Monthly Archives: March 2012

The Most Interesting Defenseman in the World

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What Lies Ahead: Part 2

The Wings clinched a playoff spot last night with a 7-2 blowout against the Columbus Blue Jackets, but the next 6 games will be just as important. The Wings will face the Nashville Predators at the Joe on Friday, which may be the determinant of who gets home ice in the first round of the playoffs.  The Red Wings are just one point ahead of the Predators and are battling for the #4 spot in the Western Conference.  Unless the Blues have a major collapse or Chicago really steps their game up, it’s likely that the Preds will be the first round matchup for the Wings.  The Red Wings have won 3 of their 5 meetings with the Predators this season, 2 of those at home, 1 in Nashville. Here’s a look at the first 5 games:

11/26 Nashville 1 @ Detroit 4

The Red Wings took down the Preds for the 9th game of the 23 game home win streak.  Valtteri Filppula had two goals and an assist, Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist, Danny Cleary scored a goal, Jiri Hudler had two assists, and Todd Bertuzzi, Jakub Kindl and Darren Helm each had one assist. Jimmy Howard had a .947sv% and stopped 18 of the 19 shots on goal.

12/15 Detroit 3 @ Nashville 4

This loss really pissed me off. Shea Weber’s two goals in the last 5 minutes (the GWG with just 1:36 left in the 3rd) gave Nashville the 2 points over Detroit.

12/26 Detroit 4 @ Nashville 1

Valtteri Filppula scored 2 goals, and Pavel Datsyuk and Danny Cleary each scored one to give the Red Wings the win over the Preds in their 3rd meeting of the season.  Howard stopped 31 of 32 shots, but his opportunity for a shutout was ruined with just 2:12 remaining in the 3rd.

2/17 Nashville 1 @ Detroit 2

This was one of my favorite wins of the season — the one and only Pavel Datsyuk gave the Red Wings their 22nd consecutive home win with just 5 seconds left in the game.  Captain Nick Lidstrom hit Zetterberg with a no look pass off the boards, who sent it up to the magician, who then blew past Ryan Suter…and the rest is history.  I can only imagine what Pekka Rinne was thinking. Most likely it was “Oh (insert 4 letter word here).” Datsyuk also had an amazing assist…while he was lying down on the ice.

3/10 Detroit 2 @ Nashville 3

This was the first of the Red Wings 6 game losing streak this month.  Although it was a loss, Datsyuk found a way to make Detroit fans proud.  After Shea Weber blocked and knocked Datsyuk a few times as he attempted to make his way to the net, Datsyuk got back at him…twice as good. The video makes me giggle every time I watch it.

 

The next couple weeks are going to be tough, but if anyone can push hard and prove their excellence, it’s the Detroit Red Wings. It’s time to smash Smashville.

(stats from detroitredwings.com)

Only 20 Days…

The playoffs start in just 20 days! The Wings currently find themselves in a battle for home ice with division rivals Nashville and Chicago. Although the six seed and the right to play the Pacific Division champion might not be a bad spot to wind up.

Now enjoy this magic!

Lidstrom’s Slow Recovery Raises Questions On Future

There’s not much more I can say about The Perfect Human that hasn’t already been said. His value to Detroit has shown as the team has struggled the past few weeks without his steady presence.

All year, Detroit fans have speculated on whether this would be Lidstrom’s final season. Sure he’s got 10 goals, 31 points and a +25 rating. But the Captain is facing the lengthiest recovery of his extensive NHL career, and the first significant layoff since taking a severe hit from Ian Laperriere in 2008 (Click the link to watch the video, reaction, plus Aaron Downey doing what he did best.

So go figure both incidents are against the Avalanche, but you really have to wonder how much more a soon to be 42 year old can take.  He told the Free Press today, “It’s discouraging that I haven’t started feeling better, as it’s going on two weeks now.” On the plus side of things, Nick’s MRIs (he’s had at least two) have revealed no fracture, so the team is hoping staying off the leg will get Lidstrom back on the ice.

Another big factor might be the future of longtime teammate, countryman, and best friend Tomas Holmstrom.  While the winger surely has lost a step from his 2009-10 25 goal output, he still has been serviceable on the fourth line and power play. Tomas turns 40 next year, and the front office will have a big decision to make on the soon to be free agent. Especially when considering how it may effect Lidstrom’s thinking. With the Power Play in peril, is it time the Wings let go of their longtime front of the net force?

With all of the festivities set around the New Year next year, it is hard as a fan to not be selfish and hope we may be blessed with one more year of blueline bliss. In the end, I think we will all respect Lidstrom’s choice, and consider ourselves lucky to have watched him this long.

Kronwall Levels Jakub Voracek

Kronwall has done it again, closing quickly on Flyers winger Jakub Voracek and delivering perhaps his biggest hit of the year.  I’ll let the video do most of the talking, but my observations are that Kronwall’s arm stayed down, his feet are on the ice, and the elbow is not in play. However, the head is the principal point of contact.

Deputy Shanny will have his hands full here. Voracek was hurt on the play, but from the video you can see he is leading with his head. A no call will surely irk Flyer nation, but a suspension will certainly raise questions on how exactly a defensemen can legally hit a player with his head down. One thing that is for sure is that the league will reviewing this hit from Philly.

Injury Bug Bites The Red Wings

As we get started in Philadelphia, you’ll notice plenty of familiar faces out of the lineup for the Red Wings. Here is the latest on the injured Wings, and when you might expect to see them back.

Pavel Datsyuk (Knee) – The Magic Man has been sidelined after a minor knee procedure in Feb. He skated Monday before practice and hopes to join the team on next week’s West Coast road trip.

Jimmy Howard (Lower Body, Groin) – We have not seen Howie since leaving after the first period against Chicago Sunday. While Ken Holland calls the injury minor, Jimmy did not make the trip to Philly tonight.

Nicklas Lidstrom (Ankle) – Nick has been out since taking a shot in the ankle against the Avalanche on Feb 25. Lidstrom MRI came back clean, but swelling has prevented him from putting his skate on. The Wings hope to have him this Friday vs the Kings.

Todd Bertuzzi (Groin) – Todd is listed as Day to Day with a groin. The Wings hope to have him back Friday as well.

Jakub Kindl  (Upper Body) – The young D man was forced out of the game in Chicago after playing just 1:35 Sunday. He’s also listed as Day to Day.

Jonathan Ericsson (Wrist) – Big E broke his wrist in the game against the Avalanche. He is expected to be out 3-4 more weeks.

Patrick Eaves (Head) – Eaves has been sidelined since November 26th after taking a puck to the head. He suffered a broken jaw and concussion, and has begun light skating. He said he is not sure whether or not he will be able to return this year.

What Lies Ahead

The Red Wings only have 18 games (10 at home, 8 on the road) left to play in the regular season and the race for a playoff spot in the West is tight.  The Wings will be without Pavel Datsyuk for a few more weeks, without Jonathan Ericsson for about a month, Nick Lidstrom and Kyle Quincey are both day-to-day, and of course, there is no word on the return of Patrick Eaves.  The last 18 games are going to be crucial — let’s break them down:

Western Conference Matchups

Minnesota Wild
3/2/12 @ Detroit
(1-1-1)
The Wild got the W when they visited Detroit in November.  I remember how pissed off I was when Devin Setoguchi scored that ridiculous goal in overtime after the refs failed to make a call for a dirty hit on Kronwall.

Chicago Blackhawks
3/4/12 @ Detroit
4/7/12 @ Detroit
(2-2-0)
Detroit has only hosted the Blackhawks once this season and won 3-2 in overtime

LA Kings
3/9/12 @ Detroit
3/13/12 @ LA
(2-0-0)
The Wings have beat the Kings both at home (8-2) and in Los Angeles (4-1) this season

Nashville Predators
3/10/12 @ Nashville
3/30/12 @ Detroit
(3-1-0)
The Red Wings have won both of their games against the Preds at home and also one in Nashville. The 4-3 loss in Nashville was a brutal one, and you can thank Shea Weber for that. He scored 2 goals in the last 5 minutes of the 3rd period.

Anaheim Ducks
3/14/12 @ Anaheim
(3-0-0)
The matchup in Detroit last month was a real nail biter. Todd Bertuzzi won it in the shootout with a shot that had everyone on the edge of their seats.

San Jose Sharks
3/17/12 @ San Jose
(1-2-0)
Last time the Wings visited San Jose they lost 5-2, even though they outshot the Sharks 42-28 (BARF)

Columbus Blue Jackets
3/26/12 @ Detroit
3/28/12 @ Columbus
(3-1-0)
The Wings and Jackets will play each other in back to back games, one per city. The Red Wings have won both of their games against the Blue Jackets at home and one of the two games played in Columbus. The Wings suffered a 4-1 loss to Columbus back in October right after they got crushed by the Caps—nothing like being kicked when you’re down. The Red Wings won their most recent meeting with the Blue Jackets by a score of 5-2

St. Louis Blues
4/4/12 @ St. Louis
(3-2-0)
The Red Wings have won all 3 games vs. the Blues at home this season, but have lost both games they have played in St. Louis. This is gonna be a big one.

Eastern Conference Matchups

Washington Capitals
3/19/12 @ Detroit
(0-1-0)
No technique I have learned as a therapist has helped me forget the 7-1 loss the Wings suffered in Washington back in October, after opening the season with a 5-game winning streak.  Mike Green had a 4 point game (2G, 2A) and Mathieu Perreault scored 2 goals in his team-low 10:20 of ice time. This will be Detroit’s first game home after a 4-game road trip but I have faith that the Wings will show them who’s boss — and payback’s a bitch.

New York Rangers
3/21/12 @ New York
This will be the first and only meeting between the Red Wings and the Rangers this year. The Red Wings took the win (3-2) when the two teams matched up last season in Detroit.

Carolina Hurricanes
3/24/12 @ Detroit
This will be the first and only meeting of the two teams this season.  The Canes shut out the Wings 3-0 during their only meeting last year.

Florida Panthers
4/1/12 @ Detroit
This will be the first and only meeting between Detroit and Florida during the 2011-2012 regular season.  Last year the Red Wings beat the Panthers 4-3

New Jersey Devils
4/5/12 @ Detroit
This will be the first and only time the Red Wings play New Jersey this season. The two teams met twice last season—once in Detroit, once in New Jersey—with Detroit earning both wins.

Philadelphia Flyers
3/6/12 @ Philadelphia
(1-0-0)
The Flyers lost 4-3 when they visited Detroit February 12th, giving the Red Wings their record-tying 20th straight victory at home.

LET’S GO WINGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!