't know.  I thought it would help.

May 23, 2009

Holding Serve

Chris, Tram .... sorry.  Told you fuckers.  Just had a bad feeling about this one.

And if Chicago wins pivotal Game 4 (which according to our pre-series thing we have them winning .... although maybe the only thing more insignificant than pregame predictions are pre-series predictions .... all in all we have wasted an inordinant amount of time with this website), the Wings will still have home ice, which has been huge for them the last two years.  Just jotting that down now in case our collective world gets boned from behind on Sunday.





Yeah.  Plenty of shit to get to tomorrow.

May 22, 2009

Wings @ Blackhawks pregame - Don't get greedy


After last night, you might assume that we're on a collision course for dream rematch.





Absolutely stupid performance.  Eight shots, three goals, an assist, and two parents having sex in the stands.  We can't get ahead of ourselves though.  

"We"?  Who is "we"?  Shouldn't this only apply to the people playing the game?

 If these rhetorical questions were asked by an actual person, I would punch that person in the throat.  Like right on the Adam's apple.  Think about that -- wouldn't that hurt?  You'd almost rather be punched in the balls, because at least you know what that feels like.  You're brain could at the very least recognize it and begin the coping process.  The shock of getting punched in the throat would almost take precedent over the actual pain.  But then the pain would probably set in and consume your entire life.

And once this made-up person (who we'll call Jeremy Roenick for the purpose of this waste of time) gets up off the floor, I'd tell them, "No, you blood turd, this involves all of us.  The Stanley Cup Playoffs are 97% karma and superstition.  It's why we take our pants off during tie games, shower with hats, sit in our lucky seats and avoid the unlucky ones.  It's why you people grow beards and eat the same pregame meal for two months straight.  Everything we do or don't do has some effect on the hockey universe whether you know it or not.  You don't fuck around with this shit."

The Free Press set us back by a couple of decades in the karma department with their audacious "inevitable" Cup Finals decree.  I read that headline and I almost threw my computer out the window in fear that the ghost of Steve Chiasson would shoot lightning down upon me.  It felt disgusting reading it.  Now?  Now the status of Pavel Datsyuk's foot is causing more anxiety than any of us care to deal with.


:::::::::: 



"A lot of guys on this team have played with each other, so I don't think it's going to be that big of (an adjustment),'' Filppula said. "Nobody's a stranger."

And:

Babcock said rookie Ville Leino might make his playoff debut if Datsyuk can't play.

Leino practiced on the fourth line Thursday with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby, whom Babcock said would return to action after sitting out three games. If Leino plays, he would replace Justin Abdelkader, who played the last five games.

::::::::::


Chris Osgood = dead horse.  He's been dead for a while now.  But people still want to beat the living deceased shit out him.

The claim made in the article that Detroit Free Press article that I most disagree with is that Chris Osgood is a Hall of Famer.  That claim is wrong.

Nice grammar.

The same exact topic was discussed on the same site less than a month ago.  Saying it once is okay, I suppose; no sense in hiding opinions when you're writing a sports blog.

Saying it again and again is attention whoring. Especially when you've been receiving tons of heat lately for everything you write, and you know the shit storm it's going to create.  Knowing the reaction doesn't take away the right to say something, obviously, but it does make you look like a fucking toolbag.


::::::::::


I'll have to cut this short due to my busy schedule of staring at a TV and blinking.  Pointless Prediction:


* Blackhawks 5-3 Red Wings.  I think I'd go with the Blackhawks whether Pav plays or not.  This just doesn't feel like a 3-0 series to me.

May 21, 2009

You Fucking Idots


Yesterday.




Because of the 12 minutes that I was a journalism major, I know that Drew Sharp didn't write the headline.



Fuck it -- it's still his fault.


May 20, 2009

We have waited for this day


Mike Babcock finally unveils where his passion for Mikael Samuelsson comes from.  And no, this will not turn into a joke about penises.


(CBC), via Malik:

"Sammy's one of these guys that's a way better player than he believes," Babcock said. "If he had the confidence in himself that some of these other guys do, he'd be a high-end NHL player. Right now, he's just a good NHL player."

The revelation was nothing that Babcock hasn't shared with Samuelsson.

"We've had that same conversation I don't know how many times," Babcock said. "He knows of this. He's scored big goals for us. He has the ability, he has a rocket of a shot - we're always on him to shoot more - and he's a huge man, just absolutely a monster. He can be really physical when he wants to be, he can really skate."

It has been joked about at length how Babcock loves him some Mikael Samuelsson.  I don't recall seeing Babs break it down quite like this though.  That's some serious praise.  If you didn't know it, you would think that 2nd paragraph was about Johan Franzen.

We make light of his occasionally wayward "rocket of a shot", because it's easy.  You see him wind up, and seconds later you hear the glass screeming in pain and fans ducking for cover under their seats.  This is an easy thing to observe and then belittle him for on your stupid blog the next day.  Trust me on this.

But let's look deeper into the world of Mikael Samuelsson.  He's a man who loves poetry, dines on candied yams and is one of those "recycle Nazis" that come to your house and demand either a bag of empty bottles or your first born.  These are all indisputable facts.  What we often fail to acknowledge, however, is that he is a dogged defender -- an excellent complementary winger to any shut-down line.  He goes through prolonged droughts scoring-wise, but he doesn't let it effect his defensive responsibility.

He's sometimes the most physical forward (well, mainly before Darren Helm ... which with each increasing day is like referring to pre-Jesus times) who can muck it out in the corners and push pucks along the boards.  Or he can pick up a lose puck and wire one to the top corner, apparently, according to what my eyes think they saw in Game 1.  And he's not a burner but he's got a good skating stride.  Look at this.  Did it look like Fleury saw that coming?  Emerick was caught so off guard that his tongue almost fell out of his mouth.  

So, does this make him the total package?  Physical, sound in all three zones, good size, hard shot .... does this sound like a guy that never gets any credit?  Of course not, it sounds like fucking Gordie Howe.  I'm not saying that I'll never make fun of Samuelsson ever again ... quite the contrary, I'm currently working on a screenplay where I'm a wizard-for-hire and Sammy is a 22nd century lovechild of Helen Keller and a golden retriever.  But his play of late definitely warranted some praise.  Between he and Andreas Lilja, I don't know what to think anymore.

HE HIT THE NET

(UPDATE 3:02 pm: additional bullet point)

Western Conference Finals, Game 2
Red Wings 3-2 Blackhawks (OT)
**********


Nick Lidstrom:

"I don't know if you could call it 'stealing,' but we were definitely fortunate.  This was not our best effort."

We've probably never had a contending opinion to something Lidstrom has said.  Part of the reason is because it's hard to disagree with such outlandish decrees as "we're taking it day-by-day" and "we've just gotta play 'our game'".  But this sure as shit looked like stealing.

The Hawks have to be absolutely, 100 percent, "dad backed over the dog in the driveway" depressed after this game.  They registered 39 shots, 19 of which came in the first period.  Ozzie held down the fort and deserved at the very least to be 3rd star.  This might have been his best game in the last 12 months.

Brian Campbell washed away all memories of an otherwise good game with his blowjob on Sammy in Overtime.  Probably needs to dump that puck in .... or .... no?

"If I'd do the play over again, maybe, I'd put a little sauce on that," he said. "But I've got to make that play."

Ok.
......

And, Shotgun Sammy.  


ehh


You wonderful piece of doofus.  We would've liked to drop kick you in the mouth while wearing skates after you didn't clear that puck on the penalty kill.

But those sentiments have evaporated.  You forced Campbell into a tough spot (expertly detailed here) and finished when you needed to finish.  Two games, two game-winning goals.  That's absurd.

Other thoughts ....

  • This might not be the appropriate time to bring it up, but you're probably watching the supporting cast play Marian Hossa out of town.  If ever there was an example for depth superseding the importance of isolated talent, you've seen it in the last two rounds.  In case you aren't paying attention, Dan Cleary and fucking Mikael Samuelsson are picking up the slack left by Datsyuk and Hossa.  
  • Speaking of which, Pav is one more goal-less game away from losing his fucking mind.  At one point last night he gave three one-handed slashes while chasing a Hawk and then tried wildly to shove him into the bench.  Even when he's consciously trying to be physical he doesn't do things like that.
  • T'was the afternoon of The Triple Deke's 300th post.



  • Speaking of which .... this will be like the third link in a row for our feathered adversaries, but we can't pass up this:

Someone should also probably tell (Dave Bolland) he’s not Gunner Stahl, the infamous Icelandic sniper from Mighty Ducks 2.  When he picked Zetterberg’s pocket in the second to give himself a breakaway, he should have driven hard to the net and at least drawn a penalty, instead of teeing it up from 65 feet out.

  • Toews, with a little help from Overtime, finally cracked the 18 minute mark.  He had two goals and three shots.  Kane, split up for this game from Toews, was a lot more noticeable than in Game 1 ... Babcock said he "was having too much fun out there".  So much fun that Hank and co. moved from covering the Toews line to Kane's. 
  • Dan Cleary is like 1998 Marty Lapointe, but with a bigger beard and a propensity to get hit in the face by a teammate at least once a game.
  • It should probably be noted after this post that, yes, the Wings did indeed win an OT playoff home game.  They're now 3-11 in that category in the 2000's.  
  • Chicago was pushing the Wings back at their own blueline way too much.  At times there was nothing keeping the Hawks from flying into the zone.  How this was allowed to happen time and again was mystifying.  Better patch that up before Game 3.
  • (Forgot one thing:  Fil's pass to end the game.  It felt criminal to not to give him the credit for making the extra pass when nobody would've blamed him had he shot it, so it's a must add.  Of course it would've been preferred that he get the goal, just to make TTD look eerily smart for tabbing him for the game-winner, but that's being far too picky.  It was a terrific set-up.)