Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Holy Shit."

That's what I said to myself when Filppula put home the Orresque third goal last night.

"We're going to win the Stanley Cup."

I know it, on an intellectual level, but haven't really embraced that fact yet. Which is good, since I guess the series isn't over. And you never know what's going to happen at the Igloo. I'm hoping for a tighter affair, if for no other reason than the NHL's sake. But I'm not expecting it. Here's a fun game to play: who could the Wings lose and still beat Pittsburgh? Kronwall? Zetterberg? Datsyuk? Franzen? (Already answered: yes).

Osgood is catching a lot of flak for diving. I mean, yeah maybe he dived or embellished. Maybe he was to blame for the Malone penalty too. I get that, I'm willing to admit the possibility. But get off your fucking high horse, PensBlog. I understand you're frustrated but every team does little things that are illegal. Like your boy Roberts with the punch? That's better than diving? What about the attempted slew foot by whoever the hell? I don't know if there's a more gutless and dangerous play in hockey. Doesn't matter if it didn't work.

Every team bends the rules, but I'd rather be a team that dives than one that slew foots and sucker punches. And as if any diving the Wings may or may not have done even effected the fucking outcome. At worst the Wings are no worse than the Pens, and hell, we have to make up for Tomas Holmstrom having a target on his back. You got your milkshake drunk, and your fabled hero who was supposed to rescue you in Game 2 was ineffective, posting more PIM than TOI, and then got thrown down by our Lady Byng candidate. Let that last one sink in for a bit.

Okay, back to the game. Things to look out for for G3:

Pavel fucking Datsyuk. My favorite player has made me nearly tearful with pride over these playoffs, between his offensive mastery and his rampant physicality. It's a shame more people aren't noticing how physical he's been. If I weren't so worried about him breaking a hand I'd love to see him develop as a fighter. He clearly has the toughness for it.

Dats has been the Wings road-leader, posting all nine of his goals and most of his assists on the road. Sure enough he's been pointless at home, but if Pitt thinks they've got his number they are pretty spectacularly wrong. He is about to light them up.

Conn Watch. The aforementioned Russian genius gets my vote for Conn Smythe - not because I think he necessarily deserves it at this point, but just because I really hope he wins, because he's my favorite. Dats has been largely overshadowed by Zetterberg (as he has most of his career) so I'd love to see him go on a tear to finish off the Pens and garner the Conn votes.

Of course, in reality, Nick Lidstrom deserves it, pretty much no matter how many more points Mule or Zetterberg put up or how many more goose-eggs Ozzy does. I mean, can we all sit back and think about this for second? Remember how bad we were without Lidas in the regular season? Even up 2-0, who wouldn't shit their pants if he went out? I'm not saying those other guys aren't instrumental, but... seriously. It's Lidstrom. Every time. It's Lidstrom.

Who do I think will actually win? My money's on Z - he's gotten a lot of hype this postseason and of course leads in scoring, goals, and plus/minus. Ozzie, Lids, Mule, and Dats are all in it depending on how the following two games go. (Edit: Ahem. The following two-to-five games.) But right now it's Hank's.

Chris Osgood. Leads the league in playoffs save percentage. Which is funny because I thought he was an average goalie who benefited from having a great team D that kept his shot totals low.

Respect. Unsurprisingly, the Wings still don't get any. Between the NHL's fellatio of the Pens (and the corresponding focus on their failures rather than the Wings' successes) and the anti-Euro bias that still continues, the Wings' eventual Cup win will probably be shrugged off as a year in which reffing made physical play impossible, thus favoring the effeminate Europeans, but let's all wait until the Penguins skilled players develop, then it'll be different.

For example, see: Don Cherry's homophobic portrayal of Pavel Dastyuk, followed by Barry Melrose fellating him, followed by Steve Levy trying to get Cherry to admit that Detroit should be credited for their success.

Levy: Don, don't you think Detroit deserves some credit?
Cherry: I feel so bad for Sidney Crosby. Malkin hasn't shown up. Back to Crosby, blah, blah...

Then, there's this toolbox on the TSN.ca recap of the Wings' game. His racism is far subtler. When describing Roberts's hit on Franzen, "it was a love tap ... Franzen folded" but when Sykora hit Osgood, "Sykora, there was no reason for him to tag Osgood whatsoever."


Stuff that Matters. Man, I've spent a lot of time talking about shit that doesn't matter. Here's what does: the Wings are absolutely dominant, and they're Jiri Fischer away from the Cup.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wings in 6

A lot of people have been saying how Detroit has more experience than Pittsburgh and how valuable this is because experience is super important and therefore Detroit is going to win. Right. Not a lot of people have really been delving any deeper than that. I bet a lot of Pittsburgh fans are agreeing heartily with Jim Leyland's saying, "I'd rather have talent than experience." A lot of them are saying that Pittsburgh is more talented, and that's all you need to know, because experience is overrated.

To some extent, I agree with them, and Leyland, that experience is overrated. A big reason that Detroit is here is because they're really, really talented - from Dats to Z to Lids... I'm not gonna list all the guys. We all know the Wings are really talented. But I do think experience does have significant value, even if it's not the most important thing. And in this case, the experiential difference is vast. And not just in terms of the experience the players have gained on their various careers - the very immediate experience of the first three rounds as well.

Besides their many Stanley Cups and less successful playoff ventures, the Red Wings have dealt with Nashville tying it up, possibly the Wings' most terrifying scare, in the first round. Memories of first round exits come flooding back. The Wings overcame that shit and won in 6. Then Dallas roars back two straight and scares the living bejesus out of me, and the Wings just go into enemy territory, shitty ice and all, Dallas having all the momentum, and win the series.

Pittsburgh... has been up 3-0 in every series. Every goal they score, they celebrate like a series clinching win. They have enjoyed home ice in every series they've played. And those few, very few losses? Go back and watch Sid and Malkin meltdown, slash and whine, slue foot and cry and basically throw tantrums. Pittsburgh isn't just inexperienced. They bring inexperienced to a whole new level.

If the Pens lose their first game? Forget about going down 2-0, just going down 1-0 is whole new territory for them. Having to work at anything, climb out of any hole, overcome any adversity, it's totally foreign to them. On the other hand, if the Wings fall in game 1? Yeah it would suck, and would be the first to descend into the fetal position and weep openly. But the Wings themselves would stay cool, stay calm, come out and try to win Game 2. Pittsburgh hasn't played anyone nearly at the Wings' talent level. That alone isn't why the Wings are going to win - after all, the Wings haven't played anyone as good as Pittsburgh. But combine loss of home ice and the sudden increase in the opponents' skill with a total inability to control emotion?

That's why we're going to win.

Yeah, I Suck.

What if the Red Wings blogging community were the Red Wings team? I know I'd start with the Chief at A2Y, he would undoubtedly wear the C. I can't compare him to The Captain, of course, that would be sacrilege (see blog title.) I would compare him most to Shanahan - productive as hell, a vocal leader, willing to mix it up with the opponent (perhaps on the current incarnation he compares best to Drake or Homer). I know I would not want to throw hands with the guy. Christy (A) at BTJ could be Datsyuk or Zetterberg - her work gets national attention, and is probably the star blogger of the Wings' community. Her prose is magnificent, and her fanship undoubtable. Matt Saler (A) over at On The Wings is clearly the Nick Lidstrom; more quiet, unassuming, but his body of work is unfathomably huge. He logs more words than anyone, and his game is an intelligent, analytical one. Doesn't take time off, and is brutally thorough. Dave at Gorilla Crouch? I'll go with Niklas Kronwall, he, like St. Nick, is intelligent, reads the game well, and provides analysis. Has more bite to his game though, and will crush you from time to time. And, much as Kronner has struggled with injuries, Dave has lost time to unfortunate afflictions like being a U of M and Lions fan. There are other bloggers and plenty of passionate commenters to round out the team who I don't have time to mention.

Me? I'm doing my best Robert Lang impresison. Productive at times, occasional hot streaks, but cold all too often, and a total disappearing act in the playoffs. Actually, even Bobbo had that critical goal in the SJ series that kept our ill-fated season alive. I'm like Don Cherry's racist stereotype of Europeans (God I can't wait until we win and rub it in every Canadian good ol' boy's face. Just getting to the SCF should be enough to debunk this ridiculous myth, but we know it won't be). I'm like the regular season Jiri Hudler, or maybe the current Mikael Samuelsson. Yeah that's it. Mikael Samuelsson.

I haven't said much. After the Colorado series I gloated a bit, taunted Turco with the pic of Datsyuk destroying him. But now we're in the finals. It's time for me to grind it out. I gotta lace 'em up and get out there. It's go time. I haven't been able to stomach too much conversation. Seems like I've either been busy with school, or busy in the fetal position on the Hasek Club Car of A2Y's famed Stress Train (explanation here - #23). Let me tell you, when Dallas won that second game, my world was utter darkness. I briefly considering becoming emo. Then, Kris Draper banked one in off his face and my world was joy again.

Partially, I've overwhelmed. Especially now in the finals, so much is being said about every little thing that it's hard to say something original. Well, I sure will try. My fanhood is on the line. What the hell kind of blogger doesn't talk about his own team when they're in the SCF!? A shitty one, that's what kind. So let's get to work. I'll have a post more about the Red Wings and less about me tonight, but I'll start with this:

-Franzen out for Game 1. Yes, this sucks, to have him out for this game. I'm more worried about how good he'll be when he gets back. The best thing about Franzen was how frigging hot he was. I guess we'll find out if he was actually that hot, or just that fucking good. The other thing I'm worried about is his long-term health. Much as I worry more about the future than the present every time Hank's back acts up, a long string of serious headaches with no reasonable explanation is just not good news. Color me concerned.

-Kris Draper's body is a wonderland. His face is the ugliest, most scarred, mashed, beaten face I have ever seen, and it is absolute beauty. After Game 2, in which he tangled with Ott and Ribeiro late in the game, CBC interviewed him. His normally messed up face was even worse, cut, bruised, red, and his right was bloody. Not his eyebrow, mind you, his actually eyeball was red with blood. To this, he adds losing three teeth and taken stitches on his chin when he HEADS a goal in. It is absolutely unsurprising that quite possibly the least offensively creative player on the team (in the league?) would score the ugliest goal in the playoffs. And by ugliest I mean most beautiful. Despite what I may say in later years, when the cap gets tight, I hope Kris Draper never leaves the Wings.

-Speaking of the cap - it's the silliest thing to talk about during the Cup finals, when no acquisitions can be made and there is in fact no Cap on player salaries. But it's definitely my favorite point of discussion; I started this blog the day after the Wings lost, mostly because I wanted to spend the summer chatting about the Wings' cap situation and its effect on their potential acquisitions. Even if the Wings were bound to lose every one of their star players, it wouldn't really diminish the joy of hoisting a Cup - one must live in the day, after all. But even so, it's there, in the back of my mind. I'll try to hold off talking about it until after the parade, but no promises.

More thoughts about the Pens and Wings tonight. In the meantime, the usual suspects mentioned above and on the blogroll are brimming with great reading.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Strong Work, San Jose

Maybe I was a little hasty yesterday calling out Turco. Every time San Jose wins I get more excited. Every time the Sharks win, it's a more tired and less confident Dallas team in the WCF. And if the Sharks actually pull it off? Man, I'm salivating. Nothing could tire a team out more than charging back from a 3-0 deficit. The physical tiredness would be one thing, but the emotional drain that kind of thing would put on them would be enough. They would jump all over each other, party all night, then have to wake up the next day and move on and get back on the ice and realize they're going up against a well-rested, well-oiled, even-keeled scoring machine, the Red Wings. God. It would be a slaughter.

Anyway, enough dreaming. Good work San Jose. Tenderize 'em.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


That is all.