11 May 2008

Keeping it Going (Wings 2, Stars 1)

The Red Wings won last night to go up 2-0 in the series against the Stars. Since one of Dallas' main accomplishments thus far was two quick road wins in enemy territory, being able to stymie them so far this has to give the Wings a pretty good feeling about the series.

Then again the Stars came out much harder last night than Thursday. They controlled the puck better, they looked more dangerous, more alert, even their supposed deadly powerplay connected to give them the one goal (a Stephane Robidas slapshot) they would earn for the evening. Not to mention the Wings were out Johan Franzen, a huge blow given his playoff production so far (the man has 27 goals in 27 games - same as the Eurotwins combined). Defensively, the Wings looked very good, but as Matt noted, "I don’t think the Wings have fully hit their stride in this round." The good news is, they're still playing well enough to win, and we can add "yet" to that sentence and hope for the best.

Unfortunately for Stars, their improved play still wasn't enough. They scored a pp goal, but they went 1/6 on the evening and couldn't put anything together in the second, despite the Wings spending half the period in the box. It was apparent their frustration from the first game carried over into the second.

Tomas Holmstrom was great; he continued getting in their faces despite some abuse from Stars goalie Marty Turco (whose aggressive behavior, including a couple cheap shots on Holmstrom and Val Filppula, finally cost him, as he was called for slashing), and he got the entire team so wrapped up in his antics that oftentimes they let up spectacular scoring opportunities for the Wings, including the Henrik Zetterberg eventual gamewinner. Things like this are why Homer is such a huge asset to this team.

It doesn't help the Stars either that Chris Osgood is playing like a man possessed. At least twice I was absolutely convinced the Stars were going to tie the game, only to see the puck slide back down the ice on the stick of a Wing. So good, in fact, that when Mike Ribeiro slashed him two-handed across the chest from behind the net at the end of the game and he went down writhing in pain (which I will admit, now, was extremely silly looking and unnecessary on his part) every fan in the Joe went dead silent as I can only imagine visions of Dominik Hasek in net passed through their heads. And wouldn't you have?

Speaking of that hit, whether or not Osgood intentionally jabbed at him with the butt end of his stick, and I'm not saying he didn't as he certainly did hit it, that sort of intent to injure slash is never okay, and I hope the league is aware of this when meting out judgment.

But what's even more not okay? Throwing trash on the ice. Yeah, Wings fans, I know, you weren't happy - I wasn't either, but I kept my beer securely in my lap. There's absolutely no reason to be hurling towels, wrappers, hot dogs, half-drank cups of beer (especially this - those people sitting below you really don't deserve to get splattered), on the ice. The team doesn't appreciate it, the officials don't appreciate it, the management doesn't appreciate it, and it just makes you look like a jerk. It's completely unnecessary and totally tacky - way to show pride in our arena. Congratulations you guys, you just negated all that whining you did about Don Cherry calling us rednecks. I know this is a good series and I know it's getting all our emotions up, but that's no excuse. Please, guys, don't help make Detroit and its fans look as bad as people say it is - stay classy, guys.

Game 3 is Monday night in Dallas at 8:00 pm (who else loves our travel schedule these playoffs?) - GO WINGS! And of course, here are some Game 2 photos!


Dwayne said...

I'm failing to see how butting someone in the face is any less an intent to injure than a two handed slash. Really. Especially on a goalie, and a slash to the chest.

Regardless, I stated today "I'd be fine with a game for Osgood and two games for Ribeiro." I guess the league wasn't interested in skewing things like that - at least in the "suspending a goalie" sense. That's far more detrimental to a team than suspending a forward, so they decided to just fine them.

I don't subscribe to that, either. The league often sacrifices the moral highground for practical concerns. It's something I dont' agree with, but I do admit it is a more difficult position. It's unfortunate they always take the "easy" way out, though.

The next game is going to be one feisty affair!

Steph said...

I was on the other end of the ice from the action (which also meant I didn't realize how badly Osgood was trying to sell it at first), so I didn't actually see it go down - and upon watching the recaps I think it'd be pretty impossible to argue that Ozzie didn't intentionally throw his stick out there, whatever his intentions in doing so were. The Ribeiro slash looked far worse, just because it was a deliberate hacking motion that in no way could you play off as accidental, but that doesn't make Osgood's move okay either.

Then again as true as that is, being as the thought of being without him for a game makes me feel all right with the punishments the league decided on (which, I know, is completely biased of me!).

Monday night should definitely be interesting.

Jen said...

Well, the thing is about the Osgood/Ribeiro thing, is while I definitely don't agree with retaliation it's far different to hit someone where you know they are fully padded and to intentionally butt them in the face, where there is little protection. Again, I'm not saying I agree with what Ribbons did, because it was definitely childish, but I do think what Osgood did to him was way worse than what he did to Osgood. Though Osgood writhing like he was in pain on the ice was a pretty comical view.

Jen said...

And please excuse all my spelling and grammar mistakes. I am currently running on 1 hour of sleep since Sunday lol I do hope my point came across.

Steph said...

I think the reason I'm still stuck on thinking the Ribeiro slash was worse is that I completely agree that Ozzie stuck his stick out there intending to hit Ribeiro with it, but I'm not convinced he was specifically aiming for the face - he wasn't even watching the stick, I don't think he had any idea where it was going other than toward Ribeiro. Which doesn't excuse him, but you have to admit we'd be seeing different arguments if he'd caught him on the arm or something, rather than the face. Of course I'm equally willing to concede that some of that is totally personal bias! And that neither offense has any place in the game, AND that Ozzie looked like a complete idiot trying to sell a little slash like that the way he did. I mean honestly, he looked like he'd just been shot.

(As a total sidenote, Ribbons, really? I LOVE that you have a Ribbons AND a Mittens on your team!)

Dwayne said...

I donno sterphopolus, I'm always completely aware of where my (hockey) stick begins and ends. I know when I'm going to butt-end someone, and where my blade is, and that goes without looking. I'd think it'd be even more important for a goalie to know, since they use that thing to block shots.

The only time I may get a stick infraction is because a: my stick got lifted or b: i'm out way past the end of my shift and can't seem to get it off the ice in time :(

In any event, it's pretty hard when someone pulls a Chris Simon and all I can think is "Damn, the instigating player sure is a piece of work" instead of "zomg ban Simon's Protege!", but that's what I saw. And I'm not for or against either the Stars or the Wings, in any way, even in the slightest (Pens fan and all that).

Regardless, I think there's no place in the league for a two handed slash, and some suspension time was in order, and to hell with the "no harm no foul" bullshit. With that said, if Ribeiro gets 5 or 6 games or 10 games or whatever, Osgood has to get at least half of that.

What I'd really like to see is a league that finds out when someone butt-ends someone and suspends them even if there was no penalty called. But really, the league doesn't care about protecting the players, at least not to the exclusion of all else.