January 23, 2011

Game #48 -- Red Wings vs. Blackhawks


So was that the worst Wings game of the year, or did it just seem like it because I saw it in person?

Every pass, every clearance, every breakout seemed like a monumental challenge. Much to the dismay of Mike Babcock I'm sure, there was zero structure to anything the Wings were doing. If not for Jimmy Howard, this was a 7-1, 8-1 type of game. Jonathan Ericsson was indescribably awful; you really had to see it to believe it. And I'm still reeling from the shock of, "Is that a number 48 out there? Who the fuck is that?"

On to the next one.

Go Wings.

January 21, 2011

Game #47 -- Red Wings at Blues


Is it possible to steal a win when you held a 3-0 lead? The Blues outworked the Wings and looked much more deserving of a victory over the latter half of this game. But one play was the difference, and it notched Jiri Hudler his 3rd assist of the game (no really) and Darren Helm's 11th point in as many games.

(By the way, this post will be 100% Nabokov free because ........ because I just have no fucking idea. It's too weird. I wrote an entire post this afternoon about it and deleted it because I was 17 times more confused than when I started.)

Recap bullets:

  • It took all of 20 seconds for a Wing to get hurt as Kronner took a puck off his right hand. Not even half a minute and we're worrying about more broken bones. I hate sports.
  • We had another injury at the 4 minute mark -- this time to me -- after Jiri Hudler actually attempted a shot and I experienced a mild heart attack.
  • First goal, 1-0 Wings: My GOD what a pass from Hank. From his backhand in the corner and through a defender, right on the tape of Eaves, who seems to know that being in front of the net on Zetterberg's line is not a bad idea.
  • Has it ever been answered why Kronwall wears a visor that covers only 1/20 of his face? Is he only worried about the part of his forehead just below his hair line? I would bet money that he also wears sunglasses indoors.
  • #44 had one of the easiest non-empty net goals that you will ever, ever see. It's true. I'm not just saying that because I'm playing out a tired gimmick where pretend to hate the guy and print his number instead of his name. Also: he nearly missed the net!
  • Congratulations to longtime reader and first time NHL goal scorer, Yak Kindl.
  • This is more curiosity than a statement, but I would really like to know the honest truth of what Jimmy Howard thinks when a guy like David Backes gives him a WWF-style running knee to the chest -- and there is absolutely no response from his teammates. Again, I'm just curious, not making a claim that I want Backes' head on a stick. You might say that the play was still going, but I'd also counter that this happens a lot and nothing happens after the whistle anyhow. Oh, and how 'bout a penalt.... oh forget it.
  • The 3rd period featured an extended anecdote from Ken Daniels on the original Mighty Ducks movie, talking about Mike Modano and Basil McRae. Just hearing Ken say the words "Coach Bombay" on live TV was enough to make me momentarily forget that the Wings had just fucked away a 3-0 lead. So thank you, Ken.

My thought process in the 30 seconds that led up to Darren Helm's game winner:

"Dammit Helm!" (D-zone turnover)

"FASDFFFFFFF" (Potential goal saved by Kronwall)

"Just get it out and get off the ice." (puck along boards at blue line)

"Hey wait a minute--" (Helm pokes puck up for a 2-on-1)

"Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds -- Shoot it Huds ....." (Jiri Hudler staring a hole through Darren Helm)

"YOU ASSHO-- YES!" (What do I know.)

Go Wings

January 19, 2011

Game #46 -- Red Wings at Penguins


The context isn't important, but Brent sent me a text yesterday afternoon that read, "It feels like I was ass raped by a gorilla yesterday." And now I can say I know how he feels.

This was a shit bowl. A waste of two and a half hours as a Crosbyless team that was far from dominant still beat our team by three goals. Credit to Fleury for a rock solid performance, the rare times that he was called upon. This was a decidedly un-gutsy effort from a team that didn't look that interested and is fighting off a midseason malaise.

The bullets:

  • The pregame included a mini-montage of Jonathan Ericsson and a brief discussion from Mick about Big E's mini-resurgence, which has become a nearly every-other-game episode. E goes into a funk for a game or two, then he comes out of it; then he goes back to making your brain bleed for a little bit, then he makes it stop momentarily. The point being, every time he has one of these little comebacks, I feel slightly less and less optimistic. Let's see him consistently win some man-on-man battles along the boards and avoid chewing his own hand for a few weeks before we go nuts.
  • Our number four goaltender made news for breaking his finger and forcing our already-injured starting goalie into emergency backup duty, playing behind one Joseph MacDonald. These are things that I would not like to hear about when I'm trying to get through the rest of my life without shitting my pants.
  • Legitimately disappointed as a hockey fan that Sidney Crosby didn't play this game. As a Red Wings fan just wanting to see a victory, I'll obviously take it. But as a fan of the game, not getting to see that Zetterberg-Crosby matchup takes away quite a bit of juice from what has proven to be a really good if not great modern rivalry. It's just too bad Sid sat this one out to protest the league's refusal to protect players from overly chapped lips.
  • Happy birthday, Jordan Staal. As if we weren't still entirely mortified of you after the '09 Finals and that absurd hat trick a couple Novembers ago, Joey Mac all but says aloud, "I have money on the Penguins" and hands you a goal. (I loved the ensuing faceoff too, when Fil and Kronner nearly sleepwalked their way to a giveaway goal of their own. Uncanny. Through 46 games, our guys have been awake for roughly 11 total minutes of 1st period action.)
  • Ridiculously bad first 12 minutes of play from the Wings, with the exception of a few Eaves/Hank/Mule shifts. Can't remember seeing that many breakaways and clean looks given up in such a short period of time. Maddening. (If you were watching the FSD broadcast, surely you noticed the video being half a second behind the audio. I found this funny; it was as if the Wings were literally playing from behind from the very start.)
  • Oh God, it's Zapruder footage of the infamous preseason knee-on-knee delivered from Brooks Orpik to Johan Franzen! Unless I'm wildly mistaken, this is the first video we have seen of this incident. I remember hearing the radio call of it vaguely before blacking out and nearly drowning in a bowl of Ramen noodles. When I was revived by paramedics, the Internet was still on fire from Wings fan hatred and I felt like I was actually going to throw up. I'd rather just forget that night altogether, while still hanging onto the notion that I'd like to strap Orpik to a space shuttle and fly him into the sun.
  • I'm marking 14:58 in the 2nd period as the moment I accepted that Marc-Andre Fleury was locked in and not giving up a 2-0 lead in hopes of a reverse jinx. This came after a bad angle save on Hudler that was followed by cameras catching Jiri saying "Fuck me." This marked the first time in Huds' adult life that those words were not uttered through a ball gag.
  • I don't understand what has to happen to be awarded a penalty shot. Before Connor scored for the Penguins on one in the 1st period, I actually thought Yak Kindl's trip on whichever Pen that was he tripped on an obvious breakaway was a SURE penalty shot. Then the Drew Miller incident, which, I don't know, if that isn't a PS I don't know what one is. Granted, I would rather have a power play than Drew Miller on a penalty shot, but I'm just saying.
  • [Franzen's goal, 2-1 Penguins]: Bylsma had the Staal line up against the Zetterberg line the entire game up until this goal, when the Staal line was out one shift prior to this. That put Talbot Monster's line on Hank's; Wings won the faceoff, held possession and ended up scoring with Franzen finding an opening on the left side of the net. (This was one of like three shifts where I noticed PIT not getting that matchup. Feel free to link me a site that actually tells me stuff like this so I don't throw guesstimations out there like a schmuck.) Of course, the Wings gave the Pens life back mere seconds later.
  • Bernstein Advantage Player Profile on Franzen (these are always too fun not to comment on): "Hockey inspirations: Wayne Gretzky & Peter Forsberg". I find it interesting that two phenomenal playmaking centerman are the biggest hockey inspirations for a hulking power forward and deadly sniper. I mean the Gretzky thing would totally throw me off if the guy wasn't the best player ever, just going by styles of play. Sort of like if Ron Jeremy listed one of his biggest inspirations as George Clooney. (And yes, somebody nicknamed "The Mule" was the porn star in that terrible analogy.)
  • Mick had some notable comments after the game. Namely that injuries aren't the biggest problem, but rather bad decisions and a loosey-goosey offensive mindset in our players that is causing them to jump up in the play too recklessly without thinking. It might be a wild idea, but in times of injury crisis like this, I would hope that "thinking" isn't one of our weaknesses.

What a turd of a game. Just a moldy, rotten turd. Go Wings.

January 16, 2011

Game #45 -- Red Wings vs. Blue Jackets


I can't not do this: it's another transcript of Larry Murphy's between the benches segment before opening face off. It was too "Murph" not to go undocumented.

"EVENING KEN, and we ARE .... seeing TOMAS TATAR .... for his sec-- his second stint with the Wingsplayed five games .... previous to this .... scoring a GOAL ....... in his first NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE gamethis is somebody that brings a lot of ENERGY .... A SKILLED PLAYER HE'S NOT TALL, BUT HE'S WILLING TO MIX IT UP .... creating TURNOVERS ............. STRONG HANDS AROUND THE NET AND HE'S W I L L I N' ..............

............. TO GO TO THOSE DIRTY PLACES .... TOMAS TATAR SHOWING HIMSELF WELL .... HIS FIRST TIME AROUND WITH THE WINGS .... THIS TWENTY-TWO YEAR OLLLLLDDD ............ (Editor's Note: the hell??) .... will have a great opportunity with four regulars .... OFF the POWER PLAY .... don't be surprised to SEE HIM ..... SEE SOME PP TIME ............. Ken ...."

Recap bullets:

  • Coming into this game, Joey Mac had a 0-1-1 record in two relief appearances, despite only allowing one goal. Something about that doesn't exactly seem fair. I hope Jimmy has the decency to repay Joey somehow. Perhaps by listening to more of those mind-numbing Jamie Tardif stories and saying a little more than just "Yeah that's cool can you pass the Doritos?"
  • So, 2-0 Blue Jackets less than five minutes in? Forget fighting the urge to hit fast forward on the DVR of this game -- I wanted to hit fast forward on the next five weeks of this season.
  • Rick Nash did a swell job of pulling up on Nick Lidstrom's stick and drawing that hooking penalty. That was a pretty crafty job by the future goalie murderer. Then the unthinkable happened -- Nick started talking shit to the referee. By God, my eyes were not ready to see that. It felt like seeing your dad swear at a cop over a bogus parking ticket.
  • Shocked -- SHOCKED that Fil finished on that one-timer. Is that the first time he's ever scored from that far out? I'm kidding, I think. I was "unexpectedly see somebody who's missing and eyeball"-level surprised. (By the way, that rush was started by a heady defensive play from Jiri Hudler, People Who Look For Signs of an Imminent Apocalypse.)
  • On the Blue Jackets breakaway goal that made it 3-2 Columbus: Who do you blame here? Kronner for staying in too deep or Hank for not covering for him? Either way, I'm not sure why Kronner is playing that risky in a tie game early in the 2nd period. Oh wait, yeah I do, it's because he's Nik Kronwall.
  • I loved the goal from Raf. He jumped up quickly to force a 3-on-2, wanted the puck, got it, knew he had to get it off quickly and scored (thanks to a goofy bounce. This whole game was goofy bounces.)
  • Joey MacDonald, FSD Player Profile: "Works on parents' farm during offseason." Huh? What is this, the 40s? There are still players who work second jobs during the offseason? Does he smoke cigarettes during intermissions too?
  • Funny moment when Murph catches a puck between the benches and looks legitimately like it may have given him a boner. That's how happy he was. Then the puck exchanged hands a few times and ended up in the possession of a little girl in the stands, who looked 1/1000th as excited as Murph. Larry Murphy is one of the greatest hockey players ever and was more excited to catch a puck than a child. It was like somebody handed her a can of baked beans. What an ungrateful whore.
  • Drapes' had a one-handed poke goal to put the Wings on top 5-4. He now officially has more one-handed goals and goals scored with his face than he does with the conventional slap shot.
  • 5-5, Rick Nash, with only a minute to go. Surprised? Of course not.
  • But never fear. Want to lose a game? Give Johan Franzen three and a half years of alone time in the slot and he'll bury it. Ballgame.

Good for Joey Mac. Gives up 5 and still wins. That probably didn't happen a whole lot in Toronto.

Go Wings.

January 15, 2011

Game #44 -- Red Wings at Blue Jackets


Hi again, it's a recap from that guy who writes the blogs sometimes. What are we down to ... weekly? Biweekly? Holidays? Yes, holidays. This is your Martin Luther King AIN'T NO SCHOOL MONDAY, MOTHERFUCKER Day recap.

Posting this at 3 in the morning, I'm not going to bother looking up how badly Jimmy Howard was injured when he apparently took a puck off an exposed part of the leg in the first period. I don't want to read that he shattered his knee cap and will miss the next infinity weeks. (If this is actually the case I'm sorry that I didn't also subject myself this as you did. And God help us all.)

The one point we snagged belonged to a couple of grinders and a 3rd string goalie called upon unexpectedly who showed some serious sack. The bullets:

  • The opening segment of the broadcast features Ken Daniels' wondering aloud whether Nick Lidstrom -- if he is named an All Star Game captain -- should pick Rick Nash for his squad. I will answer this question on behalf of Nick. Yes, yes he should. He should be the first pick. Also the second pick, and probably the 5th, 6th and 7th pick, and for good measure, picks 12 through 18. You realize what this prevents? It prevents yet another game in which Nick has to defend against Nash cutting to the crease at 70 miles per hour with both skates wobbling and threatening to kick up into the air and slice Nick's head off like a Friday the 13th victim. I might worry too much.
  • God, that canon at Nationwide Arena drives me nuts. I can't begin to imagine how Chris Chelios ever dealt with it. No way he ever got through a game in Columbus without having traumatic Civil War flashbacks.
  • CBJ first goal: Nash has his shot deflect off Nick's stick .... it goes behind the net and takes a perfect bounce to Jakub Voracek on the other side .... Jonathan Ericsson meanwhile is still mentally distracted after Derick Brassard asked him what the square root of 100 is and never sees the puck until after Voracek scored.
  • Random thought after watching Franzen-to-Zetterberg nearly hook up for a cross ice one-timer goal: Mule has improved leaps and bounds as a passer since coming into the league. Nobody really talks about this. After breaking out in 2008 as a score-at-will power forward, his passing game has slowly picked up some pace to the point where he can now have his head up and look for that type of pass and pull the trigger with confidence routinely.
  • 8:49, 1st period, high comedy: Columbus on a 5-on-3 when Hank plays a puck with a high stick, referee signals it and play continues -- and the crowd cheers as they anticipate a high sticking penalty and a 5-on-2 power play.
  • While it was a two man advantage, Grant Clitsome (who is somehow not a 70's Bond villain) scored a weak goal on Jimmy that everyone wishes they could have back. That's a rare 5-on-3 goal where you pin all blame on the goalie. You can still blame Jiri and Johnny for their penalties, because I know half of you want to. The brains of the Anti-Jiri/Anti-Johnny crowd had to have melted out of their ears at the site of both those guys in the box together. I'm sure it was like a David Lee Roth fan seeing two Sammy Hagars.
  • Scarring, slow motion shot of Jimmy squirting water on his face as FSD goes to commercial. Can we agree as humans to never, ever record a dude squirting anything onto his face in slow motion again? Seriously, ever? No good results from this. None.
  • And Jimmy Howard leaves the game with a painful injury! Hooray! I just shat out of my mouth. I'm writing this as I watch so I have no idea what the extent of this injury is, but I put full blame on Joey MacDonald regardless of what it is. With Ozzie out and MacDonald taking his spot on the team plane next to Jimmy, I can only assume that Joey drove Jimmy nuts the entire flight, regaling him with lame AHL stories like the time Jamie Tardif ate half a box of wax paper or when Tomas Tatar made their bus driver pull over outside of a farm so he could arm wrestle a baby horse. It's obvious that Jimmy didn't have his full focus on this game and it was all Joey Mac's fault.
  • Remember that one time Tomas Holmstrom drew a penalty? Haha I'm just kidding that never happened.
  • Drew Miller all by his damn self. My goodness what a goal. That was the official "Just For Men: Touch of Gray" goal of the season: He had the youthfulness to speed around his defender, but also had the experience to know how to pull the move off. IT'S THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.
  • Miller's shorthanded goal turned the momentum 180 degrees in our favor. Not long after, Helm's speed draws a power play (nearly a penalty shot .... for the love of hockey somebody needs to create a 10 minute video just of Ken Daniels shouting, "IS IT A PENALTY SHOT?" Please. I don't ask for much.) Then Jiri swallowed all of his sadness from Ozzie not being at this game and slam dunked a goal to tie the game at 2.
  • Back to the All Star Game captaincy thing for a second, (since it was brought up again in the 3rd period): Obviously Crosby will be one of them. There's a 112% chance of that happening. But if the other isn't Nick it will be a reprehensible, unmitigated skullfucking the likes of which won't be able to be processed by human intelligence. On the surface it sounds like it's really not that big of a deal; it's an exhibition game after all. But if you're going to tell one of the 10 greatest players in NHL history in what may be his final season (in what has been an AWESOME season) that he's not the other captain? You might as well slap him across the face with your balls. That's a pretty loud message.
  • Jokes aside: Joey Mac was really good all things considered. (Considering he's Joey MacDonald.) Overtime was Joeytime.

Mac was also admirable in the shootout, surviving an attempted homicide from Rick Nash. Shootouts are the worst.

Go Wings.

January 3, 2011

Must read of the day

Via Baroque: Chris Osgood and the Hall of Fame

Read of the year, really. All three days worth.

"Part of it, I think, is that Chris Osgood just doesn’t seem like a truly dominant, elite goaltender. He’s never been the best goaltender in the league by the end of the year, he’s never been flashy, he’s never been signed to an enormous contract, he makes the fans nervous when he gives up a really strange goal…yet he has persisted through his own self-doubt, the extremely critical gaze of fans, being traded, being benched, reinventing his technique to remain effective as younger, quicker, larger goaltenders were coming into the league all around him, and has just kept winning more often than not."

I'm glad all of our badgering to get Baroque writing paid off like this. Great stuff.