Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where I've been...

It's been tough writing about what's wrong with my favorite team. I still watch every game, but the Wings are under siege from the media right now because of their slow start and I'm a little tired of trying to think of reasons why they're wrong. Until I get my motivation back, check this blog out: http://animaldrew.blogspot.com/.

Nightmare on Helm Street. It's a great blog that is updated constantly by Animal Drew and Chris. Both play hockey, which automatically makes them smarter than anyone on ESPN, but Chris is 'a stupid goalie'.

Anyways, that's where I've been hanging around.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Avs 4, Wings 3 SO

Up 2-0 to start the 3rd period, Detroit managed to lose a point. Lots of chances to finish it off, including Hank's point blank shot that was stopped and the double minor, but it wasn't meant to be. Osgood looked great until the shootout. Bertuzzi was very good, Hank was awesome and the Leino, Filpulla, Williams line was jumping. Abdelkader got his first goal. Duchene, the 3rd overall pick this year, got his first career goal for Colorado.

Good to get a point, but terrible to blow a 2 goal lead for the 3rd time this season in just 7 games. Yes, we could easily be 6-1. Hope the younger guys are learning that you can't let off the gas in the third.

Pavel should be back the next game, which is Thursday at Phoenix.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Wings 5, Kings 2

MUCH better effort tonight from Detroit, though it took 25 minutes for it to happen. PK was very good, Ozzie was great and our offense looked like it's supposed to. No Pavel? No problem; at least in this game. Bertuzzi looks more and more comfortable in a Detroit uniform, picking up an assist on a goal by Maltby. Zetterberg got his first goal of the season, Abdelkader got his first career point with an assist on the first goal by Ericsson and Lidstrom picked up 2 assists, giving him 1,000 points. He's only the second Swedish player (first defenseman) to achieve that milestone, the fourth Red Wing.

I wish more games could be like this one, but sometimes I'm not sure which team is showing up to play.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Red Wings 2, Sabres 6

Terrible all around. Ozzie wasn't good, but what could he do? Buffalo had their way around the net. Miller was good, but he didn't really have to be. Detroit had few great chances. Where are Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Bertuzzi? Sure, they got into the Sabres' zone a few times, but few good chances. Filppula seemed somewhat interested in winning, but that's not enough. After 2 periods, everyone on Detroit had at least a -1. Lidstrom and Ericsson were -2 after 2 periods.

Having Franzen in the lineup would not have mattered. Osgood got hung out to dry in the second.

Hopefully, this is the worst game I see all year.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wings 3, Caps 2

This was a great game to watch! Detroit looked like they did in 2008. Datsyuk was all over Ovie tonight and Osgood was great when he needed to be (except for the first goal). Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom were the three top scorers in the NHL coming into this game and only Ovie got on the board with an assist.

Datsyuk looked great, Bertuzzi looked a lot better playing on a line with Pav and Z, Filppula was physical and the PK was great despite a bad break on the one goal it allowed.

If Detroit can play this way all year, they can win the Central.

Muskegon Lumberjacks Jersey... why the Pens?

I was thrilled when Muskegon changed their name from the Fury back to the Lumberjacks in honor of the team that used to play in the LC Walker Arena. I was instantly in the market for a jersey, but when I clicked on the Jersey, I couldn't help but notice something:

It was one of the Penguins old jerseys.

Now, I understand that most minor league teams just take a NHL jersey and slap their own logo on it and call it good, but the Detroit Red Wings fans are in a bit of a feud with the Pens right now and I would guess that I'm not alone in my feelings that I don't want to wear something that someone might mistake for a Pens jersey. Take yourself back to 1996 and pretend the Fury changed their colors and took on the Avalanche jersey and tell me how many you would buy.

The Lumberjacks did wear a third jersey for a few games last December, but they only sold those actual jerseys worn in the game in an auction. That's fine; minor league teams do that all the time. Heck, Ilitch probably makes a killing selling the Red Wings old jockstraps at Hockeytown Authentics, so why not? Well, they're a smaller market that only reaches West Michigan, so it's probably not cost-effective to mass produce a third jersey. But why not just ripoff another NHL team with similar colors? The Boston Bruins have similar colors. Close enough for a third jersey, anyways.

I love my local minor league team and will support them no matter what their colors are or what their jersey looks like, but unless they make a change in the future, I'll just stick with a hoodie.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Franzen out 4 months with torn ACL

Not really much to say about this other than try to look on the bright side:

This is going to give Abdelkader and other younger players the chance to shine. Also, if your team is going to be plagued by injuries, October is the month to get it over with.

Get well soon, Mule.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Red Wings 3, Blackhawks 2

Not a bad first win of the season for the Wings. PK looked much better, though still not perfect. Powerplay was good. Osgood was awesome in the first period, keeping Chicago off the board after they carried the majority of the play. He made the big saves that Detroit needed him to make, including a breakaway chance by Madden in the third. With a SV% of .941, he was the first star of the night.

Patrick Sharp got the Hawks on the board first with a goal at 1:23 of the second period. Detroit responded on the power play when Lidstrom's pass hit off of Madden's skate and went in the net at 10:36 of the second. Then at 16:15, Draper took a pass from Maltby and beat Huet top shelf to make it 2-1. Franzen made it 3-1 at 17:49 when he tapped Datsyuk's shot past the goal line, on the power play.

The third period got a bit scary as the Hawks out shot the Wings 15-4 and made it 3-2 at 10:24 with Versteeg scoring on the power play. Detroit was much lazier and sloppier in the third as they seemed to assume they had the game in the bag already. They've led by 2 goals in every game so far this year and have only one win, so that will need to be addressed.

Brad May fought Radek Smolenak and beat him pretty good. Way to make your presence known, Brad.

Speaking of Brad... Brad Stuart put a hurtin on quite a few Blackhawk players tonight, including Tomas Kopecky. I would say that he was Detroit's third star tonight. He was great on the PK, physical and disciplined.

Lebda sat out after taking a heavy hit in Sweden, giving Derek Meech his first action of the year. Meech was +1 in 11:20 of ice time.

Ericsson left the game in the third after blocking a shot with his ankle, again, so hopefully he's alright.

Williams was very good tonight, even on the power play. He was fast and created quite a few chances with his speed. I didn't care for his slash that led to the third period goal, but he had an assist on Lidstrom's goal.

Bertuzzi seems bored and lazy at times. He's huge, yet any contact against him and he falls to the ice and stays there lazily poking at the puck until it's too far away. I think he'll contribute as the year goes on, but he's going to have to look alive pretty soon.

Should be a good game on Saturday against the Caps!

Red Wings sign Brad May

After his tryout during the preseason, I lost track of Brad May and assumed he was let go, but apparently not. Detroit signed him for one year at $500,000. Now, I assumed that the Wings would sign Cloutier if they had any cap space left, but Holland must be confident that either Osgood and Howard can do the job, or that Cloutier could not. Now, I'm not a bettin man, but if I were, I'd put my money on the latter.

ESPN actually covered this today and, for the first time in ages, did a better job than CBS in covering the story. (Of course, they managed to misspell 'Detroit' in the headline. Detriot? Spell-check much??) Anyways, they have a quote from coach Babs saying: "It was pretty interesting, we had May in a couple of games in exhibition, and no one got hacked or whacked or touched, and then we don't have him and we get run." "You get tired of watching it." He went on to say: "Our guys, I think, do a real good job of competing hard, but we don't have a team that twists off helmets at stoppages, and when you start seeing it all the time, it's just nice when you've got someone to look after that stuff."

So very true. Red Wings players have always been battered and beaten after whistles, because players rarely have to pay for it. The refs allow it and Detroit doesn't have an enforcer so why not take liberties? Well, Brad May, it's up to you to put a stop to the cheap shots. Let's paint the ice of Joe Louis Arena with the blood of our enemies! Just try not to end up in another one of these pictures. How embarrassing...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Osgood in the HoF?

If Chris Osgood wants to be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, he needs to start playing like a Hall of Famer. For years, people have said that he only wins because of the team he plays for. I would remind them of Curtis Joseph, a great goalie in his prime, who failed like it was going out of style when he played for Detroit. Osgood isn't the best goalie or an average goalie; he's the right goalie. He fits in Detroit's style, and seems to be at his best when the pressure is on.

Well, the pressure is on. After a poor outing by Osgood and a sad showing by Howard, the Red Wings are 0-2. The two things I've mentioned over and over in my preview posts is that Detroit needs to improve their PK and their goaltending can't be an issue. According to those two games, they didn't and it is.

There are 80 games left to turn it around, so no need to panic just yet, but Detroit's standing at the end of this season could be the difference between Osgood making it into the HoF or not.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Blues 5, Red Wings 3

Get a lead, blow a lead. Get a lead, blow a lead. This is starting to remind me of last season, but it's worse now, because it's BOTH goalies doing it. It's a team game, yes, but once again, no big saves from Howard and plenty from Conklin. PK is looking sad on paper, but it will always look bad when your goalie won't make a big save. If this keeps up, we'll see Daniel Larsson in about 15 games.

Allowing four goals is not the end of the world, but allowing four goals by the time the game is half over can be. That allows your opponent to play their game, which happened to be a very tight defensive game.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blues 4, Red Wings 3

I can just hear Keith Jones now:

"Mason, Mason, Mason. Blah blah blah."

Then Brian Engblom jumps in with:

"Osgood, Osgood, Osgood."

Well, they're right. Mason won the game for the Blues. The Red Wings looked really good to me and only allowing 23 shots isn't bad, but Osgood wasn't there when they needed him to be. You need your goalie to pull off a few miracles every now and then. Mason did all game long and Ozzie didn't do it once. If Detroit keeps playing the way they did today, they will win the Central Division, but only if Osgood improves. That was not good enough.

Ericsson left the game early, so hopefully he's ok. Lebda scared me pretty much the whole game and was -2.

Malts and Draper had wheels today. It would be nice if that lasts a while. Thoughts about the game? Comment below.

Tim Thomas is...

A condom, apparently. OK, I know Semin's name is spelled a bit different, but honestly, the NHL couldn't think of a different headline for this save? It wasn't even that difficult of a save, which leads me to believe that some guy at NHL.com has been waiting all summer to write that.

2009-10 Preview: Jimmy Howard #35

He's only won 1 game in his NHL career and that was back in 2005-06. His GAA and SV% are decent, but I still feel nervous when he plays. I would love to be wrong about Howard, though. It would be great to see him outplay Ozzie and become a fan favorite out of nowhere...

I see this season ending in one of two ways:

Ozzy and Howard both struggle because Osgood feels no pressure to fight for his starting job and Howard caves under the pressure of picking up Osgood's slack, or Howard plays so great that Osgood feels the need to pick up his play, or lose the starting job.

I have my fingers crossed for the second scenario. You just never know in this sport. Howard could pull a 'Jonas Hiller'.

2009-10 Preview: Chris Osgood #30

Ozzie played great in the playoffs last year. He also played great in the playoffs the year before. As long as he doesn't have another breakdown in the regular season, the Wings should be able to win their division and make another run at the Cup. I'm really not worried about Ozzie. He seems to be at his best when people write him off.

I'm more worried about Howard...

2009-10 Preview: Henrik Zetterberg #40

Hank's numbers dropped a bit last season, but I'm not the least bit worried about that because his shooting percentage changed very little. He just needs to shoot more this season. The more Zetterberg shoots, the more he scores, the more we win. A lot has to do with whoever he plays with, of course. If it's Pavel Datsyuk, he can score 45+ goals, but if it's someone else, he'll probably net 35.

If Lidstrom retires after this season, he could be the next guy to wear the 'C'.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

2009-10 Preview: Jason Williams #29

It's too early to say 'I told you so!' since it was only preseason, but guess who had one heck of a preseason? That's right, Jason Williams. The same Jason Williams that no one seemed to want on the team. Now, I know the biggest complaint about him was how he whined about not playing a few times, but he's older now. More mature. Hopefully he'll keep quiet when he's a healthy scratch (if that happens) and just support his team like any other player would.

Depth scoring and staying healthy will be the key to success for Willy. I'm willing to bet that he'll be on the power play quite a bit, so 20 goals is not a stretch. Considering his paycheck, 15 goals or more would be perfect.

2009-10 Preview: Kirk Maltby #18

Malts will always be a fan favorite, but he's nearing the end of his career. He's really not a threat to score and he doesn't kill penalties like he used to, though he still has a place as a mentor for guys like Helmer and Apple-Gator. Look for Malts to be a healthy scratch from time to time this season. I only hope that when he does retire, he retires a Red Wing.

2009-10 Preview: Ville Leino #21

Leino has great hands, but he's not very big. If he can survive an entire season without injury, he can score 20-25 goals. Leino is the guy who teams forget about when they're trying to figure out how to shutdown Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He brings depth to your lineup.

2009-10 Preview: Tomas Holmstrom #96

Holmstrom sure took a beating in the playoffs, but he's used to that. His numbers has slipped a bit over the last 2 years, but he missed so many games because of injury.

Homer can still score 30 goals in a season if he's healthy and plays on the right line. Really, the only thing Holmstrom needs help with is out of his hands. No one else in the entire league takes more punishment than Holmstrom. I'm not sure why other players are allowed to give such cheap and dirty hits while the Ref turns a blind eye, only to call a penalty on Holmstrom when he's finally had enough and pushes back. It's really pitiful. I would love to see Crosby play under the same rules as Holmstrom.

2009-10 Preview: Brad Stuart #23

Stuart took some heat last summer after two mistakes led to two Pittsburgh goals in game 7. It's too bad that it happened at that time, but it does happen. Bad bounces and missed calls happen. Stuart is still one of our better defensemen.

This season, improve the +/- a little. With only 26 PiM, he's very disciplined considering how physical he plays. I believe he has a little bit more offensive ability than what he showed last season, but since he won't see a lot of time on the power play, 5 goals would be good. Stuart will be killing penalties. If he can win battles along the boards and clear the puck, we win games.

2009-10 Preview: Darren Helm #43

Is there a faster skater in this league? I don't think so. Darren Helm is quickly becoming my favorite player and he has yet to score a goal in the regular season. Goals win games, but plays like these can win you the Cup. And though he has yet to score in the regular season, who cares, as long as he keeps doing this and this in the playoffs.

This season, once Helmer recovers from his injury, look for him to score between 10-15 goals. His regular season +/- is a bit lacking, but when you don't score much, it may seem worse than it is. Helm can kill penalties, and the Red Wings need to improve on that this season or possibly lose their division for the first time in forever. If he can help bring the PK back to the top 10 or so, score some goals and check a few guys that I don't like, I may just have to buy his jersey.