24 January 2008

I Like a Little Hockey in my Fighting (Wings 2, Ducks 1)

I didn't count actual number of scrums that could have - and for the most part did - lead to full-blown fights in last nights Wings/Ducks battle - the third of the season - but it was a lot. Sorry, Finny, but the Ducks are an unnecessarily vicious team, as proven again in just the first twenty minutes of the game. (And have you noticed how evil they all look? Ryan Getzlaf? Chris Kunitz? I'm looking at you guys. I'm also beginning to think secretely they wanted to get rid of Dustin Penner because his big smiley bearlike self just doesn't seem to fit in with the theme.)

Right off the bad, hardly more than five minutes in, one-time Wing Todd Bertuzzi ran Dominik Hasek over for no discernible reason. He was given an extra penalty for it (which balanced out the one Johan Franzen took defending his goalie - a completely acceptable one given how dangerous the play was), but you have to wonder what he was thinking, if it wasn't simply a blatant attempt to injure.

Shortly thereafter, Ducks captain Chris Pronger had a go at it with Dan Cleary - which he started off by not punching, but instead scratching Cleary with an open palmed-swipe at his face, ending up with the result of Cleary's eye swelling shut. He left the game and did not return - can't blame him for his few second of turtling. Before the end of the period, Doug Weight tried to drop the gloves with Brett Lebda as well, but Lebda didn't take the bait. The first period was ridden with penalties (a combined 34 minutes of them) and shots of the penalty box teeming with Ducks - four, at one point.

The Ducks seemed to settle down a little bit after the first period, but this didn't stop Sean O'Donnell and Aaron Downey from going at it. The level of physicality remained high, and it was nice to see the Wings retaliate well and not buckle under it, as they're so often accused of doing. (It was also nice, however, to see that Jiri Hudler has gotten a little bit smarter about picking his battles; at one point it looked like he was set to lay a monster hit on Pronger, before he slowed up and realized just maybe that wasn't the smartest idea in the world.)

The Wings capitalized on the several power plays provided by the penalty-fest only once, resulting in a Brian Rafalski goal - his 9th of the season, which ties a career record for him. The other Wings goal was from Val Filppula, who for whatever reason always seems to play some great games against Anaheim. Tomas Kopecky, who has seemed rather quiet lately, made a spectacular pass to him after Francois Beauchemin broke what seemed like he's twentieth stick of the evening to put the Wings up two. Unfortunately, Dominik Hasek's shutout bit was ruined in the third (I blame you, CC) when Chris Pronger managed to connect with the net.

FSN Detroit was having technical issues throughout the game, most noticeable toward the end when the feed froze on the last faceoff - I inferred that we won thirty seconds later when it cut back in to a lot of Wings jumping all over Hasek.

The Wings finished up the road trip 3-0, despite the absence of Henrik Zetterberg, but his absence is still worrisome, especially when his current claim is to feel all of "2% better." Luckily he has plenty of time to rest up through the All Star break before the Wings meet up with Tracy's Coyotes this coming Wednesday.

Other Notes

During intermission, the FSN Detroit crew interviewed former Wing-now Duck Mathieu Schneider about his time in Detroit. One of the things they asked him was what he missed most about the city. His response? "The pizza." To which the announcers prompted, "Little Caesars?" Schneider agreed. Mike Ilitch would be so proud.

Sports are notorious for throwing out odd, obscure stats - but sometimes they hit on some interesting ones. Like last night, for instance, when an announcer remarked that in his 16 years in the league, Nick Lidstrom has taken one roughing penalty. Wow.

Around the League

Elly passed this along to me this morning - I do believe everyone needs a little bit of cute, soccer-playing Conks in their life.

The league decided on four games in Europe for this coming season - Ottawa/Pittsburgh twice in Stockholm and New York Rangers/Tampa Bay twice in Prague. While I'm happy to see my favorite little Petr Prucha getting to play a game in (almost) his home, I'm started to get more than a little frustrated at all these Eastern teams. I know it was the Western Anaheim/LA match up in Europe last season, but come on, is there a reason it couldn't be 50/50? I'm not actually interested in either of these matchups - for the most part because neither actually impact my team. That's not great marketing, guys.


Anonymous said...

I suppose it's bad that the first thing I looked at was Mountain Man Malone in that image, eh?

Also, I wonder how many Penguins fans are actually going to go to that?

Kirsten said...

I feel like Lebda would probably have gotten his ass kicked...

I have this video clip of Penner and Matt Greene that you have to see. It's hilarious. I'll look for it and get back to you.

Can the Wild please have Dan Clearly? The people around me and I were eyeing him when I was still in Minnesota, and we've decided that we really would like him to join our team.

Kirsten said...

Here's part 1 :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbCOxB9Ho_4

Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHwDDAc15B0&feature=related

Part 1 is far better. He and Matt Greene are clearly having a ball.

Steph said...

Teka, I swear, if it were the Prague game I'd be more wont to consider it...then again I suppose I don't really qualify as 'Penguins fan', either.

Kirsten..."Safety never takes a day off"? "It never takes a back seat in this car"? Ohhh Greener. Wow, that just about killed me. (And no, you cannot have Cleary. We kind of like him here. As a matter of fact, we're trying to resign him now. Hands off!)

Kirsten said...

Those two in the car was probably the best part. "Hey Matty, guess what time it is?" Or the part where he asks who they want and shuts the door.

Damn. It was worth a try!

Elly said...

Steph: I think it's more that they're trying to get Europe into hockey (or at least the NHL more so) and those teams are going to probably be the biggest headliners for Eastern Europe, with the Rags having their fearless leader and his little sidekick, and the Penguins being...well, the hot little Penguins. ;)

Steph said...

Kirsten: All I'm saying is it made me really happy to hear Dustin Penner and Matt Greene discussing Celine Dion.

Elly: I totally get why you'd want the Rangers playing in Prague, and the Penguins in general (Maybe Europe isn't sick of Crosby yet! Kidding, kidding.) And I can almost, almost even stretch that to seeing where you'd maybe want to see Ottawa an Sweden (but psh, and I'm not lobbying for my team here at all because I really could care less if they play in Europe, the Wings would seem to me the team you'd want to market in Sweden), but....Tampa Bay? Seriously? They could have fit some Western teams in there and still had their big guns.

And are you inferring that Prucha is Jagr's sidekick? :P

Shmee said...

That is an amazing stat on Lidstrom.

Finny said...

LOL. I like my no-push-over team... sadly, I think their rep for being such is a major reason they also get penalized so much. I refuse to believe that the officials are 100% correct (and I'm sure everyone has their complaints). It's a lot like how I feel about Bertuzzi too - bad rep, ergo, must be true of everything he does.

I don't know. It was a disappointing loss... I hate losing to the Wings... sorry girly, but I've hated the Wings since I was 13... maybe just only slighty less than I hate the Kings... so...

But... we can still be HLOG sisters and disagree...entirely disagree. LOL.


Finny said...

p.s. I love penner. :sigh: and I miss him 'round these parts.

Elly said...

Finny: The refs are NEVER right, even when they are...it's just part of being a ref. ;) (those poor men...)

Steph said...

Shmee: Isn't it? It confused the heck out of me at first; it just seemed too unreal.

Finny: Of course we can disagree, I'll just hate your team as much as you hate mine and hey, problem solved! Of course I was pissed at Bertuzzi for running Hasek over, but I actually still kind of like him from those brief days in Detroit...and I can't hate your boys entirely because I still love my Schneider.