Friday, December 30, 2011

GBGA Regular Season Game 37: Chi-Town Down

Oh, did that go in? #TuzziSwag via

1st Period

Chicago 0 Detroit 1; 9:49- Abdelkader (3) from Miller (6) & Cleary (10)
Brad Stuart carries the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone. He leaves the puck for Cleary along the boards. Dan Cleary sees a defender approaching and no one near Drew Miller at the blueline and makes the smart pass to Miller. Patrick Sharp is watching Cleary and isn't prepared to defend a pass to Miller. He has to turn almost 180 degrees to defend Miller, which creates time and space for the Wings.
Miller is easily able to step around the still-adjusting Sharp. He has an open shot and puts the puck on net. Take note of Justin Abdelkader and his positioning. He's about to leave Kane's coverage and, with only one defender down low for Chicago, get some room to work in front of the net.
The rebound from Miller's shot comes off Corey Crawford's pads and just sits in front of the crease. Stuart does a good job of keeping his man tied up, leaving room in front of the net for a tap in. Abdelkader has speed and no defender, a combination that leads to an easy goal.

Chicago 1 Detroit 1; 14:32- PS Toews
This penalty shot shouldn't have happened. It stems from the call of a Lidstrom "hook" on Toews that has already been highly criticized by Wings bloggers. The alleged hook looks like an innocuous stick check on the right arm of Toews, but it was enough for the refs to deem it a tug and give Toews his very first penalty shot opportunity.

Toews carries the puck in and freezes Jimmy. Toews makes a few moves to start and then holds the puck on his forehand. It seems as though Jimmy is waiting for Toews to make a final fake, but he never does. Instead, Toews shoots it and beats Jimmy through the five hole. Jimmy has to play this one better, because he could have stopped the shot if he had hit the ice a half second earlier.

2nd Period

Chicago 1 Detroit 2; 5:25- Bertuzzi (5) from Commodore (1) & Ericsson (6)
The Wings start to cycle the puck back through their defensemen after keeping possession in the corner. Chicago's defense was just attempting to dig the puck from the corner and their players are still overloading one side of the ice. Ericsson passes against the grain to Commodore, who is all but assured a free point shot because Chicago's distance and current shift in positioning.
Commodore rips one from the point through traffic. Chicago has blown their coverage, allowing Bertuzzi to stand in front and screen Crawford unimpeded. The shot from Commodore is tipped by Bert in front of the net and deflected in.

Chicago 2 Detroit 2; 7:30- Hossa from Carcillo & Leddy
Hossa gets the puck in the right corner and skates upwards through the zone and across the blue line. There are no passing options available, so Hossa has to continue to carry the puck.Valteri Filppula is trying to defend Hossa but can't stick with him. This allows Hossa to gain control, switching from the high coverage to the low coverage.
There is no low coverage. Wings players (Emmerton in particular) try to get in the passing/shooting lane too late. Hossa has an open shot and is smart enough to take it. The non-existent defense hung Howard out to dry, and he gets beat by the shot.

3rd Period

Chicago 3 Detroit 2; 1:52- Seabrook from Kane & Sharp
The Red Wings defense is out of position yet again. The two netfront defenders have no one to defend, Zetterberg has poor body position on Kane, and there's no high defender to eliminate shots from the point.
Seabrook lets a slapshot go from the middle of the ice at the top of the Hawks' offensive zone. Howard should be able to track this, and I would guess he stops this same shot 97 out of 100 times in practice. Of course one of the three he'd miss comes in game action and winds up being the game winning goal. The hockey gods were not smiling down upon us tonight.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GBGA Regular Season Game 36: Leapfrog

Hasek Lite. I know the picture isn't from last night, but it's referencing this.

1st Period

Detroit 0 St Louis 1; 6:51- D'Agostini from Shattenkirk & Arnott
St. Louis moves the puck well on the power play. They get in to an umbrella formation, and the Wings are essentially giving up the shot from the point because of the depth of their defenders. They're choosing to collapse here. Shattenkirk gets the puck at the point and rifles a shot between defenders towards the front of the net.
D'Agostini gets into screening position in front of Howard and isn't moved by Ian White. At the onset of the shot, White is acting more like a screener himself as he's standing in front of Howard and D'Agostini, obstructing Howard's view of the puck. He's not in position and isn't covering his netfront man. This leads to rebound and tip-in opportunities, and in this instance the tip-in costs the Wings.

2nd Period

Detroit 0 St Louis 2; 13:08- PPG Steen from Arnott & Shattenkirk
The Blues have a 4-on-3 advantage that's 20 seconds away from expiring. Howard squares well to a slapshot from Arnott, and it looks like he has it in his pads. Stuart and Lidstrom both follow through and tie up the two Blues players in front of the net.
The puck inexplicably trickles through Howard's pads and towards the goal line. Steen is tied up by Lidstrom, but not quite enough to stop him from sweeping the loose puck in. Talk about puck luck. There's not much Lidstrom can do that wouldn't be a penalty, but tying up Steen's stick would have been nice. This is just a bad luck goal that the Wings can't do much about.

Detroit 1 St Louis 2; 18:57- PPG Lidstrom (8) from Datsyuk (26) & White (13)
Franzen alludes pressure behind the net to move the puck up to Datsyuk along the side boards. Datsyuk passes to Lidstrom, who passes to Ian White. White's shot from the point is wide and rolls around the boards. Nick Lidstrom is at the opposite point to hold it in.
Lids wastes no time, one timing the puck as soon as it reaches him.
The fans at the Joe know it's in. The ref knows it's in. Brian Elliot, however, does not. He never sees the puck go past him.

3rd Period

Detroit 2 St Louis 2; 11:19- Datsyuk (12) from White (14) & Bertuzzi (12)
Lidstrom uses a nice spin move and backhanded pass to beat the forechecking pressure of St. Louis. TPH's pass it to Datsyuk, who carries into the neutral zone.
Datsyuk slides the puck across the blue line for Bertuzzi as he sees the defense collapse on him. Bert taps the puck towards White, who is gaining the zone with speed.
White puts a shot through traffic as the defense shifts towards him. The shot is perfectly placed for Datsyuk, who has cut through the middle of the defense and is now being defended by the low d-man, to tip it in. He gets his stick on it and redirects it past Elliot.

Detroit 3 St Louis 2; 12:15- Kronwall (8) from Filppula (17) & Zetterberg (17)
Filppula does the dirty work in the corner to dig the puck out, simultaneously freezing three St. Louis defenders along the boards. He somehow gets a pass up the boards to Kronwall at the point.
Kronwall sidesteps into a wide open shooting lane. The best efforts of the nearest STL defender aren't enough, as Kronner easily gets his shot through. Elliot can't track it (perhaps in part due to Hudler screening in front) and less than a minute after the Wing's second goal they take the lead for good.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GBGA Regular Season Game 35: Without Weber, Preds Grilled

Like this, but with a lot more red

Most breaks in the action are uneventful, nothing but wasted time between play. Occasionally, however, something occurs that makes the break entertaining in and of itself. It could be the crowd at the Joe singing Journey, it could be Mo Cheese dancing back in the day, or it could be something as simple as an observation.

My fiancee was watching the game with me tonight, and during a break in play she asked me why there were so many Nashville fans at the game. I struggled to process this. What was that supposed to mean? "Well, it's in Nashville, so..." I trailed on. She started laughing, and then explained that she thought the game was in Detroit and didn't understand why there were so many Predators fans there.

Well done, long distance Wings fans. You fine folks filled up the Preds arena well enough to confuse the casual viewer. I've always heard that the Wings help sell tickets in non-traditional hockey markets, but this was my first encounter with a concrete expression of that phenomenon. Gives new meaning to the Wings "Hockeytown, No Limits" slogan, eh?

1st Period

Nashville 0 Detroit 1; 10:57- Filppula (11) from Zetterberg (16)
Henrik Zetterberg makes this play happen with his defensive skill. After a backhanded shot, he follows the rebound to the halfboards and is unable to maintain possession. Nashville moves the puck out of their  defensive zone, but Zetterberg steals the puck in the neutral zone near center ice. As he carries in he hesitates near the blue line, causing the defense to keep sinking towards the net while opening space for a pass or long shot. Z sees Filppula entering the zone with his defender behind him and passes.
Nashville's lowest defender is busy erasing Ian White from the front of the net. This leaves him unable to attempt a shot block, aiding Filppula's cause. Fil one times the pass from Zetterberg and it beats Rinne.

2nd Period

Nashville 0 Detroit 2; 12:52- Datsyuk (11) from Bertuzzi (11) & Franzen (17)
After entering the zone, Datsyuk moves the puck to Bertuzzi, who then moves it to Franzen. The Mule passes back to Bert, whose shot attempt is wide. It bounces off the end boards and sits behind the net. One of Nashville's defensemen chooses not to follow Datsyuk behind the net, stopping his pursuit at the side of the goal mouth. The loose puck behind the net is picked up by Datsyuk, who now has an easy wraparound available.
Pavel cleanly tucks the puck underneath Rinne's right pad for the goal. The refs had to review whether the puck crossed the line and said that the ruling on the ice of "goal" was confirmed. They never initially called it a goal, but the video seemed conclusive enough to show the puck across the line. Any puck luck is appreciated, and I'll take this one with no complaints.

Nashville 0 Detroit 3; 13:05- Cleary (9) from Miller (5)
The Wings win the faceoff immediately after Datsyuk's goal and chip the puck in. Rinne comes out to play it and a crowd forms quickly. Nashville can't control it, and Drew Miller picks up the puck and carries it behind the net.
Miller sees Cleary and makes the smart pass. Cleary is above the coverage of the two netfront defensemen, both of whom fail to puck him up. He is also below the coverage of any other Nashville backcheckers, and has a wide open look at the net. The pass reaches Cleary and he immediately shoots. Rinne tries to glove it but can't, and the Wings pad their lead with tallies 13 seconds apart.

3rd Period

Nashville 0 Detroit 4; 5:22- Filppula (12) from Abdelkader (6) & Emmerton (3)
Detroit can't maintain possession behind the net and Nashville tries to clear. Ian White is at the blue line and manages to hold the puck and slap one towards the net. The rebound goes to Emmerton, who is also denied by Rinne. The rebound here goes to Abdelkader. He shoots and the puck comes off Rinne to a streaking Filppula. Fil had hung along the boards, and now he has a clear shot with the puck on his stick as he moves in.
Rinne is down and out on the opposite side of the crease and therefore has no chance at stopping this. Filppula has speed and is able to step into his shot. The shot sails into a wide open net for the goal that put the nail in Nashville's coffin.

Nashville 1 Detroit 4; 17:48- Blum from Tootoo
Lidstrom takes away a shot in front of the net, and after some shuffling behind the net and a failed clear from TPH the Predators reset their cycle. Tootoo moves the puck to Blum in the middle of the blue line.
The puck is nearly tipped in front yet somehow avoids the stick of Legwand in the slot. Howard gets beat by a distant and not very hard shot. Blum is no Shea Weber from the point, and this goal looks soft.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Winged Wheel Christmas

Not much substance to this post, but I thought I'd try and find any video I possibly could related to Christmas and the Wings. Also, it'd be hard to write a Christmas video post and not include the monstrosity that is the Blackhawks Holiday video. Enjoy, and Merry Christmas.

Past Years:
12 days of Christmas

2010 Holiday video

Favorite Holiday Gifts


2011 Holiday video:

You've heard about it, you've probably seen it, but here's how some division rivals commemorate the holidays:

GBGA Regular Season Game 34: Burned

This is what happened the last time someone got between Jokinen and his waffles

1st Period

Calgary 1 Detroit 0; 16:10- PPG Glencross from Jokinen & Brodie
A wide shot causes the Wings to cycle on the penalty kill. Helm goes from the corner to the point and tries to take away the passing lane but can't. Jokinen is very open and takes the available shot.
 Kronwall should be lower in the zone but stays in an in-between area to attempt a shot block. He misses, and this leaves a man in the corner uncovered. A rebound bounces to the side of the net, and Glencross is there to roof it past Conklin. Stuart is the low man and tries to slide over and cover but can't make it in time, nor can you really expect him to.

2nd Period

Calgary 2 Detroit 0; 1:30- Comeau from Morrison & Jackman
The Wings attempt a cross-ice pass that goes wide and off the half boards. Calgary collects the loose puck and moves it up ice. Jackman gets Kronwalled at the blue line but still somehow sends a pass ahead for Morrison.
The Wings have 1 defensemen back. In an ideal world he would step towards the trailing player and Conklin (or better yet, a backchecker) could take the shooter. That doesn't happen, as Stuart stays between the two Calgary players and tries to take away the passing lane.
The pass gets under Stuart, and now Conklin is hung out to dry. He had to stay square to Morrison and respect the shot from him, but once the pass gets through there's no way he can move laterally quick enough to square with Comeau.

Calgary 3 Detroit 0; 5:47- Glencross from Bouwmeester
Detroit carries in on a 4-on-4. There's a messy exchange between Ian White and Zetterberg, and White mishandles the puck. It goes off the boards and is picked up by Bouwmeester. All he has to do is move the puck up to Glencross.
Lidstrom is the lone defender back, and he stands his ground in the middle of the ice to take away the cross-ice passing lane. It's good that he takes this away, as it forces Glencross to shoot. This makes Conklin's job a little easier. Having said that, the cross-ice Calgary skater is in front of Lidstrom, and at this point I'd rather see him try and step up and stop Glencross' shot. Conklin should have been able to track this but lets it in, and it's a softie.

3rd Period

Calgary 3 Detroit 1; 4:55- Hudler (8) from Ericsson (5)
Calgary gains control behind their net and tries to clear their defensive zone. Ericsson holds it in for the Wings and quickly passes to Hudler. Hudler digs the puck out of his skates in the slot.
Hudler backhands a shot in for Detroit's first goal of the game. Zetterberg does a perfect job screening Kiprusoff here, and this is really the reason Hudler's shot finds the back of the net. Without Zetterberg in front this one would have been an easy save for Kiprusoff.

Calgary 3 Detroit 2; 15:48- White (5) from Datsyuk (25)
Datsyk wins the faceoff cleanly back to Ian White. This goal is a thing of beauty. As the Calgary player in front of the net moves towards his coverage area, he simultaneously opens up the lane White needs for his shot to go in. White unleashes a slap shot as soon as the puck gets to him, and Kiprusoff isn't ready for it. It beats him far side. I swore I wouldn't refer to shots as "lasers," but I don't know that I've ever seen a shot more deserving of that adjective. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GBGA Regular Season Game 33: Sister Act

This is what happens when you don't vote for Jimmy on your All Star ballot.

1st Period

Vancouver 1 Detroit 0; 9:36- Higgins from Raymond & Bieksa
The two circled players are the defensemen. Technically speaking, their job is not to allow players past them. That's pretty simple. Something like, for example, a stretch pass to a player behind the defense would be bad. That's exactly what happens here, and now there's a breakaway opportunity. 
Ian White somehow gets back enough to almost make a play on the puck carrier, but not quite enough to impede his shot. The circled player in red is Kronwall, and the circled player in blue is Higgins. Kronwall needs to stay aware of his coverage instead of watching the shooter in front of him. It's his responsibility to make sure Higgins is covered, because you never know when there could be a rebound.
Oh look, there's a rebound. Higgins gets to the rebound first and knocks it in. Kronwall looks like he's falling away from the play and can't do anything to break it up.

Vancouver 2 Detroit 0; 9:57- Hodgson from Hansen & Malhotra
White has the puck and is about to carry it into the offensive zone when he has the puck poked off his stick. The puck is moved up the boards to an open Hansen. Hodgson turns up ice as soon as the turnover occurs and is uncovered in the middle of the ice.
Helm almost gets into the passing lane but is about a half second too late to cut off the pass to Hodgson. Lidstrom is the last man back, but is covering a lane instead of the middle of the ice. If Lidstrom is in the middle he can neutralize Hodgson's shot attempt.
Hodgson has a completely unimpeded shot. This isn't a soft goal by Howard, but it's painful to give up two this quickly this early in the game.

Vancouver 2 Detroit 1; 13:46- Bertuzzi (4) from White (12) & Datsyuk (24)
Pavel has plenty of room to make a play with the puck on the half boards. There's no one behind the net, but he has a pass and a shot option available. Dats moves it to White at the blueline, who snaps a shot on net. Note that Luongo is already on the ice, as Bert pushed Salo into him at the onset of the play.
Bertuzzi tap in the rebound past a still-flopping Luongo. While Bertuzzi got away with one at the beginning of the play, he does a good job of keeping position on his defender after the rebound comes loose.  

Vancouver 3 Detroit 1; 15:40- Burrows from Sedin & the other Sedin
The Canucks again get a nice breakout pass through the neutral zone. Thing 1 receives the pass and Stuart steps up on him. This sets a pick and Thing 1 and Thing 2 exchange the puck. Kronwall is moving towards the boards to meet him.
The exchange isn't clean and the puck just sits there for a second. Kronwall has to put on the brakes and try to compensate for skating too far towards the boards. He can't adjust before Thing 2 puts a shot on net.
Burrows is in all alone behind the defense and tips the shot past Jimmy. 

2nd Period

Vancouver 3 Detroit 2; 16:20- Miller (7) from Helm (8) & Cleary (9)
Cleary turns and moves down in the zone. Helm sees a seam between defenders and passes. It isn't on target, but the puck goes off the boards and Cleary picks it up and carries towards the blueline. 
Helm is open in the middle of the ice and Cleary gets a pass across for Helmer to one time. Miller tips Helm's shot past Luongo and pulls Detroit a bit closer. Vancouver's defense looks passive here. From their soft coverage in the middle of the ice to their inability to move Miller from the front of the net, they just look slow.

3rd Period

Vancouver 4 Detroit 2; 3:30- SHG Edler from Hansen
Zetterberg tries to carry the puck into the offensive zone and gets mugged. With the puck stolen, the Canucks turn the other way and are off to the races. As Hansen cuts netfront he feels Zetterberg behind him. Replays show that Z barely touched him, but Hansen lives up to the Canucks reputation as divers and bowls over Howard. The play should end here. It doesn't.
Edler benefits from the ref's mistake, backhanding the loose puck over Howard for the goal. Lidstrom doesn't have time to turn and defend, so it doesn't look like he made a coverage mistake here. This goal shouldn't have happened, but here's hoping that it bring increased attention to the knocks Howard has been taking that have gone uncalled.