Sunday, March 3, 2013

Recap: Red Wings 1, Blackhawks 2

Tough loss to take. The Blackhawks are obviously playing great hockey right now, and the Red Wings are still looking like a team trying to define their new identity and compete at a high level consistently. It wasn't a bad loss, with the exception of the first period. A huge part of the first period troubles was the result of a couple of really weak penalties called against Detroit. They came out a lot better and did a lot of things well in the second period, and they looked even better in the third.

That's the thing - as good as the Blackhawks are playing this year, they've had to go into overtime twice against the Red Wings and squeaked out victories in both games. First one was a bullshit lucky deflection of a Red Wings' stick, and this one went all the way to the shootout. The fact of the matter is: this Detroit Red Wings team can beat the Chicago Blackhawks, even with how great the Blackhawks are playing. 

But we didn't
I'm 100% convinced The Stig is actually Pavel Datsyuk
I'm going to hit some bullet points for today's recap and hand out the awards. Spoiler alert: Ericsson is not getting the Bret Lebda award. Yes, he had one major fuck up today that cost us the lead, but everyone hates that penalty and it's almost completely a bad luck penalty that isn't the fault of the player. It was a "Shitboxian" play from a guy who has been stellar all season and played extremely well in today's game. So no, Ericsson was not the worst player on the ice. Not even close.
  • I spent a lot of my tweets bashing the NHL on NBC people. I understand that calling them hacks is like calling water wet and Tim Thomas crazy, but I simply cannot stand their blatant favoritism.
  • Pavel Datsyuk really seems like he's had enough of playing with guys who cannot compete at his level. Before I think he took as a challenge: "Can I still get goals and points with these two bags of peat moss? Watch this!". But we've got to get the guy some talent to skate with.
  • You know who has some talent? Tomas Tatar. Great goal, kid. Way to go to the net in a way that was strong and smart. Mickey Redmond was no doubt happy you had your stick on the ice, too.
  • Don't boo Marion Hossa. Like I said, he's not a bad guy. I'm not a huge fan of him, but I have to admit we'd be better off with him than with Franzen. He's not a cheap shot artist. He's not a dick. He's a great hockey player. We're better than that, Wings fans.
  • Yes, I bitch about the officiating a lot. Yes, I'm a bit of a homer with some of my penalty assessments. But another high stick (to Tootoo), a flagrant trip behind the play (to Smith) and the biggest take down I think I've ever seen (to Brunner) without a call? Fine, I'm a conspiracy nut, but how can these penalties not get called whenever the Detroit Red Wings play? 
  • The defense is still not as bad as lot of people think it is. Quincey had one of his moments on the Kane goal and Kronwall struggled again, but come on. Against Toews, Sharp, Hossa and Kane you allow one goal and most of Chicago's shots were really not that great of chances. Give these guys a lot of credit. 
This team still has a lot of wrinkles to iron out, but that's the thing about wrinkles, you can still iron them out. You don't have to throw the whole thing away. A little spot treatment, another trip through the laundry, good as new. And here's the awards to help understand why.

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Danny Cleary - This has been an award in the making. You might even say that Cleary kept having this award stolen from him by someone else. I said during the game that the problem on Datsyuk's line isn't Cleary or Abdelkader, it's Cleary AND Abdelkader, but Cleary certainly made the case for himself today. Several times, he had the puck on his stick and just couldn't make the right decision quickly. Wasted chances because he was too busy pondering about whatever the fuck people from Newfoundland think about. The best part was when Buckets thought he could outskate a back checking Marion Hossa. Good luck with that.

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves - They both did so much to help keep this team alive. Skated hard the whole game, were physical in the war zones on the ice and even had some opportunities to score. It was Eaves who got the play started that would lead to Tatar's goal by doing exactly what they need to do. But it could very well have been Miller because he was playing just as well.

10 Points to Griffins-dor: Brendan Smith - For blocking a shot with his head. Also because he did a lot of smart things in the defensive zone and had a couple of key moments to keep the Red Wings alive. He definitely continues to show why he's going to be a pillar of our future defense.

The Perfect Puck: Joakim Andersson - What a pass! Just a stellar, heads up play from behind the net to feed Tomas Tatar. I didn't know much about this kid before he came up to the majors this year, but he needs to stick around for a long time. 

O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: Jimmy Howard - Once again the Red Wings called on their netminder to win the game for them and Howard did everything he could. He was stellar through all three periods and if it hadn't been for fluky penalties and mistakes from the guys ahead of him, he would have not only snapped the Hawks' winning streak but earned himself another shut out. Just go to this link and look at all of the highlight saves that are there and you'll understand why Howard was the MVP of this game. 

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