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.
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).
I thought the 7-1 loss Saturday night would cause the Wings to wake up and smell the hummus but apparently there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. Of course the Blue Jackets were “hungry for a win” — who wouldn’t be after an 8 game losing streak? But the Wings should have been hungry too. Not just because we got dominated by the Caps a few nights ago, but because we’re the Red Wings and we’re always hungry. We started off sloppy tonight, allowing a goal by RJ Umberger just 0:21 into the first period. Sometimes things clean up after a reality check like that, so it was a relief when Helm tied the score 4 1/2 minutes later. Things really started to look up when 22-year-old Allen York came in to replace Steve Mason due to shoulder pain. The sunshine didn’t stay out for long — Mason returned after only 2:33. To darken things up just a little more, the Wings were called for too many men on the ice, allowing Ryan Johansen his first NHL goal on the power play.
The second period was frustrating. There was some diddle-daddling and a couple of penalties and then 20-year-old rookie John Moore scored his first NHL goal at 14:16. Conklin made a few good saves this period, but none of Detroit’s 15 shots on goal made it in.
The third was just as frustrating as the first two. Babs switch up the lines a bit but it didn’t seem to help. Conklin made some impressive saves but the Jackets put up a fourth goal with 0:54 left in the game — a short-handed empty netter.
- Helm scored his 1st goal of the season and ended up +1
- Conklin was 28-31, he is now 75-85 for the season
- Hudler was an invisible man — but sometimes it’s better that way
- It would have been a little more bearable if there was any action whatsoever. I wanted/needed someone to drop the gloves. There was a VERY minimal scuffle (it consisted of one shove and some shit talking) involving Zetterberg and it’s not like that was going anywhere
Winging It In Motown pointed out this morning that after suffering only their first loss of the season on Saturday night, the Detroit Red Wings (5-1-0) are now apparently worse than both the Pittsburgh Penguins (6-2-2) and the Chicago Blackhawks (4-1-2) according to the TSN.CA NHL Power Rankings. However, the ESPN NHL Power Rankings still have the Wings in the #2 spot this week. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun added: “Even Caps coach Bruce Boudreau pointed out that Saturday’s loss wasn’t really your typical 7-1 score; Detroit is playing better than that score indicated. Just a blip on the radar and with backup Ty Conklin in goal, to boot.”
If additional proof is needed that the Wings aren’t leaving the top of the rankings anytime soon, listen to Tomas Vokoun, the goalie for the Washington Capitals. Vokoun was named one of the NHL’s 3 stars of the week this week–a well deserved honor. He has allowed only 6 goals in his last 5 games and has a .944 sv% this season. David Amber from NHL on the Fly held a phone interview with Vokoun on Monday. Here are the “rapid fire” questions and answers:
Amber: The one guy you don’t want to face in a shoot out?
Vokoun: Pavel Datsyuk
Amber: The most difficult player to have parked in your crease?
Amber: Starting an NHL team today, who is the one guy you need to have?
Vokoun: I would say Pavel Datsyuk
(Keep in mind these questions weren’t intended to be only about the Red Wings, but the entire NHL…so TSN can suck it)
In other news, Dmitry Chesnokov from Puck Daddy and Dmitry Malinovski, Sovetsky Sport’s correspondent in Detroit, held an interview with the always entertaining Pavel Datsyuk. Here are some highlights/quotes:
*Regarding Lidstrom’s 1500th game:
“It is a very big milestone. All I can do is remove my hockey helmet for him. He is such a great player and a great person. You can always rely on him and take him with you on spying missions.”
*Do the Red Wings feel the competition for fans now that the Lions are doing pretty well in the NFL?
“There is no competition. The situation in Detroit is very difficult due to the economic crisis. And I think all of the Detroit teams playing — the Red Wings, the Lions, the Tigers — we are all trying to cheer Detroit fans up, make them a little bit happier in these tough times. And sincere thanks to all the fans who come to our games, who find the time for us.”
*Regarding NHL realignment:
“On one hand, of course it would be great because we would reduce the number of miles we fly considerably. It would be interesting to try ourselves in a different conference. But until the chickens are hatched we can’t really count them. So, people can discuss whatever they want. But nothing is certain at this point. I just hope we won’t be realigned to the KHL.”
*Alex Ovechkin was presented with his own wax figure on Monday at Madame Tussaud’s in Washington DC. Where would it be possible to see a statue of Pavel Datsyuk?
“I don’t think you will see it anywhere. And if you do, it will probably be made of paper. Cardboard paper. I am a cardboard player.”
I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever seen Pavel Datsyuk with the puck would not describe him as a “cardboard player.” A wax figure wouldn’t do him justice — he definitely deserves a statue… possibly a pyramid.
This is one of those rare occasions when I’m actually disappointed in the Wings and almost too pissed off to write about them. The Caps played some excellent puck tonight and as much as it hurts me to say, we just couldn’t keep up. Losing 7-1 was simply unacceptable and it was clear that our highly skilled team wasn’t at the top of their game. The Red Wings’ sole goal was scored by Niklas Kronwall (assisted by Datsyuk and Lidstrom) during a 5-on-3 power play in the middle of the 2nd period. At the very least, I’m happy that the Captain got a point during his 1500th game. The Caps scored 2 goals during the 1st, 2 during the 2nd, and 3 during the 3rd. Ty Conklin was 18-25 (0.720 sv%), which is ridiculous–but I guess they win as a team and they lose as a team. I suggest that Conklin stay in the net and close his legs…he gave puck slut a whole new meaning tonight. Wings are now 5-1-0, which is clearly not a bad record, but the Capitals being 7-0-0 makes me want to vomit a little. All I know is that I will definitely be seeing Ovi’s gap-toothed smile in my nightmares tonight.
The next game is Tuesday night at 7:00 in Columbus
Ty Conklin was happy to be back in Detroit this season, where he recorded a career high 25 wins in 2008-09. In his first game back, the veteran recorded a 29 save shutout, with a couple of highlight reel saves in the first and second periods.
The Avalanche hoped to cap a wonderful celebration for former forward Peter Forsberg with a win, and came out firing in the first period. But Conklin was there to answer each test, making 11 stops in the opening frame. While no goals through the 37 minutes may not attract the casual fan, both teams had plenty of chances throughout a thrilling back and forth game.
Equally as impressive was Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who was perfect until Johan Franzen converted on a drop pass from Jiri Hudler. The play developed on a 4 on 2 rush, and Hudler made a perfect pass to the trailing Franzen who made no mistake putting the puck off the crossbar and in from just inside the blue line with three minutes to go in the 2nd.
The Wings came out flying in the third period, but Varlamov was terrific foiling a number of odd man rushes and power play chances. The Avalanche fought back and put serious pressure on Conklin midway thru the frame. But Coach Mike Babcock made a change, placing Pavel Datsyuk on a line with Dan Cleary and Henrik Zetterberg. The trio flew down the ice, with Datsyuk feeding Hank for another one-time rocket off the crossbar and in.
Datsyuk added a third goal on the empty net with assists from Cleary and Conklin. After their sluggish start (which can be attributed to their 3:30 am arrival at the Denver hotel), the Red Wings really showed some character in the third period. Conklin stood on his head, and the Red Wings are now sitting on top of the league with a couple wins on back to back nights.
Detroit was 0-4 on the PP…Niklas Kronwall led the team with 22:28 of ice time…Henrik Zetterberg recorded a game high seven shots on goal…Jakub Kindl is now +5 on the year after two games…The Red Wings struggled from the faceoff dot, Darren Helm was 1 of 9…Forwards Tomas Holmstrom and Fabian Brunnstrom were healthy scratches tonight.
OMG… did you hear about the Smith on Smith hit to the head?? People are struggling trying to decide if the hit was intentional or unintentional, but frankly, I’m not sure if that matters. Obviously the story deserves to be a HEADline (muahaha), but enough already… it’s in Shanny’s hands now.
Brunnstrom was on fire tonight, scoring a goal in the 1st and one in the 2nd, making it very clear that he is determined to wear a winged wheel this season. Rookies Emmerton and Smith each had two assists. I thought Drew Miller looked great on the ice and was really glad he got one in. I would have definitely liked to have seen a little more action from Eaves and Abs… it’s hard to believe they had 16-17 minutes of ice time each. Ericsson played like typical Ericsson–sometimes I wonder if he has body dysmorphic disorder. I think someone needs to remind him that he is 6’4/220 lbs, not 5’6/130 lbs — he needs to use his body and not allow himself to fall into the boards from a light push. And even though Conklin was 20-24, I think he played very well and had some awesome saves. It’s not his fault that the Blackhawks had all of their star players in their lineup tonight and the Wings had… well… none. Even so, we did more than hold our own. The game-winner was scored by Marian Hossa during a two man advantage in the 3rd period.
All in all, this game really annoyed me and Pierre McGuire didn’t help. I can’t wait until Friday when we’re back at the Joe.
This edition of Fresh Faces will look at free agent signee Ty Conklin, who is back for his second stint with the Red Wings. The 35 year old veteran will battle Joey MacDonald for the job of backing up starting goaltender Jimmy Howard.
Conklin was born in Arizona but raised in Alaska. He is the only goaltender from Alaska to ever play in the NHL. Upon completion of his career at the University of New Hampshire, Conklin was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Edmonton Oilers. He spent four years in between the NHL and various minor league teams, recording his then best season with Edmonton in 2003-04 with 17 wins.
Conklin was thrust into duty during the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals following an injury to starter Dwayne Roloson. The Oilers went on to blow a three goal lead, and Conklin committed a critical error on the game winning goal with just 30 seconds left. He would sit the remainder of the series, which the Oilers lost in seven games.
Following another unproductive season between two different organizations, many began to wonder if Conklin would ever recover from the 2006 disaster. The Pittsburgh Penguins signed him to a minor league deal in July of 2007. Following an injury to starter Marc-Andre Fleury, Conklin was recalled to the NHL.
It was here when Conklin resurrected his NHL career, winning nine straight starts including the Winter Classic that season. He would finish with a 18-8-5 record and a franchise record .923 save percentage that season. Upon Fleury’s return from injury, Conklin was commended for his leadership in the locker room, and considered a big factor in the Penguins deep playoff run that season. They would eventually lose to his next team, the Detroit Red Wings, in a six game Stanley Cup Final.
Conklin would split time with starter Chris Osgood in the 2008-09 season, recording a career high 25 wins. He was again credited for being a great teammate in the locker room. Conklin is often regarded around the league as a normal guy, which is rare for men of his position.
After serving two years in a backup role in St. Louis, Conklin is excited to be back in Detroit. Considering the injuries to the goaltenders of Motown last season, the team is happy to have depth at the position.
One interesting thing about Ty is the number of premiere games he has appeared in, especially given his history as a backup or minor league goaltender. Conklin has started in more outdoor games than any player: The 2003 Heritage Class (Edmonton) and the 2008 & 2009 Winter Classics (Pittsburgh and Detroit). He also played in the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals and 2009 NHL Premiere in Stockholm Sweden (St. Louis).