Friday, March 12, 2010

Wings v. Wild (because I couldn't stand to write a Wings v. Flames post)

Games like last night renew my faith in this team and in this season. I still believe, even if it is out of blind stupidity, that there aren't many teams in the West the Wings would lose to four out of seven times. I guess for now the focus is just getting into the playoffs. I'm relieved that the Wings strung together a dominant three periods after two good ones against the Flames and one in which they regressed so much they pushed themselves out of the playoffs. There were seeds of doubt in my mind after the Flames game, but someone forgot to water them and they died.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Olympic hockey/welcome new readers!

First of all, thank you to Phil and all the fine folks at SportsZone Monday on WMHW 91.5 for having me on tonight. I always love talking hockey, and talking hockey on the radio is just that much sweeter. Thanks to Phil for mentioning the blog, and if anyone actually came here after that then I thank you very much for that.

Let's talk Olympic hockey, shall we? Last night's game between America and Canada will undoubtedly go down as one of the more important games in Olympic hockey history, and is the first signature win for the Americans since 1980. Everyone knows what happened last night; you've all read the articles and seen the replays on tv a thousand times by now, so let's not waste time rehashing that. Instead, let's look at one of the more eerie parallels from last night's game.

Team Canada was too reminiscent of the Wings for my taste. Here you have Canada, the undisputed favorite, against a lowly American squad of mid-level NHL talent (with a few exceptions). What happens? The giant falls asleep and, in classic sleeping giant fashion, doesn't wake up until the last minute, where they play a game of "too little, too late." Canada did exactly what the Wings do far too often. They look like they're playing normal speed, but you don't realize how poorly they were playing until they absolutely control play in the last 5 minutes of a game, frantically trying to make up for lost time, bombarding the goalie with more shots than most teams can manage in an entire game.

So what's the good news here? I haven't seen this as much from the Wings this year. Maybe it's because they aren't the conference leader for the first time since Power Rangers was cool. Or maybe it's because we still haven't seen this team play with its roster intact and uninjured. I'm guessing it's the latter...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Last night's game got me thinking about the nature of the shootout and what it really means to the NHL. I was a huge fan of the shootout when it debuted. What could be more exciting than watching some of the most dynamic offensive players in the world being given a half sheet of nothing but ice to showcase their offensive skills, all the while using those skills to help their team to victory. The shootout doesn't come until after overtime, so the case can be made that teams have had their chance to win the game already and that anything is better for ratings than a tie, especially something that people had been demanding to see.

I know the only reason I don't like the shootout anymore is because it seems to have had a detrimental impact on the Wings this year, but my opinion didn't really sour until last night. The shootout rewards those with the best skill players, not those with the best team. What does that say? Should teams carry players on their roster simply because they have soft hands, forechecking be damned? It seems like a silly question, that the obvious answer is no, teams should carry guys that fit their system and play good all around games with a few exceptions, but think about this: if the Wings had won just half of the shootouts they've lost this year, they'd have 5 more points. Oh, and they'd be a secure 7th in the conference instead of 9th.

It frustrates me that teams that aren't as strong as others can pick up wins simply because they have shooters.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Franzen news

Some interesting stuff about the Franzen/Sweeden Olympic situation here.

While the Mule thing is interesting, I think the far more important news is buried at the end of this article. Babcock is comparing Howard to who? Brodeur and Miller? Seriously? I think Howard is leaps and bounds better than anyone expected him to be this year, but the fact that the head coach is comparing him to two of the best goaltenders in the league is a little surprising. And there, ladies and gentlemen, is your reason why Chris Osgood rides the...well, it's not really a bench, it's more of a stool. But the point holds all the same. It'll be interesting to see when (or if) Ozzie gets another start, because at this point it probably won't be until some time in March.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


A lot of fans worry. They worry about where their team is in the standings, who's injured, what the right line combinations are, who the GM should be trading for, etc. You can count me as one of those people. But right now, my worrying has gone beyond the expected and has wandered somewhere I never thought it would go.

For the first time I can remember, I'm worried that the Wings won't have enough pieces to make a substantial run at the Cup. This has never been an issue during my time as fan. The primary concern in years prior has been whether the key players will show up and effect games during the playoffs instead of pulling a disappearing act (e.g. Marian Hossa, 2009 playoffs). I'm watching this team struggle now, and I think the only thing left to do is hold out hope that once all the injured players return to the lineup we'll be given some type of both moral and palpable boost that will push the Wings up the standings and, more importantly, make them a team that can match up with anyone in the conference.

A lot of people on the message boards are trying to draw comparisons between this team and the Penguins of last year. Do I think they're the same? No, not really. The Penguins were spurred on by a change in the system. The Wings have no systemic issues. Their problem lies in the fact that they're basically Grand Rapids East, with a couple of superstars thrown in. I can see the Wings taking a similar path to the one last season's Penguins squad did, but it will come from players returning from injury and strengthening a paper-thin lineup.

I just hope that my anxiety will be quelled, or at least pushed back into an area I'm more familiar with. I'd call it a good season if, come April, I can start worrying about Pavel and Hank scoring during the playoffs and not about whether Doug Janik can anchor the fourth pair.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Links of note

I've been waiting for the Wings to win to put up another post. That's actually a lie and I'm basically just lazy, but it sounds like a good reason not to post anything. Here are some links worth checking out:

An article about Leino being in and out of the lineup. Not too long, but sheds a little light on the subject. I found another one here from the Detroit News. Guess everyone in town decided to write about Ville today.

Babcock makes it pretty clear how he feels about the Helm line.

An article about how Pavel's point production is likely going to rise soon. I posted it not just because I agree with the article, but because there are few things in this world better than a Pavel Datsyuk quote. Even if it is just one line.

A2Y has a very interesting post about the goaltending controversy. At this point, the term "goaltending controversy" only applies to the fanbase, because it's pretty clear that there's no controversy as far as Babs is concerned.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Blog Overhaul

After much prayer and months of careful thought, I've decided to stop posting In Reviews. I just don't feel like it adds much to the site considering the amount of time it takes to write one, and I've obviously fallen woefully far behind on them. From now on, I'll be taking the blog in a different direction. I'll be writing about the Red Wings in general, and posting links to anything and everything I can find that's noteworthy. I think this will make the blog more interesting and allow for more frequent updates (the goal there is multiple updates daily). I think I'll start posting In Reviews again during the playoffs (yes, I think there will be playoffs to blog about), as it seems like that's a better time to break down every minute detail of the game. We'll see how this works out.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Wings v. Oilers in review 12/3/09

Edmonton goal (1-0) 5:50 in 1st period; Visnovsky unassissted:
Well, Brett Lebda basically scored on his own goaltender. That'll just be fuel on the fire for the Lebda haters on the message boards. Puck bounces up, off Lebda's stick, takes some weird hops on the ice and bounces under Howard's legs. Goal.

Edmonton goal (2-0) 17:09 in 1st period; Nilsson from Stone & Stortini:
Nilsson just makes a nice move, first putting the puck in front of Howard and then pulling it back toward himself and tucking it in past Howard's outstretched leg.

Detroit goal (2-1) 19:59 in 1st period; Cleary from Bertuzzi & Lidstrom:
Lidstrom makes a perfect pass from the defensive zone up to Bertuzzi in the offensive zone. Now on a 2-on-1, Bertuzzi waits and passes to Cleary at just the right time. Cleary one times it home for the lone Wings goal of the night.

Edmonton goal (3-1) 8:50 in 2nd period; O'Sullivan from Jacques:
The second soft goal Howard gives up on the night. The puck gets deflected on a pass through the center of the zone, and it actualy hits Howard's pads and trickles under.

Edmonton goal (4-1) 11:47 in 2nd period; O'Sullivan from Souray:
Howard comes way up in the crease and gets swallowed up by the scrum in front of the net. This leaves essentially the entire crease open and the Oilers put it through a defenders' legs to score.