Sunday, March 18, 2012

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.

Last night was a hard loss for the Wings to take, if for no other reason than it's the first game on this road trip that they really deserved to win, or at least, played like they wanted to win. Period by period, I got increasingly optimistic about the Wings' play. That doesn't change the fact that there was a ton to be unhappy about. So here major pro's and con's.

Why Can't the Wing's Stop the Joe Thorton Line?
I know that with the last change, San Jose Coach Todd Mclellan can match his top lines against our bottom lines. But he made some of those changes on the fly, and the Wings didn't respond. The Red Wings have prided themselves on having "depth" and being able to send our 3rd and 4th lines against other teams' top lines, so it shouldn't be as big of an issue as it was. But look at the Red Wings' +/- ratings. Former Shark Ian White was -2, former Shark Brad Stuart was -1. Those are top two defensive pairs. Only Stuart was on the ice for 1 of the Red Wings' 2 goals. Detroit's top lines couldn't lock down Thorton and company. 

Datsyuk came to play
His knee seems to feeling well, and after Detroit dropped 2-0, he came out pissed off, made great efforts on his own, and got the Wings back in the game. 

The Refs Suck:
I know they always suck, but they especially fucking sucked. Such as shown in this picture I got from Winging It In Motown. Apparently, you can just dive tackle someone's legs and it's not tripping. As long as they're wearing a Red Wings jersey and you are not. 

Don't worry, the refs later apologized to Filppula by calling him
for the weakest "holding" call outside of the NFL.

Pictured here is moments before the game winning OT goal. Howard is down, he's getting sexually assaulted by Justin Braun who is being sexually assaulted by Justin Abdelkader.

Not pictured: The puck
Why is there no whistle blown? Where is there no goalie interference called? Homer got called for goalie interference again, and it wasn't even on the power play! And Neimi was getting shorter whistles than a hot midget at a construction site. Havlat slips in, pulls the puck out from underneath Howard and scores. Don't get me wrong, that play would have never happened if four Red Wings could cover one San Jose Shark

Game Pucks

The 1st Ever Bret Lebda Game Puck: Brad Stuart, who I remarked seemed to be intentionally tanking the game in an effort to the Red Wings to not resign him so he can return to San Jose closer to his family.


Honorable Mention: Niklas Kronwall for his multiple puck bumbling and lack of destroying Havlat again before he could score two goals

The First Ever Kris Draper Game Puck: Brendan Smith, who had a few good body checks, was mobile and responsible with the puck, made some good passes and seems like he is really trying to show the coaches that he's ready to come up to the NHL full time. If Brad Stuart leaves, I'm hoping Brendan Smith will get the call to the big show. We need B.S. on the blue line. 


Honorable Mention: Darren Helm, who will probably win this award a lot. We're also hoping his knee is okay. Sweet merciful Hockey Christ do we ever.

The First Ever Derian Hatcher Game Puck: Todd Bertuzzi, who got a contract extension, then promptly got hurt, and only seems to be worth a fuck in the shoot out. Why do we need an aging power forward when why have guys like Nyquist, Brunnstrom and Tatar waiting in Grand Rapids? 

The First Ever O Captain, My Captain: Pavel Datsyuk, for coming back off knee surgery and playing extremely well. He got us back in the game and gave the Wings the momentum to at least leave San Jose with 1 point. 


Honorable Mention: Valteri Filppula probably would have walked away from this for another very impressive game, but the correlation between O Captain, My Captain Steve Yzerman's knee problems and Datsyuk's recovery from knee surgery edged Filp out. 

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