Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wings v. Stars in review 11/30/09

Detroit goal (1-0) 13:48 1st period; Miller from Lebda & Draper:
This goal is a result of Drew Miller's tremendous speed. Well, a luck bounce off of a man in front of the net helps, but it's mostly because of speed. Miller forechecks hard and gets the Stars player to turn the puck over. He then banks a shot in by shooting at the Dallas defender.

Dallas goal (1-1) 19:45 in 1st period; Morrow from Robidas & Daley:
In all the video I've been watching, there's one disturbing trend that keeps popping up. A good number of the times Detroit gets scored on close to the net are a result of one man slipping by unchecked by the defense. That's exactly what happens here. A Dallas player moves up from behind the net, gets position in front of the net but behind the defender, and tips the puck when it's shot from the point.

Detroit goal (2-1) 5:35 in 2nd period; Helm from Draper & Bertuzzi:
Draper, who is moving quickly down the right wing boards, sees a wide open Helm across the ice and to the left of the crease. He threads a pass through, and Helm buries it.

Detroit goal (3-1) 12:06 in 2nd period; Cleary from Zetterberg & Holmstrom:
Cleary makes a pretty gutsy pass from below the left faceoff circle up to the right point. Rafalski gets the puck off a bounce from the boards and unleashes a slap shot. Homer tips it to the side of the net and Cleary scraps and scores on the left side.

Detroit goal (4-1) 3:35 in 3rd period; Bertuzzi from Datsyuk:
Bertuzzi picks the top right corner and puts a perfect shot on net. Turco can't stop the shot, though he does make a move towards the puck.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Red Wings @ Blues in review 11/28/09

St. Louis goal (1-0) 13:24 in 1st period; Backes from Perron & Sydor:
Perron puts a shot on net from the middle of the zone, and Backes gets his stick on it. He deflects it into the net, beating Howard five-hole. I have two complaints here; first, Ericsson has position on his guy at first and gives it, and this leads to the goal. Second, how many times have I had to write "Howard gets beat five-hole?" This is obviously a weakness. Now we just have to hope that Jim Bedard recognizes this as well and works with Jimmy in practice on it.

St. Louis goal (2-0) 17:22 in 1st period; Polak from Backes & Kariya:
Howard has not chance of seeing this shot. There are four guys crammed into the crease area, and all are directly in front of Howard. There's a slap shot from the blue line and, as expected, it gets tipped into the net. I guess with that many guys in front the shot could just as easily been stopped by a player instead of deflected off a stick, but the Blues get some puck luck here and the latter occurs. Paul Kariya makes a veteran move and gets his stick high before the shot. It's hard to tell whether his stick was above the crossbar, but it looks like he brought it down right before the puck hit the stick. Credit where credit's due, that was a pretty smart play on Kariya's part.

Detroit goal (2-1) 2:35 in 2nd period; PPG Holmstrom from Zetterberg & Datsyuk:
The Wings are on the power play, which causes the Blues to be in a box formation on defense. All four guys start to shift towards Datsyuk, who's on the left boards. Dats sees that Zetterberg is wide open across the ice and threads a perfect pass to him. Zetterberg passes to Holmstrom in front of the net instead of shooting, because one of the defenders has turned and moved towards Zetterberg in time to cut off any good scoring chance. The pass hits Holmstrom's stick perfectly and Homer puts it away to the side of the net.

Detroit goal (2-2) 2:27 in 3rd period; Draper from Eaves & Helm:
Helm puts the puck on net, and the puck hits the tangled up Wings and Blues players in front of the crease. It falls down, and a flying Draper shovels it into the net.

St. Louis goal (3-2) 8:32 in 3rd period; Boyes from Perron & McDonald:
A pretty crappy goal to give up. St. Louis mucks around in front of scores because of some defensive miscues by the Wings. Lidstrom has to cover two guys in the crease, and he picks the one he must think is most likely to get the rebound. Unfortunately, he guessed wrong because the other guy ends up getting the rebound and chop-chop-chops at the puck until he scores.

Detroit goal (3-3) 19:03 in 3rd period; Zetterberg from Bertuzzi & Holmstrom:
After giving up an effort goal to St. Louis, the Wings get one of their own. There's a bunch of pushing and shoving in front of the net, but the important part is this: Zetterberg backhands a shot in front of the net from the right corner. The puck hits Blues defenseman Barret Jackman in the chest and is redirected into the top right corner of the net. The goaltender is looking for the puck in the bottom left corner (?), so he never even sees it go in.

Overtime: nothin' doin'

Shoot out:
McDonald-StL goal
Datsyuk-Det goal
Boyes-StL x
Zetterberg-Det x
Perron-StL x
Cleary-Det x
Oshie-StL missed net
Bertuzzi-Det goal

Wings vs. Flames in review 11/25/09

Calgary goal (1-0) 00:28 in 1st period; Lundmark from Jokinen & Iginla:
Rafalski is shadowing a Calgary player who he picked up on the left side but is moving to the right side, which is the side Rafi is supposed to be on. He runs into Lidstrom in front of the net, which means that neither player is able to properly cover their man. Obviously this creates an opportunity for Calgary. This allows the Calgary player to make a pass through traffic in front of the net, and he's a little lucky it lands on the stick of his teammate, who banks it in to the net.

Calgary goal (2-0) 18:29 in 1st period; Dawes from Moss:
Really bad luck. Realllllly bad luck. That's what leads to this goal, which just as easily could have been cleared from the zone. The puck gets deflected off of Jonathan Ericsson's stick on a cross zone pass. Eaves gets the puck and is going to clear it off into the corner, but there's a Calgary player who literally takes it off his stick and backhands it into the net.

Calgary goal (3-0) 00:25 in 3rd period; Jokinen from Lundmark & Iginla:
Lids makes a heck of a play on the puck as Calgary enters the zone. The puck deflects up into the air, where a Calgary players catches it, puts it down, and passes to a wide open man. He unleashes a nasty wrist shot that beats Ozzie high glove side.

Wings vs. Thrashers in review 11/25/09

Atlanta goal (1-0) 5:02 in 1st period; Antropov from Afinogenov & Kozlov:
A complete defensive break down leads to a goal that's way too easy. Ville Leino gets caught playing too far up in the zone and isn't able to catch Antropov as he streaks towards the goal. Jimmy Howard is unable to get across the crease in time to stop the puck, and Antropov just taps the puck in off a nice cross-crease pass from Afinogenov.

Atlanta goal (2-0) 9:08 in 2nd period; Kozlov from Kovalchuk & White:
This one was admittedly very pretty. Kovalchuk threads a needle from blue line to blue line, finding Kozlov in between Lidstrom and Rafalski. Kozlov has a step on both of the d-men and he's off to the races as soon as he gets the puck. Kozlov makes one move and beats Howard five-hole.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Goaltending controversy?

The NHL part of the Fanhouse blog has an interesting article about whether Jimmy Howard is outplaying Christ Osgood. Honestly, I just really like the save percentage charts in the article. Check it out here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cleary injured, Wings now missing 6 regulars

Dan Cleary was injured in the third period of last night's shutout loss to the Blues, which makes him the sixth regular rotation Wing to be out of the lineup. Reports are being published today that Cleary could be out for around a month. The disparity between this year's roster and last year's roster is striking. At this point, the most I'm hoping for is for the Wings to just hold on and keep themselves within striking distance of the playoffs while they wait for their everyday guys to step back into the lineup. It's truly a sad day in Detroit hockey, as we're at the point where we're basically fielding Grand Rapids East. I know that Ken Holland has reiterated recently that he won't be making any moves, but if this keeps up then the Wings hand might be forced. Only time will tell.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Wings v. Predators in review 11/23/09

The Wings outshot the Preds, but the penalty kill was lackluster. The Wings gave up 2 power play goals, and that basically was the difference in this one.

Nashville goal (1-0) 10:24 in 1st period; PPG Arnott from Sullivan & Weber:

Osgood makes a good first save but gives up a rebound, which Arnott smacks into the net.

Nashville goal (2-0) 1:41 in 2nd period; PPG Erat from Ward & Legwand:

This really isn't a terrible defensive break down or anything of that sort. The shooter just picks a corner and beats Osgood far side. Not much you can do about this one.

Detroit goal (2-1) 6:38 in 2nd period; Miller from Cleary & Ericsson:

Drew Miller makes a really nice power move to the goal, cutting in behind everyone through a very narrow alley. It pays off, as he puts this one not just on net but in net.

Nashville goal (3-1) 17:40 in 3rd period; Erat from Tootoo & Hamhuis:

Erat has his back to the net, and has to turn to shoot the puck. He turns remarkably quickly, and I think it catches Ozzie off guard. He beats Osgood over his outstretched left pad.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Lack of posts

I apologize for the lack of In Reviews that've been posted (well, actually they've not been posted) over the last 10 days or so. I'm working on it slowly but surely, so your patience is appreciated. That is, assuming anyone reads this.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wings v. Canadiens in review 11/21/09

The Wings won the game, but they lost Nicklas Kronwall to a knee injury. The only good thing about falling behind on these In Reviews is that I now know that Kronwall will be out 4-8 weeks (bad) but Laraque will be suspended 5 games for the hit (good). Also of note in this game was the Canadiens throwback unis. Honestly, not the best one they've got. The best part, though, has got to be the gloves. Seriously. Whoever decided to wear tan gloves that look like leather is a genius and should be promoted. I'd love to see the wings do that. How cool would it be to watch them channel Gordie Howe and wear tan gloves with jerseys featuring the retro crest, that weird scrunchy curvy winged wheel.

Detroit goal (1-0) 12:41 in 1st period; PPG Stuart from Cleary & Lebda:

Stuart shoots from the blue line, and the puck sails through traffic. It hits Carey Price but sorta bounces behind him. I dunno, it's hard to tell from the replay. The end result is the puck trickling past Price as he dives backwards to try and save it.

Detroit goal (2-0) 14:42 in 1st period; PPG Datsyuk from Rafalski & Lidstrom:

While cycling the puck, Lidstrom makes a nice fake slap shot from the blue line and puts a pass right on Rafi's stick, who shoots to the left of the goal. Datsyuk is right there to tip the puck in past Carey Price.

Montreal goal (2-1) 00:09 in 3rd period; Cammalleri from Kostitsyn & Spacek:

This is a bad one. Montreal makes a line change and four guys rush the zone. Most of the Wings have already gotten back and are in the defensive zone. They match up with guys, but somehow Cammalleri is unaccounted for. The sea of players parts, and it's Cammalleri in the center of the ice 1-on-1 with Howard. Cammalleri shoots from near the top of the faceoff circles and scores

Montreal goal (2-2) 8:45 in 3rd period; Cammalleri from Kostitsyn & Plekanec:

Lidstrom has the puck behind the back of his own net. He sees a Montreal player coming at him with speed, and makes the smart play to clear the puck away from the Canadiens player, which means he doesn't make the easy pass up the boards or to the other d-man in front of the net but instead shoots behind the net and lets the puck ricochet around the far boards. The problem with this is that no one's there-except a Montreal player. He gets the puck, passes to a teammate who has gotten deep into the zone, and that guy then fires a centering pass that is deflected into the goal

Datsyuk- G: Watching Pavel in a shootout is pure hockey gold. He does things I've never seen done before, things that seem like they should be physically impossible. How he can commit to the backhand and then switch to the forehand and not lose the puck is just amazing. That's exactly what happens here. It looks like Pav is going to go backhand, and gets Price to commit to that as well. He then pulls the puck across the crease and nestles it into the net.
Zetterberg- G: This seems like a read-and-react type of play, and if that's true then Z has some of the best hand-eye coordination in the world. Zetterberg hunkers down, making it look as if he's going to try and lift the puck high. The thing is, Price is leaving the 5 hole open so that he can move laterally if need be. Zetterberg sees this, and instead of trying to hit one of the corners he just shoots it 5 hole and scores. Game over.

Wings v. Panthers in review 11/20/09

Detroit goal (1-0) 17:58 in 2nd period; PPG Datsyuk from Zetterberg & Rafalski:

Rafalski puts one on net that's stopped. The defenseman tries to clear the puck off the rebound but instead it's stolen off his stick by Rafalski, who does a great job of following his shot to the net. He takes the puck to corner and passes to Z a little further down the boards, closer to the back of the net. Datsyuk then makes his move to the goal, which is to his left. Hanks sees this and passes to Pav, who shots immediately. The first shot is stopped, but the netminder gives up a rebound. Pav turns and stretches as far as he can, just barely reaching the puck and nuding it in.

Florida goal (1-1) 8:13 in 3rd period; Weiss from Horton & Frolik:

I;m not sure, but I think Rafalski was out of position on this one. He's camped out in the middle of the crease, while the puck is behind the net. The Florida player carries the puck to the right of Osgood, but he's D'ed up the whole way. Rafalski still decides to play on the right side of the crease, which allows another Florida player to get open and wait on the left side of the crease for a pass. The pass comes, the guy's all alone, and Osgood can't recover cross crease fast enough to stop it. Florida goal. EDIT: upon further review, I guess the Wings defender was a step behind Horton, who was carrying the puck. Rafalski must have made a split second decision to try and defend the puck carrier, which unfortunately left a man open.

Florida goal (2-1) 00:40 in OT; McCabe from Weiss & Horton:

Kinda flukey, to be honest. The Panthers are able to cycle the puck, and McCabe is wide open. He lets go of a one timer that beats Ozzie, and that's the game. Osgood didn't have a whole lot of time to get square to the shooter, but he manages to do a fairly good job and this and he definitely sees who has the puck. I have a hard time believing that he wouldn't stop this 9 times out of 10. No such luck tonight though, as Florida takes this one.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Wings v. Stars in review 11/18/09

This one was marred by what could have been. Brad May scored from the slot, which should have tied the game at 2 a piece. Instead, the refs called no goal despite the puck clearly crossing the goal line before the whistle was blown. This was noticeable in a number of replays. The NHL explained the next day that the goal was disallowed because of the referee's "intent to blow the whistle." Naturally that explanation isn't going to sit well with Wings fans, and it doesn't sit well with me. I have no idea how you can blow a play dead unless you ACTUALLY BLOW THE WHISTLE! How can you make "intent" a part of officiating? That opens up a whole new can of worms that is really best left alone. Imagine if the NFL did this. It would be the lead story on SportCenter and NFL Live and would be talked about at length. Unfortunately, being a part of a more niche market type of league means this call will largely go unnoticed.

Dallas goal (1-0) 9:26 in 1st period; PPG Ribeiro from Richards & Robidas:

Disappointingly simple. Richards carries the puck in and gets good position. His defender sprawls on the ice but doesn't take away the passing lane to the right, and Richards passes to Ribeiro in front of the net. Despite having a guy draped all over him, Ribeiro taps the puck between Howard's pads.

Dallas goal (2-0) 3:52 in 2nd period; Niskanen from Richards & Neal:

Slapshot from the blueline gets deflected in front of the net. Classic, unfortunately.

Detroit goal (2-1) 6:16 in 2nd period; Zetterberg from Leino & Lebda:

This one's worth looking up on Youtube. It's not flashy, but it shows just how powerful Zetterberg is when he carries the puck to the net. Hank has a half step on the defender the whole way, and gets good inside positioning on him. From there he just swoops to the net on a beautiful arc, an arc would basically have drawn a reverse "c" is you traced it from the blueline to the net along the right side. Z goes top shelf and scores over the goaltender's shoulder.

Dallas goal (3-1) 12:43 in 3rd period; PPG Eriksson from Neal & Modano:

The Wings are in the box formation they usually use on the penalty kill. The guy with the puck is in the corner, and he puts a quick cross ice pass on the stick of his teammate to the right of Jimmy Howard.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Osgood and Maltby in tonight, May out

Per the Free Press, Osgood will be back in goal while Maltby will be taking May's place in the lineup. May will be a healthy scratch. While I think May has played well lately, I'm not going to question Babcock's line juggling. With 3 games in 4 days, I think he knows what he's doing.

Also mentioned in the article is that Jimmy Howard will start in Montreal tomorrow night in large part because of his solid play there last season.

Fedorov accuses Wings of jealousy, thinks he was held back

The Free Press has an interesting article about comments Sergei Fedorov made to a Russian website. The full text of the interview can be found here. I liked Sergei when he was here but I'll admit that I was frustrated when he bolted. It seems like he's gotten more level headed with time, but the things he says about his time in Detroit are just bizarre. Fedorov comes off as a conspiracy theorist here. Jealousy within the team over the Russian 5? We'll probably never know for sure if this was true, but I'd like to know exactly who he thinks was jealous. Just when I was starting to like Fedorov again, he reminds me why he always felt a little more distant than the rest of the team.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brendan Shanahan retires

Whatever hopes Wings had of re-signing former Wings star Brendan Shanahan can be put to rest, as he has decided to retire from the NHL. Shanny was an integral part of the Wings Cup wins in 97, 98, and 02. I grew up watching him play and have a lot of good memories; who can forget Shanny's Irish jig? Congrats to Brendan on a great career and thank you for your time with the Wings.

Howard to start again

Chris Osgood won't play tonight against Dallas. He is still fighting what the team calls "flu like symptoms." Despite practicing yesterday Osgood won't even dress as the backup, as the Wings called up Daniel Larsson again to fill that role.

Other than that, the lines will remain the same. I really like the lines Babs has settled with, and it's obviously paying off in wins right now. Not needing to mix things up is nice after the early part of the season was so full of line juggling to account for injuries and generally lackluster play. Now, just hope no one else gets hurt...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wings v. Ducks in review 11/14/09

Any game against perennial annoyance Anaheim is fun to watch, but I couldn't help but notice a different feel to this game. Obviously, it's not the playoffs so some of the intensity and intrigue wasn't there, but at this point Anaheim's just not that good. Gone is the loathed Christ Pronger, and with that goes some of the rivalry's intensity. Any way you look at it, however, this was still a good win for the Wings, who still are 3 points behind division leading Chicago.

Detroit goal (1-0) 13:32 in 1st period; PPG Cleary from Kronwall & Bertuzzi:

Dan Cleary pulls a Holmstrom and camps out in front of the net. He's right in front to redirect the point shot, and does so to great reward.

Detroit goal (2-0) 19: 16 in 1st period; PPG Rafalski from Zetterberg:

Rafalski steps up towards the slot and puts a seemingly harmless slap shot on goal. This one's a little different in that it finds the back of the goal.

Anaheim goal (2-1) 8:12 in 2nd period; Perry from Getzlaf:

This goal is part good forechecking on Anaheim's part, and part poor passing by Ericsson

Anaheim goal (2-2) 3:47 in 3rd period; PPG Ryan from Getzlaf & Perry:

Ryan lingers behind the goal for a while, essentially placing himself behind the box D that the Wings are using. This leaves him unaccounted for. When Getzlaf makes his pass Kronwall turns to try and D up Ryan, but it's too little too late as the puck is already on his stick and in the net.

Detroit goal (3-2) 5:17 in 3rd period; PPG Datsyuk from Rafalski & Zetterberg:

Defensively, the Ducks are aligned in a triangle, with the fourth man playing 1-on-1 with Holmstrom in front of the net. Rafalski carries the puck laterally along the blue line, and spots an open Datsyuk to the right of the net. He puts a perfect pass on Dats' stick, and he really doesn't shot but instead tips the puck up and into the net.

Anaheim goal (3-3) 6:26 in 3rd period; Lupul from Getzlaf & Boynton:

A weak goal. Lupul digs the puck out of his skates off the pass from Getzlaf and just slaps one towards the net. Howard isn't ready and the Ducks score.

Detroit goal (4-3) 9:10 in 3rd period; Zetterberg from Cleary & Lidstrom:

Cleary avoids getting smashed into the boards and slips by the defender. He then makes a nice pass to Z, who puts a slap shot on net. The initial shot is stopped but Hiller gives up a rebound, and actually kicks the puck out farther into the slot when he sees the puck. He was trying to make sure it didn't trickle down his jersey and end up behind him, but that put the puck in perfect position for Zetterberg, who backhands it over Hiller

Anaheim goal (4-4) 14:27 in 3rd period; PPG Getzlaf from Selanne & Whitney:

The Ducks are on a 5-on-3 at this point in the game. The goal itself isn't too impressive. After a long period of puck movement, Getzlaf lets go of a slap shot that finds the top corner. Howard wasn't screen on the play, so not a great one to give up here.

Detroit goal (5-4) 15:29 in 3rd period; Zetterberg from Cleary & Ericsson:

Cleary carries the puck into the zone. He has Z on his right, and Cleary passes after he makes his move to the center of the ice. Z puts one on net from the middle of the face off circle and the Wings take the lead. This one had a healthy dose of puck luck on it, because in reality it shouldn't have gone in. It was a wobbler but it turned the tide for the Wings, so I'll take it.

Detroit goal (6-4) 17:45 in 3rd period; Helm from Eaves:

Helm carries the puck in all alone. He takes his shot from along the boards and hits the far side top corner. A beautiful goal, all in all. I have to agree with what I've heard, Helm really does look like the next Draper.

Detroit goal (7-4) 19:59 in 3rd period; EN Zetterberg from Kronwall:

An empty net hat trick finisher. Not bad, Mr. Z.

Red Wings v. Canucks in review 11/12/09

Detroit goal (1-0) 17: 31 in 1st period; PPG Holmstrom from Zetterberg & Datsyuk:

Zetterberg passes from the corner to Homer in front of the net. Homer puts up a shot that hits the post. Luongo is flopping around now, and the pucks lands back in the crease after hitting the post. Holmstrom whacks at it and puts it in over Luongo.

Vancouver goal (1-1) 6:38 in 2n period; PPG Raymond from Bieksa & Kesler:

Slapshot from the blue line gets redirected off the skate of a guy who's falling down. He doesn't even have both skates on the ice, so I'd just chalk this up to a bad bounce.

Detroit goal (2-1) 8:00 in 3rd period; Zetterberg from Stuart & Kronwall:

Brad Stuart makes a great blue line to blue line pass that hits Zetterberg as he's entering the offensive zone. Z makes a move on one defender and then another before going top shelf and beating Luongo over his shoulder.

Detroit goal (3-1) 19:04 in 3rd period; EN Kronwall from Howard & Stuart:

I would just like to point out that Jimmy Howard has more points this season than one Mr. Marian Hossa. Oh yeah, and Howard's been great in net. Loss of offensive firepower? What loss?

Any type of momentum is going to be needed this season, so it's nice to see the Wings getting on some sort of a roll.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Red Wings v. Blue Jackets in review 11/11/09

could say that this game looked like the Wings of old were back. I'm not going to, but I could. Honestly, I'm not one of the people who believes that the Wings have taken an insurmountable step backwards. I don't know whether you agree with me or not, but I think we all can agree that this was a fun game to watch.

Detroit goal (1-0) 1:05 in 1st period; Cleary from Zetterberg:

The play starts in back of the Columbus net, where Columbus digs the puck out and tries to clear from along the boards. The Blue Jacket with the puck attempts a lame duck pass to his man in the center, but he doesn't lead him at all. In fact, he passes is off the skate of his teammate, which is basically equivalent to the quarterback throwing behind his receiver in football. Z is there to grab the loose puck, and he pucks a shot on net from around the top of the left circle area. Mason lets go of a huge rebound, and Cleary is there to lift the puck ever so slightly over Mason's pad.

Detroit goal (2-0) 3:03 in 1st period; Datsyuk unassisted:

The play starts with something happening off camera, and I'm not even going to try and guess what happens. All that's important is that somehow the puck ends up going right to a wide open Pavel Datsyuk, who shoots from the top of the right circle and beats Mason gloveside

Detroit goal (3-0) 7:31 in 1st period; Draper from Lebda:

Eaves puts a good check on a Jackets player, and the guy has no choice but to throw the puck up the boards. There's no one there except Brett Lebda, who uncorks a slapshot from the blue line. Draper is in front of the net to tip the puck in, and the Wings score.

Detroit goal (4-0) 11:57 in 1st period; PPG Kronwall from Cleary:

Columbus has a chance to clear it out of the zone, but in what seems to be a recurring theme in this game Detroit gets the puck off a turnover and makes the Jackets pay. Cleary finds Kronner sliding to the center of the blue line, and Kronwall puts a quick slap shot on net for the goal.

Columbus goal (4-1) 10:56 in 2nd period; Nash from Umberger & Klesla:

One guy passes to another guy cross crease and the Blue Jackets score.

Detroit goal (5-1) 13:17 in 2nd period; Bertuzzi from Datsyuk & Holmstrom:

Dats passes to Bertuzzi, who is the trailer and entering the zone. The rest is just weird. I don't think I've ever laughed at a goal before, but I did here. Holmstrom steps aside because the Jackets defender is doing an excellent job of screening his own goaltender. Bertuzzi waits until Mason starts to fall over and just snaps the puck into the net. The ensuing goal celebration is probably the worst I've ever seen. Bertuzzi raises his arms after scoring, but no one comes over to congratulate him. Homer just stands at the side of the net and another Wings player glides around behind the net. Bert then does a half fist pump, though there's still no one around to congratulate him. Just laughable awkward.

Detroit goal (6-1) 13:50 in 2nd period; Leino from Zetterberg & Lidstrom:

I've heard that Leino is a natural scorer, but it's nice to have some hard evidence of that. This goal serves that purpose. This one's a beaut, gang (that's my Mickey Redmond impression. Nice, eh?). Leino takes the pass, kicks it up off his skate to his backhand. He then switches to his forehand and beats Mason in the top left corner, who's already butterflyed down.

Detroit goal (7-1) 4:59 in 3rd period; Kronwall from Rafalski & Bertuzzi:

Kronwall takes Rafalski's pass, steps up towards the faceoff circle, and puts a slapshot on net. It goes in. End of story.

Detroit goal (8-1) 8:08 in 3rd period; Abdelkader from Eaves:

This is a 2-on-1 situation, and Abdelkader has a lot of room because the d-man is shaded away from him. He waits for the defenseman to put his stick on the ice and committ to him, and the slight hesitation on Abdelkader's part throws Mason off. Abdelkader shoots and scores 5-hole.

Detroit goal (9-1) 18:36 in 3rd period; Abdelkader from May & Kronwall:

Abdelakder carries it in and passes to May. May waits for Abdelkader to get in front of the net and then passes. The puck bounces off a couple of skates before landing right in Abdelkader's wheelhouse, and he stuffs it in the net.

A number of players had their best game of the season so far, and the Wings looked like they're starting to click. Keep in mind that these Blue Jackets were, up until this game, 3 points ahead of the Wings in the division standings. Columbus is not the joke they used to be, but it was nice to see the Wings make short work of them in what is hopefully a confidence builder for a Detroit team that has already faced a lot of adversity this year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Yzerman inducted into Hall of Fame

I'd be a terrible Wings blogger if I didn't mention Stevie Y's induction into the Hall. I watched the ceremony on NHL Network, and it actually was pretty good. Yzerman's speech was pretty standard, but is it just me or did the unflappable captain seem nervous? Anyways, the Captain deserves this honor. Congratulations Steve, and thanks for 22 amazing seasons.

Stuart going to be part of the power play

Just read this over at Stu is going to be part of the second power play unit because of the injury to Williams. I didn't know this, but he has extensive experience on the power play. I'm all for this decision, but we'll wait to see him on the power play to see if there's any rust.

Jason Williams suffers broken leg, out 2 months

Another game, another injury. Williams is the 3rd forward the Wings have lost to injury this year, alongside Johan Franzen and Valterri Filppula. Williams will not only need to be replaced in the regular lineup, but in the shootout lineup as well. He had been shooting second. Who will take his place I'm not sure of, but I could see Ville Leino being slotted in there. Just for fun (twisted fun, that is) let's look at just how many guys are out of the lineup for the Wings this year, including guys lost over the offseason.


Granted, Williams probably wouldn't be on the team if some of those guys were still around but it shows just how decimated this team is right now. The fact that we're only 3 points behind the division leader is miraculous.

Wings v. Maple Leafs in review 11/7/09

A loss on many fronts. The Wings couldn't get anything going, and they lost Jason Williams to a broken leg. Yet another forward goes down, which brings the total to three.

Toronto goal (1-0) 10:34 in 1st period; Primeau from Orr & Finger:
Draper tries to make a play on the puck but falls, which leaves the Toronto player with a lot of space coming into the zone. The first time I saw this play I was more than willing to lay the blame on Osgood, but I see what he was trying to do here. Yes, he did get beat glove side and easily could have stopped the puck had he been 6 inches farther to his left. There was, however, another Toronto player in the crease, and Primeau easily could have passed to him. Had this happened, Ozzie would have needed to slide cross crease, which meant he couldn't commit too much to either side.

Toronto goal (2-0) 19:34 in 1st period; Kessel from Blake & White:
I love alternate camera angles. At first this looked like a simple shot from the blue line that got tipped in front and went through Osgood's legs. From the other camera angle, you can see that the puck actually hits something before its reaches Ozzie. The puck starts bouncing, and is tipped through Osgood's legs. Kessel is actually behind Ozzie and shovels the puck into the net.

Toronto goal (3-0) 5:21 in 2nd period; Finger from Stempniak & Stajan:
This one I don't have an excuse for. It's a 3-on-2, and Osgood gets beat glove side. He's square to the shooter and there's no angle on this one, so I guess Osgood just got beat.

Detroit goal (3-1) 5:59 in 3rd period; Cleary from Rafalski & Lidstrom:
A line change causes mass confusion/loss in personnel for the Leafs. Rafalski launches a beautiful saucer pass to Cleary, who's streaking down the middle of the ice (no pun intended). He makes a move and puts this one in the net for the lone Wings goal of the night.

Toronto goal (4-1) 9:22 in 3rd period; PPG Mitchell from Kessel & Beauchemin:
This one gets redirect in front of the net off a slapshot from Kessel. Not much Osgood can do about this one.

Toronto goal (5-1) 12:44 in 3rd period; Ponikarovski from Grabovski & White:
Osgood looked slow on this one. It was a backhaner, he wasn't screened, and he looked square to the shooter. Not a good one to let in.

Sigh. Just when I thought the Wings might have turned a corner they come out flat and lose yet another forward. This season is going to be a test, but I'm just hoping that the Wings are getting their injuries out of the way and that, come playoff time, everyone will be healthy.

Wings v. Sharks in review 11/5/09

A good confidence builder for the Wings. There really was nothing to dislike about this game. The Wings won a low scoring game, they looked solid, the big guns put on a great performance in the shoot out, and no one got hurt.

San Jose goal (1-0) 14:41 in 2nd period; Couture from Callahan & Thornton:
Callahan starts the rush and carries the puck straight down the ice from his zone to the Wings' zone. As he's entering the offensive zone Ericsson blows a tire (woo auto references) and falls down. Callahan passes to Couture on his right, who puts a snap shot on net. Osgood is square to the shooter, he just doesn't drop to the ice fast enough and gets beat five hole.

Detroit goal (1-1) 5:38 in 3rd period; Zetterberg from Lidstrom & Eaves:
Eaves carries the puck behind the net, and rather than try the wraparound he passes to Lids on the blueline. Lids unleashes a slap shot, which Nabokov kinda sorta tries to bury in his body. Zetterberg is floating through the crease and smells blood in the water (shark reference. Good, no?). The puck falls in front of Nabokov, and Zetterberg is there to tap it in.

This is what's supposed to happen when you have two of the most offensively talented forwards in the world.
Datsyuk goal: Dats plays stick-tac-toe beautifully. He then makes a move that looks like he's completely committed to going right, when he somehow pulls the puck left and almost literally tucks it in behind Nabokov.
Zetterberg goal: Zetterberg makes a similar move in going right to left, but he halts his momentum in front of the net to switch left. Really impressive.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wings v. Bruins 11/3/09

Detroit goal (1-0) 14:21 in 1st period; PPG Zetterberg from Datsyuk:
Right off the faceoff, the puck trickles ahead and into the slot area. Zetterberg's right there and rips a shot off. This play developed so quickly the netminder barely had time to react. Really nice blink-or-you'll-miss-it play.

Detroit goal (2-0) 17:43 in 1st period; Holmstrom from Datsyuk & Bertuzzi:
This might be the best Wings goal I've seen yet this year. Bertuzzi throws the puck down the ice. Datsyuk knocks the pass out of the air, gets it on his stick, passes it behind himself, and finds Holmstrom behind him. How he knew Homer was there I really don't know, because it doesn't look like he ever turns his head to check.

Wings v. Flames 10/31/09

Calgary goal (1-0) 14:43 in 2nd; Langkow from Borque & Regehr:
I'm coining a new term here; scrummaging. What is scrummaging, you might say? It occurs when there is a scrum in front of the net and there is much rummaging for the puck. So there. A new word. On this particular play, Langkow is bodied up yet he somehow gets his stick on a rebound. I think he deflects it while it's in the air. I don't know. Whatever happens, Ozzie gets scored on.

Detroit goal (1-1) 15:18 in 2nd; Stuart from Draper & Helm:
Drapes drops this one for Stuart, who has jumped up to join the rush in the offensive zone. The Calgary d-man makes as good of a play as he can, but Stuart puts the puck high and beats ol' Kipper.

Detroit goal (2-1) 16:17 in 2nd; Holmstrom from Datsyuk:
Holmstrom scores from somewhere NOT in front of the net? Yeah, we're gonna win this game. Dats makes the smart play here to not pass to Bertuzzi, who gets swallowed up by the defense pretty quickly. Instead he finds the trailer, and that happens to be Holmstrom. Homer puts one on net and it happens to go in.

Detroit goal (3-1) 19:16 in 3rd; EN Maltby:
A Calgary player makes a pass to no one that Malts picks off at the blue line and shoots for an empty netter. That Calgary player is lucky because if he didn't have his back to the bench I could spot his number and tell you who it was. But his back was to the bench. But still, haha Calgary guy, you passed to no one and we scored.

Wings v. Oilers in review 10/29/09

Som grit and sticktuativness was shown by the Wings here, but the loss was disappointing none the less. This'll be a heck of a long one to catalog. I'm begining to really like 2-0 or 2-1 games...

Edmonton goal (1-0) 00:42 in 1st; Jacques from Brule & O'Sullivan:
I'm no goaltending coach but it's hard for me to not think that Howard was out of position here. He would have been fine if he could have held on to the puck, but he's in trouble because his legs are no longer in butterfly position but are outstretched and Howard is sitting on his butt. The puck somehow ends up to his left, and even though he fans on it the first time Jacques put its in the net.

Edmonton goal (2-0) 9:09 in 1st; Penner from Horcoff & Hemsky:
Another weird one. The puck gets tipped in front of the net, but the guy doesn't have typical net front positioning. He comes in from the left corner and whacks the puck out of the air. Howard gets tripped up, but it looks like that happens after the puck's already beaten him.

Edmonton goal (3-0) 12:24 in 1st; PPG Hemsky from Penner & Horcoff:
The margain of error on Hemsky's shot is razor thin, yet he still manages to score here. Stuart dives in front of him, and all Hemsky has is the top corner. He aims for it and hits it, as Howard's pretty slow to react with the glove.

Edmonton goal (4-0) 00:58 in 2nd; Hemsky from Penner:
Hemsky is alone on a breakaway. He goes front-back-front and just plain beats Howard five hole. This is about as perfect as a breakaway can go.

Detroit goal (4-1) 6:15 in 2nd; Helm from Filppula & Stuart:
On a 2-on-1, Helm rips one from the top of the right circle and beats the netminder.

Edmonton goal (5-1) 9:05 in 2nd; PPG Horcoff from Grebeshkov & Penner:
A big scrum forms in front of the net, and after much pushing and jostling the puck trickles in. I feel bad for Howard here, because this one isn't really his fault. Kinda. He makes two initial stops, and never has a real good opportunity to get control of the puck and stop play. The puck ends up near the goal line on the left side of the crease, and Howard tries to stop it with his blocker but it slides under.

Detroit goal (5-2) 12:50 in 2nd; Zetterberg from Kronwall & Datsyuk:
Score one for puck luck. Hank is wide open on the left side, and gets the puck off a rebound. He slaps one at the goal, and it ricochets off the Edmonton defender's skate and into the net.

Detroit goal (5-3) 6:32 in 3rd; Ericsson from Draper & Eaves:
Eaves gets squeezed along the boards in the neutral zone and drops a nice pass to Drapes, who's coming through the zone with speed. He lays a really nice cross ice pass behind himself to the left blueline, where Ericsson lies in wait. He puts a slap shot on net and scores.

Detroit goal (5-4) 7:47 in 3rd; Bertuzzi from Datsyuk:
I'm pretty sure that the fact the puck ends up on Bertuzzi's stick is half accident half right place, right time. Pav has the puck along the boards and starts doing one of his crazy puck handling displays where he makes three guys collapse on him, leaving Bertuzzi open. I honestly can't tell if the pass is intentional or just Pav losing control, but somehow the puck ends up with Bert. He picks a corner and chooses right, aided in no small part by Homer and his ubiquitous net front positioning. *Begin rant*I know some people think Homer can't play 5-on-5 hockey anymore, but I can tell you that from all the film I've watched this year he's as integral as any player on this team. He may not be fast and he may not be able to handle the puck, but he makes up for it and then some with the work he does in front of the net. *End rant*

Detroit goal (5-5) 12:53 in 3rd; Eaves from Helm & Ericsson:
This one must've surprised Khabibulin, because he was tracking the puck the whole play. Edmonton plays pretty good defense here, and it looks like Eaves starts to fall. He somehow recovers his balance and puts a hard wrister on net, and Khabibulin gets beat. I'm guessing that he thought Eaves would fall and was waiting to see who would end up with the puck, and he was screened a bit by his own man. I'd say the screen accounts for not being able to see Eaves regain his balance.

OT: a whole lotta nuthin'.

Edmonton 1 - Detroit 0

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wings v. Canucks in review 10/27/09

Looks like those new lines worked out pretty well. The Wings offense showed up in spades on Tuesday, and the Wings managed to win their first road game of the year.

Vancouver goal (1-0) 00:30 in 1st period; Sedin from Samuelsson & Bieksa:
Osgood plays the puck behind the net and tries to clear it out of the zone. There are no Wings along the boards to pick up the puck, and it is instead intercepted by a Canucks player. He quickly passes to the right defenseman, who lays a shot on net from the blue line. The rebound bounces off of Osgood. Osgood curiously keys on Sedin to his left, and it looks like he watches him the whole time as he moves into the crease. Somehow, the puck also ends up in the middle of the crease. A Wing defender turns and tries to stab at the puck and get it out of the zone but is unable to. Sedin comes in with speed and backhands the puck past Osgood.

Vancouver goal (2-0) 7:05 in 1st period; Ehrhoff from Kesler & Bieksa:
This really was a routine play and I'd like to think 9 times out of 10 Osgood stops this. Three Canucks come into the offensive zone and there are three Red Wings there to check them. Ehrhoff unleashes a simple wrist shot from the left circle that beats Osgood.

*Osgood gets pulled at this point*

Detroit goal (2-1) 15:47 in 1st period; Holmstrom from Zetterberg & Datsyuk:
This goal exmplifies exactlly how good this line is. Holmstrom camps out in his signature spot in front of the net the whole time and does a great job screening the goalie. Zetterberg carries the puck up the right side wall. He's able to dump the puck to Datsyuk in the right circle. He then slips around behind the defense and makes his way to the left edge of the crease. Datsyuk gains the attention of four (!) Canucks players, and he uses some of his fany stick work to keep them focused on him. Once they commit, Dats passes the puck across the crease to an open Zetterberg. Z puts a snap shot on net, which is then banged home by Homer.

Detroit goal (2-2) 3:51 in 3rd period; Kronwall unassisted:
Zetterberg carries the puck into the zone and gets the puck knocked off his stick in the right circle. The puck shoots up towards the blue line, where Kronwall enters the zone at just the right time. He picks up the puck and carries it to the right circle, where he puts a high wrist shot on net. Holmstrom is screening Luongo in front of the net as per usual, and I think a large part of why this shot goes in is because Luongo can't track the puck.

Vancouver goal (3-2) 5:05 in 3rd period; PPG Schneider from Sedin & Bieksa:
Sedin has the puck on the right side. He waits until the Wings defense shifts towards the right, leaving Schneider wide open a little above the faceoff circle on the left side. He fires a nice cross ice pass and Schneider fires a hard slap shot past Jimmy Howard.

Detroit goal (3-3) 6:05 in 3rd period; Datsyuk from Williams & Ericsson:
Go to and watch the video. Seriously. Datsyuk carries the puck into the zone on the right side and unleashes a truly Datsyukian deke in the right faceoff circle. He freezes the defender, and shoots and scores while falling to his left.

Detroit goal (4-3) 9:31 in 3rd period; PPG Datsyuk from Rafalski & Holmstrom:
For the third time tonight, Homer's netfront position leads to a goal. I know people think he can't play 5-on-5 hockey anymore, but just look at how integral he is to creating better scoring chances. End rant. Luongo can't see the wrister Datsyuk fires from the left circle, and the Wings get the lead back.

Vancouver goal (4-4) 12:03 in 3rd period; PPG Sedin from Edler & Kesler:
Howard makes a couple good first stops, but the Wings never get to the puck to clear. The third shot in the sequence is a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that Howard turns aside to the right. A Canucks player is to the right on the red line. Howard sees him get the puck and dives towards it but the puck is already past him.

Detroit goal (5-4) 14:57 3rd period; PPG Williams from Filppula & Bertuzzi:
Bertuzzi passes the puck to Filppula to the left of Luongo down on the red line. Filppula threads a cross crease pass to Williams, who bangs it home. Luongo was unable to get back across the crease fast enough to recover. In large part this is because Flip was on the red line, which meant Luongo had the get tight against the post. This made it even hard for Luongo to slide across. Good positioning on the Wings part.

Nice to see the Wings fight through adversity to get a win on the road. I think things are starting to click, and hopefully the Wings can carry this into Edmonton tonight. This one has to be a confidence builder, and getting a win on the road is huge.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Paging Dr. offense

The Free Press is reporting that the lines were shuffled again at practice today. Look for Filppula to center Bertuzzi and Cleary tomorrow. Personally, I like this move. I think Bertuzzi especially is ready to break out, and pairing him with Filppula could work well.

Wings v. Avalanche in review 10/24/09

Ok, there's good news and bad news here. The good news: the Wings played what is probably their most complete game of the season. The bad news: they lost...again. The Wings outshot the Avs 49-23. Another nice stat is that the Wings outshot the Avs in every period, indicative of them outplaying the Avs for a full sixty minutes. Credit goes to Anderson in goal for Colorado, because allowing one goal on 49 shots is truly impressive.

Detroit goal (1-0) 3:09 2nd period; Draper from Cleary & Ericsson:
Nice goal here. Draper pulls a Holmstrom and camps out in front of the net. Cleary puts one on net and Anderson can't scoop up the rebound. Draper is right in front and whacks at the puck until it finds the back of the net. This sequence started on a failed clear attempt from behind the Colorado net that was intercepted by Detroit. Nice to see this one go Detroit's way after a similar play in Phoenix in which the Wings were unable to clear and Phoenix took advantage, tying the game that would eventually end in an OT loss.

Colorado goal (1-1) 14:26 2nd period; Galiardi from Stewart:
Well, the luck ran out pretty quick. A failed clear attempt by Rafalski hits Ericsson and falls to the ice. No Detroit player is able to get to the puck, and the Avs player passes to a wide open teammate in front of the net. One deke later, and the puck goes right between Howard's legs.

Colorado goal (2-1) 9:20 3rd period; Stewart from Galiardi & Cumiskey:
This one's embarrassing. Stewart is entering the offensive zone with speed, and he unleashes a simple wrister from near the top of the right circle. He beats Howard, who outstretches his blocker but can't slide cross-crease fast enough. He's about four inches too far to his left, and gets beat far side.

Colorado goal (3-1) 19:00 3rd period; Stastny from Hannan & O'Reilly:
Wings lose the faceoff, Stastny gets a nice loooong pass right on his stick, he shoots from the neutral zone and scores. Oh yeah, this one was an empty netter.

Well, the story of this game was really Anderson's stellar goaltending. The positive I take from this is that the Wings made fewer mistakes and had some great scoring chances. I truly believe that things will start clicking soon. After all, a little puck luck can go a long way.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Wings v. Coyotes in review 10/22/09

Yet another win that got away. We've already experienced way too many of these this year, but this one was more controversial than most. Should this have ever reached overtime? No way.

Phoenix goal (1-0) 16:30 1st period; PPG- Lombardi from Aucoin & Doan:
Good passing leads to a wide open slap shot from the blue line by Aucoin. The puck bounces up and off of Osgood in front of the net, where Lombardi gets his stick on it and knocks it into the net. A good goal all around, and Lombardi makes a good effort to keep his stick below the crossbar.

Detroit goal (1-1) 19:40 1st period; PPG- Holmstrom from Datsyuk & Zetterberg:
Zetterberg shoots from the top of the right circle, and Homer is in his signature place right in front of the goalie. He tips in the puck to tie the game.

Detroit goal (2-1) 7:45 2nd period; Lebda from Datsyuk & Zetterberg:
Hey hey defensive breakdowns! No one picks up the trailer (Lebda), who comes into the zone with speed. The defense is fixated on Datsyuk and Zetterberg, and they pay the price as Datsyuk sees the open man and fires a cross ice pass to a widdddddde open Lebs.

Phoenix goal (2-2) 17:20 3rd period; Prucha from Michalek & Hanzel:
Should this goal have been allowed? No. No no no no no. The Yotes throw the puck on net in what looks like a pretty routine play, and Osgood absorbs the puck with his body and holds on to it. He is then pushed into the net (goaltender interference? yeah, definition of) while Prucha whacks at Ozzie with his stick. The puck gets knocked out on Osgood's left side, and Prucha pushes the puck into the net PAST the goal line. This never should have been allowed.

Phoenix goal (3-2) 1:57 OT; Aucoin from Vandermeer & Fiddler:
Fiddler fires a pretty textbook cross ice lead pass that lands on the stick of Aucoin. Osgood can't recover in time and Aucoin backhands it in. I think. Honestly, the play happens quick enough (and my video is blurry enough) that I can't really tell if its a backhander or on his forehand. Doesn't really matter though, cuz it's a game winner.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Datsyuk will play tonight

After two games out of the lineup, Pavel Datsyuk will return tonight against Phoenix. This is great, as Phoenix doesn't look like the cakewalk they used to be. Their start this year has been impressive and pretty unexpected. The Wings will have to hope Pav's truly healthy because the Coyotes have only given up something like 10 goals so far this year (I think I read that somewhere). Pav will be paired with Zetterberg and Homer on the top line. I am and have always been a fan of playing Pav and Z together, so I'm glad there won't be any line shuffling going on.

-John Buccigross has a pretty interesting little column up over at ESPN. He says that Dats and Z are both past their prime. I don't think I can bring myself to agree with this, but he makes a better point than you'd think from just reading the title. My take on this is that he's probably right, the athleticism of a player peaks in their mid 20s, but I don't think that means they're past their prime when this diminishes. Look at Pavel, who didn't come into the league until he was 24. He's a lot better at 31 than he was at 25. However you feel about it, it's worth a read. Here's the link:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wings v. Avalanche in review 10/17/09

I apologize for missing the Wings/Avalanche preview. I have a lot of work right now and just didn't have time to get it done. Moving on, here's the in review for what should have been a victory for the Wings but, like far too many games already this year, was a loss. The Wings have shown a propensity for letting games slip away in spans of less than five minutes, and that continued again in this game.

Detroit goal (1-0) 3:25 in 1st period; Abdelkader & Helm:
Tremendous forechecking by Helm sets this one up. He takes away the puck and skates hard to the net, where a bunch of guys flop around, including the goaltender. This leaves the puck unattended and at the edge of the crease, and Abdelkader wastes no time in flipping it over the goalie for his first regular season goal.

Detroit PPG goal (2-0) 1:14 in 2nd period; Bertuzzi from Zetterberg & Cleary:
A pretty pass from Cleary results in a shot from Zetterberg off to the goalie's left. Bertuzzi is in front of the net in good position for the tip, and he banks it home.

Colorado goal (2-1) 9:06 in 3rd period; McLeod from O'Reilly:
A turnover along the boards by Abdelkader leads to a 2 on 1, and Lebda doesn't have much of a chance to make a play here. Not the kind of goal you want to give up at this point in the game.

Colorado goal (2-2) 11:45 in 3rd; Duchene from Clark:
Wow. Now this one was impressive. Duchene picks up the puck at the Avs blue line, carries it across center, and shoots under the glove and the right side of the leg of the defenseman. He beats Osgood stick side.

Detroit goal (3-2) 13:37 in 3rd period; Filppula from Williams & Leino:
Williams and Leino had a nice give and go on a 2 on 1, but the shot from Leino was stopped. The goalie was on his belly and the puck was directly in front of him. Filppula came in with speed from the right side and put it in the net.

Colorado goal (3-3) 17:28 in 3rd period; McLeod from O'Reilly & Galiardi:
The Wings get caught on a line change at the wrong time. This leads to a 2 on 1, and the Wings defender commits to the wrong guy. Ozzie scrambles to get the other side of the crease, but the one time gets past him to tie the game.

Shoot out:
Det- Williams goal 1-0
Col- Svatos goal 1-1
Det- Zetterberg stopped 1-1
Col- Hejduk goal 2-1
Det- Leino stopped 2-1

This one hurts. Unfortunately, that pharse is starting to lose its effect because I've had to use it so often this season. This was way closer than it should have been. The Wings need to string together a full 60 minutes because there are four games already this year that they could have won if not for lapses of a few minutes that buried them. This team is obviously better than its record, and they need to make up ground immediately or risk falling into a far larger hole than necessary.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wings v. Kings in review

Nice to see the Wings stay hot at the Joe. Losing this would have hurt, especially after working hard in practice to re-establish the system.

LA goal (1-0) 5:41 in 1st; Brown from Greene & Stoll:
The Kings win the faceoff, the puck trickles back to the D man, and he pucks a hard shot on net. It looks like Ozzie gloves it and is then run into and drops the puck. Maybe Ozzie never had it in the glove, it's hard to tell from the replay. Brown is waiting on the left side of the crease to put the puck behind Osgood.

Detroit goal (1-1) 3:33 in 2nd; Ericsson from Abdelkader:
Abdelkader wins the faceoff cleanly and the puck goes to Ericsson at the top of the left circle, who fires a slapshot that beats Quick short side.

Detroit PP goal (2-1) 8:47 in 2nd; Holmstrom from Lidstrom & Rafalski:
In typical Holmstrom fashion, this one comes on a tip in off a slap shot by Lidstrom. Homer got great position in front of the net and had his stick at just the right height for the tip.

Detroit goal (3-1) 3:24 in 3rd; Zetterberg from Lidstrom (Lidstrom's 1000th point):
Lidstrom puts yet another slap shot on net that gets tipped in. Zetterberg's stick redirects the puck and puts in the far top corner, just beating the glove of Quick.

LA goal (3-2) 11:57 in 3rd; Williams from O'Donnel & Kopitar:
Good passing led to a good shot, and from the replay it looks like this one was tapped in right in front of the net.

Detroit goal (4-2) 14:43 in 3rd; Maltby from Bertuzzi:
Now this one was nice. Relentless checking led to an LA turnover, and Bertuzzi ends up with his back to the goalie but manages to dump the puck right into the slot where Maltby finishes the job. Great effort goal.

Detroit goal (5-2) 19:53 in 3rd; Rafalski from Zetterberg & Ericsson (empty netter):
Pretty straightforward. A good pass finds Rafalski all along past the blue line, and he does a good job of not embarassing himself and converting.

Overall, a good effort from the Wings. The comforts of home seem to work magic for this team. They'll need to continue this kind of effort in order to make up for the injured stars.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Detroit Red Wings v. Los Angeles Kings 10/15/09

Wings offense v. Kings defense:
Another crucial piece of the Wings offense will be missing tonight. Pavel Datsyuk isn't playing tonight, as he's out with an upper body injury. This matchup isn't as favorable as it used to be, as the Kings have some pretty solid defensemen in U of M grad Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty. I think the Wings offense has the advantage here, however, because they should be determined not to get outskated again tonight. I wouldn't be surprised if the Wings score 4 tonight, with at least three of those being tip ins and tough work goals. The Kings are allowing 28 shots per game, which is pretty respectable but not stiffling. Keep in mind that LA played a tough game against NYR last night, and that could work against the Kings tonight.
Kings offense v. Wings defense:
The Kings have been impressive so far, averaging 3.5 goals per game on 28.3 shots. Ryan Smyth has at least a point in all of the Kings games so far, and talented center Anze Kopitar already has 10 points. I really don't know what to expect here. If the Wings play like they did against Chicago and Washington, then this matchup shouldn't be a problem. But if the Wings blow defensive assignments and look as slow as they did against Buffalo then this could be a long night.
Wings goaltending:
Osgood gets the start again, and I'd expect him to have a good night. If the Wings tighten up defensively this shouldn't be a problem. I don't think many of the goals against Buffalo were directly attributable to mistakes by Osgood, and I think he's played well so far this year.
Kings goaltending:
It looks like Jonathan Quick will get the start tonight. He's gotten better as the season has gone on after a couple of shaky starts early. His stats are a little diluted by this, but his save percentage and GAA aren't anything to write home about (.898 and 3.00, respectively). If he continues to play as well as he has the last two games (1 GA and save percentage of .966% in both) then the Wings are in trouble.
An opportunity to lose any credibility I have (aka my score prediction):
Wings 4 - Kings 1

Red Wings v. Sabres in review

So it seems my score prediction was indeed half right; the Wings scored 2 goals, but the Sabres didn't score just one. They scored six. SIX!!! This is a team that hadn't scored more than a single goal in their first four games. Oy.

I mentioned in my game preview that there was a chance that the Sabres could explode, as teams that play as well as the Sabres played through the first four games are due for a breakout. Unfortunately, I thought the possibility of this happening against the Wings was slim, and I was so very wrong.

The Wings didn't do themselves any favors Tuesday night. They just looked off the whole game and no one seemed to be on the same page. When Nick Lidstrom leads the Wings in giveaways (a far too many 4), you know it's a bad game.

In what had to seem like an awful flashback, the Wings had an atrocious second period. They allowed 4 goals in 7 minutes, all of which were full strength goals.

I'm going to try something new in this segment and provide a brief analysis of each goal. We'll see how this works out.

Buffalo goal (1-0) 12:36 in 1st: PPG Stafford from Gaustad & Pominville
-Your typical bang-bang PP goal. Stafford is left completely unaccounted for. Ericsson isn't able to switch quick enough and this one ends up in the back of the net off a high point shot.

Detroit goal (1-1) 15:30 in 1st: PPG Filppula from Kronwall & Williams
-Kronner throws one on net and gets a great tip-in from Flip in front of the net.

Buffalo goal (2-1) 6:03 in 2nd: Kaleta from Myers
-This one came off a rebound. The forwards were well defended on the first shot, but Kaleta is allowed to get into the slot without having anyone one him. Williams blew the assignment here and is caught behind him.

Buffalo goal (3-1) 8:04 in 2nd: Vanek from Roy
-The puck gets flipped over the head and outstretched arms of the Wings D (Ericsson, not that it really matters), which leads to a 2 on 1. Roy makes a beautiful pass and finds Vanek.

Buffalo goal (4-1) 10:58 in 2nd: MacArthur from Roy & Pominville
-The Wings had the Sabres pinned against the boards, and then everything fell apart. Looks like the Wings got outworked here, as there's no reason to have guys D'd up against the boards and then allow them into the slot totally unaccounted for. Bad goal to give up.

Buffalo goal (5-1) 12:46 in 2nd: Vanek from Roy
-Kronwall's carrying the puck up the boards, and instead of looking ahead to make a pass he tries to make a cross ice pass despite the fact that he has a defender draped on him to the right. He gambles and loses big time. Roy gets the first shot on net and sprawls across the crease but needs Vanek's help to get the puck in the net.

Buffalo goal (6-1) 4:28 in 3rd: Gaustad from Kaleta & Ellis
-It's worth noting that at this point Osgood has been pulled and Howard is in net. A second effot goal off a rebound from Howard. The puck lands right in front of Howard off the first shot, and with Kronwall behind his man Gaustad is able to put the rebound in the net.

Detroit goal (6-2) 9:25 in 3rd: Holmstrom from Rafalski & Zetterberg
-A shot from along the right boards by Rafalski gets tipped in front by Z and then again by Homer. At least, I think that's how things happened in front of the net. The goal happens so fast it's hard to tell, and I haven't been able to find a slow-mo replay or an alternate angle.

After watching the film, the Wings looked like they made a lot of defensive miscues. They looked sluggish and unaware at times. Hopefully this was a one and done deal for the Wings, because they find themselves in the unusual position of having to fight for ground in the division and falling behind early won't do them any favors.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Detroit Red Wings v. Buffalo Sabres 10/13/09

Wings offense v. Sabres defense:
This one should go in the Wings favor. The Sabres have done a good job of limiting shots allowed (22 per game) but they haven't faced an offense as good as the Wings' yet this year. There are good players on Buffalo's D but no real studs so I wouldn't be surprised if the Wings are able to get over 30 shots on goal tonight.
Sabres offense v. Wings defense:
The Sabres have talented forwards in Vanek and Roy, but their offense this year has been anemic. They are averaging just 1.33 goals per game despite throwing an average of 38.7 shots on net per game. I think the Wings defense will shut Buffalo down, and I'd expect them to get somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 shots on net. I'm a little nervous because a team that's been so constrained for so long seems due for a breakout, but that shouldn't happen tonight. I fully expect the Wings to keep the Sabres in check as long as they can stay out of the penalty box. The Wing's penalty kill needs to find its legs, and I think the only way the Wings lose is by giving Buffalo PP chances.
Wings goaltending:
Not much to say here. Ozzie looks to be in good form, and I think the Wings defense is fully capable of helping him out. If they don't and he ends up facing a tremendous amount of shots, then this is anyone's game.
Sabres goaltending:
The only reason the Sabres have any wins this year is Ryan Miller. He's been outstanding thus far, with a microscopic 0.97 GAA and a nearly 98% save percentage. I think the Wings will be able to get a lot of shots on him, but I think he'll keep Buffalo in the game. The Wings better hope they can keep Buffalo as offensively limited as they have been all year because there's no reason to believe Miller won't continue his phenomenal play.
Hey, look! An opportunity for me to lose credibility! (aka my score prediction):
Wings 2 - Sabres 1

Red Wings v. Capitals in review

The Wings played arguably their best game of the season against the Caps, winning 3-2. They essentially shut down the league's highest scoring offense, including what was to that point the highest scoring line in the NHL.

Defensively, the Wings were great. Pairing the Dats-Z line against the Ovechkin line worked very well, as it made the Ovie line expend extra energy playing defense. Backstrom and Semin were absent from the scoresheet, and Ovechkin tallied only an assist after averaging 3 ppg to that point. I was really impressed with Ovechkin's overall play despite his lack of offensive output. He had something like 10 hits and I just think he's a far more complete player at this point than Crosby, but that's neither here nor there. The one lingering concern here is the penalty kill. The Wings allowed yet another PPG, dropping their PK% for the season to a woeful 64.7 Why this unit can't get it together I don't know, but this is definitely a glaring weakness on what looks like an otherwise strong team.

The Wings were impressive offensively as well. Perhaps the best goal of the game was the first, which resembled a playoff goal. Clearly and Leino both fought for position in front of the net, with Leino putting away the loose puck and subsequently taking a fist to the face. Nice to see that he's not just a pure scorer put is willing to jockey for position and take one on the chin in. The Wings other two goals came on the PP, raising the Wings PP% for the season to an impressive 30. Both times the Wings were able to get traffic in front of the net along with good puck movement, which really makes me think the PP is in mid season form. The Wings also outshot the Caps by 13, which is nice to see after the Wings were outshot by the Blackhawks. Thirty four shots on goal and outshooting the oppponent by 13 is Wings hockey in a nutshell, and it's nice to see this finally appear this season.

Ozzie was huge once again. He robbed Ovechkin alone in the crease, and though he didn't have to stop that many shots (a moderate 24 faced) he was nevertheless impressive. I think we can all safely say that the season operner against the Blues was a fluke and that last year is way behind him.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Detroit Red Wings v. Washington Capitals preview 10/10/09

Sorry for the tardiness of this preview. My internet disappeared last night in the middle of writing this. Anyways, the Capitals are in town tonight, which pretty much means Ovechkin Ovechkin Ovechkin. Oh wait, they also have the other two top scorers in the league. On the same line...

Wings offense vs. Capitals Defense:
The Capitals defense is far more scoring oriented than defense oriented. Led by Norris trophy finalist Mike Green, the Caps talked earlier in the week about re-committing themselves to defending. I'd expect that the Caps to play on their heels a bit in the beginning of the game, not wanting to join the rush too much and get away from what they worked on in practice. The Wings need to come out strong early in order to win this game. Getting the first goal could prove to be crucial in this game, especially against an offense as potent as Washington's.

The big news for the Wings offense is the tremendous amount of line switching due to the loss of Johan Franzen. Here's how the Wings will look tonight against the Caps:

The Wings would be smart to try and take advantage of the pairing of Dats and Z. With the Wings getting the last change, there could be times where Washington won't have the defensive pairing they want to defend against this line. Besides, the fact of the matter is that it'll be hard to account for both of them simultaneously anyways.

Capitals offense vs. Wings defense:
No reason to beat around the bush here, as this is about as challenging as it gets. The Capitals have the top three scorers in the league in Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin. The bright spot here is that the Caps don't have a great third or fourth line. If the Wings can play to their potential, they should be...ok. Not great, but ok. I don't think they'll be able to totally shut down Washington, but now would be a great time to play responsibily on defense.

Wings goaltending:
Chris Osgood played fantastically against Chicago, probably better than he did during the whole regular season last year. There's no reason not to have the utmost confidence in him right now, even facing the most potent offense in the league. He faced an unusual amount of shots against the Hawks (over 30) and only allowed 2 goals, so things are looking good. Hopefully the Wings defense can help out and reduce the number of shots he faces tonight.

Capitals goaltending:
Not a whole lot to say here. I don't even know who the started will be tonight as both Jose Theodore and Semyon Varlamov have split time in goal and neither have been spectacular, as evidenced by the Caps averaging 3.75 goals allowed per game. The only thing I really know; Varlamov's rookie cards are worth a lot of money. Seriously. That's it.

Very well thought out, very analytical score prediction:
Wings 3 - Captials 4

Wings v. Blackhawks in review

The Wings beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Thursday night at the Joe, earning themselves their first win of the young season. The game was a quality win as Detroit addressed a number of issues that plagued them in the first two games (and most of last year).

Perhaps the best news for the Red Wings is that their penalty kill unit made strides and managed to kill off a 5-3 that lasted almost two minutes.

The first period was largely controlled by the Hawks, and as a result Christ Osgood had to come up big a number of times.

In a reversal of the first two games of the year, the Wings played their best hockey in the second period. The Wings got a powerplay goal from Nick Lidstrom midway through the period, followed by goals from Kris Draper and a powerplay goal from Johan Franzen.

The Blackhawks responded in the third with a powerplay goal, but once again Osgood came up big to preserve the win. Of some concern was the number of shots the Hawks were able to get off in the third (15). The Wings were only able to get 4 shots on goal during the period.

This is not the Red Wings hockey we're used to seeing, as one of the most basic principles of the Wings game was violated here, that being puck possession. The Wings were badly outshot in total (34-23). This is obviously a concern going forward, especially with the offensively gifted Capitals coming to town. The Wings have been disappointingly streaky thus far, and their much discussed commitment to defense has been no exception to this.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Franzen out FOUR MONTHS!!!

So it looks as though Johan Franzen is going to be out for at least four months with a torn left ACL. FOUR MONTHS!!!! Ahh panic no no no. That puts Franzen out of the lineup until around the beginning of February. It'll be interesting to see who takes over his spot on the top line. No doubt there will be some major line shuffling going on before the Wings take on the Caps tomorrow. I'll update the blog as soon as I find out what these new line combos are expected to be.

The silver lining: maybe this means Franzen will be fresh going into the playoffs. Assuming we make the playoffs, of course...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lids moves closer to 1000 pts.

Lids recorded the 998th point of his career tonight on a powerplay goal in the 2nd period tonight against the Blackhawks.

This is quite the achievement, but I was very surprised to see that Nick is somewhere around 8th all time. Bourque is first with over 1,500 points, which is majorly impressive. Any way you look at it, 1,000 is still quite the achievement.

The Wings won 3-2 tonight (not bad for my first prediction, eh?). Expect further analysis of the game later. One more thing of note: the return of the organ?! I guess they're going to use it for "special" games during the year. Very cool during the game, very weird during player intros. I thought it gave the player intros a kinda creepy Phantom of the Opera-ish vibe.

Line Shufflin'

Justin Abdelkader may be out of the lineup tonight against the Blackhawks. If this is the case, Patrick Eaves would take his place on the fourth line. Also, Brett Lebda will be a healthy scratch. He is being replaced by Derek Meech, and will be paired with Jonatahan Ericsson.

Injury notes: Darren Helm continues to return from a clavicle injury. He will not play tonight againt the Hawks.


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Red Wings v.Chicago Blackhaws 10/8/09

After what can only be described as a disappointing performance in Sweden this past weekend, the Wings return to the friendly confines of JLA to host the Blackhaws in the first home game of the season. Though the Blackhawks will be without newly minted public enemy no. 1 Marian Hossa until November, they still feature a potent offense that has been quite impressive so far in this young season.

Red Wings offense v. Blackhaws defense:

The Wings haven't exactly been anemic offensively thus far, but there are facets of the offense that need some major work. The powerplay (2-10 through two games) has once again disappointed, and the Wings have indicated they'll work on this coming into the game against Chicago. It is likely that the powerplay will be a big factor in this game. The Hawks are trying to play a more puck possession type game (essentially mirroring the Wings), and what with the Wings also trying to play puck possession this could turn into a game that's determined on the PP. The Hawks defensemen are good puck movers and are pretty mobile defensemen, so the Wings will need to be careful on the forecheck not to get caught out of position. With that having been said, the Wings offense is still a better unit than the Hawks defense. The Hawks defense, while serviceable, is not yet an elite unit while the Wings have two elite lines and two very good lines.
Advantage: Wings offense
Blackhaws offense v. Wings defense:
The Blackhawks essentially play like a bunch of over-caffeinated monkeys: they play uber up-tempo, for better or for worse. Granted, I've never seen over-caffeinated monkeys play hockey, but if I did I'm pretty sure it would resemble the Blackhawks. Perhaps the biggest story of the game is that the Hawks will be without turncoat Marian Hossa. This really shouldn't have much impact on the game, as Wings fans saw in the playoffs how well Hossa plays against previous teams (i.e. he pulls a disappearing act). Having said that, the real concern for the Wings is containing the Hawks super young superstars Toews and Kane. Luckily, the Wings have two tremendous d-pairings to match up with Toews and Kane whenever their lines are on the ice. I'd expect Lidstrom and Rafalski to shadow Kane and Kronwall or Stuart to shaow Toews. The biggest mismatch is probably with the Hawks second line and the Wings second defense pairing. Kronwall and Stuart are very physical but are questionably mobile, while Toews and linemate Patrick Sharp are very quick and shifty scorers. If Kroner and Stuart can rub the Toews line off the puck then the Wings should be in good shape, but if the defense is overly physical they could end up getting burned.
Advantage: Hawks offense
Wings goaltending:
Shaky at best in Sweden, the Wings will look to regroup on Thursday. Osgood will likely get the start here after only playing one of the first two games of the season. He's vowed not to repeat last year's lackluster regular season, and one game isn't enough to pass judgment on. There's no reason not to believe in Ozzie at this point.
Blackhawks goaltending:
Cristobal Huet assumes the number one starter spot after Khabibulin departed this offseason. The Wings have seen him many times before, so there really shouldn't be any surprises here. Huet has played well enough thus far. How he'll fare against the Wings is largely a product of how well the Hawks can keep the Wings out of their own zone
Very well thought out, totally analytical score prediction:
Wings 3 -- Hawks 2