October 31, 2010

Game #9 -- Red Wings vs. Predatords


I'm not an angry person. Probably the most harmless, least threatening person you could meet in real life. Except when one of two things happen:

#1) A holding penalty after converting a big 3rd down.

#2) When I write a long post and it gets erased.

Blogger and my computer teamed up to take a big #2 this morning. I'm walking away now.

Happy Halloween.

October 29, 2010

Game #8 -- Red Wings vs. Coyotes


  • Yak Kindl was already off to a fine start with an early penalty. It continued when Radim Vrbata got him turned the wrong way and burned by him for a breakaway goal to open the scoring. Get out the salt and pepper, because this guy needs some seasoning. /high fives Bill Engval cardboard cutout with taped-on arm extension specifically made for celebrating bad jokes/
  • A terrible penalty by Mike Modano, giving the Coyotes their 2nd power play. Then...
  • ... The puck comes to Keith Yandle, and Osgood goes to his knees. He then pens an eloquent cursive letter to Yandle entitled, "I Want You to Shoot Over My Left Shoulder. That's My Left, Your Right. I Don't Want There to be any Confusion Here, so if You Would Like, I Can Place a Humorously Over-sized Neon Sign Over the Goal, Pointing You in the Vicinity of Where I Want You to Shoot. I Can't Express How Sincere This Entire Letter is. If You Don't Score, I Will Consider it a Personal Insult." Frankly I thought the title was obnoxiously long, but I dropped Journalism in college, so what do I know.
  • Lauri (haha) Korpikoski scores a short handed goal to make it 3-0, 12 minutes in, from about 50 feet out. I laughed. I really did. Then I stopped laughing when I realized, "Fantastic. Now the Internet doesn't exist anymore because Wings fans just set it on fire."*
* I like reading the opinions of actual netminders on goals like this. Like a George Malik, or Chris at NOHS. In the past I've seen goals that looked like they should've been stopped, but it's been stressed to me that deflections really fuck with the timing and anticipation of a goaltender. In this case -- without reading anything before posting this -- I don't understand how this wasn't 100% on Ozzie. Shouldn't an NHL goalie be able to adjust when it's from that far out?

  • I'm very much much opposed to being a part of the crowd of people at games who yell, "SHHOOOOOOOOOOT!" (although I have done that .... go to hell), but I have to draw the line at Datsyuk making a killer move into the slot and dropping the puck to Doug Janik. To Doug Janik. The only way I can understand Pav doing this was if he thought that big #37 pinching in was actually Mikael Samuelsson. In which case the only yelling in the building would be Sammy shouting "WHERE IS THE CANDY CORN I WAS PROMISED?"
  • I was fast forwarding through the 2nd intermission but it did appear that Mick was performing some sort of ventriloquist routine.
  • You know that move Helm does, where he banks a pass to himself and then goes around his defender? That has to be his signature move, right? Does anybody else have that one claimed that I'm blanking on? He does that twice a game, minimum. And somehow it always works. He either draws a penalty or gets around the guy.
  • I hope everybody saw the the clip of #44 talking about how he tried to start playing guitar. If you didn't see it, it was that his instructor told him his fingers were too big, so Bert doesn't play guitar now. The clip was about how he doesn't play the guitar. That was literally the most pointless story I have ever heard in my entire life. I've heard better stories from the weirdos on Jeopardy who do the dumb biography segment after the first commercial break. And every one of those stories is something unfathomably mundane like how the person "can't eat cheese after 5 pm."
  • The Holmstrom goal, the Wings' second of the game, was a well-earned effort from all three forwards on that line. But it also summed up the game. The Coyotes gave the puck away, and the Wings needed about 5 or 6 point-blank shots to get by the excellent Ilya Bryzgalov. Phoenix got their goals on a breakaway and two stoppable shots, then were solid enough the rest of the way to a W.
  • How strange does this look?:

Means nothing on October 29, but still.

Go Wings.

October 25, 2010

The Danger Zone

Writing Saturday's post within an hour of the game ending, and having only seen the Kronwall/Selanne hit as it happened live, I made no mention of the game's biggest talking point.

Also, at that time I had not heard about Selanne or Randy Carlyle's comments, which were equally talk-worthy. Selanne said, "That guy is dangerous out there," and I assume with a little bit of prodding from Corey Perry, added,"One of these days somebody's going to get him." Here is a re-enactment:

When asked about those comments -- and that weird bite that Selanne has apparently started punctuating his sentences with -- Mike Babcock said, "Probably had some peanut butter in his mouth. And I think it was a hockey play. I think one of the comments was, 'Kronner is dangerous.’ He is. That’s why we like him.”

First of all, of the 150 greatest quotes in Detroit Red Wings history, I think Babs has about 139 of them. He's the opposite of almost every hockey quote you can find; he's smart, sharp, and wickedly sarcastic. I'll be entirely disappointed if he doesn't come out with an auto-biography the nanosecond he retires.

More importantly (and, sadly, more seriously .... dammit), I spent most the night and early morning after the game contemplating the legality, and, probably more so, the humanity of it all. I know, right? 2010 sucks. It isn't possible for one of these collisions to occur -- in any contact sport -- in today's world without everybody discussing and analyzing the incident from every conceivable angle. Additionally, I can't be the only one who upon hearing "conceivable angle" thinks about somebody having intercourse with a camera.

I mean, it would almost be strange nowadays for somebody to have a Red Wings blog + enough free time + be definitely, no doubt about it, for sure un-retired and not write about this situation. I'm asking honestly here: was it even close to being like this 15 years ago? Shit... 5 years ago? I seriously don't remember. When Scott Stevens nearly murdered Slava Kozlov in the 1995 Cup Finals, I only remember the hit itself, as well as feeling for the first time in my life, "That was incredibly disturbing. I'd like to die now." That sort of thing was applauded, and the biggest takeaway was "Koz needs to have his head up next time," instead of the now routine exploration of everything under the Violence In Sports umbrella.

And I'm not even saying that's a bad thing. It's probably a good idea to think critically about high speed head-on collisions between two human beings. In the case of this open ice hit, what kept running through my mind was the justification of it, and whether or not any of it makes any logical sense. From most of the Wings fans, you see the discussions of the "legal hit" checklist: feet on ground? Check. Shoulder? Check. Avoided whatever charging is? (Usually said with a shoulder shrug): Uh, check, probably. So we're all good, right? Selanne was turned into sawdust but there's nothing to argue about because Kronner's skates were on the ground. He shouldered him, and Teemu should have had his head up knowing Nik Kronwall was standing on the blue line.

Doesn't that seem a little odd, though? If Kronner's skates were a mere inch off the ground, the NHL rule book would deem that as charging and he'd be completely vilified. (For something that actually hurts opponents less, J.J. posted earlier today.) But if he's on the ground at the point of impact, only one inch lower, regardless if he's propelling himself upward in a leaping motion, he's absolved from any criticism? Am I the only one that finds that logic a little flawed?

I understand that the nature of the rule is to prevent players from doing stuff like this, as to not completely turn the sport into the wrestling. But the way we as fans argue this stuff is getting stranger and stranger to me. "Your guy did A, B and C so therefore he's a villainous little bitch who can't play by the rules. But I mean -- if he you tweak it just slightly and he did D, E and F and our guy was summarily destroyed anyway, then we have no argument." That's how every Internet fight reads to me now. We're not talking about people getting outraged over Kronwall swinging his stick like a baseball bat into Selanne's face; we're talking about a very minute difference in the placement of his skates.

And as for Selanne's view on the hit.... I want to make clear that I liked Teemu before this game and I'll like him after; one of my biggest pet peeves about fans is taking one comment from a guy and making a blanket judgment of him for the rest of eternity. So I'm not going to pile on too much for what he said. However, threatening Kronner with that "he's going to get his" before even looking at a replay is not good at all. He claimed he felt elbow when in reality it was nothing but a shoulder. He was pissed and frustrated from losing, being shellacked in open ice and probably the realization that he's playing this season in vein on a bad team -- and now his comments have thrown even more fuel on the fire. It's obviously not out of the realm of possibility that a Duck will try to get retribution for this the next time these teams meet while crossing the line in doing so.

I don't have answers, and I barely even have functioning opinions for that matter, on what needs to change. I'm trying to talk it all out, and admittedly, I'm very confused on what to think. The line between legal and dirty seems so incredibly thin to me, when the results are largely the same. Head trauma is head trauma. The only way to justify it, seemingly, is to say that this is what these guys signed up for. That the brunt of the rules have been in place for generations so they know what they're getting themselves into. That it's their risk.

In the meantime I'll try to form my less-than-concrete opinions of what is clean or dirty on the shoddy protection of the NHL law, which isn't exactly great at setting precedents. So it's likely that I'll be sorting this out for a long while.

October 24, 2010

Game #7 -- Red Wings vs. Ducks


Corey Perry pimping his mom? Sure. Corey Perry pimping his mom.

In brief...

  • Man, isn't EVERY Game 7 against the Ducks just awesome?
  • Nick Lidstrom cannot be a 42 year old 40 year old like Larry Murphy says. To look at him, you'd say he's only a 28 year old 35 year old. His 3 assists give him a line of 1-7-8 on the year already. Compared to the start Lids had last year it's as if he has been born again, like a 0 year old 0 year old.
  • McElhinney gave up 5 goals in a loss and was the 3rd star of the game. Has this ever happened in a game that didn't take place in 1984?
  • Modano, Hudler ... that's for another day. I started writing a paragraph about them and it just collapsed into itself like a dying star.
  • Pavel Datsyuk is definitively the best player on the ice 99.9 % of his shifts. I can't imagine how badass this feels. In an attempt to replicate this feeling, I'm eating a cold Pop Tart and pretending like it tastes just as good as a toasted one. If you were sitting next to me you wouldn't be able to tell at all that I like it considerably less. It's crazy.
  • Wings don't play again until December of 2015. They'll be taking on the Saskatchewan Predayotes.
  • 5-1-1. And 8-0.

Go Teams I Root For.

October 21, 2010

Game #6 -- Red Wings vs. Flames


Scoreboard, bitch.

Hi there old friends, and creepy-assed Jay Bouwmeester with the "I saw you touching my ass -- and I didn't tell you to stop" face. Glad you found the place OK.

I realized that it was pointless to not be writing recaps when I would just make the same stupid comments on Twitter. "This is the exact same thing," I said to myself, "only I'm punishing myself with the 140 character limit and destroying any semblance of an attention span that I once had." The lesson: Twitter ruins everything. Also, your "...or I'll kill you" threats had no impact whatsoever. (Except for you, Herm. Not that I felt seriously threatened, but I really didn't want the only South American that we know to be a murderer. I find it heroic that you are from there and are not a ruthless cocaine drug lord.)

Thoughts on the game:

  • "It's like a pick in basketball..." In discussing Kindl's 1st period interference penalty, Mickey Redmond incorrectly compares something about The New NHL to another sport for the 1,000th time. The game was then stopped momentarily as Mick was presented with the inaugural Ed Olczyk Award.
  • Jimmy kept the Wings afloat in the first 10 minutes with 4 or 5 big saves. The biggest save came after Stuart and Hank teamed up for an especially vomity turnover, which Jimmy cleaned up with a snow angel.
  • Flames first goal: Mikael Backlund was, let's say, altogether ignored. Because the Wings usually play a sound defensive game, I can only assume that Backlund was left alone because of a genital herpes scare. Understandable. But then he scores the 2nd Flames goal too? Come on, you've got to man up with this stuff eventually. I mean, it's not like herpes have ever scared off Doug Janik before.
  • Hank got on the scoreboard thanks largely to Pav's pass-and-movement. Datsyuk pushed the Flames' D back and then delivered a typical, perfect backhand pass to Hank's stick for the one-timer.
  • Great to see Kenneth Rucker, or "Orange hat guy", given a tribute at the Joe, this the first home game after his death. A season ticket holder since 1972, they draped his empty seat in an orange hat and will leave it there for the rest of the season. (I'm legally required by Internet law to place "Classy" at the end of this paragraph.)
  • Wings second goal: Drew Miller made a really good effort to draw a penalty on Steve Staios. Then on the power play, Datsyuk thwarted the Flames curious strategy of placing him in a phone booth and set up Lidstrom for a blue line bomb.
  • This pretty much sums up my feelings on Miikka Kiprusoff.

The Mule didn't punch Kipper in the face, but he sure did a nice job
banking a shot off of it and into the net for his 4th goal of the season.

  • Larry Murphy: "You wouldn't know (Nick Lidstrom) is 42 years old." You're right, Murph. I didn't know that 40 year-old Nick Lidstrom was 42 years old.
  • I've come to the conclusion that Nik Kronwall enjoys blindly giving opponents the puck in front of his own net. If he enjoyed it any more, he'd have to cut a hole out in the crotch of his pants.
  • Employee #44 is killing it. Did you see that assassin's bullet of shot he made to clinch the game? It was deadly accurate. He's really got that killer instinct working. He's been, 1997 version of you would say, The Bomb. Just dial 44 for murder. If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen where Todd Bertuzzi is slaughtering humans. Wait don't leave, I have like 12 more of these --
  • And finally: You probably saw the interview midway through the Chicago game last week where Jiri Hudler confessed that, while he missed a lot of things about the NHL, it was Ozzie that he missed the most. I didn't feel like FSD did a good enough job of playing up that completely fucking adorable revelation, so I fixed it:

Go Wings.