Sunday, April 20, 2008

How About That Goaltending

Goaltending is our weakness, eh? I'll admit it, the MSM was more or less right about Hasek. Well they get one every now and again. They were most definitely wrong, however, to suggest the Wings' goaltending was weak, as Chris Osgood has shown. I'm not entirely sure why Paul Woods on WXYT keeps saying Osgood had "back-to-back shutouts" in the series, but, hey, close enough. Here's Ozzie's series one stats:

2-0-0, 0.39 GAA, .993 SV%

That's pretty good. As for the O? I'm happy with the secondary scoring. I could use more primary scoring. Dats has been a force, especially with his physical play, and 5pts in 6G is good, but not great. Zetterberg has only 3pt in 6G and same for Homer. Maybe that's due to Ellis, but it seems to me that that best offensive team in the league ought to be scoring a few more goals.

Babcock on WXYT talking about how hot the building was and how bad the ice was. That's another pretty good reason for lower offensive totals.

Babcock, just now: "Dally likes to run defensemen, and I like to watch him run defensemen."

Hahaha. That's awesome.

How about next? I want Colorado. I'm scared of Calgary. I would love to see SJ and the ANH/DAL winner to beat the shit out of each other for a good seven games, couple OTs too. We've got momentum and feel good about our goaltender, I think we can take out the Avs quickly. That being said, I fear their offense - Forsberg, Sakic, Smyth, Statsny. That's pretty good. We will need Ozzie to be sharp, and we will need Dats and Co to put up bigger offensive numbers. We shall see.

The critical point from Babcock's presser: the Wings are better team now than at the start of the series. They took no injuries, found their goaltender, got Sammy, Flip, Stuart, and Draper games under their belt after long injuries. Now we've got some time to let whatever lingering injuries they may have get better. Oh, and as for Maltby? I don't know where you put him in the lineup. But if he's gonna play anything like any of the other guys in his age group, we need him.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Oh playoffs. You stress me out. So much so I have found myself unable to post anything. My strong suit is generally posting wild trade/FA speculation, crunching salary cap numbers, and vulgarity. Only the last of those three is applicable now.


I've been depending on NHL Center Ice Online for my hockey since I both live out of town and don't have cable. Oops. I've been scrambling to catch Wings games, mostly through possibly illicit means. Another reason for the posting dearth is that I was unable to watch Games 1 and 2 in their entirety. Found a good source for last game though! Saw it all on a crisp feed.

Of course they fucking lost.

So do I watch tonight's at my friend's place? Will I jinx them? I can't bear to stay away but you can be rest assured that if things start going badly I'll flee the scene. Here's some thoughts:

-As many have noticed, the fourth line is strong. Mark Hartigan has shocked me, but I'd still like to see Gator/Abbadabbadoo/The Abductor get some IT. Hartigan isn't as nasty as Abdelkader, who could make that line absolutely ferocious, and add some speed.

-With Kronwall and Stuart both showing propensity to jump up, I say split them up. Either put Lids and Kronner together and Raffy with Stuart, as Babcock did often on the road in the regular season, or maybe even swap Chelios and Stuart. Cheli is even keeled and can serve as a strong last line when Kronner jumps up for a hit or a rush. Of course, that leaves the question of who to put on the third pair. Yeah, forget about that.

-Sammy has shown himself to be a highly competent player, although still not really a highly competent offensive player. I'd like to see Hudler with Franzen and Fil, who both need an offensive boost. Huds is the guy to give it to them. Sammy-Drapes-Cleary would then make for an excellent checking line, with the possibility for offense. Drapes is, after all, the leading goal-scorer in the playoffs. Eerily similar to the beginning of the season...

-Hasek. I don't even know what the fuck to say. I'm just going to trust in the insanity.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Hockey All Night

1200AM Central: YES! Luongo is out and the Preds are in! Strong work, Oil, strong work.

1:18 left:
Penalty VAN! YES! Come on Oil... finish this...

1:42 left EDM-VAN:
Luongo's complaining about Roloson. Dwayne looks like he's ready to charge and beat the shit out of Roberto.

Wow, two posts in one night. I've been watching hockey since 630 central. Started with the Wings coming back strong against the BJs. Speaking of BJs, it was a good night for names. A couple gems my brother texted me:

Regarding the dominant play of Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen:
"dude, henhan zetterzen is the shit"
"zettertron for president"

Regarding a nickname for Justin Abdelkader:
"#8 - The Abductor"

I suggested "Abs" during my liveblog but I like the Abductor. Sparty is another possibility, one which highlights my own alma mater. Strong work MSU.

Then it was on to STL-NSH, where I caught the last period of Nashville's victory. Everyone and their mother wants Nashville to win the 8th spot, for travel and goaltending reasons. Nice to see that win but it felt dirty rooting for Preds. I tried to instead root against the Blues but I couldn't shake the nasty feeling of happiness when good things happened for Bubba.

When that one wrapped up I moved on to Oil-Canucks, where Edmonton is doing a marvelous job of knocking the 'Nucks out. A few more minutes.... ahhh, another Oil penalty. They sure are trying their darndest to blow this. Fuck! Canucks score! Review this, ref. Please.

Back to the Wings. They lost some serious sandpaper with Malts and Kopecky going down. Maltby will miss the first series according to Ken and Mick, Kopecky looks like a knee and sadly the end of his season. That's a guess by me, and a pessimistic one, but the way he was limping off the ice did not look good.

The Abductor should help repair some of that loss. Darren McCarty perhaps? Him getting the bench in favor of Derek Meech is not a good sign. But I like the idea of putting Meech in for his PP abilities. Better than Sammy or Stuart, both coming off of injuries. No need to actually play Meech on the 4th line. In the playoffs, it's time to start double-shifting your super stars. How's a fourth line of McCarty, Datsyuk, and Drake sound? I like it.

And how about Hudler? Dude can't buy a break. Do you sit him because of that, or keep on him in hopes his shots start going in? I don't know. Maybe for home games, and then put McCarty in on the road when you can't control matchups.

Whew, Vancouver is coming hard with 5 minutes left in their season. Roloson's pissed with the refs. He's about to take one out with his paddle. Take it easy Dwayne - finish your job knocking the Nucks out, then start hacking.

At this point, I'm rambling. It's late and I've been watching hockey for six hours. Did anyone see Ovechkin's goals tonight? After each one, dude flipped out and had a party on the ice. People go nuts for Crosby but no one is more charismatic and exciting than Ovechkin. A lot of people think Europeans can't be stars in America, but we all know that's bullshit. Americans love Europe. It's sexy. Those bitches at ESPN need to start pimping Ovechkin.

Last two minutes in Edmonton. Eeeeeee....

Live Blogging the BJs: Sparty On

3-2 Wings: WAHOO! I just jumped off my chair and screamed like a monkey. Like Mick said, sorry end for Leclaire to take one off the back of the leg like that. But I can't pretend to be said after the Wings did everything they could and came up with nothing. Whoooo. We can take it easy on Sunday. Yes.

3:18 3rd:
MULE! YES! That's the what the fuck I'm talking about!

7:30 3rd:
Ken and Mick are on their game with the banter. They just agreed that Mick is living in the year 1975, which Mick followed up by saying he had an 8-track in his garage, if anyone wanted it. Genius. As for the game, the Wings are sorely missing Holmstrom right now. Franzen has come along greatly, but when it comes to the net-front, no one does it like Homer.

9:29 3rd:
Come on! Leclaire! DAMN! Cleary continues to show he is ready for the playoffs. He tore up the side and powered to the net. I cannot believe we did not score. And I'm still upset about Kopecky. He was having one of his better games. And only getting better throughout the season.

12:25 3rd:
Kopecky hurt. Motherfuck. Hello Mark Hartigan in the playoffs. Jesus Christ.

14:52 3rd:
Leclaire's playing out of his mind. I forget that this guy was leading the NHL in goaltending stats early in the season. It's not fun watching the Wings lose this game with San Jose lurking, but it is fun watching Abdelkader win a spot on the playoff roster. Two straight huge scoring chances, first with Huds and Meech, then with Hartigan and Drake. Are they double shifting him? I like it.

2nd Intermission:
Nice commercial for the playoffs, with Luongo. Moving stuff. Too bad he won't be in it. Yikes.

4:01 2nd:
SPARTYWATCH: Strong work by Abdelkader on that bitch-ass Kenopka. Kenopka apparently was saying he was going to run Chelios tonight. Yeah I bet. Huds, Meech, and Abs(?) put together a good shift, which we needed. This game is like every horrible, stressful, gut wrenching, heart rending, artery aneurysmizing, playoff game, with a plucky young team and a hot goalie. Augh.

7:01 2nd:
I like Chelios giving it to Nash for running over Hasek. There needs to be swift and violent retribution for touching our insane netminder, at all times.

8:10 2nd:
New lines: Fil-Pavs-Cleary, Kopecky-Z-Mule. I likes. Didn't see who was on with Hartigan and Drake, I assume either Sparty or Huds.

10:36 2nd:
Kopecky! What a hit on Boll! The more I watch this kid play, the more I wonder how, when every one is healthy, Hudler can be on the playoff roster and not Kope-

GOOAL! Hartigan! I don't like you but I like the fact that you scored.

9:00 1st:
Holy smokes Pavs. What a fucking machine. Makes sense to me to put him and Z together - as I said before, if Mule, Flip, and Cleary can put together some offense, they give you a solid 2nd line and obviates the need for splitting up the twins. I'd like to see those three put together even before Homer gets back, to get them some momentum going in to the playoffs. It can potentially be a dominant line.

10:52 1st:
INSANITYWATCH: Hasek looks sharp. I keep repeating the mantra that Hasek will be fine in the playoffs, he just needs the motivation of the postseason to get him going. Ken and Mick also discuss the possibility that Wings-Preds First Round may be set. Dear Sweet Jesus I hope so. Calgary and Vancouver make me sick. And Chicago getting in, against all odds? Gives me nightmares.

13:02 1st:
SPARTYWATCH: Abdelkader looks good, nearly got his first point on Kopecky's shot. Surprising to see him getting 4-on-4 time. Wouldn't be surprised to see him get up to the third line with Kopy and Drake before the end of the game. Strong shot by Cleary as well, he's ready for the playoffs.

Pre-Game: Whoa. This was unexpected, by me anyway: Justin Abdelkader signed and in the lineup tonight. With Kirk Maltby out, the former Spartan has been signed to a try-out contract and will hopefully be signed to a real contract before the Saturday.

First of all, can I say I'm a little concernicus about Maltby. His stock with fans has gone pretty low lately and some people were unhappy with his extension. But in the new NHL you need 4th liners who play for peanuts, and to me I'd rather have Malts, who was killing penalties in Stanley Cup games when guys like Mark Hartigan were still playing on backyard ponds back home, than some training camp tryout scrub. And Malts is a guy whose intensity and performance go way up in the playoffs. Just from memory, I think he has scored more goals in the playoffs in the past couple years than the regular season. Okay, just checked, that's a lie, but you get my point. He's clutch. And his physicality is dearly needed.

That being said, it's exciting to get a look at Abdelkader. Funny how when Drapes first went down, his heir apparent, Darren Helm was recalled, and now with Malts down, the guy who is looked at as his replacement, gets a shot. Cool to see he'll be wearing 8, as well, it's a badass number.

But speaking of Helm it's weird the Wings didn't recall him, or Mattias Ritola, with their season winding down. Makes sense to get a look at JA and let the Griffs endure the humiliation of finishing out a non-playoff season. Builds character. There were rumblings that the Wings would be up against the 50-man roster limit, and that Abdelkader might get stashed at MSU another season, but I guess not, because Jim Nill seems to think the Wings will still manage to sign Pyett, Axelsson (2), and uber-goalie Daniel Larsson.

Game's on. Ken Daniels just said Malts is out 10 days, and probably all of the first round. Shiiit. Speaking of shit, doesn't say good things that McCarty is a healthy scratch to Derek Meech today. Might be because of Meech's PP QB skills, now that I watch him work the PP. But still. Makes me wonder.