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.