Monthly Archives: December 2011

Red Wings Fans Resolutions

Last game, I tweeted “People that bang on the glass are like people that bang on the fish tanks at dentist office. You’re dumb”. That seemed to resonate with quite a few of you, so with that spirit and given the time of year I have come up with three more Wings Fan New Year’s Resolutions.

1) Stop the Hudler hate. Now I know he’s still on many of your naughty lists for fleeing to Russia after his career year (23 goals and 34 assists in 2008-09), only to return last year with a -7 rating and just 10 goals.  But the Czech has bounced back nicely this year.

Hudler has 22 points through his first 35 games. And although he was surely aided by playing alongside Pavel Datsyuk early in the season, the soon to be 28 year old has played well. There’s plenty of worse contracts in the league than his $3 million  per year deal.

2) Let’s evaluate Holland’s job at year end. You wouldn’t write a movie review halfway through the film? So let’s see what Holland does. Many have been critical the team did not address the departure of veteran Brian Rafalski in the offseason with a big name. These same fans have been highly critical of the $3.25 million dollars a year thrown at Jonathan Ericsson.

But evaluating the deal closer, is it that bad? Sure Ericsson has struggled at times, but is a +12 player this season. There were surely worse investments this offseason, take Canton native James Wisnewski for example. The Blue Jackets  payed him $7 million this year, and in return they’ve gotten 28 games (due to a lengthy suspension to start the season), two goals and a -18 rating.

The thing to remember about Holland is that his work is not done. The Red Wings have over $5 million to spend at the deadline, meaning they can land any available player come the trade deadline. Compare the Red Wings to the cash strapped Canucks or Capitals, and the picture begins to look quite brighter. Holland has done it a new way this season, and his willingness to adapt to what the free agent market offers is the main reason why he is hockey’s best front office guru.

3. Let’s get behind Jimmy. Howard has been brilliant this season, yet is still lacking respect around the league. His situation reminds me of another young Detroit star who did not receive league-wide recognition until the middle of his career.

Did you know Nicklas Lidstrom made only 3 All-Star teams and won zero Norris trophies in the 90s? From 1995-2000, Lidstrom missed only 9 games, had 5 consecutive 40+ assists seasons, and recorded 83 goals in that time period, but was often lost in the shadow of St. Louis Blues greats Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger.

We as a fan base need to celebrate our stars a bit more. It’s the reason Toronto goalie James Reimer, whose head injury has limited him to just 15 games this season, leads goalies in All Star voting while Howard is not on the ballot. Let’s celebrate our stars a bit more, and get them the league wide recognition they deserve.

Have a wonderful and safe New Year gang!

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Red Wings Defenders Lead Offense

While scoring goals from the blue line is nothing new in Hockeytown, the Wings defenders are taking their production to a new level this season. Adding two goals last night, including Nicklas Kronwall’s game winner in the third, the Red Wings defense has now scored a league high 27 goals. It was Kronwall’s 4th game winner of the year, good for 3rd in the league behind countryman and teammate Johan Franzen’s 6.

This “defensive-offensive explosion” – if you will- has been driven by Swedish veterans named Nick. And while the Captain, and his 261 career goals need no introduction, what Lidstrom has been able to produce this season at age 41 is nothing short of remarkable. Both have eight goals and are tied for second in the league amongst defenseman.

Ian White has also been a key addition, adding 5 even-strengthed goals this year. Brad Stuart has added 4 of his own, including 1 of 6 shorthanded goals scored by defenseman all season. Jakub Kindl and Jonathan Ericsson round out the scoring with a goal each.

When asked in a post game interview last night Kronwall attributed the scoring to traffic to the front of the net by forwards. While last nights game winner was thanks to a screen by Jiri Hudler, the Red Wings lines are loaded with gritty players who love to play in front of the opposing goalie including: Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, and perhaps the league’s all time best in the department Tomas Holmstrom.

The Red Wings skilled forwards control the puck and make the good feed back to the point. From here, the Red Wings defenseman do as good a job of any at getting the puck to the net. From here, it is up to the grinders in front to screen the opposing goalie, deflect any oncoming pucks and put home the rebound chances. The formula has worked wonders, and has the offense clicking averaging 3.26 goals per game, good for fifth in the league.

The Red Wings hope to keep the goals coming from the back end Friday against the rival Blackhawks at 8:30pm ET.

Happy Holidays From The Wings

Pretty awesome video the Red Wings put together for the holiday season. Enjoy!

 

 

Three Things To Watch Tonight

The Wings visit the Canucks tonight at 10pm EST (TSN and FSN-D).

Here are three key things to keep an eye on tonight:

1) The Sedin Twins. Well kind of a daily double. But the Euro Twins rank fourth and fifth in scoring this season. And it has been Daniel taking a page out of his pass first brother’s book, with three assist Monday in a win against the Wild.

2) The net. The Canucks are rumored to be starting Luongo tonight, who was hanging out with Canadian mega start and Christmas carol extraordinaire Michael Buble this morning. No really, he was. Bobby Lou has been red hot as of late, going 6-0-1 in his past seven games.

3) We can only hope for some more pregame fireworks

Should be fun gang. Happy bday Hannah!!!!

Ericsson Irks Wings Fans After Inking Offseason Deal

Some interesting conversation tonight around often critisized Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson. Many Red Wings fans were shocked to hear the free agent Swede recieved a 3 year, $9.75 in July. But the organization cleary stated they hoped Ericsson would take a step forward this year into one of the top two pairings. “He’s had three years (in the NHL), we need him to take a bigger role on the team,” said coach Mike Babcock this summer.

Although statistically Ericsson has had a pretty productive December, 8GP 1A and a +6 rating, a closer look shows the he benefited from two +3 nights in blowouts against the Jets and Kings. While that does not discredit his effort those nights, it does illustrate how stats fail to tell the whole story.

Ericsson has been penalized often, his 31 PIMs leads the team. And he has been directly involved in both Oilers goals so far tonight. It will be interesting to see how coach Babcock will use Ericsson for the remainder of this game. As the third period starts only Jakub Kindl has played less at the blue line for Detroit. And if the last ten minutes of that period were any indicaton, Kindl should make those 30 seconds up quickly.

Long term, it is tough to imagine the Red Wings being able to move Ericsson. As the season progresses, there may be increasing pressure to see what Brendan Smith can do at the NHL level. He has 13 points in 22 AHL games thus far.

On The Road Again

The Detroit Red Wings (20-10-1) take on the Edmonton Oilers (14-15-3) tonight at 9:30 pm in the first of their 3 game road trip.

Quick Notes:

  • The Wings have won 11 of their last 14 games played
  • The Oilers are 9-5-2 at home and the Red Wings have a  7-8-0 away record
  • Detroit has won the last seven straight against Edmonton
  • The Red Wings shut out the Oilers 3-0 when the two teams met last month at the Joe
  • Miller, who scored 2 goals on Saturday night, got the GWG last meeting
  • Jimmy Howard will start in net for Detroit (19-7-1) and Nikolai Khabibulin (10-7-3) for Edmonton
  • Lines are supposed to stay the same… and I like em. Fire.
  • Eaves, Mursak, Conner are recovering
All the Wings have been contributing to the team’s success as of late. The 3rd and 4th lines and the defensemen have all been producing goals, which really demonstrates the team’s depth. The Oilers have been in a bit of a slump but the Wings have to keep their guard up… the barely-legal line is killer. Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins both have 33 points in 32 games this season, and Taylor Hall has 21 points in 24 games.
Here’s a blast from the past to get ya pumped:

Let’s Go Wings!

stats from redwings.nhl.com

Are you Shea-ting me?

Welp…that was a bust. Ian White had a great game, Pavel Datsyuk had a great game (except one booboo), Nick Lidstrom got his 7th of the season, shots were 40-21 in favor of the Wings…so WTF?!

1st Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-8
  • Loved the power play goal by Tomas Holmstrom (5:15, assisted by White and Datsyuk) … so sexy. All six of his goals this season have been on the power play.
  • About 5 minutes later, David Legwand tied up the score (10:09, assisted by Smith and Erat)

2nd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 15-5
  • Halfway through the period Henrik Zetterberg got a PPG after some nice passing by Bertuzzi and Hudler
  • Nick Lidstrom got his first goal since November 8th (11:30, assisted by White and Datsyuk) putting the Shwings up by 2
  • What a bad surprise. Jordin Tootoo returned to the ice after looking totally struggs (def thought he was out for the game) and made it a one goal game (17:22, assists to Klein and Spaling)

3rd Period Shiz:

  • SOG 13-8
  • Jimmy Howard got a hooking penalty (seriously) and 22 seconds later Shea Weber tied up the game (15:36, assisted by Suter and Erat)
  • Datsyuk made a mistake??? I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you but he’s human. Weird, I know.
  • With 1:36 left in the game, Weber got his 2nd of the period (and within a 3 minute time span) — the game winner, assisted by Jordin Tootoo. What a lucky piece of shit.

Time to head back to Detroit to regroup. Next game: Saturday, 7pm, NHL Network vs. the biatches from Tinseltown.

stats from redwings.nhl.com

Gary Bettman: The Less of All Evils?

I know before many readers get this far, they’ll have thrown their computer, tablet or phone across the room in anger. And that’s fine. But for those who have not, let me tell you why I think Gary Bettman may be the best commissioner of the four major sports right now.

Now I’m not going to sit here and make the guy out to be perfect. Bettman is far from it. He’s been a part of the past two NHL lockouts, including the cancellation of the entire 2004-05 season. He’s not a hockey player at all, but instead a lawyer. And Bettman has been critisized for “commercializing” the once traditional game with shootouts, new rule enforcements and pushing star players Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin onto us all. I believe these add up to a general hatred for the commissioner, who is routinely booed in each of the thirty NHL arenas.

But I’m here to tell you Bettman does a pretty good job. Especially when you look around to the other sports. In today’s NBA, Commissioner David Stern has rendered New Orleans GM Dell Demps useless, simply vetoing any trade involving superstar Chris Paul, who will leave the team at the end of the season. Players and writers refer to the current state of the NBA – who just ended its own 100 day lockout – as a plantation environment.

In MLB, commisioner Bud Selig, formely of Brewers management, has led one of the worst eras in professional sport. Steriod scandals have rocked America’s game, calling all players of the past 25 years into questions. Records books and stat sheets are now filled with *. And what other sport would allow unbalanced divisions (the Brewers -ahem- were part of the 6 team NL Central? Finally Houston was moved to the once 4 team AL West this year.) We’re talking about a sport with two separate sets of rules for each league! That’s like the Eastern Conference playing with icing and the Western Conference not.

That brings us to the NFL. And while you cannot argue with the revenue this sport has produced the storm is brewing around quality of life to former players. While hockey shares these same concerns, they seem exponentially worse in the NFL. Couple this with the inconsistency of officiating in the league, and you’ll find scores of disgruntled fans and players. Any league that can make their rules so complex this is not a catch, is in trouble in my book. Frankly, the NFL players hate Roger Goodell.

So going back to Gary Bettman. Let’s think about some of the good he has done. League revenue is up 750% since his hire. The NHL Salary Cap has grown from $39 million after the 2004-05 lockout to $64.3 today. That shows that the rule changes and adjustments are working. The game is becoming more watchable and ratings are way up. HBO is running 24/7 series on the Winter Classic (a Bettman supported concept), and NBC has signed the league’s largest TV deal of all time. He has hired fan favorite Brendan Shanahan to bring unprecedented clarity to the process of player safety.

I’ll be the first to admit, I was a Bettman hater. A traditionalist. I hated shootouts, hated the individual player marketing. Hated glow pucks and miss the NHL on ESPN theme song. The lockout had me on the edge of depression.

But looking back the holdout was necessary to restructure the game. Bettman is trying, and in many cases succeeding. The league is as healthy as it has been in my life. The Jets are back. We have a ten year national TV deal. And the greatest athletes this game has ever witnessed. And let’s not forget the best playoffs in professional sports.

I’m a fan of Gary Bettman. With some thought and some perspective of the job his peers in other leagues are doing, I think you might be too.

Sunday Funday: Caption Contest

Post your best caption for this UNREAL pic of The Mule.

 

The Ingredients for Success

What do you get when you mix 30 saves by Jimmy, 10 Red Wings with points, 5 Red Wings goals, 2 Phoenix goaltenders, and a handful of Mickeyisms?

A 5-2 win over the Phoenix Coyotes, giving the Detroit Red Wings their 8th consecutive win at home.

3 stars: Filppula, Zetterberg, Conner

1st Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-12
  • 1:12 into the game Todd Bertuzzi scored his second goal of the season after a nice feed from Datsyuk
  • Valtteri Filppula made all the ladies (and gentlemen) squeel when he got his 9th goal of the season 53 seconds later (2:09, assisted by Z and Hudler)
  • Taylor Pyatt went to the box for hooking Abdelkader leading to the PPG by Tomas Holmstrom (14:46, assists to White and Datsyuk) — AMAZING effort by Ian White.
  • 43 seconds later Helm finished off a great play by Chris Conner putting the Wings up 4-0 (15:29, assists to Conner and Kindl) … emphasis on the word “finished”
  • Phoenix goalie Mike Smith was pulled after going 7-11 (.636 sv%)
  • Jiri Hudler made it 5 with just 43 seconds left (assisted by Zetterberg and Fil) …and backup goalie LaBarbera was 0-1 for the period
  • Datsyuk, Hudler, Zetterberg, and Filppula all had 2 point periods… now THAT’s what I’m talkin bout.
  • 02/07/09 was the last time the Red Wings scored 5 goals in the first period
  • Mickeyisms:

“He’s got more moves than a monkey on the high wire”

“There’s been more giveaways here in the first period than the Salvation Army”

2nd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 8-9
  • Not nearly as exciting as the first period but no complaints
  • Radim Vrbata put the Coyotes back in the game (hehe just kidding) with a pretty much unstoppable slapshot (15:15, assisted by Yandle and Morris)

3rd Period Highlights:

  • SOG 12-11
  • Mickey told us a little bit about “Nickel Beer Night” from the good ol’ days… I need to hear more ASAP
  • Datsyuk sat out as a “precaution” because of a lower body injury #FMP
  • Martin Hanzal scored with Jakub Kindl in the box for hooking (11:32, assisted by Doan and Whitney)
The Wings will play the Winnipeg Jets Saturday night at 7:30 at the Joe Louis Arena
My requests: More Fil, a healthy Datsyuk, maybe a fight, some curly fries, and a win. Oh, and I’d like to be invited to Nickel Beer Night. #VoteJimmah! (vote.nhl.com)