- At some point during the game, the Twitter conversation turned to Oregon Trail references. I think it had something to do with the Versus guy saying that Filppula was circling the wagons, when really Phoenix had circled their proverbial wagons and Filppula was circling them. Or something like that. In accordance, I decided to write this edition of PGS in those terms. So, I set out on an online journey through the original version of the game. My wagon leader was Mike, and he was joined by Nick, Patrick, Pavel, and Jimmy. (No word on who was wearing the dresses. I'll leave that to you to decide.) I’m sure you can guess how things ended.
- Kronwall threw a check on his first shift of the game. I liked it a lot. In fact, I liked it so much that I forgot to use punctuation when I twittered about it. It was like that promising moment when you leave Independence with just your wagon full of belongings and 5 imaginary friends to set out across the open frontier.
- I was not happy about Brad May being in the lineup tonight. I’ve been hard on Leino, but I still think he’s better than May. That being said, May actually had one of his better games as a Wing. He threw together some shifts full of hard work and even drew a penalty, if my memory serves me correctly.
- Henrik Zetterberg’s play to set up Datsyuk’s goal was a thing of beauty. When he knocked that puck out of midair and settled it down, I thought to myself how awesome it would be if they scored off of it because of how great the play was. The boys didn’t let me down…at least in that one instance.
- It should be mandatory that the Draper-Helm-Eaves line take the shift immediately following a goal against for the rest of forever. When someone in your wagon party dies out on the trail, you don’t hang around and wallow in misery. You want to get away from that spot as fast as possible and escape the bad karma and memories. To do that, you rely on your fastest oxen (Is that an oxymoron? I’m not all that familiar with livestock.) to get you away as fast as possible. And also to score goals. Or something like that.
- There was a weird turn of events in which the Wings actually recovered from giving up goals against rather well (see above bullet point for part of the reason for this). Usually, they just kind of roll over at the first sign of adversity, but they kept up their strong play even after the wagon capsized while trying to float it across the river.
- During the third period, the Eurotwins got involved in a scrum in front of the Wings net. Pavel looked particularly feisty, and Z was dragging guys off of Jimmy Howard. I liked it a lot. You have to stick together and defend your wagon party if you’re going to make it to Oregon. Everyone’s in it together.
- Things were looking good when the Wings took a 4-2 lead late in the third on Lidstrom’s second goal. I was feeling happy for a change, and was getting ready to thank the Wings for cheering me up after a bit of a rough day. We were so close to Oregon, you could almost see the Willamette Valley on the horizon.
- And then this happened. I’m pretty sure it’s more accurate of a description of the last two minutes than I can give:
- I was absolutely not surprised one bit when Phoenix scored in overtime. I was hoping the Wings could survive it and take their chances in the shootout, but I’m a realist. I could see that coming a mile away, just like those rocks downstream.
- This has nothing to do with the game tonight, but it made me laugh kind of a lot. I guess you could apply it to most of the rest of the season, though:
1. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Kronwall’s return tomorrow, and I’m as excited as anybody. I know it’s going to take him a couple of games to get up to speed, but what kind of impact will he make tonight?
Oh boy, was it nice to see him out there on the ice. He just…looked good. There was one play during the second period (I think) when he held onto the puck in the offensive zone, deked a couple of Coyotes, and made a pass. I just sat there wondering how that play would’ve looked if Derek Meech had been there instead. Hint: It wouldn’t have been nearly as pretty.
2. How many minutes of hockey will the Wings actually show up for tonight? 20? 30? 55? It’s anybody’s guess.
58 give or take a few seconds. What is it about SIXTY minutes that the Wings can’t seem to get into their head? This team got all the way to the Columbia river, decided to float down it instead of taking the safe toll road, and crashed and burned in the rapids. It was pathetic.
3. The top two lines have apparently been shuffled with Cleary slated to play with the Eurotwins and Bertuzzi moving down to the second line. Will that have any impact?
The Eurotwin connection was beautiful. I noticed Cleary a lot over the course of the night, but Bertuzzi was fairly invisible. The Eurotwins once again looked good early on, but seemed to fade toward the end. They (and the rest of the team) need to get it in their heads that the destination is Oregon. Not the Green River, not Independence Rock, not the Snake River. Oregon. Finish strong.
4. How many times will the Versus broadcast make me angry tonight?
Every time they said, “[Goalie] says no.” There were also two instances during the first period when a penalty was called, the announcers mentioned it, and then said that they’d get back to it after the break. That makes me want to bang my head on the wall. It’s also possible that I have anger issues. Let’s just say that the Versus broadcast team would not be welcome in my wagon train. They would've been the first ones cast out when the food supply got low.
5. The Wings backed into the 8-spot in the Conference due to Calgary’s loss last night (thanks, Ty Conklin). A loss tonight puts them back out of the playoff picture, while a win will help them start to solidify their position. Which direction will they go? They haven’t exactly wowed us this season when they’ve had chances to pass opponents.
I’m not even going to touch this one. There’s no doubt in my mind that this team would’ve died out on the trail. At least they got a point out of it.
His first goal was absolutely vintage Lidstrom. When was the last time you saw him do that? Here, I have a screencapped picture of a snipe I made while hunting bear that I think captures the beauty of his first goal (His second wasn’t exactly shabby either.):
I’ve watched the replay of his play to set up Datsyuk’s goal numerous times and I’m still amazed by it. Maybe it’s because of my previous life as a bunting specialist in softball, but that kind of hand-eye coordination wows me. He would’ve been a good guy to have around on our trip down the Oregon Trail.
Brad Stuart gets
That was brutal. Where is the Brad Stuart we fell in love with not so long ago? Kronwall coming back was supposed to help him, not make him even worse. I don’t get it. There’s a reason he didn’t get to come along in my wagon tonight. He would’ve been the first to die for sure, even though Patrick suffered not one, but two broken arms on our journey.
What I Learned:
I’m better at Oregon Trail than the Wings are at holding leads. (For the record, I actually won the game these are screencapped from. I don’t lose.)