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.