Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wings vs. Avalanche GP...

1. 2009 hasn’t exactly been good to Wings fans. I think we’re all looking forward to 2010 and the joyous frolicking that surely awaits us in the new year. Before the ball drops in Times Square, though, the Wings have one more game to win. Can they send this less than stellar year off with a bang?
2. The rivalry’s dead and yadda yadda yadda. I don’t care. I still take great pleasure from beating the Avs. Will the Wings pretty please end the year with a good, old-school beat down? It would take me right back to my childhood in the ‘90s.
3. This is the last home game before the Wings begin a 5-game roadtrip out west (and randomly to New York at the end…NHL scheduling win for sure). During that trip, some key guys are slated to come back from injury. Can the guys in the lineup tonight hold down the fort until reinforcements come (see what I did there?)?
4. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does.
5. Patrick Eaves is out with the flu tonight (thanks, Rafalski), which pretty much negates our theory about it being caused by lack of hair to cover one’s head. As a result, Leino is going to find his way back into the lineup out of necessity (this is becoming a trend). If ever there was a time for him to come back into the game looking like an NHL player, I would think that this would be it. Will he be able to reclaim his roster spot from Ritola with a strong game tonight?

I’m only going to get to see the first half of the game tonight, so there may or may not be a recap tomorrow. One thing that I wanted to mention was that I added up the Wings’ regular season and playoff record for the calendar year of 2009 for my year-end recap…and forgot to put it into the post. This is apparently what happens when you attempt to blog in the middle of the night. Anyway, the Wings have gone 61-36-11 in 2009 so far (obviously one game remains). Here’s hoping that they can bring that win column up to a nice, even 62 by the end of the night.

PS. Happy New Year, Wings fans everywhere!

2009 in Five Minutes or Less...

January

The Winter Classic happened. Without that crucial 16th playoff victory, this game stands out as the highlight of the season. My brother and I requested off of work two months in advance to make sure we weren’t scheduled during the game. I skipped my cousin’s birthday gathering to stay home and watch. It was everything it was cracked up to be. Pavel Datsyuk scored on a wind-aided breakaway. Henrik Zetterberg wore eye black. The Wings showed the Blackhawks that they were still in charge of the Central. The weather was glorious and it made me nostalgic for the childhood pond hockey that I never played. Chris Osgood made a “mastodonic glove grab,” which is a phrase we still have not interpreted. Later on in the month, Datsyuk and Lidstrom were handed quasi-suspensions for electing not to fly to Montreal and shake hands with rich people. During his suspension, Datsyuk gave this now classic interview that accounts for half of the title of this blog. The Wings lost that game, which was incredibly disappointing to me because I really wanted them to skate defiantly to victory despite being wrongfully deprived of two of their superstars. With heroic background music and soaring banners to boot. None of this happened.

February

Andreas Lilja got into a fight and busted a vein in his head. He hasn’t played a game since. I’m all for fighting, but I could’ve done without that one.

March

What happened in March? Nothing ever happens in March. Why does this month even exist?

April

The Wings swept the Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs, thus ending Columbus' first ever post-season appearance. Chris Osgood suddenly awoke from his regular season slumber and surprised more than a few of us.

May
(No, not Brad.)

Things were looking good in May. The general consensus was that whoever survived the Wings-Ducks series was going to be the eventual Cup winner. Unfortunately, we all know how things worked out in the end. We did, however, get to witness the Goal that Wasn’t, which left my brother and me screaming and chucking dog toys at the floor of our family room in the middle of the night. After the first of the two Game 7s we had to endure, the Wings faced Chicago. I attended my first ever playoff game, thus checking that off of my life list. The Hawks made fools of themselves at some point, Johan Franzen stole Patrick Kane's mouthguard, and Niklas Kronwall annihilated Martin Havlat. Oh, and I found this humble little corner of the internet where I could spew my random ranting and raving.

June
(That's the Summer Solstice for those of you who failed astronomy class.)

I think it’s best if we just pretend that June never happened.

July

Free agency and the destructive forces of the salary cap finally arrived on our doorsteps as Marian Hossa, Tomas Kopecky, Mikael Samuelsson, and Jiri Hudler skated away with approximately 792 goals. Hudler left for Russia and the NHL decided to use his case to take a stand against the KHL. This left the Wings in limbo until the situation was resolved…and all of the desirable free agents were off the market. Oh, and Ken Holland re-signed some dude named Ville Leino. He must be having work visa issues or something because I still haven't noticed him on the ice.

August
(Why is there a cake, you ask? Well, my birthday is clearly the only important August occurrence.)

Kenny Holland was finally able to venture into the free agent market and landed Patrick Eaves, Jason Williams, and Todd Bertuzzi. I was happy about exactly one of those signings. I spent a great deal of time bored out of my mind, and counting down the days until hockey season started up again.

September

September means training camp, one of the most exciting times of the year for hockey fans (you know, after the playoffs, and the playoff races, and the actual start of the regular season, and...well, I was excited about it). There was the promise of a new season filled with angry Wings out to avenge their heart-breaking loss in Game 7 of the Finals. Instead, Henrik Zetterberg, Dan Cleary, Todd Bertuzzi, and Darren Helm (Am I missing anyone here? These are all starting to blur together.) sat out the majority of training camp and the pre-season with various injuries, thus signifying the beginning of the injury epidemic that continues to plague the Wings.

October

October brought with it the always-exciting return of real, meaningful hockey games. The Wings opened the season in Sweden and came back with exactly zero points. It was epic. Johan Franzen busted his knee, which effectively eliminated him from the majority of the NHL season as well as the Olympics. The news of that injury broke on my brother’s birthday (the one with the mancrush on Franzen), thus ruining the entire age of 19 for him. Other people got hurt, the Wings continued to struggle, and the citizens of Hockeytown began to collectively pull their hair out.

November

Jason Williams’ leg snapped in a way that made even the most steely among us shudder. Steve Yzerman fulfilled his destiny by being inducted into the Hall of Fame. The Wings scored 19 goals over a span of 3 games and we thought that all was right with the world. We even got our first taste of the long-awaited free Arby’s. Dennis LaRue intended to blow his whistle and we were subsequently accused of wearing tin foil hats. Niklas Kronwall joined the legion of injured Wings after a dirty knee-on-knee hit from Georges Laraque. The Wings also went approximately ten years between goals at one point. Oh, and I kind of got to meet Stevie Y at the Joe. So that was nice.

December

The Wings continued to struggle offensively (except for Todd Bertuzzi...more on that later) and got shut out at least 97 times during the month. They also continued my favorite 2009 trend (injuries) as they lost Dan Cleary, Jonathan Ericsson, and Henrik Zetterberg to various ailments. We fans started a podcast and launched a campaign to bring Guilherme to Hockeytown to see a game. We also photoshopped hair onto Brian Rafalski’s head (please reference the podcast). I lost touch with hockey for a week while I was on vacation, and am still pretending that the two losses and Zetterberg’s injury that occurred in my absence didn’t happen. Valtteri Filppula made his long-awaited return to the lineup right after Christmas, and Todd Bertuzzi went on a scoring tear that has just about everyone jumping on his bandwagon. No really, he's the only Wing to have scored in the last four games. Ville Leino accomplished the seemingly impossible feat of playing himself right out of the injury-riddled lineup. You know the hair pulling that started in October? Well, all of Hockeytown is now completely bald (Or is that just me?)--from the stress, not in homage to Rafalski. Our hopes have changed from wanting to see the boys win games to just praying for them to score a single goal. The Wings are limping toward the New Year, and we're looking at the promise of returning players in January as the light at the end of the tunnel of this less-than-stellar year in Hockeytown.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Wings 0, Blue Jackets 1 (OT): Post Game Snipes...

  • The penalty called on Filppula was a joke. Hooking? Seriously? At least they killed it off.
  • I know I should be used to it by now, but Doug Janik is killing penalties for the Wings. I just…I don’t know. It just doesn’t seem right.
  • One of these days, Darren Helm is going to figure out how to bury one of those chances he gets, and I think we’re all going to pass out from sheer joy.
  • It was nice to see May step up and do his job by fighting Boll in the first period. I initially wrote it off as the world’s worst fight, but May got in a couple of good swings. I’ll mark it down as a win for him. He must be listening to the podcast.
  • Mason played like he did as a rookie. Thanks for saving it for the Wings.
  • The Wings’ powerplay is pathetically dismal. It makes me sad.
  • On the other hand the PK’s been out of its mind good. It’s like the Wings can only have one special teams unit going at a time. When one gets good, the other tanks. I guess the debate should be if we’re willing to trade some of the PK’s success to jump start the powerplay.
  • Janik got into a fight. I don’t think that that’s really his thing.
  • I kind of lost interest in this game somewhere around the first intermission. The Wings had a few sporadic chances, but it just had the feel of a game that was going nowhere.
  • The Wings have now been shut out in three of their last four games. I get that they’re injured, but something needs to be done.
  • Was it just me, or was this one of the best Versus telecasts you've seen? They actually did things like replay penalty calls and shots on goal from time to time.
  • All things considered, I guess I’m glad that they managed to pick up a point out of this whole mess.
  • I’m so ready for 2009 to be over that it’s not even funny. Bring on the New Year's Eve game.
GP Answers:
1. Filppula made an immediate impact in his return on Saturday. He didn’t score, but he definitely skated with the air of someone who knew what he was doing on the ice. Now that he’s had a game to work off the rust, how will he look tonight?
He looked good again, but, like the rest of the Wings, got nothing done.

2. Ritola was called up to replace Leino tonight. If that doesn’t send a message, I don’t know what will. Anyway, Ritola has to know that he’s getting an enormous opportunity here. He’s been chosen to replace a regular in the lineup, not called up out of necessity because of a lack of healthy bodies. How will he respond?
I didn’t notice him very much, but then again I barely noticed anyone on the Wings.

3. Datsyuk got put in the doghouse on our podcast this week for not stepping up and picking up the slack during Zetterberg’s absence. The bottom line is that he’s the one who needs to be leading the team right now and he’s not scoring. Will he return to his usual awe-inspiring form tonight?
It’s not so much that he’s playing badly. He just isn’t bringing the fabulosity (we spent some of the third period recalling some of our favorite Versus announcer moments) that we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from him. And if ever there was a time that the Wings needed him, it’s now.

4. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does.
No.

Cookies and Cupcakes for Jimmy Howard
Well, you know why. I can’t fault him for the OT goal. He deserved a win tonight. He got let down by the offense yet again.

Brad Stuart gets the Golden Facepalm
He let Modin walk around him on the OT goal. In a 1-0 game, that’s all it takes to land here.

What I learned:
Letting my brother have the remote during a hockey game is a terrible, terrible mistake.

The Obstructed View Episode 3...


(You have to listen to the podcast to understand. Do it. Do it now.)

On the off chance that you follow Wings blogs and haven’t heard already, the third episode of The Obstructed View has been posted. I was shockingly invited back to join Kyle from Babcock’s Death Stare and Tyler from The Triple Deke along with the usual suspects, Chris from Motown Wings and Brian Kiernicki. It’s another fantastic episode that features a discussion of Brian Rafalski’s hair (see above picture), the awesomeness of Todd Bertuzzi, my friend’s foot incident at the Joe Saturday night, and my New Year’s Resolution to do whatever it takes to get the Hockey Gods back on the Wings’ side (you know…No Limits and all). We may also, from time to time, actually discuss some hockey. Please do check it out, and keep the feedback coming.

Wings vs. Blue Jackets GP...

I was pretty tempted to just copy and paste the GP from the last game because I have a hard time getting excited about playing the Blue Jackets twice in a row.

1. Filppula made an immediate impact in his return on Saturday. He didn’t score, but he definitely skated with the air of someone who knew what he was doing on the ice. Now that he’s had a game to work off the rust, how will he look tonight?
2. Ritola was called up to replace Leino tonight. If that doesn’t send a message, I don’t know what will. Anyway, Ritola has to know that he’s getting an enormous opportunity here. He’s been chosen to replace a regular in the lineup, not called up out of necessity because of a lack of healthy bodies. How will he respond?
3. Datsyuk got put in the doghouse on our podcast this week for not stepping up and picking up the slack during Zetterberg’s absence. The bottom line is that he’s the one who needs to be leading the team right now and he’s not scoring. Will he return to his usual awe-inspiring form tonight?
4. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does.

I also had one note that I meant to put in my recap from Saturday night: Several years ago when I got a Fedorov jersey for Christmas, I wore it while I watched the next Wings game on TV. He scored 5 goals that night. Little Sister wore her new Datsyuk jersey while she watched the game at home on Saturday night...and he scored zero goals. Obviously somebody screwed up. Just saying...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Wings 2, Blue Jackets 1: Post Game Snipes...

  • I got to go to the game tonight. I was pretty excited that we were able to get student rush tickets. We didn’t get to sit next to each other, but we were right behind one another.
  • I braved the People Mover for the first time since the Auto Show Incident of ’05. Every time we slowed down to stop in a station, I became paranoid that we were getting stuck. I had no intention of sprinting through the streets of Detroit with no coat on again.
  • We got there early, and there were a lot of seats open in the row my ticket was in, so we thought we might get to sit side-by-side for a while. Other people showed up, though, with tickets in that row. My friend went to climb up into the row behind us where her ticket was, and somehow managed to have the chair collapse around her leg. She got her foot stuck in the seat and couldn’t get it out for literally 4 minutes. Other people around us were trying to give her suggestions for what she should do to free herself, but I was laughing too hard to even breathe. I did manage to snap a couple of pictures during the incident. I’m pretty sure she’ll never forgive me for not doing more to help (in addition to my hysterical laughter and photography, I also elected to climb up into the seat she had been attempting to reach so the other people could have theirs and almost knocked her down in the process…which only led to more laughter). I’m also pretty sure that the people around us thought I was the world’s worst friend for standing there and laughing at her (I’m not going to fight that accusation). It was one of the best moments of our friendship…that’s probably over now because I wrote about this on my blog. I also want to apologize to all of Section 222 for the ruckus that we caused.
  • I was swiping free programs left and right. They have pictures of my dad and me inside, and I collected a stack to take home and show people to make them jealous. Because I am that petty. Then we went to eat at Pizza Papalis and the waitress dropped pizza sauce on them and I was sad.
  • The first period was nothing to write home about. I was pretty disappointed with the Wings’ effort and I figured we’d be in for a long game. Fortunately, though, they were able to turn things around and played quite well for the rest of the game. Although, I have to confess that my ability to intelligently watch the game was hampered by my frequent bursts of laughter every time I thought about my friend getting her foot stuck in the seat. Kind of the same way I’m having a hard time typing this now because I’m laughing again. Maybe you just had to be there.
  • I don't know why I never noticed this before, but I was pretty amused to see that Henrik Zetterberg is guarding the entrance to the women's bathroom here on the concourse. It just...seems fitting somehow.
  • The PK looked pretty good tonight. Although, at one point I did wonder if it was just that Columbus’ powerplay looked really bad. Either way, they did a great job limiting the Blue Jackets’ opportunities.
  • The Wings scored a powerplay goal. This really caught me off guard and I can’t even muster a witty comment about it.
  • That non-goal that was reviewed was really strange. When I first saw it, I was sure it was in. When they showed a replay on the scoreboard, I was even more sure that it was in. So was everyone else in the stands. I was in disbelief that they called it a no-goal. I thought we had just seen another incident as bad as Brad May’s non-goal last month. I had to call home and find someone who was watching the game on TV so I could figure out what the explanation was. Now that I’ve seen the replay, it’s pretty obvious. I was completely baffled for a few minutes there, though. (My one complaint is about how lousy the replays that get shown on the scoreboard are. They invented slo-mo for a reason.)
  • During the last couple minutes of the game, people in the stands were chanting for Babcock to put Bertuzzi on the ice with the empty net. It was kind of a funny moment.
  • The people sitting behind us in section 222 were incredibly annoying. Seriously. Nobody cares what you think.
  • The offsetting minors for interference and diving kind of bother me. I’m one of those folks who thinks that a play is either interference or a dive.
  • Am I the only one who barely noticed Rick Nash tonight?
  • There are few things more fun than singing the Hockey Song at the Joe.
  • I’ve uploaded all of my pictures (including some of the ones from our Detroit adventure during the afternoon) here. Revel in the glory of my new camera that I got yesterday. 12-power zoom=fantastic pictures even from the nosebleed seats.
GP Answers:
1. How will Fabio Filppula look in his glorious return to the Wings’ lineup? Being able to welcome an injured Wing back to the lineup feels kind of strange. I’ve forgotten how to be happy about hockey-related matters.
I thought he looked pretty good. There were a couple of plays on which he looked a little rusty, but he played well on the PK and the powerplay and had a couple of good chances. He consistently looked like a guy who could create offense…and at this point, that’s all I ask.

2. I haven’t seen the Wings score a goal in 12 days. While I realize that I may have missed a few while I was out living it up in the hockey wasteland that is Florida (Seriously, ESPN, it would kill you to show a game highlight here or there?), it’s still been an awful long time since the Wings put a puck in the net. By the end of the game on Wednesday, I had stopped caring if they won, I was just hoping for a goal. And that makes me sad. So, will the boys find the back of the net tonight?
It took them until the second period, but yes, they did score. Twice, in fact.

3. I’m told that Datsyuk put on quite a show while I was out of contact with reality. Will we get to see some more of his magic tonight?
Yes. He set up Bert’s first goal, and did a bunch of other nifty things that are beyond my ability to describe.

4. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does. (As promised, copy/pasted from the last GP I wrote, which I’m pretty sure was right around the same time Lidstrom scored.)
Not tonight. He picked up an assist, but still no goal.

Cookies and Cupcakes for Todd Bertuzzi
Another two-goal game? He must’ve known that Petrella was in attendance. My favorite part was the nonchalant way in which he deposited the puck into the net on his second goal. I don’t know why, but it amused me.

An Extra Stick Tap for Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm
Eaves was my nominee for the baked goods after the first period. He was all over the place on those first to PKs. He had a bunch of interceptions and just all-around solid plays. He didn’t have anything to show for it, but I kept noticing the #17 over and over again throughout the whole first period. Darren Helm is obviously on here for that save of the week candidate that he made. When I saw that, I fully expected them to look at it in Toronto and announce that it had gone into the net. Again, they never showed a good replay of it on the scoreboard, so I had no idea what happened until I got home and watched the replay online.

Derek Meech gets the Golden Facepalm
Turnover city on the Jackets’ goal. Ugh.

What I learned:
Darren Helm used to be a goalie when he was a kid.*

*I made this up in my head. Unless it’s actually true, in which case I want full credit for being smart.

Interesting Quotes:
Me: *by the Riverwalk* "Don't fall in. I'm not going in after you to save you."
G: *with hockey tickets in her back pocket* "Oh, you know you'd go in after me...Just to get the tickets."
Me: "Nnnnnnno...Yeah. Okay."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Hockey-Related Notes from Vacation...

This is a little belated, but I've been kind of tied up since I got back from Florida. Anyway, here goes:
  • Whenever I travel I like to take an informal (and completely unscientific) poll regarding which sports teams have the most fans wearing their gear. Disney World is an excellent venue for this type of analysis because you get to meet literally thousands of people. Some of them even come to Florida completely unprepared for the impending cold snap with only one jacket in their possession, and as a result are wearing the exact same Red Wings fleece in 90% of their vacation pictures. (Not that that happened to me or anything.) As disappointing as it is, I have to call Ohio State and the Pittsburgh Steelers the winners by a long shot. I even came across a whole family of Buckeye fans sharing a horse-drawn carriage ride around the campground while we were waiting for the Hoop Dee Doo to start. I was actually surprised that Disney let people wearing those kinds of outfits on their property. They used to have standards for attire. (One of my fellow interns almost got turned away at the gate one day because he was wearing his Gamecocks shirt. But they have no problem letting the Buckeyes roam their property freely. I’ll never understand it.) Anyway, I was pretty disappointed with the representation for the various Michigan-based teams.
  • I did have one guy in a Wings hat ask me where I got such a beautiful jacket (not the one referred to in the story about ill-prepared vacationers. I swear.). It was a nice little moment of camaraderie. High five, random guy.
  • On my last morning, I headed out to the park in my Wings fleece (Okay, I admit it. It was me in that anecdote above.) and Wings visor (because apparently I can’t travel without looking like a banner for the state of Michigan) and I got booed by a guy in a Blue Jackets jersey. I’m not kidding. He actually booed me. I just stared at him with my best “Seriously?” face. That’s hard to picture unless you know me, but it’s a good one. I promise.
  • One morning at the hotel, I saw a guy in a Lindros Flyers jersey in line for the pop machine (I was on vacation. I reserve the right to drink pop for breakfast. I usually get breakfast Slurpees when I’m down there, but they don’t have them at All Star Sports…and yes, I did make an effort to book the other hotel I like to stay at just for their Slurpee machine.) and I asked him if he was excited for the Winter Classic. He had no idea what I was talking about. Seriously.
  • All Star Sports has a giant wall of sports pictures in the lobby. They’re gloriously sun-faded (Memo to Disney: Bad. Show. I couldn’t even wear a hair tie on my wrist when I worked there…) and I promise you they haven’t been updated since the hotel opened in the ‘90s. Anyway, there are a handful of hockey pictures among the assortment. I can almost promise you that whoever picked them out was a Wings fan. How can I tell? Stevie Y is in three of the seven hockey pictures. I even took pictures to capture them in all of their sun-faded glory. There’s one of him winning a faceoff against Steve Rucchin, one of him being hooked by Joe Sakic, and another of him just standing there and being awesome. Jaromir Jagr and Marty Brodeur also made the cut, along with Martin Straka and a couple of guys whose names I can’t make out in their photo captions and I’m reasonably certain that I don’t care about anyway. The recognition of the greatness that is Steve Yzerman makes me feel a little bit better about having sold my soul to the Mouse a few years back.
  • My hockey-watching knowledge came in handy when we stopped in Nashville on the way down. I was told that my flight would be taking off at 8:30 and had a brief moment of panic when I looked at my watch and saw that it was 8:45. Fortunately, I remembered that Nashville games always start at 8 or 8:30, which reminded me that they’re on Central time there. See, all this time I spend obsessing over hockey comes in handy once in a while.
  • One of the first things I did during my visit was head over to the Cast Surplus store. It’s where Disney sells over-stocked items at steep discounts to Cast Members. While there, I managed to snag 5 Wings Cup Champions shirts from ’08 for 90 cents each. One for each of my parents, two brothers, and me. I’m pretty sure it was the greatest shopping moment of my life.
  • My only source of score updates came from frequently texting Google. I was feeling pretty good about the Wings’ victory over the Lightning until I had the brilliant idea to call home and request that the box score be read to me. It was at that point that I was informed (rather reluctantly) that Zetterberg had been injured. Thanks for ruining my vacation, Ohlund.
  • There’s a new show at MGM that’s modeled after American Idol. The guy who won the show that I saw looked exactly like Jonathan Ericsson. It was uncanny. He even claimed to be the same height. I’m no longer convinced that his knee is actually hurt. I think he might secretly be pursuing a music career by auditioning for Idol in Disney World.
  • The Canadian pavilion at Epcot sells jerseys from the Canadiens, Leafs, Oilers, and Flames. It turns out that even the Canadians don’t care about the Canucks or the Sens. Also, all of the pavilions in World Showcase sell local foods and specialties. America’s pavilion sells funnel cakes. God bless the USA.
  • During one bus ride back to Sports, “I Wanna Drive the Zamboni” came on the overhead speakers. I was apparently the only one there who knew the lyrics. And, yes, I sang them. I may have also danced in my seat a little.
And finally, Little Sister requested a Wings jersey for Christmas this year. She was willing to accept any of the members of the Flying Circus line. I was quite proud. I’ve clearly taught her well. It’s pretty cheap with screen-printed numbers (and the small ones are up on the shoulders instead of the sleeves for some reason), but she was pretty excited about it.

Yeah, that's me in the Yzerman jersey. My sister's 12. I've still got her by 1 inch, even though I look shorter in this picture. I'm apparently the world's shortest person. Also, how awesome are my pants?

Wings vs. Blue Jackets GP...

Hey there sunshines, look what Santa brought:


It's a belated Christmas present for all the good little Wings fans out there. He plays hockey and can tell you all kinds of hair-styling secrets. Some assembly required.

1. How will Fabio Filppula look in his glorious return to the Wings’ lineup? Being able to welcome an injured Wing back to the lineup feels kind of strange. I’ve forgotten how to be happy about hockey-related matters.
2. I haven’t seen the Wings score a goal in 12 days. While I realize that I may have missed a few while I was out living it up in the hockey wasteland that is Florida (Seriously, ESPN, it would kill you to show a game highlight here or there?), it’s still been an awful long time since the Wings put a puck in the net. By the end of the game on Wednesday, I had stopped caring if they won, I was just hoping for a goal. And that makes me sad. So, will the boys find the back of the net tonight?
3. I’m told that Datsyuk put on quite a show while I was out of contact with reality. Will we get to see some more of his magic tonight?
4. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does. (As promised, copy/pasted from the last GP I wrote, which I’m pretty sure was right around the same time Lidstrom scored.)

After being off of the computer for pretty much the last 10 days (instead of my usual 8-10 hours per day on it), typing actually feels weird. I also have absolutely no idea what’s going on in the Wings world. I hope my mad Photoshopping skills make up for my lack of insight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Look, I'm Back...

Well, I'm back from vacation, even though I'm not entirely up and running yet. I'm still trying to catch up on what when on during my absence, but things like "cooking," and "cleaning," and "baking" keep interfering. I guess there's some sort of huge holiday coming up that I'm expected to help prepare for or something.

I got to watch just enough of the game tonight to leave me feeling irritated and depressed. Three straight losses, including two shutouts to Chicago, isn't exactly what I needed to get into the holiday spirit. On the bright side, though, as far as I know, we've got a belated Finnish Christmas present waiting for us on the 26th. And then with any luck, players will start to trickle back into the lineup until it begins to resemble an actual NHL roster again.

While I was gone, there were some crazy happenings over at A2Y. It seems that the 19 are going to bring Guilherme from Red Wings Brasil to Detroit to watch his first ever Wings game in person. There's also something about Pinky that I don't quite understand because I haven't had the time to go back and read whatever comment thread it originated from.

Anyway, at some point in the near future, I'll get my act together. With any luck, I'll even have time to slap together a post with some vacation notes. At any rate, have a merry Christmas. I know I plan on it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Interview with Andy from Fight Night at the Joe...

The third and final part of Q&A series is with Andy from Fight Night at the Joe (You can also follow him on Twitter @FightNightatJoe.). It's an English-language blog (so there's no excuse for not stopping by) written all the way from Norway. I hope you've enjoyed reading these as much as I have. I'll be back in action Wednesday morning with a GP for the Chicago game if things go according to plan.

How did you first become a fan of the Red Wings? Why did you choose them over other pro teams?

This one has a bit of story behind it. My first favourite hockey club was the Canucks, because when I was four or five (92 or 93) my dad went to Canada and brought home one of those horrible jerseys the Canucks had at the time. It was the white away jersey by the way. When we got a channel that showed NHL in early 95 (they sent some re-airings of games during the day and now and then I was allowed to stay up and watch games live) I realized that except for Bure, the Canucks bored me, while these guys in Red and White had nice jerseys, a good swede, a russian line and Steve Yzerman. So I kinda started rooting for them then. And got to see a couple of pretty disappointing post-seasons, which really actually is something that makes you love a team more. The defining moment came in the summer of 96 though. I was at a hockey camp in Asker (15 minutes outside of Oslo) and we got visited for an afternoon and a morning by Scotty Bowman and Barry Smith (who were both in Europe for some reason). They had an on ice practice with us and coached us in an inter-group game (they coached each team for half the game) and also handed out some Red Wings effects. I still have a sticker saying "Proud to be a Wings fan" and I've been ever since the day I got it.

How large is the community of Wings fans where you live? Are there a lot of other NHL fans?

I've met a few dedicated Wings fans through the years, but none of my friends are Wings fans. Only three of my friends are NHL fans and they support the Avs, Caps and Pens respectively. Actually, most of the people that compliment me on my awesome Gordie Howe hall of fame t-shirt are guys who have been the Wings on the EA Sports NHL games.

The hockey community in Norway is very small, which is weird seeing as we're neighbooring Sweden, Finland and Russia. We've got about 30 indoor hockey rinks and maybe a few more active clubs than that. The economy in Norwegian hockey is pretty bad, and a team actually had to pull out of our Elite League in the second week this year because of bankruptcy. Still hockey is the second most watched live sport in Norway. Sadly, it is not watched much on TV and it doesn't get much attention. So the NHL following here is pretty weak. But hey, we at least made it to the olympics!

What do you do to follow the team? Is it difficult to see games or find news about the Wings or the NHL in general?

To follow the team, I watch every game (and usually OnTheFly) and read Wings blogs. To answer the second question, that is not easy at all. We've got one pay TV channel that sends a few games per week live and then a few more as re-airings in the daytime. So to watch the games you have to shell out for ESPN 360 (which covers most of the regular season games) or resort to methods that I probably shouldn't discuss here. Another problem is that the games start at like 1-2 AM here, so unless it's the playoffs I usually watch re-airings or on demand. The papers write little about NHL. The one that's best on hockey maybe has 2-5 small notices about the NHL per week and a big article every second or third month. And the little they write is usually either about Sid, OV or one of our NHLers (right now that's only Ole-Kristian Tollefsen of the Flyers). So internet is the place for NHL news.

What made you decide to start blogging about the Wings?

My road into blogging started when I began reading the Hockeytown Blog. Their links hooked me on other blogs and I started to read Snipe snipe, Dangle dangle and the Triple Deke regularly. As the weeks went by I started reading more and more blogs and one day I was bored at the university I thought that writing a blog looked kinda fun. So I started writing there and then.

Have you ever had the chance to see them play in person?

Yes, me and a mate (the Avs fan) went to Stockholm and saw the first game against the Blues this October. It was pretty fun, though the fact Blues won was a bummer. But we had 2nd row seats behind the St. Louis goal, and all the goals except Leino's and the first Blues goal was scored right in front of us.
The only other NHL game I've seen live was Sabres beating the Leafs 4-1 at the ACC on New Years day this year (I was in Toronto as parent for my brother's hockey team, who were playing a tournament).

What is your favorite hockey memory?

On the ice: Winning a Norwegian chapionship for under 15s (though that was bittersweet as I got 1 shift in the final game), scoring a hat trick against our rivals once and being a part of beating Farjestad one of the best teams in Sweden over two nights.

As a fan it's pretty hard to choose. Seeing Nick with the cup in 08 at five in the morning, two hours before I was off for a German festival was a highlight. The 7-0 blowout against the Avs in the 02 playoffs another. And I'll never forget when Stevie handed the trophy to Konstantinov in 98.
But I've gotta go with game four in 97. Even though i was just 9 years old and had been a Wings fan for two years, I understood the magnitude of the drought, and seeing them winning was huge. McCarty's goal might be my favourite single hockey moment.

Who is your favorite player on the roster right now? Why?

Tough one. I'd like to answer Ozzie, Nick or Dats. And Helm is becoming a favourite too, but I have to go with Henrik Zetterberg. He is the leader, the star, the guy who neutralizes the opponent's stars, while he creates offense at the same time. And he seems like a nice bloke. Nick might be more perfect, and Datsyuk has more flash, but Z is the heart of the team for me, and I can't really think of a player that I'd pick over him in the whole NHL.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Not really, only that Stevie Y is the man and always will be and that female Norwegian Wings fans should contact me (though I have a feeling that's a non-existant race).

And yeah, thanks for getting a chance to be interviewed here!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Interview with Alexey from Red Wings Grinder...

Today's Q&A is with Alexey from the great Russian-language blog Red Wings Grinder. Once again, the magic of Google Translator makes it possible for me to be a regular reader. Alexey can also be found on Twitter @Lexa1523.

How did you first become a fan of the Red Wings? Why did you choose them over other pro teams?

It was in the middle of 90-s when we got satellite-TV (I think 94-95 lockout season). We were lucky to get this gadget from my father’s friends, ‘cause it was a real rarity in Russia in that time. So, I could watch FOX Sport (not sure, I was only 9-10 y.o. but I think it was FOX). You know, I don’t remember why I chose Red Wings. Maybe I liked their colors/logo or it was just my destiny...And the best thing of that time I remember is finals against Devils… I was totally disappointed but became a real fan of Wings. Then it was Russian Five, Grinders Line, Cups… I think you know what I mean )))

How large is the community of Wings fans where you live? Are there a lot of other NHL fans?

There are a lot of Red Wings fans all over the Russia – from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. Most of them became fans in the end of 90-s during the “Russian Five Era”. But I know guys, who cheer for Red Wings sins late 80-s!!! Real dinosaurs!

Recently there appeared a lot of fans of Capitals and Penguins (I think it’s not difficult to guess why ;) ). And of course there are a lot of fans of other teams – Canucks, Leafs, Avalanche, Devils, Rangers etc. You know actually there are fans of all NHL teams in Russia.

What do you do to follow the team? Is it difficult to see games or find news about the Wings or the NHL in general?

We live in the Internet era and it’s not difficult to get the latest news about everything. So about Wings and NHL in general – all you need is to know language. Another matter – watching games. Unfortunately (I don’t understand why) Center Ice is not provided for Russian Federation. So our only way to see NHL games – two cable channels – “NTV+” (2-3 games per week) and “Viasat Sport” (ESPN America) – a lot of games. But not all the games. So we have to use illegal ways as justin.tv and other web-streams.

And yeah – it’s really difficult to watch every game live (as I try to do), because 7p.m. in Michigan is 3a.m. in Moscow… So, you can only imagine how I feel the next day at work...! ))) But it’s nothing ‘cause I know that the final point – Lord Stanley’s Cup and I’m ready for sleepless nights for this main goal!

What made you decide to start blogging about the Wings?

There are some Russian message boards and guest books about NHL in general and about red Wings. But when you post there something interesting you can’t find it in two days because of tons of posts and threads… So, I think it’s a good idea to create a place where all Russian-speaking fans could find the latest Red Wings news, games previews and reviews, interesting videos, exclusive interviews with players and other stuff in Russian. And another important thing is archive – all materials are available on the blog and every one could find something in archive.

Have you ever had the chance to see them play in person?

Yes, sure!

My first meeting with Red Wing was amazing. During the World Championship 2007 in Moscow I met The Captain – Steve Y! I was really excited to see him and shake his hand, but when he agreed to answer my questions – no words to describe my feelings! So, it was my first interview and first meeting with Red Wings. After that I spoke to another legendary person – Scotty Bowman!

And this season I saw the Red Wings’ play! It was in Stockholm. Two games against Blues. Unfortunately Wings lost both of them, but all the way it was amazing. I met a lot of interesting people there – Ken Deniels, Andreas Lilja, Ken Kal and others, got a lot of autographs and the main thing – I SAW RED WINGS IN GAME! I’m going to post a big photo & video report of that trip in December at my blog – don’t forget to check it out! )))

What is your favorite hockey memory?

It’s a difficult question, because it’s almost impossible to choose one or two favorite memories. There were a lot of great games, but I think my favorite is the last game in 1997 finals against Flyers and DMac’s great one-on-one goal! Another one great memory is a story of Darren McCarty’s come back and 08’ Stanley Cup. It’s a true story for Hollywood movie! And for sure I have to say again about my meeting with Mr. Yzerman and my first visit to the Red Wings game (in Stockholm).

Who is your favorite player on the roster right now? Why?

I like old school hockey. My favorite line is Grinders Line. I like tough guys and power forwards. No doubts I like Pav, Hank, Lids, Mule and others very much, but I can name 4 favorite guys. Three of them belonged to Red Wings organization for a long time – here we go with Draper, Maltby and Osgood. And the 4th one represents the new generation of Red Wings Grinders. Ladies and gentlemen, pleeeease welcome, numbeeeeeeer fortyyyyyy threeee - Darrrrrrrrren Heeeeelm!!!)))

So, these are my favorite players of current roster, but my favorite Wings of all times – Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan and the best one – Darren McCarty!

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d like to say GREAT THANKS to all Red Wings Bloggers, who provided us with great articles, interesting opinions, funny jokes and a lot of very interesting information about the best team in PRO Sport - Detroit Red Wings!!!

It’s a big honor for me to become step by step a little part of Red Wings Community. Unfortunately I have no free time to translate my blog in English, but I hope it’s not a barrier to our communication! Thank you Kris for this questions, Thanks Red Wings bloggers and fans! GO WINGS!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Interview with Guilherme from Red Wings Brasil...

Well, I'm off on vacation living it up in the warmth and sunshine, so SSDD's been left in the capable hands of Blogger's auto-post feature. Today kicks off a three-part series of interviews with Wings bloggers who live overseas. Check back throughout the week for the rest of the stuff I've set up for your reading pleasure.

My "guest" today is Guilherme from Red Wings Brasil. It's written in Portuguese, but I'm a frequent visitor thanks to the magic of Google Translator. I highly recommend that you check out their work.

How did you first become a fan of the Red Wings? Why did you choose them over other pro teams?

Like many others, videogames. I used to play a lot of Mega Drive, and chose the Wings because I liked the colors. That time the team was just "Detroit" for me, no franchise names. I didn't have cable back then, but some times I went to my aunt's house (with cable) and was able to see some games. The only one I can remember was March 27, 1996. Great game to grab a new fan. I finally put cable at my house in 2001, so the 2002 Cup was the first I ever saw.

How large is the community of Wings fans where you live? Are there a lot of other NHL fans?

I never met another fan in person. We gather at social networks like Orkut or Yahoo Groups. There are 2 communities on Orkut about the Wings (one with 470 members and another with 250), and the Yahoo group about the NHL have 245 members. Some members of those groups founded, in 2002, the online magazine SlotBR, where they write objetive articles about everything in the NHL. There are also blogs on the Rangers, Habs, Hurricanes, Leafs, Denver, Kings, Bruins and the Ducks.

What do you do to follow the team? Is it difficult to see games or find news about the Wings or the NHL in general?

Watching the games is a story in itself. Hockey was very popular in Brazil during the 90's, even bigger than the NBA. But in 2002 or 2003 ESPN International started dimming coverage. Games that were live on primetime began to be broadcasted in-tape at times like 3 a.m. Playoffs were still live, but that was it. During the lockout ESPN International changed bases: they started offices here in Brazil, so the programming was chosen by brazilians. ESPN turned in to a soccer-oriented channel (weird, since we already have ESPN Brasil, already soccer-oriented). NHL broadcasts stopped after the lockout.

Following the team then was only possible through the internet. For some years I only checked sites like nhl.com, espn.com or Yahoo!, but recently started to read blogs, both team specific and NHL in general. Watching the games is hard, we have to rely on illegal streaming and bumpy broadband, so a lot of times I'm left to online radios.

What made you decide to start blogging about the Wings?

This one will probably be best answered by Humberto. I just joined the blog this offseason, after I spent the last playoffs commenting everything Wing-related. My comments might be simple "who's on first line" or well developed texts, so the guys decided to invite me.

Have you ever had the chance to see them play in person?

Unfortunately not. Yet.

What is your favorite hockey memory?

The first Stanley Cup I ever saw, the 2002. It was the first time I could watch all the games, and the Wings had that ridiculous Hall of Fame roster, it was amazing. The best moment is probably the empty-netter by Brendan Shanahan, and him and Steve Yzerman copulating on the ice after it. Awesome.

Who is your favorite player on the roster right now? Why?

Absolutely Darren Helm. I got to know hockey through videogames, and Helmer is the prototypical cyberplayer: faster than hell, throws his body around, wins faceoffs, is vibrating, faster than hell (yes, again), and now he's getting confident he can score. I also like Zetterberg, and my only jersey is a #40. (by the way, I coined the phrase "Helm is God")

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just to thank for the opportunity. And I have to say I really like your blog, and while I envy all of the North Americans with hockey on TV, I envy you the most because you met The Captain.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SSDD Hits the Road...

Hey there, sunshines, I’m heading out of town for a long-awaited (and much-deserved, if I do say so myself) vacation. I’ll be back in touch in time for the second game against Chicago. Until then, I’ve set up some stuff to auto-post during my absence. I don't expect to be online at any point, unless I decide to text in some tweets if I see anything ridiculous. I recently did a mini series of Q&As with some of the Wings bloggers who live overseas. They’ve got some great stuff, and I’m pretty excited about the "project." Guilherme from Red Wings Brasil will be kicking off the series bright and early tomorrow morning for your reading pleasure. The Wings’ marketing team wasn’t kidding when it proclaimed that Hockeytown has no limits.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Wings 3, Coyotes 2: Post Game Snipes...

  • Well another game, another injury. At this point, I’ve given up hoping for the Wings to finish a game without an injury and resorted to just hoping that they’re short-term. Ericsson’s knee certainly didn’t look good. He went down immediately and wasn’t putting any weight on it as he was helped off the ice.
  • That’s twice this season that the Wings have given up a goal while a defenseman was injured. That’s just a cruel, cruel joke.
  • There is not one single thing that I like about this season. Not one thing. And yet I keep coming back night after night after night. That says nothing good about my state of mind.
  • Mickey informed me that Kris Newbury played 2:20 in the first period. In that short time, he managed to take two penalties and score a goal.
  • Kris Draper got the primary assist on Kris Newbury’s goal. I’m pretty sure I should’ve gotten the secondary assist just based on name association.
  • The penalty kill continued its dominance tonight. The units had several key kills to keep the Wings in the game and Patrick Eaves came up with a huge shorthanded goal in the first period.
  • The powerplay, however, continued to be a miserable failure.
  • Meech’s goal was every bit as unexpected as Newbury’s was. Imagine that. Two different guys getting their first goals of the season for the Wings. It wasn’t quite as fun as that game last month when everybody netted their thirds of the season, but I’ll take it.
  • Don’t look now, but the Wings have a winning streak going.
  • The first period looked pretty good. It was one of the Wings’ better starts. Somebody must’ve set their alarm clocks an hour early tonight or something. They let up a little after Meech’s goal, but managed to hold on for the win.
  • Bonus: No overtime, so it didn’t turn into a three-point game.
  • The Wings could not clear the puck when Phoenix had an empty net at the end of the game. I’m pretty sure I scared my roommates by yelling at the TV.
  • Before the game, they played a clip of an interview with Bertuzzi in which he was wearing a silver puffy vest. I texted some sort of sarcastic comment to Twitter, but it never actually showed up in my feed. However, exactly two hours later, it popped up on Twitter. Literally as they were showing more of the same interview. It’s like Twitter was holding that text just waiting for the right moment. At the suggestion of @jennyquarx, I’m going to send a text that says “curly fries” before the game on Thursday. If I remember…
GP Answers:
1. The Wings have had trouble with consistency so far this season. They’re coming off of a couple strong performances over the weekend. This is a good chance to string some wins together and start climbing the conference standings. Will they show up to play tonight, or will we all be banging our heads on the wall by the end of the game?
The biggest plus of the game was the way that the Wings came out in the first period. I’m so used to seeing them sleepwalk through the beginning of games that I was actually confused when they scored.

2. Jimmy Howard’s getting the start tonight. With the exception of that one goal against Anaheim, he had a good week. He would’ve skated away with two wins if the offense had done anything worthwhile against the Blues. Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that his play would be the least of our worries right now? I think we were all pretty pleased with the way he bounced back from that tough loss to St. Louis and the softie against Anaheim. His confidence has to be at an all-time high. Will he continue to create a “goalie controversy” here in Detroit?
He made the saves he needed to. He looked a little shakier than he has over his last couple of starts, but he got the win, and that’s what matters.

3. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does.
Not tonight. During one of the Wings’ powerplays, I really felt like this was the night he was going to score. I even said as much on Twitter. If I’m still copy/pasting this when I get back from vacation, I’m going to be really frustrated.

4. How many sticks is Pavel Datsyuk going to break tonight? Any takers on a prediction on his average number of broken sticks per shift?
I don’t think I noticed any break tonight, but I was only half-watching the game.

5. How many glorious scoring opportunities is Zetterberg going to send wide? It’s time for him to stop drinking the Mikael Samuelsson Kool-Aid.
I only noticed one. Not that it really matters if I answer my crazy, passive-aggressive, sarcastic questions to myself.

Cookies and Cupcakes for Patrick Eaves
He was all over the place tonight. Not only did he net the shorthanded goal that put the Wings up 2-0, but he had a ton of good chances. I think I like him up on the second line.

Brian Rafalski gets the Golden Facepalm
This might be a little harsh, but he was the lone man back right in front of the net after Ericsson got hurt. He tried to make a play on the Coyote who was walking in, but ended up kind of listlessly spinning around in front of Howard. Honestly, it looked like all three Wings down low just kind of gave up on that play, but Rafalski was front and center, so it’s his turn to get picked on.

What I learned:
The Hockey Gods have officially declared war on the Wings.

Wings vs. Coyotes GP...

Wings vs. Coyotes @7:30 PM

1. The Wings have had trouble with consistency so far this season. They’re coming off of a couple strong performances over the weekend. This is a good chance to string some wins together and start climbing the conference standings. Will they show up to play tonight, or will we all be banging our heads on the wall by the end of the game?
2. Jimmy Howard’s getting the start tonight. With the exception of that one goal against Anaheim, he had a good week. He would’ve skated away with two wins if the offense had done anything worthwhile against the Blues. Who would’ve thought at the beginning of the season that his play would be the least of our worries right now? I think we were all pretty pleased with the way he bounced back from that tough loss to St. Louis and the softie against Anaheim. His confidence has to be at an all-time high. Will he continue to create a “goalie controversy” here in Detroit?
3. When is Nick Lidstrom going to score a goal again? It’s been the better part of a decade since he put one in the net, and I’m going to copy/paste this into every GP until he does.
4. How many sticks is Pavel Datsyuk going to break tonight? Any takers on a prediction on his average number of broken sticks per shift?
5. How many glorious scoring opportunities is Zetterberg going to send wide? It’s time for him to stop drinking the Mikael Samuelsson Kool-Aid.

Wow, this turned into a crazy mess of passive aggressiveness. It’s finals week though, and I have no problem using that as an excuse. All that stands between me and my vacation is approximately 15 pages of writing…that all needs to get done by the end of the night. This is going to be a good day.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about The Obstructed View by now. If not...where have you been for the last 12 hours? If you’re interested in reading about its evolution and the list of bloggers who are involved, check out Chris’ post at Motown Wings. I’m already looking forward to next week’s episode, which I’ll be able to listen to without cringing every few minutes when I have to hear my own voice.

The Obstructed View...

Hey there, sunshines, your friendly neighborhood Red Wings bloggers have an early Christmas present for you. We're excited to announce that the first episode of The Obstructed View, our unofficial Wings podcast is now live and available for download. You can subscribe to it at iTunes, or download it from our website.

This week's episode features Chris Hollis from Motown Wings, Michael Petrella from The Production Line, Casey from Winging it in Motown, Brian Kiernicki, and yours truly. Come listen as we discuss the events of the past week, Petrella's new-found love for Todd Bertuzzi, who's hot, who's not, and what to look for over the course of the next few games. After listening to the podcast, you'll probably realize that I'm a lot more eloquent in writing than actual speech. Hopefully I'll be able to sort out my technological issues and I'll sound a little better the next time around.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Confessions of a Red Wings Fan...

The Wings’ current injury situation has become downright farcical. In light of the epidemic, I can only assume that we, the citizens of Hockeytown, have done some things to offend the Hockey Gods. Somebody out there spent the summer punching babies and it’s about time we got to the bottom of that. We need to take this opportunity to confess our sins so that we can atone for them and return to those days of sunshine and joy when the Hockey Gods smiled fondly down upon us from the rafters of the Joe. I'm coming clean about some things I've done that may have invoked their ire, and I'm joined by some other Wings fans in the hopes that we can appease the Hockey Gods.

Now I know the last couple of games since I started working on this post have been alright and the Wings seem to have escaped injury, but there have still been a couple of close calls (Rafalski and Helm took pucks to the face and Lebda looked like he might've been hurt for a while.) and I'm not willing to take any more chances.

So here goes nothing:

I, Kris, tormented my puppy during the playoffs by doing things like strapping a stuffed Al the Octopus onto her back (Look how defeated she looks here...poor Penny Lane.), putting red and white pompoms in her collar, dressing her up in a Shanny baseball-style jersey, and trying to train her to bark when the Wings scored. I may also at one point taken away all of her toys except her squeaky penguin chew toy so that she would be forced to gnaw on that one during the Finals. There was literally nobody happier to see the playoffs end than my dog.

I also admit to making fun of Valtteri Filppula’s hair. All the time. I’m truly sorry.

Over the summer, I clicked on a shortened link on Twitter and accidentally ended up on a puck bunny website. I sincerely apologize for this horrendous mistake and promise that it will never happen again.

At Hockeyfest, we sat on the bench and jumped over the boards like we were doing a line change. I’m pretty sure that this upset the natural order of things and was simply unacceptable. The fact that my sister can’t even skate and was pretending to take a shift at the Joe had to be deeply upsetting to the Hockey Gods. I’m so sorry for encouraging this type of behavior.

@RedWingsQueen19 chimed in with this confession:
I confess that I had so much hate towards Todd Bertuzzi and wished he was never aquired. I regret it, he proved me wrong so far
@jennbikegirl admitted to wishing injury on Brett Lebda:
My confession: when I heard about Raffy's back, my 1st thought was, why not Lebda? Basically wishing injury on him = bad!
Michael Petrella from The Production Line, however, had the most significant confessions to make. I think after reading his first story, all of the “intent to blow” nonsense will make sense:
I played hockey for a long time: I started skating as soon as I could stand up, and played competitive hockey all the way through college. I like to think of myself as a good sportsman, albeit one with a filthy mouth that never stopped running. Two stories stand out as examples of things I may have done to anger the Hockey Gods -- perhaps bad enough to create this rash of injuries to the team I love so dearly.

During a game I was playing in high school, I ended up on my butt, right along the goal line as a goal was scored against my team. It was so obviously a goal, and I figured everyone knew, that I reached in with my hand and angrily threw the puck back toward center ice in anticipation of another faceoff. But, it was must have been LaRue officiating because the ref skated over, waving emphatically "NO GOAL! NO GOAL! NO GOAL!" In my head, I'm thinking "really?" because I threw the puck only after I figured it was so apparent that everyone in the building saw it. Evidently, only I had seen it, and I didn't say a word. What I did amounts to no less than cheating, and I'm sure the Gods have had it in for me ever since. (P.S. the goal wouldn't have mattered as we lost by a good margin anyway...)

While in college, I was much more of a role-player, in the Kirk Maltby-mold, so I didn't get a ton of ice-time at that level, but cherished the few minutes I received every night. During the last weekend of the season (of my Junior year), we were playing in Wisconsin. We played back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday nights, as is pretty common in collegiate hockey. On Friday night, a senior who had played his heart out for our team for four years was injured by a fairly dirty hit. The kid got two minutes, but with a pretty severe knee injury, my teammate was going to miss his final game of collegiate hockey. I'll never forget his face - he was so upset because he never missed a team function, and now he was going to have to watch the last game of his college career from the press box. The following night, I spent every second of my ice-time aimed at retribution. I was offside more in that game than the rest of my collegiate career combined, because I didn't pay attention to the puck, only #21 in black. At one point, I even broke a stick on the back of his knee. As the final horn went, I took another three or four steps and tried my best to put him through the glass. He was about eight inches taller than me, so I ended up on the ice. I'll never forget what happened next because, even though these two stories aren't indicative of the kind of player I was or man I am, it taught me an important lesson. He took off his glove, and extending his hand to me, helping me back up. He said to me, "I know what you were trying to do, and I would have done the same. You played me hard, good game." Even though my teammate was the one on crutches, I couldn't have felt any worse.

I played hockey at some level for nearly twenty years, and it's fair to say that these two examples are the only ones I'm not proud of. And I'm just superstitious enough to think that the Hockey Gods noticed...
So there you have it, Hockey Gods. We’re all very sorry for the many things that we have done to offend you. We take full responsibility for our actions and hope that you can forgive us. Now can we please get back to our regularly scheduled programming of dominating performances and an elite roster? And, if it’s not too much trouble, could you throw some puck luck our way? We sure could use it.

Sincerely,
Hockeytown

Wings 3, Predators 2 (OT): Post Game Snipes...

  • The night began with a turkey feast with my little sister’s Girl Scout troop. We dined on the turkey that I won while turkey bowling at the Joe the day before Thanksgiving. It was pretty tasty for something I picked up on the ice at a hockey rink and then carted around the stands for two periods.
  • After seeing Helm take that puck to the face, one of my 12-year-old Girl Scouts suggested that the Wings should do the same to Nashville, that they should “aim for the nose, because that hurts the most.” Obviously, I’ve been a good role model. The girls did spend a lot of time distracting me so I missed large portions of the game.
  • Unfortunately, I missed the goal in OT because I was too busy wrestling with my brother to prevent him from deleting an awkward picture that I took of him. I caught it on the replay though and managed to salvage the picture, so all is well. Although I have to say that when I walked back into the family room and saw the celebration, I actually thought they were replaying the end of last night’s game.
  • Bert’s first goal was the result of a spin move that actually worked. It was incredible. His second goal was another beautiful “goal-scorer’s goal.” I’ve never quite figured out what that means, but it was fantastic.
  • I don’t know if this makes me a bad person or not, but I was actually kind of relieved when I realized that Jordin Tootoo was the injured Predator. I certainly never want to see players get hurt, but if one guy had to go down...I feel like silencing the whistles was a public service. I was just glad that I wouldn’t have to spend the rest of the game listening to them.
  • The Wings’ PK streak ended at eight games and twenty-seven straight kills during the second period. While it was disappointing to see the streak end, it was going to happen eventually. That’s a pretty darn good run, and they need to keep up the good work. Now if we could just get that powerplay sorted out.
  • Pavel Datsyuk had two assists tonight. Ken and Mickey originally wanted to award Miller’s goal to him, but his shot had clearly gone off the crossbar.
  • Miller’s goal got reviewed briefly, and even though the replays clearly showed that his stick was below the crossbar…I was nervous that they would find some excuse to call it back.
  • Not only did the Wings score first, but they also built up a two-goal lead. I was totally confused...until they let Nashville tie the game during the third period and force overtime.
  • I never really had anything against Shea Weber before, but he certainly earned his way onto my list tonight.
  • Since nobody was able/willing to believe what happened during OT last night, the Hockey Gods went and made it happen again. I think we’ve finally arrived in Wonderland because none of this makes any sense at all. I keep looking around and all I see is Todd Bertuzzi grinning at me like a gap-toothed Cheshire Cat.
GP Answers:
1. Ville Leino finally picked up a point last night, and Todd Bertuzzi came through with two goals. They’ve been the focus of much of the criticism for underproduction this season. Can the two of them build on the Anaheim game and keep putting up points?
Leino wasn’t completely invisible, but he still needs to do more. Bertuzzi, However, stole the show again. When he broke the scoreless tie in the second period, he had accounted for the last three Wings goals. He now has four of the last five. Not only that, but he’s also scored two straight OT game-winners. Yeah, I know. It’s hard for me to believe too. I love how confident he looks and how much fun he seems to be having out there. If he keeps this up, he may just make a convert out of me.

2. I haven’t seen the Wings’ starter announced anywhere, but I haven’t exactly had a lot of time to go looking for it. Based on the back-to-back rotation thingy Babcock likes to do, I’m assuming we’ll see Osgood in net tonight. Will we get treated to playoff Ozzie or regular season Ozzie tonight?
Osgood was fine. I’m not entirely sure what he was doing on the second Nashville goal, but there was so much else going on during that play that I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

3. During the post-game last night, Mickey Redmond was already getting feisty about those stupid train whistles the Nashville fans seem to enjoy using all the time. Keep in mind that this is also the same franchise that used to do the ridiculous screechy air-quote fangs. No team has the right to be that obnoxious, especially one that’s never won a playoff series. How long will I last before I have to mute the TV to keep from throwing things at it?
I had to watch the first period with the TV on mute anyway and then with Tootoo gone there was little whistle-blowing for the remainder of the game. My TV was quite relived to be saved from being pelted with whatever was within my reach.

4. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been missing an absurd amount of shots that they should be putting on net and/or burying. The Eurotwins need to collectively recalibrate their targeting computers or something. Datsyuk had the game on his stick during the final minute of the Ducks game, and hit the side of the net. Zetterberg had a great scoring opportunity in close at one point and sent his shot about 300 feet wide of the net (Go ahead, challenge my measurements if you want. I dare you.). It’s like the two of them have caught Mikael Samuelsson cooties or something. Will they be able to figure out their issues tonight, or will I spend another game pulling my hair out?
Datsyuk had two assists tonight, but they both had issues putting the puck on the net. If they start burying half of their chances…

Cookies and Cupcakes for Todd Bertuzzi
He scored two goals tonight, including the overtime winner. If that doesn’t earn you free dessert, I don’t know what does. His second goal came off of an absolutely ridiculous shot move. Please, please let this carry over and get him on a roll. (Copy/pasted from last night’s Post Game Snipes with the exception of the one correction. I don’t know what to make of this.)

Derek Meech gets the Golden Facepalm
I don’t know if the second goal can really be pinned on him, but he’s due for one of these and I couldn’t single anyone else out who I felt deserved this.

What I learned:
Maybe my dad was right about Todd Bertuzzi…

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Wings vs. Predators GP...

Wings vs. Predators @8 PM

1. Ville Leino finally picked up a point last night, and Todd Bertuzzi came through with two goals. They’ve been the focus of much of the criticism for underproduction this season. Can the two of them build on the Anaheim game and keep putting up points?
2. I haven’t seen the Wings’ starter announced anywhere, but I haven’t exactly had a lot of time to go looking for it. Based on the back-to-back rotation thingy Babcock likes to do, I’m assuming we’ll see Osgood in net tonight. Will we get treated to playoff Ozzie or regular season Ozzie tonight?
3. During the post-game last night, Mickey Redmond was already getting feisty about those stupid train whistles the Nashville fans seem to enjoy using all the time. Keep in mind that this is also the same franchise that used to do the ridiculous screechy air-quote fangs. No team has the right to be that obnoxious, especially one that’s never won a playoff series. How long will I last before I have to mute the TV to keep from throwing things at it?
4. Datsyuk and Zetterberg have been missing an absurd amount of shots that they should be putting on net and/or burying. The Eurotwins need to collectively recalibrate their targeting computers or something. Datsyuk had the game on his stick during the final minute of the Ducks game, and hit the side of the net. Zetterberg had a great scoring opportunity in close at one point and sent his shot about 300 feet wide of the net (Go ahead, challenge my measurements if you want. I dare you.). It’s like the two of them have caught Mikael Samuelsson cooties or something. Will they be able to figure out their issues tonight, or will I spend another game pulling my hair out?

I may or may not be watching the game tonight. We’ll see how this whole cookie-baking party goes down.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wings 3, Ducks 2 (OT): Post Game Snipes...

  • I felt like the game was going to be a good one because during the pre-game show, Mickey York made an Elin Nordegren joke and then Ozzie almost nailed Ken Daniels with the puck while he was standing on the bench doing an intro. It didn’t let me down.
  • Rafalski took a puck to the face during the first period and scared me half to death as he laid on the ice. He returned after receiving some stitches and ended up making a great play to knock a sure goal off of a Duck’s stick.
  • I still don’t have any idea what happened during that scrum in front of the Wings’ net with two minutes left in the first. I thought the puck was in the net, but then the replay showed that it wasn’t. But it looked like the referee had signaled for a goal. Then they went to Toronto to review it and that should’ve made me feel better, but I didn’t get my hopes up because I’ve been burned in the past. they ended up getting the call right and the Wings got a powerplay out of the whole mess. This was a little weird because we had all assumed that Jimmy Howard was the one getting called for the penalty. Since the call was against Anaheim, whether or not the puck was in the net probably wasn’t relevant, but I’m okay with whatever was going on since they came to the right conclusion about the goal.
  • The Wings’ PK hasn’t allowed a goal in the last 8 games. That’s incredible considering how dismal it was to start the season.
  • The powerplay managed two goals tonight. This was especially exciting because I had almost forgotten that you could score on those things. They had 11 opportunities, though, so anything less would’ve been pretty pathetic.
  • Brett Lebda got shaken up during the second period. It looked like something with his shoulder. While he was wandering around on the ice, Anaheim scored their first goal. The fact that the Wings sustained an injury and gave up a goal on the same shift pretty much sums up this season. He returned to the ice shortly after, so I don’t know what his problem was. I can tell you, though, that I’ve never been that relieved to see Lebda on the ice in my life.
  • It is surprisingly frustrating to watch the game without a clock. Especially when there’s a powerplay.
  • Howard made a couple of good saves on a scrum in the first. It felt like it took absolutely forever for the whistle to blow. I would’ve been pretty angry if the puck had gone in with all of those intent to blow calls and quick whistles that have gone against the Wings this season. One of the quotes of the night came from @mserven in response: “Holy mother of LaRue, what does a RW goalie need to do to get a whistle?” You can bet that “Holy mother of LaRue” will be popping up here at SSDD in the future.
  • The Wings second goal looked an awful lot like the Ducks’ second goal. Maybe karma finally decided to turn in their favor.
  • More fun came during the post-game interview when Trevor Thompson compared Todd Bertuzzi to a pre-teen. While sitting right next to him. It was a pretty gutsy move as far as I can tell. Bert, to his credit, didn’t kill him.
  • Mickey York opened his game recap with this quote about Rafalski’s puck to the face: “The Wings needed another injury like they needed a hole in the head. And four minutes in, they got both.” I really can’t think of any way to follow that, so I’m just going to move onto the next section.
GP Answers:
1. Ville Leino makes his glorious and injury-mandated return to the lineup tonight. How will he respond to his benching and Babcock’s less-than-kind comments about him? Please let this little stint in the press box be more effective than the last one since it made absolutely no difference in his play.
He looked a little better tonight and picked up an assist on the Wings’ first goal. I still want him to do more, though.

2. I really feel like I should not have to go into every game wondering if the Wings are actually going to be able to put a puck in the net. But that’s what it has come to. I don’t know who’s starting for Anaheim, but they’re going to make the red light behind him turn on at least once tonight, right? Please.
There was a while there when I was wondering if the Wings were heading toward another two-game goalless streak, but they came through in the third period and overtime to win the game. Good lord, did that feel good.

3. Looking at the Wings’ lineup tonight makes me want to hide under the bed in the fetal position. I just…have trouble accepting that as their second line. Maybe this makes me arrogant, but is this for real? I think we’re all, as Jessie from Bingo Bango said, waiting find out that this season has been one big joke right from training camp. The Wings have been playing their games in undisclosed locations and those guys we’ve been watching lollygag around the ice are just impostors. Like in that movie Dave, except the real ones are healthy and not in a coma. And they’re just waiting to surprise us as a giant Christmas present.
Yes. That lineup was, in fact, real. And it even managed to eke out an overtime win. I don’t even know what to make of this season.

4. Every time the Wings play Anaheim, I have to ask myself the same question: What will the Ducks do tonight to make me hate them even more?
The Ducks answered this one during the second period on the play that began with Corey Perry elbowing Ville Leino in the face. Getzlaf chimed in with a hit on Abdelkader, who then ended up fighting with Perry. I use the term fighting generously because the only clip they really played showed Perry sitting on top of Abdelkader and wailing away. It was pretty classic Duck goonery. I did like Abdelkader’s spunk when he was flat on his back on the ice and still swinging at Perry.

Cookies and Cupcakes for Todd Bertuzzi
He scored two goals tonight, including the overtime winner. If that doesn’t earn you free dessert, I don’t know what does. His second goal came off of an absolutely ridiculous shot. Please, please let this carry over and get him on a roll.

Jimmy Howard gets the Golden Facepalm
He played pretty well again, but that second goal has to be stopped.

Pavel Datsyuk gets an Extra Facepalm (?—please help me come up with something better to call this.)
He had the game on his stick, wide open in front of the net during the final minute of regulation. If Bertuzzi hadn’t come along to save the day (No, I can’t believe I just typed that either.), Pav would’ve taken a lot of the blame.

What I learned:
No matter how many hours of hockey I watch and obsess over, there are still moments that can completely baffle me. And I kind of like that.

Wings vs. Ducks GP...

Wings vs. Ducks @7:30 PM

1. Ville Leino makes his glorious and injury-mandated return to the lineup tonight. How will he respond to his benching and Babcock’s less-than-kind comments about him? Please let this little stint in the press box be more effective than the last one since it made absolutely no difference in his play.
2. I really feel like I should not have to go into every game wondering if the Wings are actually going to be able to put a puck in the net. But that’s what it has come to. I don’t know who’s starting for Anaheim, but they’re going to make the red light behind him turn on at least once tonight, right? Please.
3. Looking at the Wings’ lineup tonight makes me want to hide under the bed in the fetal position. I just…have trouble accepting that as their second line. Maybe this makes me arrogant, but is this for real? Is that actually our second line? I think we’re all, as Jessie from Bingo Bango said, waiting find out that this season has been one big joke right from training camp. The Wings have been playing their games in undisclosed locations and those guys we’ve been watching lollygag around the ice are just impostors. Like in that movie Dave, except the real ones are healthy and not in a coma. And they’re just waiting to surprise us as a giant Christmas present.
4. Every time the Wings play Anaheim, I have to ask myself the same question: What will the Ducks do tonight to make me hate them even more?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wings 0, Blues 1: Post Game Snipes...

  • I missed the majority of the game tonight thanks to a variety of unfortunate circumstances. I guess I didn’t miss a whole lot though. You know, something like a goal…
  • Cleary managed to get hurt during the five minutes of the game I was able to watch. This was exactly what I needed to make my day more enjoyable. At first I was hoping he just got the wind knocked out of him, but I don’t recall seeing him on the ice afterward. In his post-game interview, Babcock said he was being tended to in the training room. I don’t know what that means, but the way things have been going this season, it’s probably a serious upper-body injury that’ll keep him out of the lineup for three months.
  • Nick Lidstrom apparently hit two goalposts tonight. Seriously.
  • The Wings second line tonight was Bertuzzi-Abdelkader-Cleary. Yeah, I said “second.” Not fourth. This is really what it’s come down to.
  • According to the box score, the Wings had six powerplays. And scored on exactly zero of them. That’s just not acceptable. The fact that the PK killed off four penalties is a small consolation, but it doesn’t make up for the fact that the powerplay couldn’t find a way to finish.
  • The box score also tells me that they had 42 shots on net. And scored on exactly zero of them.
  • I saw the replay of that no-goal call when Bertuzzi and Rafalski knocked it in after it was covered by Conklin’s pad. I would have loved it if they let the goal stand, but I’m not particularly surprised by it. It was probably the right call, and even if it wasn’t, it was far less obnoxious than some of the other ones we’ve seen recently. Or maybe I’m just too jaded at this point…
GP Answers:
1. Abdelkader will be centering the second line tonight, which is not bad for a guy who was supposed to be in Grand Rapids this season. He’s played very well over the last stretch of games. How will he look after getting bumped up to the scoring lines?
I don’t know. The five minutes of play that I did see didn’t tell me much. There wasn't a whole lot of scoring going on, though.

2. Datsyuk and Lidstrom got points on Sunday against the Rangers. Will finding the scoresheet wake the two of them up from their offensive slumps?
Well, that’s a big, fat no.

3. Jimmy Howard has created a huge, giant, enormous goalie controversy here in Hockeytown!!! Now that he’s the shiny, new, official, media-anointed starter how will he look tonight? Having to ask that question every night is no fun (but to be fair, I always ask the same of Ozzie), but he still terrifies me in net sometimes.
Guy let in one goal all game. You can’t expect much more from a goalie in the NHL. The Blues didn’t have a ton of shots, but he made enough saves to give the Wings a chance to win. When you only give up one goal, your team ought to at least get a point out of the game.

4. The Wings haven’t exactly been tearing it up at home recently (1-4-1 in their last 6 home games). Can they turn things around and make the home crowd happy?
No. It turns out that they couldn’t even score a goal. There was nothing to celebrate at all. They're now 1-5-1 in their last seven (got it right this time!), including three shutouts.

Cookies and Cupcakes for Jimmy Howard
I don’t know if anyone else was on their game tonight, but Howard only gave up one goal tonight, and I’m of the belief that no starting goalie who limits the opposition to a single goal deserves to take a loss.

All of the skaters get the Golden Facepalm
Okay, Ty Conklin played well tonight. That's no excuse though. Even with all of the injuries, the Wings still have enough talent that they should be able to put at least one puck in the net every night. Three shutouts at home in the last seven games? Inexcusable. Unacceptable. Disgusting. I don't care what adjective you want to use, that just can't happen.

What I learned:
The fun never stops during Finals week. Never ever.