Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wrath of the Titans: Red Wings Edition

As I had posted before, I wasn't going to get to watch the Red Wings/Nashville game last night because of my wife and mine's date night. Now, I would never claim anywhere that my wife might read it that hockey was more important than my lovely wife. But I can at least take solace in the fact that at least I didn't miss the game where Jimmy Howard scores a hat trick and Gary Bettman is sacrificed at center ice to appease the hockey gods.

As far as I'm concerned, these are two identical pictures
I hear that the NHL is trying to encourage teams and players to save energy for one hour as a part of the global "Earth Hour" campaign. It hasn't occurred to many fans around the league that, with the exception of the most recent home game against Columbus, most of the Detroit Red Wings players have been using way less energy for weeks now. Like so many things in the NHL, the Red Wings are leading the way. But I digress, because the fact of the matter is I can't do a super great job reviewing the Wings' 4-1 loss against Nashville since I didn't watch the game. The most recent thing I watched was Wrath of the Titans. But I can't really review that, because it's a movie, and not hockey. Hrm...I've got it!

A Brief Summary of the Movie "Wrath of the Titans"
Using the Detroit Red Wings

(While I don't intend on telling a lot of details about the movie, there may be spoilers for the movie. So don't click the read more page break if you don't want to possibly have details about the movie revealed)

Friday, March 30, 2012

No Coverage Tonight

Unfortunately I won't be doing the Twitter thing or a game summary for tonight's Nashville game. The wife and I have decided to do a date night out tonight and see Wrath of the Titans. Our work schedules have been pretty much the opposite of conducive to spending quality time together, so we need this. 

That being said, I have a couple of ideas posts I could write and post on Saturday, and would love some feed back on both of them. 
  • A review of Wrath of the Titans that compares aspects of it to hockey/the Red Wings
  • A humorous and/or serious post discussing the pros and cons of trying to trade Franzen for Rick Nash.
Tonight, I'm hoping the Red Wings play to the level we all know they're capable of and don't let Jimmy Howard down on his glorious return to the net. We know what we have to do to win. Just execute. Want to see what can happen when the Wings execute at home against Nashville?

Let's Go Red Wings 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Columbus? Moar liek ColumBUST

Last night's game can be summed up with 3 words: Knowledge, Fear and Hope.

I knew that the game at Columbus wasn't going to be like the game at Detroit. Despite being a terrible team, very few professional teams are going to get blown up on the road 7-2 and then come home against any team (let alone the same team that just blew them up) and get blown up again. I feared that the Red Wings would come in looking like they didn't give a fuck. I hoped that my fears would not be realized. 

Thankfully, they weren't, because instead of giving away fucks, they gave away pucks. See what I did there? Some quick bullet points, awards, and then we're done.
  • I had some back and forth Tweets with George Greiner @Korrowan for much of the game. And the topic came up about Rick Nash. I think he's a self absorbed vag who has never been forced to play a complete game of hockey. George commented he'd like to see Nash in a Red Wings jersey come next year. 
    • Here's my problem with that: Many of Nash's chances last night came from cherry picking. For those who aren't familiar, "cherry picking" in hockey refers to a tactic used by selfish, useless players who can't be bothered to skate back to their defensive zone and cover their assignment. Instead, they stand down near the other teams blue line (or in the other team's zone if you don't play with offsides in your pick up games), wait for the puck to come free and have one of your team mates send it down to you to score. Most players stop doing it by age 11 because it gets them an ass kicking from team mate and opponent alike. 
    • On top of that, the price to get Rick Nash would be some combination between a testicle and a first born. Why spend that money when we have guys like Nyquist chomping at the bit to move into a scoring role?
    • Remember how well picking up Hossa worked out?
  • Fuck you Brad Stuart. Don't think I need to clarify. 
  • Jesus Holy Shit Christ was Mike Babcock pissed last night. First he called a time out and didn't say a word to the Wings until the end of the time out. Simply to tell them which line was going out. He let them just stand there, soaking in their suck funk. They did score a goal shortly thereafter, but when they started to suck out loud again, he called them out. In the middle of the game. On national TV. 
    • My wife said it better than anyone: "I think Babcock's fury is probably worse than any woman"
Someone, somewhere, is choking to death right now
  • Breaking News! The refs are god awful! Also, water is wet and my cat's breath smells like cat food. Awards after the break.

Monday, March 26, 2012

And Now For Something Completely Different

Well, this post is going to be pretty short because I don't really feel the need to touch on much. I think the score really does sum up everything that needs to be said. It didn't take long for the Wings to figure Columbus out, and once they did, it was a done deal. I will say that it felt a lot like people I'd been dogging lately really came up big.

Homer gets 2 goals, Clod Barfluzzie was playing pretty solidly, and finally, Gustav "Goose" Nyquist nets his first NHL goal on a sick pass from Pavel Datsyuk. Seriously, the reason Nyquist didn't get his goal puck right away is because it was sent off to ICU it was so sick. #Conkblocking didn't get challenged much, but he was solid and responsible when shots did game in. Wings were scoring power play goals, they were shutting down Columbus' power play...hell even the goal post participated and kept the puck out of our net. Granted it did turn around rob Nicklas Lidstrom for a second goal, that dirty, backstabbing whore of a goal post.

Look at this pass. Look at it and realize your life is meaningless without it.

The only quasi-negative thing I'm going to say about the game is that Columbus sucks. They're so terrible this year that they make the Edmonton Oilers look good. So yeah, Detroit Red Wings, you blew up a team so bad that it makes Gigli look like When Harry Met Sally. Yeah, I made a romantic comedy reference. Deal with it.

The point is, the Wings dominated because of non-stop pressure, great passing, communication, responsible play in their end and solid goal tending. They need to keep up that level of play against playoff teams. They need to keep consistent. That's the only thing I'm going to say that is quasi-negative. I'm going to let photos and video and awards tell the rest of the story.

Tomas Holmstrom for the Masterton Trophy

I think many Red Wings fans around the league were buzzing after the come from behind win against Carolina. To snap the losing streak at home through the sheer will to win and good ole fashioned hard work is the kind of inspiring story rarely only seen in Chrysler commercials. To follow up such a hard working, gritty performance, it was announced the following day that Tomas Holmstrom was nomianted for the NHL's "Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy", which is given to to player who "best explemifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to the game of ice hockey"

Professional goalie or not,
that CAN'T be pleasant.
Now I've been hard on The Demolition Man recently, saying things like, "...I can't for the life of me figure out what value this guy brings to the Wings anymore. Besides taking stupid penalties, and getting called for bullshit penalties, and doing absolutely nothing besides those two things..."

Hey, I've been known to say things in the heat of the moment and to be very hyperbolic in my analysis of things. It's part of my charm, and my seething desire to see the Wings stomp every other team into the dirt. So while I may be over the top in my comments, it doesnt change my frustration with Tomas Holmstrom's contributions to the team as of late.

However, that doesn't make me forget the long career that Homer has had in Detroit and the contributions he has made over the years. In fact, my comment reads, "I can't for the life of me figure out what value this guy brings to the Wings anymore..." And looking at the definition of what earns you the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, I think Tomas Holmstrom is a solid contender, and here I am to make the case for him.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In Joe Louis Arena, You Rock Hurricane!

So I've started writing this post with about 30 seconds left in the game, where the Wings are ahead 5-4, coming back from a 4-1 deficit. I intend to interrupt whatever points I'm making in this post with my reaction to how the game ends. Needless to say, I've been more bipolar than usual when watching the Wings. FUCK YES! YES! 

Holy Christ that was intense. They often talk about "playoff atmosphere" in games towards the end of the season. Sometimes I feel it, sometimes I don't. Tonight I definitely felt it. Heavy work in the corners, hard fore checking, big moments, fear, anxiety and joy. But I think to best sum up the game, I just want to quote the Winging it Motown Twitter feed: "Any opponent who doesn't fear a healthy Wings team just a little bit is delusional". I'm going to have plenty to say about tonight's game, I have a lot of notes, but I want to bullet point them.

Bullet Points After the Break

Playoff Preferences

As I was getting this blog up and running, a fellow hockey fan on a message board I post on posited me the following question: Does the addition of Alexander Raduslov to the Nashville Predators change which team I'd want the Red Wings match up up against in the first round of the playoffs? 

The short answer: No

The only way I’d want the Red Wings bracket to change is if it would put us up against another geographically close team. While certainly St. Louis has been playing like a powerhouse the latter half of the season, Vancouver and Chicago are very dangerous teams, and San Jose always seems to give the Red Wings trouble, there is not a team in the league that I don’t believe the Red Wings can match up against and beat if they bring their game. As I commented in my NYR review, the Wings were without their best defenseman, their leading scorer, and their All-Star goaltender, and they kept one of the best teams in the East and in the NHL to one goal in regulation and took them to overtime. That’s not counting the other solid role filling players the Wings were also without.

There are things about every team that are challenging and must be considered. The Sedins, the Thorton Line, Shea Weber, cracking St. Louis’ goaltending, etc. And while Alexandria Rabbitsoft is another challenge to consider, I don’t see him carrying the Predators to victory. The biggest concern for me is travel. Players and teams can be matched with your players, your team strategy. What you can't match up against is travel time, jet lag, time zone changes and exhaustion.

I have a bachelor’s degree in history and I can tell you with great authority that it wasn’t just the winter cold or the scarcity of food that drove the Donner Party to cannibalism, it was Covered Wagon Lag. The following is an actual journal entry of George Donner. 
Look at this guy. No way he
passes a TSA inspection

“March 10, 1867: I’m so tired. So very tired. I keep waking up at the wrong time, and I’m unable to adjust for the changing of time. I specifically asked to be bumped to a first class wagon, but here I am stuck in a Coach. I swear to Christ almighty if the little bastard behind me kicks the back of my bench one more time, I’m going to kill him and eat him just to prove a point. Shouldn’t be bringing kids on a cross country wagon voyage anyway. Someone had better bring me my bag of peanuts now before I lose it”

Before I get into throwing numbers at you, I’d like to point out that this doesn’t just hold true for Detroit, but it also holds true for Nashville, Chicago, Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose (and Anaheim, Columbus and Phoenix if they made the playoffs). So while I will approach this from the perspective of my home team, other Western Conference teams are in the same boat.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quick Post

Fact: Life is automatically made better by having a "I got the moves like datsyuk" t-shirt. Anyone who disagrees is a bad person with bad opinions. Go Team Pasha!

I may or may not do anything related to Saturday's game against Carolina, as I'm working on post to answer a question I got from someone. I promised them I would answer it, and since it's related to the playoffs, I want to answer it before the playoffs start. I will Tweet the game, though.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In a New York Minute

I'm not sure which of those is Callahan's shot,
but it's in there
This was a hard loss to take for some simple and obvious reasons: The Red Wings came out playing like they wanted to win, almost from the start, and they kept playing that way almost the entire game. They were a bit on their heels early on, but got settled quickly into the kind of hockey they're notorious for playing.

They were tough, they were physical, they made good passes and good decisions. They skated hard, they fought for pucks and won battles. They were great on their face offs.

And they lost it, in part, because of a bitchin' wrist shot from Ryan Callahan. You get tired of hearing "HE FIRED A LASER BEAM!" as one of the three shot descriptions in any NHL video game, but it was a fuckin' laser.

I've been really hard on Ty Conklin this season, but he was excellent tonight. Zetterberg was great, Brendan Smith was good again (back slid a bit). A lot of really wonderful things tonight. Unfortunately, as is the story in hockey, the team that capitalized on the other team's mistakes was the team to win. Let's hit some bullet points, hand out the awards, and thank the heavens and Bill Brasky that we came away with one point at least.
  • Missed Opportunities: Doug Janik and Valteri Filppula both had solid chances that they blew. Just choked on, and it killed me to see 3 or 4 scoring chances get blown like that. I predicted Goose was going to get the first goal. And instead, he also choked, and fell victim to the One More Pass Syndrome that has plagued the Wings for years. 
  • Tape to Tape: There was a breakout play in the 1st period where the puck went from Conks to Kronner to (I think) Hudler and the Wings were up ice with speed and momentum. It was the kind of puck possession, puck control, puck movement play the Wings have done for years. It's the kind of play that has been missing. 
  • Penalty Kill: With one exception, and I think we all know what exception that is, the Red Wing's PK looked really good tonight. They were blocking shots, they were doing a better job clearing, even got some short handed opportunities. 
  • #Conkblocking: Besides being a great hashtag, it really describes Conklin's play. Like has been said about Howard a lot this season, tonight Conklin gave them chances to win. He moved really well in the crease, got in position, great mobility. Only problem was after his defense blew their assignments, he left a Ke$ha sized hole between his legs on the PK.
I'm not going to say the Wings should have won this game. But they could have and they played like they wanted to. They kept one of the best teams in the East, one of the top teams in the NHL right now, to 1 goal in regulation. With the Wings' best defenseman, their scoringest forward, and All-Star goalie out of the line up. Which is what I've been saying they were capable of this whole time. We should get some wins here soon, I think. Awards after the break.

Game Time!

Going to be doing the live Twitter thing again. If you aren't already, you can follow @RedWings3RDP. Going to try having some chilli dogs with fries tonight for dinner. Maybe bring the good JuJu. My preferred pre-game feast of Hot Wings for some Hot Wings didn't work out.

Picture: Everything you should ever want in life

I suppose for best results, it should be Chelli's Chilli. But it's just Hormel's.

Let's Go Wings!

Brief Pre-Game Thoughts

Did some P90 Yoga X this morning. My wife has started exercising and getting in shape, and I feel as though I should do the same. Stretching that way...yeesh. So not ready, but I have to stay committed. Yoga might be a good first week start before I get into the rough stuff. And yes, I'm maintaining the stereotype that yoga is easy shit for girls.

Reading Jeff Hancock's Morning Skate over the Winging It it Motown this morning shows you what kind of dire straights the Wings are in. I was born in 84, and wasn't really aware of hockey until I was in middle school. But I imagine the dread I'm feeling is along the same lines of the dread Wings fans felt through the "Dead Things" years. Not as intense or as bad, but along that same spectrum.

Eaves, Lidstrom, Ericsson, Kindl, Franzen, MacDonald, Helm and Howard out with injuries? That list is full of people I love and I hope to love! Our goalie situation is either a struggling back up who lost his backup job to the backup's back up, or the backup's backup's backup who has never played an NHL game. bueno. But here's to Goose getting a goal or Pearce shocking all of us with amazing goaltending.

But even still, I'm going to maintain hope as best as I can. I said it on Twitter yesterday, and I'm going to say it again here: I hope that the Wings' are so desperate about their situation that they take Manhattan like the Muppets.

From Left to right:
Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Babcock (with game pad),
Tomas Holmstrom (behind Babcock), Pavel Datsyuk
Jiri Hudler, Rowlf the Dog
Detroit sports shout out to my friend Ty over at The Lions in Winter, who keeps me up to date on all things Lions and helps me understand what's happening and why. Pretty sure he called most if not all of the Lions' off-season transactions so far.

I'm also realizing that I'm maybe the odd man out without signing out with a final cheer for my team. I shall remedy that.

Let's Go Wings

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mini-Nostalgia Post

Twitter suggested I follow Marc Crawford. You know, I considered it for a moment before I remembered his favored method of communication...

You know my favorite part of that picture? O Captain, My Captain Steven Yzerman standing there with an almost scientific "Is this guy out of his god damned mind?" look on his face.

Groggy and Pissed

Woke up for my substitute teaching job this morning, and I was still mad. So I busted out Photoshop to make a picture that accurately describes my emotions.

Have you ever been so mad that you wished that someone would come out on the ice and beat Keith Aucoin to death with a fucking cactus? 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Why Can't The Wings Capitalize?

Final Score: Detroit: 3 - Capitals: 5

First off, I'd like to say it was kind of fun Tweeting during the game. I didn't really think it would be as much fun as it was, but it was. I'd like to give a shout out to whoever runs the @wingingitmotown Twitter feed for a bit of back and forth. Hoping to have more of it down the road. Good tiems.

It's hard to watch the Red Wings right now. When you can see the simmering of everything good and great about the players on the ice. You know what Datsyuk, Z-Berg, Kronner and Filppula are capable of. You see what Abbie, and "Goose" Nyquist and Brendan Smith could do and are so desperately trying to do this late in the season. And then you see the massive fuck ups and you die a little bit inside.

The Million Dollar Question: Does Kyle Quincy's goal to put the Wings on the board make up for him tripping over his own stupid feet and giving Washington the odd man rush for a goal? I really want to like Kyle Quincy. I really do. I want to believe the Wing's making a move for him around the trade deadline was going to be great for us in the long run. But it seems like he has Mikael Samuleson-Syndrome: Every game I watch him play in, he makes one colossal mistake that costs us a goal.

Did the Red Wings deserve to win tonight?
No. No they did not. Let's bullet point this bitch to figure out what went awry.

  • Okay Alexander Ovechkin, we get it. You can score all kinds of goals and are a highlight reel player. But how about you do that against a team that isn't the Red Wings; or better yet, try doing that in the second round of the play-offs... OHH! Too soon? 
  • The Production Line pointed out on Twitter that Danny Cleary's goal was his first in 21 games. While it's great to see Cleary get a goal, I can't help but hear in my head Detroit commentators saying that Cleary can play on any line. That's apparently true as long as "any line" comes before "that has no interest in scoring for 20 games". 
  • The Power Play finally scored. So there's good news. Also, the Wings scored 3 goals, the most goals they've scored in 6 games (The last being their 4-3 win over the Kings on March 9th) And to be honest, when it was 3-0, 3-1 and 4-1, especially come the third period, the Wings seemed to finally get the desperation legs moving and put together some solid opportunities and work ethic.
  • Fuck the refs. Fuck them in their stupid faces. This was the game winning goal. This. Right here. 
Surely he'll be called for tripping
No, I'll score the game winning goal.
And don't call me Shirely

  • Filppula had his legs full blown taken out form under him again, and in the last throws of trying to tie it up, Hudler couldn't get to the puck cleanly because he was forced to play a game that was a cross between grab ass and Red Rover. It was that the whole game. 

In the end, it's up to the Red Wings to show up, play the entire game, capitalize on their scoring chances, and lock down the opposing offense. As long as they are unwilling to do so, the rest of the season is going to hurt, and their playoff trip will be shorter than Vern Troyer in the Mariana Trench.

Time for the Awards Segment of Our Show:

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Niklas Kronwall, who instead of learning something from the San Jose game, failed to keep the puck in several times, including a crucial moment at the end of the game when the Wings were rallying to tie it late in the 3rd period. Example: 

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Danny Cleary, for his valiant work towards the end of the game, scoring a goal that was dirtier than Ovechkin's broke ass grill. 

The Derian Hatcher Game Puck: Tomas Holmstrom because I can't for the life of me figure out what value this guy brings to the Wings anymore. Besides taking stupid penalties, and getting called for bullshit penalties, and doing absolutely nothing besides those two things. You can't tell me he has value on the power play. 

The First Ever O Captain, My Captain: Gustav Nyquist because the kid just plays like he wants to be there. Babcock put him on the top line with Clod Barfluzzie (props to my wife for coining the last name) and Datsyuk because he has faith in the guy. And I think he was playing up to expectations and then some. The Red Wings have some serious decisions to make with the likes of "Employee #44" and Danny Cleary. But I think the only decision they have to make with Nyquist is whose spot is he officially taking.

Before you go. Take one more look at this nonsense that is slightly harder to look at than a live video feed of  a donkey show featuring Courtney Love and another donkey.

"I mean, you can do that? You can kick a guy's skate out
right in front of the net? I blame Babcock for not teaching
Detroit the rules." -WIM

I'm now officially a Twit...ter user.

I'll do my best to send tid-bits of information, responses and highlights of games through Twitter so that I can save my long winded prose here. I can be followed @RedWings3RDP . Would appreciate any following and retweeting you feel like doing.

I'm going to try to do some live Tweeting during the game tonight. I feel like I'm going to have to learn a whole new language called "Hashtaganese".

Also, if you haven't heard yet, Darren Helm out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain from that bad, awkward collision the other night. No Bueno.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

How To Work Tim Tebow into Hockey Conversation

"Why the hell would I want to talk about Tim Tebow when I'm trying to talk about hockey!?"

I know, it seems strange. It seems like the last thing that you would want to do. But hear me out, you'll thank me later on. Hockey is as physically demanding as football, is more fast paced than basketball, is insanely more entertaining to watch than baseball, and has all of the wonderful, chess like movement of soccer. And you don't have to be drunk or an idiot to enjoy it (although I hear that helps a lot of New York Islander fans). But in spite all of that, hockey doesn't get the attention from the public or the coverage from the sports media it deserves. With a handful exceptions that most of us are aware of.

This just in: Sidney Crosby has a hangnail. A really bad one

Get ready for Anze Kopinfatuation!
I had been talking to my brother, and he was telling me that EPSN's "Sportscenter" flagship show was covering the Red Wing's historic 23 game winning streak. And in the process of discussing the win streak of a professional hockey team, ESPN managed to talk about both Jeremy Lin AND Tim Tebow.

I just took it as another pathetic example of the sports media focusing on sensational stories of the most profitable sports and athletes in the country. Instead of focusing on genuine and great athletic accomplishments of teams and players whose names can't have "mania" or "sanity" added to the end of them. But then it dawned on me: this could be a brilliant marketing strategy for the NHL to take advantage of

So, let's discuss how you can work Tim Tebow into conversations about hockey, thereby luring NFL fans to give professional hockey a shot.

Coming Home Empty Handed

Well, the Red Wings dropped the ball. Can't say I was all that impressed by any of the games during this West Coast road trip. The good things I can say is that I saw glimmers of improvement and hope out of last night's game against the Sharks.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce what I'm hoping will be a continual motif for my posts. Awards that I will present to select players following games or series. They are named for past Red Wings who I feel aptly and repeatedly fit the descriptions. I will call them "Game Pucks"

The Brett Lebda Game Puck:
This award is awarded to a player, usually a defenseman, who shows a complete inability to perform the simplest tasks. Can't cover your assignment at all and allow a goal to be scored? Can't connect a simple pass or clear the zone? Wearing the other team's jersey in a hilarious "Three Stooges" like moment of confusion? Then the Brett Lebda award is for you!

The Kris Draper Game Puck:
The Kris Draper Award is awarded to a 3rd or 4th line forward, or 3rd pair defenseman, who shows a great deal of grit, hard work, dedication, and are determined to show that they are major contributors to the dangerous depth the Red Wings are so famous for. Winners of this award throw solid body checks, work hard in the corners, and battle in front of the net. But they also handle their business well, winning face offs, covering their assignments, holding pucks in the offensive zone, and being generally responsible on the ice.

The Derian Hatcher Game Puck:
This award is given to any player, (although usually reserved for players acquired via trades or free agency), who is supposed to produce for the Wings and just doesn't seem to. Especially because of "nagging injuries" and being well past their prime. Players who make me go... "Why the fuck did we sign him again?"

O Captain, My Captain:
The award named for O Captain, My Captain Steven Yzerman. This award is given to the player who does the most to secure victory for the Red Wings and did their best to lead them victory, in spite of any odds or physical injury. It's my MVP award. In fact, it should be everyone's MVP award.

So that's what I've got so far. I may add more if I get reception and feedback from readers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

3/17: Red Wings @ Sharks Preview

Some statistics to compare before I go into my pre-game thoughts:
Detroit: 44-24-3 (90 Points), 4th in the Western Conference, 2nd in the Central Division
San Jose: 35-25-10 (80 Points), 9th in the Western Conference, 3rd int he Pacific Division

Last 10 games:
Det: 3-6-1
SJS: 3-4-3

Detroit is coming into the game tonight in dire straights because, yes, I consider a 3-6-1 record for the Detroit Red Wings to be dire. And it's not just because of the record, or the backslide they seem to find themselves in since their glorious 23 game home streak came to an end. It's because they have been playing like shit. Even when they win, it hasn't come all that pretty. I know every win can't be pretty, but it doesn't have to be sheer dumb luck either. 

From left to right: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thorton,
Logan Couture, and Joe Pavelski 
San Jose's standings, I feel, does not reflect the level of talent that team possesses. I like to refer to them as "Red Wings West" because they have essentially tried to implement what Detroit does on the west coast. They're a good puck possession team, they have a slew of talented forwards who can make big plays and score big goals, they're pretty tenacious when it comes to two way hockey and the neutral zone, and they have a seasoned veteran who they can lean on in Joe Thorton. 

Their big forwards, as seen here, have been invaluable to the team. (I'm pretty sure this is a candid photo of pre-game ceremonies. Either that or a vague memory from my child hood). They've combined for a total of 17 points in the last 4 or 5 games the Sharks have played. The only game one of those players didn't register a point was their shutout loss to Phoenix. With that kind of scoring power, the Sharks getting shut out seems crazy. Thorton is as dangerous without the puck (6 assists during that time) as he is with it, Couture has shown to be an amazing goal scorer and can work well against the top lines in the league, despite being in only his 2nd full season. Of course, there's still Ryan Clowe and Martin Havlat to be worried about. Although to be honest, just put Kronwall on the ice and Havlat may just curl into the fetal position.

Preview to the Preview

Some aesthetic changes made today, obviously. Lemme know what you think. I'm also going to be churning out a Wings v Sharks pregame post once I get a chance to do some reading and allow my thoughts to coagulate. I'll hopefully do some post-game comments as well.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kronwalling Dissection #1

I know it's after the fact, but I'm analyzing this hit because I think it'll help people better understand what is and isn't okay in the game of hockey and why. And to some extent, what should and shouldn't be allowed and why. And let's live in a hypothetical world where we don't know what the disciplinarian decision on this hit is until the very end.

Niklas Kronwall is a great defenseman. He is also very controversial. Kronwall is a prominent figure in today's generation of big hitters in the NHL. While Kronwall may not hit as often as some other hitters, his hits are brutal. So much so his name is now a verb that is in my post title. So much so that my wife may love Kronwall more than me. She'll read this post title and say "That's my boy!"

 March 6th, 2012 - Detroit @ Philadelphia. 
I would like to give a shout out to Robert Soderlind. He posts videos on YouTube through his channel Hockey Web Caster. You can find his Twitter feed here. I'll be using his video here to analyze, and based on their quality, I think I'll be using his videos a lot.

So here's the hit we'll be analyzing.

Brutal. Absolutely brutal. Terrifyingly so. I would like to say that Jakub Voraceck got up, dusted himself off, and rejoined the play. I would also like to say that after the whistle blew, the Flyers bench took turns shaking Kronwall's hand and congratulating him on a text book body check. What I have to say instead is Voraceck suffered a serious hit, possibly was knocked unconscious, and certainly was dazed and injured on the play, and that the Philadelphia Flyers were really really mad about it. And this is a team who signed Chris Pronger.

So let's set the scene: The Red Wings have some pressure in Philly's zone. They're trying to get the puck out and start a rush up ice. They wrap the puck around the boards and Voraceck goes to scoop it up and turn up ice. Unbeknownst to him Niklas Kronwall, who is apparently the creature who stalked Arnold Schwarzenegger through the jungles of South America, locks onto his target and prepares to deliver his classic hit: The Kronwalling. 

Vorececk moves up ice with his head down. Kronwall closes the distance with a couple of short, strong strides and lights up Voraceck like Nikola Tesla. Inevitably with one of these hits, the cries come: "PENALTY! SUSPENSION! PEPPERONI AND GREEN PEPPERS!", assuming this hit interrupted someone's pizza order, and they had good taste in pizza toppings. And in this day and age, watching Colt McCoy get destroyed and Max Pacioretty meeting a steel pole care of Zdeno Chara, everyone is hyper sensitive about hits to the head and head injuries.

And quick sidebar (I plan on talking more about it later) I think professional sports are right in trying to crack down on illegal, dirty and excessively dangerous hits that cause concussions and neck injuries and I think the NHL has done an especially good job addressing this issue. I also agree with fans who want to balance those goals with keeping hard, physical play in football and hockey.

The First and Introductory Post of 3rd Round Draft Pick

Hi there. If you're reading this, you have gotten in on the ground floor of something that is greatly mediocre. More maybe it's going to be moderately awesome. Obviously, the dream is that my blog will become a major source for information, rumor, speculation, commentary, debate and expression with regards to the greatest professional hockey team ever.

The Detroit Red Wings.

In reality, what is probably going to happen is I'm going to prattle on for awhile, cultivate a small following of people who know me and then this will die. But really, I'm shooting for somewhere in between. 

Who am I?

Well, my name is Mike. I am a Michigan native, born in Lansing, raised in Holt (just outside of Lansing on the south side). I haven't always been a hockey fan. Growing up, I went from baseball to football, even trying out soccer for a year in there. But some of the neighborhood kids used to play street hockey in the street in front of my house. My best friend Jeff had played hockey. As a way to try to hang out with him more, as a way to hopefully to befriend more of the kids in the neighborhood, I strapped on my roller blades, bought a crappy stick, and waddled into the street to join in.

I sucked, but the seeds of hockey love were sown.

I've been blessed, because I got into hockey in the 95/96 season. I started to learn about Scotty Bowman, Mike Vernon, and of course, O Captain, My Captain, the legendary Steve Yzerman.
This is my earliest hockey memory. Watching this happen.

My first Red Wings Jersey was Brendan Shanahan. I loved Keith Primeau. My passion was cultivated to "SAVE, OSGOOD!" 4th Stanley Cups have been secured during my fandom. So yeah, spoiled.

I use the word passion because I would use that to describe my level of emotion. I'm a passionate Red Wings fan. Other people would say I'm an asshole. Some would say I'm biased. I'd say those people are stupid. I hate the refs, I love Kronwalling, and I think Pavel Datsyuk should be banned from the NHL because nobody should be legally allowed to be that much better than everyone ever.

So,every few days, I'm hoping to give my personal take on the games I see, the highs, the lows, and news around the NHL. I'm hoping to get some good discussion going on. I'm hoping to add my perspective to the diarrheic flow of opinions to that thing we call the Internet. I'm not much of a math guy, so statistics are not my thing. My thing is subjective analysis.Also, angry, descriptive, vulgar vitriol about things that I don't like.

What Does "3rd Round Draft Pick" Mean?

I named this blog 3rd Round Draft Pick two reasons. Well...two and a half

#1: It was available.
#2: It is to honor my favorite player for the Detroit Red Wings, our current Captain, Nicklas Lidstrom. While it didn't occur to me at the time, I realized shortly after he was chosen to take over the mantle from O Captain, My Captain Steve Yzerman, that he was the only person who could have. When I started playing defense in hockey, he was the guy I studied and followed. Being a constant, reliable, talented defensive player who doesn't have to hit anyone to defeat them. That's how I wanted to play, and that's how I played.

#2.5: Nicklas Lidstrom is calm, well spoken, with an even temperament who commands the respect of everyone in the NHL. I have never seen the guy lose his cool. I'm not sure if he's able to cuss. And while playing hockey, I was much the same way, in my hockey fandom, I am to the complete opposite.

Alright, enough rambling. The puck drops now.