Saturday, December 6, 2014

Red Wings Show True Character, Rally Past Rangers

It's got to be said, if not before then certainly now after this game: The Detroit Red Wings are a scary, dangerous team.

For anyone who turned the television off after the first 20 minutes of this contest against the New York Rangers, few could fault you.  This game had as ugly a start as we've seen this season.  The difference tonight is that the Wings found a way to shift gears and start getting it done.  Going into the 2nd period down 2-0 and looking disconnected, Detroit hit the ice a completely new team.

What began as dominance by New York quickly turned the other way as the Wings roared back with 3 unanswered goals to take, and hold, a 3-2 lead to beat the Rangers for the first time in their last 6 meetings.  It didn't even take the big guns to get it done, with the Detroit goals coming from Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening and Darren Helm.  The Red Wings' energy corps are becoming a true force to be reckoned with.

And what about the penalty kill?  Detroit spent most of the 3rd period on the PK thanks to consecutive, overlapping 5 on 3's.  The Red Wings were tall to the task, however, with Jimmy Howard making some spectacular saves to preserve the Wings' one-goal lead.

The win was also very special for Head Coach Mike Babcock, who tallied his 500th career win this evening.  The way things are going in Hockeytown, he's got many more to look forward to, and I believe he'll remain behind the Red Wings bench for the forseeable future.

So with the win, Detroit has now racked up 37 points.  With Montreal and Tampa both losing tonight, the Wings move past Montreal into 2nd in the Atlantic Division, only 2 points back of the Lightning for tops in the Division AND the Conference!

The next match-up is scheduled for tomorrow at 5:00 ET, when the Wings travel to meet the Carolina Hurricanes.  For now, though, we can savor the feeling of a well-earned Red Wings win.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Leafs vs Red Wings

As the regular season comes to a close, we are reminded that Detroit has some new rivals after switching to the Atlantic division. One of these teams is the Toronto Maple Leafs, who the Red Wings play tonight (7:30 PM ET on Sportsnet One, Fox-Sports Detroit)

For Detroit : 

Nyquist - Zetterberg - Franzen



For Toronto :




Notable notes :

Weiss on the wing with Nosek, good for him! But then, there's Cleary (womp, womp)
First game back - as far as i know - for Robidas. Look for him and Phaneuf to be physical.
The Nyquist - Zetterberg - Franzen still intact, which makes me think they'll be the 1st line as the regular season starts.
No Quincey, Kindl or Lashoff! We'll see what the kids can do; excited to see the Ouellet-Jensen pairing.

The Red Wings play in Toronto tonight and in Boston tomorrow to finish up the preseason.

Go Wings Go!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Der Kaiser: Wings Re-sign Young Defenseman to 2-Year Deal

About damn time we get some news worth me writing about!!

Well, how was everyone's summer?  I must apologize to my readers, as I seemed to have dropped off the face of the planet for a few months, but I assure you it was all in the interest of me further pursuing my dreams.

...But let's be real, you don't wanna hear about that shit, DANNY DEKEYSER JUST GOT RE-SIGNED!! (If you actually wanna hear about that shit, just hit me up on Twitter)

The news is still pretty fresh, but it appears as though the young and talented Western Michigan graduate has agreed to a 2-year contract extension worth $4.375M.  My initial thought was, "Hey look! They paid him more than Kyle Quincey!" But that thought was quickly dashed when I realized we're throwing almost that whole amount at The Saboteur in EACH of his two years.  Perhaps I'll rant about that bullshit later, but let's focus on the positive side, shall we? Ah 'kay.

Let's face it, unless we have some kind of TERRIBLE case of misfortune with our up-and-coming young blueliner (Like THAT ever happens...right........??), Dekeyser is going to be our next top D-Man in the very near future.  He's already an excellent player in all 3 areas of the ice, and has a SLEW of amazing mentors in the organization to learn from.  While I'm happy as heck that Danny got signed, I--like many I noticed on Twitter--can't help but ask: Why the shit did it take THIS LONG to get a deal in place??  DK is going to be a defensive stud for many, MANY years to come, and considering that the Red Wings have never...let me repeat: much as attempted to fill the void left by Nicklas Lidstrom upon his retirement, a defender with this kind of potential is what we've sorely needed.  Now that we have him, we need to lock that shit up like he lives in Fort Knox.

The only real roster question left now is whether Daniel Alfredsson will be healthy enough to opt in for another kick at the Cup.  Then once that's settled, we can all pick sides and go to war about whether we think we've got a legit playoff team or if we're going to be a shit-show and miss the playoffs altogether!

Damn, I love this time of's good to be back, baby.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wings Must be Better in Critical Game 4

There is a wide gap of difference between a 2-2 series and a 3-1 series.  Detroit needs to keep that mind as they head into tonight's Game 4 match-up against the Bruins, who currently hold the 2-1 advantage in this first round clash.

All reports indicate that the Wings are getting back Captain Henrik Zetterberg tonight, so long as he cleared at game-time by doctors.  You can't even put into words the boost this could give the team.  Regardless of the minutes he actually logs if he plays, Hank's sheer presence on the bench and in the dressing room will be massively uplifting and inspirational.

The only other line change expected is the slotting in of Todd Bertuzzi for his debut in this series, with the hope that his bigger frame will help drive the play to the front of the Boston net.  With these line changes, the Red Wings hope to generate more offense, but it wouldn't take much as Detroit has somehow managed to at least take one game after going three with only 2 goals.  A huge factor for this has been the decrepit state of the powerplay.  I won't be sad if Tom Renney is axed after this season, because whatever he's been trying to sell, the Wings haven't been buying all year.

We're only about 90 minutes from game time and hopefully when that time comes we see the Red Wings of Game 1 rather than the last two games.

This series is not out of reach by any means, but giving this one away tonight would almost surely make it so.  If the Wings are going to turn it up, tonight is the night to do it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Datsyuk Delights with Game One Winner

The magic just doesn't stop, does it?

I gotta tell you, last night's first round opener against Boston was exciting and entertaining, albeit a bit thuggish on Boston's end, but no one expected much else coming into this series.

What most people in the media didn't expect, however, was for the severely underestimated Detroit Red Wings to skate into TD Garden and shut down the entire Bruins squad for 60 minutes and skate out with a 1-0 win and a one game lead in this best-of-7 match-up.

It's early, and it's only one win, but it's still one win.  Three to go.

And can we all take a moment to prostrate ourselves before the glory that is Pavel Datsyuk?  Did anyone wonder if he'd find a way to turn it up in the playoffs after coming back so recently? Well, he just answered all those questions with an exclamation point, as well as what could end up being the goal of the playoffs.

We're back at it on Sunday afternoon, and my only wish is that Babs does his job of keeping the boys humble.  We've gone out and beaten the Bruins in a playoff game, so that's been proven doable.  That doesn't mean we can be lazy from here on.  Every game of this series, no matter how long it goes, will be just like Game 1.  This series will be a war of attrition, and Detroit can not afford to slack off at ANY point, or it could be costly.

If Jimmy Howard stays as dialed in as he was last game, and the skaters continue to play disciplined and structured, it's totally possible.  Franzen going Beast mode would be nice, but at least he set up the Dats goal.  Maybe Game Two will be his turn.

We'll find out tomorrow.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Wings Earn Playoff-Clinching Point in Pittsburgh

Finally, a shootout loss we can feel good about!

The Wings managed to pull even with the Pittsburgh Penguins late in the 3rd after giving up two leads, but weren't able to put down the Pens for good as Detroit lost their match yesterday 4-3 after a shootout.  The point from that loss was the last point the Red Wings needed to secure their berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a 23rd consecutive year, and this has arguably been one of the toughest of all 23 years.

There have been an inordinate amount of hurdles for Detroit to jump over just to get to this point--primary among them being the ungodly number of injuries the team has suffered.  Depleting what was already a roster with some big holes didn't bode well for the Wings, but then a miracle happened:

The kids in Grand Rapids turned out to be riper than we thought.

Tomas Jurco, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening, and Danny DeKeyser among others accepted the challenge of filling roles far beyond their years and have been nothing short of stellar.  Add to that the young fixtures Tomas Tatar and Gus Nyquist--of whom we knew would be regulars on the team despite the weirdness with Nyquist--and you get a youth movement for the ages.

Nyquist in particular has been superb, playing the best hockey of his life ever since taking the coaching staff's advice to maintain a more shoot-first attitude.  Since then, he's taken himself all the way up to the top of Detroit's goal leaders, and the gap between him and everyone else is wide to say the least.

Dekeyser has been integral to the Detroit blueline.  The young defensive genius is easily in the Red Wings' top 3 D-men, and after the most recent injury to Jonathan Ericsson which has him still sidelined, the Kaiser has played with poise and a measure of calm that few players his age exhibit.

There are so many great stories to talk about when you look back at this year's team, and we still have the playoffs to look forward to.  Be it Pittsburgh or Boston that Detroit faces in the first round, the contest is sure to be an entertaining one!  We'll be there soon as the Wings only have 2 games left in the regular season, but the biggest challenge has been cleared: We're in.

Now, anything can happen.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wings Learn Valuable Lesson Against Buffalo

Last night's game was way more nerve-wracking than it needed to be.

Detroit roared out to a 3-0 lead in the 1st period in their match against the Buffalo Sabres, but obviously got complacent and relaxed by the time the 2nd rolled around, because from then on the Wings let the Sabres back into the play, and only managed to scrape by with a narrow 3-2 win.  Darren Helm, Tomas Jurco and Daniel Alfredsson tallied for the Wings and Jimmy Howard improved to 20-18-11 with the victory.

I'm personally glad the Wings learned this lesson last night against the worst team in the league, because it proves exactly what the kids in Detroit need to know: Parity is the reality, ANY team can beat you any night if you don't work hard for the full game.  They almost saw it happen and almost gave away what many (myself included) would normally consider mail-in points.  The only thing is, we're way too close to the end of the season and we're still not technically a lock for the playoffs.  We do not get the luxury of backing into any wins from here on out, instead the Wings must put skate blade to throat and make sure they're playing strong hockey from start to finish.

With the standings the way they are, the most points any team below Detroit and Columbus can end with is 92.  If you factor in ROW, the Wings need to win 3 of their last 5 to be a lock for the playoffs no matter what everyone else does.  One of those 5 is against Buffalo again, so as long as the Wings turn in a slightly better effort than they did last night, that's one win, leaving 2 wins out of 4 to clinch.

That, my friends, is doable.

We're in the homestretch now, guys.  Pedal down all week means we're in.  Get it done.

P.S.:  I'd like to congratulate referee Don Van Massenhoven on his great career as an on-ice official.  He reffed his final game last night at the Joe, and we were his choice for his last match.  Enjoy your retirement, Don!  The Ref has one of the most thankless jobs in hockey, but one of the most integral and important.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Wings versus Sabres and the Magician Returns

The Detroit Red Wings will take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight at the Joe Louis Arena at 7:30pm. The Wings, who are 6-3-1 their last ten games, defeated the Sabres in the last two match ups this season. Detroit will be looking for another two points to help secure their playoff spot.

The Wings have been on fire lately, winning their last three games in a row. The big news of tonight's game will be the return of one of the best players in the league, Pavel Datsyuk. We likely see the star center play left wing in tonight's game where he won't be pushed to play as much. The line he will skate with is still to be determined.

Datsyuk has 15 goals and 18 assists this season. The magician is always a star, but has had less time
to shine this season. Tonight's game will be his first home game since December 23rd. Datsyuk has sat out 16 straight games due to a knee injury and missed 30 of the last 34 games Detroit has played. This brings the question of how much do the Wings really need to rely on Datsyuk?

Detroit has been holding their own since losing Datsyuk's key role. Players like Nyquist, Tatar and Jurco have helped keep pushed the Wings in their first Eastern Conference wild card spot. Rookie Tomas Tatar has four two-point games in the past six. There is no doubt that the return of Datsyuk will help push Detroit to their 23rd playoff appearance. However, it appears that Datsyuk does not need to play the role of saving the Wings any longer. Daniel Alfredsson is also rumored to be back in the line up tonight.

Sabres, who are 2-7-1 their last ten games, also have a couple wild cards on their own. Forward Tyler Ennis has earned three points in his last two games and Cody Hodgson has a point each of his last three games. Buffalo will be pushing to win as they face having the fewest wins in a full season since 1971-72.

Root on the Detroit Red Wings with us tonight at 7:30pm by following our Facebook and Twitter!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jimmy Howard Wins His 150th Game as Detroit Squeaks by the Bruins 3-2

Credit goes to Jorge Nemsis on the Red Wings' Facebook Group.

The Red Wings won a game they had no business winning against the top team in the league with a score of 3-2.

Jimmy Howard also collected his 150th win in the NHL, all with the Detroit Red Wings. He's still 201 wins away from the first place Terry Sawchuk on the Red Wings' all-time wins leader.

The first goal was awarded to the Bruins with a blast from the point by Johnny Boychuk. The right-handed bruiser from Edmonton blew one past Howard at the very end of the first period after his teammate Krug had one disallowed on a sketchy call at best a couple of moments earlier.

When the second period started, the Red Wings had some get up in their skating and it finally paid off as Tatar blew one top shelf by Rask. The Finnish goaltender didn’t have a chance on the goal, as the big frame of Riley Sheahan had blocked his view. It was all tied up 1-1 after two periods and the fans, like myself, had no more nails left as the Bruins outshot the Red Wings 25-11.

Quickly in the third period, Carl Soderberg put the Bruins back up 2-1 after a PP goal, assisted by Patrice Bergeron and Brendan Smith’s brother, Reilly. That goal kind of left the Wings short of breath. Then, the Kid Line of Sheahan, Jurco and Tatar took my breath away (Top Gun reference here!) with a play that showed how much effort they give game in and game out. Tatar kicked the puck in front of the net to Jurco and the beneficiary of the Slovakian connection potted his 6th goal to tie it up at two apiece.

Then, Nyquist exploded and did what he’s been doing for the last 12 games, scoring on a near breakaway, whilst being chased by none other than Zdeno "I have a 7 foot stick and a Norris Trophy" Chara. Gustav had the eventual game-winner, as the Red Wings would hold on and win 3-2.

After the game, Claude Julien said that the team only played 50 of the 60 minutes of the game and that is what cost the Bruins the game. For his part, Soderberg said in the post-game interview that the Bruins "never want to lose two in a row" and was quick to comment that the Leafs’ game was now the only thing on his mind, putting the lost behind him.

As for the winning coach, Babcock stated in his post-game interview that a lot of the forwards didn’t have a great game but redeemed themselves in the third period with big goals. "We can play with anyone, we don’t have to watch them play. We just need to get out there and play" Babcock remains confident that his team can overcome adversity and stated that although "this wasn’t one of our best games, we found a way to win".

Now let’s just hope they can find a way to get into the playoffs with only 6 games left. One thing is sure, if the Red Wings play like they did against the Bruins, this team can surprise in the playoffs and keep the streak of playoff appearances alive.

Red Wings Rookies on Fire

As we approach the playoffs, many were worried and doubting the Wings success. It seemed that the longest playoff streak would soon be put to a halt. However, the rookies of the team seem to have a different plan in mind.

The game last night versus the Boston Bruins was electric. The team that has been floundering to find their rhythm beat the Bruins, the best team in the NHL. Why? Nyquist, Jurco, Tatar. It has been these lethal three that have been making a difference in the Wings playoff stance and making a name for themselves too.

Boston started the night with a goal late in the first period from Boychuk. Tatar scored the lone goal in the second period to tie Detroit and Boston at 1 to 1. A feed from DeKeyser helped Tatar to get one past Boston goalie Tuuka Risk at the top of the right circle. Boston quickly took the lead back in the beginning of the third period when Soderberg scored the second goal for Boston. During a scramble in front of Rask,Tatar sent a kick pass to Jurco. The Detroit rookie tied it up 2-2. Nyquist followed up
with a beautiful breakaway with 7:12 left in the third period, leading the Wings to a 3-2 victory against the Bruins Wednesday night.

The energy from these rookies is really what is astounding.  Nyquist, with 28 goals this season (20th in the league), still has a smile from ear to ear when scoring. The star has had 22 goals in the last 27 games. Tatar, 19 goals, pumps his fists into the air when he assists a goal. These rookies are hungry for goals and even hungrier for wins. If you ask me, they are what will make the difference going forward. For anyone who has doubted the Wings in these last two seasons, look at these guys. They are our future. Producing and learning each and every game.

Another honorable mention: Jimmy Howard. He was on his game last night. Howard, who has had a rocky season himself, seems to be kicking it up. Hopefully we are seeing him preparing to be the awesome playoff goalie we always see out of him. Howard had one of his best games this season, keeping his team in the game and in the playoffs. An impressive 33 saves

on 35 shots landed Howard the "Star of the Game" spot.

Some things to look at going forward: will Gustav Nyquist stay in the spotlight? Datsyuk is said to return soon, which we all are surely celebrating. The magician has been out due to a knee injury, but has been skating during practice for the last week. It would seem obvious to have Datsyuk on the first line with Nyquist. However, will that hurt Nyquist's recent successes?

Detroit will face the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow, April 4th at 7:30pm for their second to last regular season home game. The Sabres are last in the league, with 51 points. Despite their win on Tuesday, the Sabres have lost heir last four games. Hopefully tonight's game against the Blues will tire the Sabres out and allow the Detroit Red Wings for their third win against the Buffalo Sabres this season.

What do you think of these star rookies? Do you think they will allow Detroit for another playoff appearance? Share your opinion and follow our Facebook and Twitter for more Wings coverage!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Is This the Season-Defining Week for Wings?

Detroit comes into their game tonight against Columbus as the co-owner of the 7th seed.  They are tied with Toronto in points but hold two games in hand on the Maple Leafs.  The Red Wings then play Montreal, followed by the aforementioned Leafs, and enter the new week with a game against
Tampa Bay.  The Wings are as healthy as they're going to be for a while yet, and they are hotter than they've been in some time, which leaves one big question:

Is this the week that determines whether the door to the playoffs stays open for passage, or gets slammed in our face?

Now to be fair, we've seen Detroit get a decent amount of help from the Leafs by way of them going into some sort of hockey coma, having lost their last 5 games.  That part is HUGE for us.  Columbus is faltering as well, having dropped back below us already.  But none of this matters if not for the hard work and determination of the Red Wings.  Take for example Jimmy Howard's resurgence over the last week, as well as Gustav Nyquist's possessed play since returning from the Olympics! There hasn't BEEN anyone hotter than our boy Goose.  These two have taken to driving the bus and are currently steering it in a pretty damned good direction!  We're back on the inside, it's now in Detroit's hands to keep it that way.

Author your own fate, Wings.  Don't let other teams dictate where you stand.  Keep working hard and clawing for those points like you have been and things will continue to improve.

Play like the season is on the line, because it is.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Wings Get Crazy for Crucial Game against Leafs

The Detroit Red Wings are trying desperately to stay in the hunt for the playoffs while enduring ridiculous amounts of injuries, and may see that task further hindered as they get ready to face the Toronto Maple Leafs, a division rival sitting above them in the standings.  Forward Landon Ferraro has been recalled by Detroit in case Justin Abdelkader can't go after leaving the previous game early.  As if more call-ups didn't sound the alarm loud enough, it seems struggling Defenseman Brendan Smith has been re-positioned to Left Wing.  Wings fans haven't seen a move like this since we saw a blueline-patrolling Sergei's just a shame that this time around it's not that caliber of a player.

Todd Bertuzzi is also a game-time decision, so we could very possibly see both the debut of Ferraro along with Brendan Smith 2.0 against Toronto.  At this juncture, Mike Babcock and the coaching staff need to try something different, so why not this?  Smith's most consistent error on D is that he isn't able to gauge properly WHEN to pinch in and push the play in the offensive zone, very often getting caught deep as the puck goes back the other way leading to an odd-man rush or a forward trying to cover for him.  Maybe now on the wing he'll work out better, since he likes going to the opposition corners so much in the first place.

All I know is, no matter the changes Detroit makes, we need to start scoring and winning some games.  Too many more losses from here on out and that door to the post-season is going to shut for good.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Wings Far from Perfect on Lidstrom's Jersey Retirement Night

Talk about a buzzkill.

It seems as though the Red Wings are out to make sure they make a terrible mess of every significant event taking place this season with them involved.  Winter Classic? Awesome, let's lose that one in front of a record-setting crowd--oh wait, we didn't even manage that part.  Oh hey, Lidstrom's jersey is going up to the rafters tonight and we could spank the Avs in the same evening! Well, on second thought, let's not bother.  To do that, we'd have to play a full 60-minute hockey game.  Instead, let's make a big spectacle of the banner-raising (which was seriously beautiful, by the way), then blow two leads after playing about 50 minutes of solid, heart-and-soul hockey...and then nap through the rest of the game.

Yeah, that was a great plan, boys.

I said it on Twitter last night and I will say it here: Yes, there are injuries and yes, that means we aren't playing our best players.  That does not equate to this team being poor skill-wise.  Our defense is lacking, I'll be first to admit, but how do you play relatively sound, smart hockey for 50 minutes and then just turn it around like you have 5 guys on the ice consistently unaware of what the game of hockey even is??  When they talk about players running out of gas, I wouldn't think to take it so literal that they ACTUALLY SHUT DOWN once that gauge dips!!

Oh, there's minute 50, time for us to go comatose! Really, guys...?  You're better than this, you know it and everyone on this side of it knows it.  Get your damn act together before you finally cost yourselves a playoff berth because you couldn't be bothered to stick it out for another half a period.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Wings Get Ball Rolling in Back-To-Back Wins

Well there's a good way to come back from the Olympics.

Detroit was blessed with two straight games to resume the NHL regular season, and obviously they wanted to get off on the right foot to start their dash to the postseason.  They did exactly that as they decimated the Ottawa Senators 6-1 last night, on the heels of squeaking out a 2-1 OT win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday.

With the loss of Henrik Zetterberg for most--if not all of--this season, the Red Wings need someone to step up and deliver, and so far it seems like they've got just the man, or mule, for the job.  Johan Franzen is playing some of the best hockey of his career after returning yet again from concussion symptoms that had been plaguing him over the last couple months.  He really made a statement of intent with a hat trick in Ottawa, almost netting four after ringing the post.  This is the Mule we know and love, and something has obviously clicked Franzen back into Beast mode.  Whatever it is, he needs to bottle it and keep drinking it the rest of the year.

Currently the Wings are standing pat at 8th in the East with 68 points.  They hold a game-in-hand over 7th place Toronto with 71 points, and are even in GP with 9th place Washington with 65 points.  If the Red Wings can keep up this pace, they will slowly inch their way up the standings and into a more comfortable position for the playoffs.

Just please don't let it be a repeat of last year's nail-biting last gasp into the playoffs.  I don't know of my heart can take another one of those.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Let's Review, Shall We?

With the Winter Olympics finished up for all the NHL'ers who were participating, the Red Wings will soon be back to continue the remainder of the 2013-2014 season.  Before that, however, let's take a moment to get re-acquainted with our team and remind ourselves of the position we're in as the regular season prepares to start up again.

Detroit comes back into the season holding onto the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, currently ranked 5th in the Atlantic Division.  They are 6 points back of 7th ranked Toronto and hold only a single point's edge over trailing Columbus.  The silver lining here is that Detroit actually holds two games in hand on the Maple Leafs, so with a good showing out of the gate from the Red Wings, we could see that margin close to only 2 points by the time the two clubs come even in games played.  Also in our favor is the fact that Columbus HAS the same number of GP, so no games in hand for them.

On the injury front, Pavel Datsyuk is getting back into form.  He played very well in the Olympics, carrying the Russian national team on his shoulders as much as he could, but thanks to some terrible coaching, the Russians were ousted before even getting to medal contention.  I understand Dats is probably very upset and disappointed over this, but to me it is a blessing in disguise.  Pavel got in some good playing time and was still able to get time to further rest himself before coming back to the Wings this Wednesday.  All of the other Olympian Red Wings had great showings too, including our two Slovakians, Tomas Jurco and Tatar.  Even though their team went winless, those two really showed grit and determination, easily becoming two of the best players on the team even though they are still very young.

On the flipside, however, was the biggest news out of Sochi for Detroit: Henrik Zetterberg went down early in the tournament with more back issues, this time so severe that he had to withdraw completely and opt for back surgery.  Hank was quoted as saying the injury was 20 times worse than when it flared up during the regular season.  Initial reports indicate that our captain could be out at least 8 weeks, which does mean that he COULD be cleared to play in time for the playoffs or even the late stages of the season if we're lucky; however, that is a long, long time to wait to get back the guy who has undeniably driven the bus for the Red Wings ever since late last season.  Zetterberg is irreplaceable, but the question looms whether or not the organization will attempt to do so anyway.

Back at home, Johan Franzen is feeling much improved by all accounts.  Originally chosen to play in Sochi, a relapse of Franzen's concussion symptoms forced him to concede his spot, which was taken by fellow Wing Gustav Nyquist.  Franzen could be ready to go on Wednesday when the team resumes play.  The bigger question looming over management's head is regarding a guy we've barely seen this year:  How will the return of Stephen Weiss to the lineup impact the Red Wings' play?  Weiss was...ineffective, shall we say, thus far this season but it became glaringly obvious after a while that something was definitely wrong with him.  Sure enough, turns out he was battling a sports hernia and needed surgery.  Now that that's been taken care of though, will we start to see more of the Stephen Weiss who dazzled Florida Panthers fans for so many years?  With the absence of Zetterberg, one prays the answer is a decided yes.

...Oh, and Jakub Kindl had a sprained MCL that apparently is better case anyone cares.

So in short, the Red Wings come back to the season in okay shape.  The loss of Z hurts terribly, but with all the bodies coming back playing well, squeaking into the playoffs is not a far off dream.

Once you're in, anything can happen.

Here's to an exciting last dash to the end, Wingnuts.


Monday, February 3, 2014

The Defense Rests

If it wasn't clear before yesterday's game, it certainly became glaringly obvious after: this team needs an upgrade on the blueline.

I've been chirping this for months, through all the other struggles with injury and offensive droughts and whatnot.  Most of the other problems (besides injury) have cleared up, but the one thing that has been consistent is the fact that our D-corps is nigh-translucent.  If you score 5 goals in one hockey game, there are very few excuses as to why you don't win that game.  And by the ways, injuries?   The only big recent injury we had on defense was losing Rig to broken ribs, and he's back.  Honestly, he's been one of, if not THE best defenseman we've had over the last week of games.  We've run almost the exact same 6 D all year, and it hasn't gotten any better.

Smith still stinks, Quincey is a sabotaging double-agent, and Kindl looks ready to go back to the AHL.  Lashoff is spotty at best, but at least he doesn't get caught pinching like Smith always does.  The biggest offender, and I'll take flak for this and I really don't care, is Kronwall.  Let's level, okay guys? Nik Kronwall is not a #1 defenseman, he is plugging the hole with his finger, not filling it.  The style Kronwall has played since the departure of Lidstrom is not his style of play, and it's obvious.  The dude is here to bang bodies and keep enemy offenses honest, and he does not do that on a regular basis.  It's part of why opposing skaters attack out defensive zone so aggressively and get the big chances that they do.  Kronner is not a shut-down guy, he's a knock-down guy!  And before you say it, I don't care about the risk of suspension if Kronner starts Kronwalling guys frequently again.  You know why?  Because a hell of a lot of good it's done us for him to NOT do it! We're still struggling for a playoff spot and we're giving up 5 goals every other game, do you need reminded of the game against Philly??  This is not a singularity!  Our. Defense. SUCKS.

I'm not saying there's definitely an answer out there to be had at the trade deadline, but DO NOT feed me the same Ken Holland bullshit that "We like our team as it is" and "There's really no one out there that interests us." because damn-near ANYTHING is better than what we've got right now.  Management needs to stop deluding itself and WORK on fixing this very real PROBLEM.  Even if they go after someone and don't get them, at least if I can see they TRIED, that's enough for me...

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Stop Russian: Thoughts on the Datsyuk LBI

It's now been reported that Pavel Datsyuk will miss his 12th consecutive game with a lower-body injury when Detroit faces Washington on Friday.  Of course a small part of me wants to go panic mode considering the Wings' place in the standings currently, but at the same time I can't help but think it's best in the long run that he take as much time as needed to heal.  If that means he misses the Olympics I'm fine with it, even though he was honored with his country's Captaincy.

I am getting tired of the trolls who are giving Dats grief about him missing games now but expect he'll play in Sochi.  If he's healthy by then, then that's fine, but do you honestly think that he's going to risk further injury by coming back too soon, even to play for his homeland?  Before Pavel re-signed, people were going off their heads over a stupid rumor that was getting thrown around that he wanted to play in Russia instead, which he quickly and wholly dismissed.  He is a professional athlete and he will not risk losing out on the rest of his NHL contract by playing hurt here OR in Sochi by machine-gunning cortisone shots into his leg.

People need to calm down.  The season is not over, and we're only just BARELY outside of a playoff spot right now.  By the time the Olympics are over, we should be pretty much 100% healthy, or as close as a team 2/3 through the season should be.  It's fine to keep your expectations low as far as a Cup run is concerned, but when the injured are well again, 23 straight years will be well in sight.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Panthers Pounce Shorthanded, Win in the Shootout

The Panthers just kept coming as the clip the Red Wings 5-4 in a shootout.

In the first period, Sean Bergenheim got behind the defence and scored his 12th of the season, setting the pace of the game early on. The Panthers continued to play solid, forchecking hockey and kept the Red Wings at bay. The Red Wings couldn’t get any sustained pressure as Thomas wasn’t really tested. All things said, the Red Wings came on stronger in the latter half of the period and we had the making of another one-goal game.

In the second period, Nyquist put his team on the board, as he picked up a Franzen pass and beat Thomas five-hole for his 9th of the season. And then, the unthinkable happened; the ever elusive Dan Cleary, who got the call he was playing 15 minutes before the game, won a face-off that led to the Alfredsson goal that made it 2-1 Red Wings. And Cleary wasn’t the only one who had a good game, as the kids – Jurco, Sheahan and Tatar – were getting it done. The aforementioned Sheahan finished off a play by Tatar who scored on a spin-o-rama, on the powerplay and made it 3-1 for the Red Wings.

The third period had some more jump to it. Boyes and Gilbert had some chances early on Gustavsson, who stood tall, but he couldn’t help letting a Winchester shot get through him, making it 3-2 at 9:12. Cleary, never one to be upstaged, did his best Tomas Holmstrom impression and had a goal waived off for after a questionable goaltender interference call.

As the period progressed, the Panthers came on stronger, heavily outshooting the Red Wings early on but as in all good things in life, it had to come to an end. Tatar finished up a nice Sheahan play at the top of the circle and it was 4-2 for the Red Wings. Drew made "Shore" that he kept his team in the game, as he snapped a shot into a wide open net at 14:19 to make it 4-3. The Red Wings then got caught up on an odd-man rush on the power-play and shootout player extraordinaire Brad Boyes scored a short-handed marker, making it even at 4-4 at 16:14 in the 3rd.

Overtime solved nothing and Florida eventually won it thanks to a Bjugstad goal in the shootout.

All in all, there were two things I noticed in tonight’s game. One, Mike Babcock seemed to be relying on his 2nd line of Jurco – Sheahan – Tatar all throughout the game, 5 on 5 and on the powerplay and the kids responded. They finished with a very solid 5 points and +3 overall. The other positive thing is that Kyle Quincey went unnoticed throughout the game, which is a very good thing. He played a defensively sound game, even though he finished with an even rating.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Wings Sting Stanley Cup Champs in Shootout

The first portion of the game was terrible.  The finish was fantastic.

Detroit came into last night's match a heavy underdog, but how could they not?  Heavily under-manned and facing the Chicago Blackhawks, one of the most prolific offensive teams in the league this year, the analysts had this one wrote off before it even began.  Surely it seemed they would be correct after the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the 1st, but then when it all looked like the same old song, something magical happened.

The Red Wings played like the Red Wings.

Detroit managed to tie the game at 2 with goals from Tomas Tatar and Patrick Eaves before the end of the 1st.  Then, after giving Chicago the lead again in the 2nd, the Wings not only tied the game back up but actually took their first lead of the game with another pair of goals from Kyle Quincey and Gustav Nyquist.  It was lucky for us that the Wings found all this offense at one time, because the lead did not carry long into the 3rd period, as Jonas Gustavsson, who had fought the puck all night, gave up another goal to tie the game at 4 apiece.

The scoring would stop there for regulation time, and overtime drew no solution.  Alas, back to the dreaded shootout we went.  But wait...all of a sudden, we're scoring goals in the shootout, and Monster is somehow making stops at the most critical junctures, even making two saves on Patrick Kane's attempt!  Eaves and Bertuzzi banged home a pair to keep us in the game as the shootout went to extra rounds, marking save after save, until finally it was Darren Helm's turn, and he did not disappoint.  A quick snap of the stick and the puck was past Corey Crawford.  With a clutch save by Gustavsson on Andrew Shaw just previous, Helm locked up the win for the Wings over their hated enemies, as well as 2 precious points to tie them for the final wildcard spot in the East.

This game was as refreshing as it was entertaining.  We finally got a game where injuries were no excuse, the guys on the ice just worked their asses off and got the job done.  It wasn't the prettiest of wins, but it sure was satisfying.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Wings Left Wanting in Beatdown from Blues

As one is normally able if they look, the tone of the hockey game last night was evident from the first 10 minutes of the match.  Sure enough, Detroit was transparent yet again.  The St. Louis Blues came into JLA like they owned the place, and from what transpired they basically did, never letting up on the Red Wings as the Blues decimated Detroit 4-1 Monday night.  Gustav Nyquist got the lone Red Wings goal, while Jimmy Howard did his best to keep the Wings in it till he left with a lower-body injury.  Petr Mrazek finished the game, giving up the last of the 4 St. Louis goals.

It was a pitiful sight, to be sure, with the only real fight coming from the energy guys: Helm, Sheahan, Eaves, Glendening and so on.  With so much top-tier talent still on the shelf, those who remain are obviously getting focused on and bore down upon, and it's choking the life out of this team.  One thing that really stood out to me was the distance from which the Blues were scoring most of the night.  Only 1 goal came from around the net front, with the other 3 goals originating from back along or near the blueline, screens or deflections all.  Why does that stand out?

Because we don't get those goals, not recently anyway and not with any consistency.  Ericsson is the only big name D-man still out, so injury isn't the problem there.  We need our defenders to start getting pucks through bodies for scoring chances.  Too many times do you see Kindl or Smith or Lashoff just bang it off someone's shin guard and back comes the opposition with an odd-man rush.  Lidstrom might've been the best, but he wasn't the ONLY one who could get a puck from the blueline to the net on this team, so someone needs to figure this out now.

The Wings will get Ericsson back for tomorrow's tilt against Chicago.  The Wings desperately need to steal some points through the remainder of this homestand and finish as high as they can before the Olympic break, and taking a point or two off the Champs would be a sweet time to do it.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Powerless at the Pond, Detroit Defeated by Ducks

The yo-yo season continues for the Detroit Red Wings.

After a great showing against the Kings on Saturday, the Wings had a chance to end the California road trip with a majority of wins, but all that determination seen in LA was wasted in Anaheim as Detroit simply could not pull the trigger against the Ducks.  Despite many excellent chances, a good number of them went by the wayside as Wings players did not converge and own the middle of the offensive zone the way they needed to against a Ducks team that kept Detroit neutered along the perimeter.  Petr Mrazek got the start in net for the Red Wings and made this one a game Detroit could've taken hold of but they never did, losing 1-0 and gifting the hot-handed Jonas Hiller with a shutout and his 14th straight victory.

The biggest concern of the evening, however, had to be the Red Wings' impotence on the powerplay.  Detroit is now 0 for its last 21 PP chances, and it has seemed to matter little whether all the big guns are on the ice for the man advantage or not.  The struggling powerplay for the Wings has been a constant problem and Assistant Coach Tom Renney seems to have done almost nothing to change the flaws in the system.  We still see too much passing, not enough puck retrieval after an initial shot, and sparse movement by the defense to open up the middle of the ice.  Just last night in Anaheim, the Wings went an unacceptable 0 for 5.  Teams cannot squander that many PP opportunities and expect to go far and if this, as well as the number of other obvious problems this team has faced all year, are not addressed at the trade deadline then this may end up a very depressing year for Wings fans.

Detroit is off now until the 16th when they travel to New York to face the Rangers.  They will be without the valuable services of Tomas Tatar who will be in Slovakia to attend his father's funeral.  Hopefully we will get word in the meantime that other Red Wings, such as Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm, will be ready to go by then.  All we can do till then is believe in the team and hope things start getting consistently better.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Red Wings earn Emotional, Valuable Win in LA

Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard found a piece of himself and forward Tomas Tatar paid a fitting tribute to his recently deceased father in what was easily one of the most satisfying wins of the year.  Howard made 44 stops and Tatar scored the game winning goal as the Wings downed the Kings 3-1 Saturday night.  Riley Sheahan netted his first NHL goal to open Detroit's scoring and Dan Cleary also contributed a goal, rounding out the Wings' offense for the evening.

After a dismal performance in San Jose, Howard needed a strong comeback game to build some confidence and momentum.  Unfortunately after having done so, news broke that Petr Mrazek will get the start tonight as it seems Jimmy tweaked his hip flexor, even though he himself suggests he is fine.  Hopefully this effort is not squandered and can be built upon after he returns, unlike the night-and-day showings between Dallas and San Jose.

Tatar undoubtedly played last night with a heavy heart, with news of his father Jan's passing still fresh.  In an emotional show of character, however, Tatar endured and played, and was instrumental in the win over the Kings.  Not only did he score what ended up being the game-winning goal, but he also assisted on Sheahan's opening goal for Detroit.  The sight of Tatar pointing to the sky after his goal will not soon be forgotten.

With last night's big win behind them, the Red Wings now move on to Anaheim, where the Ducks will host Detroit.  Can Detroit hold onto the energy from last night and propel themselves deeper into playoff contention?  I believe they can, and they will.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Does Jimmy Howard Need the Chris Osgood Vacation?

It's no secret that Jimmy Howard has struggled this year.  It's a case of a great goaltender simply having what is quickly turning into a season for the Hall of Shame, with his lackluster finishes far exceeding his stand-out performances.  Things between the Hockeytown pipes are scary right now.

But haven't we dealt with this before?

Journey back to the year 2008.  The Wings rode the tandem of Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek confidently into the playoffs, and when Hasek lost his touch, Osgood was there to steal the show, taking the Wings to the promised land.  Now, jump forward to the next season.  2009's regular season was not nearly as kind to Osgood.  His play became inconsistent and erratic, and he was his own worst enemy.  It got to a point where management had to step in, giving the starting spot to Ty Conklin while Chris Osgood was sent away for ten days to get his head screwed on straight again, working constantly with goalie coach Jim Bedard.

I hope I don't need to remind Wings fans how that season ended, and how close we came to seeing a repeat.  Needless to say, the Osgood vacation certainly made a difference.  Could this same thing not possibly help to get Jimmy back to his old form?  At this point, I feel anything is worth a try.  We're currently a point away from being on the outside looking in.  If Jimmy drops the game tonight against the Kings, we will almost certainly be on the wrong side of the standings by tomorrow.

Coach Babcock has himself said that we will go only as far as Howard takes us.  Does it not then behoove us to give him every chance as early as possible to get this fixed?  If we simply say "Steady on!" and hope that it works itself out, in a month or two's time it could be too late.

Just don't send him on the Larry Murphy vacation of beer and all-day dollar hot dogs.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Classic Case of Depression

I'm gonna put this out there right now.  It's been 2 days since the Red Wings lost the Winter Classic to Toronto, and I'm still shaking my head over it.  Call me a blasphemer if you will, but that loss kinda ruined the whole allure of the Winter Classic for me.

Now to be fair, I am a long ways away from where the Hockeytown Winter Festival took place.  I did not have a chance to go--much to my the time.  Looking back on it, though...I'm not sure I would have felt like it was enjoyable to go all the way out there, get all wound up over all the hype, all the build-up...just to watch Detroit blow it in (SURPRISE!) a shootout.  I will tell you one thing, though: feeling that way doesn't make me a bad fan like I'm sure some will want to denounce me as for saying it.

My disappointment in the loss has been so great that it's taken me this long just to drum up the will to write about it!  This was supposed to be the big, legendary, once-in-a-lifetime triumph, and what did we get instead? We got placed in the record books for the largest hockey game the other guys who lost to the goddamned Maple Leafs.

Really? What reason do I have to look back on THAT with anything resembling fondness?

Again in all fairness, the game itself was quite good: back-and-forth action, saves, hits, an almost playoff-like atmosphere at times...and then it also had the shootout.  I should have known better than to get my hopes up when we got to that point, the last 12 we'd been in gave you a pretty good indication of what to expect at that particular juncture.

On the bright side, Datsyuk scored in the shootout! ...And he deked, too! He beat the goalie so bad that Datsyuk left him outside in the-waaaaaait a second...

But yes, in all seriousness, I don't look back on the Winter Classic fondly, nor do I believe I ever shall.  My one big regret is not being able to see the alumni games, seeing Yzerman skate in the Winged Wheel one last time, or seeing the Russian Five reunited...that one would have done me in.

The Red Wings need to make this up to me by winning some damned games and making sure we get into the playoffs, because that loss, I should remind you, dropped us below Toronto to the final Wildcard spot in the East.  Our asses have never been so close to the flame this year as they are right now.  Don't let the result of the WC be a portent of what's to come from here till April...