Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Wings Hit Oil Slick, Recover for Win

"After the second we let them back in the game..we just said 'continue to put pucks in try to work them down low and get chances..." - Defenseman Brad Stuart

Wow...for the Wings getting their sixth straight win, I thought I'd be much more happy. Detroit salvaged an absolutely HORRIBLE meltdown where they allowed the Edmonton Oilers to score four straight goals to tie the game and escape with a 5-4 regulation win. Brad Stuart tipped a high shot from my man Pavel Datsyuk which, after a long, lengthy and frankly nerve-wracking video review, kept the Red Wings from looking the (complete) fool.

It's a real shame that the Wings, no matter how far along the generations you go the last few years, have some habits that just seem to reside in the entity of the team, and not the players and staff. Slacking and blowing leads? Definitely one of them. Kind of scary to watch this tonight so close to the post-season, but all we can do is hope it scared the hell out of the Wings and keeps them from pulling this stunt again for a long, long time.

So with that, let's look at the three keys from the preview:

1.) Learn from the Past - Hah. Well, I think the Wings skipped this class in school today. Detroit had to have that season series somewhere in the back of their heads, but I don't think they were looking back far enough. The Red Wings let their foot off the gas, and boy did Edmonton ever let them know how that ends up. "We sat back a little..." commented Stuart. I'd call it more sitting down and taking a nap, setting a four-goal alarm clock. Luckily the Wings heard the bells and woke up in time...

2.) Demoralize Dubnyk - It's funny how some things just kind of domino-effect, isn't it? Remember how I said to throw this out should Dubnyk not get the nod? Well, Detroit played the first half of the game well enough for this to hold true. Props to the Slicks for sticking to their main goalie, but Detroit did all the damage they needed...or SHOULD have needed. Instead, we have the acid-trip freak-out by the Wings that led to the game being tied and, oh, guess what happens next? All of a sudden, Deslauriers knows how to stop a hockey puck!! Goddamnit, when you score four goals on a guy, you shouldn't NEED to pound him any further, but because of Detroit's lack of discipline tonight, that ended up being a necessity, and it damn-well almost didn't happen!!

3.) More Shots on the PP - I honestly don't know about this one, as I missed two of Detroit's man-advantages, but let me say thank CHRIST we got at least one! It made a hell of a difference tonight, now didn't it? I'm assuming since we converted that we did, indeed, take a few more shots. I don't like the idea of our PP unit relying on lucky bounces when we have the opponent scrambling for two straight minutes. Am I wrong to expect that, with the firepower of the Red Wings, we should feasibly be converting close to half the PP opportunities we get? Am I out of line here? Should our PK corps be scoring as much as our powerplay guys??

Oi...I am just really not pleased with this game. I can't get happy about the win. Take the two points? Without a doubt, but it's the most bitter two points we've had in a while. Brad Stuart also mentioned in the locker room, "They came at us with a good push...we can't be letting teams back in. Hindsight is great, yeah? But can you really blame anyone specific in this instance, though? The whole team basically cashed in their chips after the fourth Detroit goal. Even Jimmy Howard was off his rhythm by this point in the game. Of Howard, coach Mike Babcock said, "He's just like everybody else, when everything's going good, you relax a little bit." It sounded at the end of the interview with Babs that Howard will get the nod on Thursday as well.

So we'll see what happens on Thursday when the Wings host the Columbus Bluejackets, another non-playoff-contending team from which the Wings could squeeze two more valuable points. Till then, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Preview: Wings VS Oilers

"We're still not out of the woods yet, we know we still have to continue to win to make sure we're going to make it and be in the playoffs." - Captain Nicklas Lidstrom

Detroit (39-23-13) VS Edmonton (24-44-7)

Look closely at this picture. Look into Jimmy Howard's earnest eyes. Those, my friends, are the eyes of someone who's going to be really really pissed off if the Detroit Red Wings get swept in their season series with the most garbage team in the NHL this year. The Wings look to prevent this tonight as they play host to the Oilers for the final meeting between these two teams in the regular season. A win tonight not only bolsters our playoff chances, but also ensures that Edmonton finishes with the worst record in the league. I'm not sure which part would make me smile more, honestly.

But regardless, let's look at the three keys to victory tonight:

1.) Learn from the Past - As mentioned, Edmonton has taken every game against Detroit thus far this season. Come up with whatever excuse suits your fancy: we were hurt, we were tired, we played back-to-back games. What it boils down to is this: the Wings made mistakes in their games against the Oil. Detroit needs to look to their previous games, find the mistakes and make sure they don't repeat them. Solve the problems and make it difficult for Edmonton to formulate an effective strategy to combat the Big Red Machine.

2.) Demoralize Dubnyk - I'm banking here, but I have a good feeling we'll see Mr. Dubnyk back between the pipes for this one, if only because of his performance against Detroit last time. The guy is still young and playing for an ailing team, he has things to prove, and getting his win against a healthy Red Wings squad proved some of them. We need to see the Wings come out and punish this man like he's not been punished before, don't let him feel that tonight is merely an extension of the last game. Now, in the event the Oilers go with Deslauriers, you can throw this out, but at the same time, I think the Oilers will have thrown out the game, I've not been impressed with him at all and I feel it would just lead to an eventual goalie change to Dubnyk anyway.

3.) More Shots on the PP - I laid off the Wings recently as they had found some success on the one-up, but after watching the game in Nashville...I still have grave concerns. That game did not need to go to OT, let alone the SO. The Wings had two powerplays in which Detroit did what only Detroit can do so well: squander time by over-cycling. Too many turnovers leading to clears from one too many passes, 1-2 shots per man advantage, not enough rush to the front of the net for second and third chances from rebounds...should I go on, or do you get the picture? Detroit needs to address this, unless they're undergoing special training to score shorthanded goals, which have actually been more effective lately than their powerplay...

If Detroit takes control of this game early, they can definitely use this match as a tune-up game for some of their problem areas, and with the playoffs looming, I say if they get the chance, they damn well better use it.

I will again, sadly, miss a good chunk of the game to work, barring a miracle allowance to leave early. A few less bucks in the pocket I can take if it means I see my Wings win tonight. So whenever I manage to get on Twitter, I'll hopefully see you there. Until then Wingnuts, Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Nashville Falls Prey to Red Wings in Shootout

Gonna sip on some wine while I write, so forgive any mistakes, they will be corrected upon the onset of sobriety.

Wow! For a mostly boring game, it sure ended in a thriller!! Detroit rode Jimmy Howard to his 32nd win of the season, making 33 saves and stopping 10 of 11 shootout attempts as the Wings defeated the Nashville Predators 1-0. Both goaltenders were sensational, to be honest, Pekka Rinne stood on his head all game long. We're lucky we didn't see both netminders carted off with broken necks!!

Let's take a look at my three keys from the preview:

1.) Get to Rinne Early - Ohhh wow, did I ever call this one. Detroit did not pressure Rinne enough to squeeze out a goal in the early stages of the game, and that led to Detroit going through their longest shootout of the year. That's the problem with a hot goaltender: if you don't rattle them early, 9 times of of 10 you're not going to rattle them late.

2.) Continue Series Trend - Detroit is now up 4-1 in the series, but clinching that is not important at this point. The two points Detroit got from maintaining their series dominance is what counted tonight. Even though Nashville got a point out of tonight's matchup, the Wings are now in sole possession of 6th, should Colorado lose against Phoenix tonight. Pretty good night's work, huh?

3.) Play hard, Don't Stop - Technically, I think the Wings did stick to this, though I think they had a bit of juice they didn't dig down and tap into. It was, however, enough to get Detroit the two points tonight, but I would certainly chalk this win up to a high percentage of luck. The most important thing is that the Red Wings didn't start playing really sloppy as they are wont to do when they get tired.

Now we wait through another long break before facing Edmonton (haven't we seen this before...?) on Tuesday. I'm hoping we'll see a much different outcome when the Oilers come to our house. Till then, have fun Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

P.S. Oh, and since it's so awesome, enjoy this Eavesfail.

Preview: Wings @ Predators

"Guys have been playing well. We've had it going pretty good since the Olympic break." - Goaltender Jimmy Howard

Detroit (38-23-13) @ Nashville (43-27-5)

What a roll for the Wings! Funny to think coming back from the Olympics there were a lot of Wings fans who were already thinking about next season. But with a win tonight against the Nashville Predators, the Wings could jump from a tie for 7th to a tie for 5th in the Western Conference. Detroit is leading the season series 3 games to 1 currently, with Nashville winning the earliest matchup.

Let's take a look at my three keys to a lock for 5th, shall we?

1.) Get to Rinne Early - Pekka Rinne has been a godsend for the Preds, as Dan Ellis has been sub-par compared to his last season performance. I have no doubts Nashville will look to him tonight against a very hot Red Wings offense. Detroit needs to generate shot after shot and crack him a quickly as possible. He may be playing well, but Rinne is no seasoned vet, get under his skin, and he could buckle.

2.) Continue Series Trend - This one should be obvious, but the Wings should really try to remember that they're leading the series against Nashville, considering they were playing hurt in every game previous to tonight. If the Wings were able to fend off the Preds with half of Grand Rapids in the lineup, what do you suppose a 99% healthy Wings squad could do to these guys? I'm just sayin'...

3.) Play Hard, Don't Stop - A very simple work ethic: Nashville is not going to want to give Detroit these two points, because that puts the Preds one step closer to playing one of the top 3 teams in the West in the 1st round of the playoffs. Nashville will give it everything tonight to prevent that, and we have to give even more to make it happen. Getting to the playoffs is an almost guaranteed lock at this point. Now, it's about positioning. If Detroit can rise up the standings and get to 5th (maybe even 4th, should the 'Yotes fall apart dramatically.), we then have the luxury of watching Detroit potentially gain home ice advantage later on in the tournament. That, my friends, would be huge.

So that's it: basically if the boys buckle down and play a good game of hockey, I think this one's in the bag. I can already smell 5th place, and it's making me anxious for the playoffs. Game starts a little later tonight, so I'll only miss a little bit, maybe the first 20, but I'll be back on Twitter tonight once I'm home from work. Till then, as always, have fun following the game Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Mule Shows Minnesota Who's Really Wild

"We got out there, got rollin' was a good effort by our team, we didn't have to overplay guys...when you got a good team, lots of guys can contribute." - Coach Mike Babcock

It was a good night for contributions, apparently. The Detroit Red Wings exploded for six goals, the most they've tallied in a game since November, as they pounded the Minnesota Wild 6-2. Johan Franzen was good for two goals and two assists tonight which gave The Mule his first four-point night of his career. On the other side of the glass, we had the "Herm 2 Hockeytown" group in the stands to watch their Wings perform their best in four months. The H2H project raised over a whopping $5000.00 for DMC Children's Hospital along with bringing Brazilian Wingnut Guilherme Calciolari to Detroit to see his favorite team play live. All of this puts the Wings at 89 points on the year, tied with Colorado for 7th and only two points out of 5th spot, currently held by Nashville who they play tomorrow.

Let's look at the keys to victory!

1.) Run with The Big 3 - Well, I guess if this key didn't get met, watching the 1st line explode for a change is a welcome substitute!! Datsyuk, Franzen and Holmstrom combined for eight points against the Wild, splitting goals and assists evenly. This shows that Babs can confidently keep the lines as they are, because it's not just The Big 3 kicking it up a notch now!!

2.) FIX THE $#@&ing PP!! - Finally the Wings start converting again!! Detroit pocketed two powerplay goals, going 2 for 9 with the man-advantage. I know the Wings got a shortie tonight, but that's not something we can count on all the time. We SHOULD be able to count on the boys taking advantage of a 5 on 4 or 5 on 3. 2 for 9 still isn't pretty, but it'll do for now.

3.) Clean up the Garbage - Redirections, guys in front, the Wings got right in Minnesota's face tonight and man, did it ever work. This is the kind of play I'm talking about, being able to switch from the finesse game to the dirty, grinding style that gets under a team's skin. You know what that grinding style can do? Create powerplays. We saw a bit of that, now didn't we?

All in all, this was the best game thus far to convince me that MY Wings are back. The West better watch out, because the Red Wings aren't as dead in the water as everyone thought they were. Hope you have money saved away for your playoff tickets, because we're going back for round 19. Good night Wingnuts and Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Preview: Wings VS Wild

"We've been playing playoff hockey for a while here, having to get points every single night." - Goalie Jimmy Howard

Detroit (37-23-13) VS Minnesota (36-32-6)

Well Wingnuts, one of the most anticipated games of the year is finally here!! Why, you might ask? Well it's not because we're playing host to the Wild, I can assure you's because today, finally, we've brought one of our brethren to Graceland. That's right: Herm is in Hockeytown. Our Brazilian brother will be in attendance for the game tonight, so if you can watch the game, I strongly suggest you do so, as we may be lucky enough to see Herm and the many H2H supporters who are joining him in the Joe tonight. It's gonna be something special, let me tell you.

But for now, my three keys to victory for tonight's game:

1.) Run with The Big 3 - The Zetterberg line, which I am henceforth naming "The Big 3", has been on an absolute tear, a combined 20 points in their last 3 games, and Babs would be more than a little silly to break them up now. Kudos ti him for not sticking Cleary back on the line after getting healthy, hopefully he sticks to his guns and lets these boys have some more playtime together. Like I've always said, if something's working, ride it till the wheels fall off.

2.) FIX THE $#@&ing PP!!! - Speaking of riding something till the wheels fall off, what the hell happened to the Red Wings PP units??? Good lord, we still haven't got a PP goal since playing Calgary 20,000 years ago!! Babcock needs to either tell the same units t stop cycling so much and shoot more, or switch out guys who are too happy to pass for guys itching to shoot. I'm sick of wasted man-advantages where Detroit only generates like 2 shots. Yeah, they might have been good chances, but they still aren't going in!! Like I keep hollering at my laptop when I watch/listen: gets shots off with a body in front for a loose rebound, if we can't score pretty ones, there's only one other option...

3.) Clean up the Garbage - Teams know how the Wings play. They know we like to control the puck instead of playing dump-and-chase. They know we like to cycle for a prime scoring chance. The problem with this is that most of the time, the opposing team is so focussed on shutting that style of play down, they completely forget about that dirtier, more grinding style of play of dumping the puck in, winning the ensuing battle on the boards, then bringing the puck out front for a chance or two or three, depending on the guys you have in front of the crease. The thing most teams might not realize is that Detroit actually has the bodies to play that style. They just...don't, for the most part anyway. I'm not saying we can throw ourselves around like a team like Anaheim, I'm saying that Detroit has the manpower to push to the net and get those nasty goals you have to fight for. If Detroit can mix up their offensive styles, it will go a long way in terms of production and, more importantly, winning these last few and crucial games of the regular season.

Unfortunately, I work again tonight, so I will miss a good chunk of the game, but I'll be on Twitter tonight soon as I get home. So till then, have fun tonight Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

For the Twitter...ers

Just throwing this up on my blog since everyone on Twitter loved it so much: I'd like to show you my interpretation of the Red Wings's march to the Playoffs. Enjoy...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blues can't find Rhythm

"I think if you have a lot of guy injured, it's tough...we get back healthy, those guys...are confident in themselves and keep playing good." - Henrik Zetterberg, post-game interview.

Another big win by the Motown boys tonight as Val Filppula scored twice to help the Wings beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2, maintaining a 4 point lead over the Flames for 8th and, at least for the moment, tying Colorado for the 7th seed.

Let's take a quick look at the three keys from my preview:

1.) Rattle Conker - Well, it took them a period, we'll call it a freebie for Ty, but by the 2nd period, Detroit finally came out with some spurts where the Wings shelled Conklin till he buckled for goals. I personally don't feel Detroit put as much pressure on the former Wing as they should have, but apparently it was enough tonight.

2.) Defend Home Ice - And defend they did! After going down 1-0 in the first, Detroit came on with a renewed vigor and answered back to St. Louis's offensive barrage. It'll feel real good for Mike Babcock and his boys to know they downed one of the best road teams in the league right now.

3.) Convert PP's!! - This one...this one really bothers me. The Wings went 0 for 2 again tonight, making Detroit's current streak 1 for 12 in their last five games, again their last PP goal coming against Calgary. Yeah, it was that far back. I'm concerned because there's going to be games that we have chances on the man-advantage, and if we don't convert we're going to see the Red Wings losing games they might have sent into OT or going past regulation when they really shouldn't be.

Ahh well, we can always trust that Babs will work the kinks out. After all, the Wings previously couldn't score even-strength, and that obviously isn't a problem now, is it...?

Next on tap: The Wings play host again, this time to the Wild, and the Wings will also house a special guest! Herm, from the 'Herm 2 Hockeytown' project, will be in attendance for the game, thanks to the generous donations of not only Red Wings fans, but good-hearted people from all corners of the hockey world. So until then, I wish Herm a safe trip to Motown, and a good night to you Wingnuts!! Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Preview: Wings VS Blues

Detroit (36-23-13) VS St. Louis (34-29-9)

"This is the best run we've been on all year...We're desperate to try to get into the Playoffs. We have proud players who have done a lot of winning over a long period of time." - Coach Mike Babcock

With a win last night by Calgary, the Wings have another important game ahead of them tonight as they play host to the St. Louis Blues, and attempt to remain four points ahead of the Flames for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The numbers between Detroit and St. Louis are pretty close all around: same goals for, only 6 goals against difference, but the Wings have had the better luck with their record so far this season, despite injury woes.

Let's look at my three keys to victory for tonight:

1.) Rattle Conker - I have no doubt in my mind that Ty Conklin is starting this game. With Chris Mason's recent play and Conklin's knowledge of the Wings having played here last year, Ty has already proven he can stand up to his former teammates, shutting the Wings out 1-0 in the previous meeting between the two teams. Detroit needs to pressure Conklin hard and often and keep him out of rhythm, because if he sets in, the Wings could be in for a long game.

2.) Defend Home Ice - Detroit cannot take for granted that the Blues have the second-best road record in the NHL right now. The Blues can't win at home and love to take it out on other teams in their own house. If the Wings keep the D locked in and don't let St. Louis set the pace, they should be able to prevent the Blues from mounting any formidable offense.

3.) Convert PP's!! - With such a vaunted line of offensive firepower, you may not have noticed this, but the Wings are currently 1 for 9 in their last four games on the Power Play, their last PP goal was against Calgary back on March 15th. Detroit needs to address this. They have managed to solve their even-strength scoring issues, but now all of a sudden they're unable to pocket goals while up by a man or more, and that can prove fatal in the Playoffs, best to solve his dilemma early as well.

As reported on Yahoo! Sports, the Blues haven't taken three games in the Joe since 1990-91. I don't like that we're even tempting this, but as long as the boys from Hockeytown stick to the plan, this is one milestone we'll keep out of the history books.

Well, that's it for now, I'll be on Twitter for the game tonight. Hope I'll catch you there, and Go Red Wings!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Finally, some Revenge!!

Quote of the game: "MFMNDFNDF FUNNUFMMMD!!" - Sidney Crosby to Jimmy Howard's Glove.

March 22 - Final Score: Detroit 3, Pittsburgh 1

Can I just stop for a moment...and say how beautiful that was? Please? I just want to revel in it. I unfortunately didn't get to watch all of the game tonight, as I was working till 8:30 EST, but the parts I did see...well, let's just say it's nice to see MY Red Wings back on the ice, the Wings I love to watch play hockey.

Let's go to my three keys. I'll review with what bits of the game I did catch:

1.) 60 Minutes - Well gee, can't really cover this one can I? Here's a thought, I'm turning this into a discussion: Comment below as to whether you felt Detroit played a full game of hockey or not and why, let's see what the consensus is.

2.) Building Blocks - Man, from what I saw, the Wings definitely carried momentum into this game!! I'm glad to see Detroit finally moving with the speed we all know they possess, and not just guys like Helmer and Drapes.

3.) Hone the D - Again, from what I saw, the Red Wings seemed to really fine tune their defense and make life a lot easier on Jimmy Howard than they have in recent weeks. A strong Howie and a strong defensive showing from the skaters and guess what? We're gonna see a lot more games end with a score like tonight's.

Now...I have to go back to this, you know I do, and you want me to! Don't hide it! Crosby. What...the...hell...was that gross display of poor sportsmanship at the end of the game?? I can understand if Matt Cooke had pulled that garbage, but guess what Crysbaby: Whether you like being a poster boy for the NHL or not, you've been made one, so act like one!! I may not like your scuzzy ugly ass, but it's your face and your actions that are supposed to promote this game to the new demographic, and you're doing a shit job of it!!! All you've proven thus far this year is that you can be an Olympic hero, and once that's done revert into a cheap opportunist who expects that he can do as he pleases with no consequence to his actions!!

But I'm not going to dwell on Crosby, he's not worth my time or yours, I'll just remember the sweet image of Jimmy Howard's catcher swallowing Sid's head like a baseball. Till next time, Wingnuts!! Go Red Wings!!!

Preview: Wings VS Penguins

“If we play good, we’re going to get into the playoffs, so that’s what we try to do,” - Mike Babcock

Detroit (35-23-13) VS Pittsburgh (42-24-6) we are again. Another rematch of the last two Stanley Cup Finals matchups. Detroit has already played the Pens this season, the most recent meeting ending in a shootout loss. One thing, however, is different about the Wings this time around: The Penguins will be facing a (mostly) healthy Detroit squad tonight, and if an injury-ridden Wings lineup took Pittsburgh to a shootout...? Let's just review my three keys to victory, shall we?

1.) 60 Minutes - No, not the TV show, this is how long the Wings need to play serious if they really wanna win this game. Even if we have a much healthier squad now, we can't afford to give the Pens any high-percentage chance off of turnovers or bad plays on the boards. Look at the last two games: two goal leads given up two consecutive nights. This cannot happen tonight.

Ick, gonna be late for work, gotta go fast...:

2.) Building Blocks - Real simple: Lots of momentum from the last game, carry it over and come out strong!

3.) Hone the D - The Wings skaters can't be caught standing around if we're to win tonight. If we let the Pens possess the puck, we're doomed, straight up.

Okay, gotta jet, I'll be on Twitter tonight! Go Red Wings!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Moment to Recover...

...Okay, we're good. Just had to swallow my heart and get it back in the right place again.

Honestly, how are we Wings fans supposed to make it into the postseason with all this excitement?? We'll all have heart failure before the end of 82 games!! But I digress, for those of you Wingnuts who are still with me, the Red Wings pulled off what they couldn't quite muster last night in Edmonton, downing the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 in Overtime, getting another astonishing buzzer-beater, this time from Henrik Zetterberg.

Let's quickly review my three keys in the preview for tonight's game:

1.) Shake it Off! - Well, the Wings certainly had an easy time forgetting about their lack-luster showing in Oil-town, just not in the way you would expect (or hope). The Wings gave up a two goal lead in the first period for the second time in 48 hours, giving the 'Nucks what seemed for a while a good stranglehold on the game. Detroit turned it around though, and made Wings history in the process, by getting two goals - the first by Todd Bertuzzi and the second from Pavel Datsyuk - in the span of five (5) seconds to lock the game 2-2. Detroit did tonight what they should've done much, much sooner against the Oilers, shake off the embarrassment and move on.

2.) Hit 'em Hard! - Well, it wasn't as much as I'd have liked to see, but for most of the game, the Wings kept pace with Vancouver in the hits department. I saw numerous times where Franzen, Stuart, even Bertuzzi were throwing their weight around. Good to see on a team that lets their stars get thrashed far too much for my liking. Guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk shouldn't need to worry about protecting themselves, all they should have to think about is getting the pucks in the net.

3.) Hit 'em Fast! - You want my example of the Wings meeting this prerequisite? Look back to key number one: Scoring two goals in five seconds is a real good way of taking a team's spirit and stomping it flat. It definitely slowed the Canucks offense for a bit, even though they did retake the lead thereafter, but the fact remains that the Wings' explosion of offense had to be haunting Vancouver's thoughts for the rest of the game.

Well, pretty good showing tonight all in all! That's it for now, feel free to leave comments with your thoughts in the section below. Until next time, Wingnuts! Let's go Red Wings!!!

P.S.: Also, a special congratulations to the wonderful folks overseeing Herm 2 Hockeytown (H2H) for meeting their goal of $2000.00 to bring Brazilian Wingnut Guilherme Calciolari to Detroit to watch the Red Wings live on March 26 when they host the Minnesota Wild!!!

Preview: Wings @ Canucks

Detroit (34-23-13), Vancouver (44-24-3)

Well, after a terrible effort last night, the Red Wings hope to get a fresh start this evening when they invade the home of the 2010 Olympics to faceoff against the Canucks, whose own version of the Eurotwins have helped their team garner a comfortable pile of points in the West.

Pre-Game Three Keys:

1.) Shake it Off! - The Wings cannot dwell on the disappointing loss last night. Detroit needs to come out fresh if they want to give the Canucks, who are a much better team than Edmonton, a run for their money.

2.) Hit 'em Hard - The big boys in D-Town need to throw the body!! It's been the story of too many games that Detroit simply gets muscled off the puck and loses possession before mounting any offense, and that's fatal to a "puck possession team".

3.) Hit 'em Fast - Detroit should look to its opponent last night for one thing: Edmonton took it to the Wings early and it rewarded them with two goals within five minutes. Those five minutes made the game for the Oilers, can could make the game for the Red Wings, should they mount the same kind of early charge.

I'll be at work today, but I'll likely be on Twitter tonight for the game. Till then, Go Red Wings!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Taking comfort in the Little Things...

March 19, Final Score: Edmonton 3, Detroit 2 (SO)

Well, certainly it'd be much nicer for the debut posting on a Red Wings blog to appear on the evening of a Detroit win, but we do what we must, right?

And hey, for a split second, that was almost the case.

Detroit made an effort - as I refuse to use the term "battled" in this instance - and after giving up a horrendous two-goal lead after a quarter of a period of hockey, the Red Wings managed to squeak out one of the most unlikely points they will have obtained all year.

Three keys to what happened here tonight:

1.) Vacation Hangover - Detroit came out textbook to what you'd expect from a team that has not competed for three days: lethargic, uncomposed (or decomposed, take your pick...), and nervous. Missed passes, botched coverage, and absolutely no jump in the skates from 90% of the roster is going to get you in trouble, and it was definitely so in the case of the Wings tonight.

2.) Pussyfooting - I'm really...I mean REALLY...getting sick of watching skaters like Bertuzzi, Franzen and Ericsson loping around and not finishing checks. You wanna focus on offensive play? Fine, but that's only an excuse if you're producing offense!!! For the love of God, throw your weight around when you get a chance for a clean hit, please!! Our stars get pummeled every night because other teams know that we won't, not can't, protect them!! Sad fact of this? Ericsson had the lowest playing time of the above three mentioned with 13:20...but also had the most shots with a whopping two SOG...

3.) RGS: Reliable Goaltender Syndrome - I swear, if Jimmy Howard has to stand on his head much more, the poor boy's gonna break his damn neck. The Red Wings need to take a long, hard look at some of the videos from their previous games. I can confidently say that 80-90% of the goals that have gone past Howard in the last month were ones he had no chance of ever stopping. Why? Because the Wings skaters are playing Swiss Cheese hockey. Your goaltender can only bail you out of so much, but when you consistently give up high-percentage chances the end result is *gasp!* usually a goal against!!

I truly think the Wings realize the situation they're in, but you have to admit that this is very foreign territory for the boys in Red and White. That's not an excuse, mind you. Detroit needs to pick up their play, because the second thing they should realize is that they are letting invaluable points slip through their fingers that could cost them the playoffs, and the injury card cannot be played anymore...