Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wings Fans Hearing Same Old Story

I can't believe I'm doing this.

I can't believe I HAVE to do this, but it needs to be done.

As long as there are hockey 'analysts', there will be bad reporting. With that said, as long as the Red Wings are an organization there will also be bad reporting on how age is going to be the downfall of the team.

I can already see the bats coming out. Dead horse, beware.

In a recent article on by "veteran hockey columnist" Mike Brophy, it was suggested that the Wings are going to be on the decline based on the idea that age is making people "wonder if they remain special". Well, isn't this novel? I've NEVER heard this argument before...well except maybe a couple times over the last ten damned years. Will people just give it up already? In response to Brophy, I say yes, my Wings are still very special. Want to know why?

-19 consecutive playoff runs
- 4 cups during that span
- 2 trips to the finals in the last 3 years

Age may do a lot of things, but keeping the Wings from being successful has not been one of them. Also, I would like to point out something that Mr. Brophy neglects to touch upon in his Sportsnet piece. His claim of age tarnishing the Wings should, by logic, apply to other teams. Father Time comes for everyone, but Brophy conveniently omits the fact that there are teams just as "old" as Detroit. Calgary has an average age of just over 30 years old, and they have been pretty consistently in the hunt for a playoff spot, only missing the postseason once in the last four seasons. New Jersey, another perennial favorite to visit the second season, also have an average of 30+ years old. Why don't we hear this argument for the Flames? For the Devils? Why is it an exclusive point of debate held for Detroit discussion? On the other side of the coin, the Toronto Maple Leafs have an average age of 26, and youth sure as hell hasn't helped them accomplish anything of late.

What I'm really saying at the end of the day is this: The only thing that is tired and worn out is the argument that the Red Wings are tired and worn out. The Wings--despite age, injury, and whatever you want to throw at them--will be waving to you from the postseason, and THAT, Mr. Brophy, is why they are, and always will be, special.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Star Power Matters: Wings and Hawks Split Preseason Home-and-Home

That's what you pay the big guys the big bucks for.

In a back-to-back series between the Red Wings and Blackhawks, we got pretty much what anyone could have expected. On Friday, the Wings played with their stars and Chi-town mostly did not. Result: Red Wings 3-2 victory. Tonight, we had the opposite, with Detroit opting to rest its studs, and the Hawks came away with a 4-2 win of their own.

I don't wanna look too hard into things with it being preseason and all, but it's nice to note that most of our young guys are actually doing pretty well so far: putting up points, staying on the plus side of the ratings, and so on. This whole not playing your A-Team every night thing is starting to grate on me though. I'm obviously ready for the regular season.

Next on the skid is a date with the New York Rangers tomorrow at 5PM ET, conveniently in the middle of my shift at work, so I don't have to think too hard on it.

Even so, Wingnuts, I still say: Let's Go Red Wings!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Preseason Preview: Wings VS Blackhawks, 7PM ET

Take a second to play a fun little game of 'Guess which Hawks players in the photo are still on the roster' and then we'll begin the show.

Done? Yeah, it's not as exciting as it sounds, but it's funny to note that the most important player in that pic for Chicago is the one who ISN'T there anymore.

Detroit makes its preseason home debut tonight against the defending (read: pretending--half the squad wasn't even there last year) Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks. With a projected lineup that looks much more like something we'd see during the regular season, the Wings will be looking to show Marty Turco that you can change your shirt and change your number, but that doesn't mean we don't still 'got your number'.

It's looking early on like Datsyuk and Zetterberg, as well as defensive stalwart Nick Lidstrom, will all be playing tonight against the champs; meanwhile, Johan Franzen will be sitting for approximately 3 games due to a thigh injury sustained from Pittsburgh goon Brooks Orpik. Also of great note: one of Detroit's brightest prospects, one Brendan Smith, appears to be making his debut for the Wings tonight as well, so that will be very interesting to watch.

After the one-sided showdown in Steeltown, I think the key for Babs tonight would definitely be to get the boys playing MUCH more defensively aware and responsible. Let them know that performances like that of Brian Lashoff will not cut it in Hockeytown, and push for the excellence we know our guys, both young and old, possess. With Lids on point and Jimmah filling the crease tonight, I expect this to be a much closer game, one the Wings have every chance of winning. Let's open the Joe in good fashion for this 2010-11 season!!

Till tonight, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

TDG Post-Game Report: More Accurate than the Associated Press!

Did you see my ninjas at work? Of course you didn't, I told you my eyes weren't REALLY shifting sneakily.

In what can only be considered a lopsided affair between the Penguins and the Grif-I mean, Red Wings last night, the Penguins got to do...well, pretty much whatever they wanted, opening their new hole in the ground with a victory. That they can actually be proud of the win is something I would heavily debate; however, as far as the Associated Press is concerned, you may as well say that Pittsburgh beat Detroit's A-game roster!

From the AP: "With a sellout crowd of 18,087 and both teams using much of their “A” lineups, the $321 million arena opened with an almost regular-season intensity."

Really? Are you absolutely sure about that, AP...? Let's take a closer look.

Top 2 Scratched PIT forwards: Jordan Staal, Chris Kunitz
Top 2 Scratched DET forwards: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterburg

Top 2 Scratched PIT defense: Paul Martin, Alex Goligoski
Top 2 Scratched DET defense: Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski

Starting PIT G: M.A.Fleury
Starting DET G: Chris Osgood

The Associated Press considers this to be an evenly matched game. Hmm...I have doubts about the objective integrity of a news source when "most" of our A roster means Brad Stuart is our top defenseman. At any rate, I knew well enough to keep my hopes low for this game and boy am I glad I did. It was nice to give the youngins some actual gametime; that by no means translated into it being a pretty sight.

The bright spot for me through all of this was Thomas McCollum's shutout period in the third. Very promising start for the prospect goaltender, especially in the wake of Osgood's efforts through 40 minutes. On the other end, the biggest disappointment had to be Brian Lashoff at a miserable -4 on the night. Someone on Twitter said it best last night by stating he should change name to Brian in, the roster.

What can we take from this? Well, we know that if Grand Rapids ever played Pittsburgh, chances are they'd lose. Beyond that, it was a great learning experience for the prospects. Almost all of our star power was benched from the game, the biggest star we had out went down for the game with a charlie horse, what did people really expect? I asked to see the game kept close, which happened for about...close to half the game. As soon as the score went to 4-1 it was a write-off, stop worrying about it and look forward to the next game.

Speaking of next game, I'll be curious to see the projected roster for the game Friday against the Blackhawks. It'll be interesting to see if the marquee on the Wings side is a bit more sparkly this time around, or whether our studs will be getting more rest. Have to wait and see.

Till then, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

P.S.: I will be reprimanding my ninjas for not doing more serious damage to the unholy one.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Preseason Gameday Thread: Wings @ Penguins, 7PM ET

Well, it's something, right??

It's been a long drag through the offseason, but we finally have something to look forward to, even though it's only the preseason. That's right, Red Wings hockey is BACK! The Wings begin their exhibition season in the city we all know and hate, the worse half of the 2008 and 2009 Cup Finals: Pittsburgh.

It's hard to really do any deep analysis on this game that would mean anything: both teams have only just begun their preseason stint and the squad lineups are nothing like they would be during a regular season match-up. The one nice thing we can take away from this showdown (besides a W) is a chance to get a really good look--or listen in this case, as it seems radio may be our only hope of tuning in to the game--at some of the young guys vying for a spot on the roster. Guys like Ritola, Kindl, and Lashoff have to show Mike Babcock that they have the right stuff to excel in the regular lineup.

I find the difference in roster make-up between the Wings and Penguins for this game interesting. If you look around at the projected lineups, it appears that, unlike the Wings, Pittsburgh is throwing pretty much all their studs into this first game. Crosby and Malkin will both be prancing around tonight, God forbid something happen to them during the game (and no, my eyes did not just shift sneakily, you're seeing things).

Because of these differences in rosters, my expectations are not as high as they would normally be. If our MOSTLY starless squad (Modano, Hudler and Franzen will be playing, for example) keeps the game relatively close, then I'm happy. Should they win, and I really hope they do, I'll probably have someone knocking on my door advising me that I'm breaking some sort of noise bylaw or some foolishness.

I'm not going to do up a winning formula for this game, because I think something like that this early on would be silly. I could easily state a couple of things that would help ensure victory, but with little to no information on how some of the younger guys are going to handle playing another club at the NHL level, there are far too many variables to come up with anything reliable or even close to accurate. Play hard, be aware, and make sure you can last 60 minutes or more with gas in the tank. If we can get all our boys to do that tonight, we may get some very good reads on how well rested our vets are and how our prospects may shape up as the year goes on.

It's gonna be interesting. I can't wait.

Till tonight, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red wings!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Red VS White: Final Wings Scrimmage has Anti-climactic Ending

Of all the days my body decides to completely shut itself down for 13 hours, it had to be last night going into today!!! ARGH!!!

Anyway, that's not what you're here to read about. You're here to read about the final scrimmage for Red Wings Training Camp 2010! It was exciting to me that I'd be able to watch the game on a web stream...until I slept through most of it from exhaustion. Yay!

However, perhaps because I only saw the last 10 minutes of the game I was picking every little detail apart as closely as I could. Granted, I had to quickly check numbers during play to see who was even playing on which team, it didn't take long to note which side had the Eurotwins. From the point I started watching (and I'm assuming for most of the game), Team Red showed the most offensive intensity, with Pav and Hank wreaking havoc on the minds of the Team White defenders.

With the score tied 3-3 and the clock winding down, I was thinking that maybe, JUST maybe, they would play an OT period and I could see a bit more of this grand spectacle. Apparently Jonathan Ericsson heard me and made good on what I was saying last year: he's taking over the choking role of Andreas Lilja on the roster. Ericsson, with one of the most pitiful attempts I've ever witnessed, crossed IN FRONT OF his netminder and tried to back pass the puck to his defense partner, only to have the puck travel 7.34 inches, which was the exact distance it took for Big E to put the puck right on Darren Helm's stick.

Wouldn't be so bad normally...except Helmer was on the other team.

Helm, with the greatest of ease, took the offered gift and stuffed it home past goalie Joey MacDonald, who really had no chance at all to stop the shot (supposing he even had time to finish processing his previous thought of 'what the HELL was that, Big Rig??'), and made it 4-3 Team Red.

After that, Red really never let up, pouring on pressure and doing well at keeping the puck in the offensive zone for chances. J-Mac made some good stops, but in the end it was too much pressure, and Team Red added another tally before the final whistle to end the game at 5-3 Team Red over Team White.

I really wish I could've watched this game from start to finish, and I'm sorry that my analysis is so patchy because of it, but from what I did see, things generally look good, and it makes me all the more excited for the regular season to start.

I'll have to settle for Detroit kicking the piss out of the Penguins tomorrow. Darn.

Until then, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Maltby Signs, Meech Clears Waivers

Just a quick update:

The news that Detroit F Kirk Maltby has signed a one-year deal with the Wings has been out there for some time, but in the wake of Maltby returning, there was less fanfare made for the other move made by the Wings yesterday. D Derek Meech had been put on waivers by Detroit, and the news is coming through today that he has successfully cleared waivers, so Derek is still in the fold for the time being.

We'll be watching for any more Wings news as the season draws closer and closer...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Taking a Moment to Marvel: Jimmah's New Mask

For those who haven't seen it yet, I feel the need to go out and advertise this awesomeness, as I'm a big comic geek as well as a Datsyukian geek. Jimmy Howard was spotted at practice with his new facemask, complete with a design of Dr. Otto Gunther Octavius himself!

More into the X-Men myself, but the world of Spider-man is cool with me too!