Friday, April 13, 2012

Game 2 - Detroit v Nashville: On the Books

This game. This game right here was a game. I can't say enough how much of a game this was, this game here. You want to know how much of a game it was? I started off with Larry Murphy-esqe coverage.
This is a guy with multiple Stanley Cup wins and poor
public speaking skills.
If the Red Wings were going to respond to all the crap from game 1 - the weak, stupid calls, the horrible Nashville fans and the dirty, cheap play of Shea Weber and company, they needed to send several messages. The first, that just because Brendan Shanahan was too scared or too stupid to not suspend Weber, doesn't mean the Wings were going to roll over and be his bitch. That could have come from scoring a goal every time Weber was on the ice, it could have come by throwing heavy, punishing body checks on him every time he touched the puck, or by slamming his head face first into a glass wall. Or there's this....

I had predicted, if there was going to be a fight with Weber, it was going to be Ericsson, Abdelkader or Bertuzzi. I leaned more towards Abdelkader, but Bertuzzi did the job. And he did it clean. He proded Weber into a fight, Weber agreed, and they squared off as gentleman. Or at least, as much of gentleman as two guys who are known for driving other people's heads into things. He didn't clean Weber out, because honestly Weber is a big, strong guy who can fight and hold his own. But the message was sent with the fight: You cheap shot my guy, I'll drop the gloves and square off against you. I will stand up to you. I will stand for me, and my team mates, and I will do so in a way that is better and more respectable than you.

The next message was that whatever message they sent to Weber, they had to send a similar message to the team as a whole. That message need to be hard fought, physically punishing, grinding play on all parts of the ice. And they did that. Hits were officially 13-19 in favor of Nashville, but winning corner battles and paying the price to win those battles don't count as hits. They fought hard and were the better team on the ice for the vast majority of the game.

Hey remember how Nashville had the best power playing in the league in the regular season? And how unstoppable Weber, Suter and so many others were with the man advantage. And remember how they've scored on every PP opportunity they've had? Wait, I'm just getting word that in fact the Red Wings PK have shut down every Nashville power play these two games, including two 5-3 on penalty kills. So yeah, there's that, I suppose. I have to say, I don't think the Red Wings have had a better forward on the PK than Drew Miller the last 10 or 20 games. Every PK I find myself saying "Great ___" by Miller. Insert block shot, screen, stick work, clear the zone, clear from in front of the net in that blank. Any will do.

Why can't I hold onto all these limes pucks?
Finally, the Wings needed to score first, and they needed to keep the lead. They did both. And here's how you know it's Red Wings playoff hockey time and the Wings are playing the kind of hockey we know and love: Ian White, Corey Emmerton and Johan Franzen were our goal scorers tonight. A defense man (out with the 4th line), a 4th line grinder, and a leading goal scorer. They came out and pantsed Rinne pretty early and kept pressure on him all game. Here's a photo made by a reader I know as Mike Clutter show casing Rinne's struggles tonight.

I seriously would like to know how to say "Fuck me!" in an exasperated manner in Finnish, because I'm pretty sure I saw him exclaim it after the puck skipped off the Mule's leg and into the net for the go ahead goal. Val Fippula will hopefully get back to me on that one, soon.

I think my favorite part of the whole game though was when Anastacia Madhelost was so off-sides that the refs had a chance to go to a gift shop, buy an English to Russian dictionary, translate the NHL's official explanation of what it means to be offsides into Russian, and explain it to him before finally shrugging their shoulders and blowing the whistle. He proceeded to angrily scream at the referees like his head was just smashed into a glass wall by an out of control behemoth.

The Wings should be up 2 games to none. Instead they at least get to go home tied one game to one. We should be able to head back to Nashville with a 3 game to 1 lead and force them to eat a smorgasbord of dicks at home and close out the series in 5.

Awards After the Break

Time for the Awards Segment of Our Show:

The Bret Lebda Game Puck:  The referees. Again. And here's why - Johan Franzen got angry and went after someone. I get that. Here's the problem. He was cheap shotted and bleeding from the face. Now, I understand that last year kinda set a tradition of "Johan Franzen must get viciously assaulted and come out of the first round of the playoffs with vicious cuts and injuries to his face". But I don't think anyone really consulted with him before establishing that tradition. Much like with the Hudler call from last night - how can Franzen end up bloodied and no penalty be called against the Nashville player(s) who cheap shotted him and/or cut his face open? How does that happen?

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Corey Emmerton, because that kid finally showed up to play. He was definitely contributing on his shifts, and scored an excellent goal. And it was excellent for a lot of reasons. Like I said on Twitter, 3rd and 4th line goals are rarely as pretty as top line goals, but they're often more important and impressive because of the sheer amount of work that has to go into earning them.

I mean, look at that goal. Look at that block and then that goal. That is some sweet stuff right there.

The Derian Hatcher Game Puck: The Nashville Predator Fans Featuring Vince Gill, because apparently after the first period, Vince Gill came out and sang a song. And besides the fact that country music fucking sucks, he was apparently wearing a shirt that said, and attempted to lead the Predator fans in a chant of "Todd Bertuzzi is a sissy" Besides the fact that apparently the people of Nashville have the shit talking maturity level of a 2nd grader, how classless are these people? I'll tell you how classless they are. They boo'd Henrik Zetterberg.

That's right. You read that correctly. They boo'd Henrik Zetterberg, presumably because he survived Shebert's attempt to maim him and had the audacity to show up and play really good hockey. How dare he! I try not to generalize people, but I can say without hesitation that all Nashville Predator fans are terrible people. Which is why it was so awesome to watch them get shut up in mid-anti-Red Wings chant by a Red Wings goal.

O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck:  Jimmy Howard, because that guy was the goal tender equivalent of a set of tits tonight. Which I guess would look something like this.

Of all the things you expected to see tonight, a picture of Jimmy Howard
with Kate Upton's tits photoshopped on him was probably not on your list.
All requests for professional photoshop jobs can posted in our comments section
And actually, that picture explains why the Nashville Predators were so eager to charge right into Jimmy Howard all night. It doesn't explain why the refs did nothing to stop it, like call a penalty. Didn't matter, Jimmy stood his ground and kept his honor intact, as well as keeping the lead for the Wings through the whole game and coming up with huge saves on huge scoring opportunities. For those accomplishments, plus an awesome rack, he gets the O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck.

Some Tweet highlights:
"Cleary just DESTROYED Sergei Kostiz..yn...that one fucker" - Me
"Mickey Redmond: "Mike Fisher has a slam dunk" Me: "Yeah, her name is Carrie Underwood" - Me again
" That's the sexiest kill I've seen without Darren Helm since the invention of Darren Helm." @L.M. Ruhland

Someone commented on how they had no respect for a team that boo's the other team instead of rooting for their team. I don't know if I've ever heard a crowd whose soul purpose in attending a home game seems to be shitting on the opposing team. I think it comes from putting hockey teams in places that don't understand the game and have no history or traditions of the game. It's the same reason soccer has never taken off in the United States; we don't know how to be soccer hooligans properly. Sure we can riot, but it's just not the same. 

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