Well the weekend didn’t exactly turn out the way I was hoping. The Wings blew their Swedish extravaganza, UofM rallied to force overtime and then blew that, and the Tigers blew their lead in the AL Central setting up a tiebreaker on Tuesday that I won’t be able to watch. In short, I wasted way too much time watching sports this weekend with very little return for my emotional investment. Thanks, guys.
Despite the fact that they lost, there were some encouraging things from the Wings on Saturday. The second line looked much better. I’m hoping it just took them a game to get their act together since they all missed most of training camp, and not a sign that we’re going to be getting inconsistent efforts from them all season. That being said, you could tell that Zetterberg was still hurting from his groin injury. His first couple of strides were noticeably slow, and I’m reasonably certain that he would’ve been out if not for the whole Swedish thing. Hopefully the four days off will help him.
Thomas Holmstrom seems back to his old self. If he can stay healthy all year long, he should continue to cause havoc for opposing goalies. His goal was a classic Homer deflection as the puck bounced in off of his hip. There’s no doubt that Ty Conklin liked being on the other end of that last season much more.
Ville Leino continues to impress me. After these two games, I’m hinging more of my hopes on his production. I’m not sure how that makes me feel since as a Red Wings fan, I’m not accustomed to relying on rookies to play big roles, and there seems to be a lot of that happening this season.
On the other hand, the penalty kill continues to be horrible, the powerplay wasn’t particularly effective, Jimmy Howard has a five hole like a sieve, Brett Lebda getting hurt actually helped the team, and I’m having flashbacks to the majority of last season. I’m not going to focus on the negative because it’s only going to put me in a worse mood, and let’s face it, I don’t have the time to detail everything that went wrong anyway. I’m not saying it’s time to panic or anything, but it’s a little too early in the season for me to be stressing about the Wings. They’ve got four days off (Arguably the worst part of this whole Swedish adventure. Now that I’ve got a taste of hockey, what am I supposed to do with myself until Thursday?) to sort things out and with any luck, they’ll figure out a way to solve at least one of last season’s recurring problems. Dating back to June, they now have four disappointing losses in a row, and I just want to be able to celebrate a victory.
Now, GO TIGERS!!! I hope I’m not the only one who wants to see them go all the way just for Ernie Harwell. When they were in the World Series three years ago and he called a couple of innings, I closed my eyes and his voice took me right back to when I was a kid laying in front of the TV watching games with my dad on a cool summer evening. It meant so much to me, especially given what was going on in my life at the time. If you haven’t seen his speech, shame on you. I dare you to find someone who grew up in the Metro-Detroit area who didn’t get at least a little misty eyed hearing him talk. If you can make it through without choking up, you've got one heck of a cold heart.