The awards that really matter…
Best Dressed: It’s a tie: Henrik Lundqvist and Erin Andrews (I can see your hoohah!)
Biggest Upset: Patrice Bergeron taking the Selke over Pavel Datsyuk. He’s good, but Datsyuk is better.
Best Acceptance Speech: Henrik Lundqvist follows the trend of dropping f-bombs on live TV while accepting the Vezina Trophy
“Damn, You Clean Up Nice” Award: Erik Karlsson, Norris Trophy winner.
“Someone Had To Do It” Award: Matthew Perry got stuck with the awkward job of honoring Nick Lidstrom, the best defenseman of all time, right before announcing the winner of the Norris Trophy. Lidstrom wasn’t even a finalist this year…which is total bullshit. We all know who the real winner is. Check out 6:15:
Is it July 1st yet? I see Ryan Suter every night in my dreams… LET’S GO WINGS!
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)
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.
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.
Jonathan Ericsson had a 2-point game in the Detroit Red Wings’ 6th straight win tonight. The Detroit Red Wings outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning 35-23 and won 64% of the faceoffs. Pavel Datsyuk won 71% of his faceoffs and earned himself 2 points as well–that’s 6 points in the last 4 games for the great one. Jimmy Howard made some fabulous saves throughout the game and especially in the 3rd–upping the confusion regarding his absence on the All-Star ballot. Feel free to write him in.
Tonight was also Steve Yzerman’s first visit to the Joe as the GM of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Red Wings paid their respects to the longtime Captain with a tear jerking tribute during the 1st period:
1st Period Highlights:
- Wings outshot TBL 18-8 (that’s what I’m talkin bout)
- Datsyuk wowed us with his 7th goal of the season at 4:58 (assisted by Bertuzzi and Franzen)
- Jonathan Ericsson shocked RW fans everywhere by scoring his first goal of the season (11:04, assist to Fil) Mazel tov!!!!!!
2nd Period Highlights:
- The Lightning outshot the Wings 6-5
- With Ericsson in the box, Martin St. Louis got a PPG to get his team back in the game (9:35, assisted by Purcell and Bergeron)
- Steven Stamkos tied the game with just 0:14 left in the period (assists to Gilroy and Lecavalier) — he scores goals? Weird.
- Pierre McGuire used the word “toughly” and then quickly recanted saying it wasn’t a word. It actually is a word…and Pierre actually was an English major #funfact
3rd Period Highlights:
- The Wings stepped it up and outshot the Lightning 12-9
- Brewer did the only thing he could do to prevent Datsyuk from scoring on a breakaway — hooked him. Holmer put the Wings up 3-2 only 9 seconds later—after all 5 RWs touched the puck (4:22, assists to Lidstrom and Datsyuk)
- Darren Helm sealed the deal at 14:13, giving the Wings a 2-goal lead (assisted by Kindl and Ericsson)
Notes: Commodore and Emmerton were scratched, Eaves out 6-8 weeks after having surgery on his jaw
The Wings will head to Buffalo to prep for their 7:30 game on Friday night
You heard them right. The crowd was chanting “Let’s Go Red Wings!” at the Staples Center this evening as your Detroit Red Wings took down the LA Kings 4-1. My favorite tweet of the game: “kings fans have been telling me the wings suck the whole game & i’m like ‘talk to me when your jerseys aren’t sparkling.'” (thx for the entertainment @hushlittleladyy) — And I agree…the only time I like my men sparkly is in Twilight.
1st Period Highlights:
- Mike Richards scored a shorthanded goal (6:37) after Hudler made a Hudler mistake
- Oh there you are, Pavel Datsyuk!!! Datsyuk scored his first goal since OCTOBER 21ST 37 seconds later (7:14, assisted by Holmstrom and Lidstrom) to tie it up at 1
2nd Period Highlights:
- Niklas Kronwall took advantage of the slashing penalty against Rob Scuderi and put the Red Wings ahead by 1 (7:08, assists to Franzen and Holmstrom)
- Brad Stuart’s (not so smart) defensive play led to a penalty shot (11:06) for all-star Anze Kopitar. Howard’s save made me feel like a proud mother…I shed a tear or two. The save and Jimmy’s reaction kind of reminded me of one of the scenes in my favorite movie: Robin Hood Men in Tights. See below.
- Brendan Smith rushed out of the box after a hooking penalty and sped down the ice to assist Justin Abdelkader, earning his first NHL point and giving the Wings a 2-goal lead (15:38) Congratulations, cutie!
- Datsyuk stayed hungry (for curly fries) and scored his second goal of the game and 4th of the season (15:06, assisted by Johan Franzen)
- Jimmy Howard was 23-24 (.958 sv%) and was on top of his game
- Holmer got 2 assists in the 9:07 he was on the ice
- Datsyuk is back. He wanted it…he got it. And then he got it again. Oh, how we’ve missed you.
The Wings wrap up their West Coast roady with a 8:00 pm game against the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow. Do it to it.
Your Detroit Red Wings (9-6-1) take on the San Jose Sharks (9-5-1) tonight at 10:30 pm for some late night fun. It’s the first of three stops in the Golden State. This is the 2nd time the teams will be facing off this season—their last meeting was on October 28th and resulted in a 4-2 loss for the Wings. This rivalry has developed and grown exponentially over the past couple seasons, being that the Sharks eliminated the Red Wings in the 2010 and 2011 Western Conference Semifinals.
- Brendan Smith will be making his official NHL debut tonight and will be paired with Niklas Kronwall
- Jonathan Ericsson will again be paired with Nick Lidstrom
- Ex-Shark Ian White is still out with a broken cheekbone
- Fabian Brunnstrom will be taking Patrick Eaves’ spot in the lineup
- The Red Wings have been struggling on the power play (déjà vu?) to say the least — they only had 6 shots on goal during the 15 power play minutes against St Louis. The Sharks rank 4th in the league on the PP.
- Datsyuk has gone 11 games without a goal. Yes…I said Datsyuk. It’s shocking. What does Pavel think?
“I need to be more productive,” Datsyuk said after practice Wednesday. “I need to shoot more, need to be more dangerous.” (Mlive)
Quoting my pint sized co-writer Hannah, “March 30th, 2011 is a day that has been naturally blocked from my memory as a defense mechanism associated with post-traumatic stress.”
I unfortunately do not know if I will ever shake the night from my memory. The Blues came into Joe Louis and absolutely stomped the division leading Red Wings 10-3. The loss was the fifth in six games for Detroit, and left them leading the surging Predators by only 6 points. This game was nothing like the butt whopping by the Capitals early this season. Far worse.
It was brutal. Joey MacDonald was pulled for Thomas McCollum (making his debut due to injuries to Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard) only to return back in the 3rd period after McCollum gave up an embarrassing third goal. Cam Janssen ended a 114 goalless streak. Lidstrom called the team’s play “awful” and the Detroit fans booed the Red Wings off the ice.
Summing up their frustration, “Thank God it’s over,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “It looked like it was never going to end there for a while. It was unacceptable. Any way you look at it – more than a touchdown – it’s ugly.”
Flashing forward to this season, I recalled the long losing streak and how similar fans were reacting to the Red Wings struggles. I also remembered how last year ended, the Red Wings righting the ship, winning the division title, and erasing any doubt by sweeping the Phoenix Coyotes in the opening round of the playoffs.
Now let’s look at tonight’s chance at redemption.
RED WINGS (9-5-1) at BLUES (8-7-1) on FSD at 8pm EST
- The Blues have rebounded after a rough start under new coach Ken Hitchcock. They’ve collected points in all three of his games.
- The Red Wings hope to keep their second long win streak of the season alive.
- Ian White will be out 1-2 weeks with a broken cheekbone. He has 7 points and a +8 rating so far this season.
- Ericsson will take White’s place alongside captain Nicklas Lidstrom.
- Franzen is red hot, scoring 5 goals (2 GWG) over the past 4 games.
- Jason Arnott, who seems like he’s been in the league 30 years, has 9 points in 16 games this season.
- The Blues PP is scoring a terrible 10% of their chances.
- Detroit took the season series last year, 4-2
- Dave Lozo analogized Nick Lidstrom to Law & Order’s Jack McCoy in this week’s Super 16 Rankings on NHL.com (yes, of course we’re back on)
- The Wings move up 10 spots on ESPN’s NHL Power Rankings this week
- Jimmy Howard is the NHL’s #2 star this week!!! Congratulations Jimmy…and take that, HATERS.
- Roster update: Ian White is out with a broken cheekbone, Smith recalled, Bertuzzi on short-term IR, according to Ansar Khan at Mlive
- Cast your vote to give your favorite players a chance to play in the 2012 All-Star Game at vote.nhl.com
- The Hockey Hall of Fame welcomes four new members tonight
Jimmy Howard turned away 24 Edmonton Oilers shots in route to a 3-0 Red Wings victory Friday Night. Drew Miller, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula added goals for the Wings, who have won three straight at the Joe. Some quick thoughts:
- Howard was sharp, as the Oilers were denied on all three of the power play attempts and numerous odd man breaks
- Lidstrom. What really can I say? Led his team in ice time again, great in all areas of the rink. Took a high stick to the face in the first period, but was fine. A +2 on the night
- Filppula again shined bright, with a finish on a beauty saucer pass from Henrik Zetterberg.
- Pavel Datsyuk’s line (Cleary, Holmstrom – and later in the 3rd Miller) was held off the scoreboard. Every other line found the back of the net. No need for alarm as Cleary and Datsyuk both looked better than they did against the Avalanche.
- Abdelkader had a big hit and fight in the second period. Lennart Petrell came to his teammates aid, and recieved the rare and embarrassing 4 minute double minor for instigating with a facemask (or in his case visor). As a former official, I must say this was an excellent call. If these guys want to play sheriff, they need to take the windshields off. Otherwise, let the big boys handle it.