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.

Time for the Awards Segment of Our Show:

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Clod Barfluzzie, who once more demonstrated his inability to do anything. I know he got a Dirt McGuirk goal against Washington, but he just seemed like he was hell bent on making turn overs and shitty decisions tonight. I especially liked when he busted his ass behind the net to take control of the puck, just to promptly pass the puck back to the guy he just finished taking it from. It's like when I play a game with my nephews, and I start to just dominate their ass, and then I remember they're 4 and 2 years old, and I let them win and tell them they did a good job. When they didn't. They're 4 and 2 years old and they can't do anything.

3rd Line Drift Pick would like to issue an official and sincere apology to the children who are being verbally abused due to misdirected anger at Clod Barfluzzie.

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Our first ever tie goes to Justin Abdelkader, Drew Miller and Danny Cleary. These guys busted ass from minute 1 to minute mother fucker Ryan Callahan just scored, every time they were on the ice. The only one I am slightly annoyed with was Cleary, but he really really hustled his ass off. And in true Red Wings fashion, it unfairly did not pay off in points for these three, or a win for the Wings.

The Derian Hatcher Game Puck: Tomas Holmstrom for the second night in a row. The reason he gets this is because he demonstrated that his value in the league is gone. He was pushed into the goalie and called for goalie interference. Okay, most other players in the league, it's at least a coin flip as to whether or not that gets called (those chances improved to 99:1 in favor when the player in question is playing against the Red Wings). But because Holmstrom tackled a goalie just the other night, and has the history he has, he gets no benefits of any doubts. There is no Doubting Tomas in this situation.
"Oh, a Bible pun? Haw haw! You're soooo witty!"
O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: Henrik Zetterberg scored the Wings' only goal, was working the entire game, and seemed like he wanted to win as much as anyone on the ice. He was good in their own zone, as always he was tasked with shutting down big goal scorers on the other team, and he really did a solid job on that. He wasn't on the ice for either of the goals. He made good passes and seemed to work well with Nyquist, too. 

Honorable Mention: If it wasn't for Conk's complacency in Brad Richard's goal, I'd probably give him this award.

First Ever On Notice: I'm a huge Datsyuk fan. I think he's the best complete player in the NHL. But he blew his assignment on Callahan, and that was the GWG. I know he's coming back from surgery, and he did some great stuff tonight. But a lapse in coverage like that from Datsyuk? If Lidstrom did that, I'd punch him in the taint. Okay...not really, but I would threaten to punch him in the taint on my meaningless blog.

Kronvall Count: 3

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