A couple of notes of forewarning:
- He's got a giant hardon for Jimmah Howard. He's had this hardon long before anyone reasonably could. For some inexplicable reason he made the determination that Howard was the next Terry Sawchuck before he managed to win an NHL game. I'm all for eating crow, and Jimmah's proved me wrong throughout this season, but I still feel very justified in my hatred of him prior to November.
- Also, for some reason, dude's got a wicked chub for Bertuzzi. I know... stupid right?
- He owns a Hossa jersey. Yep.
Anyway, all of that non-sense notwithstanding - the following is a pretty good recap. Long as hell, but enjoy.
A lot has been made of the Red Wings recent injury problems, and while they are definitely hurting I believe the problem is a bit overstated. While I don’t think that the Red Wings are having an easy run as of late, I don’t think we should be pushing the panic button. I’m as scared as hell when I see that Bertuzzi is on the first line, and that Eaves and Leino are the wingers on the second. And now, as an early convert to the Holy Ursine Bear Jesus, I am not afraid. As bad as the Wings are banged up, they are still winning. Bertuzzi is on fire lately, and he hasn’t even ended any careers this season. With J-Wreck’s knee injury, Meech is stepping up on the blueline. While Osgood has faltered, Howard has stepped up. Miller, Eaves, and Draper forgot they are grinders, and decided to put the puck in the net. This team isn’t the same one as the one that started the season.
Obviously, I’m not in love with our season, but there is reason for hope. And as a fan and owner of both Jimmy Howard and Todd Bertuzzi, its good to see those two guys step up. A few quick stats about our two hottest Wings:
- Jimmy is .936 with a 1.99 GAA in his past five games.
- Ozzie is 17-0-0 against the Lightning in his career and yet Babcock decides to give the nod to the new guy. Seems to be a changing of the guard in net as of late. I think we’re about a year too late with that. (I miss you Ty Conklin. I’ll always remember you) (editors note: Fuck you, Carpen. Ozzie is a playoff powerhouse and he pulls down Peter Budaj money.)
- Todd now has 17 points, good for 3rd on the team. (18 after tonight)
- Jimmy had sex with my girlfriend, and I’m not even mad.
I believe in this team, and will still be a force in the West come playoff time.
Tampa Bay comes into the Joe taking on Jimmy Howard and the Detroit Injured Reserves (brought to you by the Grand Rapids Griffins.) The Lightning haven’t won in Detroit since Kennedy was president, but they do have weapons. Marty St Louis is 14th in the league in points, and 3rd in assists, even though he is legally a midget. Goalie Mike Smith is solid even if his numbers don’t show as much. Game starts off slow, very physical, back and forth. Tampa favors the dump and chase and don’t have very many chances, as the Wings’ D isn’t letting anything develop. Hell of a goal by drew miller against his former team. Line chnge catches Tampa on a change gets a step behind the D, Rafalski sees it, headmans the puck from his own faceoff dot, puck about four feet in the air, Drew Miler knocks it down as Smith lunges for the poke check, Miller roofs it from the backhand right before getting tripped over the outstretched goalie. This waiver pickup is showing his value game in and game out.
Newbury scraps with the entire Tampa team, cant get anyone to fight, so he tattoos a defender against the back boards, another Griffin with a promising future as a points guy who can fight.
Stamkos gets in, makes a nice move, Howard with a good save. Howard looks comfortable in net. After a slow start, hes come on lately. Any doubters are running out of things to say. (editor's note: I'm not. You're a towel.)
Brad May drops the gloves against Konopka, short fight, Konopka lands a good punch, May gets him in a headlock, and wrestles him to the ground. Not lengthy, but good to see May sticking up for his guys. (editor's note: Finally. Where has he been the last month?)
Mike Smith looks like he gets paid for how many times he touches the puck, based on how often he plays it. He also looks way taller than 6’3”.
Ohlund absolutely levels Zetterberg. Henrik doesn’t get up for a few scary moments. The hit looked clean, as Z was reaching to push the puck deep off a terrible pass by #21, but they take him to the Wings locker room. Patrick Eaves steps up to Ohlund with a facewash, and gets a ridiculous roughing call. On the ensuing PK, Howard gets lucky on a goal post, the puck rolls to Martin St Louis, who gets robbed by a combination of the Captain’s great positioning and Jimmy’s diving blocker. The Period ends 1-0 Good guys.
Great news coming that Henrik is done for the night with an upper body injury. Lovely. With Zetterberg out that is 8 fulltime players sitting out with injury. (Nine if you count Lilja as anything more than a shotblocking piece of meat, which I don’t.)
Wings finish off the Eaves penalty, and Tampa tries to double change on a faceoff which causes Mike Babcock to elevate his Perma-Pissed status to dangerous levels.
Good sequence by the Wings, couple of good shots, Smith gloves the puck but decides to play it out front to Malone, who doesn’t expect it and fails to clear. Puck goes to Lidstom who fires a laser which is loose in front and as Homer whacks at it, gets cross-checked by former Penguin Malone. Good play by Homer to draw the penalty that gets negated as Ville ‘Huge Disappointment’ Leino hooks a Lightning player to move us back to 4 on 4.
Both penalties expire and the play goes back and forth until new guy Doug Janik gets whistled for a SOFT interference call. This isn’t a no-checking rec league ref, let the guys play. No worries, the Wings seem to turn on their defense up to ‘Fuck You’ and don’t even give the Lightning any hope. Same thing when Bertuzzi ‘high’ sticks St Louis. No pressure, very few shots, and when they do get a shot throught, Jimmy handles it well. The Defensemen are clearing the rebounds, and the forwards are helping out in the defensive and neutral zones well. The period ends with nothing happening on either side of the ice. Through 2 periods, the Wings are outshot 20-17.
More of the same out of the Wings. Abdelkater gets called for a Goalie Interference, putting Tampa up on the PP for the fifth time. Things change seven minutes in when Datsyuk gets a huge takeaway in the offensive zone, and feeds it down to Homer who has a 2 on 1 with Todd Bertuzzi. Tomas shows uncommon prowess with his stickhandling and delays until he could get a good pass to Big Todd for his 9th goal of the season. Bertuzzi continuing his hot streak. Pavel was the real reason for the goal, continuing his league leading takeaway ability and high level of play. 2-0 Wings.
Professional DBag Ohlund dives after he high-sticks Maltby. Not a great call, but it puts one of their better Defenseman away and one of our fourth liners. Advantage- Detroit. The 4 on 4 lasts for 30 seconds before the Captain feeds Eaves alone in front. Eaves goes right and sneaks in a goal past the legpad of a sprawling Smith. A softie, but it counts the same. 3-0 Wings.
After the goal, the Wings keep the pressure up with a few good shots from Doctor Dangle, and even while in the defensive zone, the Lightning cant do much. Tampa is getting out played by Detroit and its not even close.
Even Ville Leino is getting chances, which is saying something. Wings get a Powerplay with 3 minutes to go, and this game is basically over. Tampa finishes strong but the Wings handle the charge. Wings win 3-0.
Jimmy Howard played a good game, made the saves when he had to, and got his first career shutout. The secondary guys stepped up with good scoring. The thing that impressed me was the good defense, even with injuries. Janik, Lebda and Meech played well, and Rafalski and Stuart played exceptionally well. The D held St Louis and Lecavalier to only one shot among the two of them. Vintage Red Wings, hopefully we can keep our winning streak alive and move on and get back toward the top of the playoff picture where we rightfully belong. 4 points behind Chicago. Lets roll.
Good job newbie. Note to others who are interested in writing in:
- Send something. If it's good and not repetitive, I'll put it up.
- Try and keep it somewhere between Moby Dick and War and Peace. Fuck, Carpen, way to write a book.