Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Ozzman Cometh, the Ozzman saw, the Ozzman got his 400th

1st period
- Altitude feed tonight. I hate that. Not as bad as FS North and they do suck up to the Wings a lot, but they are still dumbasses.
- Early on the Avs took it to the Wings. Outworked them and got chances. Three and a half minutes in Fleischmann (The Flesh Man?) took a shot and neither Kronner nor Eaves could cover Duchene on the rebound and he could score easily.
- Shortly after the Wings got a PP chance and the unthinkable happened. Flip found Hudler with a cross-ice pass. Hudler took one shot, it went off the legs of a player and came back to him and he scored. His second of the year. His second against the Avs and Budaj. What's up with that? He promptly went on to disappear for the rest of the period and had a few PP fuckups.
- The booing of Bertuzzi is relentless. I wish he'd scored a hat trick or won a fight or something in response.
- Less than a minute after the equalizer the Avs scored. I'd like to blame the refs for their non-call on a crosscheck/interference 5 seconds before. Or the coverage for letting Galiardi walk in with the puck, but a weak, short-side shot from the circles NEEDS to be stopped. This one is all on Ozzie.
- Ozzie was good for the rest of the period. Made some strong stops, especially on the PK, but looked kinda shaky doing it.
- The Wings followed the goal against by taking two penalties, but both the 5-on-3 and the following short normal PP went by without the Avs scoring.
- The Wings pushed back and got a PP. It came after 5 fucking crosschecks from Liles to the neck of Homer. Homer was on his knees. The call came on the fifth crosscheck. I know cause I kept looking at the ref.
- On the PP the Wings needed only 7 seconds. Nick found Mule in the circle and he scored on a nice shot. Kudos to Homer for screening Budaj.
- The Avs went back to pressuring, but handed the Wings another PP with 5 minutes left. The PP was a carcrash. Terrible. Biggest chance was to the Avs after a Ber giveaway.
- The Avs took it to the Wings again for the rest of the period. They were speedier and outworked them. Won all the battles. The Wings were lucky that they escaped the period with a tie. 16-9 was the shot total in favour of the Avs.
- Homer took a puck to the face from Budaj late in the period. Hope he is okay. (Came back in the 2nd).

2nd period
- CHRIST MOTHERTRUCKING OSGOOD! That could be my full summary of this period. Okay then, I'll give you more.
- The Avs came out like they ended the 1st. Dominated the Wings, kept them in their defensive zone and brought tons of pucks to the net. The Wings looked flat, but did a good job blocking shots in this period.
- Less than five minutes in Mursak got on the scoresheet of his first NHL game. Sadly it was for taking an unlucky penalty during one of the few and short trips into the Avs zone.
- The PK did good and Ozzie stood tall, then the Avs took a penalty on a dumb interference. The 4-on-4 was an onslaught by the Avs. But then the Wings went on a short PP. First the Avs had to instances of uncalled aggravated assault on Wings players and then the Wings got a few chances. No goals though.
- The Wings followed it up by taking a dumb penalty and even though the Avs didn't get too many shots they still looked dangerous.
- After that PP the Avs took it to the Wings. The Wings got nothing. The Avs kept occupying the Wings zone shooting and passing around the Wings. Luckily the blocking of the D and Chris Osgood stopped all the pucks.
- The Wings looked a tiny bit better towards the end, but only after killing another penalty and a ton of Avs shots. They got badly outplayed this period.
- Shots in the 2nd? 23-9 Avs. YIKES!

3rd period
- The Avs came out hard in the third and got an early PP. It was killed off nicely, but they kept pressing.
- A little into the period the Wings got better. For much of the period they got some chances, but the Avs were still dangerous.
- 13 minutes into the period the Avs took a penalty. The PP took some time, but almost 90 seconds into it Nick got the puck at the point and scored on an awesome wrister.
- The Wings controlled for a little after that, but with 3 minutes left Kronner was dumb and unlucky and the refs were cheap and the Avs got a PP. Of course they scored on it. Duchene got to stand alone on the far side and bat in a rebound.
- Shots in the third was 10-9 Avs.

Overtime
- After a little back and forth the Wings got a PP the ouck ended up at Kronner's stick at the top of the circle and he blasted one home!
- How fitting that Ozzie's 400th happened against the Avs.

Play of the game
Hudler scored. It happens so rarely that I have to make it play of the game.

Player of the game
Ozzie got his 400th and had 46 saves.

Monday, December 27, 2010

It's a Holiday in Cambodi.. uh... St. Paul

1st period
- The Wings went right on the attack and drew a penalty less than 90 seconds into the game. The PP was pretty good and had some great scoring chances, but got no goals.
- Four and a half minutes in the Wings pressure paid off when a shot from Kronner rebounded out to Z who shot it from behind the goal line, into Backström's pants and into the net. The FS North crew whined about how it was luck, but he clearly knew what he was doing.
- Shortly after that Jonathan Ericsson took a dumb interference penalty in front of his own net, but the kill was great. The Wild barely got shots off cause the Wings were in every shooting lane.
- The Wings responded with attacking. And when Flipper found Cleary in the corner he banked one in off Backström from behind the goal line.
- Then both teams got slapped with a penalty each in quick succession. The Wild one was the rare 2 faceoff infractions penalty. The Wings one was Homer getting tripped and pushed into Backström. When are PxP people and refs gonna learn that "In the crease" stopped existing 10 years ago?
- Both teams got a borderline cheap penalty each later in the period. The Wings PP seemed weak while the Wild one was threatening.
- The Wild had some pressure now and then, but Jimmah stood tall and the Wings had the best chances.

FS North
- Many stations suck. You have dumb play by play people, dumb commercials for the home team, dumbing down for the viewers etc. But no station is worse from top to bottom than FS North. They had technical issues all night. They didn't send HD (at least not to GCL and ESPNPlayer.
- The announcers are so fucking annoying, homers to the stupidest degree and they bumble and mess up anything.
- Last time I watched FS North we got one period of discussing Ron Gardenhire's snowmoblie race/Ron Gardenhire getting a blowjob by the announcers. Worst interview ever. Was pleasantly surprised that they didn't do features like that on Span, Favre and whoever else they could get this time.
- Every commercial, everything the announcers talked about between whistles was: Vikings, Vikings news, where to find Vikings news, Favre etc etc. State of Hockey? Really?
- I think the bad quality was due to every HD cam, every technician and every talented reporter being on duty making the 5 hour mini series about how Brett Favre's cock celebrates Christmas.
- Rant over.

2nd period
- The second started with some nice Wings pressure. Not the biggest chances, but they dominated.
- 5:30 into the period Kronner took a great shot from the point. Draper who was out in the circle, stretched past a defenseman and masterfully redirected it in mid-air. It was a thing of beauty. 3-0.
- Shortly after the Wild got a counter attack after some blatant hooking and interference. On that odd-man rush E dumbly tripped Havlat who dived like he was shot. Luckily the ensuing PK was excellent, the Wild never got to a point where they could fire.
- The teams kept battling for a couple of minutes until Kyle Brodziak delivered a MEAN crosscheck in the back of Helm's neck. On the PP Z deked his way into the zone and shot. The rebound ended in the skates of Homer. He was tied up but managed to stretch around himself, score and then fall on his stick and break it.
- For the rest of the period it was pretty even, but the Wild had some nice chances. Maybe they finally decided to try and attack.
- It sounds like the PxP guys get so turned on every time they get to mention Matt Cullen.
- In all fairness to Minnesota, while I despise the Vikings and Twins and dislike the Wild, I have no ill feelings towards the Timberwolves (except the name is kinda dumb). That might be because I don't give a flying fuck about basketball and don't know anything about the Timberwolves except for the fact that they exist, which frankly, in and of itself, is more than I really wanna know.

3rd period
- The third started with a holding call on Bert which was killed off nicely. Except for one gaffe later on the PK did great tonight.
- Then followed a long period of nothing. A few chances here and there for both teams, but nothing much to note except that fact that Cleary got shot in the ankle by Stuart. I thought he broke it for sure, but he went back on the ice and finished the game.
- The Wings had a bad PP right after the midway point of the period and then Draper took a hooking penalty. On the PK 2 guys couldn't stop Havlat from jamming himself through the crease and no one picked up Burns. 4-1 and shutout ruined.
- The Wings got another PP towards the end, but got nothing on it.
- Good, solid game, albeit really boring.
- Hudler was as invisible as ever. He also only played 8 minutes. Least on the team.
- Didn't notice Kindl much which is good.
- I did credit the Wild with some chances here and there, but they didn't get much going. In a game where they had 7 PPs (two of them shortened though) they had a grand total of 17 shots. The Wings had 27.

Play of the game
Draper's amazing tip

Player of the game
Zetterberg had a nice and dominant 2 point night

Friday, December 24, 2010

30 minutes are 30 too few

1st period
- The Wings started terribly. First line let the Blues first line play with them in the zone for a full minute to start the game and though the Wings had a few chances after that they decided to let the Blues keep dominating the game. Yes, Pavel is out, but the difference in talent level between these teams is so big that letting the Blues dominate like that is unforgivable. No focus coming out.
- Then, midway through or so, the Wings took a penalty. It was hard to see if it was right. In the Blues feed it seemed like Abby just lifted the guy's stick and nothing hit him, but I am sure it was right. Terrible PK. Yes, the Blues should have been penalized on a blatant interference, but still, they let the Blues get a way too good shot and Ozzie had no chance.
- Seriously guys, the Doug Janik joke.. funny once.. But sure, a nice way to stay away from blaming the guys really responsible.
- The Wings luckily resonded. A high dump from Z found Franzén who scored on a nice shot. 1-1 just 30 seconds after the first goal.
- But the Wings let them right back. They let them into the zone easily and the Blues had luck. The shot went off Kronner and in. People blamed Ozzie, but even if it was 60 feet out he had no shot. The puck was going glove-side, then it changed direction and went to the other side. No goalie reacts that fast. Sorry. I know it is easy to blame Ozzie when the team plays badly, but this one is too cheap. No one would blame Howard for that, except for the Howard haters and the guys who will blame every goal on the goalie.
- The Wings did nothing to get it back. Instead they took another penalty. On that PK they let the Blues have a way too clear shot and they let a Blues player stand way too alone in front of the net. Still, THAT was not a good goal by Ozzie. But damn, the PK SUCKS these days.
- The Wings ended the first with the first half of a PP and got nothing.
- The Wings seemed dead. They didn't pass well. They didn't skate well. They didn't win a single fucking battle. Weak.
- Blues fans shouted Ozzie's name after the second goal. Louder after the third. I guess after the third it is useless, but understandable, but after the 2nd? After two goals he had no shot at?

2nd period
- The rest of the PP sucked too. Then the Wings got another. They had some good chances towards the end of it, but the biggest chance was a 2-on-1 by the Blues that needed a big Ozzie save. Second time in two PPs that that happened.
- Five minutes in E made a big fuckup in the neutral zone and gave D'Agostini a breakaway. Ozzie overcommitted and let him score way too easy. At this point Oz should have had 2 of 4, but three of those four were situations he never should have been put in.
- In the middle of the period I was about to throw this recap away and write a tirade. Except for a few 4th line shift I hadn't seen a single play where the Wings hustled. They won NO 50-50 battles. I was irate.
- At the midpoint Bertuzzi decided to take responsibility and drove strongly to the net. He drew a penalty and then the Blues took another when a player played with two sticks (weird situation) on that penalty. On the 5-on-3 the Wings made no mistake. Nick scored on a great shot with Halak screened.
- The Wings got close on the rest of that penalty. The Wings got better after that. Especially the bottom two lines did good stuff. Hudler had a great keep-in on the PP and they grinded.
- With three minutes left the hard forecheck lead to the Blues giving the Wings the puck and it eventually ended on the stick of Eaves who scored on another nice shot.
- Shortly after a Blue tried to high stick a Wings player, but the Mule decided to lift his stick to defend himself and got the high sticking penalty.
- The penalty was killed off and Mule got a breakaway coming out of the box. He missed the net. Wings down one goal after two. They sucked for 30 minutes but still had a chance after 40.

3rd period
- Sure, the Blues had a few chances in the third and they hit the post twice on the empty net. Sure they even had a PP after a dumb crosscheck from Kronner, but this period was about the Wings. They shot and shot, attacked and attacked, but Halak was great and nothing went the Wings way. Tough loss.
- The Wings woke up after 30 minutes. That was 30 minutes too late.
- Make sure to vote in the poll in the top right corner.

Play of the game
Nick's PP goal gave the team hope.

Player of the game
Helm had a good game.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

When you can't recap - make poetry!

There once was this fella called Edler
He was in way over his head-ler
And when Pasha he came
Really put him to shame
Yeah he thaught him to not be a meddler

And then there's Roberto Luongo
Bad goalie, but played a mean bongo
The puck he couldn't stop
It went in off the hop
Yeah his ass was deported to Congo

Please meet my friend who's named Abby
Plays hockey like if he was crabby
And he hits and he grinds
Smacks some lady behinds
And you won't see him beating a cabbie (hi Patrick!)

Our friend Mike he can really babble
His words they are perfect for scrabble
He stares people to death
Yeah they die like on meth
To the press he can sure rouse a rabble

There once was this fella named Pavel
He was cooler than Czech Vaclav Havel
When he dangles and dekes
Well the D looks like geeks
He composes his plays just like Ravel

Lidström's the one perfect human
He is prettier than Karen Newman
Never makes a mistake
Awesomeness he does make
He is much cooler than Harry Truman

Our goalie is named Jimmy Howard
We all know he isn't a coward
Took Oz's place in the net
And his place it is set
Did you see Ozzie cry when he showered?

And then there's the winger named Danny
And the way he can score is uncanny
Has the grit and the speed
Everything that we need
Now he just needs a mustache like Lanny

Have you seen the young blonde we call Flipper
He's a much better player than Kipper
But he needs to shoot more
If on ice he shall score
But in bars he is sure a good tipper

Have you heard of my friend who's named Tomas?
His vocabulary rivals A. Dumas (yeah, I know French pronounciation, but work with me here!)
He speaks English like few
Better than me and you
Or at least that's his wish for this christmas

Well Hank is the man with the mad skills
His playing it gives us some big thrills
And he scored from the back
off the net - took some sack
To do that and give us some real chills

That Burrows he sure is a dumbass
He whines and he acts like a jackass
Yeah, he goes after Nick
And his play makes me sick
Take a goon like yourself you big bitch ass

But where is the legend Kyle Wellwood?
The way that he played it was real good
But to Russia he went
All his money was spent
And he got a bad craving for fast food

After this one my whole head is spinning
And my face, yes that's right, it is grinning
Cause today what we got
With that Zetterberg shot
God damn it feels good to be winning

Programming notice

- Seeing as people might be busy during the holidays the Q&A will go on hiatus and return in 2011.
- I was gonna recap tonight's game, but an old friend drunk dialed me and I missed the middle of the first period.
- Fight Night will be on and off during the holiday season due to some work and my family's excessive amount of xmas parties and dinners. Will return stronger in the new year.

Merry christmas and a happy new year

Love, Andy

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dallas pregame - Q&A with Ben Ellis (@BigDHockey) from Big D Hockety

Yeah, so that was a shitstorm against the Hawks, huh? I'm too tired to write a long intro for this, but we need to get back on track on winning here. And while Dallas is a team the Wings should beat, they have been really good this year and will be a tough task. Hopefully their tradition of struggling at the Joe can continue tonight. Also, I won't get to recap this one because my two youngest siblings (one of which, baby sis, is a Stars fan) are coming over to watch with me.

Anyway, today I've been lucky enough to get some insightful answers from Ben Ellis of the great Stars blog Big D Hockey. Here are his answers to my Q&A:

1. At the moment of writing this question, the Stars are on top of the Pacific division and they have looked very impressive at times this year. What's behind this sudden improvement compared to the two last seasons?
Ben: I don't know that it's as sudden as it might appear. Last season the Stars had a lot of bad breaks in addition to some tough injuries, inconsistent play in net and weak defense. Even still, they were in the hunt for a playoff spot until the last couple weeks of the season. But, the biggest change between last season and this one is the man in net. The Stars have gotten really strong play from Kari Lehtonen in net. In addition, youngsters James Neal and Jamie Benn are showing that their good play last season wasn't just a fluke.

2. Do you think the Stars will be able to keep up this play for the rest of the season? How far can they go?
Ben: Yes, I think the Stars are showing that they're a team to be taken seriously. The Pacific Division is going to give them a run for their money, though. As of Saturday night, the gap between the first place Stars and the last place Phoenix was four points. That's five teams separated by four points; not a lot of room for mistakes. I'm not sure the Stars have the defense to hang with the big dogs in the West for a deep playoff run, but then again if you get a good locker room together, the unexpected can happen. I do think Dallas will make the playoffs this season and I expect them to make it to the second round, at the very least. But, as a Stars fan, I'm always dreaming of Stanley Cup glory...

3. The end of the Mike Modano in Dallas-saga could obviously have ended in more amicable ways. How do Stars fans feel about the way it all went down?
Ben: Stars fans are pretty split on this subject. The successful start to the season has kept complaints to a minimum. Mo will *always* be a Dallas Star. It doesn't matter what sweater he wore this season, he will never be booed in Dallas. He means so much to the organization and - on a much deeper level - hockey in Texas. For that reason, many Stars fans feel he should have been able to play in Dallas for as long as he wanted and retire on his own terms. It's something management promised him when he signed his last contract. But, with the ways things ended last season and the almost fairy-tale wrap-up his career could have had with the game in Minnesota, lots of folks were hopeful he'd hang up the skates. He obviously felt he had more in the tank, and wanted to play. Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk made the tough call to not offer Mo another contract and let him pursue other options. I think it was the right call to make. If he hadn't done that, Mo would have been taking up a spot that has been used for many of our young guys to develop this season.

4. What do you fear from the Wings in Sunday's game? What will the Stars need to do to win?
Ben:
I fear the same thing I always do when the Stars play the Wings: Detroit's depth. They're an experienced team with a really good bench boss in Mike Babcock. And The Joe is always a tough place for visiting teams to come into. It's that total combination I worry about. The other issue is that Dallas is coming off a game the night before in Columbus, and it's a 4:30PM CST start. If the Stars come out flat and give up a quick goal or two to the Wings, it might be tough for them to rally back later in the game. The Stars need to focus on coming out strong and taking it to Detroit early. In the same way, a quick goal or two *for* the Stars can swing momentum into their corner and give them some confidence heading into the later periods. They need to keep pucks out of their zone and away from the crease, whether Lehtonen is in net (or more likely Andrew Raycroft). Keeping Pavel Datsyuk off the scoreboard would be helpful too! It's going to be a pretty tough game for the Stars and a real test to their stamina.

5. Why should the Wings be worried about the Stars? What part of the Stars' game will they need to shut down?
Ben: The Wings should worry about the Stars ability to hang around. They're one of the best teams in the league in terms of pulling out wins when trailing after two periods. And, they seem to be in most every game they play right down to the final buzzer. It's pretty rare when the Stars are taken to the cleaners in a game, and if the Wings can't do that, the Stars have show the ability to pull out a win, regardless of the circumstances. One of the areas the Wings will be focused on is shutting down Brad Richards, who is in the NHL's top ten in scoring. They'll also want to put a ton of rubber on net; they'll need to keep Dallas netminder (whether it's Lehtonen or Raycroft) very busy all afternoon. That said, though, Dallas is still going to have a pretty tough job ahead of them on Sunday.


Great stuff from Ben. Interesting take on Mo and yeah, if Dallas' top guys perform I could see them do very well this year. Thanks to Ben for doing this!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Too cute and too anemic - But hockey doesn't matter tonight.

Before we get on with this, Don van Vliet, more famous as Captain Beefheart, died today at the age of 69 after a long time of illness. Beefheart might be the most overlooked and misunderstood artist of the 20th century. Too weird for many people to understand, too eccentric, but he was a brilliant genius and is one of my all time favourite artists. So Rest in Peace Don, I will sure as hell miss you.



First Period
- The Wings started terribly. They flat out sucked. They didn't skate and were on their heels at once. Ericsson took a dumb penalty. And boom. 1-0 Pat Sharp.
- Didn't get better. Before five minutes were played the first line got caught standing around and it was 2-0.
- Babbles took a timeout and just gave the guys the death stare for 30 seconds. It worked. The Wings went out and scored. E shot wide, it bounced behind the net and Eaves scored on the rebound.
- The Wings dominated the rest of the period. The Hawks had a few good chances, but the Wings had most of the offense and got close to tying it a lot of times.
- Sorry folks, sorry if it offends you, but in my opinion, the skill, the player, his "hotness", whatever should NOT matter when he is a Hawk. Should be hated no matter what. Liking a Hawk is just wrong. They are the enemy.




Second period
- The Wings started badly this period too and gave the Hawks a couple of early chances.
- Then they came back and though the Hawks got a couple, the Wings had the best chances in the next part of the period, but Crawford was good, the Wings were too cute and the Hawks played good D.
- Hudler got served two HUGE opportunities to tie it by Helm. On the first he fanned on it, which lead to a great counter-attack chance for the Hawks. On the second he decided to pass it to Cleary who had no time to shoot.
- The Hawks took over a bit towards the middle of the period and after 11 minutes or so, on a delayed call, Campbell rushed into the zone, the Wings lost coverage on Kopecky who got the puck and could score easily.
- The game was wide open for a few minutes after that. No team could establish much.
- After that the Wings took over. The Hawks had some counter chances, but the Wings had the pressure, but they got too cute. Always a pass or a deke too much. Not enough shots. And the Hawks were very good with active sticks.
- The Hawks got a Pens break towards the end when they got away with a long, obvious too many men-situation.
- Everytime I have to listen to Eddie O I can feel my braincells dying.
- Great job by Chicago fans being classy for Cheli today. Also glad to see that "Let's go Hawks" is too hard for them, so they had to chant "Detroit sucks".



Third period
- The Wings let Chicago start another period well with a couple of chances.
- The Wings were in the offensive zone for most of the period. But they got too cute and didn't shoot enough. The passing was off. Not fast or accurate enough.
- The Wings lost way too many battles. They seemed anemic all night.
- Credit the Hawks for playing the Wings the right ways and getting in the shooting lanes.
- After the first minute the refs swallowed their whistles. No more penalties. The Wings should maybe have had a couple, but Chicago got away with a lot. And they understood it and played it smarter than the Wings. They saw they could get away with stuff and took advantage of it. They were hooking and holding and made it hard for the Wings to get things going.
- The Wings just lacked jump tonight. This was a bad game for them.
- Even though it ended in Kopecky scoring in the empty net, I loved that Babcock pulled Howard with two and a half minutes left. Gotta take chances. Nothing to lose there.



Play of the game
I guess the only goal we scored.



Player of the game
Helm wasn't too sucky.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Hawks pregame - Q&A with Brent (@earnyourfeather) from Earn Your Feathers

After that delightful win against the Blues it is time for the Wings to head into Chicago for the teams' second meeting of the year. We all remember the first one. On the bright side, we won't have to suffer through a banner raising, copious amounts of Eddie O, cello versions of U2 and some unintentionally hilarious moments when half the players on the ice weren't there last year. On the bad side, we won't get to ruin another banner raising. The Hawks have been up and down this year, but don't be fooled into thinking this will be easy. The Hawks still have a strong core and a lot of players that can steal a game. And they're gonna be pumped. The Wings are stealing back the division and conference crown and the Hawks aren't gonna let that go without a fight. Add in 22,000 people in the United Center cheering them on, shouting "Detroit sucks" and booing when the refs call offside and icing and the Wings are gonna have to perform. But we can win this. The Wings have a better and deeper team. The Wings have a better goalie. The Wings have Pavel Datsyuk and Nicklas Lidström. The difference though, should lay in the 3rd and 4th lines. Every time I watch the Hawks this year, I see the two top lines play real well, but the team often loses momentum when the bottom two lines come on. The Wings might have the best bottom two lines in the league and hopefully they can take advantage of this. So the Wings need to go out, get to them early and play a stable and tough game all night. And they need to say hi to Tomas Kopecky and remind everyone why he was a guy who barely placed on the roster in Detroit. And dear God, please let me get an FSD feed on ESPNPlayer.

Anyway, even in the toughest rivalries there are awesome people on both sides and Brent Zartler from the great Hawks blog Earn Your Feathers was kind enough to answer my questions about the Hawks and give us a little insight before tonight's matchup. Here are his answers:

1. The Hawks losing several players because of the salary cap was one of the big NHL stories this summer. Has this affected the team more or less than you expected? Which player do you miss the most?
Brent: I really think it's about what I've expected out of this team. I knew it was going to take some time to gel with the new line mates and I knew that the load was going to be put more on the shoulders of the core players. At times this season they've looked really tired and it shows that they had a lot of ice time last season. The player I've missed the most is Andrew Ladd. Ladd is one of those guys who shows up every night and does his job and does it great. That is why he is wearing the "C" in Atlanta. Great team player.

2. With the play of Corey Crawford lately, a goalie controversy seems to be brewing in Chicago. Do you think Crawford is good enough to take the number 1 spot and keep it?
Brent: I'll be the first person who will say I didn't have much respect for Crawford but he's not only won my respect but a lot of respect out of the fans in Chicago. I knew a lot about him but wasn't sure he could be a NHL goalie and I'll admit I was wrong this kid is good and very fundamentally sound hockey player. Knowing Joel Queneville he'll give starts to anyone who is winning and the Hawks just seem to play better and more confident in front of Corey anyways so let the kid play.

3. The Hawks have seemed a little inconsistent when I've watched them. Some games they look great, other games they look like they have big holes. How good is this team really? How far can they go?
Brent: Just like the wings last season the injury bug has been haunting us. How good are they? I really don't know still. I still think this team can make the playoffs and go deep it. When they have all of their players healthy who knows but I still think they are a good team that could surprise some teams in the playoffs.

4. What do you fear from the Wings in Friday's game? What do the Hawks need to do to beat them?
Brent: Puck possession. The Hawks should fear the Wings ability to play long stretches with the puck. The Wings also score in bunches so if and or when the Wings score they need to get momentum back and do it fast otherwise the Wings can bury you real fast and play the keep away game. The Hawks need to beat them at their own game and keep the puck in the Wings zone to have a shot at winning.

5. What should the Wings fear about the Hawks? Who will they need to shut down?
Brent: Personally these two teams don't fear each other and know each others game very well. The Wings know about the Hawks speed and aggressive style. The Hawks took a page out of the Wings play book last year and played the puck possession game all season so the Wings and Hawks know each other very well. I've heard that Patrick Kane should be ready to go Friday so the Wings will have to look at shutting down the first line of Kane, Toews and Stalberg.


Great answers from Brent, seeing how these Hawks fare for the rest of the season will definitely be interesting. And Crawford, the way fans felt about him and what he has done sounds a little like Howard last year, huh? Anyway, thanks to Brent for doing this!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Nick's trick and other stories

First period
- The game opened well for the Wings. They went right on attack and had a couple of good early chances.
- They then gave the Blues a PP and seemed to lose momentum a little. They started getting outworked, didn't get first to pucks, lost battles and just didn't get the flow in their game that they need.
- They still had some offensive pressure, but most of the time they just didn't get a shot away or the shot was blocked or off target.
- They did have a few big chances though, none bigger than one midway through where Pavel hit the post and the puck was bouncing in the crease for seconds with several players swatting at it.
- The later we got in the period, the worse the Wings got. Towards the end the Blues had a few good chances, but the post and Howard stopped them.

Second period
- The Wings started the second with more jump to the game and got some early chances. They capitalized with the game's first goal less than five minutes in. Nick took the puck up ice, fed it to Z, who took it into the zone and gave it back to Nick, who scored on a bouncing shot.
- The Blues came right back and tied it a minute later when E got caught flatfooted and Draper failed covering up for E.
- Right after the goal came a situation I cannot explain or describe. How Homer got penalized for it is equally weird. Let's just say that it was innocent, but weird and that the Wings killed the PK.
- The Wings continued pressuring after this and drew a penalty on a crosschecking Backes midway through the period. They got some chances on it, but didn't score.
- Helm had a great period and capped off a great shift by drawing a tripping call. 2 seconds after the end of that penalty, Cleary found Kronner who scored on a great shot.
- A minute later David Backes, who you might remember from his attempted assault on Jimmah earlier this year, decided to crosscheck Homer even though they both were away from the puck. The result: a penalty and a great, grinding goal from Cleary on the PP.
- The Wings kept on going and it obviously frustrated the Blues. The Wings got to end the period with another PP. No goals, but the PP continues in the third.
- Hudler looked like he tried and he got a lot of stuff right, but he couldn't put the puck in the net.
- E had a weird play where he scored in his own net. Luckily, icing was called when he touched the puck, so it didn't count.

Third period
- The Wings pressured on the rest of the PP and kept going and soon drew another penalty. On the PP, Nick got the puck at the blue line, Homer screened Halak and Nick blasted it into the net!
- The Wings kept going for a while, but then let the Blues in a little. Hudler took a dumb penalty and the Blues scored on the PP.
- 4-5 minutes of heavy Blues pressure followed and it was scary.
- The Wings took the game back after that, controlled it and closed the game out nicely.
- With an empty net Cleary just missed, turned around and fed Nick at the point. Nick made no mistake and score for his first career hat trick.
- Gonna go read the game thread at St. Louis Game Time now. And laugh and laugh and laugh.

Play of the game
- The Lidström goal. Great, smart play by him and Z.

Player of the game
Nicklas Lidström. Norris-worthy as always.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

St. Louis pregame - Q&A with Jeff Quirin from Bluenotezone.com

EDIT: I answered some questions for Jeff too. Check them out here

The Wings are hosting the Blues at the Joe tonight and the Wings are looking to bounce back from the terrible loss to the Kings on Monday. The Blues are always tough to play for the Wings and have given them a lot of trouble over the last few years. To give us an update on the Blues' season and what to expect from them tonight Jeff Quirin, founder of the great Blues blog bluenotezone.com and Blues writer for NHL Hot Stove and Hockey Independent, was nice enough to answer my questions about the Blues and provide some great answers. Here they are:

1. The Blues had a great start this year, but seem to have collapsed slightly and now find themselves in the bottom part of the conference. What's gone wrong?
Jeff: In one word, injures. The Blues have been without David Perron, TJ Oshie and Roman Polak for longer than a month with a return not in the near future. All a bit frustrating in St. Louis as they push in to triple digits of man games lost to injury. With Andy McDonald added to the ever growing list the Blues are down an entire scoring line. Any team missing three primary scoring threats is going to have it's share of struggles.

2. Do you see the Blues turning this around, getting back to winning and making the playoffs? What needs to be done for this to happen?
Jeff: If they are going to happen, we'll know by the end of December. The Blues play 10 of 14 at Scottrade with 11 total in the month against Western Conference clubs. They're off to a good start. Taking points in four of five games to date. Going 2-1-2 in that stretch. Mainly due to a resurgent Halak and a smarter work ethic. Too often in the pair of five game losing streaks they skated at 100 mph and were caught over thinking.

To make it not only do they need a little luck in getting Perron and McDonald back from concussions sooner rather than later, but tight even strength play with special teams as the counter balance must occur as well. When that formula is applied on the ice, they win games like they did against Vancouver and Columbus. When the special teams disappear, that's when they will slide as they did against Washington and Carolina.

There have been comparison's made to the 2008-09 squad that made the playoffs despite bloated man games lost to injury figures. This group is in a better position to stay in striking distance till a deal can be made for scoring help or injured players return.

3. The Blues have a much better home record than road record, what's been going wrong on the road?
Jeff: Preventing pucks from ending up in their own net has been the major concern. The penalty kill has been very out of charecter on the road. Killing penalties at just a 78.6% clip. The PK is run by Brad Shaw and his system has consistently produced results. However the loss of Mike Weaver to free agency and the absence of Polak seems to be hindering the units effectiveness. The Halak/Conklin tandem has also struggled away from St. Louis. The pair has allowed 51 goals against in just 15 away games. An average of 3.4/game.

Keep in mind, these numbers were greatly influenced by the high point of the injury epidemic in November.

October: 9 Goals Against in 4 Road Games, 2.25 GA/A.
November: 38 Goals Against in 9 Road Games, 4.22 GA/A.
December: 4 Goals Agaisnt in 2 Road Games, 2.00 GA/A.

4. The Blues have lost several players to injury this season, which player has been missed the most?
Jeff: TJ Oshie. Much like Alex Steen, Oshie does everything. Offense, defense, all special teams situations. Bringing energy through tireless effort. Without his creativity in the offensive zone (as well as Perron's) there has been a decline in high percentage scoring chances. The forwards have struggled greatly to get pucks off the perimeter and in to the dirty areas. His puck pursuit and forechcecking abilities are also missed. As evident by the inconsistent forward pressure since he went out.

5. What do you fear about the Wings in this game and what should the Wings fear from the Blues?
Jeff: There seems to be two ways to beat Detroit. Either possess the puck more than they do or make the game play as choppy as possible.

If the Blues fear anything, it's the skill and experience level of Detroit possessing the puck all night. Which takes away the Blues physical game of chipping pucks behind the aging Wings defense and pounding them below the red line. Which is where Red Wings fear should be.

6. Finally, a division game deserves a heated atmosphere, so tell us how you feel about the Wings!
Jeff: I have an interesting history with the Wings. I grew up with much family bred venom for the evil empire. The more I've learned about hockey, the less venom I've had. It also helps that I've become friends with many a winged wheel fan that are far classier than the average Blackhawk fan I deal with at Scottrade.

Still, in the back of my mind I know there is a legitimate reason my Dad calls the Wings the "Russian Dive Team". :)


We certainly feel the Blues' pain when it comes to the injuries, having seen our Wings go through what they went through last year. Thanks to Jeff for doing this!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Kings pregame - Q&A with Marie (@marie_stiles) from Purple Crushed Velvet

The Wings' California road trip was slightly hampered at the end by an overtime loss against the Kings. Tonight, the Wings get the chance to take revenge when the Kings roll into the Joe. To give us the down-low on the Kings season and what to expect tonight Marie Stiles from the excellent Kings blog Purple Crushed Velvet was nice enough to provide some really great answers to my questions about the Kings. Here is what she had to say:

1. The Kings have been incredibly streaky so far this year. What are the reasons for this and how can they find a way to win on a more stable regular basis?
Marie: The Kings have definitely been streaky so far. They were great the beginning of the season, even led the NHL at one point, probably only for a day, and then things went downhill in November. The Kings aren't getting enough scoring. The offensive production is only coming from a handful of guys and more need to step up, including a couple defensemen named Jack and Drew. The penalty kill is still strong and I think it definitely helped them during the winning streak, but it faltered a bit during the losing streak. I think the most recent wins, especially the one against the Wings at the beginning of December, will help with confidence and they'll find a way to play more consistently.

2. How far can the Kings go this year? Do you see them challenging for the a spot in the finals or do they need another year or two?
Marie: It'll be very disappointing if they don't make the playoffs. I can see them making the second round, possibly the third depending on the matchups and what happens at the trade deadline. But I don't think they'll be making a Cup Finals appearance just yet.

3. The Kings have a few exciting rookies coming up into the league, which one are you the most excited about?
Marie: Initially I was excited about Brayden Schenn and he looked pretty good at the beginning of the season. I think there's a lot of potential there so maybe next year he'll get a crack at a spot on one of the top three lines, instead of being a fourth line energy guy this year. I've been waiting patiently the past couple years for Thomas Hickey to make the big leagues, but it looks like I'll have to wait another year or two for that kid to be ready. I've been most impressed with Alec Martinez, who was called up before the game against Montreal, and then proceeded to score his first NHL goal in that game. He played a couple games last season and I do not remember him at all from those games. But Kings fans are definitely going to remember him this year.

4. What do you fear from the Wings team in this upcoming game?
Marie: I always fear everything about the Wings except for the goaltending. But usually it doesn't matter who is in goal for Detroit because the rest of the team is so damn good.

5. What should the Wings be worried about from the Kings?
Marie: If the rest of the team doesn't shit the bed, then the Wings should be worried about goaltending. The second line of Smyth-Stoll-Williams has been on fire this season and in most nights are more of a threat than the top line. It should be a good game.


Definitely should be a good one, and I agree, the Martinez kid impressed me in the last game. Thanks to Marie for taking the time to do this!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Easy street, but not good enough yet

First period
- WOoooooo WOLVERINES! GO BLUE! FUCK THE SPARTANS! And how the hell does the NHL think they can EVER follow that (without using Beaver or Michigan Stadium)?
- It took 28 seconds for the Wings to score. Pavel shot from the boards, by the line and it went off Homer's stick and in.
- And just over a minute later Cleary took it up on the left side and scored on a great shot.
- The Devils had 1.5 power play and they were killed off. Both Ozzie and Nick did some great work on those PKs.
- The Wings' half PP was unsuccessful.
- The Devils had more shots, but didn't get very dangerous outside of their first PP.

Second period
- The first half of this period bored me to death. The Devils suck. The Wings played down to their level. But they got better chances cause they kept the Devils to the outside.
- With 7-8 mins left of the period, Pavel won a great battle along the boards to Z. He shot it and scored on his own rebound. 3-0.
- The rest of the period was boring in the same way.
- Clarkson and Ericsson got 5 each for hugging/"fighting".
- Doc and Chico were so very infatuated with the Wings.
- Chico Resch is so bad. Worst announcer ever. Also, Ken >>>> Doc.
- The Wings and Devils are fierce rivals according to MSG. Wow, I didn't know that. DId I just travel 10 years back in time?
- Booooring

Third period
- The third started with the murder of Jamie Langenbrunner. Kronwall got position and hit him cleanly, but he turned at the point of impact and died when he hit the boards. What? What did you just say? Langenbrunner was on the ice a minute later? You can not be serious! He looked very, very dead on that play! The way he was laying dead on the ice...
- On the PP, Elias scored. It was screened and Ozzie had no chance
- Both teams had two more PPs, I was bored. No goals. Booooring.
- I don't know what to say, I was bored and thus have notbing to say
- Halfway through Z beat an icing, put it out in front where Pasha was alone, deked and scored. 4-1.
- Not a great game. Boring as sin and more importantly, the Wings played down to the Devils a lot. But a win.

Play of the game
Pavel's battle that lead to Z's goal

Player of the game
Oz not only got his 399th win, he also had a great game.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Devils pregame - Q&A with Josh (@jjburnett82) from Intent to Blow

The Wings are taking on the Devils, one of the league's worst teams so far, today at the Rock. As you might remember, the same game last year was won by the Devils in a shootout after the Wings had played catch-up. Let's hope for a better performance this year, this is one game our boys have to win. And hopefully our guys can deliver a performance that is a little more dominant than last night's.

To give us some info on the Devils, their troubles and what we can expect, I had the great honour of getting some answers from Josh Burnett, co-founder of, and writer on one of my favourite hockey sites, Intent to Blow, a site you can check out here. Here is what Josh had to say:

1. The theories about the Devils struggles are many. What is in your opinion the main reason for their poor play this year?
Josh: There's so many reasons they're so bad right now, I think. It's impossible to state just one main reason - there's Kovalchuk's continued inability to gel with the team/system in place, a ridiculous list of injuries, a new head coach, a team captain that seems disinterested and constantly cranky, a huge influx of rookies (as a result of those previously mentioned injuries). If I had to pinpoint two main reasons, it'd be trying to shoehorn Kovalchuk into our usual system and the injuries, though.

2. Any chance of them turning this around? Where do you think they will end up?
Josh: I don't know if I'm stupid or optimistic, but I really do think they turn this around. People tend to forget, this team has gone through bad stretches since the playoff streak has started (every season since '96-'97). It's never as bad as it seems in the bad times nor as good as it seems in the good times. I think winning the division is a bit of a stretch, or even catching home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but a 6, 7, or 8 seed is not entirely out of the question, yet.

3. What needs to be done in New Jersey to get back on track?
Josh: Something needs to change. I hate to pin it on coaching, but I feel like if the Devils fall to both Ottawa and Detroit this weekend, you HAVE to make a coaching change and get someone in from out of the system (a Ken Hitchcock type, perhaps). The Devils poor play is not the coach's fault in this case, but as the Penguins and Flyers have shown us in recent years, sometimes a coaching change is the kick in the pants teams need to turn things around.

4. What do you fear about the Red Wings for this game?
Josh: Every damn thing. The Wings are doing what they always do, quietly destroying the opposition without a whole hell of a lot of fanfare. By the way, can we have Brian Rafalski back yet? We really liked him here...

5. Why should Wings fans be worried about this game?
Josh: That Chris Osgood will fall asleep in net from a combination of under-use and boredom (Our arena these days is very conductive getting a good nap in), and Brian Rolston will actually hit the net with one of his shots while Ozzy's out.

In all seriousness though, Wings fans should be worried that this team is playing desperate, if they really want John MacLean to remain head coach. The game against Detroit could be Johnny Mac's last stand.

Also, we get that Brodeur kid back the night before. He's pretty good too, you can fear him.


No, Josh, you can't have Rafa back, he's ours now. Thanks to Josh for doing this!

It's not pretty, but the Wings hold on

Update: Topham from Lions in Winter recapped the game and I thought it'd be fun to see it from the other side, so here is his recap

First period
- YES! FSD Feed!
- True confession time: I thought the game started 7:30 PM Eastern as usual. Woke up 7:25 from a nap and was horrified to learn that the game had already started.
- I lost the first ten minutes, but it didn't sound like I missed anything good judging from the people in my twitterfeed.
- I was in time to see the Habs take the lead, the Wings were caught standing around after a faceoff, the Habs got to the puck first and Moen made a smart play behind the net, banking it off Jimmah before he could get in place.
- After that we saw a couple of minutes of what I feared from this game. The Habs were first on pucks, stressing the Wings and making them make bad passes and make mistakes.
- What seemed to turn the period around was something as rare as a hit from Rafa. Plekanec tried to bank the puck off the boards and walk around him and Rafa decided to stop him with a hip check. The check was not late and a clean hip check, but Plekanec tried to avoid it and just narrowly failed. He got thrown around by the minor impact. He decided to lay on the ice and do his best "play dead"-impression while occationally peaking up at the ref to see if he was going for it. Luckily the ref was not.
- Of course, to demonstrate how this was not a dirty hit, the FSD team showed us Laraque's attempted murder on Kronner from last year. Painful, painful memories.
- The Wings got going a little after that. They got some better chances, but Price stood tall and saved every opportunity. Some credit should also go to the Habs, who kept the Wings to the outside very nicely.
- With a little less than five minutes left, the Wings got a PP. They didn't manage all the perfect set-ups and it got cleared a few times, but they got to some great shots. But, yet again, Price was too good.
- Right after the PP ended, the Habs took another penalty. As Mick said "I wish they didn't call that". It was weak. The PP started badly though, but that only lead to Plekanec taking a penalty, giving the Wings a long 5-on-3.
- The 5-on-3 got some good chances, but the Wings played it too tight, didn't get the D switch fast enough and by not moving their feet enough, they made it easy both for Price and for the tight 3-man box of the Habs. After a Habs timeout, they got better puck movement, but gave the puck away with ten seconds left of the period. Luckily, the Habs gave it back. Homer got it behind the net, passed it to Pasha on the other side and he put it in from for Nick, who had snuck in. It was initially a little confusion about the time, left, but Nick got it in with 1.2 seconds left of the period. Tie game at the intermission.

Second period
- The Wings started the period with a few seconds of PP. Due to a broken Habs stick they stayed in the zone for a minute. And when the Habs finally got it out, they promptly took a too many men-penalty.
- The PP got nothing, but the Wings kept pressing. Abdelkader threw it out to Buckets, the pass was a little too far in for him, so he dived after it, stopped it and passed it to Kronner from his knees. Abs went to the net and Kronner scored with a perfect shot in the top corner. Price was whining about goalie interference, but there was no contact and Abs was outside of the crease (not that the crease technically matters these days, but neither players, announcers or refs seem to have read the rules).
- Cheli was in the box with Ken and Mick early in the second. Great stuff. And you just know that Mick is gonna be on fire when the Habs are in town. I mean, half his stuff is Believeau-stories already, so this must be a holiday for him.
- Loved the atmosphere tonight. Saw some people whine about the Habs fans there, but I love it. As a European I am used to seeing fans of both teams at games and I think it creates a louder and more dynamic atmosphere.
- After the goal, the game went back and forth. The Habs managed to create some chances with their speed, the greatest on a flurry in front of Jimmah, but James made some great saves. The Wings had some great chances too. Neither team managed perfect plays, many of the best chances came off broken plays, but the energy was great and both teams were flying.
- With a little more than six minutes left, E took a really obvious, really dumb hooking penalty. The first half of the PP scared me. The Habs had some amazing keep-ins in mid air. Thankfully, Helmer took the puck out and killed time like only he can. Most underrated killer in the league? The Habs got another great chance later and hit the post, but when E came out, the puck ended on Pavels stick. He put on the dynamo and rushed himself to a half-breakaway. Instead of dangling, he roofed it shortside on an unbelievable backhand shot. 3-1.
- The Wings got another PP before the end of the period, but got nothing on it.
- Once on that PP and once towards the end, Nick killed great Habs chances in ways that made it look easy as shit. The guy is a fricking miracle. As I said on Twitter, take some time to think of the fact that you get to see Nick and Pavel every game. Those two guys are undescribable, and truly unique players that constantly blow our minds. We should be so thankful. We don't even realize how lucky we are, I know I don't.

Third period
- The Habs came out flying in the third. They were fast on the puck, pressured hard and had the Wings on their heals. Only great play from Jimmah kept them from scoring.
- Seven minutes in, the Habs had a long period of pressure. The Wings had a broken stick and just couldn't get it out. When they finally did, two guys went to change and Flip and Stuart couldn't decide on who should cover Pouliot. So he just took a huge shot and scored.
- The Habs kept on pressing. They were faster on the pucks and they had some amazing keep ins. All credit to them for that. But the Wings were on their heals and did lack a little burst of energy. It wasn't a pretty period. Luckily, Jimmy was on top of his game.
- I have said this before, but now I really mean it: I am done with Jiri Hudler. He does nothing. Nothing at all. In the second he even turned back on a breakaway. Bench him, trade him, send him back to Russia, give him an all expenses paid African safari. I don't care, just get him away from the ice! NOW!
- The Halak trade has obviously worked out well for the Habs since Price has been good, but it is still a shockingly bad trade. They traded a good goalie for a Danish guy. Who the fuck does that? If there was a Dane on my team I'd be giving away players to which ever team was willing to take the Dane off my hands.
- With two minutes left, Stuart made a terrible mistake giving the Habs a 2/3-on-1. Jimmy stood up and delivered two HUGE saves.
- With less than a minute left and the goalie pulled, the Habs tried to take a 10 men on the ice-penalty, but instead Eaves scored in the empty net.
- This wasn't a pretty game for the Wings. They had one good period and they got mauled in the third, but they held on and got a win. Great teams win even on bad days and it was great to see them pull this one out.

Play of the game
Dan Cleary's diving/knee pass to Kronner befor the second goal.

Player of the game
Jimmy made a ton of huge saves tonight. He is the reason the Wings won.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Habs pregame - Q&A with Topham (@Topham79) from Lions in Winter

UPDATE: Topham also asked me a few questions about the Wings and Habs, you can read his post here!

I've gotten a bit bored lately with the whole preview thing. Had a few concepts I tried, but I didn't like any of them. So I will quit of droning the same thing again and again about what we did wrong the last game (I already told you in the recap), who is playing (fifteen other bloggers already told you) and that this opponent "always plays us hard", but that we can beat them if "we play up to our potential" (duh, we're the best team in the league, on paper and in real life, so of course we can). Instead, I will try and find a blogger from the opposing team to tell us a little about their thoughts on their team's season and on what to expect for the game.

Before we head there I just have to note that this game is gonna be tough, against a speedy, very good team and that the losing streak really needs to be snapped tonight.

For today's inaugural edition of this I was lucky enough to get a Q&A with Topham from the excellent Habs blog Lions in Winter. Here's what he had to say:

1. The Habs have looked great so far this year, what reasons are behind the improvement from last year?
Topham: They’ve certainly had some great games and are avoiding terrible games thus far. To be honest, I think the secret of their success lies in that. They have been prepared for each game they have played in, which has not always been the case in the past. They have scored first a whopping 18 times in 28 games, and started 16 of their 18 victories that way. The flip side is a 2-6-2 record when digging out of a hole

2. Will they be able to hold on for the entire season?
Topham: Hold on? Yes. They have shown they have the discipline and the personnel they need to be a division leader, or at least challenge for that title (albeit in an easier division than the Wings’). I think they’ll be in the playoffs now, which is a change from what I thought at the beginning of the season.

But, I don’t think that we’ll be talking about them as a team that was consistently impressive for 6 months. Some of their success depends on scoring first, as the forwards don’t favour playing against teams that are shutting down to hold a lead. Sooner or later, there will be a stretch where by luck alone the team falls behind to start a few games.

3. Which player do you guys plan to boo next?
Topham: Funny question. I guess Montreal fans have a reputation that stretches a long way.

On your team? Hopefully Bertuzzi. Being in the West, Montrealers haven’t had a full chance to boo him for his past actions. The most knowledgeable fans might boo Doug Janik, (he played two uneventful games with the Habs 2 seasons ago) because former Habs are always shown affection with a good booing.

But you probably meant on our own team, didn’t you? Well that one’s tricky, there’s never really a plan as such. Brisebois was booed for consistently passing better to opposition players than to our own, ditto for Souray when he went down. Theodore was booed for forgetting how to play. Being a goaltender in Montreal you get 2 bad games before booing (maybe one), so Price isn’t far from a booing, nor Auld. Gomez might be getting boos already, haven’t heard.

Montreal fans also all want to boo the GM on a hair’s trigger, so if a trade is made the fans don’t like expect either a) the player acquired, or b) the player who stayed and took the place of the dearly missed to be booed on the GM’s behalf.

4. Going into this game, what do you fear about the Wings? What should the Wings be looking out for?
Topham: Personally, if I were a player, I would fear the Wings ability to keep the puck. If the Wings score first, which is probably a 50:50 proposition at this point, then how do our forwards get in the door?

It gives me great pleasure to say it, but the Wings should fear a very similar thing from the Habs (we’ve been admiring the Wings for so long now). If the Canadiens get the lead, they are excellent at giving away the easy shot and protecting the net from dangerous attempts. They don’t kill with possession (which would be my preference), but they kill by leading shooters into paths and cleaning up messes quickly.

5. Predict the final result of the game and tell us why!
Topham: This may sound arbitrary, but I think it will be a shootout. The Canadiens haven’t had one yet, and the Wings haven’t piled them up either. Two good young goalies, defenses that know what they’re doing and competent attacks. I think 2-2 sounds about right.

The shootout will go to you guys, and Montreal fans will hold a protest about the withdrawal of points for losing in a shootout. Bettman will be booed the next time he’s in Montreal. Until Bettman’s next visit, they might boo the next shortest person associated with the NHL; he’s bound to reside in Montreal anyway.


Thanks to Topham for answering the questions!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Too little, too late, too lame

First period
- While the Wings had a chance or two, they were badly outplayed for the first 6-7 minutes. Nashville just won every battle, was first on every puck and outworked them. The Wings turned the puck over, didn't get chances and let the Preds get way too close.
- The middle part of the period was the best for the Wings. They slowly worked themselves into the game and managed to get some offense going and had some good chances.
- A weird Eaves penalty (we didn't get a replay, so it's hard to tell what it was) put a stop to that, but the Wings killed it off nicely.
- In the latter part of the period the Preds took over again and kept outworking the Wing.
- In the last minute an offensive turnover lead to a quick attack from the Preds. Rafa was shadowing O'Reilly, but when he crossed over he gave him up to E. E didn't really get up to O'Reilly and Rafa never managed to cover the pass to Colin Wilson who had the easiest tap-in ever.
- The Wings just looked weak and lame in the first. The Preds looked sharp. Not a good period at all for the Wings.

Second period
- The second started terribly. The D coverage was severely lacking and the Preds got a weird shot on net and E batted it into his own net with his glove.
- The Preds naturally laid back a bit after that and the Wings took over a bit, but bad passing killed them. They just couldn't connect on more than one pass at a time.
- The Wings got a PP, but only got one decent chance. That one was a beautiful pass from Buckets to Z though and an awesome chance, but Lindback made an amazing save.
- The Wings took over a bit after that and had some nice chances. The best came when Huds made a great waiting deke, but finished badly and Nick got a point shot a few seconds later. That shot slowly trickled towards the net after it hit the goalie, but was swatted away at the goal line.
- The Preds got a 4 minute PP in the middle of the period when the Wings were starting to really take over. Sure, it was an unlucky high stick by Homer. Sure it drew blood, but Erat throwing his stick and gloves and playing dead should REALLY at least result in an embellishing minor. It was Academy Award worthy. And disgusting.
- The 4 min PK was not only beautifully killed, but midway through it Z and Pasha took the puck up ice, Pavel got a few shots and swatted one in to make it 2-1 Nashville.
- The Wings kept pressing and got another PP towards the end. They didn't score and near the end of the PP Bert got an okay crosschecking penalty. My problem with it is that if a defenseman does that to Homer or Bert or Buckets, it's okay. But if a forward does it... Why is there no equality. Shouldn't matter where on the ice and what zone, the same act should be a penalty no matter where, when or who.
- The PK was killed off nicely though.

Third period
- The Wings didn't have a great start, but fought themselves into some pressure after a while. A little before the midway mark they finally drew a penalty.
- On the PP they got nothing. AT ALL. NOTHING. Didn't even manage to establish themselves in the offensive zone once. The play right before and after the PP were both much better.
- Which lead to another, better, yet unsuccessful PP.
- The Wings kept pressuring, but with 5-6 mins left Z didn't see Stuart pinching and passed to an empty spot. The Preds attacked and scored on the 2-on-1 against Salei.
- The Wings threw everything at the Preds, but Lindback stood tall. Not stranger. Every Anders is awesome. Fact.
- With 2 minutes left the Wings pulled the goalie. I was just thinking "I love this move, we're not gonna win, but the only way to have a shot is taking a chance" when the Mule scored on a nice shot.
- Sadly, Franzén sucked before that and he sucked after that and with a great chance to tie it he fanned on the puck. Wings lose.
- Losing streak now. 2 LOSSES in a row. 3 REAL losses (2 losses, 1 OT loss) in a row. This need to be corrected.

Play of the game
Pavel's shortie was a beautiful, grinding play.

Player of the game
Oh what the hell, let's say Pavel.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Game 23: Showing the Ducks who's boss

First period
- The Wings got off to a great start when the Wings broke up a pass from Visnovski and Flip took it into the zone. His pass bounced over Mule's stick, hit the boards and went back to Mule who scored from a very sharp angle.
- The Ducks had a quick bounceback with some chances, but luck, good D and Jimmah held them off.
- The Wings then took over and controlled much of the period. They got close to another goal when Helm got an open net, but hit the post from a sharp angle and Homer flubbed the rebound.
- Homer had a terrible period. Not only did he miss that big chance, but he also managed to feed the Ducks with two big outlet passes/turnovers. The second one lead to a huge Ducks chance which forced E to take a penalty.
- On that PP the Ducks had one huge chance, saved by Jimmah. Otherwise the kill was great. With 13 seconds left of it Pasha took an unlucky high sticking penalty. The 5-on-3 and the rest of the penalty was killed brilliantly.
- The Ducks controlled the rest of the period and won the shot count easily, but got no more big chances.
- The Ducks 3rd jerseys don't look like the Ducks in a way and they are a nice mix of boring and ugly.
- Honda Center seemed brighter than usual tonight. Weird.

Second period
- The first two thirds of this period had nothing for the Wings. They opened with a couple of big chances and had a breakaway for Helm later, but that was it. They got stopped in the neutral zone and got nothing going. The Ducks didn't get too much established zone time either, but were dangerous in what they got and on the counter attack. Luckily Jimmah was excellent.
- The Ducks had no penalties through 2. Thank you refs.
- With 5-6 mins left Z shot from a sharp angle and Homer beat Perry to the rebound. 2-0. Perry showed class by crosschecking Homer in the back after the goal.
- And shortly after Rafa shot it towards the net and Cleary re-directed it in. 3-0.
- Not a good period by the Wings, but they played smart, good defense, had good goaltending and were effective as hell.

Third period
- The third started with another PP for the Ducks. Luckily it was killed off.
- When it was over the Wings struggled to clear the zone for a long time, but when they managed to do it, they got a delayed Ducks penalty. They played with the delayed penalty for more than a minute and Kronner, Bert and others had soem amazing chances.
- The PP had some great chances too, but was unsuccessful.
- The rest of the period was back and forth. Both teams had some great chances, but both goalies stood tall. The game felt decided and there wasn't too much action. '
- With half a minute left E found Flip in front of the net and he made it 4-0. Second 4-0 win over the Ducks in 2 tries.
- Not a perfect game for the Wings, but a good, solid road win.

Play of the game
The save Jimmah made on the first PP, aided by a great stick-check and clear by Nick.

Player of the game
Jimmah bailed us out with some huge saves and got the shutout! Great game!