I tried writing a monthly recap after each of the first two months of the season, but I didn’t really like it very much. I’ve decided, instead, to list 31 things that happened in December—one for each day of the month. They’re not even close to being in chronological order, but as is probably apparent, I’m a big fan of bullet points and lists, so hopefully this format will stick.
1. Darren McCarty officially retired.
2. We launched The Obstructed View.
3. We learned that Ville Leino really does only score once in a blue moon.
4. The PK was ridiculous this month—and for the first time in a long time, that means ridiculous in the good sense of the word.
5. Chris Osgood who?
6. Henrik Zetterberg got hurt…and a million fangirls (and fanboys) wore black. They should be returning to their regular player of the game voting routines in the near future.
7. The powerplay was virtually non-existent.
8. The Herm to Hockeytown campaign was launched.
9. Nick Lidstrom’s goalless streak reached absurd heights.
10. Leino managed to play his way right into the press box. Twice…even though everyone and their uncle was injured.
11. The Joe was actually full or close to it for a few games there. Thanks, Christmas Break.
12. The Wings were shutout three times, including twice in a row by Chicago.
13. Valtteri Filppula rejoined the lineup as a belated Christmas present for all of the good little boys and girls of Hockeytown. Wings fans didn’t know what to make of having a guy return to the lineup…it was unprecedented.
14. Brian Rafalski found his team picture adorned with hair for a change.
15. Todd Bertuzzi was the only Wing who remembered how to score. He was absolutely out of control during December.
16. Jimmy Howard got his first NHL shutout. Conveniently, he waited until I was on vacation.
17. We were not treated to curly fries. Is a free snack courtesy of the Wings every now and then too much to ask?
18. Kris Newbury got called up, took a penalty on his first shift, and followed it up by scoring a goal as soon as he got out of the box.
19. Darren Helm scored two shorthanded goals on New Year’s Eve. Even though the second one was an empty netter, it was a good performance.
20. We confessed our sins against the Hockey Gods in an attempt to get them back on the Wings’ side and end the injury epidemic that’s been plaguing them all season.
21. The Wings ended an 8-game streak of 27 straight penalty kills that dated back to November. In light of recent history with their PK, this was absolutely epic.
22. I also read somewhere that the Wings’ PK rating for the month was 95%. Again, epic.
23. On two separate occasions, the Wings had a player injured on the same shift that they gave up a goal—Lebda ended up being okay, but Ericsson’s still out with his knee injury.
24. Trevor Thompson called Todd Bertuzzi a pre-teen…while sitting right next to him. It was an incredible act of bravery.
25. I don’t have the exact numbers, but approximately 86% of the Griffins’ roster made an appearance in the Winged Wheel this month. Things have not been pretty around here.
26. There was a stretch of four games in which Bertuzzi was the only Wing to score a goal. It was pretty sad.
27. Darren Helm created approximately 743 chances off of breakaways or partials, and scored on one of them. If he converted just 1% of the chances that his speed generates, he’d be a 50-goal scorer.
28. Dan Cleary went down with separated shoulder. He’s still out.
29. Helm also got in on the injury action when he sat out a couple of games with a bum wrist.
30. Our hopes for each game went from wanting to win to wanting to skate away with no injuries to just hoping that the injuries were short-term. It’s been that kind of season.
31. The Wings managed to end 2009 on a high note with their win over the Avs on NYE. And what a relief it was.
Okay, that was harder than I thought it would be. I’m already looking forward to February and its measly 28 days.