26 December 2009

Aurie giveth, and Aurie taketh away. Mostly taketh though. But hey... some giveth!

Very briefly as I have a day full of festivities ahead:

Val's back.

#51 returns to the ice, another name and number to cross off your Auriefucked list. He'll take the ice, as should Raffi as the Wings try and bounce back from a two game scoreless streak against the Beejays. Considering Mason's performance this year, I peg Val to score 13 goals on his first night back.

Oh, and as if you weren't already convinced:

Fil: #51.
  • 5 + 1 = 6
Raffi: #28
  • 8 - 2 = 6
Two guys coming back on the 26th. 2... 6...

Fuckin right Larry Aurie.

24 December 2009

Son. of. a. bitch.

That is all. Not worth comment.


Fuck you Larry Aurie.

23 December 2009

#6 Strikes Again, Herm to Hockeytown Update & Downloadable Eargasms via the Obstructed View

Anybody else taste that? It tastes remotely like a delicate mixture of vomit and blood. Its right in the back of your throat, lingering, making your mouth water in anticipation of the shower of beautiful disgorging at hand.
Defenseman Brian Rafalski has the flu and is a maybe for tonight's game against Chicago. The Red Wings aren't calling anyone up from Grand Rapids, so if Rafalski can't go tonight, they'll be short one defenseman.

"We're hoping he's going to go," said coach Mike Babcock

Link - McLeod
Raffi's got the flu. Kindl's been called up. If 28 doesn't skate, I have a feeling we'll all be upchucking along with him tonight. Damn you, Larry Aurie. Get that #6 up in those rafters Mr. I. In the words of the governator, "DO IT NOWAAHGGHA."

On a lighter note: The Herm to Hockeytown project I referenced a few posts back is still clicking along. The donate button is back up, and now it's been determined that any amount that goes unused in the valiant effort of bringing Guiherme to the D will be donated to the Red Wings Wish Club with proceeds going to the Children's Hospital of Michigan. If you don't feel like traveling all the way over to A2Y... you are a bucket full of weaksauce. However, I'll indulge and throw up a link to the paypal donate button on the sidebar. Check that out. Donate. Feel good. Tell everyone how much better you are.

Also, watch the shit out of this:

Herm To Hockeytown - The funniest home videos are here

The Triple Deke wins all of the prizes. Every. last. one of them.

One final note:

I neglected to mention this last week, but Wings fans have a brand new All-Wings podcast. The Obstructed View features Wings bloggers each week who come on the show to have a mature, unbiased discussion of the intricacies of the sport. (Read: a bunch of homers saying fuck). It is a hell of a good time. This week features George Malik from Snapshots, the Chief from A2Y, and Jessie from Bingo Bango. It is, one hour, twelve minutes, and six seconds of unwavering glory shining brightly atop the mountains of the interwebs. Listen to it, and check out each respective blog. You're here reading this. Clearly, you have nothing better to do with your time.

Listen at The Obstructed View or Download it via iTunes.

22 December 2009

Maybe the Cap'n is right after all.....

Just came across an article from Yahoo! Sports, turns out that bone bruise that Ericsson suffered was a bit more serious than the Wings were letting on. They place him at being closer to 4 weeks away rather than the original 2 weeks. Can't really say there is much surprise here seeing as how his knee went bass-ackwards... but it still sucks. Let's just hope this doesn't snowball into a 6-8 week kind of injury and if it does I say it is time to bring back animal sacrifice... tho I have a feeling that the Cap'n would rather sacrifice THJ (see the rant the Cap'n went on below in: Guest Blogging, 1 win, 1 embarassing loss. In case you missed it).

Anyhoo, as Mikey Redmond would say.... KRONWALLED!!!!!!

P.S. Can we PLEASE get Aurie up to the rafters before this gets worse?

21 December 2009

The Curse of Larry Aurie

  • 28 Feb 2009 - Andreas Lilja, concussion. Expected return date: sometime after global warming, the Myans, and R.E.M. destroy the world.
  • 09 Oct 2009 - Johan Franzen, exploded ACL. Expected return date: after Sweden wins the Olympics.
  • 29 Oct 2009 - Valterri Filppula, busted wrist. Expected return date: depends on Santa's mood. Hopefully soon.
  • 07 Nov 2009 - Jason Williams, shattered-ass leg. Expected return date: Early next year.
  • 21 Nov 2009 - Niklas Kronwall, Laraqued in the knee. Expected return date: Lade December, early January? 2015?
  • 09 Dec 2009 - Dan Cleary, shoulder-fucked. Expected return date: Bah, who knows?
  • 14 Dec 2009 - Johnathon Ericsson, "knee-bend-the-wrong-way-itis." Expected return date: Around the New Year at best.
  • 18 Dec 2009 - Henrik Zetterberg, see above. Expected return date: "At least" two weeks. Cryptic, eh?
And that's just the list of guys that have left and have not yet returned. Feel like getting frisky? Okay.
  • Darren Helm
  • Brian Rafalksi
  • Kris Draper
  • Brett Lebda
  • Brad May
  • Pavel Datsyuk
Yeah... those are the guys who have missed at least some time this season as well. The Wings are, by far, the most significantly injured team in the league. There are numerous explanations for this phenomenon. They range from simply playing too many games (the most in the league over the last three seasons) to the angry wrath of a vengeful and unappeased Bear Jesus. Reasonable? Perhaps. Correct? Not at all.

Our injuries this season, and the fact that we're coasting along at 9th in the conference, behind teams like the Stars, the Coyotes, the Kings, the Preds, and the Avalanche... all attributable to one man.

#6. Larry. Motherfuckin. Aurie.

He was a Cougar, he was a Falcon, he was a Red Wing. All without changing teams. In 1927, Jack Adams called upon Mr. Aurie to join the fledgling club.
  • 1932 - he became the captain in the same year that the team was first called the Red Wings.
  • 1934 - Stanley Cup finals appearance against the Blackhawks with Aurie as captain. Because the Hawks had a goalie not named Huet, they won.
  • 1936 - Well, just look at the first number up under the banner. Lord Stanley's Chalice made its way home for the first time.
  • 1937 - After leading the league in goal scoring, and being named to the NHL First All Star team, the Wings won their second cup (admittedly without #6... out with a busted ankle).
  • 1938 - Injury forces his and. He walks away. Kind of.
  • 1939 - Aurie plays in one game, scores a goal. Game winner, no less.
James Norris retired #6 shortly thereafter. No Wing not related to Aurie has ever donned his #6 since he left the ice. Much like Sawchuck, Lindsey, Howe, Delvecchio, Abel, and Yzerman, his number has been kept out of circulation by the organ-i-zation.

Does anyone else remember the Sesame Street bit where they play "Which one of these is not like the other?" Well, friends, shout it out if you know the answer: 1, 6, 7, 9, 10, 12, 17, 19.

That's right, number 6 does not hang from the rafters at the Joe. As I'm sure many of you are aware, the Illitches have refused to hang #6, going so far as to have it removed as a retired number from the official record books. There have been various explanations, but none make much sense. Personally, I think Aurie probably banged Mr. I's grandma. Makes about as much sense as anything else.

Aurie played his last game in 1929. 70 years ago. That seems like a nice round number. Enough to make it absolutely clear in my mind... Aurie's cursed us. Obviously a patient man, Aurie waited 70 years, but everyone's got a breaking point. At some point, enough is enough. Clearly, after seven decades, Larry has dropped the hammer.

So "Please, Please" (ha, pizza jokes) Mr. I, I'm sure you're an avid reader of the Winged Wheel. Lift #6 post haste. Tomorrow seems as good a day as any. Just look at how great it would look, via this extremely complicated computer simulation:



Raise it high, Mr. I. There are too many valuable assets out there left to be severely injured. Hustle.

Eat it Forbes: Wings fans are tops.

The Bees Knees. The Cats Pajamas. The Dogs Balls.

All references to Wings fans. I wouldn't be an exceptionally mediocre law student if I didn't at least attempt to provide some evidence to prove my point would I?

Look no farther:
Check that shit out. "Herm," or Guiherme from Red Wings Brasil has been a Wings fan for some time. Dude lives in Brasil (hence the Portugese at R.W.B). Unfortunately, he's never been to a Wings game. In fact, he's never even met another Wings fan in face to face. Seriously.

Care to learn more: Check out Snipe, Snipe, Dangle Dangle's Interview with him.

So what to the good fans over at A2Y do? They decide to bring his Brazillian ass to the Joe. The Chief sets up a donate button, caps it at $1k. A mere 30 hours later: goal reached.

26 March is when it's supposed to go down. Keep an eye on A2Y, the donate button will likely be back up in the near future. If you can spare it, it's a pretty cool goal.

18 December 2009

All You Future Guest Posters Out There:

Yep, so Norris and I have been crazy busy what with not finishing the necessary requirements to finish a semester.... so we have put up some "guest post" recaps and previews to fill our fantastic display of laziness and shame. However, in the future we're going to limit guest posts to original thoughts or comments while we take care of the pre/post talk and our own original ideas. In other words, try to not send us any game recaps or pregame analysis. But before I get carried away, thank you very much Carpen and THJ. Your posts were well thought out and entertaining, keep your ideas coming. Thanks - The Winged Wheel.

Guest Blogging, 1 win, 1 embarassing loss.

J-Rock, I'm kind of wondering how you let this garbage get through.

I was going to simply post this in the comments, but I realized the overwhelming majority of the post made absolutely no sense and I found myself typing far too much to simply sit below the previous post by THJ. Here, I offer my rebuttal.

First: Your assessment of Bertuzzi. No. Plain wrong. Objectively so. Dude goes on a one-week scoring streak and you've decided he's a scoring machine. You're hoping he'll be strong both with and without the puck? Hm. See, this is the dude that NEVER checks. Despite being a monster, he's decided impact would just be terrible. He's gotta stay healthy to earn that paycheck to sign right the fuck over to Steve Moore.

And lots of love for Pavel, eh. Why? The guy's been outstandingly weak. He's on a 64 point pace. 64. In the last four games: not one goal. Only nine shots. He's not the reason we've been winning by any stretch of the imagination. The key to the game tomorrow, is the same exact key that has won us our last four: the grinders. Pavel won't do it... he hasn't and there's no reason to think he'll turn that around tomorrow. Bertuzzi sure as shit won't. For every goal, he's got several turnovers. He's not a "put the team on his back" kind of guy. Period. Your hardon for the guy has clouded your already pathetic judgment.

More out of Lidstrom? Sure. I'd like to see him light the lamp with more frequency. Though, he's kind of busy making sure Pavel losing the puck every time he's in the offensive zone as he tries to muscle it up the perimiter or Bertuzzi's dumbass spin-o-rama passes to nowhere don't lead to automatic goals against. As far as his defensive play is concerned? You couldn't be more wrong. He's been an outstanding defensive force. Always in position. Always working hard. Bertuzzi and Pavel have been "such a good combination" and you'd like to see more out of Lidstrom? You should not be allowed to have opinions... they're just god damn stupid.

And then you want to trash on Ozzie, and start blowing up Tim fucking Thomas? Really? Your manchub for that guy makes less sense than your love for the washed up piece of lazy-skating garbage that is Bertuzzi. Tim Thomas's empty motherfucking trophycase is signed for a cap hit of $5 million dollars. Ozzie? $1.5. Peter Budaj money. So trash on Ozzie if you need to, but the guy has rings. The guy is the absolute best playoff goaltender of the past decade. Your Timmy Thomas can't boast that. No other goalie can. It's Ozzie's.

And who the fuck are you to say the best GM in sports should have taken your advice? No. Not at all. Tell me Mr. Genius fuck manager, after we signed Tim Thomas, who would you like to have playing in another jersey? Datsyuk? Zetterberg? The Mule? Lidstrom? That's what it'd take. Ergo, dumb idea. Purely. Ozzie has given us the opportunity to contend literally every year and morons like you throw him under the bus year in and year out. Unacceptable.

Know and be sure that when playoffs roll around: The Great and Powerful Wizzard of Oz will take the blue ice. No doubt. So no, Howard is not the be-all end-all starter. He's being given the opportunity to show the management what he's got. To be tested. He's performing much better than I ever thought he would, but there's no reason to think he's got all the reins. Right now, he's sitting on Daddy's lap, allowed to steer the family Buick down an empty stretch of desert highway. That's about it.

Gross. Failure. Epic stupidity.

Oh yeah... and if you ever say "Honky-tonk Hank Zetterberg" again, I will tear out your heart and feed it to Steve Ott. Take that.

It's fun to be a tremendously mean person.

Yet Another Guest Post: THJ on the Upcoming Wings V. Stars Game

Beating Dallas, or How to Take these broken wings and learn to fly again:

Tomorrow at three o’ clock our Detroit Red Wings face the Dallas (not so North anymore) Stars with only nine of the original eighteen members of the roster when the season started in Sweden. Our leading scorer Honky-tonk Hank Zetterberg is out for at least two weeks thanks Matty O. So let’s tally this out, Williams, Kronwall, Franzen, Zetterberg, Ericson, Lilja, Helm, Filpulla and Cleary, gosh it almost separates my shoulder just typing it, that’s half of our players. In war when a command incurs losses of a mere fifteen to twenty percent casualties it’s usually time to retreat, but not our Wings. Why? Because our reserves our plentiful and strong. In addition to the players we have already called up, the Griffins of Grand Rapids have shown considerable talent and depth too, one that comes to mind is the other Williams, Jeremy. In the few NHL games he has played previous he has been able to make a considerable mark for the Leafs. In my mind he is the Griffin to call up to replace Hank.

So when I agreed to write this I told one of the creators, that I would spare my unabashed love for The Todd. But I can’t, Todd and Pavel, and what a good combination has been thus far, must be stellar tomorrow against the Stars. Bert needs to make his presence felt both with the puck and without it. Bertuzzi can be the perfect foil to Brendan Morrow another tough gritty goal scorer. Everyone in Detroit should want Todd Bertuzzi to have a forty goal season here in Detroit, but that is a different topic for a different time.


(Editor's note: THJ is actually referring to "The Todd" from Scrubs... not Tuzzi. You're welcome for the clarification.)


In addition to the top forward line, I want to see more out of Lidstrom, that’s right captain Norris, I am calling you out. You are overdue for a goal, I not quite sure what happened to that shot from the point, but we miss it dearly. Defensively you have been struggling and your pace is getting slower. I won’t speculate if its old age, or a nagging injury, but captain, it’s time to lace up the skates and lead by example.

As far as secondary scoring is concerned, Miller and Eaves seem to have that covered. It’s the system that pays most off most in Detroit. It appears to be paying off in dividends for the wings.
As for goaltending, Jimmy Howard is now a lock for a starting goaltender until the playoffs hit. As much as I dislike his style, and think he is a lazy piece of waiver-wire trash. He has been playing better than the wizard as of late. (by the way loyal readers, if Kenny Holland had taken my advice two years ago when Michigan native Tim Thomas was a UFA and inked him we would have been in a better position that we are now in goal. Don’t give me that he would have wanted to much cash, players give up a lot to play for their hometown teams)
Now onto the stars.

Here is all you need to know about the Dallas Stars
-Brad Richards: way too good of teeth for a hockey player, here’s to hoping Brad May makes him lose one. He’s a money grubbing turd that owes his career to being on one of the most talented lines in hockey in recent memory (Richards Lecavalier St. Louis)
- Mike Modano: Old and Busted. Also the idol of every crappy high school hockey player from Livonia, Michigan and more importantly every parent who went to high school with him and thinks their child is going to be the next Mike Modano from Livonia
- Brendan Morrow: Mean and not too Shabby, a good enough player to wrestle the C away from future hall of famer Modano.
- Mike Ribero: a short, scrawny, dirty, cheap, turd who took a shot at Ozzy in the playoffs, may he die in a fire.
- Turco: T-U-R-C-O spells Bust, ever since he started getting paid good money to keep goal he has been a bust, and will continue to be a bust until he severs all ties to the University of Michigan, that unholy institution
And finally the asshole to end all assholes,
-Steve Ott : Die, Just please let Mr. May beat you into oblivion. Few players in modern hockey do I have more distain for than Mr. Ott. Unfortunately he is far too big of a coward to actually fight anyone. (Bertuzzi hands off, no need to break his neck, you’re too valuable, let May do it.)

As with any good preview, you need a prediction.
4-2 Wings.
Pavel from Lidstrom and Homer
Eaves from Miller and Stuart
Morrow from Modano and Ribero
Ribero from Morrow and Niskanen
Tuzzi from Lidstrom and Rafi
And Lidstrom Unassisted

and thats the way it should be
-THJ

Forbes Proves It Knows Nothing about Hockey.

Briefly, as I continue to procrastinate:

Pens fans emerged the most fanatical. They consumed the most team merchandise last season, led by jerseys sales of NHL poster boy Sidney Crosby and Art Ross Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin. Televised games drew an average 72,644 households each on FSN Pittsburgh. On top of that the Igloo, as Mellon Arena is affectionately known, sold out every game in the 2008-09 season--the second year in a row.

Link - Forbes.com
Ok. Perhaps the Pens are the fans who have spent the most money over the 08-09 season, but I hardly find that as an appropriate method of determining which market has the "best" fans.

See, what the above snippet tells me is that there happened to be a large percentage of Pens fans who didn't have jerseys prior to their Cup year (ugh... still makes me gag). I recall the thought I had sitting four rows in front of The Captain and Kenny Holland at the Game 5 trouncing of the Pens during the 09 Cup Finals (yes. It was amazing) regarding the Pens fans' jerseys:
  • Thid, Thid, Thid, Thid, Malkin, Malkin, Fleury, Fluery, Thid, Fleury, Malkin - hm... apparently there are only three players on the team
On the other hand, throughout the Joe you could see fans decked out in their Wings sweaters with everything, ranging from the ever-popular 19 to the Drapers, Maltbys, Homers, Datsyuks, Zetterbergs, Lidstroms, Filppulas, to the throwbacks of Ciccarelli, Fedorov, Konstantinov, Fetisov, Larionov, Shanahan, McCarty, Delvecchio, Howe... you get the point.

The fact is, the overwhelming majority of Pens fans are simply bandwagoners. Hence the recent splurge in purchasing. Sure, they're doing just fine now. But that directly stems from bombing for so long that they got a few no-brainer picks. Add to that the fact that the lowly Pens were a hair away from moving out of town because of a lack of fan support.

Sure, if your definition of "best" means "spent the most money in the last fiscal year," good on you for picking the Pens. Seems like a pretty strong disconnect from what actually makes for the best fans in the league.

My suggestion: the criteria should be based solely on how many of the teams' fans live in the state of Michigan. Seems like a no-brainer.

Guest Blogger: Stop Bitching. We Don't Suck.

So, as I promised, if you'd like to contribute to the Winged Wheel, you should type something up and send it to me. As I've been busy trying finish the very end of the semester, I haven't had much opportunity to contribute (something's coming pretty soon though... I've figured out the reason for all our troubles this season... it's a doozie). As a result, last night's game recap comes from young Carpen.

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.

1st

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.

Miller doing his best Bobby Orr impression


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.

2nd

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.

15 December 2009

Hockey Gods tease us. Janik up to the big club.

Detroit -- The news on Jonathan Ericsson was as good as could be expected for the Wings.

Tests revealed a deep bone bruise on his left knee and in his calf muscle, but no structural damage.

"What I've been told is that he'll be out a minimum of two weeks, but we will know a lot more in a week or so," general manager Ken Holland said.

Link - DetNews


I'm positive that this is just the Hockey Gods teasing us. They've realized that after the litany of injuries that we've suffered, that Wings fans are essentially numb to it all. We're just waiting for the next injury. Hell, need proof? Check out today's hilariously disturbing A2Y contest.

So how do these mescaline-riddled bastards get to us now? Clearly by enacting some sick injury on a key blue liner where his knee bends the wrong way, and following that up with an optimistic timeline for return. "Meh, its just a bruise. Give the kid a couple of weeks and he'll be fine."

Sure. I'll believe it when I see it. Until then, I'm leaving The Winged Wheel's prognosis for return sometime after the Myans destroy the world in 2012. Because its 2009 and not enough of you bitches have embraced the Bear Jesus.

In the interim: we get more Janik. He's played in one game with the big club so far this year and I was impressed. In case you missed it, here was my synopsis of Dougie last night during J-Rock's and my discussion of our defensive possibilities sans-E:
  • Doug Janik: Stay-at-home D-man. Sweet Bear Jesus, we could use one of those next to Lebda. Had a one-game callup at the beginning of the year and performed exceptionally well. Granted, my definition of 'exceptionally well' for Janik during that game was that I barely noticed that he ever played. That means no stupid turnovers, no idiotic penalties, no jumping the rush at every opportunity to leave his point open for odd man rushes in the other direction you son of a bitch I want to strangle you Lebda you rooten bastard piece of... ahem... he was good.

I can handle a stay-at-home kind of guy. Plus, he's a giant. I'm a little surprised they didn't go with Kindl, simply because he's going to be a permanent fixture next year and a bit more experience couldn't hurt. During his couple of games with the Wings a couple of weeks ago he looked pretty solid, and he's not a bad replacement for Big E as far as the type of defense he plays. That being said, it should be fun to watch Janik and see how it works.

Counterpoint: Ward no Wing. If anything: Chelli.

Don't get me wrong. I love me some nostalgia. It is the same exact feeling that I had that wanted the Wings to sign Dandenault over the off-season. It's the same reason that drove me to obsess over the possibility of Shanny after the mule went down and the Devils released him. Hell, Slava Fetisov just started taking the ice again at 51 years young, and yes, I'd like for Kenny Holland to get on the horn and bring him back.

There's just one problem:
  • It's not 1997.
I'll admit, I haven't seen much of Ward outside of clips from The Brawl in the past few years. However, he was just released by the Carolina Hurricanes. We're not talking about the 'Canes of 05-06. Hell, we aren't even talking about the 'Canes that dominated into the Eastern Conference Finals last year. No. We're talking about these 'Canes:

30 out of 30. Eleven points out of 29th place. This is the team that has just released Aaron Ward. Also consider how the 'Canes received Mr. Ward. The Bruins traded Ward to immediately place the fruits of the trade on waivers so that they could relieve themselves of his cap-hit. (Granted, that young prospect, cast-off by the B's into Hockey pergutory, just so happenes to be the player on the Wings just one away from the +/- lead, and the guy who scored the shortie tonight... Patrick Eaves). There does not seem to be much of a vote of confidence for Aaron Ward on the blue line among NHL GM's.

That's not to say it would be a terrible idea. If Kenny made the call, I'd be completely on board. 1) Pure nostalgia, and 2) Kenny is brilliant, and I am very much not. I just don't see it happening. The Wings have themselves some options:
  • Jakob Kindl: Largely considered to be the Wings top prospect, Kindl is an offensive D-Man who responded to the challenge when called up recently in the face of a Rafalski injury. In fact, watching the games, Kindl seemed to make less stupid mistakes than Big E has this season. He'll be a full-time guy next season as his minor league options will wear out, why not now?
  • Doug Janik: Stay-at-home D-man. Sweet Bear Jesus, we could use one of those next to Lebda. Had a one-game callup at the beginning of the year and performed exceptionally well. Granted, my definition of 'exceptionally well' for Janik during that game was that I barely noticed that he ever played. That means no stupid turnovers, no idiotic penalties, no jumping the rush at every opportunity to leave his point open for odd man rushes in the other direction you son of a bitch I want to strangle you Lebda you rooten bastard piece of... ahem... he was good.
  • Sign another D-Man. In my mind, this has to go to Cheli. I'm not positive he'd be on the next Wolverine-line Amtrak to get back to Detroit if his cell phone were to ring, but if we're going to bring back a former-Wing, why not the one that really deserves it. Cheli played his heart out here. 10 years as a Wing with two cups and three finals appearances to show for it. One of the greatest American players of all time. The guy's got businesses and family in Detroit, and he certainly doesn't need to spend much time "learning the system." So offer the guy a 1 year contract and bring him back. And when Big E gets back? Trade Lebda. Or put #22 on waivers. Or stuff him in a burlap sack and drop him in the Rouge. However it works, I don't see how we're any worse off with #24 belonging to Chelli again. May's decided he's apparently done with fighting for now, even when key defensemen are injured - so I'm sure he'll get over losing his new number.
Ward though? While the kid who watched Stevie Y hoist the cup for the first time in '97 is totally behind that idea, the part of me in the here-and-now is not so sold.

Also, clearly Bear Jesus is upset that not enough of you fully converted after my last post... you'd better at least strongly consider it before anyone else goes down.

Aaron Ward, future wing.... again?

So the Cane's have placed Aaron Ward, the former Wing on waivers. Ward was acquired in a late season trade from the B's for garbage with a side of terrible. However, in the Cane's eyes he turned to an even larger pile of trash.... which led the Cane's to make him expendable, so expendable that they simply released him. Expendable when the wings are at a severe need in the defensive department... suddenly expendable looks like acceptable.
Taking Ward right now seems pretty much obvious. We have the cap room with our fantastic ability to become injured. What harm does signing him offer? Ward is a player that will add to our defensive depth and has a foot in the door when it comes to learning the system.
So, if I were to make a "lock" on the roster changes this week I would have to say that Aaron Ward is a lock in becoming a "reinstated wing". Am I wrong.... probably. But how can Ward be any worse than what he have going on right now? Unless you are one of the few that believes Lebda is top notch.... in which case any logical argument was thrown out the window long ago................
  • Hours later:
H'ok so maybe placing Ward in a "lock" was an overstatement with our ability to plug in the likes of Kindl and Janik. However, I would still place this in the realm of possibilities, even the realm of somewhat probabilities. I would push on further but my belief in Ward would wear down further as I look into our of defensive "depth".
In a final analysis I would still say that picking up Ward could only help the outlook of our defense in the long run. Having our defensive (or offensive) prospects develop in the AHL has only proved to aid in the progression of our future top 2 line players.

14 December 2009

Helm: Down. Spirits: Down. Faith: Lost. Soul: Dead.

The Red Wings called up center Kris Newbury from Grand Rapids Monday morning to replace Darren Helm, who is out with an injured wrist...

...Helm injured the wrist on Saturday in Nashville, but didn't think it was serious. He took the ice Monday morning but couldn't work through the pain. The Wings were administering tests Monday morning to determine the full extent of the injury.

Link - DetNews
The full extent of the injury. That's what I should have named this blog. It would have certainly been fitting this season. You know, any other season, I might be optimistic about this kind of news. "Hell, the kid took the ice - it can't be that bad. He'll just need some rest and he'll be back in a week or two."

This season: "See ya in March kid."

When the season started, I was hopeful. Despite coming off of a tough loss that need not be mentioned, and losing some firepower via free agency and the KHL's new "money for midgets" program, we still had essentially the 2008 Cup Champion roster. I was a bit worried about how the Howard saga would work out, but that seemed to be our only true weakness.

That changed.

Here's the list of forwards currently taking the ice for the Wings that were also around for the full extent of the '08 season:
  • Datsyuk
  • Draper
  • Holmstrom
  • Maltby
  • Zetterberg
Everyone else? Injured or gone. Have you ever wondered in the Grand Rapids Griffins could perform against NHL teams? Well... now's your time to find out.

The overwhelming question that I'm sure is on everyone's minds: WHY? Why us? Why the injuries? Why the under-performance from those who are not injured? Why are the Stars, Predators, Coyotes, Avalanche, and Kings all among those teams that rank AHEAD of the Dynastic Red Wings? Just... why?

The Chief at A2Y has an explanation:

I’m not pushing religion on you. I think you know that.

But it’s pretty motherfucking clear that God hates the Wings.

Link

With all due respect to the Chief, I have to disagree. You see, I will push religion on you. And it is time for you to embrace the Bear Jesus.

Yep... Straight to hell with me.

For those of you unfamiliar with the First One True High Order of the Order of Religions: The Church of Bear Jesus and Latterday Saints, here are a few basic tenants of our Holy beliefs:
  • We pray to the holy trinity: The Bear Jesus, The Liquor Christ, and The Captain, Steve Yzerman.
  • We recognize that Bear Jesus is an angry and vengeful god, and that when upset, he will exact his revenge upon the earth in the form of plague, pestilence, and scoring droughts.
  • We recognize that Bear Jesus may only be appeased in the form of sacrifice. This is usually performed by offering up fortune cookie fortunes and drinking piss warm PBR.
  • We celebrate outstanding festivals and religious holidays such as Cinco de Ocho, Saint Jesus Day, and The Brawl Day, held every 26th of March.
I realize that Bear Jesus must be exacting his angry vengeance upon us, and I must extend a sincere apology to all my fellow Winged Wheel compatriots. I fear this plague of injuries is somehow directly connected to my failure to effectively evangelize. I have used this forum as a release valve for all of my Red Wings related frustrations, but have failed to shove Bear Jesus down your throat. Hopefully this post will appease Bear Jesus, and we can go back to smacking little bitches around. May the spirit of the holy trinity heal the litany of players currently injured. The Mule, J Willy, ValFil, Kronners, Charlie Buckets, and now, Helmer.

Desert Dogs tonight. May Bear Jesus provide us with all the "puck luck" necessary. Also, may he strike down Adrian Aucoin if that little non-believer decides to butt end anyone with his stick again...




12 December 2009

Wings 3, Preds 2.

Well, it appears that just as the evil monkey was thrown off of Bertuzzi's back, the rest of the Wings decided to hop on for a ride. But I don't think that Bert will mind having this particular burden... seeing as how he has been an absolute powerhouse on two consecutive nights. The man is on fire out of nowhere. Just take a look at what he has achieved in the last two nights.
  • Doubled his goals scored on the season from 4 to 8
  • 2 game winning goals (BOTH in OT)
  • And the most impressive thing? Turing the perception of 90% of the Wings faithful on it's head, myself included.

But moving on, the rest of the team had a solid performance as well. Ozzie had a very good game and a spectacular 2nd period where he faced 19 shots. The Wizard will have to string together a few more solid performances before I hop back on the bandwagon but hey... you gotta start somewhere.

Pavel seems to be snapping out of the mini funk he has been in this season as well. He doesn't have the Bertuzzi like point totals but his command over the puck is returning to the level it needs to be. When he plays at the top of his game the opposition gets sucked in on him like a gravitational field... leading to wide open scoring opportunities, much like the scoring chance in the first where dats had 3 different Preds closing in and he managed a perfect pass to a wide open Z. If he continues to play like that the point totals will start to rise.

Overall, this was another hard fought game... the kind of game the Wings are going to need to keep playing to keep alive in the playoff race until we can FINALLY start to get healthy. With the win we moved to 37 points tieing us with Dallas for the 8th spot as of 11:30pm... and at this point who wouldn't be happy with that?

Finally, I leave you with some brief game highlights:

  • Drew Miller had 2 pts (1G, 1A)... talk about your secondary scoring.
  • Leino again didn't completely suck ass (a 2 game streak!)
  • Drapes made Weber throw at least 2 hissy fits and completely took him out of the game
  • Weber knocked out Tootoo early so we didn't have to listen to that god awful train noise every time he was on the ice.

11 December 2009

Detroit 3, Anaheim 2

So you know your team isn't winning like they used to when you find yourself as excited as a 5 year old at Christmas opening up his first batmobile when your team wins.... in overtime.... against at team that entered the matchup below .500 at 11-12-7. But hell, at this point a win like this is parade worthy considering we are rolling with about 30% of the Griffins roster on a nightly basis.
Anyhoo, at first glance it would appear that Tuzzi has ripped that damned evil monkey off of his back. We can only hope he has banished him to Chris' room where he belongs....



But seriously, all kidding aside... good for bert. The man had 82 shots on goal going into the matchup and only 4 goals. It was nice to see him finally get some quality shots and put a couple in behind JS. Giggy. Plus, that OT goal speaks for itself... that'll be on ESPN tonight.

Some other positive points from the win:
  • Stewie had at least two MAJOR hits, nice to see him step up when the opportunity presents itself.
  • More on Stewie: he had arguably his best defensive game tonight, great job being aware of the loose puck late in the third... he honestly saved the game.
  • Speaking of saving the game, hats off to big E and Helm for getting to the goal line to save the puck from rolling in for a goal
  • Leino didn't play like a total ass (more to come on him next post)
  • Datsyuk actually tried to "do more shoot", too bad his stick didn't agree with his choice to shoot more... time for a new stick Pav.

Overall, it was nice to see a full 60+ minute effort that finally paid off. Howard played well, the D played well, the offense EVENTUALLY clicked. The only real negatives were the faceoff dept. and poor PP%, but I will take terrible numbers in those categories with a win any day.

10 December 2009

No natural goal scorers eh? Super.

"We've been a team that works hard and we compete, but it's very obvious we don't have a lot of natural goal scorers" - Mike Babcock
Link
Last 8 Games
  • Pavel Datsyuk
    1 Goals, 2 Assists, -1, 2.7 shots/game average
  • Hank Zetterberg
    1 Goal, 5 Assists, -2, 4 shots/game average
  • Tomas Holmstrom
    2 Goals (yes... add 13 and 40 and you get 96...), 2 Assists, -1, 2.3 shots/game avg
  • Todd Bertuzzi
    1 Goal, 3 Assists, -2, 2.75 shots/game average
  • Daniel Cleary
    3 Goals, 0 Assists, -5, 2.1 shots/game average
Yep... looks like Uncle Mike is right.

Scary analysis: In the last 8 games, we have 2 players with more than 2 goals. One is Dan Cleary. This would be the same Dan Cleary that is "out for a while" per Kenny Holland. The other is Kris Draper. Kris Draper has THREE TIMES as many goals as PAVEL DATSYUK in the last 8 games. During those 8 games, only nine players on our team have scored. Gross.

Further consider, the power play.

The Wings have been clipping along at a breakneck pace with the man advantage. I mean, they've converted 17.1 percent of the time! That's good for 21st in the league! How fantastic!

What, in the name of Bear Jesus, happened to the power play.



Oh.

So finals are done. Turns out right as they're starting is not a good time to start writing a blog. Plus, J-Rock has decided to be responsible for once in his life, so this place has gone a little neglected. I'd apologize, but who the hell are you to expect something from me?

Sorry. I'm a bit testy. You see, much like many of you, my day-to-day mood generally rises and falls with the successes and failures of the Detroit Red Wings. I'm not proud of it, but I'm man enough to admit it. Consider how my mood must have been affected last night, in the middle of my absolute marathon of trying to teach myself Business Organizations as I flip on the NHL Network and witness the following:
  • Wings down 0-1.
  • Ty Conklin with like 4,000 saves.
  • Dan Ceary taking a shoulder to the face, subsequently limped over behind the bench.
  • Dumbass penalty with 2:45 left...
  • The horn, and smiles on the St. Louis Blues' players' faces.
And you know, right away I just knew that Cleary was injured beyond the remainder of the game. Why? Well, because the Ghost of Rocket Richard's coke-riddled ass wants it that way. That's the way this season has gone. And thats the way it will continue to go. I'm doomed for a life of misery this season, and I'm fully aware. Goals? Not on the docket. Suck? Oh yeah, we've got a surplus.

Balls.

Just.... balls.

05 December 2009

Saving it for the Olympics? Must be. NJD - 3.1; DET - 3

Yeah. 3.1. The skills competition is a stupid way to decide a hockey game. Thanks Gary.

So sitting here in the library trying to study by merely being next to books (doesn't work, by the way), watching the feed online, I had one distinct thought:

Why, exactly, is our top line so... pedestrian.
Great effort from the hard working guys. Helm busted his ass all night. Draper looks at least 5 years younger. Eaves, great deflection - deserved the goal. Abby - great work. Those guys deserved the points they got. The Belle Tire point? I'll take it. Good to see Homer in front of the net, that's where he's effective.

But really... had our top lines been effective, we could have owned that game. There would have been no reason for Leino to have to simply fired a shot point blank into Marty's gut. We could have walked away with 2 points without much trouble.

That seems to have been the case for the last few weeks. The guys who are supposed to score are doing anything but. With the loss of our UFA's last off-season and the disgusting injury situation, we NEED our big guns to shoot. Rather, they're just kind of sitting there, collecting rust. Evidence:

  • Pasha: In the last 8 games before tonight, he's got 2 Goals, 2 Assists. Now, I'm no math genius, but that comes out out an average of half a point per game. That would be a pace for 41 points across an entire season. In the last three games before tonight, he registered a cumulative 9 shots on goal. Three shots a game. The little ruskie said it best: "I need more shoot."
  • Z: Same 8 game time frame as above: One goal, three assists. Again, 41 point pace if extended across a full season. The scarier statistic: during that time Z was MINUS SEVEN. That means for the FOUR goals of which he was a part, Z was on the ice for SEVEN goals against.
  • Homer: Same 8 games: 1 goal, 2 assists. 31 point pace.

  • Leino: Goose-egg. Donut. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. ZERO. He DID post a -7 though, and he registered an outstanding THREE hits! Wow! Good on you Finn. Good thing you demanded to play in the big club... you sure are selling yourself high.
Now look at those players' (with the exception of Leino who I threw in there because somebody's gotta throw this flop under the bus) point totals last year. Pav: 97 in 81 games played (1.19 ppg). Z: 73 in 77 games played (.94 ppg). Homer: 37 in 53 games played (.69 ppg).

Clearly there's an issue. The guys who get paid to score... aren't. And the scary thing is that they don't seem to really be trying. Maybe I'm wrong (I'm not.) Maybe it's just that without much secondary scoring threats, the matchups are just too damn good for these guys to overcome. I don't buy it. While guys like Helm are out there forechecking, backchecking, and wheeling around like their asses are on fire, our "top lines" seem to be content with hugging the perimeter. Even giving Homer a pass because he's never been super strong on the puck, for Dats, Z, Leino, Bertuzzi - everyone seems content with hanging out on the boards until the defense takes it away.

At some point, I fully expect this to turn around. There is no way that both Datsyuk and Zetterberg are going to continue this season on a 41 point pace. Honestly, though, the turnaround needs to happen soon. The playoffs are on the table, and it is entirely unacceptable for Detroit to NOT make an appearance.

And with that, back to the books. NYR game tomorrow. I suggest you check out whatever preview Nightmare on Helm Street has for you, considering Drew dropped this gem on us earlier this afternoon:

Prediction: OK, you’re going to think this is stupid, but I just have a feeling that 6 goals are going to be scored in this game. So what I did is take 6 paper clips and cut out 6 pieces of paper with either “D” for Detroit or “N” for New Jersey. I threw them up in the air and the score came out…of course…three to three. So in the overtime toss (one paper clip) it landed New Jersey so I’m guessing the score is going to be 4-3 New Jersey in either OT or a shootout. Kind of keeps in line with the whole Two-Face thing that Chris did in his last post, doesn’t it?Logic and reasoning didn’t seem to be working, so I went with this strategy.

Link

Drew, maybe you wouldn't mind predicting a 16-0 win tomorrow? Just sayin'

03 December 2009

Son. Of. A.... Bitch. EDM: 4 - DET: Suck.

Bad. Just bad. Johnny E limping off the ice literally made me vomit blood. If he's out for any extended period of time, I have no idea what we'll do. Especially if Raffi continues with his back problems. There's just no way that we could possibly ice Lids, Stuart, Meech, Lebda, Kindl, and Janik and expect to win anything. Especially with the way our forwards are playing. Ugh... moving on.

Boy, what an effort from #22 eh? Being the offensive specialist that he is, Lebda decides to bury the puck... right into his own net. Pretty sure that's the opposite of what D-Men are supposed to do. I mean, the great Paul Coffey did it once... maybe it was just Lebda trying to emulate someone who can... you know... play hockey. Failure.

Howard had a rough game, but I'll give him a pass. This one boiled down to the offense. Now, just to be clear, I'm going by the definition of offense found in the 09-10 Edition of the Detroit Red Wings Dictionary:
Offense - 1. (n.) Outdated; Origins forgotten long long ago; a system by which teams not behind the Phoenix God Damn Coyotes in the standings manage to add points utilized for the purpose of winning. 2. (n.) Occurs where an attacking player takes the puck into the opponents zone, then hangs out around the perimiter until the opposing player takes the puck or the attacking player is forced to pass to the other team.
I know we're dealing with injuries. I know we're dealing with goaltending issues here and there. But for chrissakes... this was the Oilers. If there is a team in the league worse off in those departments than us... its the Oil. Something's gotta get fixed, and fast.

On the Hockey Gods and Their Newfound Affinity for Mescaline

Welcome to the inaugural post of The Winged Wheel. Excitement Abounds. I finally decided to attempt to put my obsession to some sort of use. Hopefully you find this amusing / interesting / infuriating / absurd enough to continue reading.

A quick primer before I go on:
  • The site currently has two contributors. Myself, writing under the pseudonym “CaptNorris5,” and my co-contributor, “J-Rock.” We’ve chosen to write under these names simply because we hope to someday have futures and neither of us have any intention of moderating ourselves here.

  • We’re still hammering out all kinds of ideas for what this site will provide. One thing that we can promise however is that literally all of it will be written from a severe Red Wings bias. We’re both lifelong fans and it is sure to show in all of our material. We can also promise that most things featured here will frequently be juvenile, sometimes irrelevant, and often inappropriate. Should be fun.

  • If you’ve got something to say feel free to comment below, or contact me as you see fit. If you’d like to contribute, send me something. If I’ve left you off of the sidebar, let me know. If you need medical advice about the terrible burning/itching sensation in your groin area… email the Pensblog.

Moving on.

I’m confident that the Hockey-Gods have been sniffing ridiculous amounts of glue. Seriously, like… truckloads. This season has been insane. From injuries to crazy anomalies in the standings, I’m having a real hard time wrapping my head around what's going on. Need evidence that the Ghost of Rocket Richard is riding the H-train mega-hard? Consider the following:

  • The Standings.


The Detroit Red Wings, the team that has enjoyed a literal dynasty in the NHL over the past 15 or so years, is sitting at 10th in the Western Conference at the moment. Ahead of them? Marty "Stick a Fork in Him, He's Done" Turco's Stars, the Columbus "What the hell is a Blue Jacket" Blue Jackets, the Hamilton Phoenix Coyotes, the Nashville "they play hockey in Tennesee?" Predators, the Los Angeles "not relevant since Gretzky" Kings, and the Colorado... ugh... Avalanche. Four, FOUR, of the 8 teams in playoff position missed the postseason last year. I understand that some of these teams have improved. I understand that things aren't constant year-to-year; but for chrissakes...

  • The injuries.
Just consider the Wings roster. Mule - out. Fil - out. Williams - out. Kronners - out. Now Raffi is staring down the barrel of a back injury. Dats has missed some time. And that's just the Wings. Some major names across the NHL have been taken out by the opium addictions of the various Hockey Gods. If I were an NHL player, I'd be paranoid. Of course, I'd make Marty Brodeur look like an anorexic, but that's beside the point.

  • The Stats.
Marian "Glass-Bones" Gaborik - has only missed 2 games so far.

Anze Kopitar - tied for third for most points, despite not having scored in 10 games.

Not suspended yet this season - Sean Avery, Chris Pronger, Donald Brashear. Among those suspended - Alexander Ovechkin.

Wings team leader for +/-... Patrick Eaves. Yeah, ahead of Lidstrom...

Jimmy Howard - has actually won games.

I just can't wrap my head around this... Obviously the only answer is that the ghosts of Larry Aurie and Sid Abel are robotripping their asses off.


That's all for now... time to watch tonight's game. As always, Go Wings.