Friday, October 9, 2015

Red Wings Explode into Regular Season, Blowout Leafs

Welcome back to Detroit, Mike Babcock.

The Red Wings may have taken a moment during the game to honor their former head coach, but Mike Babcock was given no further warmth by his old team as Detroit opened their season at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Justin Abdelkader posted a hat trick and 19 year old Dylan Larkin got his first goal and assist of his NHL career as the Wings pummeled Toronto by a score of 4-0.  Jimmy Howard, looking to return to form after a poor second half of last season, earned a 19-save shutout in the victory.

If you weren't able to watch this game, I hate to tell you this but you missed one of the most entertaining Red Wings games I've seen in a long, long time.  Detroit showed a passion and a hunger that I feel has been lacking for some time.  Now I do realize this is only the first game of a long season, but tonight showed us all what kind of potential this team has and what it is capable of.  Good play on the 5 on 5, the powerplay clicked, the penalty killers were perfect, very few miscues and turnovers all contributed to a dominant performance by the Wings.

I will admit that it was hard to appreciate the play of the entire team with how well the top line played, but no one really played badly for Detroit from top to bottom, and that might be the most exciting prospect of all that I gleaned from this evening's tilt.  Oh, and keep in mind, we're not even running Datsyuk or DeKeyser yet.  Yeah, this is gonna be a fun team to watch.

The Red Wings are back in action tomorrow against Carolina.  Petr Mrazek will get his first start of the season, and hopefully the team will carry this burst of momentum forward and keep the W's flowing.

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The 2015-16 Season is Here! A Geek's Thoughts and Expectations

Is it October yet?

Oh, wait. Yes, yes it is!

That's right, folks! The NHL regular season is getting underway tonight, and despite the Wings not playing until Friday, I must admit I'm excited just to know that hockey is back for another year.  The slate had once again been wiped clean and Detroit begins its next new journey toward attaining the Stanley Cup.

And wouldn't you know it? We got a nice surprise earlier on in the day: Dan Cleary HAS BEEN WAIVED! You read it right, friends: Dan Cleary will NOT be on the opening night roster.  Hell, he might even get picked up before noon and that'll be the end of it (I'm looking at you, Philly).

Jimmy Howard will be starting the Red Wings' opening game against the Toronto Bable Cocks, while Petr Mrazek is starting the next game against Carolina.  This means that, at least for the start of the season, new coach Jeff Blashill is doing what I hoped he would do: Tandem the goalies.  We know Howard can be elite per his experience but we also know Mrazek can be elite per his raw potential and ability, so why not play them both? Besides, a lighter workload on Jimmy could help prevent another injury and I know you remember what happened last year with regards to those and the subsequent return...

Blashill is also making somewhat of a statement by penning rookie Dylan Larkin into the opening night roster.  No matter how much he might have promised he would consider it, I cannot for a moment believe that Mike Babcock ever would have made that call; in fact, I'm pretty sure it would be Larkin getting the boot and Cleary staying up if it were Babs' decision.  It is not his decision now though, of course, and it is nice to see Blash willing to accept the Youth Movement and see just what the kids can really do at the NHL level.

All in all, it's an exciting time to be a Red Wings fan.  Now that you've heard from the Geek, what are YOU most interested in/excited to see as this season begins from our boys in red?  Leave a comment below or let me know via Twitter @DatsyukianGeek where I can be found ranting and/or live-tweeting during the game!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Detroit Deadline Insanity: Wings Make a Second Trade

Hold onto your long-johns, Hockeytown, or else I'm about to blow them clean off.

The Detroit Red Wings have made another trade before the deadline this afternoon.  Yes, I said another, as in they have now made two.

What reality is this!?

What we have today is a trade between Detroit and New Jersey that sends right-handed D-man Marek Zidlicky to the Wings in exchange for a conditional third-round pick.  The condition on the pick upgrades it to a third and fifth-round pick if the Wings make the Eastern Conference Finals, and the fifth further upgrades to a second-round pick if the Wings go to the Cup Finals.

Zidlicky is described as a mobile, puck-moving defenseman.  His hard, right-handed shot will be a big asset on an already potent powerplay and his experience will allow him to slot in nicely as a 3rd or 4th defender.

So...just to review: Yesterday evening we got a big, gritty winger who can play either side of the ice, and now today, we pick up a right-handed D-man to eat PP minutes.  In return, we gave up two prospects who were longshots to even crack our lineup and a small handful of draft picks.

Not too shabby.

We'll get our first chance to see our new Wings on Wednesday when they face off against the New York Rangers.

As far as this year's trade deadline for the Red Wings, though, I have four words, ladies and gents: Winner winner, chicken dinner.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Wings Make Their Move, Acquire Cole from Stars

One had to wonder if this year would be like many others for the Detroit Red Wings.  Would the trade deadline come and go with no action from the brain trust in Hockeytown?  We could almost hear the canned speeches of 'We like our team' or 'Our players coming back from injury, THOSE are our deadline acquisitions'.  We'd heard them all before, and no doubt expected we would hear them again.

But not this time.

In a deal that would only be considered a blockbuster move here in Red Wings Nation, the Wings have picked up big forward Erik Cole from the Dallas Stars.

Let's face it: anything more than a swap of draft picks in Detroit is blockbuster nowadays, just let me have this!

As Dallas sends Cole and a third-round pick to the Wings, Detroit sends back a pair of prospects (Mattias Jannmark and Backman respectively) and a second-round pick.

Personally? I love this deal.  Yes, we're getting a rental player--Cole's contract is up this summer--but he adds size and grit up front that we've been lacking for some time.  Yes, we have gritty guys, but Abby, Helmer et al are not big bodies, and Helm is now out for an undetermined amount of time.  Also yes, we do have some big bodies on the team, but besides Ericsson who has only recently gotten into some fisticuffs, none of those bigger bodies really throw their weight around...I mean, do I even need to bring up Franzen...?  Also? It's not like Cole doesn't produce, with 33 points in 57 games this season on a bottom-dwelling Dallas team playing most regularly with Jason Spezza and Jamie Benn.  Give him Zetterberg and Nyquist to play with and let's see what happens, hmm?

No, I think this deal will work out nicely.  We didn't lose any impact players, and we got one in return to toughen up our lineup a little, just before the playoffs.  All in all, no complaints from me.

That said: Welcome to Hockeytown, Erik Cole!