Wednesday, September 30, 2009
A few little comments to maybe get all of your opinion on:
-Did anyone see anything out of Eaves in the preseason? I only caught him here and there and wasn't that impressed.
-Time Warner finally got a deal in place for Center Ice, now I just need to convince them that they need to put NHL network in my package for the 35 Wings games the network carries.
-It truely seems that the Wings are excited as hell to play in Sweden and I say good for them.
-Howard will be fine in net. He had the best save percentage in the preseason of any Wings goaltender who isn't known for a photoshopped beach ball scoring behind him. The Wings need to figure out how to play in front of him.
-On that note, Conkblock, who I liked, has also been horribly overrated by the media. He's a solid goalie, noting more. Did he really play that well last year, or did Ozzie play that bad. We won't miss him.
-Everyone is picking the Flyers this year. Really? I see them as a Slapshot sort of meathead team. Yes, I know that the Chiefs won the Federal League, but its a fucking movie, that shit doesn't happen in real life. And jesus, Pronger is no Reg Dunlop.
Plus can you see Briere really fitting into this team? I see a bench brawl in their future and Briere crying on the bench, until he sees his lover Sidney in the stands. Briere skates out to center ice and strips off his uniform - with the arena band getting into the act by playing "The Stripper." Suddenly, the teams stop fighting and stare in amazement at Briere, who shouts, I'm gay for you Cindy. And later we'd find Bobby Clarke dead, of a gunshot wound to head, and a note saying he couldn't live another day knowing that he signed a man as flaming as Danny boy.
-Dear Chief, please come back. Signed - Wings fans everywhere.
Which addition will have the biggest impact (good or bad)?
Jason Williams 14 (23%)
Patrick Eaves 17 (28%)
The second place vote-getter Patrick Eaves is going to absolutely work his tail off to contribute to this team. With mainstay Kirk Maltby nipping at his heels for the final forward roster spot, his margin for error will remain at almost zero. Will he be able to return to his 20 goal scoring prowess? We'll have to wait and see. Doesn't hurt to have Justin Abdelkader and Darren Helm (when he returns) on your line.
Jason Williams, I believe, has the second best chance at making an impact on this team...even though he received third place in the votes. Playing on the 3rd line with Ville Leino and Valteri Filppula could be a match made in heaven. With Wally's play making ability, Leino's shot, and Williams' ability to do both pretty evenly, this line could see each player on score 15+ goals this year. That kind of production from your 3rd line would be absolutely magic. Oh, he's also playing point on the 2nd PP unit...looked good in pre-season too.
And one poor sucker thinks that the most contribution will come from a player NOT one of these three. Who, I ask you, who?
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
That's right, Christy of WIM asked me to join their staff as an official author and post a daily "Quick Hits" section on their site, listing all of the juicy and random Wings' tidbits that I seem to find over the course of the weekdays. I'll probably publish a few posts that go beyond that, but the overwhelming majority of my creative writing will be exclusive to my baby, The Nightmare on Helm Street.
I'd also like to congratulate Mike of The Production Line and Kyle from Babcock's Death Stare for also joining WIM's staff and thank Christy for the opportunity to further contribute to Red Wings Universe.
My first post on Winging it in Motown, however, will not be until after I return from Sweden.
"We need to stay up to be able to sleep well. I think any time you fly over here, when you first sit down to relax, that's when it's hard to stay awake. So let's get going, get the body working and then get a good night's sleep."--Nik Kronwall
"Basically what we thought is we left at a really good time to travel because you're going to sleep on the flight, which is a real positive. Now our day here, if we didn't practice, they'd have napped this afternoon, and then they'd be up half the night."
Monday, September 28, 2009
The Red Wings took the off-season approach of if it ain't broke, why fix it? The team chose to tinker with their roster rather make wholesale changes to a team that was one game away from repeating as Stanley Cup Champions.
Johan Franzen was rewarded for a career season with a new eleven-year deal while promising rookie Ville Leino re-upped for two more years in Motown. Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson, Ty Conklin, Tomas Kopecky and Aaron Downey were all allowed to seek greener pastures elsewhere while it appears as though both Darren McCarty and Chris Chelios have played their final NHL games.
Biggest Issue Facing The Team:
Despite losing several key pieces this summer, the Wings enter the season in their traditional position, legitimate Stanley Cup threat. Detroit remain the model NHL franchise thanks to rock solid ownership, astute management and perhaps the best scouting staff in the business. Additionally, the Wings are amongst the deepest teams in the NHL, featuring a scoring punch from all four lines as well as one of the top defensive corps in all of hockey.
Bingo bango, I'll take the whitefish.
Incredibly dependent on Draper and Maltby? Someone didn't do their research. Draper is fourth line and Maltby is our reserve forward, just one step ahead of Derek Meech. Oh and the dynamic duo? Not playing together...ever. Mike told us so.
The NHL is a young man's game, and father time may finally be catching up with Detroit. That being said there are about 29 other general managers who would love to have the Wings problem. The Red Wings are as intelligent and well coached as any team in the league. Even if they take a step backwards they are far too talented to fall much further than second in the Central Division. Fortunately for management, the Wings are not the type of team that will rest on its laurels. While most would consider back-to-back Finals appearances a success, Detroit looks at it as a partial failure as they were only able to come home with a solitary Cup. Last year's loss likely weighs heavily on the team's shoulders. A chance to exorcise those demons by making another run at the Stanley Cup should be motivation enough for another big season.
Haven't you been reading? These guys are angry about the way last season turned out. One game away from back to back Cups has them frothing at the mouth. You better believe that motivation isn't going to be a factor this year. I'm guessing that rubs off on the new guys as well. This is going to be a much more entertaining regular season, count on it.
Player To Watch:
Considering his credentials there may be no more maligned player than Chris Osgood. At some point ‘Ozzie' must wonder what he has to do to prove that he is an elite talent. He has three Stanley Cup rings to go along with two Jennings trophies and a pair of All-Star game appearances. While he struggled through a mediocre regular season, he more than redeemed himself by helping lead the Wings back to the Finals. Still every year there are those that point to the Wings goal tending as the team's biggest area of concern.
I'm still saying he has it fixed. Forget about the pre-season. Ozzie is a pro and knows that he can't have another regular season like last year. We'll be just fine.
Is it Wednesday yet?
I have to admit, Howard looked pretty good last night. The one goal that Pittsburgh did score was a fluke shot that would have been wide if not for bouncing off of Derek Meech's skate. He also stopped Jordan Staal on a breakaway and then on a penalty shot, and stopped another breakaway later on. Jason Williams is looking good on the point on the second powerplay line (there, I said it), and Leino is getting better and better.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Leafs - 5 Red Wings - 4 (SO)
-The Wings, when interested, are better than any of the other 29 teams, or hell an all-star team of the rest of the league combined.
-Johan "Motherf'ing" Franzen plays for the Red Wings. I can see Toskala in two years in one of those old Nike commercials:
Unable to stop Johan Franzen, Maple Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala is forced to become a taxi driver. "Franzen with his fancy Bauer skates. I never knew what he was going to do, go top shelf, bottom shelf, glove side, stick side! Johan Franzen exposed a weak stick hand, with his strong skating and stickhandling, I couldn't stop him. Are you Swedish sir? That's good, because I'm not picking up Swedish people."
God, what great commercials those were.
-Osgood looks worse than regular season Osgood last year.
-Except for about five minutes of each game, the Wings would rather be somewhere else. And it shows.
-Why didn't the Wings put a bid towards Jonas Gustavsson? Makes sense to me...watching the highlights, he seems to fit the bill of what he was advertised as.
-It's preseason, so why am I even making any judgments at all? Hell I only watched five minutes of the game, I should shut the f' up.
-Has an alumni team ever beat the current team in college sports? Because I think it is going to happen today. It's game time.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Read the description first. Then enjoy probably one of the funniest things I've seen in a while.
Oh yeah...he sure looks monstrous, doesn't he?
So this morning, I posted about the seven guys who were sent down to Grand Rapids, but the details were scarce. I look to rectify that right now...thanks for griffinshockey.com.
Vigilante used to play for the Plymouth Whalers, and possibly has the coolest name on the Griffs (aside from Mattias Ritola, of course).
Piche, 21, earned second-team all-star honors in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season, when his 23 goals and 72 points in 62 games for Rimouski led all league defensemen. He signed with the Red Wings as a free agent in March.
This is what Kenny Holland had to say yesterday about May, who’s had close to 150 fights in his professional hockey career.
"Brad is known for his physical play and dropping his gloves, but more than that, he's a tremendous team guy and he'll be in the lineup (tonight). In the playoffs, (there are few fights), but in 82 games some nights you have to protect yourself. We usually protect ourselves with a good power play, but if things get out of hand, Brad can play on our fourth line and bang some people. He has a dimension we don't have right now with fisticuffs."
Ahem, “bang some people”, Kenny? I’ll leave that one alone out of respect for our General Manager. Just so we make sure that by “banging people” Brad May knows that Kenny isn’t implying anything that has to do with either back-licking or cabbie slapping.
May continued to show excitement for his chance to make the team.
"If I get added to this group, I just have to do what I do. Looking around this room is exciting, but I can't get caught up in that. I know what my role is ... it's not just fighting, I can play this game. But because other guys don't (fight), that's irrelevant. I know what I have to do."
That’s right, Brad. What you have to do is work your butt off to make this team on a 2-Way contract, and then go play in Grand Rapids and amuse me when I go to Griffins games and watch you fight. Having May in Grand Rapids could be beneficial not just as a call-up for when the Red Wings need him, but also as a mentor to the European-heavy AHL squad, who could use someone like May to help toughen the kids up a little.
Apparently, Mike Babcock wanted to bring Brad May into the Red Wing fold four years ago, but was never given permission to do so...
"Yeah I pushed for him a long time ago and I never got him. He used to thank me when we played against him. He'd say, 'Thanks for trying to get me signed.' I know he provides a physical presence and I don't feel we have much of that. We've had Aaron Downey in the past but we didn't have any this year."
May seems to be happy about getting the opportunity. Who wouldn't? After 17 seasons and over 2,100 PIMs, when the phone stops ringing until Detroit comes calling, he better be damn appreciative.
May had this to add:
"There are so many great young players coming up, you have to vie for your spot every year. But I am hopeful. Detroit is an Original Six team, a storied franchise, great players, great organization and it's my opportunity. I just have to be me and do what I can do. I still feel like I have a lot to offer."
Helm has only been ice the ice three times since his incident at training camp. He has pain in his shoulder just from skating and shooting. No chance that he makes it back in the lineup for the games in Stockholm.
How are your spirits, Helmer?
"For me to go out and practice at 60 percent isn't really going to do anything for me. I am just trying to find a way to back to 100 percent."
He will be traveling to Sweden with the team, but in all likelihood, it will be #8 Justin Abdelkader taking the ice in his stead. You got to feel for the kid, he was finally getting his shot at the big club, opening the season in marquee games overseas, and he's going to have to sit and watch the first few games...tragic.
Hank skated for about 10 minutes of practice yesterday and will not play in tonight's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs (as Khan[!] had told us yesterday). Babcock has been talking about reducing Zetterberg's average ice time from 22 minutes to 18 minutes a game.
"When you are in a game you want to play as much as possible. If a coach wants you to play less minutes, he knows it's not popular with the player but it might be good in the long run. Players want to play as much as possible."
I guess it's in the interest of Zata's longevity, but come on...he's not an old man. Just his groin get healthy and pair him with Pavel at the first sign of trouble this season. Seriously.
Oh and Daniel Larsson will be making the trip as well to see his family and friends and to also make sure that Jimmy Howard never gets comfortable.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
"The only reason we're going is because of No. 5 and the rest of our Swedish players. I know how much it'll mean to Nick to play at home."--Kenny Holland
Holland has apparently never supported playing NHL games over in Europe, but he was willing to cast aside personal opinions and put the interest of his players before his own in this case.
Lidstrom seems to appreciate it:
"It's another thing you can look back at having the chance to play with the Wings in Sweden in front of your own fans. It's something I never thought would happen. It's tough to compare to winning Stanley Cups or Olympic gold, but it's something that will be a good memory for me and my family."
Lidstrom is just three points shy of 1,000 in his career. When asked about the chance to achieve this milestone in his own country, Lidstrom had this to say:
"First, I didn't think I'd reach 1,000 games let alone reaching 1,000 points. It's something I'm very proud of to be closing in on. It would be nice to get it there because a lot of friends and family will be at the games. If not, I might as well do it in Detroit."
The short off-season (long as it may have seemed to us, the fans) has not been kind to teams traveling across the pond to start the regular season in recent years. Not one coach out of the four that started the season in Europe kept their job throughout the entire regular season. Here's your captain's thoughts on the hangover of their trip:
"We'll have a lot of time to get back on to U.S. time. Going over all the guys are excited, not just the Swedes on the team. I don't see it as being a big hurdle with all the days we'll have between games. I always find it easier traveling from Sweden to U.S. getting used to the time."
You better be ready. Those two games in Stockholm may prove more important for reasons other than the fact I'm flying all the way out there to see them. Getting off to a good start is extremely important in today's NHL. Plus they have the all-but-ordained 2010 Central Division Champs Chicago Blackhawks when they get back. Chicago gets two poof games against Florida in Helsinki...I want blood.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Apparently Holland said a decision will be made on Thursday, and added this...
"He's in a tough spot because of the number of goalies we got (in the system. He played a good game, looked sharp. He's gotten better over the week.''
Jimmy Howard probably had a voodoo doll made at camp, I'm guessing that thing looks like a pin cushion. If, however unlikely, Cloutier does get signed, it would almost certainly mean that Jimmy Howard would start the last year of his contract in the oh-too-familiar city of Grand Rapids.
Dan had this to say about the opportunity:
"They brought me along slowly in camp because I hadn't played in so long, gave me some practice time. Where that's going to take me, I don't know.''
Hopefully, to another team. Any KHL interest Dan? Please?
Here's a taste of who the Flyers had dressed...
Carcillo (Ok I know he sucks, but he is a fantasy beast)
Now here's the Wings top players that played...
So basically, who gives a flying f*** about that game.
But Osgood, please don't let five go in ever again, I don't care if you are playing for Team Jamaica in Mighty Ducks 2 and you are facing Team Iceland and all your team is hurt from the pre-faceoff hipchecks that were thrown, stop the puck five more times than you did and we won't have any problems.
Or we send you back to the Islanders.
The Big Rig put in an unassisted slap shot from the point. Look to see a lot more of that clapper this year, it won him the Hardest Shot Competition in the AHL a couple seasons ago. The Kris's teamed up for the only other goal scored by Detroit, as Newbury put it the biscuit in the basket resulting from a give and go with Draper.
The Wings had yet another 3-1 first period in the opposition's favor and never really recovered.
Ozzie played the whole game and faced 30 shots total.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Happened upon this little ditty from monstersandcritics.com, where it turns out actor Kim Coates has a good taste in hockey franchises despite being from Canada, which is traditionally anti-Detroit.
Coates is a son of Canada, who came down our way and has become an American citizen. He even roots for the Detroit Red Wings, his favorite hockey team. “It’s like Canadian law or something when you’re born; you’re handed a hockey stick where I’m from in Saskatoon, but just a few blocks from where I grew up, Gordie Howe was born, and I’ve been a Detroit fan since I was a kid.”
Sticking with the team has paid off over the past 12 years hasn't it Kimbo? I don't know about you, but I love finding out people like this are Wings fans...sure made me like John C. McGinley a whole lot more.
Anyways, as so famously promised, here’s a few thoughts on the game last night and other random musings.
09/21/09 Rangers – 4 Wings – 2
- I got to the game early in the second period, and by that time, the Rangers were on Power Play #27. And up 3-1. I heard Eville had a nice goal, but apparently, Stuart shit himself a few times in the first. And some commentators were angry at Kindl. Don’t know much else, because it seems that the NY station that I was streaming from hasn’t ever heard of replaying goals after the period they are scored in.
- Wow is it nice just to watch hockey again, even if it is on my laptop and have to consistently find new streams as they die faster than Billy Mays alone in a room of blow.
- Speaking of which, since I now am a resident of the drive-thru state, I was planning on for sure getting NHL Center Ice to watch the Wings. However, as a Time Warner subscriber, it looks like the NHL and Time Warner have yet to reach an agreement. Hey Bettman, how about you go in the corner and die?
- Larsson is a certified midget. Can he even touch the crossbar? The Wings should hire Nogoalov to teach the kid a thing or two. Learn how to deal with his size issues. Just watch the video, the kid can’t be scored on. Ok, just saw a reply on Canadian TV and while none of the goals were bad goals, it would have been nice of him to get one. He probably needs one more year down in GR at least, give him some time to grow a little.
- Ryno looked good. Another huge Swede. He’s got some hands and looks way too much like a combo of Frazen and Big E out there. He’ll be a hell of a player in a couple years. Plus he’s like 6’100’’ or something like that.
- Can Filppula not put on size? He’s getting more and more confidence with the puck, but man, he still has the strength of a 10 year old girl.
- The Rangers announcers were all over Gaborik the entire game, as if he was walking on water himself. All I can tell you is that, while talented at hockey, his true skill is aerobatics.
- Speaking of groin injuries, Jesus, as the Triple Deke pointed out earlier, is it even possible to have 3 groin injuries on the same team this early? Bertuzzi, Zetterberg and Clearly, all out right now with groin injuries. ALL ON THE SAME LINE. It’s almost as contagious as herpes in the Ducks locker room.
- The Rangers announcers also loved Andy Delmore and talked about him more than any Red Wing. Apparently he’s a big deal over in the Eastern Conference, which tells you all you need to know about the East.
- In two hours, I get to meet with the Senior Vice President of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Should be interesting, as he’s serving as my adviser/mentor this year. I’m committed to consistently referring to the Jackets at the BJ’s in his presence.
- Comment of the night at A2Y: JJ from Kansas with the following little ditty:
I really hope Seal’s children grow up to be golf phenom and get a marketing deal with Taylor Made: “Taylor Made, the only clubs for baby Seals.”
- The two NYR goaltenders are, along with the Manatee in Anaheim, two of the biggest cheaters in the league. Jesus, look at this tight rise.
If they had pads that fit them, both Valiquette and Lundqvist would be exposed as the skill-less, soul-less goaltenders that they are.
- After the prediction that he will score two goals in an entire season, Maltby shows the world that he has been sandbagging for the past 10 years and is actually a gifted sniper. Who knew?
- Haha, I’m watching the Canucks/Flames, and there is an a commercial for regular scissors on right now. “Been struggling through life having to use your hands to tear your paper apart? Well Canada, do we have a treat for you...”
- Back-up controversy? I’m as big of a Howard supporter as there is, living in Grand Rapids the past few years, but with performances like that, Dan Cloutier might be worth another look. Plus, I uncovered an interesting factoid while studying tort law today...
Since 1980, the Wings have never won the Cup without a goalie leading the team in wins during the regular season with a f’ed up mask. Notice:
· In 95, Vernon lead the team with 15 wins. Normal helmet. Result? Lost to NJ in finals.
· In 97, Ozzie led with 23 wins and again in 98, with 33 wins. Result? The Cup. Twice, bitches.
· In 02, Hasek lead the team with 41 wins. Result? Yup, Cup #3.
· In 08, Osgood and Hasek tied with 27 wins each, but each has a f’ed up bucket. Once again, the Cup was ours.
· In 09, Conklin came in and won 26 games. You know the result. We Conkblocked ourselves…
With that in mind, I hope that we see Dan ‘Beachball’ Cloutier again tomorrow at Philly. He only had 8 saves tonight, but he looked sharp. I’d love to see him and Howard split against the Flyers. Not saying I’m convinced yet, but I’m not against it either. Plus he already dropped his glove in the first 5 minutes on the ice in an altercation with Voros. I enjoy a goalie that doesn’t dive with every slight slash to his chest, arm, or whatever (this means you Osgood). However, I do like goalies that can stop a puck from center ice (this means you Dan.)
- Wings play again tomorrow at 7 at Philly.
I've never been one to leave my faith in technology, especially when it comes down to international blackberry phone service...it's just a rule I have, I've decided to pass the torch to my old college roommate and teammate. You've seen him cherry-picking comments on A2Y as moore00, but on here, he is only known as Chris. Chris is a man-pretty, self-hating goalie who LOVES going to school. He also loves the Detroit Red Wings, so at least we have that in common. Up until this point, he has been the designer of both of the NOHS banners. Chris has decided to take his man-crush on Triple Deke Tyler one step further and start writing for me in my absence. Hell, I might just keep him on if you guys like what he has to offer. He's got a post for you today, but I don't think he's up yet, so stay tuned.
I'll be posting throughout the day and until I leave. As always, all feedback, good and bad, will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Remember this guy? Well call me naive, but I just found out, while reading this from oursportscentral.com that Dave Hanson, from the movie Slap Shot, was actually a Detroit Red Wing at one time. Don't believe me? Look at this...Today, Hanson manages the Robert Morris University Island Sports Center in **gag** Pittsburgh, but it turns out the one, true Hanson from Slap Shot (the other two were in fact brothers, but not Hansons) is indeed a part of the Detroit Red Wings legacy. His son, Christian Hanson, is a former Notre Dame standout and currently trying to win a spot on the Toronto Maple Leafs for this upcoming season.
UPDATED 5:30 PM...Thanks to Jenny of the 19 for finding the post I am referring to. Feel free to spool through the comment section, there are some gems in there...not by me, but others.
Anytime I see anything from The Two-Line (P)ass, I usually stay away. But, the writer did mirmer this little blip about the Detroit Red Wings, so naturally, I have to comment on it:
This Mike Babcock quote lets you know the Red Wings' goaltending situation is a disaster, but everything else about the team is unfairly excellent: "We need 25 wins out of our backup." Sheesh.
A disaster, eh? Did you watch the play-offs this year, TLP? You think Ozzie is seriously going to have a repeat performance of last year's regular season? If you are, you're kidding yourself. Ozzie will play better and probably won't need his back-up to play in 25 games this year let alone win 25 games. The man obviously doesn't speak Babcock the way we do. But why would he care to speak our language? He hate us.