Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Hoss & the Red Wing Raiders

Chicago has a very simple player acquisition strategy: raid the Red Wings. First Jason Williams, then Robert Lang and Brent Sopel, now a pair of Slovak wingers (albeit at opposite ends of the "who gives a shit" spectrum) Marian Hossa and Tomas Kopecky. I don't say this to put down the Blackhawks; it's a good strategy. Anyone qualified to be anywhere on the depth chart of the Detroit Red Wings, the deepest franchise in hockey, is qualified to be on your team, and is probably an improvement. I mean look at Kyle Quincey. If I was Dave Tallon I'd be looking at Mikael Sammuelsson too, and either Brett Lebda or Derek Meech, whichever one gets inevitably dumped to make room for Jonathon Ericsson. Anyone Ken Holland touches turns to gold.

As for Hossa, he made about the best move he could have. He learned his lesson the hard way with the Wings: even though he made the best possible guess as to which team could take him to the Stanley Cup, he still lost, and in fact lost in the worst possible way; game 7 against his former club. Going forward he probably had two priorities balanced: winning (which as we know is very important to him) and getting appropriate value for his skill (which is only fair). Dave Tallon took a page out of Kenny Holland's playbook by giving him a Franzen-type deal, just a slightly higher price tag; ultra-long term, front-loaded. Hossa has a great chance to win a Cup. It's almost impossible to imagine Chicago not getting a championship (or two) in the next decade. They've assembled a great team and the only questions now are, can they get the goaltending? and, when will the wonder twins mature to the level necessary to grab the chalice? The Wings and the Pens will be around a long, long time, but this past year showed no Dynasty can win them all, not these days anyway, and every team has a shot.

I hope Wings fans don't boo Hossa, who surely would have stayed if Holland could have offered him anything even remotely close to market value. He didn't just ask Hossa for a discount, he asked him for a blowout bonanza. I'll say to Hossa (and Kopecky) what I said to Cheli (although not with the same degree of emotion): thanks for the memories, good luck with your new team, no hard feelings.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thanks for the memories, Cheli

Simply a legend, classy to the end, instrumental to the success of the Dynasty over the last decade.

Friday, June 12, 2009

it wouldn't be so good when they win

if it weren't so motherfucking awful when the lose.

that's all i got.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Osgood for Conn

So the excitement of the Western Conference Final may have proved a little too much for me, since about 5 hours after I was heading to the ER with some heart issues. Fortunately I was released on Friday, in plenty of time to catch Game 1 on a nice CBC feed and not the NBC crap I would have had to have watched at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Not that the gap in posting that resulted was noticeable at all compared to my usual Lang-like absences.

Anyway. Osgood for Conn. Can it be anyone else at this point? Two fluky goals last night. Two fluky goals tonight. This team has not been as dominant, not nearly as much, as last year's team. I don't know what it is. The Hangover, the Lack of Hunger, the Lack of Datsyuk, Draper, the injuries to the Perfect Human. This team just isn't firing on all cylinders like last year.

Except one is firing, like, motherfucking double time. Lidstrom said it best: it's the best Ozzy has played. Period. It feels good. It feels quite good to finally be THAT team. You know, the team the Wings have so often lost, or nearly lost to in the playoffs -- that team that is just clearly inferior, but gets by on the strength of their netminder.

Now I'm not saying the Wings are inferior to these Pens. But let's face it, they're not routing them to the tune of 6-2 over two games. The guy who's made sure that's the goals ratio? Osgood. It feels so wonderful to have an elite goaltender. Have the Wings ever relied on one before? Sure Hasek was great in '02 but it's not like those Wings needed a goalie like that. This year we've depended on Ozzie though. And he's come through huge.

Goddam it's going to fill me with uncontrollable mirth when Little Gary calls his name for the Conn.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Posting has been sparse as stress has increased. I feel okay about today's game. I feel okay about maybe not having Datsyuk or maybe having him at half-power. I feel okay The Anthem and the mighty Kane & Toews. Serious anxiety relating to our next opponent is growing, however.

Chief is right. We need Dats, at close to 100%, to derail Crosby and Malkin. It's not that I'm that scared about the Pens, it's just... okay, okay, need to stop thinking about next round. That's a jinx waiting to happen. This round.

Khabibulin, Huet, doesn't matter. Neither is superhero. All we need them to be is less-than-perfect. The penalty shitstorm was an idiosyncracy, the Kronwall call patently ridiculous. I'm not going to say Kronner hasn't thrown a borderline illegal hit or two in his career, but that was so not even close to one, as Babcock said, it's not even funny.

If anything this plays to the Wings advantage today. If Chicago wants "retribution", again Babcock put it best: we'd love to have a powerplay. The Wings' O is rolling. I don't know if Holmstrom has a point yet or not this series but his work in front of the net has won the Wings a couple of huge goals. When is the league going to start keeping track of screens? You get one for screening the goalie on a goal. Sounds like a legit stat to me. I mean, they track takeaways.

Not sure what else to say. The stress make me no talk good. make words go bad bad. tongue turn glue. expressions become... infelicitous.

go wings.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fuck the Ducks

The Wings didn't put in the game they needed to. That doesn't excuse the shitty end of game behavior from the Ducks.

Does this mean anything? Anything? Colin Campbell? Bueller?

Monday, May 11, 2009


I was steadily getting giddier and giddier watching the Hawks/Canucks series, as Chicago proved Luongo to be human again and again. The thought of playing against a team with no skill and a less-than-immortal goaltender thrilled me. Of course, my joy has turned to ashes in my mouth, as the Blackhawks and their shockingly potent offense are destined to be our Round 3 opponents. The thing that scares me about them is that they are too young and dumb to know how overmatched they are, or to remember how badly we spanked them in the regular season. And Byfuglien (that's pronounced buh-FUG-lee-ehn) looks like Pronger junior. Or, Sasquatchito, as they say south of the border.

All that remains is for the Griffs Wings to finish the deal.

And as for the round after? It's gotta be Ovechkin. Won't be as satisfying any other way.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nobody's Off The Hook

Nobody. Not the refs, the Ducks, the Wings.

I'm not even that pissed about the no-goal. Well okay I'm seething angry, but the Wings should not have let it get that far. One goal in 59 minutes doesn't cut it. They need to play 60 minutes.

That said, I am super pissed about that fucking punk Chris Pronger, and his fucking punk teammates Getzlaf and Perry. God I fucking hate them so much. At the end of the game, after the whistle, after the Ducks had won, Pronger makes a beeline for Datsyuk and starts throwing punches. The douches on Versus said something like "veteran move by Pronger there." You know what, the douches are right. It was a veteran move. Because apparently that shit is allowed! Apparently you can just go up to the other team, after you won the fucking game, and maul their best player. That's totally cool apparently. Somebody should tell Jonathon Ericsson that. I bet he will be treated the same as Chris Pronger by the league. Yep, I bet he will.

We need another Dan Cleary-on-Dion Phaneuf, or Stuart-on-Commodore type hit. Or a McCarty-style beatdown. Or a Ducks-like spear/elbow/knee/headbutt after the whistle. Someone needs to hurt. Besides Wisniewski.

In other news. Helm: I love him. He's like an eight-year old with ADD, all jacked up on Mountain Dew. He's just constantly running around, coming at you like a spider monkey. Speaking of Griff-Wings, how about Leino? The Wings are having trouble putting it in the net, and he's got some offensive game. The only trouble is, who do you take out? Kopecky, Maltby? They're playing well, and bringing much needed violence to the Ducks. Kopecky especially is wreaking havoc in front of the net, something sorely needed.

One last thing. I noticed ESPN use the word "indefatigable" in a headline.

Normally I have nothing but contempt for ESPN, but I've got to say: nice word, guys. Solid.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009



The Only Question Is

How long 'til Hank and Pav get reunited? Down after 2? Down after 1? Wouldn't hurt Hossa to get put with Mule, and Hudler or Wally.

Lot of hatin' out there for Chelios. Eh. I'd say he did alright. He can't really be blamed for the high stick. When it comes to Cheli vs. Meech, both guys are rusty. I'll take Chelios's experience over Meech's speed when it comes to the 6th guy eating 7 minutes. But what about Brett Lebda? Seems like he was out there a lot in OT, or maybe it's just that my ears perk up especially when I hear Brett Lebda's name uttered when the game is on the line. Lot of faith coming from Babcock.

Which leads to the only question worth asking 5 hours before the biggest game of the Wings' season thus far: what's the blueline gonna look like next year?

No way Ericsson gets sent down. I mean come the fuck on. No way. So who goes, assuming Lilja fully recovers from this concussion shit? Liljahammer was pretty fucking solid for us all year so I'm loathe to say it should be him. That leaves... Lebda. Maybe the Wings trade or waive Meech (where he would undoubtedly go on to become a Top 4 threat playing 25 minutes a night for the Islanders or somebody) and Lebda gets bumped down to #7 on the depth chart. Not likely Brett would be happy about that.

Yeah, I know, I know, wrong time to be wondering about 09-10. Just a thought.

Monday, May 4, 2009


That's the only word you need to describe Pavel Datsyuk's absence (and Hossa and Zetterberg's too). I'm battling the pig flu over here, maybe that's what the big guns got? Or some secret injury. It's almost silly to even say it, because it's quite obvious; the secret to the Wings' success is really, really easy: the Big 3 have got to start producing. The secondary scoring is there, the goaltending is there (very much so), the hitting, yep, relative health (although the loss of Rafalski is pretty huge). It's all there. Just need Pavs and Hank and Mars to get rolling.

Because Hiller is beatable. As discussed elsewhere, he's no stud. There's only one thing, really, that can cause a dramatically inferior team like the Ducks to beat a team like Detroit, and that's a crazy hot goalie. But Hiller is not one. The Wings' primary offense just needs to get rolling. The Wings have basically played two crappy games and came out of it at .500. That's pretty good for a team chugging along at half-capacity. When the Wings get rolling, they'll crush the Poultry. If.

Let's think positive. What do I like about the team through two?

1. Hudler. He made the increasingly irrelevant Scott Niedermayer look like an idiot and take a penalty to boot in OT. Could have been the game right there. Happy is doing what he always does: playing like a guy twice his size.

2. Helm. Holy shit. Tell me this kid is not going to play in Grand Rapids next season. It was cruel this past season, it would be downright criminal to do it after this.

3. Ericsson. It's really wierd and incredibly cool to watch a guy go from green bottom dweller to stud top defenseman in the course of a playoffs. Seriously, Ericsson was leading the Wings in IT much of the game. Leading. And with good reason. He looks entirely at home in the top pair. It's sick. The only question for next season is: Norris, or just Calder? (assuming he's still eligible for the latter... I think he is)

4. Lidstrom. Lest we forget, he is still Norris Nick. Played a great game as usual.

5. Osgood. Stellar. I think the last goal was tipped. Far outplayed Hiller. No concerns about goaltending.

I'm feeling okay after this loss. Like I said, it's as simple as the Big 3 needing to get going. What will turn me crazy is if it becomes clear that something is deeply wrong with all (or any) of them. And Raffy not getting healthy really fucking quick.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Let the Feathers Fly

Once again, we tangle with our avian nemeses. They have orange extremities, we have wheels. They are peaceful denizens of the sea, we are soulless mechanized cyborgs with no brains or heart, just wings and wheel, steel and fury. I suppose they may have us beat in a naval battle, but then again, we've got octopi.

Umm... sorry, I stroked out for a second there. Anyway, I was rooting for the Ducks to finish the Sharks off as soon as it became apparent that the usual playoff-Ducks had shown up, and the usual playoff-Sharks had too (sorry McClellan. Babcock you ain't. Or I guess maybe you are. Same start.) Why was I rooting for the Ducks? Well...

I am downright giddy to see Johnny Ericsson punch Chris Pronger's ugly fucking face in. Holy shit am I excited that the Wings have a guy who can match sasquatch inch-for-inch (not that that stopped Danny Cleary). And he's not just big, he's willing. I was saddened, no, crestfallen, to see the linesmen break up JMFE's nascent fight with whatever BJ that was in Game 4.

And Cory Perry? God I hate Cory Perry. Ohhh man do I hate him. I am literally shaking with anger as I type this. We need someone to cave his face in too. Ericsson can't handle all the fighting duties. How about... Kopecky? No, seriously. He can throw down.

Or maybe.... maybe the best way for the Wings to get revenge for 46.7 is not to literally beat down the Ducks, to take them on at what is admittedly their best facet, but rather, to totally fucking school them. Your top line is Ryan-Getzlaf-Perry? Seriously? And Niedermayer? What a punk. I get sick whenever he's compared to Lidstrom. Offense, yes. But defensively not in Nick's league. Remember Wally skating around Scotty like he was a fucking pylon? Yeah me too.

Yeah, I think that would be a lot more satisfying. Let Pronger scream in unintelligible gibberish, unable to form cogent sentences, while the Hossa blows past him. Let him wail mindlessly as Holmstrom asses in another goal while he sits in the box for some dumbassed act of aggression. Let Niedermayer frown in confusion while the Wings skate circles around him.

Forget circles. The Wings are gonna skate squares around him. Who can skate in a square? Pavel Datsyuk can. I saw it. In a dream. He did it. Backwards, blindfolded. Mike Babcock was wearing a cowboy hat and giggling with mirth in the background.

Um, anyway. Wings in 6.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

All I Have To Say Is

...alright, that's not all I have to say.

  • Ericsson didn't do anything outrageous, but another all around, level-headed performance from the rook. A real shame the linesmen had to prevent him from pummeling that BJ. I'm excited beyond all belief for this kid.
  • Lidstrom deserves the Norris. End of motherfucking story.
  • ESPN says Datsyuk only played 16 minutes. Did I miss something? Tell me it'll all be alright, Pavel...
  • Speaking of Dats, I'm waiting for him to blow up. It's gonna happen. And it's going to be truly thrilling when it does. Of course, he didn't do much offensively in the Pens series last year, sticking mostly to defensive dominance and unexpected beat-downs. But I think he's a got a dangle or two in his pocket he has yet to deploy.
  • Too bad about those BJs. They deserve a good hockey team in Columbus. They'll be back if Mason isn't a flash-in-the-pan.

Bring on the motherfucking poultry.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Draper's Scare-Quote Injury Unscare-Quote

The Macomb Daily, via Snapshots, had this to say about Drapes on Saturday:
Kris Draper (upper-body injury) continued skating with the team Friday, but won't be available for Game 2 tonight. He returns to the doctor Monday for another checkup."

The frustrating thing on my part is I can practice, go out and take warm-ups, but I'm not in the situation to go out there and play right now," Draper said. "I guess that's the best way to say it.

"It's a weird thing," Draper added. "It's not easy to sit here and talk about it and keep everyone in the dark, but that's the nature of the situation. It's just best for me to do that."
The thing this reminds me of that no one has mentioned is the Franzen thing last year. Unexplained injury keeps Mule off the ice for an absurdly long time, leading to everyone from fans to Mike Babcock getting all antsy about where he was. Of course, I'm not getting too antsy, not with the way Helmer's playing, but there is some antsiness. I think. Somewhere.... We have to wonder what Drapes could possibly have that's keeping him out. Given that he's actually practicing, a potentially life-threatening bruise on his brain is unlikely. But something's up here.

Of course, some are intimating that this is actually just Babcock keeping Drapes out with some lame excuse. The quote above doesn't really make one think that, but George Malik is using scare-quotes around the term upper-body injury. Drapes doesn't strike me as the kind of guy Babcock is anxious to get on the bench, but then again Chelios was a regular all of last season and then got the bench in the playoffs. So who knows.

This reminds me of something. One time I was playing NHL '99 or something -- it was like the first day I had gotten it -- and Kris Draper went down with an injury. The virtual trainers came out and walked the virtual Draper to the bench. Then a little text box came up and said: "Kris Draper - Lacerated Scrotum".

Ohhhh man. Just typing that makes me feel... deeply sad inside.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Not Dead

Yes, I know, I suck, I suck so hard. I should be shot.

What's that? You didn't notice I hadn't posted for months? Ahh, yes, well. Fair enough.

I've said it all before: my time has become extremely scant. Only catching 1 of every 2 or 3... or 4 games is not enough for me to go off of. I spout a lot of uninformed nonsense on this thing -- it would be nice if I at least saw the games.

That being said I'm going to try to get things back into gear for the playoffs. If I can't find the time to watch the Wings during the playoffs, I may as well pack it in, eh? Here are a few thoughts:

- Datsyuk: MVP and Selke. Nick: Norris. No question.

- Ericsson: Next year's Calder. Unless Leino beats him to it. Are they even still eligible?

- Goaltending: I am still regretting the Ty Conklin acquisition. The team is clearly committed to Osgood as the starter; if that's what you're going to do, why not get Howard NHL ready? You're never really going to know if he's gonna turn out until you drop him in the NHL and see what happens. Yes, Conklin was good insurance against an injury and if Ozzie goes down or breaks down in the playoffs Conklin is as good a backup as you'll find in the NHL. But next year Howard is out of options and has to make the team. If Osgood's off-year wasn't really an off-year, but instead the beginning of a decline? We can only imagaine Osgood will be the same or worse next year. And that means we'll be worse off than if we had gone with Howard this year. We're just delaying and making things worse on ourselves. Ugh. Hopefully, of course, Osgood will rebound next year, but whether he does or not the Wings need to get Howard in 30 games at least. If he flames out, no biggie, Larsson and McCollum are grade-A prospects.

- Cap: I have not updated my salary cap chart in a while. I have no idea what Hossa would have to take at this point to stay, and what the ramifications would be. But I do know I've read/heard people saying things like "the Wings might be able to keep Hossa and Hudler", which makes my head hurt. In the end, I just decide not to think about it, and trust/thank Kenny for his magical, magical cap-powers.

- Youngins: Similar to what I said about Howard: if Ericsson, Leino, and Helm are not all on the team next year I may flip out. I love Kenny and I love the "keep them in the minors until they're ready, then keep them in the minors a little while longer, and then keep them in the minors some more" strategy, but at some point you risk the continuity of your team when you stunt players' development by leaving them in a league they've more than adjusted to in lieu of players who are not giving you what the kids could be giving you.

- BJs: Wings in 5. I only say 5 becasue predicting sweeps never works. Mason scares me, but Columbus is going to be so glad just to have made it, the Wings will overpower them. You could not ask for two more polar opposites in terms of playoff experience.