Saturday, January 30, 2010

Turnover Night at the Joe

Isn't it sweet to see one of those worst-team-wins games go the Wings' way?

Norwegian word/phrase of the night
Hockeyhore = Puck bunny. While we don't have enough interest in hockey to get the full on, grown up bunnies, we have teenaged chicks who go to practices and games, or hang out outside the hotels in hockey camps in hopes of getting hockey bf. They're usually pretty skanky, but I'll admit that they can liven up boring afternoons at hockey camps. As you might have guessed, the direct translation of "hockeyhore" is "hockey whore". The direct translation of "puck bunny" would be "puck kanin", which makes no sense.

Recap
The first started with a horrible turnover by E. It lead to some good Nash chances. But the eurotwins changed the momentum with a good shift and then Eaves drew a (cheap) penalty. The PP looked dangerous at first, but then turned into horrible. The next period was open in style, but Bubba had the best chances. Jimmah bailed us out several times. And it continued badly. Nashville had three more breakaways, two of them after horrible turnovers (Bert and ?). Luckily a combination of Jimmah mojo and luck saved them. Towards the end the Wings got a PP and with a second left Filppula took a shot, Miller redirected it and Williams pushed it into the net. Just after that Pasha made a bad pass in his own zone that Z couldn't reach. On the play that followed Kronner lost his stick (and got Z's) and the ensuing play ended with a cross ice pass. Jimmah got a little of the shot, but not enough. Bad period. Lucky to be tied.

The second started with more trouble, including a chance that Stuart saved off the line. That play also included the world's biggest goalie interference and a skate nearly cutting Kronner's face to shreds. The Wings then got a little better and got another PP. A nice play where Nick saved a puck from clearing the zone and Z threw a perfect blind pass ended with the puck on Pasha's stick. He found Nick sneaking in. Perfect shot. And then the Wings got another PP. The PP itself gave nothing, but 3 seconds after it Miller deflected a Stuart shot. It didn't go in, but he batted in his own rebound. Nashville came right back on attack and predictably got a make up PP. The PP looked dangerous, but didn't score. The Wings got some chances right after that as they caught a tired Nash team. Nashville continued stearing the game and with a few minutes left they got a breakaway. Hornquist hit the bar, but Lids took a penalty in the process. Another dangerous looking PP, but no goal. The Preds continued pressing and got another PP with a little over a minute left. It was a cross-check, but the guy blew a wheel too and I find it baffling that the guy who attacked Kronwall after it didn't get called. The first half of the Nash PP (the rest of the period) was killed nicely.

The third started with the rest of the Bubba PP. It was killed, but Bubba continued pounding the Wings and finally got a goal off a shot from Weber that deflected off Stuart. Soon after Z gave them another chance, but O'Reilly hit the crossbar on an open net. Thank God. Instead the Wings scored a couple of minutes later. Z shot it from behind the goal line, it bounced off Ellis and in. The Wings seemed a little more awake after that, but didn't dominate. With 90 seconds left the Wings got penalized. Nash PP. Killed off for two huge points.

(Lack of/attempts at) Thoughts
- After Versus and FS Wild it feels fantastic to have a FSD feed.
- Helm seemed to hate Hörnquist. Rocked him several times.
- I have no more thoughts really tonight.

Keys to the game
- How will Williams look? Will we notice him?
He had a couple of good wristers. Scored a PP goal. Had a boring interview. Otherwise pretty invisible.

- Will Z and Nick continue their onslaught? Can Z catch on?
The first Nash goal came after Pasha made a bad play in his own zone and gave the Preds zone time. The second goal was off an amazing play including all three. They all got points on the Z goal too.

- Jimmah?!?
He had to make some great saves early on. Saved the Wings in the first for sure. And continued to be good in the second. And once again in the third.

- Sixty minutes pur-lease
Hahahahahaha. The first was terrible. Just fucking hopeless. The second was a little better, but they still was the second best team on the ice. The third was a bit better, but still Nashville dominated.

Play of the game
The second goal. What a play!

Player of the game
Jimmah. 48 saves.

And now for a sothing guitar solo before we all go to sleep:


Scheize, it's late for Christ's sake and I have work at 10:15 AM. Night folks.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bubba, dubba, scubba

Yeah, nice title asshole.

First of all, last week I made a post asking for Ritola to called up again. It was called The answer starts with an "R" and rhymes with a cough drop. So the answer is Ritola. He wears number 42, so.. the answer is 42. I didn't think about that before today, but for me he will hearby just be known as "The Answer". The question? Ask me again in a few million years.

Jason Williams is back tonight. Shrugs all around, but well he's better than the alternative. The sad part is, Abdelkader was sent down to GR. So the lines today will be these:
Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Cleary
Bertuzzi-Filppula-Williams
Draper-Helm-Eaves
May-Miller-Maltby

No news on the D.

I can't bother with the stats shit anymore, but this I have to say:
The Wings have been on a bad streak, so has Nashville. After wednesday's embarassing game the Wings need to amp it up and deliver. They need to look like they care, like they have confident, like they understand the concept of SIXTY minutes.

Keys to the game
- How will Williams look? Will we notice him?
- Will Z and Nick continue their onslaught? Can Z catch on?
- Jimmah?!?
- Sixty minutes pur-lease

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Random thoughts on a thursday

I don't really know where I'm going with this post. I'm waiting for a lecture to start and I'm just gonna write and see how it all turns out.

Brad Stuart
Brad Stuart apparently sprained his shoulder in the first period last night. I would guess it happened after he looked like a fish out of water on the first goal against, so that cannot be used as an excuse. He played on in the game until the Wild got their fifth and I saw him unload some slappers and general seemed to play normally, so I wouldn't think he's hurt that bad. Would be a pain to lose him now that the prospect of a complete defense is so near. On the other hand, well, he has kinda sucked lately.

Ozzie
Our dear Chris Osgood did not look good last night. The 2nd, 4th and 5th goals were all bad by him. His lateral movement seemed terrible. He seemed to be slightly out of position a lot and he seemed to make himself small in goal. And he made no impossible saves, nor did he stand on his head. We should be able to expect all that of Ozzie and apologizing for it will not help him. On the other hand, there were also some positives. He had a strong second period where he seemed to challenge shooters more and he was a lot more on his game. And as previously stated, I really liked his admission of not having been good and his wish of being able to stand on his head to save the game. I have been a bit scared that Babs might have broken his confidence, but I think that if he gets another start pretty soon he can use the hunger he got from this, and some confidence from the second period, to play a better and less rusty game. If Ozzie played up to his best we would have two good goalies, and both could get the amount of rest that they need. So, I hope he gets another shot or two soon and hopefully he can deliver. If he can't, then ride Howard into the sunset and bench Ozzie for good. He has to show that he can play at the level we expect of him. We are in the playoffs right now (TM Chief) and Ozzie should have no motivation problems. He's got a lot to prove and this is the time to do it.

The compete level
Over the past few weeks the Wings have struggled with their level of competing. Some games they have had 40 good minutes, in others 55. Nothing else than 60 is enough. Yesterday we got a fairly consistent 60, but they consistently sucked. The Wings seem to struggle against teams that forecheck agressively and that was pretty clear yesterday. The guys seemed tired, worn out and were off on their passes. They didn't skate, the only physical line was the 4th and well, it was just a shit game. Babs called a team meeting this morning and I hope he can punch the point into their heads. The time of apologizing for a young team is over. They all need to be able to play consistent good hockey. When it's good, it's amazing, and they need to be able to do that every minute, every game.

The refs
Does the NHL really love the story of the Wings missing the playoffs so much? Do they want to tear the team down, and then help them to a cup in a year or two? Is it just bad luck? Do the refs themselves hate the Wings? Do the refs just plainly suck? Are we just whiners?
I can't answer that, but the Wings have had a lot of bad/soft calls go against them this year, and yesterday was one of those games. I've seen bad calls go for them too, but most of the bad calls seem to be against the Wings. Right now they don't deserve good refereeing, but hell, this is the top league and we should be able to expect top refereeing.

Pasha and Nick
Nicklas Lidström didn't score for Helm (TMPetrella) games. Then he came back and has scored 4 in the last 8 games. He has also racked up a serious amount of assists. I think he looks better than earlier this season on defense and offensively he's owning the game. Everything just seems to go his way, he is strong on the puck and finally he's able to make the perfect plays. I don't know if there is any coincidence, but Datsyuk has potted 3 in his last 2 games. He too seems to have woken up. I guess this is the good news among all the depression. If they could get Z going a little more, then I'd be really happy. On a related note, Kronwall looks like a God offensively. He has, singlehandedly, created himself at least 4-5 good chances over the two games he's been back. When he gets completely back in it he'll be a dangerous man. Look out. On a related related note: I miss Johan Franzén.

The Twins GM
I refuse to remember his name, I couldn't care less about snowmobiling for charity (don't you have better things to talk about during a hockey game) and I hate the Twins. But what I really can't forgive him for is ripping Mick off and saying "Bingo Bango" after the fifth Wild goal.

Um, I'll quit writing now. The purpose of this post is still relatively unclear to me. Let me just say that I hope to see a hungrier, sharper and more competitive team against Bubba tomorrow. And Jason Williams will be back! Like anyone cares about that...

That's more like it Oz

Osgood said this after last nights game:
For me, still, I wish I could stand on my head and steal a game. Yeah, we didn't play great, but if I can get in there and steal a game, maybe that will start something. Just got to keep my (nose) to the grindstone and keep working hard.


He also said this:
I can play a lot better than I have the last two games. I have to keep moving forward, working hard. Don't give up. That's a motto for our team.


I like it. That's the attitude I want from him. It's good to see that his expectations matches mine.

Zero and sixty is not the same number

I decided to do the headlines in Norwegian tonight.

Shit game. They looked tired, and just bad. Oz didn't deliver and the refs decided to screw the Wings. Not good enough at all.

Sammendrag
The game started off with an early (and maybe cheap, no replay) Wild PP. Stuart got caught in the middle of nowhere, forcing Rafa to unsuccessfully go after his man, leaving Rafa's man open to score. The Wings came back and scored on a rebound. Lids shot and Dats got the rebound. The there was a few shifts with nice chances for both teams. Then there was a period with many broken plays, much neutral zone time and an amazing display of Micke Samuelsson-like William Tell skills from Minnesota. Then Datsyuk blew a wheel behind his own goal (why does the Wings keep falling down?) and the puck was passed out to Miettinen who scored his second. The shot went in on Ozzie's short side and he seemed like he should be in position. He should have had that. Easily. The Wings came back at once when Datsyuk tipped in a Lidström shot less than a minute later. But the Wild came back again when a point shot hit a leg and went in. At first glance I thought Kronner should have had the guy it went off of, but then I noticed he had to try and take out two guys. Where was the other defenseman? Not going to fault Ozzie for that one, bad luck. Maybe a bit out of position, but nothing too bad. The last few minutes were uneventful.

The Wings got off to a good start of the second with a good first shifft, but after that they faded and was outplayed. Osgood bailed them out. Then Helm got penalized and the Wild went on the PP. It was killed, and the Wings got more pressure after that. Their best chance in the first half of the period was Eaves getting half an open net on a rebound. He hit the post. The Wings then got a PP. They had a couple of options, but not exactly good ones. The Wild seemed to feed off this and were the best the next few minutes. Even though Z had been raped by Koivu with no punishment a little earlier, Bertuzzi got penalized for battling for the puck. The kill was excellent and ended the period. This one was a meh. But at least Oz looked good.

The third started with some back and forth. Then Wings got a PP. That was negated by a high stick by Cleary quite soon after. Koivu made a very good sell on it. On the 4-on-4 Bert got totally dangled on the blueline, noone picked up Latendresse and Ozzie had no chance getting over. Then on the PP, the defense broke down, a puck went across the crease and Ozzie used a year getting over. 5-2. Stinker. Then a few minutes later the Wild got another PP. For what I have no idea. FSMinnesota hates penalty replays, but many calls seemed awfully soft. They killed it, but when they started playing again the refs decided to penalize them yet again on another play where both players were equally rough. Killed off, but it ended 5-2.

Tanker
- I hate to watch Red Wings games on the other teams feed and the Wild announcer made many name mistakes and also, annoyingly, had the worst melody of speech ever.
- I know I have mentioned it before, but making the right decisions is an extremely important aspect of hockey. Kronner makes those again and again. Awww.. I am so happy he is back.
- Attention Team Ozzie: Ozzie also gives horrible rebounds. Difference is, the defense knows where Jimmah's will go, Ozzie's bring trouble.
- The refs were serious on the offsides both ways. None of the doubt went in the favour of the attackers.
- Good point at A2Y: "how many times a game do we say ‘oh my god jimmah!’ because he stopped something he had no chance at stopping? and how many times do we say ‘osgood had no chance...’ because he got beat on a shot he had no chance of stopping" Posted by Twig in Houston

Nøkkelpunkter
- Sixty minutes please!
The Wings were never as good as in the last game and in most part they were just bad. The small bursts of good were not enough.

- Oz needs to step up!
Well, he looked shaky, a bit off position, had a bad goal go in, but made a few good saves. Then, when I thought Babs had broken him, he came back in the second and was ON. Ozzie on. Jeckyll and Hyde like. Then in the third he let in another bad goal. He wasn't very bad, but he did nothing to steal the game, made none of those "impossible saves" and didn't do anything to give the Wings a chance. Not enough. I want him to succeed, to be good, to like him, but he just keeps not delivering.

Kampens beste prestasjon
The tip on Pasha's second goal was nice.

Banens beste
Pasha. He was the least bad.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Running Wild

Aussie group Airbourne's hit single "Running Wild" (with Lemmy in the vid). They are hailed as a new AC/DC. I kinda agree except for the fact that Airbourne's singer doesn't make me wanna kill myself. Enjoy:



I am done with the last game and won't talk about it anymore. I just wanted to take one good thing from it and it is this: The Wings actually played for 58 minutes before they collapsed. While it makes it extra frustrating, it is also a new record for the last few weeks.

Tonight's game is another must win, blah, blah blah. 2 point game, must win, PERIOD. As I previewed the Wild a weeks ago, I won't bother tonight. Instead I will give you some news and the keys to the game.

Khan(!) reports the following:
- Franzén is cleared to play when he feels ready. He thinks about two weeks, but might consider waiting until after the Olympics.
- JWil is ready on friday
- Homer is probably ready on sunday.
- Lilja will soon have a meeting with Kenny, Doctors and his agents, discussing the road ahead.
- Howard and Lebda out, Meech and Ozzie in for tonights game. And I like the fact May gets another game after he was great last night. Until Nick scored his second he was actually my player of the game.

Keys to the game
- Sixty minutes please!
- Oz needs to step up!

I won't write more than those. If those two work, then the game is won. It's as easy as that.

For the love of God. It is s-i-x-t-y!

Seriously, it's not fun anymore. This was a game we had won, but the Wings decided to give it away. I am lost for words.

Recap
The game started off being just bad. Both teams struggled to connect passes. Then, a third through the period, the Wings started playing. The second line had a great shift and then with the first line on, a flop pass landed on Z’s stick. He took it down, sent it across the crease to Pasha who lifted it up and scored. Then the Dogs got a PP. It was killed off and the Wings could continue to pressure. Then the Coyotes got another PP. Z collided With a guy in the corner. No foul from none of them, but Z got penalized anyway. The penalty was killed off nicely and Eaves had a nice play where he wasted quite a lot of PK time. After that the Coyotes came on a bit more and the last minutes were pretty even.

The second started pretty open and with a lot of broken plays. After a while it settled down, just like the first. Detroit had most of the pressure, but Phoenix had some chances too. Then the Coyotes got another tripping PP on the cheap. Towards the end of it they finally scored on a play where Howard should have held the rebound and Stuart was way too weak on the guy in front of the net. Right after that everything went wrong for the first line and the Yotes scored again. But just eleven seconds after that Draper threw a wobbling puck on bryzgalov and Eaves scored on the rebound. The Wings followed up with more pressure and got a PP. Both PP units had some great chances, but didn't score. The Wings continued to pressure after that and drew another penalty with 47 seconds left. The biggest chance on the second period part of that PP was a shorthanded chance for Phoenix after Rafalski had fallen down.

The third started with the rest of the PP. No dice. The Wings continued to pressure, but gradually Phoenix got some chances. And after 6,5 minutes they got a PP. God knows for what, Versus and replays don't go well together. The Dog PP looked severly dangerous, but Jimmah made the saves, including a huge one with the blocker. The next couple of minutes were scrambly and both teams had a lot of turnovers. Then Nick Lidström took it upon himself to deke off two players, have patience and score on a beautiful backhand. The next couple of minutes went back and forth and the part before the last commercial break ended with a scrum in front of Howard that nearly turned into some fights. Only penalty to Doan for roughing. On the PP Bert snuck the puck over to Nick who scored on an open net. The Yotes pressured after that. They got a PP, took out their goalie and scored on a point shot. The Coyotes pressured hard during the last minute, and with 15 seconds left the Coyotes tied it up. Moronic. Bad turnover by Stuart. Headless. And Nick or Hank should have taken Jovanovski's body. Fucking stupid. Can't you morons hold on to leads at all? Overtime again. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Towards the end of the overtime Doan scored and won it for the Jets.

Thoughts
- About Z and Pasha: "And you know they have great sex, I mean success against Phoenix." So we all know what Emma's gonna be doing tonight.
- ESPN 360 has Versus, but both the commercials and all studio action is taken out, which makes for weird commercial breaks and really weird situasjons when they get a hockey central update.
- Versus sucks.
- If I am going to complement Versus on anything it has to be the neat way they show both goalies together.
- Brad May threw hits, played hard, had a lot of shots and looked like a good hockey player. His best game this year. Yeah, gimme some crow, I'll eat it.

Keys to the game
- How will Niklas Kronwall look?
He came out looking strong, throwing a hit after like five seconds. He played sound defense, had poise with the puck and had some nice offensive plays too.

- How will the shakeup affect the first line?
They seemed to work hard offensively in the corner. The Datsyuk goal was pure skill.

- And the second?
They too seemed better right off the bat. They weren't dominated as much as they have been lately, but the second goal was all on them.

- Sixty full minutes please!
Nope. They decided to end it at fifty-eight.

Play of the game
The Datsyuk goal had some great skil by Z, a great pass and a perfect finish.

Player of the game
Nick Lidström had an excellent offensive game.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Coyote Ugly

The Coyotes are in town and since they are just points ahead of the Wings it is an important game. Let's catch them, stay in a playoff spot and gain some ground.

Kronner is back for tonight's game. Meech is out. And May is in for Leino. I'd prefer to test Meech in that spot on the wing, but whatever.

The Record
The Coyotes are 5th in the East with 63 points in 52 games. They have a record of 52-29-18, but have only won four of their last ten.

The goalie
Ilya Bryzgalov is a great goalie, but the last two games against the Dogs the Wings have owned him. His stats are: 45 GP, 26-14-4, 2.33 GAA, .918 save %, 5 SO, 1 assist, 2 PIM.

The players
Points leaders:
Doan 34
Lombardi 32
Vrbata 30
Upshall 29
Jovanovski 26

Goal leaders:
Upshall 17
Vrbata 16
Doan 14
Prucha 11
Lombardi 9

+/- leaders and losers:
Vrbata +12
Fiddler +10
Michalek +10
...
Lang, Doan, Korpikoski -8

Keys to the game
- How will Niklas Kronwall look?
- How will the shakeup affect the first line?
- And the second?
- Sixty full minutes please!

The animated videos
Yes, there is more. A spy cam in a room at the Joe captured this meeting between Mike Babcock and Chris Osgood after the morning skate:


And Niklas Kronwall spoke to Ken Daniels this morning. Sadly the interview was never aired because it was too menacing and Kronner suddently broke out in bad, bad Swedish and otherwise sounded Australian. Luckily, I have a copy:

NHL jobs - the animated movie

Last week my Scandinavian spies came up with a transcript of an actual job interview from the NHL. Now, we have gotten access to a video of the whole interview and publish it here for your viewing pleasure. (Thanks to xtranormal technology.)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Want the good news or the good news first?

Or the good news? Or the freaky, but good news?

Khan(!) really did his job today with a nice piece on all the injured players. Let's take a look take-a-lookers:

-- Defenseman Niklas Kronwall will return to the lineup Tuesday against Phoenix. He has been out since Nov. 21 with a sprained left MCL.


And the lines in practice:
Zetterberg-Datsyuk-Cleary
Bertuzzi-Filppula-Miller (Franzen working in)
Draper-Helm-Eaves (Williams working in)
Leino-Abdelkader-Maltby (May working in)

Lidstrom-Rafalski
Kronwall-Stuart
Lebda-Ericsson
Meech-Lilja (extras)

Howard (starting)
Osgood


I have missed Kronner so frickin much. He might even help Stuart regain his game. Remember how good they were together before he got hurt? And this pushes Meech out of the team. YAY! I'm gonna throw a curveball out here and ask this: As the Wings seem reluctant to call up Ritola, shouldn't they play Meech as a forward instead of Leino against Phoenix? Well, I guess they want to give Leino one last chance to impress. I like the thought of experimenting with the lines. Cleary might be good for Z and Dats and the second line needs a shake up, seeing as they have spent way too much time being dominated in their own zone lately.

-- Defenseman Andreas Lilja said he has been headache-free for 13 days and that he was told by doctors that he needs to be symptom-free for 14 days before they can even begin the process for clearing him to play. Unless he has a setback in the next day or two, he will meet with team officials this week and could return in the near future from a concussion that has kept him out since Feb. 28 of last season.

“My plan from the start was to go 14 days without headaches and I’m hitting 13 today, so we’ll see what happens,'' Lilja said. "I’ll stick to that plan and negotiate after that.’’

By negotiate, he meant discuss with doctors and management when he can be activated.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have to stick to the 14-day plan first,'' Lilja said. “It feels pretty good.’’

Lilja has been practicing for months but hasn't participated in contact drills. Even after he is cleared it will take some time before he is game-ready. He likely would need a conditioning stint in Grand Rapids (AHL).

“It’ll be up to the coach,'' Lilja said. "I feel pretty ready, so we’ll see.’’

Said coach Mike Babcock: "We'd like him to play one day here. I don't know how that goes. There probably has to be a meeting with (general manager) Ken Holland.''


Holy frickin Batman. Mick was almost right. Having Lilja back would be huge. Cross your fingers, pray to your chosen deity and sacrifice something. We need him back now!

-- Right wing Jason Williams said there is a chance he could play Friday against Nashville. He's been out since Nov. 7 with a fractured fibula.


Meh, well he'll be good on the PP and I am ready to give him a chance. But my expectations are low. On the other hand, this forces Leino out, right?

-- Forward Tomas Holmstrom has not resumed practicing but skated on his own before practice and said he feels better. He continues to target Friday's game or Sunday at Pittsburgh for his return from a fractured foot sustained on Jan. 6.


I'm guessing Sunday. Anyway, another guy it'd be awesome to have back. Maybe we could even get to see a game with the real circus line?


-- Forward Johan Franzen will know more about his status after seeing a doctor this week, He believes he can return for at least a couple of games before the Olympic break (Feb. 15-28).


I had kinda forgotten that guy existed. He would make a huge difference.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

What part of 60 minutes don't you understand you morons? - Now with hot chicks!


The only reason I have ever found to like the Kings

(We (or I) still want Ritola)

Remember two hours ago when it was 2-0 and everything was made of dreams and rainbows? Yeah... Don't you just hate how the Wings start off so well and then blow game after game after game. I am done with this. Change that, now!

Recap
The first period started weirdly with a lot of neutral zone play and few chances. Then Filppula took the puck out of the corner, gave it to Cleary, got it back and it seemed like everything moved in slo-mo from there. Flip dangled one guy while Miller tied up and another, outwaited Quick and roofed it. 1-0. Patience taken to a new level. Then Frolov high sticked Helm and the Wings got a PP. In the middle of that PP Meech blew a tire and the Wings got a break on one of those retarded calls where the far referee calls a penalty on something the near ref saw and didn't call. The Wings used no time on the 5-0n-3. Nick and Rafa switched sides, Rafa shot and it went off Bert's knee and in. The rest of the PP looked dangerous too. But after the PP the Kings had some great shifts and chances. The Wings came back after that, but while the refs were making up by ignoring a couple of Kings plays that could have been penalized they gave the Kings a cheap PP which was killed off. In the last minute the Kings had a great double chance, but Jimmah and Miller killed it off.

The second started with a play where good forechecking from the Kings and no support from the Wings led to a turnover from E. Howard couldn't hold the shot and Rafa failed to clear it. 2-1. The circus line came back with a crossbar off a huge Rafa slapper, but the Kings really took over the momentum. The Kings continued that and got some great chances while the Wings got notghing going. The Kings then got a PP from a Meech penalty. It looked dangerous, but didn't score. Meech got a breakaway out of the box and though he stubled a bit he got a good shot and was close to batting in his rebound. He then was strong on the puck alon in the zone. I wouldn't mind seeing him in a forward role. This seemed to wake the Wings up a bit and they looked better for the next few minutes. Though the Wings had some nice pressure in the last few minutes the period ended with the score 2-1.

The third started with more Kings pressure and Stuart saved a puck on the line that both the refs and video room managed to make the right call on. Baffling. Shocking! It didn't help though as a horrible defensive play from the entire 2nd line (which has gotten dominated a lot lately) led to a guy getting completely open and scoring. Then Meech got worked by Kopitar and Stuart failed completely to tie up his man. 3-2. Gameblowing complete. The Wings started to pressure a bit after that and got a PP. A couple of good chances, but no luck. The Wings pressured towards the end even though they played the last 2 mins shorthanded, but couldn't score. Fuck you Jobu.


I like the fact that she has grasped what most ice girls don't get: Smiling is hot. At least look like you enjoy being used as an object to please a largely male fanbase in a city that doesn't get hockey (and a guy in Norway with nothing better to do while waiting for the game to start).

Thoughts
- Leino wasn't great, but really had some hustle tonight. I liked it.
- Dean Lombardi = Masshole
- Oscar Moller's fan on the PP was hilarious.
- Flip must be the best English speaker in Finland, cause they're usually horrible and he's pretty good. Still I'd use 5 seconds to tell that he was Finnish just from his accent. Love Finns.
- Hilarious play where Jack Johnson back up into a Flip hit.
- Kronner back next week would be swell. I'll believe the Lilja news when I see him play.
- Stuart, E and Meech got completely outplayed by the Kopitar line all night. I am also really tired of seeing Flip, Cleary and Miller be horrible defensively.


Oh, look I found more of her. (I know, way to alienate the 50-75% of my readers who are female).

Keys to the game
- Can the Wings seem like they actually want to make the push here and play a full 60 minutes?
They came out nicely and battled, though they didn't have as dominant a first period as they had the last two games. But in the second they seemed to lose the punch and just relax too much once again. Annoying that they can't play a full 60 with full force. And they came out flat in the third too and blew the rest of the lead. Disgraceful. Horrible, just horrible.

- Eurotwin excellence?
They seemed to stear the play very well and created a lot of havoc in the Kings zone. Not as dominant as their best games, but they were pretty good.

- How amazing will Helm be?
Helm was fast and battled hard as always. Does he ever have a bad game? (No.)

- Can Howard upstage Quick once again?
Howard made some huge saves and Quick looked shaky, but came up when they needed him. Howard's rebounds are scary though. And one of them led to a goal. The second and third he had no chance on.


Just because I like the rythm of hot chick, hot chick, hot chick, really ugly dude, hot chick. And because I hate, but respect Ryan Smyth
Play of the game
Flip's goal was amazing. He slowed the whole thing down, showed poise and patience and dangled well. And the fin(n)ish was excellent.

Player of the game
Nicklas Lidström had a very silently good and dominant game. Beautiful.


The reason the Wings don't need ice girls. Also, while I hate the North American ways of doing national athems, I can somehow enjoy her version. I wonder why...

Kill the King(s)


So, the Wings have a chance to get past the Kings and move up another spot. The game is essential to both teams and I have no doubt that I'll be a hard fought battle. Let's just hope that the Wings can keep up their King-beating ways. The lineup stays the same.

The record
The Kings are 7th in the West with 59 points in 50 games and a record of 28-19-3. They're one point ahead of the Wings. They are 5-4-0 in January.

The goalie
Jonathan Quick has the following stats: 45 GP, 26-16-3, 2.60 GAA, .905 save %, a shutout, 2 PIM and nightmares of Darren Helm.

The players
Point leaders:
Anze Kopitar 47
Drew Doughty 38
Dustin Brown 33
Jared Stoll 31
Alexander Frolov 30

Goal leaders:
Kopitar 19
Ryan Smyth 14
Brown 12
Wayne Simmonds 12
Stoll, Frolov, Michael Handzhus 11

+/- leaders and losers:
Simmonds +16
Doughty +14
Stoll +10
Sean O'Donnell +9
Rob Scuderi +7
...
Raitis Ivanas -6
Frolov -10
Jack Johnson -18

Keys to the game
- Can the Wings seem like they actually want to make the push here and play a full 60 minutes?
- Eurotwin excellence?
- How amazing will Helm be?
- Can Howard upstage Quick once again?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Finally a skills competion win

Update: Spelling mistake in the title fixxxed. I also answered the keys to the game question that I forgot last night. 17 minutes to drunk time. YAY!

Fumbling another lead, another three point game. Not good enough. At least they won the skills competition.

Recap
The game started off quite open. The first big chance came for the Wild with a flurry of shots aided by a dumb turnover/clearning attempt by Lebda after the initial chance. Then Ville Leino ran into a guy while Maltby had the puck. Stupid penalty. Ridiculous. The Wild PP got no chances, while Helm got a breakaway, but he missed and Harding saved the rebound too. After the PP Pasha sent a magnificent backhandpass to Bert who got away and made no mistake. 1-0. The Wings took over after this and had some more great chances, including one where Stuart dangled his way in on goal. The Wings got a PP chance and had some good opportunies including a couple of good ones for Leino (!) and a post by Stuart. The last part of the period was a bit more open, but the Wings held the Wild to three shots in the first.

Backström was in goal for the Wild in the second, a period that started weirdly with a lot of turnovers from both teams. Bert got a chance on a breakaway, but waited too long. Howard made a double save on a huge wild chance before Eaves cleared and Bert came close on a tipped Datsyuk shot. Wild looked much better and stepped up the hitting. The Wild took over more around the halfway mark and scored on a lucky bounce after a shot bounced off the glass and over the net, off a shoulder and in. The Wild seemed energized by this and dominated the next few minutes. After the last commercial break the Wings got a little better and got a PP which they failed to capitalize. In the last minute a couple of turnovers by E and Lebda led to some big Minnesota chances and Jimmah had to be huge.

The third got off to a great start of the third. Helm won a board battle, took it to the net and Eaves batted in the rebound. This was immediately followed by a whisky dick PP. This was followed by some end to end action. Then Meech took a high shot which Miller directed downwards and into the net. This seemed to really energize the Wings, who dominated the next minutes. With six minutes left a rebound shot was redirected past Howard by E's stick, then hit Havlat's skate and went into the net. Then the Wild came on strong and a minute later a puck bounced high, Brunette won the battle and scored. Rafa should have taken him and not tried to bat the puck. The last minutes had some Wings pressure, but it went to overtime. Gah!

The Wild dominated the overtime, but no goals. Swell, another shootout.

Datsyuk and Nolan were the only ones to score in the first 3 rounds. Then there were 3 scoreless rounds. Zidlicky and Flip both scored in the seventh, before Miller ended it in the 8th.

Thoughts
- Many turnovers early.
- Ville as usual took one step to little on the wrap around.
- The defense seems to be good at first periods. I have also noticed that my English is getting more and more messy as the days go by. Nowadays I will write "theater", "center" and "defense", but "flavour", "favour" and "aluminium". Glad I'm not in school anymore.
- What fucktard puts Lego out with the Wings so soon?
- Miguel Cabrera admits alcoholism. Wow. Hopefully he can get clean, the Tigers are gonna need him on top form this year.
- Speaking of alcohlism, Keating seems to be an enabler. He told Murph to get a beverage.
-What's the deal with Lebda getting rocked every time against the Wild?
- Lebda, when you are out with the circus YOU don't try to lead the attack and you DON'T just shoot it in.

Keys to the game
- The Wings scored on 4,3% of their shots against the Caps, can they do better this time?
10,34 percent. That's better and actually a decent number, but based on the play and chances they should have scored more.

- Jimmah in net, will he show Ozzie what a real goalie is?
He had a very calm first period. In the second he got a lot more to do. He came up big, and can't be blamed for the Wild goal. The second Wild goal he maybe should have had, but the third was not his fault. He was great in the overtime.

- Can Pasha and Z continue to look good? They need more shoot!
What a pass by Pasha for the first assist. The guys won battles and played hard. They looked good offensively too. They faded a bit though as the game went along.

Play of the game
Pasha's nice breakaway pass to Bert.

Player of the game
Darren Helm. Great hustling game by the birthday boy.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ex-NHLers in Norway.

I posted some Norwegian elite league jerseys in the comments over at TSO yesterday. One of the photos were of ex-NHLer Jean-Luc Grande-Pierre. This gave me the idea to check the websites of the 9 Norwegian elite league clubs and see who has experience from North American pro hockey (people without AHL/NHL experience excluded). So here we go. In random order:

Lørenskog IK has:
Mike Stuart (D) (born 1980, Rochester, MN). Drafted 137th overall by the Preds in 2000. Has 4 years at Colorado college. 7 pointless WJC games in 2000, a bunch of AHL games and 3 NHL games in 03/04 and 05/06 with the Blues, with no points and 2 PIM.
Marco Charpentier (F) (born 1980, Montreal,QC). 5 seasons in the QMJHL, a lot of minor leagues and 2 partial seasons with Bridgeport in AHL.
Three other North Americans with experience from college hockey, ECHL or other minor leagues.

Vålerenga IF
Patrick DesRochers (G) (1979, Ontario). Drafted 14th overall in 98 by Phoenix. 5 OHL years, 1 world cup, many seasons in the AHL and 9 games with the Coyotes and 2 with the Canes in the NHL. His NHL stats are quite bad.
Regan Kelly (D),(1981,Saskatchewan). Drafted 259th in 2000 by the Flyers. 3 AHL seasons with St.John's Maple Leafs.
Blake Evans (F)(1980, Kindersly, CAN). Drafted 251th over all by the Caps in 98. 5 AHL seasons.

Manglerud Star
Scotty Balan (D), (1982, Red Deer, AB). Drafted 106th overall by the Hawks in 2000. 38 AHL games in total with just 1 point.
Three other North Americans, all with NCAA experience.

Storhamar Dragons
None.

Lillehammer
Tim Konsorada (F), (1984, Fort Saskatchewan). Drafted 168th overall in 02 by the BJs. 5 WHL seasons, some time in ECHL and 28 games with Syracause Crunch over two seasons.
Darrel Hay (D), (1980, Kamloops, BC). Drafted 271th overall by the Canucks in 99. 106 AHL games, among them 4 with the Griffins in 07/08.

Sparta Warriors
Bryan Lundbohm, (F), (1977, Roseau, MN). 9 partial AHL seasons.
And a Czech with some USHL experience.

Stjernen
Anders Myrvold (D), (1975, Lørenskog, Norway). Drafted 127th overall in 93 by the Nordiques. Lots of AHL seasons. 33 NHL games with 4 different teams, including 8 games with the Wings in 03/04.
Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre, (D), (1977, Montreal). Drafted 179th overall in 95 by the Blues. Has 269 NHL games with 4 different teams.

Stavanger Oilers
None

Frisk Tigers
René Corbet (F), (1973, Victoriaville, PQ. Drafted 24th overall by the Nordiques in 91. 362 regluar season NHL games, 71 playoff games and a Stanley Cup with the Avs in 96. He had a goal and a fight in the blood game.

So as you see, hockey sucks here. I have no idea why I wrote this. Guess I thought it'd be cool to check it out for my own sake.

Former Norwegian elite leaguers with NHL experience include Serge Boisvert, Scott Hartnell, Chris Mason, Espen Knutsen and Martin Kariya.

Pinky's whips

Those of you who doesn't get the title should probably do the following:
1. Go over to A2Y and find the epic brawl with a Wild blogger.
2. Check out this Frank Zappa song (from his latter, worse period, but still at least funny and one of the better songs of that period) here performed by his son Dweezil's Zappa Plays Zappa project:




Well, so the Wild are the night's opponent. Can the Wings get more effective tonight? Hopefully they can. Cause a win would be swell. The lineup is the same as against the Caps, except for the fact that Tiberius is in for Ozzie (thank God)!

The record
The Wild are currently 13th in the West with 51 points in 50 games (5 less points in 1 more game than the Wings). They have a record of 24-23-3. So a win would be kinda vital. They are 4-5-0 in January and have lost their last 3 games.

The goalies
It will probably be Niklas Backström, but Josh Harding has also gotten some playing time lately, so I'm gonna put up both here.
Backström: 41 GP, 21-16-3, 2.76 GAA, .901 save percentage, 1 SO, 4 PIM
Harding: 12 GP (9 starts), 3-7-0, 2.95 GAA, .898 save %, 4 PIM.

The players
Point leaders:
Mikko Koivu 45
Andrew Brunette 37
Martin Havlat 33
Marek Zidlicky 31
Eric Belanger 30

Goal leaders:
Guillaume Latendresse 15
Koivu 14
Brunette 13
Antti Miettinen 13
Belanger, Owen Nolan 12

+/- leaders and losers
Latendresse +2
Nolan, Kim Johnsson, Robert Earl, Clayton Stoner, Jamie Sifers +1
Belanger, P.M. Bouchard 0
...
Chuck Kobasew -8
Havlat, James Sheppard -9
Brent Burns, Derek Boogard -11

Keys to the game
- The Wings scored on 4,3% of their shots against the Caps, can they do better this time?
- Jimmah in net, will he show Ozzie what a real goalie is?
- Can Pasha and Z continue to look good? They need more shoot!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I hate Chris Osgood - a game recapped

We want Ritola! We want Ritola! We want Ritola! We want Ritola! Just sayin...

I just noticed that my last post was number 100. So yay...

What a heartbreaker. Shit. When you double up on shots over the Caps and keep OV to zero, then you have to win. But bad luck, bad PP and bad Osgood made it a loss. Shit, shit, shit.

Recap
The Wings came out strong and controlled the play. They got an early PP that they didn't score on. The best chance was when Meech had a chance for a cross-ice pass that would've made Flip (or was it Cleary?) have an open net. He shot instead. The best Caps shift came right after the PP when the OV line got to play against Stuy and E. At the midway mark of the first period the Wings had 9 shots on goal, the Caps had none (a few wide and blocked though). On another PP the Wings got nothing, but the first unit got a couple of nice chances including a breakaway for Bertuzzi, who waited too long. The second PP unit looked like they were 5-on-5. After 14,5 minutes the Caps finally got their first two shots. By that time the Wings had 14. With 4 minutes left Lebda was matched up against Semin. It went as it had to go, facing a superbly much better player he had to take a penalty. Amazing kill, no Caps shots. In the last two minutes the Wings dominated yet again.

The second started with more Wings pressure and they were dominating. Then Cleary won a board battle, Flip shot it, Cleary fanned on the rebound, but threw the second one out in front where it bounced of Theo and in. After this the Caps woke up and attacked. They got a PP which was dangerous, but killed off. After that the Wings came back with some huge chances. Bert might wanna shoot more. Around the midway point the Caps had a huge chance that nearly ended with an open net for OV, but some guy named Datsyuk, who they say is a pretty decent two-way forward, took it away. Then Pasha got cliped badly by Green, another PP. Should have been five, not two minutes. No luck on the PP though. After that there were chances for both teams and some open hockey for a while. Towards the end the Caps took over and capped(!) it off with a goal by Matt Bradley. Ericsson was horribly misplaced on that one. The Wings had the last two minutes. The first line needs more shoot (TM Pasha).

The third started quite open until Rafa handed Ovie a nice chance that forced Nick to take a penalty. The kill went well and the Wings got back a bit after that. Then they got a PP. It had good chances, but didn't score. In the next shift Draper won a battle, Flip found a wide open Rafa who blasted it past Theodore. 2-1. Not much later Bert took an unlucky tripping penalty. On the PP Backström totally dangled Stuart (who seems to be slumping) and went five hole on Ozzie. Then 42 seconds after the tying goal, Ozzie gave a bad rebound on a long shot. It bumped off a skate and in. Then the Wings got another PP. No dice. Caps win.

Thoughts
- Nice passing, much poise, then to Lebda who lobs it over the glass.
- Green is known to be fast. Helm outran him easily. The Speed of Light is now called the Speed of Helm.
- I actually noticed Leino on his first shift. I did because he was the one guy trailing the play, not making any difference. He had a better game than normal though. He was still quite bad though.
- You might not always notice Kirk Maltby, but his mix of dedication and pure crazy is what he brings to the team. Blocking an Ovechkin shot while helmetless is part of that.
- Towards the end of the first Ovechkin tried a Class A Dangle on Rafalski. Rafa told him to fuck off and go bite a rabitt by taking his body (and touching it big time, not sure where I'm going here). That's the Rafa we pay big cash for.
- Murph might have hit a new level of wasted tonight.
- Those commercial showing on brand and then saying how another is better would be sooo illegal here in Norway.
- Mad props for playing Hooligans Holiday by Mötley Crüe. Their self-titled album with John Corabi on vocals is criminally underrated.
- Imagine birthday, christmas and Peter Sellers combined. That's a Pavel Datsyuk interview. It's that awesome. Trust me.
- Theodore let in two softies, but played rather well.
- The great 8 takes long shifts.

Keys to the game
- Alex Ovechkin is the best hockey player on earth when it comes to extreme skills. Can the Wings contain him?
The Wings started off defending really well against him. Especially the Rafa play was awesome. And they didn't let up in the second or third.

- Can the Wings keep playing well?
They came out dominating and really had it going for much of the game.

- How will Ozzie look?
I nearly had a heart attack everytime a puck was directed towards him in the first and he looked a bit shaky, but stopped the shots. He couldn't do much about the Bradley goal. The second and third on the other hand were BAD.

- Can Z and Pasha build off their success from the last few games?
They started off pretty well in both ends of the ice and held it all going. Pasha was amazing. Not bad by Z either.

- The Miller, Cleary, Flip line has been dominated the last 2 games. Can they be better tonight?
Much, much better. They actually made some amazing plays in the offensive zone. The first goals was a thing of beauty and two of them were out for and included in the Rafa goal.

Play of the game
Rafa's goal.

Player of the game
Pasha. Good game, good hustle, great interview. Needs more shoot.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Osgood in net, OV on the other side


Alex Ovechkin and Richard "Jaws" Kiel. Separated at birth?
Well, so Chris Osgood is back in the net. I guess that's what I get for saying that he won't play for some time. But I agree with the decision. Howard needs a rest and this is the least important game this week. I'm just scared of one thing: The Caps have the firepower to completely light him up.

Khan also reports that Ville is in for May. I agree with the decision, but well, you all know who I'd prefer instead. His article also mentioned that Kronner skated with the team for the first time today and says that he hopes to be back shortly. Williams also feels good and thinks he'll be back in 10-14 days.

The record
The Wings will face a hard task tonight. The Caps are second in the east (behind the Devils who lead on less games played) with 66 points in 48 games. They have a record of 30-12-6. They lead the league with 3.71 goals per game, but are 17th in goals against per game with 2.79. They are 6-2-0 so far in 2010 and have won their last three games.

The goalies
Varlamov seems to be injured and I'm guessing Theodore, but I'll include Neuvirth's stats too. None of them seem too frightening, which probably means they will be stellar tonight.
Theodore: 26 GP (23 starts), 13-7-4, 2.88 GAA, .902 save %.
Neuvirth: 22 GP, 5-4-0, 3.27 GAA, .892 save %.

The players
Point leaders:
Alexander Ovechkin 64
Nicklas Backström 54
Mike Green 49
Alexander Semin 43
Brooks Laich 34

Goal leaders:
Ovechkin 30
Semin 20
Backström 19
Tomas Fleischmann 16
Mike Knuble, Laich 13

+/- leaders and losers:
Ovechkin +28
Jeff Schultz +27
Backström +20
Green +20
Brendan Morrison +17
...
Boyd Gordon -3
Chris Borque -4
Jason Chimera -5

Keys to the game
- Alex Ovechkin is the best hockey player on earth when it comes to extreme skills. Can the Wings contain him?
- Can the Wings keep playing well?
- How will Ozzie look?
- Can Z and Pasha build off their success from the last few games?
- The Miller, Cleary, Flip line has been dominated the last 2 games. Can they be better tonight?

How to get a job with the NHL

Due to some superb Scandinavian undercover work I have been able to obtain the following transcript of a job interview from a high job in the NHL. The interviewee has been anonymized for privacy reasons:

Bill Daly: So, eh, welcome to the NHL. First of all I have to ask, do you know the game of hockey?
NN: Sure, I've seen the NBC broadcasts.
BD: Superb! They're the best aren't they?
NN: Yeah, they're pretty good. I especially like that McGuire type. It seems like he has some insight and he's chummy with the players.
BD: Yes, we're all really fond of Pierre. Anyway, have you ever held a job in hockey before?
NN: No, I haven't, but I was assistant General Manager of the Rockets 10-year-olds program in Bumfuck, Ohio for two years back in 06/07 and 07/08.
BD: Great! So you have hands on experience with player and personell management and you have experience from a sport that is popular with Americans. Great stuff! Can I ask you why you left.
NN: Well, we were accused of bribing the officials, so we all had to leave.
BD: Ah, well, no worries. That's all in the past. Do you have any experience facing hard media and having to answer tough questions.
NN: Yeah, we got a lot of attention in the local school paper, and I tell you, those little rugrats were tough cookies. And the local press were tough on us during the bribery scandal. So yeah.
BD: Good, good. So, do you have any specific tactics when discussing tough issues with the press?
NN: Yeah. First of all, try and avoid the issue alltogether, just talk around it. Secondly, do in no way say anything substantial or interesting. And thirdly, if all else fails, deny, deny, deny.
BD: Perfect. We use these same tactics here. So do you know Brian Burke? Ever met him?
NN: Nope.
BD: Good, keep it that way. Do you know the rules of hockey?
NN: I know like the slashing and fighting, but I struggle with icing.
BD: Oh, let's not worry about that. Here's a rulebook. Just read that.
NN: Thanks.
BD: Do you feel honesty matters in sports?
NN: What do you think Sherlock? I was involved in a bribery scandal for Gods sake?
BD: Yeah, right. So, you wouldn't mind a bit of a "storyline" around the league?
NN: Of course not.
BD: Do you prefer Hamilton, Ontario or Phoenix?
NN: Ontario, is that in Kansas? I have to go with Phoenix.
BD: Great! And last of all, I heard you're also a certified masseuse. You wouldn't mind some extra duty massaging the commissioner?
NN: If it gets me the job I'll do anything.
BD: Great, great! (Muttering under his breath:) I'm sick of massaging...
NN: Yeah!
BD: Congratulations, on behalf of the National Hockey League I can now inform you that you have the job as extra important excecutive director of rules, video review and public relations, and masseuse to the commissioner. It's an important job, do it well.
NN: Thanks man! I couldn't have taken a day more living on the streets.

The answer starts with an "R" and rhymes with a cough drop


First of all I just wanna say that we finally had some luck with other games last night. Dallas and Minnesota played a tewo-point game, the Yotes were blown out by the Sabres, the Leafs beat Nashville and the Sharks absolutely massacred the Flames. So while the Wings are now only three points ahead of the Stars (with a game in hand) and still a point behind the Kings they are now two behind the Flames with two games in hand, two back of the Canucks (in 6th) and five back of the Preds and Yotes with one in hand on the Preds and two on the Yotes. So this is the time to capitalize and win some games.

Anyway.. to the point: As the observant listener might have gathered from the Obstructed View, I don't feel that Brad May has a place on this Wings team anymore. He seems like a good guy and if some young team need some cheap veteran leadership in their room I'd be happy to see him get a chance either this summer or at the deadline. But if it was up to me he'd never play for the Wings again because he is done. Of all his fights this year, I can remember one (the second against Boll) that was a real fight. The rest were showfights where they likely held back a little and were careful not to hurt each other. And that's my point. The guy has played 1050+ NHL games and knows when he should be making his precense known. So I think the reason for him not taking the right fights is fright. He's scared to break his face or get concussion problems or something. Which is fine, I get it, he's old and doesn't want problems like that to fuck up his life after hockey. But if he can't bring it anymore he has to be honest with homself and the Wings, admit he can't and retire. So Brad May, out.

Ville Leino has been spectacularly bad this season and I see no way the Wings are keeping him for next season. He's either getting traded for a fresh start or he bolts to Finland. So no point of keeping him happy now. And right now he cannot contribute to this team. He seems to lack both the strenght, speed and will to make it. So, Ville, out.

The answer (until someone gets healthy) is Mattias Ritola. He played very well in the games he got earlier this season. He seemed fast enough, tough enough and he created chances. A guy like that might be an offensive contributor, something the Wings desperately need right now. And ironically enough, if he plays like he didn't on New Years Eve, he's more of a physical precense than Brad May. At least Ritola can throw some hits. So right now I see him as a better short term solution than both of them. I also think that calling him up and playing him will be good long term. He's gonna be a free agent next year and if he doesn't think he'll get the ice time he is likely to bolt back to Sweden. So let's give him some ice time now to make him feel confident he'll get it next year too. And this also gives the Wings some long term pros. One thing is that they get to see more of him, so they can decide if they think he's gonna bring it next year. And he also gets more experience with the speed and toughness of the NHL, something he will need if he's gonna be a regular next year. He has the talent no doubt, so let's put it to test.

My conclusion is that the Wings should call up Ritola now and play the hell out of him until someone returns.

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's a podcast - and I should probably never go close to Brad May

So, last night I had the chance to be a part of The Obstructed View with Chris Hollis from Motown Wings and Brian Kiernicki. On the panel with me were your favourite Bertuzzi-lover Michael Petrella of The Production Line and Jessie from Bingo Bango. It was a lot of fun and even though I haven't heard the show yet (and I don't know if I will, like everyone else I hate hearing my own voice), I feel confident that it's a pretty great and interesting episode.

Among the topics we discussed were:
- The week that was.
- The goalie situation
- The return of Ericsson
- Will Bertuzzi be a Wing for life?
- Steve Ott's "winner".
- The week ahead.
- Will Kovalchuk become a Red Wing.
- And as hinted to in the title, Brad May. Let's just say that I probably should never get close to him after what I said.

Warning: No Swedish name pronounciation here as I spoke/tried to speak English.

The link to this episode is here. Enjoy, cause I sure did.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A classic Norris battle

This will be short as I have a podcast to record right about now.

Good game by the Wings. They were the best team out there. Highly entertaining game. A shame that it went to the shootout.

Recap
The game started with Detroit handling the game. Then the Hawks got a cheap PP which looked good, but the Wings PK was better. After that the Wings had some great chances, but after Niemi came up huge on a double chance for Abbie, the Hawks took it the other way and scored on a shot that Jimmy Howard should have had. Shit. After a little more time the Hawks got an even cheaper PP which was killed off. The Hawks dominated the next minute before the Wings attacked with some nice chances. Then Eaves got an extremely soft high sticking call that looked just ridiculous compared to all the shit Dallas got away with last night. Kane capitalized on it. 2-0. The wind seemed to go out of the Wings a bit after that, but towards the end of the period a perfect attack by the eurotwins, Bert and Nick ended with Nick scoring. Then Eaves and Versteeg squared off. Versteeg cut Eaves with an early jab, but the smaller in got the most shots in. Then of course, when the Wings had a good attack Bert got called for a very soft infraction while Keith's dive was obnoxiously ignored.

The Wings started the second by killing of the rest of the penalty, went on the attack and then drew themselves two consecutive power plays, both of them obvious ones. Both PPs looked good with a lot of chances for the 1st unit and weak for the 2nd. Towards the end of the second PP the Hawks took another one and the Wings got a third opportunity. I prayed to Frank for PP success. It worked. A nice feed found Z who put a nice goal between Niemi's legs. Sadly the Hawks answered quickly on a play where you have to wonder why Brett Lebda seemed to be marking Brad Stuart instead of the scorer Sharp. The next period of time had some good chances both ways, the best of them some scrambles from the Wings. The game went end to end and looked rough. The refs decided to lose their whistles. Towards the end Detroit dominated and had some nice chances, but Niemi came up big.

The third started with some Hawks pressure, but then the Wings took over and had some huge chances. Around the midway mark they won a draw, Lids found Eaves who scored from a long distance. After this the game got more even, but the Wings swere still dominating. The Hawks had some good chances during the last minutes, so did the Wings. And it went to OT.

The overtime started with a breakaway by Z, consisted of end to end fast hockey and great chances, including an amazing solo rush by Datsyuk. It ended with a 3-on-1 for Chicago that didn't pay off. So, the skills shit.

Charades:
Dats scored on a cheeky one, Toews scored, Z hit the crossbar, Kane missed, Bert had a nice one, so did Hossa, Cleary missed and Sharp scored. Shit.

Thoughts
- I hate Patrick Kane
- I hate Byfuglien and Sharp too, but those I'd at least love to have on the Wings
- The Wings didn't just get screwed on penalties. Every offside was deemed intenional, soft hand pass calls, thrown out of face offs for nothing etc etc.
- I liked Eaves decision to fight.
- Some penalties even morons can see I guess.
- Antti Niemi is a great goalie.
- You could hear when NBC went to break that Doc started saying "Well, now the anticli.." lemme finish it...climtic end to this great battle.

Keys to the game
- Who has the best legs tonight?
The Wings actually seemed to come out with the freshest legs.

- Can the Wings, and especially the circus hold for 60+ minutes?
The circus line was fricking amazing. All three of them worked hard and played hard. The team seemed to skate well and work hard.

- Will Howard have another good one?
The first goal was just bad. Other than that he was asked to make some big saves and he stepped up. Nothing he could do on goal 2 and 3.

- Someone please crush Kane and Hossa!
Didn't happen..

- Will the referees at least look like they are trying tonight?
They did a good job working for the company storyline of the Hawks dominance etc.. But in the second they woke up and they at least didn't ignore blatant penalties. The rest was fine really.

Play of the game
The Nick goal. Excellence.

Player of the game
Zetterberg was DOMINANT.

Hawks and stuff

So yeah, the Hawks today, it's gonna be a tough one obviously, but let's hope the guys can pull out a win.

The record
The Hawks are leading the west (and the NHL) with 70 points in 48 games. They have a record of 33-11-4. They've won their last 2 games.

The goalies
Don't know who's going, but both have a shutout against the Wings this season :S
Huet: 35 GP, 22-8-3, 4 shutouts, 2.19 GAA, .907 save %
Niemi: 15 GP (13 starts), 11-3-1, 4 shutouts, 1.84 GAA, .921 save %

The players
Point leaders:
Patrick Kane 55
Duncan Keith 43
Jonathan Toews 39
Patrick Sharp 38
Brian Campbell 31

Goal leaders:
Kane 19
Toews 16
Sharp 15
Kris Versteeg 13
Troy Brouwer 13

+/- leaders and losers:
Brent Seabrook +23
Toews +18
Keith +18
Campbell +18
Kane +14
...
Jake Dowell 0
Tomas Kopecky -3
Jack Skille - 3

Keys to the game
- Who has the best legs tonight?
- Can the Wings, and especially the circus hold for 60+ minutes?
- Will Howard have another good one?
- Someone please crush Kane and Hossa!
- Will the referees at least look like they are trying tonight?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Open letter to the NHL and the NHL referees

Second time I do this. It's not gonna do shit, but hey, whatever. This letter was emailed by me to both the contact email at nhl.com and the one at nhlofficials.com

Dear NHL crew and NHL officials crew

I am a hockey fan from Norway who watches the NHL closely. It's one of the joys of my life, but lately the game has deteriorated because of bad refereeing and bad decision making. I'm not even gonna touch on most of the errors made this year since I think all the teams have been, sorry for the language, screwed at least once already this year. And neither am I gonna touch on the horrible refereeing in the Red Wings @ Stars game tonight. There is just one thing I am wondering about really and this is it:

Back a few months ago, as I am sure you remember, Denis LaRue disallowed a goal in a game between the two aformentioned teams at the Joe Louis Arena. Even though the video review showed conclusive evidence that it was a good goal, LaRue deemed it non-reviewable and upheld his no-goal call. Today the Wings got screwed again by referees. NO replay shows that the puck crossed the line on Steve Ott's shootout attempt. Actually, you guys, the NHL, has admitted it, since you said that there was no conclusive evidence of a goal. And I'll go further, I will say that the replay shows that with 99% probability the puck was not in. The nearest referee actually did a great job and followed the puck closely. He saw it all from close range and said no goal. However, the badly placed referee Mike Leggo and a linesman, who both saw it a worse angle, decided to overturn the first referee and the war room's decision and call it a goal. This is ridiculous! The NHL rulebook does in no place state that the referees judge goals democraticly and when there is no video evidence and the call on the ice is no goal, it should be no goal.

Decisions like this gives you guys a bad reputation. It takes away from the credibility of the game we all love. When we cannot trust the right decisions to be made, when we cannot trust that the referees and the league are capable of using their eyes and use logical thinking, when we can't trust you to be fair and balanced, well then you have a problem.

I don't wanna accuse you of anything so instead I will give you a few alternative theories I have for this decision. If one of them is right, then point it out, if not tell me the real reason. But do not underestimate and humiliate us fans by blatantly lying and saying Mike Leggo was right and had the right to make this call.

Was Mike Leggo afraid to make the homecrowd sad?
Are you guys trying to give voulnerable markets like Dallas a push?
Do you try to derail the Red Wings to make the way to the cup easier for baby Sid?
Are you guys just incompetent?

Whatever it is, you all should take yourselves by the neck and rebuild the whole organisation so we can believe in you all again.

Sincerly yours, a very disappointed
Anders Danbolt Ajer
Oslo, Norway

P.S. And I shell out big bucks on ESPN 360 for this?!

Bush-league motherfucking referee pieces of shit. Please die.

The NHL hates puppies. Fact. Gary Bettman hates puppies. Fact. The referees hates puppies. Fact. And the war room hates puppies. Fact. Seriously, you'll never see 65+ minutes of worse refereeing than this. Horrible, just horrible. That said the Wings did badly to let this one slip out of their hands.

Recap
The game started at a fast pace and the Wings drew first blod when a nice Zetterberg found Bertuzzi, who dragged himself around the defender, deked Auld out and scored. The Stars answered with some pressure and got a post, but then Modano took a stupid slashing penalty. He whined a lot about it even though it was totally obvious. On the PP a scrambled pass from Z ended up at Rafalski's stick and he scored. This made the Stars mad and they started running around and hitting like idiots. Towards the end of the period the Stars pressured and had the puck a lot, but the Wings defended well and didn't give them much. And when he was asked Howard stepped up. The Wings had some chances too towards the end, especially a shot by Stuart that hit the post. And Filppula absolutely annihilated Robidas in the neutral zone.

Early in the second period the Wings took a very marginal too many men penalty. They looked they were gonna kill it off nicely, but at the end they got a 2-on-1/3-on-2 and Richards managed too draw Howard too far out and banked it off Stuart's stick and in. The whole thing was Lebda's fault. He pinched (something you never do when shorthanded and missed it completely and got left in the dust. After that both teams had a few chances including a good one for the aforementioned Lebda. Then with a few minutes left Z took a stupid retaliation penalty after Barch hit him dirtily to try and stirr up something with May. The penalty was nicely killed. With a little less than two minute left Ott went after Bertuzzi before a faceoff. Bert kept his cool and just talked to him while Ott knocked Bert's helmet off. The incompetent, blind, moronic crew of zebras somehow decided to let that go.

The third started with the Wings taking a delay of game penalty. They killed it off, but soon after the Stars scored. What happened here: Me jumping up and screaming "whaddayfuckingblind you imbesillepieceoffuckingshitref". With all the god damn disallowed goals for goalie interference this one should be called. Gary, your bunch of Zebra-fuckers are a bunch of morons. Fire them ALL. After that the Stars had most of the chances for a while, among them one where Lebda redeemed himself by saving a sure goal and one where Tiberius was absolutely mauled. The morons who impersonated a refereeing crew (hilarios act guys, really!) did nothing. They also missed an obvious high sticking penalty. Then Detroit came into it a bit and got their offense going a bit more. Towards the end the Stars really turned it on and got a few really good chances, including a post by Daley. The line that broke this up and started 3 shifts straight of offensive zone time and chances towards the end was of course the 'vettes line. So, overtime it is.

The Stars were best in te OT, but even though they let a couple of plays that would have been soft Wings penalties go the refs showed their horribleness on a high sticking play. Lebda obviously got high sticked right in front of the referee. When the ref lacked the balls to call it right away he decided to make up a rule saying that because Niskanen's stick went off Lebda's and up it wasn't a penalty. Pussy. Please die. Yet again Gary. Fuck you and your refs. Go to hell. Now.

Shootout:
The first 10 attempts were pretty boring stuff. Then Steve Ott came close. I initially thought it was in, but on all the angles we got it seemed to just be on the line. Very close, but no goal. Then after 5 minutes of conversation the referees and the war room, with no evidence on their side as far as I have seen, decided to make it a goal. Eaves missed the next one. Game, set, match. I think the conversation went something like this.
Ref: So you've got no evidence.
War room: No, as far as we can see it wasn't in, but there's a small millisecond where it might have been in.
Ref: Tough one man.
War room: Yeah.
Ref: And I have to make a decision. And remember that these fans here are southstate redneck bums, so they don't know anything about rules about the goal line.
War room: I feel your pain man. Will be hard for you to make them angry.
Ref: Excactly.
War room: Well, after all it is Detroit.
Ref: You're right, it is.
War room: So screw'em. Make it a goal. If they complain we'll just throw the whole tin foil-hat thing at them.
Ref: Thanks man, you made my day.

Where's my frickin tin foil-hat?

Thoughts
- Steve Ott must be a moron thinking Stuart would fight him.
- What's wrong with Robidas's face? Didn't he wear a cage during the 08 series too?
- I've called Morrow a baboon before and I'll do it again. Moron he is. He has so many dirty hits.
- Brad May should have take on Ott saying "if you wanna fight, then fight me" and treated it like a fight where he would have to hurt Ott before Ott gets the chance to hurt any of his teammates.
- Ken Daniels: "Helm goes into the zone with speed. Well, that's redundant." Love it!
- Anyone else laugh by the fact that the AAC played "Tonight's gonna be a good night" when the Stars were down 2-0.
- Steve Ott play like a god damn douche. He got off with a lot of stuff... I hate him.
- How nice must it feel for Bert every time (3 so fsr this season) he gets to pot one against the team of the man (no, douchebag) who egged him on to make the worst decision of his career.
- Tiberius (TMPerella) was excellent.
- I would referee better than that.

Keys to the game
- Can Lids pot another?
Nope.

- How will the eurotwins be?
Z had an assist on the Bertuzzi goal and the Rafa goal. He looked very good overall. The line also looked excellent. Datsyuk was good too, but the most invisible on the line.


Well, that didn't take long. And a beauty it was.

- Will Brad May get revenge? How embarassing will his fight be?
Haha. No goal for Brad. He had a good chance though. No fight against Barch either luckily.

Play of the game
Bertuzzi's goal. Nice pass and great work by Bert.

Player of the game
I'm gonna go with Lidström. He had a great game.

The set up for the smack down


Definitely the best Dallas Stars pic on google

Yeah, we all know it, this weekend's gonna suck. It all starts with an afternoon game in Dallas, where we never win, and then back home against the Hawks just 21,5 hrs later. Thanks Gary. Ass.

Whatever. Same lineup as last game and hopefully we can get, at least, the same level of play.

The record
The Stars 11th in the West with 47 GP and 49 points. Their record is 19-17-11. They are just 5 points behind the Wings with one more game played, so this is one we need to win to keep the wolves at bay.

The goalie
According to Winging it in Motown Auld will go tonight. His stats are 15 games (13 of them starts), 5-4-3 with a 3.03 GAA and a save % of .897. He's got no shutouts or points, but 2 PIM. One of his games was an excellent one in JLA and hopefully May can get revenge tonight for LaRue's fuckup.

The players
I'm tired of the long sentences in this section, so we'll try a new format..
Point-leaders:
Brad Richards 53
Loui Eriksson 44
James Neal 35
Mike "pornstar" Ribeiro 33
Stephane Robidas 29

Goal-leaders:
Neal 19
Eriksson 18
Brendan Morrow 14
Richards 13
Ribeiro, Robidas, Steve Ott 10

Plus minus leaders & losers:
Mark Fistric +10
Niclas Grossman +5
Brian Sutherby +4
Toby Peterson, Warren Peters +1
6 players are even
...
Trevor Daley -8
Richards -10
Karlis Skrastins, Matt Niskanen -11
Ott -12

Keys to the game
- Can Lids pot another?
- How will the eurotwins be?
- I call a Bertuzzi goal.
- Will Brad May get revenge? How embarassing will his fight be?

Last of all I just wanna tell you to look at two posts from the excellent blog The Production Line, they and their comments are hilarious: Where's She-Tuzzi? and Where's Bertuzzi? (Starts in the comments section). Enjoy!

Friday, January 15, 2010

If the NHL is ever threathened by another lockout

Well, this won't happen for quite some time and hopefully never again, but I just had this great idea when I walked my dog and needed to post it. I am a naive fuck who knows little about the buisness of the league, but I think this could work if everyone turned down their greed and really wanted to do it. This idea is good because:
- We wouldn't miss hockey for a year
- The NHL wouldn't have the fan and media backclash they had during the last lockout.
- It is fair
- It's a good, no great thing to do for the world.
- If marketed right this would get them so much goodwill and good press all over the world.

So my idea is...

If any CBA-negotiation should break down, instead of having a lockout the NHL decides to have one season of what we here call plan B (thus giving the negotiation a whole year to work out).
That season will be played just like a normal season, just with these small differences:
- The players earn no money. Most of the players can handle that. Most of the few who can't will still play just to prove they deserve to be in the NHL. Those to greedy to play are bad people.
- The clubs get to pay arena leases and other costs and they also pay salary to their entire non-player staff. But every coach, GM and everyone else with enough money will be encourage to forfeit their salaries. Hopefully the arena owners and other people that the clubs have to pay during the season will do the same or at least forfeit part of the sums.
- The owners get no money.

All the nice money that is left over after this goes to charity. Make a scholarship to get poor people through college, make a fund to pay poor people's medical bills or go international and support suffering kids through UNICEF, make their own projects in the third world or give it to rebuilding after the next natural catastrophe.

Or of course, if they're all greedy as fuck they could use the money to pay themselves into prime time broacast slots on ESPN for a few years.

This all sounds so simple that I am sure there has to be some good reason it could never happen, but hell, I'd say greed should be the only thing in the way of this.

Ahhh... that's better

UPDATE: Montreal won 5-3 over Dallas so per 04:05 AM Central European Time the Wings are in the 8th spot 1 point in front of Kings, 3 in front of Wild and 5 in front of Stars.


James Hetfield, rythm guitarist and singer extraordinaire.

So...As I begin this I am a bit pissed cause people at A2Y called Metallica one-trick ponies who could never do anything else than angry and therefore couldn't do the soulful Turn the Page. They also ragged on Load, Reload, St. Anger and Death Magnetic (3 first are different and great and the last a majestic return to top form). I guess I will sum my thoughts up by advising everyone to clean their ears and go listen to the albums again. And then go see them live. No one will ever better them. Ever. Again.


Lars Ulrich, decent drummer, great songwriter, great arranger, good feelings for cool beats, smart, well-spoken, motormouth. He might be a jerk, but he's my jerk and I love him.

Recap
The game started better than the last and the guys seemed to have some jump, they even got some chances, but sadly they made to many turnovers and the Canes got to control too much of the game and they even had a long period of extended zone time against the Flip-line and Meech and Stuart. The Wings came back from that with some excellent shifts, especially one by the 'vettes line that had some great chances, including one where a Meech shot hit Draper's stick. If he'd been Homer he'd have scored. And then the Wings got a PP. I prayed to Frank. I should do that more often. It works every time. After a weird start Miller got set up in front of the net and Nick took a shot that went low and straight into the net. His first since the 3rd game of the season. Not long after that Filppula took an unlucky penalty. The Canes PP looked good, but good blocks and clears killed it off. After that the only notable thing that happened was a vintage Pasha feed that was perfect for Filppula, but he got hooked a tiny bit and juuust didn't get enough of his stick on it.

Very early in the second period Helm drew an interference penalty. I prayed to Frank again and right off the bat a pass that was cut off landed right in front of Miller who slammed it in. Not much later Filppula got away, but he got hooked twice. Weirdly not a penalty shot, but a penalty. The Wings didnt score, but the Canes came close to putting one in their own net. After that the game went back and forth for a while. Then Bertuzzi got a half break from another great Pasha feed, but Pitkanen managed to tie him up. A little later the Wings got another PP which resulted in nothing despite some good play. After that the play went back and forth again and the Canes had a great chance on a scramble in front of the net. They had some nice chances later too, but Detroit defended well and Howard was great. At the end of the second the Wings had some nice chances including a Bertuzzi shot that hit the post, a play by the Circus line where they just passed around for a while (made me happy to see that again) and a shot by filppula that knocked Ward's mask off.

The third started with chances both ways. The Wings had the best ones and Z could have potted a couple, but it seems like his hands aren't 100 % back yet. Then a weird shot was saved by Jimmah, but he failed to hold it to his chest and the Canes hammed home the rebound. Less than a minute later Val took another penalty, but the Wings killed it off. The Canes seemed to get a jump from their goal and attacked hard, but the Wings played responsibly and Howard was good. And the Wings got some counter attacks. With a little more than five minutes left Bertuzzi found a turnover and served Zetterberg an open net. 3-1. The Wings controlled the rest of the game. Towards the end Bert almost got a breakway after a bad turnover, but he got both hooked and slashed. The Wings closed out the game 5-on-3 without scoring.


Kirk Hammett, not the fastest guy, but boy does he have a sense of melody. While he might not solo like Zappa did there are few who can match him.

Thoughts
- I told Kris at the excellent SnipeDangle (the blog that inspired me to start on my own - snipedangle.blogspot.com can't link it, seems to fuck up the whole post for some weird reason) that I think her recurring GP question if Nick could score jinxed him. She took it down for this one... Yeah, you can thank me now people.
- Sooo good to se the Perfect Human score
- Good to see E back too.
- A game with commercial breaks is NOT "Non-stop Red Wings"
- Eaves had a PK shift where he blocked two shots off his chest (while standing) and then fought hard and cleared it. 40 seconds later he was on the ice and cleared it again.
- I was scared on a couple of Jokinen chances until I remembered he only scores huge playoff goals.
- Nice for Nurse and Sara to get to see a win after having to suffer through the Hawks game in December.


Cliff Burton, 1962-1986, bass player extraordinaire and the man behind the greatest piece of music ever, Orion. Rest in Peace

Keys to the game
- Can the Wings look like they want it?
They looked much more energetic in this one. Way better. Good game.

- Can they like make passes that hits the right player and on the blade, not in the skates?
A few turnovers, but they at least completed most of their passes. Much better here too.

- Which Pasha will we get?
A very different Pasha tonight. He looked like he wanted it, he played hard, was creative, looked interested. And man he made some great passes.

- How will Ericsson look?
A little spotty here and there, but mainly good. He has a poise that the Mebdeech's (TMHollis) and Janik's lack.

- Can Howard do something amazing?
Well, he had another good game. Made some crucial saves.

- Z has looked like he's either still injured or just has lost some upper body strenght. Can he prove me wrong and win his battles tonight?
He looked much stronger. Still a way to go, but this was much better. Strong on the puck several times.

- Will we see my readers Sara and Nurse Nitz on TV tonight? They got my help with some Swedish for some posters welcoming back Z and E. If anyone sees posters with Swedish on them then tell me. Have fun ladies!
Didn't see it, but I use breaks to tweet and write here and at A2Y, so I might have missed it. I did see a lady in (I think) a winter classic jersey in the corner with a board/poster, but couldn't read it.


Jason Newsted, bad bass player, whiney bitch, turd, should never have been in Metallica

Play of the game
The Nick goal gets this by default yes?


Rob Trujillo, brilliant, brought the bass back in Metallica

Player of the game
Drew Miller was really, really good.

Bonus question
Guess from what you know. Do I play bass with a pick or my fingers?