Monday, December 19, 2011

Wings Stand Firm in Oiltown, Edge Edmonton 3-2

Well, that was a harrowing evening!

Drew Miller came through for the Red Wings in the final frame and once again scored the game-winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers, holding on for a 3-2 win.  Danny Cleary and Jiri Hudler also scored for Detroit in a game that, in some instances, the Wings could have let slip away.

I say this because there have been similar games played by Detroit that they HAVE let slip away from them.  It's nice to see that Detroit is learning to better adapt when things don't go as planned, like against Los Angeles.  Jimmy Howard was solid again tonight, helping keep the Wings on top with his 20th win of the season, making him the 1st goalie to hit that mark this year.

Couple of thoughts on the game: As I already mentioned, this was a game that the Wings could have let get away from them, what with the speed and raw talent of the youthful Oilers squad.  Thankfully, hard work and experience proved the determining factor in this contest.

The bottom 2 forward lines have just been stellar of late, and it just proves again that a team with depth is a force to be reckoned with.  Coach Babcock has to be grinning inside when he can roll all 4 lines and get production from each one, without having to worry about leaning on the superstars to generate offense.

Now, the Red Wings will head to Vancouver for a date with the Canucks, and a chance to start moving above .500 on the road!

Class dismissed

Oh, and also: Apologies to the Jonny fans, but Ericsson was garbage [again] tonight, my ire is further risen.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wings Focused on Flipping Fortunes, Face Phoenix

Detroit (16-9-1) VS Phoenix (15-9-3)

Holy F.

The Red Wings have looked sub-par in their previous 2 games, and their record has suffered for it accordingly.  Now it's time for Detroit to jump back on the win wagon with a match-up tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. The good news coming into tonight's game is that Valtteri Filppula will be back in the lineup after being cut by a skate and sidelined.

Since Flip's absence, Detroit has looked off.  More bad passing, more miscommunication, and a general increase in inconsistency.  Hopefully with Val back in the lineup, things will shift back to normal.

My money is on Flip to come back and make an immediate impact again, picking up where he left off before his injury.

That's it from me.  Now I must prep for a sparring session for fencing, then return to cheer on the Wings!

Class dismissed.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Times, They Are A'Changing

It's pretty much official now: We will once again be looking at a new NHL come next season.

The NHL Board of Governors have approved a re-alignment format for the 2012-2013 season that looks to be ready to bring about much change to the way teams get to Lord Stanley's Cup.  The NHL will now consist of 4 Conferences, for now simply denoted as Conference 'A' through 'D'.  At the end of the regular season, each Conference's Top 4 will play quarterfinal and semifinal series to determine the winner of each Conference, leaving the Final 4.  Those four will then be paired off--likely Conference A vs B, C vs D--and the winners will meet for a shot at the Stanley Cup.

What does this mean in the long run for the Red Wings?  Well, the first thing that comes to mind after looking the format over is the change in scheduling.  Detroit will no longer be forced into multiple marathon west-coast road trips like recent years.  Every team will play the majority of their games against the other teams in their Conference.  Each team will now only play 1 away game against non-Conference opponents.

Though at this time the Commish still needs to bring the proposed format to the NHLPA, it's likely that this will be passed, and we will again see a new era of Detroit Red Wings hockey.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick Pre-Game: Wings Face Under-Fire Flames

Detroit (11-7-1) VS Calgary (8-10-1)

I'd like to take a moment and talk about the Wings for this pre-game, but seeing as how I missed both of the last 2 Detroit games, I really don't have much input.  What I've heard, however, impresses me: Datsyuk and Zetterberg seem to have found their scoring touch again, and the Red Wings are back to stocking up W's.

Tonight, they defend home ice against the Calgary Flames, a team struggling to find their form before Thanksgiving comes and goes.  Right now, though, they've little to be thankful for: 17 points in 19 games puts them 10 points behind 1st in the Western Conference...not to mention 10 points behind 1st in their own division.  Jarome Iginla is getting scrutinized as the team's leader, which means I'm worrying about him tonight, if I'm coach Babcock.

Looking for a strong game from the boys tonight to start a new winning streak!  30 minutes to puck-drop, I hope you all enjoy the game!

Class dismissed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Curse of the Sharks Continues, Wings get Whipped 5-2

See that in the corner? That is what I'm left with after last night's game against the San Jose Sharks.  It is what I've been left with after many games against the San Jose Sharks.  It is also what I seem to see floating over every Red Wings player's head when they PLAY the San Jose Sharks.

So...SO many questions I want to ask.

The Red Wings dropped yet another match to the Sharks in San Jose last night, getting embarrassed on the road 5-2 by the home team.  This was made worse by the fact that, for the 2nd straight game, the Wings scored first and had a lead to hold onto and botched it completely.  This leads me to my 1st question:

Why do the Red Wings players seem unable to communicate with one another at all during games?

I said on Twitter last night that, at least usually, I can predict how rough of a game it's going to be for Detroit based on their passing.  If the passing is clicking, then it's going to be their game to lose.  The intensity is usually better, there's better pressure in the offensive zone, minimal turnovers, and more wearing down of the other team.  What I saw last night worried me from the beginning.  Bad passes, sloppy, errant throw-aways to no one or, sometimes even worse, right to opposing players with no Wings even in the vicinity of the puck.  This is amateur-ish play, and completely unbecoming of the talented roster that rides the Red Wing pine.  You want a perfect example of the lack of communication? Look at the tying goal at the end of the 1st period last night.  Whether or not the puck was going to be playable for Jimmah is irrelevant.  When an opposing player is barreling toward the puck the way JOE BLOODY THORNTON did on that play, you do NOT back off!  At least get down there and give your goaltender some support! As it turns out, the puck DIDN'T make it to the trapezoid, and as a result, Howard could not play the puck, and it was a freebie scoring chance for the Sharks, which they gladly obliged.

It all just went downhill from there, with the Wings piling shots on net only to see San Jose's side of the scoreboard keep rising.  This brings me to question #2:

Why do our scorers never shoot the puck anymore?

We went through this with the Mule.  Now we're noticing it with other forwards: Filppula, Zetterberg, Datsyuk.  NOBODY IS SHOOTING!  How in the name of the hockey gods do you expect to score goals when the superstars on your team are not shooting the puck!??  You know who led our team in SOG last night?  Dan Cleary.  Yeah, DANNY CLEARY, because he's definitely the biggest offensive force on this squad.  How many shots did Datsyuk and Zetterberg combine for last night?  2 shots, Datsyuk with a pair, and Zetterberg with none.  Hank almost had a shot, but he'd been so quiet all night that when he finally decided he'd give it a try, he telegraphed it so bad that he helped make Joe Thornton look like Datsyuk on the takeaway.  Oh, and guess what? That one ended up a goal, too.  Just another odd-man rush Detroit allowed San Jose which led to high percentage chances as opposed to Detroit's crappy, low percentage chances.  I still believe there's no goal scored last night that anyone can blame on Jimmy Howard of the 4 that went by him.  Which leads me to the final question of the evening:

What in the hell was Babcock thinking pulling Jimmy Howard for the 3rd period???

I'm sorry if this offends anyone, but I seriously wondered if coach Babcock had a stroke or something when this decision was made.  Ken and Murph tried to play it off as trying to shake things up on the ice, and guess what? It worked...for San Jose, as they added another goal in the final frame, woo!  Seriously, Mike: What did you think that would accomplish when you're supposed to be trying to WIN the game!?  I was frustrated with Detroit last night, but that game was not out of reach going into the 3rd; however, pulling Howard irreparably made it so.  Jimmah did not play poorly, in fact he made some great saves to minimize the damage his lackluster teammates were allowing.  Supposing Howard had enough in the tank that night to keep the rest of the pucks out, you're looking at a 4-2 score when Cleary netted his goal in the 3rd, which came at 13:38 of the period.  2 goals in 6 and a half minutes is far more realistic than trying for 3.  Even down 2 goals, you think about pulling the goalie for the extra man in the final minutes.  You can't do it down 3, it's too far.

In summary, I guess I'm looking for a few particular things from the Wings in the next few games to improve, these are:

1.) Simplify the passing game/Minimize turnovers.
2.) Scorers NEED to shoot the puck, need higher percentage chances.
3.) Better on-ice communication is sorely needed.
4.) If Babs wants to mix something up, don't start with your goalie when he's not playing poorly.

We'll have to wait and see what Red Wings team we get next game.

Class Dismissed.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wings Look Slick Against Oilers, Blank Edmonton 3-0

One is a dot, two is a line, and three is a pattern...or in this case, a streak.

That's where Detroit is sitting now, after holding the youngin'-filled Edmonton Oilers scoreless.  The Red Wings saw goals from Drew Miller, Niklas Kronwall and Valtteri Filppula to rout the Oilers 3-0.  Jimmy Howard recorded his 3rd shutout of the season, and his 8th of his career.

The Wings were able to counter much of Edmonton's typical high-octane style of play by staying disciplined with the puck, minimizing turnovers, and staying physical in the neutral zone.  Patrick Eaves made his way back to the lineup tonight and was very feisty on the ice.  Another big factor on the ice, in my mind, was Darren Helm.  Helm's tenacity never ceases to amaze me, but tonight there were stints where it literally looked like he was in two places at once.  He was absolutely dogged in his pursuit of puck carriers, and relentless on the boards when battling for puck possession.

Henrik Zetterberg was a game-time decision, and even though he recorded an assist with his beautiful saucer pass to Filppula, it was obvious that he was nursing some kind of injury.  Johan Franzen also got an assist on the same goal, and continued his point streak, which is now at 7 points over 3 games.

So as it stands, the Wings move into 7th in the West with their win over the Oil.  We'll see if that holds after the rest of the night's games are concluded.  One thing is for sure: the Wings are moving nicely back into winning form.

Class Dismissed.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wings Hope to Avoid Snowballing VS Avalanche

Detroit (6-5-1) VS Colorado (7-6-1)

Detroit has finally put the horrific losing streak behind them, and now the task of starting a streak in the other direction begins.  The Red Wings will be looking to win their 2nd straight game against our old foes, the Colorado Avalanche.

The roster for tonight's match is relatively unchanged from Saturday: Todd Bertuzzi and Patrick Eaves are both still out with their respective ailments, but Mike Commodore will be replaced by Jakub Kindl on the blueline.  It also appears that the splitting of Datsyuk and Zetterberg will continue, with Pavel manning the top line, and Hank working the 2nd line.

My thoughts on this game are such: I am not looking for another blowout.  We put the concerns about scoring behind us in Anaheim, the boys proved that there's no lingering issues there.  I would prefer to see a couple early goals, then watch the Red Wings lock things down defensively.  Isn't that what Coach Babcock wants in the first place? He's been trying to get the team more tight defensively, but it's a more difficult task when the offense isn't there and there's no lead to protect.  In a case like that, you worry as much about scoring to get the lead as you do about not making a mistake and giving the opposing team the lead!

My prediction: 3-2 Wings, with Filppula getting the Gold Star as player of the game.

Let's Go Red Wings!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Wings Go Duck Hunting, Rout Anaheim 5-0

How's everyone's shoulders feel the day after?  Do they feel a little lighter?  I know mine do.

Detroit finally got the offensive ball rolling again and took the Anaheim Ducks to task, whipping them 5-0 on Saturday night.  Nicklas Lidstrom netted a pair, and Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, and Johan Franzen also found the back of the net, giving the Wings almost as many goals in one game as they'd gotten in their last 6.  Jimmy Howard also posted his 7th career shutout in the tilt.

I hope the Wings remember what they did last night and can carry into their next few games, because one win does not a solution make.  At the very least, the Wings did win in dominant fashion.  I would be much more concerned had Detroit simply held on to win a 1-0 game and still not found a way to score in bunches.  Also, what a relief to see the Mule take his own advice and shoot the puck!!  2 games he goes without putting a shot on net and he goes out last night and fires half a dozen Jonas Hiller's way.  Hopefully now that he's found the twine, he can continue to do so.  We're definitely going to need it to claw our way back to the top after that little stumble.

Next up: The Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday.

Class dismissed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Call for Detention: Wings Winless thru 5

Before I even begin: Yes, that was a terrible no-call on Koivu.

Also: Yes, that was a terrible no-call on Setoguchi at the exact same time as Koivu.

Now, with that aside, I want to begin by saying that I am extremely volatile over what transpired last night in the Red Wings' 2-1 OT loss to the Wild.  Someone last night said it best: "The Wings deserved better, the Wild deserved less."

With that said, there's an argument to be made here.  The argument doesn't just span last night's...whatever it was resembling a game, it spans this whole 5 game winless skid we've got going on.  Anyone think I'm wrong in saying the Wings have been a completely uninspired and unfocused group lately?  Barring a rare few players, there's no jump in the skates, there's no ferocity in the corners, no drive to get to the net.  Detroit is lacking the urgency to win that most teams have all the time, minus the talent to put it to good use.

You think Columbus is feeling urgent to win some games? You damn well know they do.

And with the loss last night, the squandering of our best start in 30 years is complete: 5 up, followed by 5 down.  10 pts after 5 games, and 11 points after 10.  Pathetic and, more importantly, unacceptable in these parts.  Change is needed, but it's not the roster or the personnel.  It's the work ethic, the grit to play the same way and at the same high level at minute 60 as you did at minute 1.  The scorers need to shoot more, the checkers need to hit and grind more.  He who hesitates is lost, and the Wings have shown every time through this trek in the wilderness of losses that their easing off the gas is killing them.  Errant passes--or simply throwing the puck at no one at all--landing on the other team's sticks, half-assing defensive assignments, an unwillingness to just put the puck on net.  These are all things can can be remedied as long as the team actually works to remedy them.  They say it, oh they say it plenty, but I've not seen the boys act on all the things they've been saying they can do to get out of this rut.

When Johan Franzen was asked by Ken Kal how the Wings can improve before last night's game, he answered, "Shoot." three times.  That was three more times than Franzen actually shot at the net during the game.

See what I'm getting at...?

Class dismissed.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Wings Wasting Best Start since '72 - A Study Hall Moment

I can imagine this is what Babs is doing, and has been doing, since the end of last night's game.  I know I am.

Detroit played host to Todd McLellan San Jose last night and was defeated by him them 4-2.  I apologize for the political correctness of correcting myself here, but even though most anyone would agree that the only reason the Sharks can deal with Detroit is having the former assistant coach for the Wings be their head coach, it's just not something that's nice to say.

As if that's ever stopped me before.

I'll say it right now: If Todd wasn't their bench boss, the roles would be the complete opposite.  No, this isn't whining, especially when you look at the stats.  Sharks players themselves will tell you that the games are extremely closely contested, but when your head coach used to work with almost every guy on the other team, he knows stuff about them that he can exploit.  Perhaps we'll see something similar in time with Ottawa now being commanded by Paul MacLean, but Ottawa does not have the talent that San Jose does--at least not yet.

Anyway, enough about that.  The bigger problem here is that Detroit lost. Again. For the third straight game.  That, my friends, is a losing streak. It is also unacceptable.  I simply can't fathom how a team like the Wings can come out the gate so hot and cool so completely!  Outside of the top line, nothing is happening with the skaters, offensively OR defensively.  Last night was a perfect example: Offensively, there was such poor passing through most of the match that it was painful to watch.  It showed a terrible lack of proper communication between the players.  Speaking of lack of communication, defense was...

Yeah, that sums that up.  I mean come on, look at the 3-2 goal for the Sharks.  Three guys back and Ian White, one of them, takes a guy to the boards.  Okay, fine, but do you think that maybe one of the other two skaters near the other end of the boards could try to, I don't know, get back and take away the middle???  Joe Thornton knows what a gimmie is, and if you offer him one like on that play, he will take it 8 days out of 7.

Sadly, even the return of Jimmy Howard wasn't enough to break Detroit from their funk.  None of the 3 goals he allowed, to me, were unstoppable, and I really feel he should've had that 2-1 goal from Marleau.  Such was not to be though, and Detroit now sits at 5-3-0 after winning their first 5 games, their best start in almost 30 years.  The Wings have wasted a great opportunity to pad their place in the standings when the inevitable injury list piles up as it always does through the regular season.  On tap tonight is a date with the Wild, where the Wings will meet the former Sharks Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi.  More on that later tonight, for right now the focus is on where the Wings are going performance-wise.

Somebody help me out here, what do you think is the best solution to the flash-meltdown the Red Wings are having all of a sudden? I'm not pressing the panic button, of course, but this is still a little bit of a concern.  2 of the last 3 games were definitely winnable games, which would have had us sitting at 7-1-0 to start the season, 14 points in 8 games.  Do you think a shuffling of the lines would spark something? Is the reported waiving of Fabian Brunnstrom and return of Mike Commodore enough to stir Detroit from their recent slumber?

Feel free to give it some thought and leave a comment, I'm curious to see what people feel is the key problem at the moment.

Class dismissed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wings Welcome Familiar Foe

Detroit (5-2-0) VS San Jose (4-3-0)

The Red Wings will open their doors this evening to a team we've seen far too much of over the last two years. The San Jose Sharks come into Detroit with 8 points through 7 games, two less than Detroit, and the Wings will be looking to keep them at bay with Jimmy Howard back in net.  The #1 goaltender for Detroit was busy becoming a dad over the last few days, to which I want to wish him a hearty congratulations.  I--as well as many, I'm sure--hope that he gives his new son an early present: winning his first game back.

Ty Conklin, for all his efforts, came up short for the Wings in the last two matches against Columbus and Washington, and having the St. James Gate put firmly back into place might be what the Wings need to return to their winning ways.  Also, though Coach Mike Babcock has made it quite clear he's not happy with the overall performance of his players recently, it appears the first line of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Cleary will not be split, as they did continue to practice as a unit.

One thing to keep in mind going into this game: this is a slightly different Sharks team that Detroit faces tonight as opposed to the last two years.  One very visible difference is the jersey Ian White is wearing.  The former Sharks blueliner has found himself a home opposite one Nicklas Lidstrom, an address change ANY defenceman would welcome.  Also, some names like Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi have made their exit from the Sharks roster.  Setoguchi always seemed to have the Wings' number ever since the "Phantom Goal" he scored a few years back.  Anyone else remember that?  You know, the one where the puck went out of play, came back down off the mesh onto Setoguchi's stick, and he just slammed it into the back of the net and it counted? Yeah, since that, he just always seemed to find the back of the net against whatever Detroit goalie he faced, didn't matter.  Hopefully his change of scenery has nixed that little charm.

I'm hoping to see a class act performance tonight from none other than Jimmy Howard.  I really do believe he'll make the difference tonight.  The skaters will be much more confident with Jimmah manning the crease, and that should help the offense get back on its feet.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Return of The Geek Means Wings' Winning Streak Snaps

Well, it was worth a shot.

After a terrible outing by the Detroit Red Wings last night, and a very difficult day today, I am making my return to the Blogosphere.  I am a fairly superstitious person, so when I noticed that the Wings were winning games in bunches, I decided to maintain the "blog-silence" I had slipped into to help with final preparations for my wedding.  It worked...or, at least, it did for a while.

Last night, the Wings were stomped into the ice by the only other unbeaten team left in the league: the Washington Capitals, losing the affair by a ghastly 7-1 final score.  Though I knew I would be, by design, returning to The Geek after a Detroit defeat, this is far from what I had hoped to come back to.  A thrilling game ended in overtime or even (ugh...) the shootout? Sure.  How about a one-goal loss where the Wings at least got the goalie pulled and put on a frantic and ferocious show trying to even the score before time expired? I can dig that.

7-1? Really?

The Geek is disappoint.

On the upside, Detroit has a 5-1-0 record to start the season.  We've certainly had worse starts, that's for sure.  Putting the loss aside for a moment, the Red Wings have looked very impressive over the course of the first few regular season games.  Players have been contributing and I get the sense like there's some cohesion and synergy that hasn't permeated the entire group for a few years.  Here's hoping it turns into something later...a big-shiny-silver-cup something.

I'm going to keep it short tonight, Wingnuts; however, I am back now, so expect to hear from me regularly once more, both here and on Twitter.

Class is dismissed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Red Wings' Preseason Opens with Loss

Preseason hockey is never something to get terribly worked up about, but let me tell you one thing: after the horror that was--and forevermore shall be known as--The Summer of Sadness, watching some actual hockey being played was a welcome sight.

The Detroit Red Wings played their first preseason game on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Tied at a goal apiece after 20 minutes, Detroit dropped into a 3-1 hole during the second period and the Wings were never able to dig their way back out, coming up short with a 3-2 defeat.  Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Hudler (WHAAAAAT??) provided the offense for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard minded the net during the first two frames before Joey MacDonald closed out the game.

Again, since this is preseason hockey, there's nothing to really be drawn from as far as season projections, but one player stood out to me in particular for parts of the game.  Danny Cleary looked like a man possessed, and though he did get slightly careless with a boarding call that sat him for 5 minutes, the tenacity was much appreciated.

Another standout was Pavel Datsyuk, but not for reasons one would normally expect.  As you'll notice in the photo above, Dats did not wear his usual #13.  After the events surrounding the tragic Lokomotiv plane crash, Pavel decided to don the #24 in honor of his fallen former teammate, Ruslan Salei, for the duration of the preseason.  It is a touching tribute, and one not unexpected from the humble magician.

Tonight, the Wings continue their battle against Pennsylvania with a meeting with the Flyers.  I'll likely be on Twitter so, as always, don't be shy to chat me up if you see me around!

Till next time, Wingnuts!  Let's Go Red Wings!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Returning in the Midst of Tragedy...

It's been a long summer and, to be honest, I was looking forward to coming back and posting the return of The Geek for this upcoming season. I've had tons of things on the go to keep me distracted in the offseason: getting another stage production off the ground and planning my upcoming wedding, to name just a pair. So with my mind refreshed from last year's disappointment and the tumult of the summer news stories, I thought today was going to be the time to bring it all back for another run.

Then I checked the sports headlines on the work computer, and everything turned upside down.

If you have somehow not heard the news, reports have been confirmed throughout the day that an aircraft carrying the KHL team Lokomotiv crashed directly after takeoff from an airport near Yaroslavl. All but 2 passengers, one player and one crew member, were killed in the accident. Even more sadly for Wings fans, among the casualties were former defenceman and assistant head coach Brad McCrimmon, recently departed defenceman Ruslan Salei, and Wings goaltending prospect Stephan Liv. All are believed confirmed to have died in the crash.

In one fell swoop, Red Wings Nation lost a piece of its past, [almost] present, and future. My deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of all those whose lives were lost in this terrible tragedy, and my thoughts are with them as they try to move forward in this trying time. Although it is with a heavy heart that I return, yet return I must, and thus I do. I will be prepping for the season in the coming weeks, perhaps posting some player profiles and analyses, and general banter and the usual asinine lamentings of some of the decisions made in the offseason.

For now, though, it is still Brad, Stephan and Rusty's time, and I give them now their due. You will be missed, boys.

~~In loving memory of:~~
Brad Byron McCrimmon (March 29, 1959 - September 7, 2011)
Ruslan "Rusty" Salei (November 2, 1974 - September 7, 2011)
Stephan Patryk Liv (December 20, 1980 - September 7, 2011)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bruins Cup Win Hazed by Vancouver Smoke and Tear Gas

It appears that 17 years is long enough for a city to forget, and 4 losses are simply too many to forgive.

Despite what you may see or read in the news today, however, there was a hockey game last night and a series was decided. The Vancouver Canucks hosted Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, defending home ice against the Boston Bruins inside of Rogers Arena on Wednesday evening. Every home game in this series saw the home team win, and every game in Rogers Arena had been close.

Boston's hunger for glory certainly snapped those two patterns in half. With a push befitting a true champion, the Bruins dominated the aimless Canucks all over the ice. They didn't even need a barrage of shots, as Boston's shot total was only 20. That was still good enough to beat "Marquee" goaltender Roberto Luongo 3 times and pocket an empty-netter as the Bruins defeated the Canucks 4-0 to earn their first Stanley Cup since 1972.

Tim Thomas, Boston's netminder, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. He was praised as Boston's most consistent performer on the ice, and many agreed there was no one else who deserved it more.

Some may be wondering when I'm going to go in depth about the subsequent riots that broke out in the streets of Vancouver, but I'm going to admit right now that I'm not going to. That is exactly what the rioters want: attention. So yes, there were riots after the game: people were drunk, were high, were completely moronic, and now have cast a blight on the city that hosted the Olympics which will be a long time going away. Enjoy that. Moving on!

It is being reported that NBC got huge ratings for this game, which is good to hear. I enjoy hearing US TV bringing in good hockey ratings, because it's expected here in Canada, especially when A Canadian team is playing for the Cup. Boston is the 3rd Original Six team to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup in the last 4 years, next to the most recent Chicago Blackhawks last year, as well as our very own Detroit Red Wings in 2008. Congratulations to the Bruins for their victory!

Now, the wait for October is on...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

One Game at a Time: Game 7 is Here

A week ago, we'd have scarce believed it.

Tonight, we face an amazing opportunity.

With a "One game at a time" philosophy, the Detroit Red Wings have erased a 3-0 series deficit to tie their matchup with the San Jose Sharks and force a deciding Game 7. Only 7 other teams have rallied to tie such a series. Only 3 of those 7 have claimed victory. This evening, Detroit gets a chance to add another piece of history to their storied collection.

The Wings have improved as the series has progressed, and my hope is that the trend will continue. All the pressure now rests on San Jose, but that is no excuse to rest on our laurels. We still play to win.

One more game to make history, and progress toward another milestone: Cup #12.

Grit your teeth and come out playing hard, my sons, your faithful are behind you!

Let's Go Red Wings!!!!!!!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Breaking the Mold of History

Everything has looked eerily similar as far as the Red Wings' series against the San Jose Sharks goes: The team, the round, the records, the one-goal games. Things have been pretty much following the same pattern they did this time last year. If Detroit wishes to remain alive in this postseason, however, they need to break the cycle. This time last year, the Wings played their last game of the season, beaten and embarrassed, as they were tossed from the playoffs in 5 games in the Conference Semifinals.

Tonight, we of Wings Nation hope that this particular bit of history is done repeating. Tonight we hope to see a Red Wings squad, rejuvenated and refreshed by their recent victory, keep their Cup dreams alive.

Tonight, we take the reins of destiny and bend fortune to our will; otherwise, we watch the reins be taken from our hands for the last time, and the ride is over once more.

It's too early to shave, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Shark Fin Soup with a Side of Sweet Revenge: Wings/Sharks Preview

Wingnuts, we find ourselves in a familiar place at a familiar time of year. That's right, we've been rewarded for the Red Wings's postseason pounding of the Coyotes/Jets/Golden Seals/whatever the hell they're going to be by next year by being given a chance to even the score with the San Jose Sharks, the team who booted the Wings from the playoffs last year.

That's right, Sharks: We're back, and this time it's personal.

San Jose battled a beleaguered Los Angeles team that was hurting for offense up front with their main man Anze Kopitar out with injury. The Red Wings, however, are getting a couple of their main men back, as Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen are reportedly going to be good to go for Game 1 which goes down tonight in San Jose.

I feel that if the Wings can remember a lot of the little things they did against Phoenix, this series with SJ will be much different than last year, but only -IF-. The young guys need to keep being beasts, Todd Bertuzzi needs to make his presence physically known, and Pavel Datsyuk should be looking to put on a show every single game. Detroit is rested and ready, and we cannot afford to blow this opportunity to come out fresh and composed against a San Jose team that really struggled with the hurting Kings, something that totally sobered me as far as the lethality of the Sharks went.

One player to watch tonight will be Zetterberg. I'm hoping that he's as raring to make an impact as I think he'll be and comes back from his injury with a big first game in this series. Franzen might also be a key factor in these first two crucial road games, as he took the Sharks apart last year by himself in Game 4 of the Semis. My final pick to watch tonight is Darren Helm. I'll be curious to see who he zones in on this time around, same way he did on Ed Jovonovski in the Phoenix series. Whoever it is that Helmer targets in teal better start praying, because it's going to be hell for them over the next set of games.

It's the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it's the Conference Semifinals, and it's on tonight, Wingnuts!

Class is dismissed.

Let's Go Red Wings!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Two Games up, Wings Invade the Desert

The Red Wings are showing that their 20th straight playoff appearance is no fluke, and that a mediocre regular season means nothing in the face of postseason performance.

Detroit took both games in the Joe Louis Arena to go up 2-0 in their opening round series against the Phoenix Coyotes, and now travel west to enter enemy territory.

The Wings have done well at fixing most of their regular season hiccups, the PP units are scoring goals, the defense has tightened up considerably, and we have a couple of guys who are stepping up and shooting the puck. Pavel Datsyuk has led by example, easily making himself the star of this series, with only 2 games in the books!

One thing glares, however: the penalties. Tinfoil hat or not, the Red Wings need to stay disciplined. We complain that the zebras take liberties when it comes to Detroit players, so don't give them any more reasons to send us to the sin bin!!

I have the expectation that Phoenix is going to get very nasty in these next 2 games. The hitting is going to get worse, and we need guys like Bertuzzi, Abdelkader and Kronwall stepping into guys and showing that the Red Wings aren't going to be beaten around, no matter what they want to throw at us. Per the above paragraph though, do it cleanly, please!!

14 to go, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Geek's Thoughts Before the Big Exam

Well, here we are again.

The second season is only days away and the Detroit Red Wings are making another run at the Stanley Cup. It's been a long season, perhaps not as arduous a one as last year's run, but the Wings have again battled their way into a good playoff position for this year's postseason.

I'd like to take this opportunity to address my fellow students of Hockeytown University, and to thank you again for the sense of comradery you all bring and for making it so enjoyable to chat with other Wingnuts while on Twitter. Red Wings Nation is pretty small down my way, but it is alive, and it is glad to be part of the big red machine.

Now, on to our boys.

I honestly believe we have, as always, a solid enough team to go the distance. There are, however, concerns that -must- be addressed. These are things I've noticed throughout the season that could haunt the Wings during the playoffs and make a hard run unnecessarily harder.

1.) Face-offs - You start the game with one, and the rest of the game is littered with them. It's how you start a play with possession of the puck, and if you can't control this aspect of the game, it's a little difficult to play a puck-possession style of hockey. The Red Wings play puck-possession, and we are not nearly good enough on the dot for our style of play. If we're depending on a 3rd-4th line center to win draws, there's a bit of a problem. I want to see my top 2 lines winning draws, because hey, aren't they the ones that usually put pucks in the net? Look, I know we're tied for 3rd in the league for face-off percentage, but 3rd is at 51.9% draws won. Barely above .500? Uh-uh, needs to be much better during the postseason, and needs to be better on critical draws.

2.) Power-Play - Similarly to the face-off issue, it seems like we succeed on the man advantage moreso when it doesn't matter, rather than at the key points in the game when a PPG would really help turn things around. Detroit is 5th in the league at 22.3% on the man-up, which isn't bad by any stretch, but the powerplays that Detroit cashes in on needs to be the more critical ones, when it really matters.

3.) Pucks on the Net - This is a two-parter. The first concern I have is the seeming lack of a dedicated shooter. As I see it right now, the Red Wings do not have a committed sniper like we've had in previous seasons. The closest I can mention would be Henrik Zetterberg, but he has already confirmed he'll be out for at least the first game of the Wings-Coyotes series. My theory -would- be to get Pavel Datsyuk the puck in the slot as often as possible, but Dats serves too many other purposes to limit him to taking the majority of the Red Wings' shots. Valtteri Filppula would be a good candidate, but he's shown he has an allergy to shooting that appears to be deathly: Everytime he gets a shooting chance, he passes. Jiri Hudler is another possibility, but his luck since returning to Detroit has been terrible.

My other concern in this area is the noted lack of shots. In the final 3 games of the season, only once did we break the 40 shot mark, and that was the 3-0 blanking Cam Ward and the Hurricanes gave us, which I pin mainly on the sheer force of will put forward by the Carolina goaltender. Yes, we lost that game, but by God, we gave ourselves plenty of chances at least. The two games against Chicago saw 28 and 31 respectively, not respectably. These were games where we did not give ourselves much opportunity to come out on top, and though we did win the final game, Chicago was poised to tie right till the end. Some of it comes from a lack of big shooters, some of it comes from stints of poor puck control and giving the opponent too much time with the puck, but it's still a concern for a puck-possession team too give itself so few chances, and it will be a far more glaring concern come playoff time.

There are other things that could use fine tuning, and I believe the Wings and Coach Babcock will do what needs to be done to hone their play back to playoff form.

Now, all that's left is to wait. It all starts tomorrow, and at the end of the day there's only 4 words on my mind:

Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Post-Penance Day, How will Wings Play Against Preds?

Coach Mike Babcock called it "Penance Day". It was the day after a jaw-droppingly embarrassing loss to the St. Louis Blues that showed fans all across the nation how important Chris Osgood and Jimmy Howard can be. Between Joey MacDonald and Thomas McCollum, and along with a terrible display of team "defense", the Wings surrendered goals in the double-digits in a 10-3 spanking. It as the worst loss the Wings had been handed in years.

And it was just the thing they needed.

I truly believe that this has the potential to be the turning point of the season for the Red Wings, but it's up to the Wings to make it happen, and it begins today in Nashville. The Predators have owned the season series, only dropping the first game to Detroit back in October. Nashville's goalie, Pekka Rinne, has also had our number but regardless of that fact is the point that Rinne has been solid all season, giving up 2 or less goals 26 times this season.

In short: This is a good test for the Wings against a division rival, one that can help them really get it back on track.

Thankfully, it looks as though Jimmy Howard is ready to come back, which means Osgood can rest easy, not worrying about the fact that he could outplay Joey MacDonald even -with- a hernia. Also in medical news, Pavel Datsyuk was being re-evaluated today but it appears he will sit for another game, another nasty blow to the Wings. In games like the one against St. Louis, it becomes so apparent how effective and valuable Datsyuk is to the team between his offensive pressure and his defensive capabilities.

Either way, the Red Wings need to find a way to piece together some successful hockey, the playoffs are looming.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Wings Bring Out Leaf Blower, Topple Toronto; Howard Injury Concerns

Well, it was almost a great game last night.

Usually I would have no complaints about trouncing the Maple Leafs 4-2, effectively driving the nail in their coffin with regards to a playoff berth. Not everything went according to plan, however. Jiri Hudler scored the game-winning goal a mere 38 seconds after the Leafs' Joffrey Lupul tied the game on a play which saw him bowl over Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard, landing atop the face-down Howard, and sweeping the puck into the net. To no one's surprise, the goal was allowed perhaps simply due to the fact that the goal scorer was not named Holmstrom, but the goal was the least of Detroit's concerns. Jimmy Howard had been hurt during the play.

Howard was seen leaving the ice slowly, reaching up toward the right side of his upper body. There still has not been conclusive information revealed as to the extent of the injury, however Red Wings GM Ken Holland has mentioned that he and the staff believe the injury is not as bad as initially feared, referring to it as a possible strain or sprain of his shoulder. Howard will be checked out to be certain that the injury is minimal.

If you're like me, then you're praying that minimal is the conclusion the doctors come back with. With Chris Osgood still hampered by a lingering hernia, we're faced with that dread-filled possibility of Joey MacDonald becoming our #1 goaltender temporarily. This leaves the Wings with two options if something major is found to be wrong with Howard: Either Detroit tries to push ahead Osgood's return, which is currently slated for the last 2 games of the season, and try to get him back in form for the playoffs OR the Wings let Ozzie rest completely, give Joey MacDonald the starts to round out the season and bring Osgood in fresh for the postseason. Pick your poison.

This is just speculation, and it does sound like the Howard injury is minor, but I'll still be concerned until I finally hear that Jimmy is cleared to play again.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Detroit Dances with Nashville

Detroit (43-20-8) @ Nashville (36-25-10)

The Red Wings, who have found themselves on the right side of the scoreboard recently, look to keep with the pattern of success when they visit the Predators. Jimmy Howard, who is currently tied for the lead in goaltender wins with Carey Price at 34, will get the nod this evening.

In related news, it seems my man Pavel Datsyuk will be missing tonight's game, which saddens me like the loss of a firstborn child.* I always hate seeing Dats miss time, not only because of how good he is by himself, but how much he helps improve the team as a whole.
*(Merely being jovial, apologies to anyone who has lost a firstborn son.)

Also, it's been confirmed that Johan Franzen will also miss tonight's game due to "wear and tear".

Hopefully there's still plenty of spark in the Wings who remain healthy, we need to keep this run going!

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wings Hope to Clip Caps at Home

Detroit (41-20-8) VS Washington (41-20-10)

The Red Wings face an unfamiliar foe tonight as they take to the ice at Joe Louis Arena to square off with the Washington Capitals. Detroit has been making a good effort of recovering from their recent 4 game winless streak and look to maintain their winning ways this evening against a very hot Washington squad.

Jimmy Howard, who was likely looking forward to getting decent help in net with the return of Chris Osgood, is undoubtedly groaning in his mind as Joey MacDonald was called up today to play backup. Osgood is apparently still feeling soreness from the sports hernia that has kept him out of the lineup since mid-January.

Washington won on the road last night against a persistent Canadiens team, and have stretched their current win streak to 9 games. It is without a doubt that the Caps will come out hungry to keep their streak alive. It's up to the Red Wings to shut down the cruising Capitals and earn another important 2 points to keep San Jose off their tail.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Oh, and just to add, no lucky shirt tonight. Here's how the records look going into tonight:


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Wings Look to Get Over a Different set of Blues

Detroit (40-20-8) @ St. Louis (31-28-9)

Quick update today, work stuff has me crazy lately.

The Red Wings finally snapped their 4 game winless streak last night against Edmonton, and now look to start a pattern of winning as they take on the Blues.

Jimmy Howard will get the go again tonight, and the noly line information Coach Babcock has revealed is that Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will not be paired up on the road.

St. Louis is on the wrong side of .500 in their last 10, going 4-6-0. This is a good chance for Detroit to take an easy 2 points; then again, weren't we all thinking that abut the Oilers?

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Wings Need Remedial Lesson in Urgency - Wings/Coyotes Pre-Game

Detroit (39-19-7) @ Phoenix (33-23-10)

Class is in session, Red Wings, and I hope you're listening. Absence from this class will NOT be tolerated!

Detroit takes on Phoenix tonight and I, for one, hope that we can begin to scrape our dignity off the pavement, because I've gotten fed up with not seeing any dignity on the ice. There's not one player, down to the last man, who is not a target of this lashing. Let me spell it out for you, Wings: You are -not- competing! You have one and all been lazy, unenergetic, cowardly, hesitant and sloppy in your play over the last slew of games and it's embarrassing. It's embarrassing for you, because you are a team far superior to the product you've been putting on the ice recently, and it's embarrassing for us fans who already damn well know that exact same thing!

I understand there are still some injuries, but guess what? That's not an excuse. We don't have near the injuries now that we had 2 months ago, and we somehow managed then, didn't we? If I were coach Babcock, I'd start thinking about whose asses are going to be warming the bench the most, because if my players aren't going to show up to play, I don't want them playing.

Now...Phoenix is 5-4-1 coming into this match tonight. They're middle-of-the-road right now, and there's no reason why good, hard play won't bury the Desert Dogs this evening. Think you can muster that for once, guys...?

Since Detroit seems to need my guidance -so- much (Detroit has lost 3 of the last 4 games I have NOT done a Winning Formula for after putting up a 5 game winning streak previously...), guess what's making a comeback?

Ears open, Red Wings! It's The Geek's Winning Formula!

1.) Shoot! ...Please? - It's come down to begging, now. I'm castrated before you, beseeching you, my boys, to PLEASE SHOOT THE PUCK! Remember that adage from that guy, uh...oh yes, Wayne Gretzky? The one about missing 100% of the shots you don't take? Could we make that a mantra for tonight's affair...? Thanks.

2.) Create Pressure - Really, Detroit, this one and done stuff has got to end. When you -do- take shots, there is nobody jumping to loose pucks, it just gets lapped up the the opposition defense and cleared San Jose showed us what creating pressure looks like at the start of Thursday's game, and we let it turn into complete domination numerous times, guys getting caught in the defensive zone for shifts upwards of 2:15!! Hope you watched the tape and took some notes, boys...

3.) Chemistry: Not Just for Geeks - This one is easy, fellas: Work together instead of trying to be a hero. If the chincey pass isn't going to work, don't force it. It still isn't going to work. If you can't push the play forward, send the puck to a teammate who has a better chance. Please, just stop with these high-risk maneuvers that HAVE NOT BEEN WORKING. Maybe when you boys get used to the simple stuff again, the more difficult plays will start o, oh I dunno, come naturally again...?

60 minutes of smart, determined hockey wins the day 9 times out of 10. Any less effort than that costs you the day 8 days out of 7.

Rant over...for now. Now, let's see what happens next.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wiugs!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Geeks need better Sleep Patterns Than This - Wings/Sharks Pre-Game

Detroit (39-18-7) @ San Jose (37-21-6)

Quick pre-game, I'm hoping the Wings put more effort into their play tonight than I do my preview.

Detroit visits the Shark Tank tonight, hoping for a better result than the last meeting with San Jose. Joey MacDonald will get the start in goal, which scares the crap out of me. Then again, Jimmy Howard hasn't been brilliant against the Sharks, so there wouldn't be much solace there, either.

Gold Star Prediction: Henrik Zetterberg

Hoping for the best! No lucky shirt again tonight, trying to build up some magic for the playoffs.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ready for Another Late Night? Wings-Ducks Preview

Detroit (39-18-6) @ Anaheim (33-25-5)

I'm still recovering from the L.A. game and now we have to break curfew again tonight to watch a matchup between the Red Wings and the Ducks!

Jimmy Howard will get the start tonight, and has done exceptionally well against Anaheim this season (winning all 3 previous starts, two resulting in shutouts), so I'm expecting a good performance on the heels of his new contract extension and in lieu of his...whatever that was at the end of the Kings game...

Gold star prediction has to go to the new papa, Johan Franzen. Maybe this is what he was waiting for all this time, now he'll explode with another 5-goal game and dedicate it to his new baby boy!

5 points back of Vancouver heading in tonight, let's get the win and close the gap!

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Catching Detroit on the Flip-Side, Looking for Mo' Show in Buffalo

Detroit (37-18-6) @ Buffalo (29-25-6)

Well, now. If we have offensive troubles tonight, there's something seriously wrong...!!

The Wings take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight. They are also getting back 2 forwards tonight, and I'm not talking about Patrick Eaves, either. That's right, Wingnuts: Val Filppula and Mike Modano are both back in the lineup tonight!! With this huge boost to the roster, it's looking cramped again, so there's no excuse now, boys. It's either play hard or sit down! I think coach Babcock should hold to this mentality and really stress hard work and determination on the ice, because I still feel we've been lacking that a lot lately.

The Sabres, much like the Wings, are not playing good hockey at home. Currently, Buffalo is 14-15-2 on home ice, and the Red Wings really need to take advantage of the time away from the JLA. Home cooking has done nothing for Detroit, dropping the last 2 homestands and allowing 4 goals in each game.

Now, I'm going to be a cheeseball and stick my Gold Star on Mike Modano. Ol' Mo has been itching to get back this season and he's finally able. I think he's going to want to prove he's still fit for a playoff run, starting tonight!

Less than an hour left as I write this, and there's nothing like Red Wings hockey and Kraft Dinner for supper.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Lets' Go Red Wings!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wings Welcome Struggling Stars

Detroit (37-17-6) VS Dallas (31-23-6)

I only hope the Red Wings are half as pissed off as I was after Detroit's previous match. If so, they might actually come out tonight and put forward an effort worthy of an NHL-caliber team, which was not the case against the Sharks.

The Dallas Stars, however, are a different beast altogether. Losers of 11 of their last 13 games, the big D has looked like the big F and have slipped into a log-jam currently just out of playoff contention. Their captain is slumping while one of their biggest name-drops (one Brad Richards) is still out with concussion symptoms. The Stars have only managed a meager 5 goals in the 4 games Richards has been absent.

The Red Wings are relatively healthy heading into this game. True, we did lose Patrick Eaves in the San Jose game for about a week, but our top 6 forwards are looking good, especially Todd Bertuzzi and Danny Cleary. Cleary has 6 points in his last 4 games, and Bertuzzi is just coming off a similar run.

I think for this match, though, I'm going to stamp the Gold Star onto Johan Franzen. The Mule hasn't been terrifying lately: he has 9 points this month, but 5 of those came on 02/02 against Ottawa with his 5-goal flurry. Mule is due, and I think Mule is gonna get fed tonight.

That's all for me for now! No lucky shirt tonight, Detroit soiled it in that poor effort against the Sharks, so obviously I need to let it's mojo recharge.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

The Geek's LST!
Lucky Shirt: 8-4-0
No Lucky Shirt: 5-3-1

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Wings' Inconsistency Kills in 4-3 loss to Sharks

Well, that was a frustrating three hours...

The Red Wings put in an...uninspired, shall we say, effort and ended up never seeing a lead in their 4-3 loss to San Jose. After winning 5 straight, is it so much to ask that the boys try to keep the momentum going? Universal karma being as it is, Vancouver will win tonight and yet again we'll watch the Canucks laugh and pull away from us again. It seems like whenever we get a whiff of the 'Nucks and their ass, it turns our stomach and we play like garbage.

One big killer tonight: Inconsistency. The Red Wings had good spurts, then would putter out and make it seem like they...really just didn't care. In the end, again, Danny Cleary was one of the only guys out there really looking like he wanted a W, scoring the first 2 Detroit goals and setting a new season-high for himself. If we had more guys playing with half the heart that Newf puts into his play, we'd be looking at 10 game winning streaks every other month. Hank Zetterberg got the only other Wings goal very late in the 3rd to give us the hope that Detroit might possibly tie things up, but even if they did, I'm convinced they wouldn't have deserved even the point for going to OT.

Fact is: If you're not willing to play hard for 60 minutes, you don't deserve to play past the end of that hour. Detroit did not play hard all night, and certainly didn't get a glance at OT this evening.

Smarten up, Red Wings, and take it to Dallas in the next game. You're better than this.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wings Hope the Roll Continues in Minny

Detroit (36-16-6) @ Minnesota (31-22-5)

Detroit skates into Minnesota today for a matinee affair with the Wild. The Red Wings could earn a season-high 5th straight win this afternoon, and with the play of some of the Wings, such as Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk and Dan Cleary, the chances are certainly good.

The season series is split 1 game apiece currently, and the Wild have been just as successful as the Red Wings in their last 10 games, both clubs going 7-3-0.

Now, the Wings seem to have found a system that's been working for them, response to that, I am NOT going to do a Geek's Winning Formula today. Instead, I'm going to give my prediction for Detroit's player of the game. Let's call it..."The Geek's Gold Star Student", which today I believe will be Todd Bertuzzi.

I have a number of reasons for my pick, 6 of them are lying in the nets in Boston and Florida, but there's more to it than that. Todd is playing in his 1000th game today, AND he has his family down to watch him. Bert has a lot of reasons to work hard today, and with his recent successes, I think he's going to come out flying this afternoon and tame the Wild.

Feel free to chat me up on Twitter during the game between my ridiculous outbursts if you want to share opinions on something, by the way! I hope I don't come off as stuck-up or anything, I'm just a crazy Wingnut like the rest of you.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

The Geek's LST!
Lucky Shirt: 7-3-0
No Lucky Shirt: 5-3-1
Status for Tonight: Lucky Shirt

Friday, February 18, 2011

Wings Look to Key In on Second Florida Victory

Detroit (35-16-6) @ Florida (24-25-7)

Quickie because I was out late tonight before the game (Whoops!)

We beat the team that Steve built. Awesome! Now we can really move on past the baggage and continue to step it up as we head closer to the post-season and contend for playoff positioning. The Wings will be working on that tonight against the Florida Panthers.

So for the "Keys" to victory (ohh, so clever, right..?), here's The Geek's Winning Formula!

1.) Carry Momentum - The Red Wings need to carry the passion from last game into tonight's affair and make sure they come out strong early. Last game was one of our best starts overall in a long time, and I'd like to see more strong efforts in the first 20 minutes from here on out.

2.) Work Together - I don't know if it was all the injuries, but it kind of felt sometimes like the Wings were not so much a team as a group of individuals all wanting the same thing. With our guys getting healthy, it's been looking more like players are working together with linemates and synergy is building again. Keep it up, boys!

3.) Discipline...! - I said it before, the dumb penalties! We won't always get away with the opposition going 0-fer on the man-up.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

The Geek's LST!
Lucky Shirt: 7-3-0
No Lucky Shirt: 4-3-1
Status for Tonight: No Lucky Shirt

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wings Meet Stevie Y for First Time as Bolts GM

Detroit (34-16-6) @ Tampa Bay (34-17-6)

It's been coming for a while, and whether most people want to admit it or not, they will feel something when it comes gametime tonight. Detroit takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening under General Manager Steve Yzerman, better known in Hockeytown circles as, "The Captain".

Steve has put together an intriguing team when you look at their numbers. They sit atop their division and are 2nd in the East for points, yet their goal differential is a mind-boggling -1. In comparison, the Wings are sitting 2nd in the West, but have a GD of +24. It truly seems this Bolts team we face tonight is being modeled after our beloved Captain: All heart and determination.

That's what could make this match a tough one. So, with that, let's get to The Geek's Winning Formula!

1.) Prepare to Battle - Detroit is going to need to come out fierce tonight and win those puck battles. Tampa has as many points as the Wings without being a dominant offensive or defensive force, so it's clear that the Lightning have simply been making earnest efforts in key areas and are focussed on coming out hard.

2.) Control Emotion - It's going to be a rough game, so the Red Wings need to be careful of getting to nasty when push comes to shove. Keep the dumb penalties to a minimum and match grit for grit, effort for effort. I'm expecting a game where the refs will have the whistles ready to go at any time tonight.

3.) Be Aware - Once we get control of the puck, our boys need to keep it moving, be it forward, backward, or laterally. Make Tampa chase the puck, and make sure they rarely catch up to it. I feel like the more grinding that takes place in this game, the worse it'll be for us, not them.

Should be an interesting game, hope to hear from you all on Twitter during the broadcast!

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

UPDATE: By the way, lucky shirt is on tonight! Here are the respective records as of tonight:
Lucky Shirt: 6-3-0
No Lucky Shirt: 4-3-1

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bert Beats Bruins with Two Pairs in Two Games

Quick recap while waiting for supper.

The Red Wings gained four valuable points in a pair of victories over the Boston Bruins. My question in the aftermath is this: Where the he'll was this effort hiding?? This is the kind of play we need to finish out the season and prepare for the playoffs! I hope Babs keeps pushing the boys with whatever method he used before the Boston games, because it is working.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wings Get Homer Back, Face Predators

Detroit (32-15-6) VS Nashville (28-19-7)

2011 Lucky Shirt Tracker
With Lucky Shirt (5-2-0), Without (3-3-1)

Oh yeah, I'm back...

I'm adding the LST (please do not confuse with LSD...) so that not only you, my readers, can keep watch on how much of a difference my shirt makes, but also so I don't forget my records!

Detroit defends the JLA ice against the Predators tonight and are getting back Tomas Holmstrom, who has been injured for weeks. Hopefully his assets will be felt on the struggling Detroit powerplay, and provide more versatility in the Wings's lineup.

I've got the lucky shirt on tonight, though I'll miss most--if not all--of the game due to a previous engagement (damnit...!).

Here's a quick Geek's Winning Formula for you!

1.) Work the PP - With a veteran net-presence like Homer back, I should like to think that the Wings will be seeing a lot more chances while the opposing goalies will be seeing far less of them. work the man-advantage hard, boys, we're letting too many good chances go to waste!

2.) Clamp Down Defensively - I feel almost guilty for being so excited over the score of the Wings-Rangers game! 3-2! Whoo, we didn't need to score a touchdown to win the game for once! We're not playing football, guys...we should be winning more games with scores like this.

3.) Simplify the Strategies - I haven't caught much of the last few Wings games, but it sounds like not much has changed. In other words, we've been going into every game thinking we can make 60 foot passes every time and the enemy is somehow not catching on. It's gotten old, guys. You gotta mix it up! Little dump'n'chase, little carrying in, THEN those stretch passes begin to fool people again! You've got to keep the defense honest to go for high-risk plays, or you'll get burned 9 times out of 10.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wings Dance with the Devils

Detroit (29-13-6) VS New Jersey (16-29-3)

With my stage production nearing, my time is getting more limited. One week till showtime, baby!

The Wings play New Jersey tonight for 2 valuable points, which would help us pull closer to the Canucks who have been running away from the West lately. I know it's NJ, but it's no reason to take the game lightly, points are becoming too important as teams are hitting their stride and catching, or in Vancouver's case, passing the Wings.

The Geek's Winning Formula:

1.) Synergy - Yeah, I know, guys are out hurt, doesn't matter. Work better with what you've got instead of waiting for the regulars to come back.

2.) Discipline - We're playing way too sloppy lately. Be aware and don't get cute with your plays when simple tactics can turn into offense.

3.) Urgency - Start fighting for the puck. You can't score if you don't have the puck!

Sorry for the brevity. Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Detroit Discusses Deal with Nabokov, Visit Blues

I'm not sure how I feel about this, but let's get it out of the way.

Detroit is apparently in talks with the agent for former Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov. Some sources say the deal is as good as done, but the fact remains that Nabokov, -if- signed, will still have to clear waivers. This is far from a sure thing, as I'm sure many teams would love to scoop him up simply so that the Wings do not.

The Wings also have a game against the Blues tonight, with Jimmah back in goal! I'm glad to see he's already back, as I think we've seen as much of J-mac this year to last a long time.

The Geek's Winning Formula for tonight's game is:

1.) Early Risers - Simple, boys: When the first puck drops, start playing! Stop sleeping through the 1st period of every game!!

2.) Stop Being Cute - Enough with the chincy passing, smart and simple will win the game!

3.) Watch Your Ass...ignments! - Stop leaving guys unchecked in front of the net, too many good chances being offered up to opposing players!

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wings Visit Cindy-less Pens, Crybaby Still Bawling

Detroit (28-11-6) @ Pittsburgh (28-14-4)

My God, alright. I need to say this now before anything else, because it is driving me absolutely batshit: If Sidney Crosby skips the ASG after bitching that he's not getting enough special treatment, there had damn well better be a suspension waiting for him. Plain and simple, Lidstrom and Datsyuk were made examples of last time by having the audacity to want to heal their injuries instead of play in a pointless match and potentially worsen their injuries. They took 1-game bans for it. If Sid the Bitch doesn't get the same punishment and gets a free pass from the ASG, I will be screaming bloody murder for days on end.

So what's it gonna be, NHL? If Sid throws a tantrum and holds his breath on the All-Star Game, are you going to promote the idea that you really are going for all-around parity and suspend him a game? Or are you going to prove to us what we already believe: that the NHL cares more about specific teams and players than others, and to hell with you if you don't see the logic in it?

And where in the HELL does he get off "endorsing" Lidstrom's naming for ASG captaincy? You're 2 decades too young to be pulling that stunt, son. Come back when you've played 20 years and maybe still successful. Until then, keep that ugly-ass mouth of yours shut about my Red Wings.

Can you guess that I'm glad that we're playing the Penguins tonight?

Here's The Geek's Winning Formula:

1.) Play the Full Game - Last 2 games we came out and gave up an early 2-0 lead against in both contests. Hard to win games doing that. As was evidenced in the outcome of both games, it doesn't always work out in your favor.

2.) Focus More Defensively - Guys, remember, it's still J-Mac in net! McCollum goes in if we have to pull Joey. Let's try and keep the opposing chances to a minimum, please!!

3.) Control with Simplicity - Way too many cutesy plays being made by the Wings, and recently they haven't been working well. Until they do, drive the net, put pucks on the goalie and look for dirty rebounds. Take a page from Drew Miller's book a few days ago, he's giving you all a great eample of how you should be looking for scores.

Friday, January 14, 2011

[Insert BJ joke here]

Wouldn't it figure that after waiting 4 days, the Red Wings are playing on the evening that I'm going out? Ah well...can't watch 'em all.

The Wings battle the BlueJackets tonight, Detroit has already taken the first 2 games of the series, and could use the 2 points tonight after a disappointing game in Colorado.

Here's the Geek's Winning Formula for tonight's affair:

1.) Start tightening the D - Very simple, you can't give up 4 goals in the 1st and expect to win a game, the Avs showed us that, and the BJ's will remind us of that if we let them.

2.) Shrug it off - One bad game doesn't mean anything. Two in a row might cause some concern. Start playing your game right away, Jimmah.

3.) Urgency - Please, boys, play like you care about the game. Fight for puck control and win some board battles, you -are- a puck possession team, are you not?

Thus far, my record with the lucky shirt is 3-1-0, my record without (which is the case tonight) is 0-1-0. Need to see the Wings win one for themselves, with skill and not luck.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Down With the Canucks! Wings Battle for Top Spot

Feel like ass today. No, not -an- ass. I'll be off and on for this one, but I have the lucky shirt, which is now 2-0-0 this year, tonight can make it a streak.

Big thing that I'm concerned about for the Wings? Play full periods of hockey! That late period goal we gave up against Calgary pissed me off royally. We allow those kinds of goals way too often, and it was a big factor in us chasing the Flames all through that game.

Don't stop playing at 19:30 of the period. Play thorough hockey and we'll take two points from a surging club.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Corralling Calgary: Detroit Seeks Sweep of Season Series

Detroit (25-10-5) @ Calgary (18-20-3)

May not be following this one too closely, but the lucky shirt is on so I'm not too concerned. 2011 record is 1-0-0 with the shirt, 0-1-0 without, so I made sure it was put through the wash and ready for gametime.

The Red Wings can, as mentioned earlier, sweep Calgary tonight, but to think that this'll be easy would be beyond foolish. A couple of things to tighten up on for this game from previous matches in tonight's Geek's Winning Formula:

1.) Learn When to Draw Well - The Wings are losing key faceoffs, and it's been hurting them for days now. It's not that they've been atrocious at the dot in general, they've actually been holding their own quite well. It's the draws they -need- to win that they are -not- winning, and it's turning into goals, penalties, you name it!

2.) Communicate - Way too many bad decisions being made on the ice by guys not paying attention and being aware of where everyone is positioned. Cut it out, boys. The other team knows how to play hockey, you don't need to give them any handouts.

3.) Confidence - This stems from the Communication part, but the Red Wings need to make the effort to know where guys are so they can make those tough plays, like our bread-and-butter stretch pass, with higher completion percentages. That gets you in a rhythm, -that- gives you a little swagger to throw the opponent off balance.

Hoping to find out my lucky shirt is still undefeated in 2011, want to get a little streak going with it.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Red Wings can Start New Year Right VS Flyers

Detroit (24-9-5) VS Philadelphia (23-10-5)

2011 has begun, and the Wings rang in the new year on a sour note, dropping their last game of 2010 it OT to the New York Islanders. They begin anew as they defend the JLA ice against the Flyers, who are only 2 points shy of Detroit's own record coming into tonight's matchup.

Some key notes:
- Detroit needs to win more clutch faceoffs. This was the killer in the NYI game: 3 goals off of blown draws in the defensive zone. 3 faceoffs that, had the Wings won them, would've prevented 3 goals.

- When the Wings -do- lose the draw, they need to get to their assignments much quicker, especially in the D-zone. One of the few things I can remember former coach Mike Milbury saying that made sense was this: if you're going to be successful at the faceoff circle, you have to play it like you're going to lose it. The worst thing that happens then is you do lose the faceoff, but it's better to be prepared for the lost draw than to leave yourself open when it's too late.

- We need to keep the depth scoring going. I was -pumped- to see Tatar net his 1st goal, and it's more performances like that while guys like Dats and Cleary get better.

Enjoy the game, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!