The Scrappy Octopi are split on our feelings during the game itself; Brian felt exuberantly confident that the Wings would win and at no point during the game did he question what the final outcome would be, while I, adopting a horrible veil of pessimism, remained nervous until Kirk Maltby rang a beautiful empty-netter between the pipes during the final minute of play.
Either way, how great did it feel that the Wings ended this horrendous, odd, complicated road trip on a positive note? Let's hope the momentum follows them back to the Motor City for their next game on home ice against Boston on Tuesday.
The atmosphere during most of the game was eerily tranquil, a stark contrast from the utter chaos of the Vancouver and Edmonton games. This proved to be a good thing for the Wings--the team only took two minor penalties, and the Flames' sole goal did not occur during either of their two power plays, allowing the Wings' PK to escape us fans' wrath for another day.
Henrik Zetterberg skated more fluidly and consistently than at any other point during this young season. Chris Osgood's break seemed to do him some good; however, he didn't face the most daunting of shots from the Flames, in terms of both quantity or quality (the Flames' total shots on goal = 21).
Also worth noting is Brad Stuart, who I felt also had his best game of the season thus far. He scored his first goal of the season and managed to keep himself in position when it counted, checking hard against Calgary, due to, I suppose, him finally removing his head from his sphincter before taking the ice. Good for him. If he keeps this up, he'll find himself permanently off my shit list.
Darren Helm had a HUGE breakaway in the second period due to his lightning-fast speed, reminiscent of his performance during last year's playoffs, and although he couldn't make the shot due to Jay Bouwmeester's
My main criticism of the Wings' performance last night is the power play showed signs of shittiness, a la last year, which is too bad, considering the signs of improvement it has shown of late. The Wings looked disorganized during much of the four power play chances they had last night. It's hard to understand how the Wings' power play can be so wildly inconsistent from game to game.
On a miscellaneous note, I hope everybody had a happy Halloween; I actually meant to post that on Halloween, but alas, the Scrappy Octopus was charged with ensuring that
Now on to the above-referenced suck-o-tash: George Malik had this, and you may want to take a deep breath and/or a handful of quaaludes before proceeding. In said story, everybody's favorite hemorrhoid, Mike Milbury, claims the following (hit of ether, please):
October 30, CBC Sports: Please don't wax poetic about Hull and Howe and Shore. Today's players are bigger, stronger, faster, better conditioned, better coached and with better equipment. The players of the 50s couldn't keep up. And there’s so many of them that you don't need to consult the standings to name a bunch of them. Kopitar in LA. Bobby Ryan in Anaheim. Duchene and O'Reilly in Colorado. Toews and Kane in Chicago. Stamkos in Tampa. Kovalchuk in Atlanta. Gaborik in New York. Parise in New Jersey. Crosby and Malkin and Fleury in Pittsburgh. And on and on.
But it is in Washington where the new generation’s poster boy resides. Hey, Alex Semin, Nick Backstrom and Mike Green are all stars in their own right, but the lightning rod is Alex Ovechkin.
The attraction? He is the next Mr. Hockey, the newly-defined Mr. Hockey. The computerized, twittered, facebooked, instantly gratified and accessible Mr. Hockey.
That just happened.
Look, I would be remiss--and totally full of shit--to try to downplay the kind of superstar that Alexander Ovechkin already is, not to mention the capacity of his star power to grow as his accomplishments continue to increase.
But I hate, hate, HATE this need that our culture feels to try to (A) hastingly proclaim the next big thing, the next prodigy, the next legend, combined with (B) the uber-annoying effort to rewrite history in a lameass attempt to substantiate the predictions and proclamations we've prematurely projected in an attempt to convey our genius in being the first to spot the next legend of our time.
Ovie has accomplished much in his young career, to be sure. He puts forth tremendous, sometimes seemingly un-human effort, game after game, and his ice work is beautiful and awe-inspiring. His capacity is the kind of once-in-a-lifetime talent that forces hockey fans of all teams to pause and take notice because we all love the game, and above all else, Ovie exudes unfettered passion on the ice, reminding us of why we fell in love with hockey in the first place.
...when a full-tilt dumbass like Mike Milbury thinks he can anoint Gordie Howe's long-deserved and long-acknowledged title onto the world's current superstar, two simple thoughts immediately enter my mind: (A) Who in the fuck does he think he is? and (B) Kiss my ass.
Mr. Howe lives and breathes hockey. Not only is his professional career the longest-spanning of any other hockey player in the history of the League, his work off the ice, along with his late wife, has helped so many young people explore their dreams.
I understand that Mr. Milbury, despite being middle-aged, may not have the appreciation for Mr. Howe that we die-hard Wings' fans have. I, for one, am 23 years old, so I never had the opportunity to watch Howe play during his prime.
But just because something is in the supposedly far-away past does not negate its importance or its significance. Mr. Howe was also a once-in-a-lifetime player, stacking up records that no one even dreamed could be touched until the arrival of Wayne Gretzky.
Perhaps equally as important as his athletic accomplishments is his very un-celebrity demeanor. Howe is classy. He is unassuming. He exemplifies quiet grace. Countless times, I have watched documentaries on the NHL Network about Gretzky, which, ultimately, show Gretzky surpassing Howe's record for career goals, and Mr. Howe graciously appearing with him at a press conference and praising Gretzky's accomplishments while understating his own.
The Red Wings organization's aura of unpretentious, quiet accomplishment begins and ends with Gordie Howe; the ego-free stars who have emerged in the time since Howe's departure have all followed in his footsteps, maintaining unassuming dignity despite the Wings' dynastic run over much of the past two decades.
I suppose it's because the stock footage of Howe's talent exists solely on black-and-white reels that Mike Milbury doesn't understand why the generations since Howe's heyday haven't snatched the title of Mr. Hockey away from him and capriciously offered it to any handful of newcomers who have shown extraordinary promise.
Because we know better. And anybody with more than two functioning braincells knows better.
Those of us who understand this can add this latest goodie from Mike Milbury into the fat stack of ridiculousness that comprises the Milbury experience, including, but not limited to, being too much of a dolt to manage Charlie Wang's faltering Long Island enterprise, being best known during his playing career for assaulting a fan with the fan's own footwear, and making my ears bleed with his mindless blather each and every time I'm forced to watch a hockey broadcast on NBC.
Mr. Howe will always be Mr. Hockey. End. Of. Story. Perhaps it would do Milbury some good to lay off the peyote before coming to work.