On Red Wings

Just another Red Wings weblog (but it's mine)


Posted in Red Wings with tags , , , , , , , on March 25, 2010 by Steve Klein

Whiner Crosby doesn't like it when the Wings lean on him.

Whiner Crosby doesn't like it when the Wings lean on him.

“Sleep is overrated,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after being asked if he was resting easier after the Wings’ 4-2 victory over the Blues in Hockeytown Wednesday night.

I’m not sleeping great, either, although I am resting easier about the Wings’ playoff chances.

Housekeeping: Servers were down earlier in the week, so I missed an update following the Wings’ 3-1 victory over the Penguins Monday in Hockeytown. The highlight for me came at the end of the game when the NHL’s favorite player, Whiner Crosby, expressed his frustration with Henrik Zetterberg with a couple crosschecks to the back for — horror of horrors — covering him like a Swedish massage all game. Zetterberg pushed back, but goalie Jimmy Howard decided he didn’t like Crosby’s actions in front of goal and gave the “Face of the NHL” a face wash with his big, smelly catching glove. Best moment since Johan Franzen yanked the mouthpiece out of Yakker Kane‘s mouth against the Black Hawks in the playoffs.

Score: Wings 4, Blues 2

Game #73 (9 games to play, 18 points), 87 points, 8th place. Wings are 9-2-1 since the Olympic break.

Team        Games   Points   Place
Kings         72             90            5th
Avs             73             89            6th
Preds         74            89             6th
WINGS   73            87            8th
Flames      73           83              9th

Up next: The Wild in Hockeytown Friday, then a big one in Nashville Saturday.

What I liked about the game: Have you noticed that Valteri Filppula (3 goals the last 2 games) and Todd Bertuzzi (2 assists vs. the Penguins, 1 vs. the Blues) since Babcock put them both on a line with Zetterberg (3 goals in the last 2 games)? … Nobody’s asking if Howard is the Wings’ No. 1 goalie anymore.

What I didn’t like about the game: This is a didn’t like/like moment since the Wings won. Paul Kariya‘s goal was a thing of beauty as he split Brian Rafalski and Nick Lidstrom just past the Wings’ blueline, then outraced Zetterberg with a burst of speed to score on Howard. Kariya, who played for the late Shawn Walsh at Maine, would have made a great Red Wing (my highest hockey complement).

The BIG question: Can the Wings pass any of the three teams immediately ahead of them to finish 5th in the Western Conference? And do they want to?

Quote: “Some wins aren’t easy and this was one.” — Mike Babcock

Mood meter: We’ll see at what point of the day Babcock is wrong about sleep being overrated.

Every second counts

Posted in Red Wings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 21, 2010 by Steve Klein

Happy Wings come flying home for Sidney.

Happy Wings come flying home for Sidney.

What is it that Lance Armstrong says? Every second counts.

It’s a 60-minute game, or 65 when you play regulation overtime. That’s 3600 and 3900 seconds, and the Red Wings have needed every last one of them the past two nights to pick up 3 of a possible 4 critical points in the standings.

After Brian Rafalski scored with .02 seconds remaining in regulation to save a point against Edmonton, Henrik Zetterberg did the same in OT to give the Wings 2 points.

Score: Red Wings 4, Canucks 3, OT

Game #71 (11 games to play, 22 points), 83 points, 8th-place, 2 points ahead of Calgary, 3 behind 7th-place Colorado (which has a game in hand — hi, Avs),  4 behind Nashville (but a game in hand) and Los Angeles (which has a game in hand).

The good news: If the Wings keep winning, 5th and 6th places could come into play.

The bad news: Nashville keeps winning, too. … Dan Cleary and Patrick Eaves missed the game with injuries, forcing Mike Babcock to dress eight defensemen.

What I liked about the game: The Wings didn’t give up a power play goal in two tries and now have allowed just 3 power play goals in the last 17 games. … Valteri Filppula‘s shorthanded goal gave the Wings a 3-2 lead against the Canucks. Filppula had a goal and 2 assists. … Todd Bertuzzi scored his first goal in 18 games. … Jimmy Howard stopped 29 of 32 shots. … Wings took 54 shots at Roberto Luongo.

What I didn’t like about the game: The Wings didn’t show up again, falling behind 2-0 and not scoring for more than 32 minutes into the game before scoring 3 goals in 5 minutes.
NOTE to Gary Bettman, who I’m sure doesn’t read this blog: Why does an ET team have to play so many 9:30, 10 and 10:30 MT and PT games as a member of the Western Conference?

The BIG question: Are you ready for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins Monday night in Hockeytown? I’m surprised Gary Bettman didn’t change the game to Sunday afternoon for NBC. Why would the Wings playing a third-straight game and the night before in Vacouver be a problem, right, Gary?

Mood meter: Sleepy from waking up at 12:30 p.m. to catch the end of the game. Worth it, but NOTE to Gary Bettman

Quote: “I didn’t know how much time was left, but it was enough.” — Henrick Zetterberg

Home(r) run

Posted in Red Wings with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 16, 2010 by Steve Klein

The goal scorers.

The goal scorers.

So, I wake up with about five minutes to go in the Wings-Flames game and the score 1-1.

(NOTE to Gary Bettman, who I’m sure doesn’t read this blog: Why does an ET team have to play so many 9:30 and 10:30 MT and PT games as a member of the Western Conference? Heck, the Bruins and Devils were done by the time this game started. Talk about a built-in time zone competitive advantage.)

But I digress.

At the start of the season, I would have told you that this was Tomas Holmstrom‘s last season with the Wings, that he was injury-plagued and wearing down from the constant beating this brave warrior takes every game in front of the net.

But it was Holmstrom’s goal with 1:19 to play in the game that gave the Wings this critical 2-1 victory; it was his screening presence in front of Calgary goalie Mikka Kiprusoff that helped, if not assisted, Pavel Datsyuk score on a power play with 50 seconds left in the second period to tie the game at 1.

Score: Wings 2, Flames 1

Game #69 (13 games to play, 26 points), 80 points, 8th place, 3 points ahead of the 9th-place Flames, 1 point behind 7th-place Nashville, and — dare we think — 4 points behind 6th-place Colorado and 5 points behind 5th-place Los Angeles.

Up next: At Edmonton Friday at 9 p.m., at Vancouver Saturday at 10 p.m. (NOTE to Gary Bettman, who I’m sure doesn’t read this blog: So, the Wings have to wait three days out West to play back-to-back games?)

What I liked about the game: In addition to Holmstrom, how can you not mention Jimmy Howard, who stopped 22 of 23 shots, including a penalty shot.

What I didn’t like about the game: Waking up at almost midnight to catch the end of the game … Brian Rafalski‘s double minor for high sticking. That’s two games in a row that Rafalski has been careless with his stick.

The BIG question: Well, Todd Bertuzzi is a big man, and he carried the Wings for a few games offensively earlier this season. But it has been 17 games since he last scored a goal. To his credit — and there are many who would have doubted it possible — Big Todd is playing well away from the puck and not taking stupid penalties in the offensive zone.

Quote I: “Don’t worry about scoring goals. Worry about being a good forechecker. Worry about being physical. When you get the puck, take it to the net and if you get a chance shoot it. Look after all your defensive responsibilities, take care of the puck and everything will work out just fine. Just play.”
Mike Babcock on Bertuzzi, Dan Cleary (no goals in 11 games) and Valteri Filppula (1 goal in 9 games).

Quote II: “It looked like (Franzen) was going to get control of the puck so I just hung around the net. He knows where I am and I was lucky to get my stick on it.”
Tomas Holmstrom

It’s not all about the Wings: I agree with the Alexander Ovechkin suspension, and I probably would have given him more than two games (sorry, Nate Ewell). It isn’t that Ovie didn’t push the Hawks’ Brian Campbell hard, it’s where he pushed him in relation to the boards. “He fell bad,” Ovie said. Yup. And you pushed him — does Ovechkin know how strong he is? — in a bad place. Ovechkin has great ice awareness. He plays hard, with passion. The hit was careless at best, dangerous at worse.

Mood meter: Sleep deprived but happy.

Strong at the Helm

Posted in Red Wings with tags , , , , , on March 6, 2010 by Steve Klein

Andreas Lilja hugs Darren Helm after a Helm's shorthanded goal.

Andreas Lilja hugs Darren Helm after a Helm's shorthanded goal.

Can’t sleep.

Fortunately, the Wings aren’t keeping me up tonight like they did Wednesday after the Vancouver stinker. The 5-2 victory over the Predators Friday night was more like the way the Wings keep saying they need to play to make the playoffs.

For only the second time all season, and we’re 64 games into this Death March of a season already, the Wings went up 4-0 in a game, according to FoxSports Detroit broadcaster Ken Daniels. OK, I’m not quite sure what kind of a yardstick that’s supposed to be other than the Wings rarely blow out anybody anymore.

Score: Wings 5, Predators 2.

Game #64 (18 games to go, 36 points): 72 points, 8th place. As a result, the Wings solidified their tenuous hold on the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference (well, not really; Calgary won and is only 1 points behind in 9th), 3 points ahead of St. Louis, 4 ahead of Dallas, 5 ahead of Minnesota and Anaheim. And Nashville is still in sight, 3 points ahead in 7th. When the Wings win 5 games in a row, we can maybe talk about 6th. But let’s not carried away with NBC new-fave Chicago next at 12:30 p.m. ET Sunday.

The BIG QUESTION: Sure, Darren Helm had two goals, one shorthanded. But how come he hadn’t scored in a month? And how come Valteri Filppula only has six goals?

What I liked about the game: Pavel Datsyuk‘s takeaway unassisted goal to give the Wings an early 1-0 lead. That hurt, eh? And Tomas Holmstrom‘s 17 goal from the office.

What I didn’t like about the game: The Preds crept to within two goals. Fortunately, it was 4-0 at that point, not one of those dangerous (to the Wings) 2-goal leads.

Quote: “I thought we were ready to play.” — Mike Babcock.

Mood meter: Caffeinated.

Back to the Malts shop?

Posted in Red Wings with tags , , , , , on February 13, 2010 by Steve Klein

Hey, go easy on that shoulder!

Kirk Maltby has played for the Detroit Red Wings since 1995. Along with Kris Draper and the retired Darren McCarty, they made up the Wings’ famed Grind Line for many years.

But now it sounds like Maltby is grinding down himself.

“Maltby has been playing with a chronic shoulder, really since last June, and it’s been progressively getting worse and worse and worse and worse and worse,” General Manager Ken Holland said.

That’s a lot of “worse.”

It’s pretty obvious that Holland would like to clear about $750,000 of cap space (Maltby’s salary) to clear the $750,000 the Wings need to activate defenseman Andreas Lilja.

All this won’t happen Saturday night against Ottawa, Detroit’s final game for the month. Lilja won’t play. But Maltby will, thanks to injuries to Valtteri  Filppula and Patrick Eaves. Will Malty ultimately bite the bullet for the Wings and go on injured reserve during the Olympic break? Looks like tonight’s game will tell. Maybe Malts will score a hat trick, eh?