23 February 2008

McCarty Lured me Back.

Last night, some friends and I traversed back up to Grand Rapids to catch the Griffins again, having not had enough of hockey, $1 beer, or Darren McCarty. We were to be disappointed by the final score (4-1 Manitoba, though the Griffins blanked them 1-0 this evening), but certainly not the game itself.

I took longtime friend Nancy to her first hockey game - she cheered for the beer, and for McCarty's fight. (Also note, the scarf I'm wearing was made for me by the wonderful Connie! Thanks so much again!)

The Griffins roster is a little decimated right now as well, considering Kyle Quincey, Jonathan Ericsson, Garrett Stafford, Jimmy Howard, and Mark Hartigan are all playing with the Red Wings right now, but the game was a scrummy, entertaining one.

The single Griffins goal was scored by the newly acquired Francis Lemieux, formerly a Hamilton Bulldog, who's looked excellent in all thre games I've seen him in this season (two with the Griffins; one with the Bulldogs). McCarty looked good again as well - he hasn't regained as much speed as would be nice, but then again he never was the fastest skater on the ice, either. He didn't score, but he did fight (which I hear he repeated this evening as well):

During the pre-game I was standing next to a little girl with a sign that said "Darren, it's my birthday, give me a hug." She didn't get her hug, but McCarty smiled at the sign (it took him a serious excess of time to read it, and he looked perplexed at first - I wonder about his reading comprehension skills) and tossed her a puck. It seems he's been going out of his way to interact with the fans, which is only making his comeback bid more endearing to everyone involved. As of today, the Red Wings have offered him a contract for the remainder of the season

I was hoping to see Cory Schneider in net, but Drew MacIntyre started instead (the announcers tried may times to convince us to cheer "Druuuuuuuuuuu" - at first I thought they were teaching us the "you suck!" goalie jeer, but nope...who knows) instead, and the only other player I recognized was Jason Jaffray. I don't know much about the Moose, but I will say that the moose antlers on the numbers on the backs of their jerseys are one of my favorite design quirks ever.

For more pictures, including lots of McCarty, check out this gallery - here's to hoping the Griffins' 1-0 victory over the Moose will transfer to the Red Wings as they take on the Canucks this evening.

This seems new

Just a quick note here, but the Penguins are one...count it...one full win from leading the Eastern Conference. They play the Sens today at 3pm, and if they win, they will take the lead, at least momentarily. When was the last time the Pens finished out the season with taking the East? Not in this decade.

Fleury should be coming back soon. Crosby's on the mend.


You should be.

Pens and Sens, 3pm. GO PENS.


21 February 2008

What is this, high school?

Other teams spread their crazy drama across a season. The Red Wings held off until they could dump it all on us at once. Here are some notes from the past week:

Captain Nick Lidstrom will be out 3 weeks after that knee injury.

Worse than we thought, but hopefully manageable. Still, with an injury list currently consisting of a good chunk of the team - and the top three blueliners - these few weeks might be quite a challenge. The Wings have called up (given that Jonathan Ericsson (given that Niklas Kronwall is getting close, but will still not be ready to play on Friday), who I've seen many times in Grand Rapids and have been very impressed with - but he's certainly got some big shoes to fill.
The Sergei Fedorov rumors persist.
Here's an interview with him - from what I read printed he sounded like the same old Fedorov the majority of the city is still bitter at, with his comments about wanting to come back for the success he once had here, but actually watching the interview you almost feel bad for the guy. He's evasive, awkward, and clearly doesn't want to talk about Detroit - or just doesn't have anything to say. His dad, on the other hand, is damn sure of what he wants to happen - and just as hilarious as ever:
"My son is definitely going to leave Columbus, there are no doubts. [...] I don’t see any sense to waste any time there. [...] My personal opinion: it was a big mistake for the Red Wings to part ways with Sergei. Since then the club hasn’t proven anything to anyone, and didn’t win anything."
Oh, Viktor... (I also got a laugh out of "obviously tired Datsyuk" and the suggestion of Fedorov replacing him on the top line.)

Seeing what Fedorov used to be able to do, it's sort of sad to think about him fading out at the end of his career, wasting away on a team he's clearly not able to help - but at the same time do I want him back? Not really. Even if he were what he used to be, it would be hard for him to feel very welcome around these parts.
Former Griffins captain Matt Ellis was picked up off waivers by the Los Angeles Kings.
A really unfortunate loss, in some ways, as Ellis was well-liked among teammates and fans alike, and no slouch, either. He had a great work ethic and did manage to contribute some this year, but the team decided he wasn't fitting in to their plans:
“He was in a situation where I wasn’t using him,” coach Mike Babcock said. “He’ll go to LA and try to win a job there. If he’s a fit for them then that’s all the power to him. The bottom line is that he just wasn’t fitting in on a regular basis and getting into the lineup.”
Hopefully this will be a good experience for Ellis, and he'll succeed out in LA. We wish you luck, Matty - Connie (who weirdly enough just sent me a text informing me that she saw the news), Kms2, you guys had best take good care of him.
Darren McCarty is probably coming back.
He'll have the feel good story of the year clinched if he manages to make it all the way back to the big leagues - and I hope he does. I was skeptical at the beginning, but after seeing his performance in Grand Rapids I would welcome him back so long as it continues when he lands back with the Red Wings. The fanbase will love it, and he really does look like he can be an asset - a sentiment Mike Babcock agrees with:
“We’re going to sign him,” Babcock said. “What we’re going to do is give him the opportunity to continue to get in shape in Grand Rapids.
Personally, I wish he still had the facial hair he did in that photograph.
Crazy enough week yet? I can only assume it's not over yet, with the trade deadline looming ever closer.

19 February 2008

Well, I'd take him around the back nine.

Ales Hemsky wants you to go golfing in the Czech Republic, and he wants you to use PowerBilt equipment. As a matter of fact, what has to say is:

"S kvalitním vybavením značky PowerBilt se mi hraje velmi dobře, věřím že bude i Vám."
Which, if you care to trust my admittedly rusty Czech skills, means something like, "With PowerBilt brand superior quality equipment my own play has greatly improved and I believe yours will too." (I uh, think.)

I didn't actually see a single golf course for the entire month I spent in Prague, but apparently Hemsky's had enough time over the summer, when he isn't playing inline hockey with his brother Petr or soccer with Jaromir Jagr (does that picture worry anyone else?), to work on his golf game. Maybe he used those extra few months that the Oilers spent not in the playoffs. Personally, flipping through the catalog, I'm a fan of this one. It's too bad Hemmer doesn't seem to be as big a fan of gaudy neon pink as me. Seriously, boring black, really Ales? And couldn't you have gone for a clothing line, or something? You and I (or perhaps your dad, since "Golf Hemský" sound peculiarly like another certain business of his that would seem to be named "Foto Hemský" - how totally creative) are going to have to have a talk about further business endeavors. Where's my I heart Hemsky t-shirts? My Hemsky mugs a la Zetterberg? You're going to have to grow the curls back if you want me to forgive this lack.

Oh and can I get some free samples here? And a demonstration?

A Win, We Hope (Wings 4, Avs 0)

Edit 4:58 PM: Lidstrom spoke with DRW.com earlier; the consensus is that his knee is a little sore and swollen, but he doesn't have a headache, and will have an MRI tomorrow. He also noted the following:

"I have a pretty good mark on my chin where he hit me," said Lidstrom, a five-time Norris Trophy winner. "Whether he tried to or not, I don't know, but he followed through and finished with his elbow up on my chin and that's when my head went back into the glass."
Personally I'm really starting to wish we played them again this season .


It was great to see the Wings win last night, 4-0 over the Avs (whom they have now not allowed to score a goal in over 200 minutes if play), but the evening was marred by Ian Laperriere's hit against captain Nick Lidstrom in the first period. The hit itself didn't look necessarily bad, but Laperriere caught Lidstrom awkwardly and he went down hard.

While the injury is being called a "knee sprain" and doesn't appear to be too serious (Ansar Khan reports 7-10 days) the really scary part was just how disoriented Nick seemed afterward. He struggled several times to get up, and when he finally did he was wobbly, looked hazy and lost and needed help to get off the ice. Maybe it's just from watching so many Wings games (in which Nick has played 1,430 out of a possible 1,452 games, including the playoffs, since entering the NHL in 1991 - and most of those 22 games missed were because the team was resting him for the playoffs) and never seeing him look so misplaced out there, but it was hard to watch the highlights.

The hit inspired a bit of a resurgence of the the old Blood Feud rivalry days, and it was great to see Aaron Downey take on Laperriere in retaliation (to Laperriere's credit, it was also very classy of him to later say, "I would have done the same thing if it had been on the other side. I respect Aaron Downey and have no problem with what he did.") and coach Mike Babcock being restrained by a bench assistant as he leaned over to yell across the benches at Joel Quenneville - although it would have been more fun if every fan watching didn't have the captain on his mind.

Losing Lidstrom is obvious a worst case scenario for the Wings, but the captain only being expected out for 2-3 games is about the best we could have hoped for, and to hear this also from Khan helps as well:
"Lidstrom sat in his dressing room stall icing his knee, getting treatment and watching the rest of the game on TV. The Wings said he didn't sustain a concussion and he never blacked out. At one point he wanted to return to the game."
In the meantime, the Wings will look to bring back their winning ways without the help of Lidstrom, Dan Cleary, Dominik Hasek, Niklas Kronwall, and Brian Rafalski (though he is considered likely to return Friday). The defensive core has been shaken up a little but the Wings are still managing to get their game back and played solidly against Colorado, winning on two goals from Henrik Zetterberg, and one each from Valtteri Filppula and Chris Chelios, while goalie Chris Osgood put his struggles behind him and shut out the Avalanche.

Let's hope the dark days are over.


18 February 2008

I don't want to talk about it (Stars 1, Wings 0)

Redwings.com says this is the team's longest losing streak in 17 years. I don't want to talk about that either.

The good news is, yesterday's game was much better than it sounds like the past few were - and we're still leading the league by 8 points. The bad news is, the team has still lost six in a row, has falling from a 17 point lead, and are now definitely playing like a team who's lost six in a row.

I feel you, Jimmy.

For four games now the Wings haven't scored an even strength goal - the team is simply not getting enough pucks to the net. They played a much stronger puck possession game yesterday than they have been, but it still isn't enough. Yesterday the first Wings powerplay consisted of only two shots on goal - both by Dallas.

To be fair, the Wings did have several excellent opportunities and were stoned by Marty Turco more times than I can remember. Pavel Datsyuk in particular had two great opportunities ruined by the Stars goaltender pokechecking the crap out of him. Johan Franzen also had a relatively good evening with a few shots on goal, some great defensive play, and a couple takeaways as well. In net for the Red Wings, Jimmy Howard was fantastic. He made a number of remarkable saves and looked very calm and composed in net, which is a great sign for the future, but unfortunately wasn't enough yesterday. The one goal he did let in - a rebound shoved back into the net by Niklas Hagman - was iffy on his part, but nothing terrible, and our old friend Andreas Lilja (aided by Kyle Quincey, whom he got switched up with a bit during the play) had a hand in mucking things up as well. Innocent mistakes, but ones that cost the the Wings the game.

Someone tell me though, what's with all this doom and gloom? A slump does not mean our goaltending (which everyone was praising and remarkable this past week - and by the way, Hasek and Chris Osgood are still 1 and 3 in the league in GAA) is terrible, thanks, NBC. And can you guys count? "Detroit hasn't been in a Cup Finals in almost a decade"? I'm pretty 2002 wasn't 10 years ago, but all right.

Tonight the team faces off against the Colorado Avalanche. It promises to be a tough game; the Avs have played the Wings very tight thus far and will do their best to play another solid defensive game this evening. Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall, and Dominik Hasek will remain out of the lineup. Nothing is ever easy. GO WINGS.

16 February 2008


I am starting to think the Red Wings may have decided it's not any fun to lead the league by a billion points and have started throwing games to create more of a competition. Fortunately, I don't even care, because:


A big group of friends and I ventured out to Grand Rapids last night to catch his home debut with the Grand Rapids Griffins just because we thought it would be awesome to see him - and to drink $1 Labatt's.

As it turns out, we were in for a surprise. The 35 year old trying to break back into the NHL decided to put on a show, scoring 5:53 into the first period, 2:17 into the second and 2:45 into the third for a hat trick that had the arena louder that I've ever heard it. Along with hats, a whole lot of $1 hot dogs made their way onto the ice, as did, at one point, a shoe. McCarty seemed extremely fit and conditioned, looked good all night long, and was obviously a huge factor in the game. Aside from the hat trick, he also added an assist, to record his first career four point night, and was named the first star of the game. The Griffins as a whole had a spectacular evening, in particular Adam Berkhoel in net and Jamie Tardif with a great first period fight, and they went on to win 6-3 over the Lake Erie Monsters.

I was sad not to see goalie Jimmy Howard or defenseman Kyle Quincey as they're both up with the Wings right now, but the game was absolutely amazing to be at - the team's been making a few moves lately and it was nice to see the new guys, the 10,062 people in the crowd reacted to the game at an NHL-caliber level, and McCarty added a level of excitement that will hopefully only escalate throughout his stay (although expecting him to top yesterday's performance might be asking a lot). Maybe the Wings could use him sooner than they thought.

For more pictures, including just about a billion of McCarty, this link should work.

(PS speaking of former Wings....really, Fedorov? Really?)

14 February 2008

And in keeping with my in-depth, insightful posts...

All I want for Valentine's Day, lover, is.....Rod Brind'Amour crying in the corner as the Penguins hand out candy hearts to the 'Canes that say 'stfu' and 'U R my bitch'.

Oh, and some Belgian chocolate.

Pittsburgh 4-3

Go Pens.

EDIT: Lover, why did you have to get me a box of chocolates someone else had taken a bite of each of them? That sucked. Seriously. You get to sleep on the couch.

11 February 2008

Thank god for modern medicine

Not to take away from Steph's excellent headline, but I wanted to give a little shout to the Panthers and their brethren today after last night's excitement. Poor Buffalo, brings back some rough memories there.

The above is a video of what happened. There is a lot of blood, so please, if you are squeamish, do not click on the video. NHL.com says Zednik is resting comfortably now and in stable condition. Get well soon, Richard.


Fleury is officially being sent down to WBS for a bit of training and conditioning, so hopefully he will be back soon. Also, according to the article above, Conks has the league's best SV% and the 7th best GAA. This almost makes me forget the horrible 3rd goal he let in on Sunday. Almost.

And in other, less bloody news, the Pens have snagged first place in the Atlantic and second in the East (69 to Ottawa's 72).


08 February 2008

A Royal Disaster (Kings 5, Wings 3)

It's because I pointed out that the Red Wings, before the game yesterday, had only 8 less points than double the Kings' point total, isn't it? Karma is a bitch.

How many times did we see this last night?

While the Wings led the Kings after two on a quick goal from Tomas Kopecky, and two from Henrik Zetterberg, the Kings managed to score 4 unanswered goals (man, Kyle Calder really stuck it to us) in the third to wind them up on top, ending an 8 year losing streak at the Joe.

I had class last night, so I only saw the last ten minutes of meltdown, but CKim kept me updated with texts, and has a great game post up at A Queen Among Kings (Thanks Connie - I'm willing to resume our friendship now that the shock has passed, but that scarf had just better not come with anything purple attached!)

Dave at Gorilla Crouch also brought up an interesting point about how this game solidified Detroit's need for another top 4 defenseman (especially with Nicklas Kronwall incapacitated until likely the end of the month) - also a good read, and a very good point. The name Rob Blake keeps coming up - will it go anywhere? (And Connie, will you become a Wings fan if it does?)

Saturday evening the Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are sitting just barely above the Kings in the standings. These two teams are one of my favorite matchups and I love Toronto...but here's to hoping they get squashed.

06 February 2008

Where there's a will there's a way. (Wings 3, Wild 2)

That was scary. (Who else out there literally gets angry at the television when this team is down anymore? I've started going into every game expecting the lead, expecting the win. It's nerve-wracking and awesome and exciting and it says a lot about what a joy the Red Wings are this season.)

But like I said, that was scary. Lackluster first and second, worrisome effort overall despite Dominik Hasek making several brilliant saves on Marian Gaborik (none of which threaten to send him flying this time), and the Wild were up 2-1 with mere minutes to go, but just as you think it's over, Mr. Clutch pulls through.

Thanks, Dan Cleary. (And thanks, sound guys at the Joe.)

41 wins.
86 points.
17 points above Dallas.
27 games left.

(Following tonight's game, Wild fan Kirsten is divorcing Brett Lebda after OT game winner - she even devoted a post to him with some beautiful artwork and notes on the game as well.)

04 February 2008

Re: Superbowl Pats v Giants 2/3/08

(image from cbs.sportsline.com)

Oh snap.

02 February 2008

Oh no....oooooh no..

Dear Ty Conklin,

If you are in net against the Hurricanes tonight, I wanted to give you some words of comfort and support in facing your old demons:

You are not the only one scared of Rod Brind'Amour's face. Or his wraparound scoring technique. Please for the love of god stay in the net.

Lots of love,

p.s. I like the new pads. Flashy.

Get a goal, just one freaking goal! (Wings 2, Avalanche 0)

The Red Wings have coasted to victory many a time this season, and amassed points at a rate that was almost disgusting (okay, fine, I haven't been disgusted by it....but).

Last night was not one of those nights. In fact, last night can best be described as wholly frustrating. The Avalanche, to their credit, have developed an apparent strategy for playing the Wings - they play us in close, very tight, lots of checking, almost a variation of the Anaheim strategy, except with less offense (the final shot count was 35-15 Wings, and 11 of those Avs shots came in the third period) and less cheap shots. Even with their currently depleted roster they put up a good, if annoying, fight.


Up until Henrik Zetterberg notched the first goal of the game late in the third off of a great play by Pavel Datsyuk, drawing three defensemen to him and leaving Z open for the wraparound, (the Wings other goal, an empty netter, came at the hands of Kris Draper), the Wings couldn't get a scoring break. Early on in the game, Peter Budaj took a delay of game penalty that he spent the rest of the game repenting for - the sheer number of great saves he made, combined with the number of sure-thing goals that were ruined by someone missing a pass, and the number of shots off the post, it was enough to make a person tear there hair out.

The Wings did however get one lucky break when Brett Lebda pushed Scott Hannan into Dominik Hasek - the Avalanche scored on the play, but it was still ruled no goal based on contact to the goaltender, as the referee missed this initial contact and the play could not be reviewed.

Sorry this is such a short recap - I've been working all day and the game was rather frustrating and not very exciting. One particular joy I do remember from watching it was seeing Datsyuk manage three takeaways...on one shift. Leave it to that guy. (Also, someone should teach Ken and Mickey that it's pronounced HOE-ton. How long have you guys lived in Michigan?)

Tonight the Wings take on the Boston Bruins in an Original Six matchup. They now have 82 points which puts them 14 above the second place Ottawa.

(PS McCarty is still skating with Flint while he waits for NHL approval on his AHL contract - come on guys, work it out, you have until the 15th!)