Monday, May 13, 2013

Series Re-Cap: Wings Win in 7

Wow. I mean, what else can you say? Can you imagine if that had been the Stanley Cup Finals? Shit, even the Western Conference Finals? I'm pretty sure I'd either be dead or have found myself in a Federal "Pound Me in the Ass" prison because I probably would have burned half of my city to the ground and then gotten out early on good behavior for handing out free kittens and teaching disadvantaged convicts to believe in themselves.

 It was a crazy series I think is what I'm going for here.

But in the end, when it mattered most, the boys in the Winged Wheel got the job done. I had tweeted that I was afraid of a specific outcome, and I would not mention it before the conclusion of Game 7. I admit to being superstitious and also acknowledge it to be completely irrational. My fear was if I said it out loud, it would come true. My fear was that after the whole series without a goal and acting like a world class punk, that Douche Canoe would get the game winning goal. It didn't happen.

This picture is the sound track of my summer. Or something. Thanks Kevin
Going to knock out some bullet points for the series and then hand out Series Pucks. They will look suspiciously like game pucks, but they're completely different.
  • I will admit that the Ducks are a dangerous team. They have a lot of scoring potential, they're very strong on the puck, they have solid goaltending and they aren't too shabby defensively. I don't mind that they play on the edge, I mind that their leadership and strategy seem to hinge on playing on the edge, then shoving the other team over the edge, flopping on the ground and screaming to the refs for a penalty. It'd be easier to stomach if that behavior wasn't spearheaded by their captain, their alternate captain and beloved 42 year old veteran, and their super star goal scorer. 
  • That being said, I'm excited for and scared of Emerson Etem. That kid has some honest to God talent and if he can avoid becoming...well... an Anaheim Duck, he could a very bright future in the NHL. Instead of looking to your team leaders, Etem, look to the leaders of the team who just beat you. They'll show you how to become something special with integrity. 
  • How good is the line of Andersson-Nyquist-Brunner? Having played in Grand Rapids together, you'd expect Goose and Andersson to be good, but Brunner has just slid right in there. And it's such an interesting look for a line that traditionally is supposed to be your checking line. Granted the NHL has evolved where that's not really the case, but damn. Two game winning goals in OT, a lot of great puck control and pressure. Andersson had a couple of chances last night that he couldn't quite capitalize on. I don't know what's going to happen to that line next year, especially with Darren Helm hopefully returning.
  • Also, I'm curious if that line could handle being the second power play unit. Andersson has been great on the penalty kill, and so the minutes might kill him. But it's an intriguing thought.
  • Justin Abdelkader. Like I said on the podcast, had you told me he was going to be a young Tomas Holmstrom only better on the top lines, I'd have given the kid way more slack. He obviously has the drive and the energy and even the skills to play with guys like Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He just has to understand his role in that lineup: skate harder and faster than you ever have, hit people really hard, drive to the corners and the front of the net, and heads up because Pavel Datsyuk just dropped you a dime pass. 
  • When Zetterberg took the over the glass penalty, I thought we were done. When the puck went in off Ericsson's skate, I knew we were done. Then we weren't, and I was wrong, and I was okay with it.
  • A lot of us feel, including myself, that this team accomplished something great this season. Everyone thought that this team's best days were behind them. Sure, maybe. Some of the talent that we've had that has left or is aging will never be replaced. But what is still here, and what is yet to come is pretty damned impressive. This team showed a resiliency that the Red Wings haven't had to show in years. Back against the wall in the regular season? Four straight wins. Back against the wall in the first series? Back to back wins, one of them in over time. Hell, 3 OT wins in a playoff series that went to 7 games.  
We're proud of our boys. We're happy to have shot down the Ducks. We're happy to have made it to the second round. Some of us look at Chicago and go, "Well, good year guys. Let's get ready for next season" and maybe that's the correct perspective to have. But this team is still exceptional, despite it's flaws. I called this team a sleeper pick against any team in the playoffs, so long as they play their game. As long as they play like they did those last four games of the season. Like they played last night.

The last couple weeks the Red Wings had duck for dinner. The table is being set for some Hawk. Stay hungry boys.

Series Awards:

The Bret Lebda Game Series Puck: Brian Lashoff - I have to be honest, the guy did not have a good series. He made a lot of rookie mistakes that cost us goals in the three games he played in the series. Obviously, being put against someone like Bitch Fist in the playoffs was a tall order for Lashoff, and despite all of the good things he did during the season, he was not at his best for the playoffs. I still have a ton of hope and faith in Lashoff. He'll be back and better next year.

The Kris Draper Game Series Puck: Justin Abdelkader - "But Mike! He's been playing on the top line! He's ineligible for this award!" Ah, but you're forgetting about the Tomas Holmstrom Addendum, wherein a player who would normally be slotted in the bottom six is moved up to the top 6 and rises to  the occasion. Also they're my rules, I make 'em up. And if you don't think that Abdelkader has been a crucial player for this team, then you probably also think Jimmy Howard is a bad goalie, and we already know what happens when you think that.

10 Points to Griffins-dor: Gustav Nyquist - OT gaming winning goal? Check. OT game winning assist? Check. Power play time? Got it. Everything that we're hoping Gustav Nyquist to be was on display during this series. He's been stronger with the puck, making good decisions and using his speed to be a problem for the other team. A lot of great rookies doing a lot of good things, but Nyquist was the best.

The Perfect Puck: Pavel Datsyuk - I mean...hold on I just need a moment to... uugggnnnnnn fuuuuuuuck just watch it


O' Captain, My Captain Game Series Puck: Henrix Zetterberg - This was a hard choice to make. I could just have easily said one James Tiberius Howard and been able to write all about the big saves that he made, his recovery from adversity and how stellar he has been for us all season long. But so has Zetterberg. He deserves to be the captain of this team, and when we needed our captain to lead by example, to carry his team to victory and score big goals for us, Hank was there with not one, not two, but three goals. I was never really disappointed with him at any point, despite him taking awhile to put the puck in the net. We all agreed in the podcast he needed to step up and score for us. Hank responded perfectly. Also, he has a better beard than Howard.


Something weird happened last night that is worth mentioning because it happened twice. I said this...

And then two minutes later, Justin Abdelkader scores a short handed goal. Then later I said something similar, and then 7 minutes later Filppula scored, and we went into the third period with a two goal lead. I've been trying to become psychically linked with the cosmos for years now. Believe me, had I discovered this power earlier, I'd have been using it only for good.

1 comment:

  1. After game 2 against the Hawks I'm feelin' pretty good about what the Wings are capable of, but really scared of how the Hawks might bounce back.