April 26, 2010

Conference Quarterfinals, Game 6: Red Wings vs. Coyotes


Huge playoff loss? Right to the bullets.

  • Mike Milbury mentioned that the "unsung" Conn Smythe Trophy-winning Henrik Zetterberg "doesn't shoot very well" or "skate very well", and that he's "not that strong". Knowing that he had quite the eye for talent while GM-ing the Islanders for 11 seasons, I immediately got Mikey on the phone to see what he thought about some other players:
Zdeno Chara: "Could use a lot more power on his slap shot. Also, he isn't very tall."

Roberto Luongo: "Agility comparable to my grandmother. Is far too Mexican looking to play well for Team Canada ever."

Employee #44, pre-Steve Moore: "Really bad at everything. He's worst at killing people and eating the corpse to hide the evidence. He sucks at that."

Wade Redden: "You've heard of Don Beaupre, right? Just say that name a few times. 'Beaupre'. 'BeauPRE'. It pops off your lips, it's wild. Yeah so I'd rather have Beaupre."

Olli Jokinen: "Looks like an upright mountain lion. Mountain lions aren't allowed in the NHL."

Jason Spezza: "What the fuck is a 'Spezza'?"

Alexi Yashin: "The Russian Wayne Gretzky."

  • I marked down the 13:20 mark as the time where I thought it was "one of those games". I've written about "those games". You've thought about "those games". The ones where the Wings could pile on 60 shots and it wouldn't matter because it's just not in the cards for them. It took less than seven minutes.
  • 4 games and 19 straight penalty kills for the Wings. And then the Coyotes score on their first power play of the game, after two near misses by the Wings to start the second period. It almost, almost would have been comical if it didn't involve me slamming the bedroom door over my head.
  • With the score 2-0 in the 2nd, Brad Stuart gets a pass between the circles and scores. Mark that down as the only thing Stu did in this game that wasn't legally retarded.

  • Lepisto and Morris are dicks.
To close this out, I'm going to say something that could alienate about 90% of our readers and fellow Wings bloggers, and honestly I don't care. This doesn't mean I hate you people, but I'm taking a stand for us 10 percent-ers on one particular subject.

If you truly think that this team doesn't give a shit, that they pick and choose which games to play hard and which ones to coast, or that you want it 50 times more than they do -- then you are a fucking lunatic. Tell that to Nik Kronwall or Andreas Lilja or Johan Franzen or anyone else who has busted their ass to recover from injuries to get back on that ice. Tell that to any of the guys that watched Crosby skate the Cup on their ice last year and had their souls crushed. I'm sure you're right; they just sleep in, dick around for a few hours and ho-hum their way through these afternoon games because they'd rather count their money. I hate to break it to you but this isn't a team full of Rasheed Wallaces. Go back and read some interviews or watch some video on some of these guys' reactions to getting knocked out of the playoffs and tell me it was because of "heart." Did Stuart fuck away a turnover because he doesn't care, or because of bad decision making? I think I'll take the latter.

I'm reading too many people who seem way too entitled as fans. The Coyotes aren't a bad team as much as you want them to be. Their coach is good. Their goalie isn't some bitch bag Russian hack because he let in one or two softies earlier this series. Give them some credit. All too often I'm seeing trash comments that those same people dog on other team's bandwagon fans for, and it's embarrassing. I can be as pessimistic as the next guy, but dammit I don't act like I'm better than the fucking team. (Except Brett Lebda.)

I'm done yelling. Wings in Seven.


J.J. from Kansas said...

I'm going to say something that could alienate about 90% of our readers and fellow Wings bloggers

Fuckin' A, man. 1.9 represent.

Allison said...

I actually convinced myself I'd heard wrong and Milbury was talking about someone else. Apparently nope, he's just as daft as I thought.

As for the last bit: A ha! Those are the words I was looking for this afternoon. Wish I would have known you had them. The "askghjajkso; No. STFU" comments I handed out are doing nobody any good.

beanie said...

100% agree with your comments.

Andy said...

I agree that they do care and do try, but we know that this team had a higher talent level than Phoenix and that if they manage to play with the same intensity and the same level of motivation and effort, they will beat Phoenix most of the time.

Right now they only beat them 50% of the time and it has at times seemed like the Coyotes have had a higher effort level. That might be because the Dogs have a very high level of effort or because the Wings are tired, maybe they slightly underrate the Dogs or who knows.

In the cases where I critisize their effort it is because I know they can do better and there seems to be something in the process of motivation and keeping focus that doesn't work at times this season.

Baroque said...

Re: your rant on desire and "wanting it more" ...

I could kiss you for that, Tyler. My feelings exactly. :)

Michael Smith said...

Nice rant. The Coyotes are for real.

I had to watch Don Beaupre play goalie for several years in Minnesota. So, thanks for bringing that memory back.

J.J. from Kansas said...

I've questioned the Red Wings' effort several times this year (hell, a couple times in this series), but I don't question their heart or their desire.

There's this notion out there that all you have to do is try really, really hard and you're going to win, that the only problem is that it's really really hard to try really really hard. It's bullshit. It might work in several places in sports (like the line of scrimmage in football, for one), but it works really shitty in others (like in the quarterback's position, where trying really really hard leads to interceptions and bad handoffs). Hockey is at times a mix of those two things.

The problem is that what you see fans calling for in situations like you had yesterday is exactly what Red Wings fans try to do to their opponents. Remember Calgary in '07, Pittsburgh in '08, and the Hawks last year? The Wings ran each of those "trying really really hard" teams to the wall and those teams snapped. You knew those series were over when the other guys lost their minds and gooned it up. Unfortunately, the Coyotes are more experienced and better coached than those three teams and have passed on each such opportunity to lose their shit (and the series). Justin Abdelkader went out and tried sending a message because that's his role, it doesn't mean that Lidstrom is a pussy for not picking a fight or that Brad Stuart is tanking to get a longer vacation.

That's the difference and the sticking point. I think it's ok to question their effort, because (to me, at least) it means that they're just thinking too much. When you question their heart though, it means that they don't even want to win. I guess I'm ok if you want to think that, but if you do, what the shit are you doing watching them?

Matt Saler said...

I don't doubt they want it. They're men who have devoted their lives to this game. They work harder than 99.9% of the population on a daily basis to play this sport. Relative to the rest of us, they're working like fiends. But relative to the on-ice requirement (i.e. relative to the Coyotes), their effort is lacking.

Pointing that out isn't entitlement. I'll give the Coyotes all the credit in the world: their effort and motivation in this series has been phenomenal. They remind me of the '06 Oilers in that regard. They can beat the Wings. They're definitely one of those teams that's better than the sum of their parts because they have that extra quality: a bloodlust for the puck.

When I call the Wings out for their effort or wonder where their drive is, it's because I want to see that same bloodlust, because I know they have it. They just have to find it. That the Coyotes can beat the Wings doesn't mean they should.

Wanting it is something entirely different from going out and taking it. The Wings want it. They just have yet to take it.

Krononymous said...

For once I'd just like to hear someone on the Coyotes not start an interview with "you know, no one gave us any credit at the start of the season...". Gods but that is old now. They are a good team (boring as all he'll but good) so enough with the chip on your shoulder.

At least this will be the last time we have to go to Phoenix this season. Now I will spend the rest of the day smiling as I remember Don Beaupre. Awesome.

Guilherme Calciolari said...

For my take, just read Saler's comment.

Nate A said...

If you truly think that this team doesn't give a shit, that they pick and choose which games to play hard and which ones to coast, or that you want it 50 times more than they do -- then you are a fucking lunatic.


hockeychic said...

I was fighting with several FB friends yesterday over this same point - people calling for Osgood to start Game 7, how the Wings are old and lazy, etc. etc. I did have to say that Tippett is a good coach and the Coyotes are not a bad team. It was just strange yesterday...after the Wings did not score on the 5 on 3, I knew we were in trouble.

Hoping for a great game for Game 7 and moving on to the second round.

Your comments about Milbury were a good laugh for the morning when I really don't feel like laughing. At least the freaking Avs fans can't taunt me at work today.

Triple Deke Staff said...

@ Matt and Andy (Heh, that sounds like a Disney Channel show),

I guess in my mind, I don't really draw a line between "heart" and "effort". I'm with J.J. on this one in that effort isn't entirely physical; it can look like they aren't trying as hard because they are thinking too much. When everything is clicking and we talk about people being "in the zone", that usually doesn't involve a whole lot of thinking, it looks like it's all reactions and instincts. I agree that they have that extra gear to get to, but like J.J said, I don't think it's as simple as trying really really hard. And actually, that could be the problem in some cases.

And this wasn't even a game like some of those regular season games where they looked like this for 60 minutes. They came out flying, and people still were claiming that they started the game with no heart, which made zero sense to me.

I'm glad you shared your takes on this.

- Tyler

Osrt said...

"They are a good team (boring as all he'll but good) so enough with the chip on your shoulder."

It's part of their motivation Krononymous. They repeat it because it's an affirmation of their team identity and what makes them want to kill everyone in their way. It's annoying to hear but....you know...whatever works.

I agree with TDT and JJ in their analysis of "heart" and "effort."

Two more words though: Execution and Results.

Surprisingly, the Wings came out Executing damn well yesterday and dominated the ice. They didn't get Results though. And as the game wore on the execution diminished too because, being human, they took the results to heart and each tried to do too much.

Whatever. On to the next one.

Lo said...

Oh my god, I wish I knew where the assholes sitting behind me at the game yesterday lived so I could leave a flaming bag of dog crap and a (not-on-fire) copy of those last few paragraphs on their doorstep.

The supposed Wings fans behind me would have made Don Cherry blush with their criticism of "fuckin' pussy Swedes" (and their concept of Sweden apparently includes Finland, because Fil was one of said Swedes) and especially Jimmy, who was admittedly having his worst night since... I can't remember. Howard was repeatedly castigated by the girl behind me as a "fuckin' asshole!" "Oh, yeah, you stopped one, good job, pussy. Guys, remember at that party when you laughed at me because I said I loved Ozzie and he should still be our goalie? I was right! This fucking asshole Jimmy kid can't stop shit. We need to put in Ozzie. Why isn't Osgood in there? Christ. Ozzie has a Cup! You know he wants it!" And it wasn't just occasional jabs-- she didn't stop talking for the last 20 minutes of the game.

This was a young 20-something girl who wore stilettos to sit in the high upper bowl. Only by the grace of God and Herm's personal savior did I avoid a girlfight in the stands.

The only player they were uncritical of was Bert, believe it or not. They loved Bertuzzi.

So, thanks. You're validating a lot of the thoughts racing through my mind yesterday.

I'm just glad I missed Milbury.

nurse nitz said...

My mother was texting me like a maniac on my drive home yesterday about Millbury's comments. I simply ignore everything he says, because frankly, it's total BS. And I think that everyone who is someone in the hockey world knows it too. I honestly think it's because he knows that if the Wings DO make it through to the next round, Hank could be on a pace to get more goals than his precious Cindy. And wouldn't that be a shame.

I agree with what everyone says on here. Even in Game #4, which I attended, where I think the Wings had arguably their best game in the series, there were douche-bag fans behind me that wanted nothing more than to pull Jimmy out of the game, tar & feather Hank & Lidstrom, and how EVERYTHING was Ericsson's fault. (Granted, he doesn't always have the best of games, but still...). I'm negative at times, I criticize, and I do say the occasional "WAKE UP, WINGS!" but as players say, watching a game from above & from down on the ice are two different things. If you watch every pre-game interview, you know their heads are in the game. They KNOW that they need to do to win. They know the kind of effort it takes, and I never question that the loss of last year doesn't motivate everyone to avoid a repeat of it.

But, when push comes to shove, when a team they're playing strives on perseverence, patience, and bases their whole identity in overcoming obstacles, it's not rocket-science to understand why the Wings have struggled against this team. Phoenix is good, well-coached, and has a lot of heart. If they weren't playing us, I'd probably be rooting for them too. They have a goalie that can bail them out of their defensive lapses. I don't think Detroit takes them for granted or thinks they can skate by these guys with ease. I think we're seeing for the first time in a long time, a team wearing US down. When that happens, turnovers force us to defend too much in our zone & we get tired. We take penalties, and it's hard for anyone to try to get their groove back after 4 straight PKs... As a result, we look like we're skating in mud. The forwards press too hard & hold onto the puck too long & don't get those shots away. It's not a lack of effort or a lack of heart. It's a matter of small mistakes giving another team the chance to capitalize & take the momentum away.

The great thing is that Babcock doesn't believe in momentum from game-to-game. Whatever happened last game is irrelevant now. It's a best of one series. Let's hope the guys just get amnesia from this game. I still think that if the Wings stick to their gameplan, they'll prevail over Phoenix. They rose from the ashes this last game, now it's time for them fall for good.

J.J. from Kansas said...

Lo, you're an infinitely more patient person than I am. I'm not sure I would have been able to keep my mouth shut in your situation. I'm pretty good about taking crap from opposing team's fans (mostly because I've never been to a Wings' home game and I respect other teams' fans in their own barn), but I have no idea how I'd take a Red Wings fan heckling the team like that, especially in such a dumb way.

Baroque said...

I second nursenitz - and thank her for writing all that so I don't have to when I get home from work. :)

Anonymous said...

Jeff - - OKWingnut

Agreed with most of the comments. The Dogs are very good when the score is tied or they have the lead - - because they are so good at the forecheck and whatever you call that clogging of the neutral zone to slow the Wings speed down.

DET needs to chip in and chase. Stop trying to skate through the valley of death.

Scoring first would be wonderful, and may get the Dogs off their game plan earlier.

David said...

i can't stand NBCs announcers. what hacks. and i agree 100% with your thoughts

captcha: deaddorks

stonehands said...


AxeMaster9 said...

Thanks for finally putting that out there. It wasnt that long ago when we had a brief comment exchange (highlight of my life...ish) about the negativity and bs with some of the fans. As I said before its nothing to do with VooX but since the Chief left its been more then the usual self loathing. Its been downright unforgiving. Anyway, you said it all. This may be your best post ever. Not funniest, but most true.

cmk said...

While I never give up on the Wings, I will never be 'Miss Suzy Sunshine' full of optimism. I live my life under a cloud of doom and gloom and will continue to do so. Sorry.

However, I will never think that the Wings don't want to win. That is something that never occurred to me. In some games, some of the players don't play their best, but it isn't because they lack the desire to win. Too many times we forget they ARE just human beings like we are--they have arguments with their spouses, their kids have trouble in school, their parents get sick. When a player is not quite 'in' the game, we have NO idea what could be happening in his private life to affect him.

I can't begin to imagine the pressure these guys put on themselves--and then have to be racked over the coals by the press and fans whenever they make mistakes. Humans make mistakes--and I'm happy that I don't have to make MINE in public like they do!

cmk said...

And that is supposed to say "RAKED over the coals," NOT racked! And I now make MY mistakes in public, too. ;)

Rob said...

I read the first dozen comments or so then gave up because I lack the heart or effort to read 25 fucking comments. Seriously you guys get more traffic in a day than I do in a week. Fuck you. But seriously, love you guys. And I agree wholeheartedly that sometimes we call it "not caring" or playing without heart or effort when they come out and play a game where they aren't as sharp mentally as they need to be. Obviously they want it as bad as the next guy. Shame on us for doubting our team. Wings in 7. Bring on the Sharks.

Matt Saler said...

@ Tyler

I agree that effort can show itself in overthinking things. I guess my issue then is with the misdirected effort. If, as you suggest, they're channeling their effort in to over-cererbralizing the game, their failure is in leaving the physical side of things unattended. They're not pursuing the puck like they need to, they're not hustling up and around the ice like they need to and they're not driving to the net like they need to. They can do those things without thinking so hard their brains lock up.

They were firing down both sides of the range in the first period Sunday, with both the physical effort and the right notes on the mental effort being struck. They then started hitting the wrong notes on the mental effort and not hitting many, if any, on the physical side. They need to make a game out of their first period in Game 6 if they want to win this series.

For all their effort issues in this series, I'll never accuse the Wings of not having heart. They're anywhere close to that point. If anything, they're still not quite taking the Coyotes seriously enough to ramp up their game. That's not a heart issue. That's a head one. I doubt they'll have a problem with that tonight.