Thursday, April 25, 2013

Game Recap: Red Wings 5, Predators 2

What a game! If you turned the game off after the first period, you missed out on a doozie. It seemed like a typical "Red Wings luck" kind of game, where the bounces just were not going our way and w were were not capitalizing on glorious chances. I was scared that we were going to go into the last game of the season with our playoff hopes literally hanging in the balance - and that could still happen, but at least the Red Wings are taking the fact that we have some control over our playoff destiny very seriously.

That was evident in the 2nd period. What impressed me, more than anything else about this team, is that unlike past games, the Red Wings did not allow the bad bounces, the bad calls and the bad penalties destroy them. They kept their legs under them, they kept the legs moving, and they kept the pressure up. It paid off for them, with a huge tying goal on the power play from Johan Franzen, an even huger go ahead goal from Patrick Eaves, and Pavel Datsyuk went and was all Pavel Datsyuk.

Bullet points, awards and we'll call it a night
  • Tonight was a rough night for Gustav Nyquist. Some of those penalties were bad calls and some of them were just bad penalties. But they came from a guy who was trying desperately to do things right. And even after all of those penalties, he never left up on his energy or worth ethic.
  • Kyle Quincey really blew his assignment on the first Nashville goal. But he made a huge back check play to help out Howard on a bad line change to keep the lead. I'm still not sold on Kyle Quincey, and I'm not sure how I feel about Lashoff being in Grand Rapids while Quincey is up here.
  • Someone tell Pavel to break into Franzen's house and switch all his calenders so that every month is April. Please
  • It was good to see Filppula get a goal, but I still don't think I want him on this team next year. He's going to cost us way too much money and I'd rather see it spent on Nyquist, Tatar and Andersson.
  • Not going to say this is a Stanley Cup winning team, but if I'm the teams in the NHL, I'm very afraid of facing the Red Wings in the playoffs if we keep playing like this.
  • Did anyone see Damien Brunner for the end of the game?
I don't really have anything else to add before I hand out the awards, but I just want to share this tweet from Pavel Datsyuk

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Brendan Smith - I hate to have to do it, but I have to do what I feel is right. Smith seemed to be struggling tonight. In particular there was one moment where we was walking the line with the puck, trying to get a better shot and then proceeded to shoot it right into the Nashville player. No doubt this was a bad game for Smith, and I have faith in him. But get it together, Brendan. Playoffs are coming.

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Patrick Eaves - I mean come on. And it wasn't even for his goal, although that was sextacular. It's because later on in the game, he was doing fantastic work behind the net. He just refused to be anyone's bitch and that was the attitude I saw from him all game. I don't know what's going to happen with Drew Miller at the end of the season, but Patrick Eaves is making his case. 

10 Points to Griffins-dor: Gustav Nyquist - Like I said earlier, he had a bad night and struggled with the penalties, but he never let that deter him from tryingto help his team and win the hockey game. And that kind of energy is exactly what you want on your bench and can inspire your team mates around you. Might we see an "A" on Nyquist's sweater 4 or 5 years from now?

The Perfect Puck: Some Other Guy - This pass was something to be hold. I have and will always love when bottom line guys put up big points, especially when they have a bit of flash to them. This pass to Patrick Eaves was delicious and the finish made it that better. 


O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: The Team - There was no one guy tonight. This was a team win. Howard was stellar in net, our major players made major plays, we got support from our bottom pairings, and had solid special teams. The team is going to get us into the playoffs, the team is going to win games for us in the playoffs, and the team is who we root for.

Let's get it done, team. Let's go Red Wings!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dollar Hotdog Power Hour Podcast #12

As long as there's hockey, life is good!
After a disappointing loss to Calgary, I'm joined by Kevin and Michelle so that we can have a little group therapy session. It didn't work. We still hate each other.

Today we talk about luck, and I bring up the subject of the killer instinct. We debate what's preventing the Red Wings from getting it back, and the semantics of whether or not the Wings have a Talent Gap. I argue that Niklas Kronwall is a #1 defenseman and Kevin says he's not. We all agree that the smart thing to do was keep the kids instead of trading them, and tell you who should stay and who should go at the end of the season.

Kevin's Blog and Michelle's Blog should be checked out and shared, as usual. We hope you enjoy it and as always, you should share it will your friends, family and complete strangers. They'll appreciate it.

Editor's Note: We have a fairly low limit for space on our Podbean account, so I may have to delete/archive older podcasts. If for some reason you want to hear past episodes that aren't working normally, let me know and I can somehow get you the original mp3 file.

Monday, April 15, 2013

State of the Red Wings: The Home Stretch

Last night's game was a positive step. The Red Wings needed to win, and they needed to win convincingly and they needed to win in regulation. I thought they did two out of those three things for certain, although I'm not quite so sure about the third. They've shut out the Nashville Predators twice this season, and that's cause for celebration. 7-0 in the last two games against Nashville, against a team that has gotten the better of us and a goaltender who always seems to have our number. And there was much rejoicing...

The shootout losses were happily bad? Unpleasantly happy? They dropped three straight but seemed to be playing better. They lost every game by only a goal, but one of those was a shut out, and we've dropped leads and allowed the other team to tie the game and win in the shootout. Kronwall is looking good, Ericsson is looking good, and DeKeyser has looked very good. Quincey, Kindl and Lashoff are struggling, and Carlo Colaiacovo is a guy with too many C's in his name.

Datsyuk has been looking good, although we need him to score goals. Zetterberg is trying hard to lead this team as it's captain and last night, he finally got the monkey off his back and scored a nice rebound goal. Again, DeKeyser has looked very good and that Lidstrom-esqe shot-pass off the boards? I'm not saying he's the Second Coming of the Perfect Human but it was damned good.

But we're not safe. We recovered the 8th seed from Dallas with the win last night, but any Red Wings fan who is satisfied with the 8th seed should probably address their definition of success. Letting other people win to give them a boost of confidence is fine when you're competing against children, but with a roster costing us $62 million, I don't think we're dealing with children.

In fact, we're dealing with a tough road trip. Wednesday will be Calgary, who keep beating us for reasons beyond belief and comprehension. Then we'll scoot down to Vancouver, who we've beaten pretty decidedly a couple of times but there's no reason to believe this team isn't going to come out and try to turn the tide against us. The Sedins are good, Luongo can be good and they're third in the West for good reason. The Coyotes, who've beaten us despite being terrible, the defending Stanley Cup champions, the Predators again and then finally our closest competition for the 8th seed in the Dallas Stars.

I'm worried, and you should be too. Red Wing fans have rarely seen this kind of uncertainty. Speaking of uncertainty, we're close to locking up one James Tiberius Howard to a long term contract. 6 years is maybe one year longer than I'd like. And it's touch more money than I'd like. But if you think we shouldn't be signing him to a long term contract, then you're absolutely out of your mind. He's been the only thing standing between us and some blowout games, he's been the only thing standing between us and some losses.

He stopped a breakaway chance and a penalty shot last night. He could be stronger in net and definitely needs to be better in the shootout. But you know what he said last night? He said he needed to be better in the shootout. He said he was responsible for it. He said that if you practice hard the games will take care of themselves, and he wanted to make sure he gave his team mates a chance to win every game. He called Chris Osgood for advice on how to do his job better. If that isn't the attitude you want every guy on your bench and in the bullpen to have, then what is?

The problem is Jonas Gustavsson has not shown to be the backup we need him to be. We're looking at a situation where Jimmy Howard is going to have to play too many games again. He's going to get tired, worn out and lose some focus, and it isn't fair to him. Not to mention, if this team - and I can't believe I have to say if - makes it to the playoffs, you've had to run ragged all of your guys, and arguably the best player to get there. We could bring up Mrazek, and I'd like to see that, but he isn't quite ready.

I want to hand out the awards for last night and then call it a day.

The Bret Lebda Game Puck: Valterri Filppula - I tweeted to George Malik last night that I had lost all patience for Filp. I liked him, I want to keep liking him. I loved the Filppula I saw last year. I am done with this indecisive, under-performing, disappointing crap. He tried to be Pavel Datsyuk and wiggle along the blue line with the puck and keep the play alive. The result was a bad turnover, a bunch of pressure from Nashville and a penalty. If we re-sign this guy for anything more than 3 seconds and 27 cents, I'll be mad.

The Kris Draper Game Puck: Drew Miller - I keep having to give this to Drew Miller because he keeps playing really good, hard working hockey. I am also going to give a shout out to Danny Cleary because he made some really smart hockey plays last night. I still want to him let go at the end of the season, and I don't want him to be put on the ice in major situations, but he was at least playing smart last night and made some good plays.

10 Points to Griffins-dor: Danny DeKeyser - Hell yeah! First ever NHL point on a brilliant play to Henrik Zetterberg? This kid is doing a lot of great things and continues to show why he was so highly sought after. I'd have given him the perfect puck award for it, except...

The Perfect Puck: Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg - Well it did result in an empty net goal, this was just such a smart play by the Euro Twins. Great intercept by Datsyuk, perfect pass to Zetterberg, perfect no look pass to Abdelkader for the empty netter. 

O' Captain, My Captain Game Puck: Jimmy Howard - I'm just going to leave this here

Want to give a shout out to Mike Brown and Tammi for encouraging me to wear the Lidstrom jersey yesterday. As Mike pointed out, Lidstrom never missed the playoffs. Mojo.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dollar Hotdog Power Hour Podcast #11

Let's keep our spirits up by talking about hockey!
Kevin and Michelle and myself came together to lament about the Blues game. We were all pretty upset and unhappy with a lot of things that happened in that game. Jimmy Howard was good, we agreed on that. Also that Nyquist was good. DeKeyser was also good. The rest of the team was infuriating. So were the refs.

Then we were joined by my good friend Ty Schalter and started to talk about implementing coaches challenges in the NHL. Turns out it really is more complicated than "just doing it" but we came to some good conclusions. Also, I call out Ty for his lack of #GuinnessRally this season.

Kevin's Blog and Michelle's Blog should be checked out and shared, as usual. Ty thinks he's better than us and writes for Bleacher Report. He also has his own awesome blog where he talks about the Detroit Lions. It's called The Lions in Winter.

We hope you enjoy it and as always, you should share it will your friends, family and complete strangers. They'll appreciate it.

Editor's Note: We have a fairly low limit for space on our Podbean account, so I may have to delete/archive older podcasts. If for some reason you want to hear past episodes that aren't working normally, let me know and I can somehow get you the original mp3 file.