Monthly Archives: January 2012
It is tough to be critical of netminder Jimmy Howard these days. The 27 year old is near or at the top of almost every goalie statistic including a league leading 30 wins through the first half of the NHL season. Beyond the numbers, Howard has been superb. He’s made big save after big save when needed, often at crucial points in the game.
But I will challenge the old adage of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” today and do just that. Although the fans love it, Jimmy Howard needs to cool it with the tough guy antics he’s displayed over the past few seasons.
I believe it all started with a late game scrum in March of 2010. After Penguins Center (crier) Sidney Crosby attacked Henrik Zetterberg in the final seconds of a 3-1 Wings victory, Howard jumped to his teammates aid, throwing Crosby in a headlock and earning praise from the Hockeytown masses.
As you can see from the video, Bertuzzi was right there to protect Zetterberg. But I get it, a heated rival, the play right in front of him. Howard made a decsion and gave the Penguins Captain a facewash for the ages.
Since then, I feel like Jimmy is looking to do this every game. We’ve see it in Vancouver:
And San Jose
And St. Louis
And now St. Louis again
I’m probably alone here. I realize in all these clips he’s either sprayed, or bumped or whatever. But Howard’s job is to stop the puck. As he continues to act like this, teams will realize they can get under his skin and will crash the net agressively.
The scary thing is that we have seen this story before. Ron Hextall broke onto the NHL scene in 1987 winning the Calder (Rookie of the year), Vezina (NHLs best goalie) and Conn Smythe (MVP of playoffs) Trophies despite losing to the Oilers in the Stanley Cup Finals in 7 games. Hextall was known throughout the league for his revolutionary puck handling ability, as well as his short temper.
As teams learned how to rattle the young goaltender, he got further and futher away from the form that made him an All Star talent upon entering the league. Canadiens coach Jaques Demers famously remarked after beating the Flyers out of the playoffs, “he didn’t reach the level of a Grant Fuhr or a Martin Brodeur [because] he lost his cool if you got in his face.”
Believe me, I love a fight as much as anyone. Probably more than most. But Jimmy needs to keep focused on what he is payed to do. The life of a fighting goalie is sure fun to watch. The fans loved young scrappy Hextall in Philly just as they cheered “Razor” Ray Emery in Ottawa. We know all too well about how Patrick Roy’s agressiveness got the best of him in some playoff series with Detroit.
Howard’s been great. I’d like to see him stay great. Keep the gloves down, let your defenceman take care of you and stop the puck. That’s the recipe to a long and productive NHL career.
Overtime always stresses me out. However, last night I found myself praying for a shootout against the Coyotes. The Wings are 4-0 in shootouts this year, 3 of those in the last 5 games. The face of the Phoenix goaltender, Mike Smith, was priceless last night. Smith was the losing goaltender two Thursdays in a row against the Detroit Red Wings, and looked like he was going to burst into tears when the buzzer went off at the end of 4-on-4 overtime play. I don’t blame him. Last week’s shootout even made the ESPN highlights–and we all know how ESPN feels about hockey.
On January 12th, Detroit went with Pavel Datsyuk (easy), Jiri Hudler (stopped), Valtteri Filppula (stopped), & Henrik Zetterberg (The “Forsberg”) and Jimmy Howard was in goal. Zetterberg tore that sh*t up:
On January 17th in Dallas, Detroit started with Pavel Datsyuk (shocking stop), Jiri Hudler (The “
Forsberg” “Zetterberg”), & Todd Bertuzzi (miss) — but luckily Ty Conklin “Conkblocked” all three of Dallas’ shots. Can’t believe that move worked AGAIN:
On January 19th, Mike Smith’s nightmare came true. Another shootout loss to the Detroit Red Wings ended up on ESPN. The order was Pavel Datsyuk (a SICK shot… kudos to Smith for making that save), Hudler (stopped), and Bertuzzi’s famous “spin-o-rama,” which was the only goal scored in the shootout. Jimmy Howard was in goal for the Wings:
This wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Bert do the “spin-o-rama”…
Let’s just say that Big Bert would be a gold medal figure skater if he wasn’t such a badass.
On this day in 1996, Steve Yzerman scored his 500th career goal in a 3-2 victory over the rival Colorado Avalanche. Relive the magic with the video below:
Todd Bertuzzi’s past does not need to be explained to anyone that would happen along this blog. We know what occured that fateful night against the Avalanche, when he and Steve More took the ice for a shift late in the third period. Hockey fans and lawyers continue to debate the events that led up to and transpired in 2004.
But would anyone have guessed that Todd Bertuzzi would recover from the then lengthiest suspension in NHL history, to become a fan favorite in Hockeytown?
Detroit fans were fairly split when Mr. Bertuzzi arrived at the trade deadline in 2007. Could the man, who’s 2002-03 season with Vancouver (45G 51A and 144 PIMS) was one of the greatest power forward seasons in NHL history, regain the form he once had? Despite a strong showing in the playoffs, the often injured Bertuzzi finished the season with just 3 goals in 15 games. He then signed elsewhere, and had two more semi-productive seasons on one year contracts before landing back in Detroit.
Bertuzzi has finally found his home. Each year, I notice less and less hostility and opposition to his play. While critics often point to his habit of picking up minor penalties, they surely have witnessed Bertuzzi play the game the way it is meant to be played. He is always the first one to stick up for a teammate and the only member of this roster who can throw them with the heavyweights. Bertuzzi has dazzled us with big time goals, and is easily one of the league’s most exciting to watch in the shootouts. An intimidating force on a variety of levels.
While the league has sped up since the lockout, Bertuzzi has adjusted his play. And why we will never see the production from his days on the top line in Vancouver, you would be hard pressed to find his rare combination of size and talent on many rosters in the league. Outside of an elbowing major against the Blackhawks last season, Bertuzzi has avoided any major infractions or suspensions. While he may never shake the Steve More scandal from his legacy, Bertuzzi can certainly add to it by helping to deliver another Stanley Cup to Motown.
Check out Todd’s two goal effort against the rival Blackhawks plus a bonus interview:
TGIF Red Wings fans! It’s been a roller coaster of a week but overall mostly good stuff.
Up: The sweet, sweet, taste of revenge in Chicago on Sunday. After losing to the Blackhawks 3-2 on December 30th, the Wings came back from a 2-goal deficit to win it in overtime with a magical move by Pavel Datsyuk. Ty Conklin got a W and a boost of confidence–just what he needed.
Down: Why can’t we beat the Islanders? It’s all psychological (says the therapist…) My opinion: It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy– what you believe, you shall receive. The boys gotta get some help with that. The Wings lost 5-1 in New York Tuesday night (which makes me cringe). I can hear those Long Islander’s and their annoying f’in accents talking about the game and EW.
Up: Pavel Datsyuk and Jimmy Howard were selected for the NHL All-Star Game. Howard wasn’t even on the fan ballot. This is his first time as an NHL All-Star and it is definitely well deserved. It was a great day for Jimmy, according to an article on DetroitRedWings.com:
“It doesn’t get any better than that. What a great day. It’s been awesome,” Howard said. “I think the highlight of my day was probably when I woke up from my nap and my little guy had a T-shirt on that said, `My Daddy rocks.”‘
I was absolutely APPALLED when I didn’t see Nick Lidstrom’s name on the roster, but I was relieved when I heard it was due to a request. Even Superman needs a weekend to rest.
Up: The Wings then returned to the Joe Thursday night to earn their 13th straight win at home and Jimmy Howard’s 100th career win. Fil and Jimmy continued to be hot and Detroit beat the Phoenix Coyotes in a shootout that caused fans to squeal/scream (cmon, it couldn’t have been just me). It started off with Datsyuk who of course made it look so easy–It finished off with Henrik Zetterberg’s “Peter Forsberg” move that left Mike Smith in tears and fans on their feet (and me in tears as well).
Up: After Ed Snider, the founder of the Philadelphia Flyers, EMBARRASSINGLY claimed that Philadelphia should be called “Hockeytown” and not Detroit, their fans ruined their brief moment in the spotlight by assaulting off-duty police officer and Iraq war veteran, Neal Auricchio, who sported a New York Rangers jersey to the Winter Classic. Thank goodness the cops arrested Philadelphia resident Dennis Veteri today. STAY CLASSY PHILADELPHIA.
Up: Tomorrow the Wings and Blackhawks face off at the Joe at 12:30. The Wings will be looking to earn their 14th straight win at home. The game will be shown on NBC.
Up: Cheers to the fricken weekend. I drink to that, yeah yeah.
(ps I did not take this photo, nor do I have the rights to it. I only love it. Google images, yo).
After showing the Chicago Blackhawks who da boss on Sunday night, Houdini will be sitting out tonight due to a lower body injury (according to mlive.com). My guess is that it was sustained at 0:15 in this video:
The Wings did not have time to replace Datsyuk before tonight’s game at the Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders so they will be dressing 11 forwards and 7 defensemen.
Detroit hopes to beat the Islanders for the first time since 1/30/2007.
LET’S GO WINGS!!!
I’m sorry but I could watch this over and over and over.
You don’t mess with a Johan…
1. The all rookie line Nyquist, Andersson & Emmerton will make an impact in limited minutes. Why Babcock will limit the group to under 20 mins in ice, the three have enough energy and skill to make a difference for the Red Wings tonight. Look for Babcock to use them early if the road woes continue for the Red Wings.
2. Jiri Hudler will be back on the scoresheet. Sure playing will Filppula and Zetterberg never hurts, but the Czech fired 4 shots on goal, including a late 2nd period goal, in the New Years Eve win. Hudler should see close to 15 minutes of ice time and find himself on the box score tomorrow.
3. The Red Wings’ Power Play unit will score. Detroit is just 1 of 19 on the man advantage over the last seven games, but they will come alive in the New Year against Dallas, who allowed 2 or more PPG’s during a 4 game stretch in December. The Red Wings have to much talent to struggle for this long, so look for them to net at least one PPG tonight.
FSD and Vers…I mean NBC Sports Network. That’s going to take awhile to get used to.