CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 4 - 3 DETROIT RED WINGS (SO)
I had my answer from the moment we entered the parking garage: Joe Louis Arena, at 12:30 on a Sunday afternoon against the Hawks, was as electric as a night playoff game.
I would obviously rather see the Wings at 48-0-0 right now, or at least have us back to the point where we're bitching about how the 2nd seed in the West feels like an underachievement. (That sound you hear is a Maple Leafs fan somewhere lighting himself on fire.) But the extra jolt of excitement for regular season games now is awesome. It was January 17th and the place felt the same as it did for the Wings/Ducks game we went to last May.
It was a great game, albeit heartbreaking. The Wings had a handful of opportunities to blow the roof off the place and fell short. A weekend that nearly saw them capture four huge points turned into only two.
... Recap ...
- I think it's Ozzie's turn now. He's been stewing long enough and Jimmy has been on one helluva run that nobody outside of maybe Kyle at BDS thought was possible. I hadn't read anything about who was supposed to start either Saturday's game or this one, so I was shocked (SHOCKED, I say) to see Jimmy starting this game, especially considering the Dallas game ended like 25 minutes before this one started.
- Brad May: 4:47 TOI; 6 shifts; minus-2. I'm beginning to think that Ville Leino got caught in bed with Babcock's wife.
- Lidstrom is so great to watch in person, when you can see what he's doing at all times. There's nothing original that I can add here, but you know what I'm talking about. Is there a better word for "crafty" that I'm blanking on? Because Nick is that. Crafty to the n-th degree. He's too smart for other humans to compete with.
- Of course I'm biased because I was there and saw it live and had a complete out-of-body meltdown when it happened -- but dammit, Datsyuk pulled off the ballsiest, most awesomest shootout/penalty shot goal in the history of the National Hockey League. I'm going to have children for the sole purpose of telling them I saw this shit.
It was all in slow motion. I thought he was going for his signature Turco-undressing move (which previous to this was the coolest goal I had ever seen), and as it happened I thought Niemi out-waited him and was there for the stop. Then it happened. The "Pimp Chip". He not only had to manipulate a goalie into moving the direction he wanted to while maintaining forward motion and absolute control of the puck -- but to top it, he put an impossibly delicate, arching, floating touch over him while skating by. I was honestly so bat-shit after it happened that I didn't even see the Hawks score on their first shootout attempt. Then #44 had an OK goal.
(I'm kidding, it was awesome too.)
- I'm envisioning a world where Patrick Eaves re-signs in Detroit next year. They'll give him a couple more seasons to kill penalties and hustle over every inch of the ice. He'll continue to play his ass off. He will continue to block shots that look painful enough to break bones, then somehow suck it up and kneel down for another block three seconds later. He will score a few big goals as more sneaky-good shots continue to come out of his stick. He will be endeared by Detroit for many years to come.
This changed how the game felt. Eaves was bloodied and Versteeg scored the takedown but the Wings got more out of this fight than the Hawks did.
- I'll leave you with a little story. We sat in the 2nd to last row of the lower bowl in 103. I was on the aisle. During the 1st period, I hear some murmuring going on behind me.
I turn around. It's Ted fuggin' Lindsay. He's watching the game, as he often does, standing where the ushers do on the concourse level. Like 6 feet behind me, smiling, just chillin' like he's common folk. Terrible Ted looks like he's about 5'1"/95 lbs, yet one glance at him and I can tell that he could kill me with his bare hands. I was flipping out a tad.
"OHMIGODDUDE .... TED LINDSAY IS RIGHT BEHIND US" (I'm Mikael Samuelsson when I'm nervous.)
"WOW, go shake his hand or something!"
"Come on, you're a huge Red Wings fan ... It's TED LINDSAY"
"NOPE NO WAY, UH-UH"
A few minutes of hockey passes before us. I'm hardly paying attention as I say say the words "THAT'S TED LINDSAY" seven more times. Then play stops for a whistle. I turn around again.
Me: "Uh.... hey Ted ..." /waves hand.
Ted Lindsay: "Hey."
And that, my friends, is the story of how Ted Lindsay and I became best friends.