Monday, November 30, 2009

Stars are coming to town.


Wrongest 3rd jersey since the fisherman (Montreal not included)
Ooops, that one got posted a little too fast, but here's the edited version:

The Stars are coming back to the Joe for more and we all remember the last meeting. The one Dennis LaRue fucked up. So please God, let us get a good referee or two today.

Dallas are hanging in there in the West, but their team doesn't seem that strong overall, and I can't see why they should be able to outplay the Wings yet again (on the other hand the Wings are as predictable as a guy on crack, so who knows).

We don't know if Alex Auld is playing again or if Marty Turco is gonna play. Hopefully it'll be Turco, he sucks at the Joe :D

The line up will be the same as against the Blues, but Eaves might be a game time desicion with an injury. In that case Maltby will replace him. Which leads to my question HOW THE FUCK CAN MALTBY BE SCRATCHED WHEN BERTUZZI IS PLAYING?. Having said that, let's hope that Big Bert finds some confidence in his shootout marker and decides to show us why the Wings are paying him.

Keys to the game:
- Wandell, and their breakout in general has to be slowed up
- Ribeiro, their best forward must be watched
- Patience, and effectiveness getting out of our own zone
- More speed through the neutral zone, get more off the rush
- Leino made some good passes against the Blues, now he needs to step up on the other aspects of his game
- More traffic to the net
- More aggressive play in their own zone
- Referee's who will allow the Wings to score

A good reason to hate the Stars:
Panter wrote them a fight song (including a riff from Cowboys from Hell). That should be enough to make anyone envious.


Pantera, Dallas fans extraordinaires. RIP Dime!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wings beat Blues in shootout


So, it took the lottery to win this one, but still. We won! Yay!

I have decided to screw the whole recap thing and just go with my thoughts:

- This game seemed to have a lower tempo than the last few games
- The Wings were way too weak in front of their own net on goals number 1 and 3. Howard can't really be blamed for any of them, but none of them were good by the Detroit defense
- The third and fourth line were great! Yet again...
- I actually jumped up and cheered when Homer scored, then looked for any sign of the ref disallowing it, then cheered again. All in all, that goal was a hell of a nice play. Notice that Bertuzzi was not on the ice when Dats and Homer finally got going.
- The Draper goal was a thing of beauty, great efforts by Helmer and Eaves and good finish by Draper
- How sweet is it that the Wings finally got one of those late goals? By the way, what a fluke goal it was! It passed Jackman on one side, hit his elbow, then went back towards the goal on the other side of his body. Nice to get a bounce like that.
- Good work in the shootout Bertuzzi! Now start playing the same way...
- I think Bertuzzi might be the league's slowest skater. Can't think of anyone else... Maybe Leino?
- Anyone wanna give me odds on May netting one before Leino or Bertuzzi nets their next?
- Leino actually had a few nice passes in this game, but still he kinda played badly.
- Howard was excellent! I think he's proven that he is good enough for the NHL, at least as a backup.
- Chris Mason also had a good game. Fun fact: He actually played his lockout year in Norway's ugliest club Valerenga, together with Scott Hartnell.

Play of the game
The Homer goal. Great passing and good finishing

Player of the game
This could've ben Howard, or Helm if he scored one (or didn't get this title every second game), but I've gotta go with Z. He was great!

Opponent of the game
Backes. 1 goal, 1 assist and a constant threat

Wings fall to Flames

I'm a little late on this one, but I didn't get to see it until late last night. So, just gonna mention a few thoughts about it:
- Shutout again, the Wings looked desperate when shooting
- Lidstrom was a -3, scary
- 2 of the Flames goals were results of Wings not really being agressive enough, the last one was just weird
- The Cleary goal was good. In no way did he interfer with the Kipper. That's just BS!
- The 2nd Cleary goal was blown off BEFORE the puck went in (for a change), but I doubt it would've gone any other way if it wasn't because everyone kept playing. My problem here is that the puck was never frozen
- It seems like the NHL refs need to get laid. That's my theory
- Also, if the first disallowed goal had happened to a team that doesn't include Homer and another player than Homer had been squashed by the goalie in front of the net a little later, it would've been a goal and a penalty
- All in all Homer got a lot of shit during this game
- At the end of it I wanted to die
- I have a habit of watching On the fly every night (well, the one from the night before, because of the time difference) and I got so sad seeing everyone else scoring tons of goals.

Play of the game
The referee's nice hand movements after Cleary scored

Player of the Game
Kipprusoff. I've had enough of giving this title to the opposing goalie, but again, I kinda had to

Wing of the game
Helm, imagine if he could score too

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pre game: Flames

Long day today (microeconomics exam and everything), so I'll be short and snappy.

May is the one to sit out today and Ozzie's in goal. Iginla is on a hot streak (but was held pointless their last game), he also hasn't scored in like the 15 last games against the Wings or something. Let's hope that continues tonight. The Flames also seem to be a good road team.

Key's to the game for Detroit:
- Continue to be better getting out of their own zone
- More agressiveness in their own zone and on the PK
- Get more off the rush
- Maybe shoot less and go for more quality shots
- Learn how to aim
- Keep Leino and Big Bert far away from Z and Pasha
- A good game by Ericsson
- Ozzie in same form as against Nashville

My prediction is that Mikka Kipprusoff is the hockey equivalent of God tonight.

Good night

Now go listen to
Amy McDonald - Footballer's Wife, because she's young and she's brilliant!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wings get shutout by Thrashers



Yep, that's how I feel right now. This is getting ridiculous! Anyway, I was really not gonna dignify this game with a long post, but as I have finally decided on a post-game format I guess I'll have to. But I'll keep it short

Recap (yet again including so called analysis)
The game started out pretty evenly with both teams working hard, but after a couple of minutes the Wings took over. They barraged the net with shots and had a couple of great chances. They seemed to get much more off the rush than in the last few games and were also better at getting the puck out of their zone than earlier (exception, Ericsson who just threw the ouck softly, along the ice when he was trying to clear on the PK). But what does that help. After several great Wings chances Thrashers get a chance and scores. And this goal was a direct result of several errors:
1. Brad Stuart tried to poke the puck down with his stick. If he instead had taken it down with his hand or gotten in position and let Kozlov get vulnerable taking down the puck, the play wouldn't have happened.
2. Ericsson goes for Kozlov, doesn't take the puck, nor the body and gets himself placed in a position where he can do nothing
3. Leino didn't take Antropov and seemed like he was gliding in after him. Weak
4. Could Howard have done a Rinne style poke-check? maybe not...

After this the Wings continued to barrage the net with pucks and had to PP-chances where they produced a lot, but Pavelec stood on his head, and the Thrashers blocked a lot of shots.

The two last periods weren't that dominant, but the Wings were still the better team. They just couldn't seem to score. The only time the Thrashers had sustained offense time was during their 3 second period PPs. at the end of the 2nd a good pass sprung Kozlov and he scored. Howard maybe could've kept his stick-blade in front of the five hole, but it was a hard play, so I don't blame him.

Thoughts and notes
- Not even the eurotwins can score together right now
- Is Homer injured or something. he's kinda dozed off
- I love Helm, but he has too many turnovers
- It can't be just hot goalies and shotblockers. The Wings need shooting practice
- I miss Franzen
- Leino was a bit better today and even bertuzzi had a couple of nice plays, but mostly big Bert was as useless as a dick-flavoured lollipop.
- Dumb penalties
-T.J. Hensick is on waivers. CLAIM HIM!

Play of the game
Pasha's chip over the goal. When that works some day I'm gonna pee myself

Player of the game
I was so ready for giving it to someone not a goalie, but Pavelec gets it

Wing of the game
That's a hard one. I actually liked Abbie a lot last night

For those of you who are as frustrated as me, here's some help:



I thought that I'd incorporate my other big interest, music into this blog, and recommend a song in each post. So...

Now go listen to Alice in Chains - Black give way to blue, because it's a sad song that fits our mood, and it's also a great tribute to the late Layne Staley.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Random pre-Atlanta notes


Kicking Atlanta's ass, something the Wings need to do tonight

So, as I'm working tonight, I won't really be able to write a preview right before the game, so I'm just gonna provide you with one right now.

First a whole other thing:
- Malik reports that Jakub Kindl left practice in Grand Rapids yesterday with a foot injury. There are no details about the seriousness of the injury. Let's hope it's not serious, because the way things are going for the Wings injury-wise Kindl might be one of the next defensemen in line.

Anyway, Khan reports that Howard will make a start in goal against the Thrashers. I don't really know how I feel about that. On one hand Howard has been quite good the last weeks and he's had some success in the W-column too, and I'm all for playing him a lot and giving him a lot of responsibility, but Ozzie was frickin' excellent against the Preds, so I guess I expected to see him in the net tonight. It's gonna be interesting to see how Howard does against stars like Kovalchuk

The same article also notes that Uncle Mike didn't like all the defense pairings, so he'll try a new look tonight. Nick will be playing with E, Rafalski will go with Stuart, then Meech and Lebda will each get to play in pairings with one of the four first players. Babcock calls it an eight man block, done with six guys. Sounds weird, but it might work.

And the forward lines will be:
Bertuzzi-Datsyuk-Holmstrom
Leino-Zetterberg-Cleary
Draper-Helm-Eaves
May-Abdelkader-Miller (Maltby working in)

Damn, I liked the lines I posted last night better. I really think we need to get Bertuzzi away from Pasha and I thought Miller was good with Z, while Leino was great on the fourth line. So yeah, I'm not really sure that I like these lines. Hopefully the Wings can prove me wrong.

Thoughts about the game
- The Thrashers have been playing well this year. Peverly is a guy who has stepped up and someone the Wings need to watch out for
- It's gonna be interesting to see how the Wings defense handles the Afinogenov - Kovy - Antropov line
- Pavlec has been good this year and I am sure he'll play his best game of the year tonight
- The Wings need to be more aggressive in their own zone and on the kill. I also think that the key to getting the puck out of the zone more effectively (which I always rant about) is to take a little more time. I think the defense have seemed a bit stressed in their own zone. Time to relax tonight.
- I'd like the forwards to get a little closer to the net with the puck, have a little more movement and create better chances. These last games there's been a lot of shots, but few really great chances.
- Helm's gonna score tonight. I can feel it.

By the way, wouldn't it have been much cooler if the Thrashers as in Thrash Metalheads and not some bird?


I dare you to say that THIS is a cooler Thrasher than...


...this. Hetfield himself is Sharks fan though...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wings lose to Nashville


Would you let this guy into your TV studio?

I've decided to reorganize my game reviews, so here's a new look game review. I've also decided to keep a notepad with me when I watch games, so I can write my thoughts down. I have already forgotten half of what I thought about this one..

Why did it go like that (Nashville winning 3-1)? (Now including hints of the old recap section)
Well, the Wings actually came out pretty hard and played well out of the gate. They seemed to skate well and do their jobs. Nashville did the same, and the game was pretty even for the first few minutes, though Nashville had the best chances, making Ozzie stand on his head. The Bertuzzi took his first of two ridiculous offensive zone penalties and the Wings had to play PK. Preds scored and the Wings lost their momentum. This was repeated on a stupid Holmström penalty in the 2nd period. The reason that the Wings let in those goals is that the PK was abyssmal early in the game. The Wings weren't agressive enough and let the Predators play around them. On the first goal there were 4 Wings against Arnott and noone had the presence of mind to just go to his body and take him out. Also, the Wings struggled getting the puck out of the zone when they got it. Luckily this changed and the last PKs were fantastic.

The Wings played horrible from the first Preds goal up until they scored themselves. They struggled getting the puck out of the zone (they really struggle with that this year), turnover the puck and didn't get to any good chances.
They were in part victims of a stellar Predators team who checked hard, skated, beat the Wings to every puck and won the battles. But fact is, the Wings didn't show up, didn't have the effort.

Then at last Mighty Mike changed up the lines, Drew Miller got time with Z and Cleary and BAM! He scored! Great effort, great goal.

After that the Wings owned the game. They pushed and pushed, but they let off too many bad shots and Pekka Rinne stood on his head. The third period was one of those you know how is gonna end. The Wings deserve 4-5 goals, but the opposition has a great goalie and instead they score. Well, well, if it wasn't for Ozzie, the Wings would've been down by 5 goals at that time anyway.

Random thoughts (Incorporating likes and dislikes
- Ericsson didn't make many mistakes today. Nick must be a good influence
- And God, that raid and then the great play without his stick, E's best game in a long time
- Meech was pretty invisible
- Osgood was frickin awesome. Playoff class in his play
- Webber and Suter are pretty good
- Todd Bertuzzi is useless. USELESS! Put him on the 4th line or something. He shoots random shots and spins and turns the puck over. He obviously lacks both confidence and speed on his skates
- McCarty did good as an analyst. Get him as a colour guy now!
- Datsyuk seems lost in his horrible line
- Not even Zetterberg can shake off 3 predators on his back
- Drew Miller had a great game over all, and I love how he always CREATES chances for himself. He doesn't get them served (like Bertuzzi does), he works for them and makes them.
- The crowd was loud, but the idiot with the hat shows that Bubba is still Bubba
- The guy with the whistle should be shot and so should Tootoo, just because it blows for him
- I really miss Franzen and Kronwall, Filpula too, but I think Leino misses him more
- Leino's another guy who needs confidence, he was good on the fourth line though
- If Darren Helm knew how to score and how to not make turnovers on his own blue line he'd be an all star

As I said I forgot half the stuff I thought. Damn.

Play of the game
Drew Millers goal. That's how you WORK!

Player of the game
Pekka Rinne. I was considering Suter or Erat, but Rinne was the best guy out there.

Wing of the game
Osgood. Best I've seen him this year

And here courtesy of me is an alternative shake up of the offensive lines:
Cleary - Z - Miller
Homer - Dats - Helm
Eaves - Draper - Bertuzzi
May/Maltby - Abbie - Leino

I think that should be tried, at least for a period (hate to break up the third line, but Datsyuk needs someone who gets noticed and opposition respects Helmer's speed).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Random notes before the Bubba game

As the Wings take on Bubba tonight, a few things have come to my attention. So here are some random Wings notes in random order:
- Natalie at The Scrappy Octopus has written a brilliant post about why Laraque should get suspended. She has also visited the website. This is a must read.
- As usual Michael at The Production Line has written a great preview of tonights game.
- Brad May has said that he expects at least a four game suspension for Georges Laraque. Read more at Snapshots
- Snapshots also reports that ex-Wing Darren McCarty will be making his debut as an analyst for Versus during tonights game. I look forward to the results. He's one of my all-time favourite players and the main man in the game this blog is named after. He also did this. Anyone who can watch that without getting chills is not a Wings fan.


- Khan reports that the Wings will go with the following defense pairings tonight:
Lidström - Ericsson
Lebda - Rafalski
Meech - Stuart

Nice, this means a safe guy in each pairing. Meech will get PP time instead of Big E though, which is not that nice. But I see Uncle Mike's point in not lettin Meech and Lebda be the pair on the ice after a PP.

- On the Wings has another good Nashville preview and also notes that McCarty will just be a studio analyst. Damn!

Good luck tonight guys! Go Wings!

Bubba tonight


Tonight the Wings square off against division rivals Nashville Predators, or Smashville as they like to call themselves. Pretty frickin' lame huh?

So, a team that's one of the NHL's newest, has never one a playoff round (and only been in four) that has a nickname like that, should be easy meat for the Red Wings. Sadly it hasn't been the case lately, as evident in Detroit's 2-3-1 record against them last year. And let's face it, things are gonna be even harder without Kronwall.

So here's my thoughts on tonight's game:
- Nashville have been great lately, but should be a team Detroit can beat
- Meech and Lebda is a probable third defense pairing. Yikes!
- Ericsson's gonna get a lot more responsibility
- We're gonna need the defense to play safe
- They need to get better getting the puck out of the zone
- We need better fore-checking
- Ericsson might provide some offense on the PP
- Lidstrom WILL bounce back after having a bad (after his stellar standards) game on sunday
- The Wings need to turn their chances into goals.
- The Wings cannot allow themselves to lose to a team that has sported these jerseys:



For more check out Animal Drew's real and pointless previews on Nightmare on Helm Street

In other Wings news, the Wings are rated as #5 in this week's edition of ESPN's Power rankings

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kronwall update

Ansar Khan at Mlive has an update on the Nicklas Kronwall situation.

It appears that the Wings have announced that he will be out 4-8 weeks (jeez, that's not really accurate) with a second to third degree sprain of the left medial collateral ligament (the MCL).


This is the MCL

The club does not plan on recalling anyone from Grand Rapids.

TSN reports that the incident will be reviewed by NHL. Hopefully Laraque gets the suspension he deserves.

In other Wings news Larry Brooks of the New York posts argues in this article that Shanahan's jersey belongs in the rafters at the Joe. I don't know what I think about that, but I wouldn't protest if they did it.

Wings beat Habs


The dedication and lack of intelligence of the average Montreal fan on display here

First, sorry for the non-review of the Panthers game. I was tired and half-slept through it. Here's some notes about it:
- Betuzzi played like an ass
- I wanted to marry the third line (and I am a heterosexual, monogamist man)
- We deserved this one
- I'm never watching a Panthers game ever again

Man of the match:
Scott Clemensen

Wing of the match:
Darren Helm

Over to the Habs game:
Fuck! Kronwall is hurt and will lose at least 2-3 weeks, maybe more... That's really bad news

Recap (now incorporates the "Why did it go like that?" section)
The game started with both teams flying, both teams having chances, but that ended when George Laraque took a swipe at Darren Helm's face with his stick and then kneed Kronwall into possible long-term injury. For this he was rewarded with 6 minutes (only two for the kneeing), which makes me wonder how you have to knee someone to get the 5 minute major and game misconduct he clearly deserved.

The PP that followed was weak. The Zetterberg line created a little bit, but the Bertuzzi line sucked. They stood still and passed the puck around. No movement at all! In the end a shot by Stuart went in for 1-0. The final minor of the 6 minute became a 5-on-3 and the Bertuzzi line again baffled us with their poor play. You can't just move the puck, you have to move around too. Luckily the Z-line did this and Datsyuk scored on a redirect of another beautiful Rafalski shot-pass.

Detroit got another 5-on-3 in the period, but wasted it, mostly because the Bertuzzi line played the tightest little PP formation I've ever seen. I mean, when there's only three opposing players you have a lot of room, but when you all creep thight in on goal like this line did, you make it easy for the defense to cut the passing- and shooting lanes. Weak. So the period ended 2-0 Detroit, thanks to bad PP by Detroit (they really should have put them away with one or two more) and good PK by the Habs.

The second frame was a tight affair with few chances and a lot of play in the neutral zone. Detroit controlled the tempo and the period was bland and uneventful.

The third period opened with a Leino turnover which led to a goal by Cammaleri. Maybe Howard should've had that one, but it was a good shot. The next 7-8 minutes the Habs dominated and had a few chances. The Wings struggled getting it out of their zone and got no extended time in the offensive zone. A dump in that Nick handled badly (he and Lebda misunderstood each other and Nick threw it around) ended on a Hab stick. Pass to Cammaleri, 2-2. The rest of the period was tight, both teams had chances, but the Wings were the closest to the win. Same goes for overtime.

In the shootout Dats and Z scored beautifully and the Habs missed their two attempts.

What I didn't like
- Nick's worst game ever? (still pretty decent game though)
- The PP
- bertuzzi (I really wanna like him, but he sucks right now. Wanna try Helm with Pasha?)
- That they let up
- That the refs didn't dare penalize the Habs much after the first
- The Laraque kneeing
- Laraque's face (btw I forgot "Ribeiro's stupid attempt on a 'stache" on the Stars not-like list)

What I liked
-Solid Howard
- Good third line
- Pasha was great
- Z's effort
- Stuart and Rafalski great offensively

Play of the game
Rafalski's shot pass that Datsyuk tipped in. I think the same play, just from the other side of the net, got the play of the game honours in my Ducks review. These guys rule at that play and I'm lovin' it!

Player of the game
Pavel Datsyuk

Opponent of the game
Mike Cammaleri

Friday, November 20, 2009

Conspiracy?


Over the last days there have been lots of talks about Wings fans being conspiracy theorists and thinking the league is against us (read the comments in the Abel to Yzerman links in my previous posts). We do not. Kris from Snipe snipe, dangle dangle, twittered something about that stating she couldn't believe the NHL were capable of pulling a conspiracy like that, they can't even manage to get goals right.

I agree with that. There is no conspiracy, the league is too incompetent to make a conspiracy and the majority of Red Wings fans agree with me on that. But of course Mr. Bettman as a businessman needs his southern markets to win, to let his golden boy win, and thus they tilt the playing field a little now and then when they get a chance by weird scheduling, the salary cap, bad (or really non-existant) refereeing in the finals, a certain missing suspension, a weird mid-season suspension, bad calls, blown goals and just little snipes here and there. I'm sure it happens to other dominating teams in good markets too, though Detroit is at top of the game and feels it hardest, while teams like Pens, Coyotes and Dallas gets it tilted a bit the other way.

The best that has been written about this, was left in a comment at Abel to Yzerman in this article and was written by someone with the username Misopogon, from Troy, Michigan. I hope he's okay with me reprinting it, because it's so excellent you deserve to read it in all its glory. Here we go:
The referees are just trying to do their jobs. Usually they do a better job than pretty much anyone else could do.

So are the guys in Toronto.

Put yourself in their shoes, the Toronto guys. On one side you have a team from Dallas, Texas, which has oodles of expendable cash to support an N.H.L. franchise but is very short on seat-filling fans. On the other side you have Detroit, which has next to zero in loose corporate cash these days but a fanbase deep enough to match a Canadian city six times its size.

And this Detroit team keeps [winning.

What are these guys supposed to do? What would you do if put in the league’s situation?

I mean, the N.H.L. puts itself through hell to get a salary cap system, and make sure its salary cap system could dismantle the “big spending” franchises and their obvious spending advantages. They weren’t talking about the Rangers, here. There was only one exempli gratia, just as there was one and only exempli gratia for the down-and-outs, Poor Pittsburgh, who had to trade away all of their talent to the point where Rico Fata was the best player in uniform, and “had to” leave their 1st overall draft pick, an obviously NHL-ready fella, in the minors for financial woes. And who “totally deserved” a 2nd overall pick (Evgeni Malkin) in the next draft, and “totally deserved” to “randomly” get the N.H.L.’s version of LeBron, and “totally deserved” to come out of lockout into the best free agent market in N.H.L. history spending like mad-mofos.

This wasn’t exactly a chain of events meant to be “fair.”

And what happens: a few years later these guys are hoisting the cup again!

And not just hoisting the cup, but doing it directly against the N.H.L.’s erstwhile e.g. of pre-cap woe, the purpose-rebuilt Pens and their savior child.

Have a little remorse for the league, here, guys. Their record of futility against Detroit’s hockey team makes Rush Limbaugh’s campaign against U.S. liberalism actually look moderately successful.

Take away every early-round pick from them, and THEN rig the salary cap so that teams basically have to play their draft picks early and often, and they find superstars in the 5th through 7th rounds. Like LOTS of superstars. Like, I dunno, a perennial Hart AND Selke trophy candidate, or like the best defenseman of a generation!

The league’s tried like, everything. Detroit was building by stockpiling raw players and allowing their skills to germinate in Europe, so the NHL makes a rule that forces franchises to rush players to North America or lose ‘em.

Really? An arbitrary rule that undermines the league’s talent pool, targeted at just one franchise?

Now Detroit’s turned to the NCAA to extend the development period for drafted players, and the league is actually working on a deal with the NCAA to stop this from happening, to allow more kids to play in Juniors, so instead of coached, conscious, developed players the league can keep having draft after draft of over-hyped, over-rushed, and utterly option-less 17-year-old pros.

Why? Because Bettman is Rod-the-God Tine (ref: Infinite Jest, basically Karl Rove but fewer ethics, more power, a better marketing mind, but much more generally inept). He has studies from his tutelage under Roger Stern that says fans don’t want to see well-developed 28-year-olds—they get most excited about the ups and downs of hyped up 20-year-olds, who make mistakes and do flashy crazy things while trying to impress. Slowly easing Ville Leino onto the ice is not that thing.

He has plenty of evidence that Detroiters will flock to a dump like the Joe for their team no matter how desolate the local economy becomes or how marginalized their team becomes. Hell, sales of Steve Yzerman jerseys alone could fuel the league for a year—we’re talking current sales, for a retired guy!

In other words, the N.H.L. has maxed out all the money it can make from Detroit. There’s nothing to protect. There’s nothing to lose.

On the other hand, there’s a lot of executive cash floating around south of the Mason-Dixon line. But that’s also where locals have never seen a frozen pond and transplants came to get away from the memories of such. This equals fickle, i.e. you need to keep dangling winning and exciting Top 5 draft picks and young, mistake-prone superstars and potential to get these people to Keep Coming Back. What you don’t need is an established franchise dashing their hopes by “being better at playing hockey.”

And cities north of the Mason-Dixon Line, too, which need to be protected, provided they play the Bettman’s game instead of, you know, playing silly games, like ice hockey.

And yet this franchise keeps finding new and more innovative ways of winning N.H.L. hockey games. They get players to sign for less than market value by—gasp—treating players like human beings. They make up for back-end talent deficiencies and age by working harder. They do their homework. What can other teams do to keep up? Their homework? You mean, like, everyone has to do homework now? How fun does that sound?

So if you are the N.H.L., what else can you do? It’s not like they’re omnipotent. Other than, like, waive off a goal or two when opportunity presents, or pick-and-choose playoff referees by how well they respond to the unspoken wink and nudge (another trick picked up from the Tutelage of The Stern).

Really, were you expecting a call from Toronto to go any other way? Has it ever?

This isn’t conspiracy. Conspiracy is way better organized than this haphazard sniping, this demolition job handled with the same ineptitude that Bettman’s N.H.L. has demonstrated at everything else it’s done.

So stop with the conspiracy theories. It’s not conspiracy, but policy, badly executed. The guys in Toronto are just trying to do their jobs, which jobs are meant to make the NHL as popular in the North American market as footba..[scratch] baseba..[scratch] baksetb...[scratch] Texas Hold ‘Em.

Could you do any better?


Amen to that

NHL "explains" the new goal that wasn't

So the NHL has come out with and "explanation" and "apology" for the goal that wasn't (I haven't got any answer to my email yet, but they surely got tons of them yestedar).
This baffling piece of words strung together so it sounds nice, but means nothing can be found at nhl.com.

Here is Abel to Yzerman's take on it.

And allow me now, sickening as it is, to print NHL Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations Mike Murphy's statement in it's entirety:
The way we've always handled it and the way we will continue to handle it until we have a procedure change is the referees call on the ice stands. He sees the shot and he sees the save and doesn't see the puck in the net and kills the play or blows the whistle. It's not when you hear the whistle blow, it's when he intends to blow the whistle. There is a little bit of a gray area there between when he intends and when the whistle sounds.

In this case Dennis LaRue was clear with what he saw and clear with what he interpreted and that was, 'I had killed the play before the puck entered the net.' When we scrutinize it and go through video review I think everybody would concede that the puck was in the net, and Dennis didn't see that unfortunately.

In this particular case, what would happen is we (in the League's video replay room in Toronto) would see the puck in the net and call the video goal judge and say, 'Please blow the horn and get the referee over here. We see a puck in the net that hasn't been ruled a goal.' At that point the referee would come over and we would have the discussion. Usually the referees know exactly what's happening and they would come to us and say, 'Listen, I blew the whistle or my intent to blow the whistle was there. I've got this play dead before the puck crosses the goal line.' No more need be said. Once we hear that, basically video review is now out of the process. We step aside and say it's a call made on the ice and it's a non-reviewable call. It's a whistle blown by the referee and it was blown or the intent to blow it was before the puck crossed the goal line.

In all cases we want to get the right call. In this case it appears we didn't. But, I think sometimes when you have video review people expect perfection and that's never the case and we only let the fan down when they think it's going to be perfect. There are situations where video review can't intercede and we don't want it to intercede. I don't think you ever want video review refereeing a game.

I like the way video review is. I think it works and you have to be careful how much you tinker with it.


The article also noted that
Murphy agreed that the puck "does go into the net on the original shot," but having not spoken to LaRue yet he could only assume that the referee lost sight of the puck when it hit goalie Alex Auld's pad and that's where the intent to blow the whistle comes into play.


and that
Murphy said the League's Hockey Operations group will "internalize and see if we can come up with a better solution or a better answer. If there is one we'll find one."


So. there it is. A whole lot of nice words, but really difficult to tell what they actually mean. To be able to analyze this and give an answer I'm gonna try and find the gist of each paragraph.
What I get from his statement is:
- It was handled right after the rules in the NHL and will be handled the same way until they change

So make a rule change, allow this to be reviewed. If this was handled properly, something is wrong with the rules for sure. Also, nice way of really excusing the ref, the war room and the entire crew.

- And this way is that the referee's call is king here. He sees the wrong thing and blows the whistle

So, even though his call was obviously wrong we can't change that through video review? Do we want a game governed by video review rules where following those rules are more important than getting the call right? This is bullshit. Sure he saw it wrong and blew the whistle, but by then the puck was in the net. FACT!

- He pulls the intent to blow the whistle crap

1. Intent to blow is a stupid rule, that rarely has any effect on what it was supposed to solve, but ruins good goals. Change it, get rid of it or whatever you want, just get it away from hockey.
2. And pulling that argument here is absolute crap! What intent? The puck went straight in, he can't have had time to intend to blow the whistle before it went in (unless of course he thought it was in on Abbie's shot, in which case he is blind). Also, the puck went in almost 3 seconds before the whistle. If he intended to blow so long before he actually blew, he needs a bit of training. So basicaly, this is bullshit. A smoke screen to cover up a mistake, sadly used now in a way that contributes to further discredit the NHL and its officating.

- LaRue didn't see it and though the whistle had gone before it was in the net (so, he thought it went in like when Auld got up?). Video review showed that he was wrong, but he didn't see that unfortunately.

So if he didn't see it and video review was clear, why didn't you guys tell him he was wrong? Or did they and he just didn't listen? This is the reason why the war room should have final say in things like this.

- The review room saw a puck in the net that hadn't been called a goal and called down to the ref. They talked to him. Referees usually know what's going on and explains this (which LaRue probably did, just, he was WRONG). At the time when he says the whistle had gone before it, it's non-reviewable and they step down because the whistle was blown or intended to be blown before the puck crossed the line. NICE! So if the ref's a fucktard and wrong he can just say that crap and the review is off!

Well. That's plain stupid. Why is this non-reviewable. Well, LaRue clearly stated that it had been blown off. Review show this to be wronger than a naked Margaret Tatcher, so they should really be able to tell him: You're wrong, it's a goal, deal with it! I can see why intent is non-reviewable, but if they don't get rid of the rule, they should make it possible to review, so that in cases where there was no reason to intend to blow the whistle, it's a good goal. Also, hockey is a game played until the whistle is blown! The intent rule needs to go. NOW!
And by god, is that part of the statement a really weak excuse for what happened.

- NHL wants good calls

Surprise

- In this case they didn't get it

Duh

- People expect the video review to be perfect

Yup, or near perfect. These guys have video and sound to see what's right and wrong. In 99,99% of the cases (including this one) that video will show what the right call is.

- There are rules about what's reviewable to prevent video refereeing from taking over.

So amend these rules! We have seen a lot of wrong video review calls lately, because the ref says something that makes it non-reviewable. If you want it to be right, then amend the list of reviewable situations and give the video room the ability to call down in all situations and call the ref and idiot and make the right call for him if he is wrong.

- Murphy likes the video review system and doesn't wanna tinker with it

Well he is just a plain fool then.

So, the NHL, as predicted came up with a statement, where they:
- Doesn't really apologize for anything
- Comes up with perfect explanations for what happened showing that noone was wrong really, the ref just didn't see it.
- The blames the system
- Which they doesn't wanna change

Shameful, it's shameful for the NHL to keep acting like this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dennis LaRue and the other goal that wasn't

To start you up, here is a video of what I am going to write about:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v0HSV6yIYQ

Then, here are some other blogs with interesting views and discussions on this:
The Triple deke, The Scrappy Octopus, Snapshots, Red Wings Hardware, Animal Drew on Nightmare on Helm Street, Chris on Nightmare on Helm Street, Hockeytown Static, DetroitHockey.net and these from Abel to Yzerman: Number one, read the comments too anf Number two

So there we go. For you who are too lazy to read other blogs or watch the video I'll break it down for you:
- Brad May wins the puck behind the goal to Abelkader who wraps around and shoots. Auld saves and May backhands the rebound on goal. Auld seems to have blocked the puck and the play is whistled dead.
- But Brad May puts his stick in the air, then he's joined in celebration by the his linemates and the crowd cheers. (At this time Auld gets the puck out his net, but we don't see that on TV). The refs and linesmen gather behind the goal to talk.
- The refs move to the score-box, La Rue whistles to slow the celebrations down and we get to see the first replays.
- Replays from two angles shows that Auld didn't block it. It touched his foot and then at once went into the side of the net, invisible to the ref, but clearly in.
- Dennis La Rue talks to Lidstrom. Then he goes to talk to Mike Babcock
- The announcer says:
The ruling on the ice is no goal, the whistle had blown
. Loud booing from the crowd.
- We get to see a replay with sound. The puck was in the net 2-3 seconds before the whistle went.
- LaRue talks more to Uncle Mike, but wait, Toronto is calling, they must be calling to tell them what happened.
- La Rue talks to Toronto and we get another angle to hear how late the whistle was.
- More replays
- LaRue talks to Draper and then says
There is no goal on the play, the whistle had blown to kill the play
. The crowd, Ken D, Mickey, Larry, the Wings, every hockey fan watching is left stunned.
- Face off.

So let's break this down:
- I do understand that LaRue didn't see it in and blew for a blocked puck
- But then the video review guys from Toronto called and they MUST have told him that it was a goal and that the whistle went seconds after the goal
- But still, he claimed the whistle had gone. This is absolutely stupid. The guy is trying to cover his ass because he made a bad first judgement. He can't admit he was wrong and Toronto can't overrule him.
- He might of course talk about the intent of blowing, but the puck went in right away, so while he might have intended the blow for a frozen puck, the puck was already in the net. The only way he could have intended to blow before the goal is if he though Auld froze Abelkader's shot. In which case it took him about 8 seconds to blow the whistle.

This is stupid. It is ridiculous. NHL can not have referees who does this and tries to not admit their errors. LaRue should be suspended for this or at least see no play off time, but we all know that won't happen.

There will be an outcry about this and the NHL will answer with either silence or defending their guy. That's a shame for hockey, a shame for the league and a shame for Bettman. The mistakes are too many and they never admit it. Just think about the goal that wasn't against Anaheim in the conference semis or the Sharks no goal against the Thrashers some time ago or the goal in friday's Leafs game. This needs to stop and this is what has to be done right now:
- Referees making grave mistakes are suspended or doesn't get to referee in playoffs, this should happen to LaRue right now.
- Toronto war room can overrule referees
- Intent to blow is no longer reason for disallowing a goal.
- The NHL comes with a big, big apology for this situation.
- The referees gets a screen where they can watch replays.
- An apology from LaRue.

To do something about this everyone should send their thoughts to the NHL and the NHL officials at these links officials and NHL.

This is what I wrote to both:
Hi, I am a Norwegian fan who watched the Dallas vs. Detroit game last night.

As I see it, the replays show that the puck was clearly in the net and that it happened about 2-3 seconds before the whistle was blown by Mr. LaRue. So his explanation that he whistled the goal dead is useless and wrong. I can understand that he didn't see the goal, but with Toronto telling him these facts he should have re-made his mind.

I can see how you might say that he intended to blow, but the puck went right in, so he cannot have intended to blow before it went in.

This is just another example in a long line of referees disallowing goals for the wrong reasons and then making the call stand even though they talked to the video review team and the goal was from video obviously good.

Examples of this:
- Brad Watson's no goal call in the Western Conference semifinals game 3 between Detroit and Anaheim.
- The disallowed Sharks goal @ the Thrashers a few weeks ago
- The call on the obvious Leafs goal, that was disallowed last friday.

The list is longer, but I will keep to this. In all these cases the NHL and the Officials board has responded with either silence or defense of the referee.

This is a disgrace and hurts NHL's credibility so much. If you don't believe me, read around in the blog world. Even Stars fans and Penguins fans agree that this call was wrong.

I have these suggestions to make the system work better:
- The referees gets a screen where they can watch replays.
-Toronto war room can overrule referees
- Intent to blow is no longer reason for disallowing a goal.

I think I speak for most of your fanbase when I say, no, demand these immediate reactions to this situation:
- An apology from LaRue.
- An apology from the league and from the officals board
- Immediate suspension of LaRue for a few games or at least that he doesn't get to referee in the playoffs this year. The same should happen to every referee making these kinds of mistakes.

This letter is also posted on by blog at http://fightnightatthejoe.blogspot.com/ and I will cover your response to this letter and the public statements about the episode there.

Thank you for your time, please do the right thing to prevent this league from losing the little it has left of credibility.

Best regards, Anders (Last name deleted here), Oslo, Norway


lastley here's some quotes from the people involved:
Babcock:
It wasn't blown dead. It was a goal. he guy never meant to blow the whistle. It was a shot.

He also said
That's as stupid as I've ever seen


Alex Auld:
They've got enough cameras in the building. If they say it's not a goal, it's not a goal. I think the biggest thing was the intent of the official to blow the whistle.
Blow me...

Brad May:
After I shot it, I didn't see it go in. But he (Auld) was trying to pick his foot up and it was in the net. I just saw a highlight of it and have no idea why it wasn't a goal.

Stars beat Red Wings

I won't discuss the non-goal here, because I'll use a separate post to discuss it.

Recap
The Stars started better when Detroit and dominated most the first period, although the period was littered with penalties to both teams, most of them soft or just wrong. Dallas got the period's only goal on their first PP. Ribeiro was credited with it, but it went in off an unlucky Ericsson's stick (a bit sloppy, but mostly bad luck).
Detroit became better in the second period, but still allowed some chances against for the Stars, who made it 2-0 on a shot from the Blue Line. A little later Zetterberg scored a beauty of a goal to make it 2-1. In the third Detroit looked best and should've tied it with 13 minutes left, but the goal was disallowed (or rather ruled a non-goal, more on that in my next post here). Instead, Dallas capitalized on a PP chance and won the game.

Why did it go like that?
For one thing the game was fairly devoit of rythm because the refs seemed to have noticed that Wings and Stars were both among the least penalized teams and had decided to do something about that. Both teams got penalties for viritually nothing (while the refs missed a couple of obvious ones).
Also the Wings seemed a bit slow and not up to speed and they were especially weak on their fore-checking, neutral-zone play and breakouts. The Stars had a great game (and deserved the win) and their break-outs went straight through the neutral zone and beat the Wings time after time.

Stuff I disliked
- Low Wings energy
- The defensemen jumping up on the play didn't contribute, but turned pucks over which gave Dallas many odd man rushes
- Bad fore-check
- Bad neutral zone play
- Bad breakouts
- Too many sloppy passes
- The Wings seemed to lose to many battles
- The refs
- Dennis LaRue
- Toronto's War room
- Gary Bettman
- Ribeiro's face
- Morrow embellishing like shit
- Invisible Datsyuk

What I liked
- Zetterberg with another good one
- Howard was fricking excellent, none of the goals were on him and he made a lot of great saves
- Brad May actually won a fight

Play of the game
Zetterberg's goal

Player of the game
Alex Auld. He was excellent in the Dallas goal

Red Wing of the game
Jimmy Howard


I would like to take time to yet again thank Brendan Shanahan for his contributions to the Red Wings and remember his career by posting a clip of his part in the spectacle that gave this site its name (at 00:27 and then again in slow motion at 3:37):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29YOFah6tWI

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stars tonight

It's too late and I'm too tired from work to write my own preview so you should read the following one (by the way Alex Auld will be in the Stars net):
The production line

Also read Animal Drew's fantastic pointless preview at Nightmare on Helm Street


On another note: Shanny retired today. Thanks for a great career

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ducks



So another win for Detroit and what a game. This was one of those that are great for neutral people and a great commercial for hockey, but almost gave us fans heart attacks.

Recap
1st period: The Wings went hard out of the gate and dominated right from the start. The Ducks looked left behind in the dust and out of it (something that was illustrated very well by the fact that at one point in the period you could here someone on the Ducks bench scream "They're all over you, they're all over you!" The Wings got their first goal, scored by Cleary on the PP on a nice deflection.
Towards the end of the period Big Z had several great chances over the course of 15 seconds. Getzlaf seemed to take exception to the fact Zetterberg outplayed him and his team so he decided to go all ape, crosschecking Zetterberg several times after the whistle had gone. Somehow, at the same time Jonathan Ericsson took exception to Corey Perry's face (which of course is quite understandable when I think about it), but even though they dropped the gloves they didn't get to fight. The reason for this was that E's helmet was stuck around his neck and he couldn't get his strap off, so they aborted the fight, encouraged by the linesmen and got 5 minutes each without dropping a punch. Mickey R thought Perry showed class, but we all know better. He was afraid to hurt his hands or something. And the fact he wore a visor, but made no sign of taking off his helmet proves this.
Anyway Ryan "So-ugly-you-just-wanna-slap-him" Getzlaf got 4 minutes for plain stupidity and Rafalski capitalized on it quickly.

2nd period: After the Wings had spent the end of Getzy's second minor not scoring, the Ducks were allowed to take over. The Wings got a little better at the end of the period, but the only goal of the period was scored by Perry after Ericsson made the worst turnover in the history of hockey.

3rd period: This one was more even and a total 80s throwback party. Anaheim struck first making it 2-2 by Bobby Ryan. Horrible turnover by Howard.
The Wings came back and took the lead when a beautiful pass-shot by Rafalski was deflected in by Datsyuk for a Power Play goal. But the Ducks came back again with Lupul before Zetterberg made it 4-3 with his first of the night. Then Zetterberg was penalized for slashing (I didn't really see that one, but what the hell, we won anyway) and a little later the Wings took an obvious too many men-penalty to give the Ducks a 5-on-3, which Getzlaf scored on. That was it for Anaheim scoring. Nice shots from Zetterberg and Helm made it 6-4, before Zetterberg completed his hat trick with an empty-netter 0.7 seconds from the end of the game

Why did it go like that?
The Wings came out flying and skated very well, played agressive and forced a lot of turnovers. The Ducks seemed kind of spent and didn't get much done. In the second the Wings fell asleep and let the Ducks get into the game and a belief of their chances in the game. In the third it went back and forth, but the Wings battled harder and proved more deadly (and Hiller was bad).

Stuff I disliked
- Horrible turnovers by E and Howard (who other than that had a decent game)
- That the Wings let the Ducks back in the game
- That the Wings couldn't contain the Ducks top (and only)-line

Stuff I liked
- Zetterberg was great (curly fries, but not for me, we don't even have Arbys in Norway)
- Datsyuk had another strong game
- Leino looked better than he's done in a while
- Stuart's great save/block on Selänne
- The fact they scored 7
- Bobby Ryan screaming "Fuck!" after going offside at a power play
- 2 points
- The fact that Stuart and Rafalski jump into plays a lot and does well offensively (though they now and then do it at times where they shouldn't have)
- Kronwall is ON right now

Play of the game
Rafalski's shot-pass that Datsyuk deflected in

Player of the game
Hank, no doubt about that

Opponent of the game
Getzlaf. He made up for the penalties by great offense. And it feels good to hate him.

Other notes:
- Zetterberg is NHL's first star this week
- Ozzie is still sick, so Howard will have to go again tomorrow. Maybe we should send Kristen Bell to nurse her teenage sweetheart?
- I was planning to mention Emma Zetterberg, but since everyone else did, I won't (see what I did there?)


Unnecessary, but nice picture of Kristen Bell


Unnecessary, but nice picture of Emma

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Random stuff and some more

Well, night is coming here in Oslo, but I really look forward to watching the game tomorrow morning (TV coverage is bad over here and I mostly have to depend on repeat showings of games and helpful friends who record some games to see the Wings).

Anyway, one of my favourite Red Wings bloggers Animal Drew on Nightmare on Helm Street has posted both some random odds and his usual pointless preview and they're both pretty hilarious so check them out!

Good night and let's all cross our fingers for the Wings crushing the Ducks tonight

Ducks preview


Yup. The Ducks tonight. They've seemed kinda shit lately, while Detroit has been doing well, so hopefully we can get another win. I don't like writing previews so once again I'll just deliver some general info and then direct you to previews by other bloggers.


- Ozzie is still sick and I hear Maltby's gonna be a scratch, so we'll have the same lineup as the Canucks game
- I hate the Ducks
- Scott Niedermayer is a god damn baboon, Corey Perry should be put in jail and I just really wanna slap Ryan Getzlaf's face
- I love how every guy who comes to Anaheim (even people previously seen as classy like Niedermayer and Selänne) become cheapshots, divers and dirtbags
- I fucking hate the Ducks (can I write the word fuck on blogspot?)
- Not George Parros though. He's the exception, you really can't hate a guy with a mustache that cool.

For further reading on the game and why we all hate the Ducks read the excellent previews from Michael at The Production line and Natalie at The Scrappy Octopus

Friday, November 13, 2009

Wings beat the Canucks



The Wings got 2 points and Howard had a good game.. that's what we'll have to take away from this one

Recap
The Canucks got off to a good start and had a lot of the pressure in the first period. They were unable to capitalize on their power play though, and towards the end of the first period the Wings got a power play for themselves and Homer scored. The first period ended 1-0 Wings, but Canucks were the better team, though not as dominant as the 15-5 shot-total would suggest. In the second period the Canucks dominance continued and the game became rougher and harder. An unlucky high stick by Abelkader gave the Canucks a power play which they scored a fluke goal on (guess it was fair after they hit the inside of the post a couple of minutes earlier). The rest of the period had more Canucks power plays, one of them totally ridiculus (let's talk about that one later).
In the third Detroit started by killing off a 4-3, turnin 5-4 Canuck power play and took a grip on the game, they outshot they Canucks in the period and got rewarded with a great Zetterberg goal. Kronwall scored the empty netter to make it 3-1.

Why did it go like that?
The Canuck dominance in the first two was down to several things. The first one, the fact that they came out flying, played with high energy, pressured the Wings hard and moved the puck well. Also the Wings seemed a bit spent, turned the puck over too much and seemed to have trouble getting the puck out of the zone. The Wings also seemed to struggle getting shots on net. The refs played their part and even though most Detroit penalties (except one) were okay, some of them were pretty cheap and the Canucks should have gotten more of them. The fact Detroit came out 1-1 after 2 periods is largely down to Jimmy Howard, who played well (still needs to get better rebound control), a good PP that lead to a goal and some good PK.
In the third the perseverance of the Detroit payed off and they got their legs going and could take advantage of the growingly frustrated Canucks.

Stuff I disliked
- Turnovers
- Inability to get the puck out of the zone
- Just a bad day all over

Stuff I liked
- The Wings fought hard and got payed for it
- Howard's play (gotta give confidence)
- The fact one of these actually went our way
- That the Wings won on a bad day
- Z was great
- Helmer's energy, though he had some errors
- Rafalski had a good game offensively
- Drew Miller looked pretty goood

Play of the game
I'm tempted to say Kronwall's flukey empty netter, but Stuart's three line pass to Zetterberg who scored beautifully, wins the prize.

Player of the game
Jimmy Howard. His best game in a Wings jersey this year

Opponent of the game
Gord Dwyer. The refs seemed to call everything the Wings did and nothing the Canucks did. And the best was the penalty on Stuart. His stick was ON THE ICE for gods sake. If Dwyer had used his eyes he'd seen that it was Samuelssons's stick and that it hit Stuart up high so it should have been a call the other way. And the dunghead called it from center ice! I mean, when the ref 2 meters from the play doesn't call it, maybe he shouldn't either.
I guess the guy in the picture I posted yesterday (and hereby repost was Gord Dwyer).



And as a reward for this game here's Wingsfan Kristen Bell (who has a crush on Ozzie)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Preview Canucks@Wings



I can't be arsed to write a real preview, so i'll just leave you with this pic of how the Canucks win games and a few notes:
- Maltby and Osgood are sick, Drew Miller (aquired off waivers from the Lightning yesterday) is in and Howard remains in goal
- One of the Sedins apparently went home with and injury, but Luongo is back in action.

For a better (but even less meaningful preview, check out Animal Drew's Pointless Preview on his blog Nightmare on Helm Street

Seriously, check it out, he's a funny dude!

Wings crush Blue Jackets



Wow, holy frickin Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgarian football-legend (real association football I mean)) what a game.


Hristo Stoichkov, Bulgarian football-legend whos first name means Christ


It's really nice to see the Wings blow out someone like that.

9-1, NINE - ONE, I can barely believe it, and the game looked pretty good too... As this is the first game I really review here I guess I'll have to make some kind of blueprint... hmm.. here we go.

Recap
The Red Wings ran off to a fast 3-0 lead, which chased Steve Mason from the net. At the end of the first period the score was 4-0 and Steve Mason was back in the net for the second period. Detroit slept a little in the first half of the middle stanza and let the Blue Jackets in a bit more, but they only capitalized once on a goal by Rick Nash. Detroit answered with two fast goals. In the third the game was a little slower, but Kronwall found time to put his second PP goal of the night and Abbie netted two himself.

Why did it go like that?
The Wings came out playing hard, clearly attempting to get a good start for Jimmy Howard. They pressured the BJ's defensemen all night long and the great forechecking led to turnover after turnover that the Wings managed to capitalize on (anyone else laugh at how the league only credited the BJs with 1 turnover in each of the first two periods?). To me it seemed like the BJs were out of it, while the Wings showed up, every damn one of them.

Stuff I disliked
- Howard still gives too many rebounds
- Still too many turnovers
- Brad May got his ass kicked
- How in God's name did Big Bert miss that chance? It's amazing that he actually managed to miss it, he had so much time and space and Mason was totally disoriented. He should've dragged it an inch back and taken some time, instead of whacking at it.

Stuff I liked
- Offense!
- Our big guys showed up! Both Z and Dats had good games and did their job
- The third line - amazing hustle.
- Seven guys scored goals!
- Everyone contributed (everyone was +1 or +2 and only 3-4 guys didn't get points)
- The fore-check was amazing
- Dats, Leino, Abbie and Bert all really needed a goal and got one (2 for Abbie)
- Nick got a lot of rest

Play of the game
Tempting to say Leino's beautiful goal, but I'm actually gonna go with Datsyuk's amazing pass to Bertuzzi when he scored.

Player of the game
Pavel Datsyuk was everywhere and dominated

Opponent of the game
Well, they kinda all sucked, so Boll, since he at least won a fight

Some statistical predictions

Last night there was absolutely nothing to do at work, so bored as I was I started calculating the end results of this Red Wing season based on what has come before.
The results have to be taken with a grain of salt of course, but they tell a few interesting stories about how the Wings have done so far this season. Last night's Columbus game (which I haven't seen yet, but are going to see later today) is not in the calculations. (Many of the numbers are rounded off)

First, let's take a look of what it has taken to get to the playoffs the last four years:

Getting the 8th spot and the last playoff spot in the west:
08/09: Anaheim Ducks 91 pts, 42-31-7
07/08: Nashville Predators 91 pts, 41-32-9
06/07: Calgary Flames 96 pts, 43-29-10
05/06: Edmonton Oilers 95 pts, 41-28-13

Also, let's look at the 9th place, the first spot outside of the playoffs:
08/09: Minnesota Wild 89 pts, 40-33-9
07/08: Edmonton Oilers 88 pts, 41-35-6
06/07: Colorado Avalanche 95 pts, 44-31-7
05/06: Vancouver Canucks 92 pts, 42-33-8

So based on my calculations the average 8th spot after the lockout has had a record of 94 pts and 42-30-10 and the average 9th spot has had a record of 91 pts and 42-33-7.

That should give you an idea of what it takes to get to the playoffs.

So, these are the wings results so far, coded with home/away (H= home, A=away), division/conference status (Div=division, Con=conference, OCo=other conference), opponent and result (W,L,T) (when reading the following analysises, please remember that the Wings two games against the Blues were played on neutral ground in Stockholm, Sweden):
H - Div - STL - L
A - Div - STL - L
H - Div - CHI - W
H - OCo - WAS - W
A - OCo - BUF - L
H - Con - LAK - W
H - Con - COL - T
A - Con - PHX - T
A - Con - COL - L
A - Con - VAN - W
A - Con - EDM - T
A - Con - CGY - W
H - OCo - BOS - W
H - Con - SJS - W
A - OCo - TML - L

Through this the Wings have a record of 15 games played (gms), 17 pts, 7-5-3.
If we adjust this for 82 games we get 93 pts and 38-27-17. This is not nearly enough wins, but thanks to ties, enough points to maybe make the playoffs. I guess the most interesting thing about this is that the Wings have had an unusual number of ties this year (something that is valid for the whole league too and if it keeps up one might need a record high total to make the playoffs).

Let's now look at the home and away results this year:
Home: 7 gms, 11 pts, 5-1-1. A good home record
Away: 8 gms, 6 pts, 2-4-2. It's this one that needs improvement.
Adjusted for 82 gms (41 home and 41 away):
Home: 29-6-6, 64 pts
Away: 10-21-20, 30 pts
This leads to a total of 39-27-16 and 94 pts, a little better than the previous average.

I'll leave the next stats without comment as they are more interesting than really useful.

Sorting for division and conference (24 games against division rivals, 40 against conference rivals and 18 against other conference teams).

Stats up until now:
Div: 1-2-0, 3 gms, 2 pts
Con: 4-1-3, 8 gms, 11 pts
OCo: 2-2-0, 4 gms, 4 pts

In 82 games that is:
Div: 8-16-0, 24 gms, 16 pts
Con: 20-5-15, 50 gms, 55 pts
OCo: 9-9-0, 18 gms, 18 pts
Season total: 37-30-15, 82 gms, 89 pts

Sorting for both division status and home/away:
So far:
Div H: 1-1-0, 2 gms, 2 pts
Div A: 0-1-0, 1 gm, 0 pts
Con H: 2-0-1, 3 gms, 5 pts
Con A: 2-1-2, 5 gms, 6 pts
OCo H: 2-0-0, 2 gms, 4 pts
OCo A: 0-2-0, 2 gms, 0 pts

In 82 games:
Div H: 6-6-0, 12 gms, 12 pts
Div A: 0-12-0, 12 gms, 0 pts
Con H: 13-0-7, 20 gms, 33 pts
Con A: 8-4-8, 20 gms, 24 pts
OCo H: 9-0-0, 9 gms, 18 pts
OCo A: 0-9-0, 9 gms, 0 pts
Total: 36-31-15, 82 gms, 87 pts

So, boring pointless stats, but fun to play around with...

One last stat that I found interesting, but doesn't mean much. Up until now the Wings have had the following record against teams that made and did not make the playoffs last year:
Playoff teams: 6-2-0, 8 gms, 12 pts
Non-playoff teams: 1-3-3, 7 gms, 5 pts

This in itself is pretty interesting, the Wings have done better against the teams that did well last year than against the ones that struggled. Weird huh? Might have something to do with the league being weird overall this year with good teams from last year struggling and weaker ones being good.

3 of the Wings 4 division rivals are playoff (POT) teams from last year, that means 18 games against POT and 6 against Non-POT.
5 of the Wings 10 conference rivals are playoff teams from last year, that means 20 games against POT and 20 against Non-POT.
8 of the Wings 15 other conference opponents are playoff teams from last year, I don't know which teams we're meeting twice, but purely mathematically that should mean 10 games against POT and 8 against Non-POT.
In total this is 48 games against POT and 34 against Non-POT.

This would in 82 games give the Wings a record of (this stat is pretty useless, but at least nice):
POT: 36-12-0, 72 pts
Non-POT: 5-15-14, 24 pts
Total: 41-27-14, 96 pts

That's it. Hopefully I'll find time to review the Jackets game later tonight.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The captain is in!

I'm probably the last Red Wing blogger to write about this, but hey no one reads this anyway (to get read you need to advertise for the blog somehow, but I can't really do that before I've made a few posts so..)

Anyway, the man, the legend, the one and only His Royal Highness the Majesty also known as God, Steve Yzerman was inducted into the hall of fame monday night together with former Wings Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille (someone also told me longtime Ranger Brian Leetch and Devils GM Lou Lamoriello got in, but who cares?). It's nice to see Yzerman get the credit he deserves and like every other blogger I gotta use a few lines to pay tribute.

I became a Wings fan around 94 or 95 and became hardcore after meeting Scotty B in 96 and through all my years watching hockey I've never seen anyone do it like Stevie did. Okay, so Gretzky was the best player ever, Lemieux the most talented, Orr the most revolutionary and Howe the full package. But Yzerman was the team guy above all, he could deke, pass and shoot like the best of them, but he also battled defensively and was the first to go down and block a shot. He was never bigger than anyone, never bigger than the team and he'd walk to Islamabad and back if he needed to to make his team win. To me, the 2002 playoffs really symbolize the specialness of # 19. Watch some of those games again. You see time after time that he struggles getting up after whistles, he leaves the ice grimacing in pain and even on the bench you can see that he's badly hurt, but still he went out every shift and played like one of the best players in the league, leading on his team and giving everything he had. The guy had HEART, more than anyone else, that's what made him so special, that's why if I could choose one player through history to build my team around, it'd be him. Congrats Stevie!

Some video from the ceremony is online, so I'll post all the speeches here. Stevie had grace, humility and greatness as always, Brett Hull's speech is pure frickin' class and the three other ones have their moments too...

Enjoy:
Yzerman:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OY957wRUJd8

Hull:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Td0QbcO9Jk0&feature=channel

Robitaille:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69VPPTQASw&feature=channel

Leetch:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W-jRYpWG8I&feature=channel

Lamoriello:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yvqT_UZKW0Y

Thursday, November 5, 2009

San Jose tonight

First of all, congratulations to Ozzie for his 50th career regular season shutout! He had a good game and I think the whole team were pretty good against the Bruins. Even Doug Janik had quite a decent game.

Tonight is another story though. Boston were struggling even before this game, San Jose on the other hand has won six (6!) straight games. To me they don't look as fast as last year, but they have gotten some of that grit and edge they lacked in the playoffs last year. They're a high scoring team and it will be hard for Ozzie to get another donut tonight, but they also let in quite a lot of goals, so hopefully the Wings can exploit that.

On another note, the Wings now (with 15 points in 13 games) are on schedule for 94 points, which last year would have been enough to make the playoffs.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Janik called up

The Detroit Red Wings webpage reports that Doug Janik has been called up for tonight's game against the Bruins:

Apparently both Rafalski and Ericsson are out with the swine flu, so he's gonna step in. I don't know that much about him, but his career stats doesn't seem that great (161 games in 8 seasons isn't much), but what I saw of him in the pre-season looked pretty solid and it seems like he's been good in Grand Rapids, so I have some hope.
Here's to hoping he has a good game, but is gone before the next one as Rafa and E gets well!

Welcome (a.k.a. the Norwegian Wings post)

So... Hey! Welcome to this blog! As of now I of course have no readers and probably won't get any so what better time to write about Norwegian Red Wing history?

This is a Norwegian Red Wings blog with the emphasis on "Red Wings", but just for today, I feel nationalistic and I will hereby present the two Norwegians who have (for a veeeery short time) been Wings.

1. Bjørn "Botta" Skaare

Try and pronounce that!

He was a bit before my time and the only people who seem to care about him hail him as a saint, but this I know:

He was born in Oslo in 1958 and grew up playing for the Norwegian team Furuset (Oslo). He played center. In 1976 he had a short stint with Färjestad (Karlstad, Sweden), but moved home quickly to play more for Furuset. In 1977 he went to Canada and played for the Ottawa 67's in OHL (12 goals, 30 assists and 72 penalty minutes in 38 games during the 77-78 season). This led to him being drafted in the 4th round as the 62nd pick overall in the 1978 draft by the Red Wings.

He started the 78-79 season with the Kansas City Red Wings in the CHL, but made it to the Wings and got his NHl debut November 29th 1978 against the Colorado Rockies. In his first NHL shift centering Vaclav Nedomansky and Don Labraaten he got hit viciously by Colorado's Barry Beck and had to leave the game. This shook him up and though the Wings wanted to keep him he went back to Kansas City. His season stats for Kansas in 78-79 were 8 goals, 26 assists, 18 penalty minutes in 37 games.

After the season he returned to Norwegian hockey and over the next few years he won the league and was named the league's best player and also was named the German league's best player in his year playing there. In 83-84 he returned to the CHL and played 2 games for the Tulsa Oilers before heading home. He retired in 1988. I don't know much about this, but I seem to remember hearing that he had huge alcohol problems in the 80s, I think my dad told me that, but all my sources are hailing him as a saint and saviour, so I can't get this verified. Anyway, he died in a car crash in Sweden in 1978. Here's his Wiki page:

2. Anders Myrvold


This guy is easier to write about as he's a contemporary player. Having said that I like exactly two things about him:

- We share first names
- He coached me at a practice session once.

He was born in 1975 in Norway and broke through playing in Sweden. He plays defense. He was drafted in the 5th round as number 127 in the draft of 1993 by the Quebec Nordiques. in 94/95 he went to North America and played for Laval Titan in QMJHL 14 goals, 50 assists and 173 PIM in 54 games. At the end of the season he got 3 playoff games with the AHL team Cornwall Aces getting 1 assist and 2 PIM.

In 95/96 he got his debut in NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, but through the season he only got 4 games (1 assist, 6 PIM and a -2 plus/minus rating). He finnished the season in Cornwall. For the 96/97 season he was traded to Boston Bruins where he got 9 games (2 assists, 4 PIM and -1). He spent most of the season and the entire next season in the minors.

From 98 to 00 he played in the Swedish league where he did well, but was critisized for taking too many penalties.

In the 00/01 season he got 12 games (1 assist, 0 PIM and a -2) with the New York Islanders, but spent most of that and the next season in the minors before moving on to German hockey at the end of the 01/02 season.

He got signed by our beloved Red Wings for the 03/04 season and got a grand total of 8 games in which he got 1 assist, 2 PIM and a -1 rating. He spent the most of the season in Grand Rapids.

After this he has played in Norway and in Switerland. He was briefly signed to the Houston Aeros in 05/06, but didn't play for them.

In recent years he has struggled with a cocain habit which almost ended his career, but he came back with the Stavanger Oilers (Norway). They fired him for refusing a drug test this summer, and he responded by threatening them. As you see, a great guy.
Now he is back with a new club and the latest in the soap opera of Myhrvold's career is that he won't get to play the Olympics because he has broken the National team's policy.

Through his career he has moved a great lot, here are all his clubs: Färjestad (Sweden), Grums (Sweden 2), Laval Titan (QMJHL), Cornwall Aces (AHL), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Boston Bruins (NHL), Hearshey Bears (AHL), Providence Bruins (AHL), Djurgården (Sweden), AIK (Sweden), New York Islanders (NHL), Springfield Falcons (AHL), Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), HC Fribourg-Gottéron (Austria?), Adler Mannheim (Germany), Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL), Detroit Red Wings (NHL), Vålerenga (Norway), Zürich SC Lions (Switzerland), GC Küsnacht Lions (Switzerland 2), Vålerenga 2 (Norway 2), Stavanger Oilers (Norway) and Stjernen (Norway). Quite the journeyman as you see.

His career NHL stats are: 33 games, no goals, 5 assists, 12 PIM and a -6 rating.
His career AHL stats are: 377 games, 23 goals, 112 assists, 590 PIM.

As you see Norwegians and Wings don't mix, but I hope I'll last longer than these two.

As I am nationalistic today I will present the three other NHL players Norway has fostered:

3. Espen "Shampo" Knutsen
¨

Knutsen was born in Norway in 1972 and got drafted by the Hartford Whalers in the 10th round (204th overall) in 1990. He played center. He stayed in Europe until 1997, making a name for himself in Djurgården in the Swedish league. In the 97/98 season he got 3 games (3 goals, no assists, 6 PIM) with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, but spent most of the time with their farmer team in Cincinatti. He then returned to Djurgården and was known for a time as the best player outside of the NHL. He spent the seasons from 00/01 to 03/04 in Columbus playing for the Blue Jackets and enjoyed some success there, but he struggled a lot with injuries the last two seasons. In his four seasons with the Jackets he got 188 games, 27 goals, 81 points and 99 PIM.
In 04 he went back to Norway and then to Sweden where he suffered from a career ending injury in 05. He is now the head coach of reigning Norwegian champs Vålerenga.
Noteworthy points in his career is his participation in the 2002 all-star game for the World team and that he fired the shot who killed a young girl against the Flames in 2002.

4. Patrick Thoresen


He's a left wing born in 1983. He played junior in QMJHL and then played for Djurgården in Sweden. He was not drafted. In 06/07 and 07/08 he played for the Edmonton Oilers (and spent some time in the AHL) getting 85 games, 6 goals, 20 assists and 48 PIM. He was traded to Philadelphia Flyers at the deadline in 08 and got 21 games, no goals, 5 assists and 8 PIM there in the regular season. In the 08 playoffs he got 14 games, 2 assists and 4 PIM. He was the first Norwegian to get to the second (and third) playoff round and the first one to get a point. He was only offered a two-way deal by the Flyers for 08/09 and decided to play in Switzerland. He now plays in the KHL, but hopes to get back to the NHL when the Flyers lose their rights to him next season.

5. Ole-Kristian Tollefsen


He's a defenseman. He was born in Norway in 84 and got drafted in the third round, 65th overall, in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. he played in the WHL, AHL and ECHL until he got his chance with the Jackets in 05/06. Over the next four seasons he got 145 games (he had a lot of injuries), 4 goals, 10 assists and 273 PIM in the NHL. Before this season he declined an offer from the Penguins and went to the Philadelphia Flyers. He plays quite regularly there and has already gotten into a few fights.

That's it. Some bad hockety country, huh?

Until next time (where I'll actually write about the Wings (and probably the Bruins seeing as they play tonight)).