30 January 2010

We've been waiting for this since June.

Don't forget to truck on over to Winging It in Motown during tomorrow's game to participate in the live game thread. For every comment posted, money will be donated to the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti. You can also contact WIM's Casey to donate directly. Brian will be repping the TSO duo tomorrow; he's promised to refrain from horribly inappropriate commentary--however, I feel the need to tell you he won't be wearing pants. This shouldn't affect how he communicates with everyone tomorrow, but it will definitely affect how you feel every time you see something pop up from him.

Wings @ Penguins. Sunday. 12:30 p.m.

Our hockey day festivities will be in the form of a game, which we are sharing with you hereafter. It's kind of a bingo/drinking game mashup, meaning you can play the game however you so choose. If you want to play postage stamp, upper right corner, fine. If you want to chug a little every time one of the following things happens, fine. All we know is that we're not over what happened in June, and if the Wings' effort against Pittsburgh sucks ass, we'll probably lose our damn minds. (Also, I have a healthy dose of trash talk on the line here, personally. And really, I just cannot psychologically handle a piss poor effort on our part against this team.)

Let's go, Wings.

29 January 2010

Friday fun times and good stuff.

TSO's good pal saraneuie has graced our inbox with yet another example of her fantabulous photo-taking skills. This really needs no introduction, except I feel the need to tell Krononymous and Dena to take a seat if they haven't already. It's Sara's compilation of moments from Kronwall's first game back:

(If you click on the image, it will get bigger. [That's what she said.] No, but seriously, you can have a full-screen version of Kronner. Wait. Is that the sound of screensavers being updated all across the interwebs?)

Tonight, the Wings take on the Nashville Predators in Detroit. My apologies to the number of you who expressed your love for the Jordin(?!) Tootoo whistle at the Sommet Center. Maybe this will help to ease the pain:

Really, we started "dance dance assholes" on here as a lighthearted way to anticipate upcoming games; now it's simply a sweet distraction from the pain of everyday existence: Nashville is currently in 7th place in the Conference, with 61 points to our 59. It's imperative that the Wings wrap up a win in regulation. Not only will it help us in the standings, but it'll also set a good tone for the weekend, heading into a tough game in hell at Mellon Arena on Sunday. (Can we get a head count of how many people are excited to see Mike Milbury again? Anybody? Oh, come on, don't be shy.)

And since it's Friday, we're giving them out like candy. Here's another funny:

Let's go, Wings.

28 January 2010

A Call to Arms

Dear Scrappy Readers*,

*This is actually directed at the approximately zero of you who stumble across this site and not the infinitely more fabulous Motown Wings, The Production Line, and/or The Obstructed View. Yep, all none of you. But whatever, since you're already here, just keep reading, please.

It's time we had a serious talk.

By now, you've all heard of Herm to Hockeytown, or, more colloquially, H2H. And I know you've all opened up your wallets and donated a few bucks to the effort because even though Herm's all set to go to the game on March 26, you know that the extra moolah is going to the kiddos at DMC.

You're also all keyed up to participate in live-blogging during the Pens game on Sunday over at Winging It in Motown because you know that for every comment posted, money will be donated to helping the relief effort in Haiti.

But wait, there's something else on your to-do list, isn't there?

That's right. You still have to make that Twitter account so you can follow @RedWingsOV and @H2Hockeytown.

Since we've been pals for several months now, I feel I can be frank with you: What the fuck are you waiting for?

I mean, seriously. Do you not realize that we have a potentially life-changing scenario on the line here, and it all depends on enough of you following those accounts?

Oh, wait. You haven't heard? Oh, boy: We were commissioned by Chris over at Motown Wings a few days ago to design a killer T-shirt for #44's #1 fan, Michael Petrella to wear during the H2H game. And by "killer", I mean it's going to be so awesome, people may die of awesome overload upon resting their eyes on it. We're pulling out all the stops, including, but not limited to, egregious use of flourescent colors, multiple hearts and other whimsical designs, excessive liberties with glitter--basically all the fabulously elaborate factors you'd imagine would be involved in conveying Petrella's undying love to his hockey idol.

But here's the deal. If you don't sign up for Twitter and follow them, it won't happen. And that would be really detrimental to the happiness of everyone involved. I mean, Herm is coming all the way from Brazil. Don't you think seeing one half of TPL sporting a Bert-lovin' hot pink shirt for all the world to see would make his experience just a teensy bit more awesome than it's already guaranteed to be? Really, you guys have seen tons of my artistic finesse via Paint collages. You can imagine how bombass this shirt will be. (Yves Saint-Laurent on meth is how I describe my eye for design.)

Oh, I get it. You're not going to H2H, so you're not all that excited for it. Well, guess what. There will be pictures taken. And maybe even video. I mean, Brian's planning on having a danceoff with at least one other person there, so we'll try to get Petrella on camera, too.

So, it's decided then. You've already opened up another tab and are signing up for Twitter as you read this. Awesome! Here are some of the fun things you can do:

--Follow yours truly and we can talk about all kinds of awesome things 140 characters at a time (Brian may even sext you via direct message, so get excited!): @ScrappyOctopus

--Follow Petrella and harass him with tweets about how much he and Bert were probably separated at birth (they each have half a golden medallion, and H2H will be the magical event in which they'll discover it!): @mpetrella

--Follow Chris and thank him for being the boss of brainstorming devious plans: @chollis

--Follow our bud Andy and harass him with Abba lyrics (I heard somewhere that's his favorite band): @FightNightatJoe

For fuck's sake, just sign up for an account, follow RedWingsOV and H2Hockeytown, and then forget that you have a Twitter account, if it's not your bag. Just do it. Please?

Thanks a million and LYLAS/B,
The Scrappy Octopus

Minnesota wild out against Wings, 5-2.

We're sick of using brain power to say the same shit, so we're recapping it in two words, one picture:

Shit. Show.

27 January 2010

Winger. Wednesday.

As Brian mentioned in his (non-)recap last night, I had today's post all planned out yesterday. I had my question ready, along with my own answers. I even had some of it worded in my head already. And, after learning the result of last night's game, I had chosen an angry, alliterative song to include in the post; with the questions at hand and the raging music as a background, I thought for sure it would help us get the anger and disappointment from last night out of our systems.

Then Brian sent me a link from Deadspin (via Canucks' blog Orland Kurtenblog). And I busted a nut laughing over it. (Well, if I had nuts. I mean, I don't...oh, Jesus, explaining my genitalia to strangers is awkward. I'm a chick. What am I going to say, I ruptured an ovary? Just not as funny.) Anyway, I decided to change the tone of the post, as the link in question was completely apropos of the question I had in mind.

Today's magical question is another two-parter:

(A) Which current NHL player do you straight up hate the most?

(B) Which current NHL player do you hate, despite not having a tangible, legitimate reason to hate said player?

My answers:

(A) Patrick Kane.

Yep, this guy:

Why do I hate Kane so much? I mean, I could have chosen a softball: Sidney Crosby. I could have picked a well-known agitator, like Chris Pronger or Sean Avery.

The obvious answer is that I have an unadulterated, unapologetic hatred of all things Chicago Blackhawks. (I feel the need here to point out, parenthetically, that we have exactly one known Hawks fan in our readership. She comments on here occasionally, and really, I have no idea why she reads our site, although we find it to be awesome. A bit sadomasochistic, perhaps, but awesome nonetheless.)

You're right, though. I fucking hate the Chicago Blackhawks. We have a tag as such on here, and according to my kickass tag cloud, it's in the middle tier of our most-discussed subjects.

But I hate Kane for reasons other than that.

I hate him because he's a good player who is inherently unlikeable because he's a douchebag. Despite playing for the Hawks, there are--brace yourself; this is a big admission, coming from me--players on their roster I can admire for their hard work and lack of asshole-ish-ness. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp come to mind immediately. Despite the rivalry between Detroit and Chicago fans, you'd be hard pressed to find a Wings' fan who could form a legitimate argument for Toews and Sharp sucking at life (Sharp's accidental spearing of Lidstrom's nad aside). Moreover, despite being a hardcore fan of one team, of course there are players we admire from afar. For example, Brian has a raging guycrush on Nicklas Backstrom. I love watching Ryan Miller do his thing (unless he's playing against us).

But I can't admire Kane. I don't care how many amazing shootout goals he scores. I don't care that he won the Calder. I don't care that he is one-third of one of the best top lines in the League right now. It doesn't matter. At the end of the day, I'll always remember him as the guy who (allegedly) beat up a cabbie in his hometown. Period.

His apologists chalk up his behavior to being young and stupid. Hey, nobody knows the definition of "young and stupid" better than us over here. Vomiting on someone you're hooking up with because you're lights-out drunk? Check. Dancing on a bar and almost killing yourself in the process? Check. Not recalling--until someone painfully reminds you--the horrible confessions you made to people you hardly know, or, worse yet, to people you know too well? Check. We've all been there. But how many of us have physically assaulted someone and gotten arrested? (Jersey Shore aficionados, feel free to raise your hands now.)

Bottom line? In my book, he's a dick. And, barring him curing cancer, negotiating a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, successfully encouraging nuclear disarmament, and convincing all nations to follow the Kyoto Protocol, he always will be.

(B) Ryan Getzlaf

I'll keep this short and sweet. Other than his playing for the Anaheim Ducks, I have no legitimate reason to hate Ryan Getzlaf. He's a great player. He's not even the most irritating person on his roster. But honestly, he just looks like a jackass:

Also, he always seems to throw a bitchfit (mouthing off, throwing water bottles) when he gets sent to the penalty box, particularly if the Ducks are trailing. Maybe he's just a hothead, or maybe it's misplaced passion, but really, it just comes across as lame.


I had to do it. Mostly because I'm a little confused about why someone is teaching the Steegmeister how to do self breast exams. (Man, that girl in the red flannel really got around, eh?)

Thoughts, anyone?

While you ponder, here's a little mood music for you to celebrate the lasciviousness. Don't act like you don't love this.

26 January 2010

This tastes like a glued up dickhole.

Sorry, no recap of a game I didn't see tonight, which sucks, because I like reading those. What I can give you though is a quick story about how I came up with that little nugget of a title.

Here's how TSO spent their night - Watching the French film Amelie, which if you've never seen it before...definitely worth a watch if you don't mind subtitles. Anyway, as you know, we couldn't catch the game because we have Direct TV. Throughout the game we caught score updates. Well, movie is done, and we look at the score guide......4-2 Wings, with about two minutes left. What could possibly go wrong? We break out a big fat bag of candy and have a few pieces. Then......

....4-3. We can't blow a two-goal lead in under two minutes, can we?

WE CAN!!!! Never doubt kids, never doubt, not this year anyway. Not even watching the game we knew what would happen. So the always lovely Natalie breaks out this squarish piece of candy. It states on the clear wrapper it's called "Jelly Nougat", but what it probably ACTUALLY was is a small brick of caulk. She's eating it and asks me if I'd like a bite. Suspect, yes, but I'm brave. I say yes and take a small bite....

The first thing I can think of upon tasting this rejected tube of JB Weld or whatever the fuck it was is of course the first thing I say, as I sometimes have no verbal filter - "This tastes like a glued up dick hole".

What I MEANT was caulk because that's what it looked and actually tasted like, but I think this was WAY funnier. It tasted worse than a bukkake sandwich. And it's also a lovely metaphor for the game itself! Immediately after the game was over we see the highlights pop up on NHL Network. Hmmmmmm. Interesting.

So blog land will tell us soon enough how truly shiteous this loss was. Describe it in detail for us, folks, because without having seen it, it SEEMS like this game was a shitshow.

Nat has a great Wednesday question in store for you, but my initial thought this evening: This is probably the second or third most frustrating Wings squad to watch in my lifetime. Thoughts? The cup is for closers, as A2Y so eloquently put it (forgive me if I'm incorrectly attributing that quote). This team isn't that, at least not right now.

Return to KRONWORLD.

Two days = massive eternity. No, seriously. I'm not joking on this one. We take a couple days off from the old McBlogster, and so many awesome things occurred in the interim:

1. We found out that Niklas Kronwall returns to the lineup...TONIGHT, against Phoenix.

2. As previously reported, Tomas Holmstrom says he may return to the lineup on Friday against the Predators. If this is true, I Can't. Fucking. Wait. (Is anybody else as seriously stoked as we are to have a Friday game to watch instead of a Saturday game? It gives us something to do other than go to sleep at 10 p.m.)

3. Somebody with the most kickass handle ever, DatsyukianGeek, started following us on Twitter. I could not stop thinking about this all weekend.

We also missed recapping the game against the Kings on Saturday, although, unfortunately, we did not miss the suckass game altogether. Can I take a five and talk to you guys for a second? TSO--both of us--had a particularly chaotic week with our jobs and whatnot, so we went underground for the weekend by literally running away. Before you get all worried and commence sending us greeting cards of your own, we're ok. Actually, last week resulted in some pretty good news for me, in the form of a "promotion" (best way to describe it--more money + more hours + more responsibilities) and the hiring of a new employee I'll get to menace. I'm greatly looking forward to it. I'm considering conducting my own interview, just to see if we hit it off. Here, let me run a question by you guys:

Question: Imagine a person enters our workplace, acts a fool, and then departs. Upon said person's departure, I make a killer sarcastic remark. Your reaction:

A. Laugh along appreciatively.

B. Quickly retort with your own snarky statement, thereby one-upping me and becoming my brand-new BFF and de facto soulmate.

C. Chuckle slightly, only because you're a consummate professional, but later give me an exploding fist bump to celebrate my awesomeness.

D. Scold me for my obvious lack of professionalism.

E. Burst into tears because you've never been able to grasp sarcasm. (Note: I do not believe in tears, so I will not offer you a Kleenex.)

I think it's a good barometer, don't you?

Anyway, as previously mentioned, the Wings take on the Coyotes tonight, and, as also previously mentioned, Nik Jr. comes back with a vengeance tonight. Now, if any of you read my comments on here--no, really, you all don't need to raise your hands at once--you may have noticed that I promised one of our readers, Dena, a surprise upon Kronwall's return. You see, Dena, as well as one of our anonymous commenters, has a lovesick, almost actually sick, obsession with #55, and, as you all know, we love to celebrate obsessions and fanatics of all kinds here at TSO. See, others would possibly consider putting them on a reality show or sending her to love rehab (Dr. Drew's available, right?), but over here, we place passionate fans like them on a pedestal. I mean, it's not as if I haven't been caught peering into the window of #96's home. Without further adieu, here goes:

Hey, look, I made a collage without the use of "chickenpox" (my feeble attempt at recreating freckles, as Brian is a freckleface. I'm glad the person who commented that it was chickenpox didn't guess herpes, though. I mean, I would have found it funny, but I'm not sure Brian would have enjoyed being known around the internets as Herpesface. And I definitely wouldn't want to be known as girlfriend of Herpesface. Wait, hearing that in my head just now did make me giggle...)

I have no idea what Dena or the anonymous commenter look like, so I just made them both Smurfs. Hope neither of you mind. Also, you guys have the longest torsos ever. Does that mean you're constantly looking for tunics or muumuus to wear since regular shirts are virtually impossible? On a positive note, can I just say that those shades of lipstick look fabulous on the two of you? Hope you ladies have the time of your lives watching the game tonight.

So that's what's up. The puck drops at 7 p.m. tonight. Alas, we won't be watching it. (Bitchface Versus.) However, you may be treated to one of Brian's fabulous "Recap of a game I didn't watch" recaps. Or you could just go to a blog with standards and consistency. In any event, let's go, Wings!

23 January 2010

An Update on #96.

Per Khan, for sure:
Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom said this morning that he is hoping to return to the lineup Jan. 29 or 31, which seems overly optimistic considering he has taken only a few light spins on the ice and hasn't felt good.

"I've been skating three times this week, nothing really serious,'' Holmstrom said. "I didn't feel that good, couldn't really push away. I don't want to push away either because it could get worse.''
Gotta love how anxious he is to return to the lineup; I just hope we get Homer back at 100%, so if that means we don't get to see him for a few additional weeks, I'll take it. We need Homer at his best, and we don't want to risk further injury to him.

Khan also points out that today is Homer's birthday. Oh, don't we here at TSO know it. (For sure.) I had this card all ready to go, but I had to redo it because I didn't think it was quite festive enough; it still had a pallor of sadness to it, and since we got the good news from Khan today, our smiles are just a little bit wider.

Also, per Khan, we learned of the following attempted hijinks:
He said he was watching his back, making sure Kris Draper didn't strike with a towel full of shaving cream.

"I've gotten him enough times already,'' Draper. "He's too easy a target because he can't move real good.''
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HOMER!! (For sure, I know you're an avid reader of your #1 fan.)

21 January 2010

Wings try to lose, still win 4-3.

If you have some sort of heart condition, this team will probably have you dead before the playoffs. I hate to be the one to break that to you.

Let us start with the good:

The Wings tried for THIRTY WHOLE MINUTES!!!!! Seriously!!!!

Jimmy made some game-saving saves.

Todd Bertuzzi didn't take a dumb penalty.

A win is a win, I guess, right? Right? Why do I not feel good about tonight's game? Oh, right, because the Wings, while dominating the first period, were only ahead 1-0. Todd Bertuzzi could've had a hat trick; instead, that goon can't even get breakaway shots off. What a dolt.

Anyway, here are some of TSO's thoughts on tonight's game:

1. Again, good game by Jimmy. Not an "I'm Jimmy Howard and I'm going to own this game like it was a cock" (TSO=big Kevin Smith fan) type game, but good. He made many key saves and was huge in the shootout.

2. Natalie's take on Ville in the shootout: "He made me shit my pants. Runny." Her words, not mine.

3. There needs to be some kind of consequence for Babcock placing Dan Cleary in shootouts. Maybe I agree to TP his house anytime he pulls that shit. It should never happen. Ever. If he is the last guy.....maybe you put him in. Or maybe you let a backup goalie have a shot. I'm just saying.

4. Bert, seriously, what the hell? TSO is in the Pro-Tuzzi camp, but after the first period, though he scored a goal, I was VERY in the Con-Tuzzi camp.

5. Seriously, though, do you think Pavel Datsyuk loves or hates playing with Bert? They have chemistry, but do you think Datsyuk has started drinking harder because despite his best setup effort, Bert can't quite seem to bury much? Good lord.

6. Actual comment made by me during the game (after the third Detroit goal the PA played the Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again") - "Why are they playing that? They don't need to worry about it. Backstrom won't get fooled again. The Wings will take their foot off the gas and not do anything else offensively." I didn't quite think they'd collapse like that though.

7. Seriously, this inability to finish is maddening. This would never happen if Franzen were still alive.

8. Darren Helm doesn't really ever have bad games, does he? Man-crush on Helm is intensifying by the day. Why isn't HE in the shootout?

TSO needs to go check out the next-to-last evening Tonight Show antics (and probably fall asleep after 30 seconds). A win is a win, right?

Canadiens say au revoir to Georges Laraque.

Per TSN.ca (and, technically, per Kukla's Korner's retweet of Darren Dreger's tweet, including a link to the article), I present you the following:

Georges Laraque will not play another game with the Montreal Canadiens.

General manager Bob Gainey contacted him Thursday morning and told him that head coach Jacques Martin didn't had any confidence in him anymore and the team believes they can win without the enforcer in the lineup. The club does not intend to play him for the rest of the season and will buy him out at the end of the 2009-10 campaign.

In light of the recent events in Haiti, where Laraque's parents were born, he had the following to say about the timing of his firing:

"Classless," Laraque said angrily. "To do this in the midst of all I'm dealing with in Haiti, the timing is awful. I'm not going to sugar coat anything."

I don't know about all that. Obviously, the recent events in Haiti are horrendous; you'd have to be an absolutely soulless person not to feel a heavy sense of sadness about the aftermath of last week's earthquake.

But, really? Georges Laraque--notably a dirty player with a big mouth, which he completely owns up to having--wants a pass on getting fired for not doing his job for the past two years because of personal turmoil?

That's not the way it works. Laraque of all people should know this. One of the readers of the TSN article commented the following:
Honestly who pulls the Haiti card? The players always say they make business decisions. Does that mean when Gainey's daughter passed away on the boat that not one player should have been planning a new long term deal out of respect.
Agreed. You could make a similar argument for Jose Theodore, whose infant son died over the summer; meanwhile, this year, he's been wrangling with not only Semyeon Varlamov, but also Michal Neuvirth, for the prime goaltending spot in Washington.

Tragedy happens. It's a part of life. In Laraque's case, he hadn't been able to perform his job--the brute enforcer--with consistency, due to his long-suffering back problems and just general suckage, which occurred long before the catastrophe in Haiti.

If I can't perform the specific duties of my job, I highly doubt I'd be able to hold on to it by insisting to my employer that I had had something horrible happen to me personally, well after I had ceased excelling at my daily tasks.

Now, because I can't resist digging in a little bit on this one, I'll leave you with one of my favorite cliches: What goes around comes around. (My super-country aunt particularly enjoys using this adage on the daily.) To me, Laraque is one of the dirtiest douchebags in the League, and while I'm not really a spiritual person, I do believe that karmic retribution comes to all who deserve it, for better or for worse. Perhaps he would have had greater job security if he had made a career out of something other than headhunting (or kneehunting, for that matter).

For TSO's part, though, I did decide to take it easy on Laraque; for example, I did have "AHAHAHAHAHA" in the title, but I thought that might be taking it a little far.

20 January 2010

Wild Thing Wednesday.

I challenge you NOT to have this song in your head for the rest of the day. For the record, I always get this and "Funky Cold Medina" confused.

So, we're desperately in need of distraction today, right? This is our third installment of the Wednesday question, and on each of the past three Wednesdays, we at TSO have been dying for something completely superfluous and largely irrelevant to take our minds off the bitter struggles of our team.

Today, we're discussing something completely superficial: team logos. I picked up this book recently called The Final Four of Everything, which--you guessed it--uses bracketology to determine playoff scenarios for random pop culture, ranging from Clint Eastwood movies to breakfast cereals to American beers to...NFL logos. The championship round for the NFL logos finds the Dallas Cowboys' star versus the Cleveland Browns'...nothing. The book crowned the Browns the winners for refusing to cave to commercialization and for being unique. (To that, I say, BAH! You can't award a prize for best logo to a team with no logo; I don't care what message it sends. For my money, I choose the kickass Oakland Raiders' logo.)

On a related note, today's question:

With the exception of the Winged Wheel, what is the best NHL logo, and, conversely, what is the worst NHL logo?

Me? I'm a classic kind of girl, who tends to gravitate toward old-school block lettering and logos as opposed to modern design. I choose the Toronto Maple Leafs--it's simple, it's traditional, and it hasn't strayed far from its original model. It's location-specific, another factor I value in team design.

A close second is the Montreal Canadiens' old-school C, with the tiny H inscribed in the middle. Another example of a team refusing to fix what isn't broken and maintaining their identity over the course of decades. Easy choices in that both of my selections are Original Six teams? Maybe. But you don't see me choosing the Blackhawks or the Rangers, do you?

For worst logo, I nominate the Minnesota Wild, just in time to get riled up for the game on Thursday (as if we needed another reason). But seriously--what the hell is going on with their logo? The "Wild Animal" is a vomity combination of colors, featuring a Northwoods landscape enclosed in an outline of some rabid woodland creature in heat. Horrible. And really a disgrace, too, because the hockey-happy people of Minnesota really do deserve something a little more tasteful (with the exception of A2Y's foe, Pinky).

A (dis)honorable mention goes out to the Colorado Avalanche, who escape my primary nomination because my complaint is not really geared toward their snow-sash A as it is with the goofy foot they use as an alternate logo. Come on, it's a fucking foot on their jerseys. Unacceptable.

Agree/disagree with the above? Have any others you'd like to praise or abuse? Feel free to chime in below. We'll put it to a vote. Meanwhile, snack on this jam:

19 January 2010

Wings @ Capitals

Tonight, the Wings take on the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. Several of us had a hearty discussion--well, more like a sustained rant--of our very strong dislike of traversing about the nation's capital on The Production Line today. I'll cap it off by saying that the great thing about going to the Verizon Center is that there's a Metro stop literally right beside the venue. Driving to and parking at the Verizon Center on an event day? No fucking way you'd catch these Scrappy Octopi attempt such a feat.

The game tonight matters much more than this season's first meeting between these teams, way back in early October, for a couple of reasons:

1. The Western Conference standings. Much has been written all over the Wings' blogosphere today about the Wings needing victories this week, beginning with this game, to ensure we snag that ripe eighth seed. In fact, the folks who participated in this week's fantastic installment of The Obstructed View this week (TPL's Michael, Bingo Bango's Jessie, and Fight Night at the Joe's Andy, plus, of course, Motown Wings' Chris and TOV's own Brian) engaged in an in-depth discussion of this; also, TSO reader Michael Smith commented on our recap of Sunday's game against the Blackhawks with similar sentiments. In fact, to quote Michael, "This is a great week to be a Wings' fan." Amen.

We can lock this down this week. We have most of our key players back from IR, and they've been back long enough to get back in the swing of things. Henrik Zetterberg had an A+ game on Sunday; he, Pavel Datsyuk, and Todd Bertuzzi had an absolutely electric game. Dan Cleary (despite his lack of shootout prowess) has been hard at work. Patrick Eaves is on everyone's hero list; I'm pretty sure sperm banks around the country are lining up to collect his seed because the outpouring of women who want their babies to be badass like him has been out of control since Sunday.

2. On a bit of a personal note, I need the Wings to win this game tonight. My sister's boyfriend grew up right outside of DC, and he's a diehard Caps' fan; I've already won the battle of brainwashing my six-year-old nephew into being a Wings' fan. Now I need to win the war of words. As the kickass aunt that I am, I pumped my nephew full of all sorts of awesome trash talk over the weekend. Also, he got his wish--Chris Osgood is his absolute favorite player, so he'll be super psyched to see Ozzie between the pipes tonight. Consequently, I'm taking the fact that Ozzie's playing tonight as a good omen.

The Verizon Center is a fiery home crowd these days; fans have gravitated in droves toward the offensive prowess and razzle dazzle of Alexander Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin, and Mike Green, who only occasionally attempts to be a defenseman. If the Wings play as energetically and enthusiastically as they did on Sunday against the Hawks, it should be another hell of a game for us viewers. The key is we need them to play with desperation--and I'm talking code red desperation, as in Jennifer-Aniston-at-a-speed-dating-event desperation. (Her biological clock is at a deafening roar!)

First Period

7:08 -- Pavel Datsyuk steals the puck and passes to Bert, who actually--gasp!--dekes a little and has a decent scoring chance. It's nice when we strike within the first 30 seconds of the game, rather than vice versa.

7:10 -- Derek Meech doesn't deserve to be in the same arena as Brad Stuart, let alone serve on the blueline alongside him.

7:11 -- Jason Chimera shoots and Ozzie deflects. This guy's name always makes me think of cha-cha-cha-Chia pets. Ken Daniels points out that he had a Gordie Howe hat trick earlier this season. You know who will NEVER have one of those? Ville Effing Leino. Watching him dry hump forecheck an opponent is like watching a whiskey dick-stricken dude try to achieve a boner. Really sad and just slightly giggle-inducing. Maybe a little barf-inducing, too.

7:14 -- Henrik Zetterberg beautifully passes to Datsyuk, who utilizes more shoot; it doesn't make it in the net, but Jose Theodore seems to have no idea where the puck is, which bodes well for us.

7:15 -- Whoa. Mike Knuble straight up holds Nicklas Lidstrom's stick for about four whole seconds and gets a penalty. TSO laughs at Knuble's having balls. Power play looks good for first 45 seconds or so, then dissipates into a clusterfuck with no real chances for the Wings thereafter.

7:19 -- Green shoots from the blueline; it's deflected high. For all my bluster poking fun at Green, he is a hell of a talent; he currently leads the League in scoring by defenseman, to the surprise of approximately no one. In other Green-related news, local rock station DC 101, on its morning show called Elliot in the Morning, divulges a lot of good Caps' gossip, and a few months ago, Brian heard a ditty about Bruce Boudreau having it out with Green over his rumored habit of yo-yo dieting. Consequently, TSO privately refers to Green as "fatty". Oops. Not so private anymore.

7:23 -- Brian hates Tom Poti: "He's a to-ma-ta, a warm, useless sack of crap. If he's making more than $6 an hour, he's being overpaid."

7:25 -- Is it just us, or is Ovie's visor seriously tinted? Brian suspects it's to shield his eyes from hangovers. I think he's a member of the Russian Mafskia, so it's the bodily equivalent of tinting the windows on your Hummer.

7:27 -- Penalty on Jeff Schultz for delay of game for shooting the puck out of play. Somebody in the second row got a nice souvenir. Holy shit, Bert just deked AGAIN on a pass from Datsyuk, but he waited a fraction of a second too long to pull the trigger. The Caps have done a decent job of playing good defense on their two penalty kills thus far, particularly against our second power play unit.

7:31 -- Whoa. There was just a disaster around Chris Osgood. He couldn't hold on to his initial save, and the Caps did everything they could to find the back of the net. Definitely one of those hold-your-breath moments until the puck is cleared. Darren Helm was especially guilty of a compromising turnover. Yikes.

7:32 - Close-up of our boy Ville before FSD goes to commercial. Oh, it's great to have you back, fuckface.

7:34 -- Penalty against Brett Lebda for "hooking". Judging by the replay, I thought it was going to be a weak sauce slashing call, but instead, we're treated to a full-tilt bullshit hooking call. Whatever. Kirk Maltby dives onto the ice to block a shot from--holy shit!--Ovechkin. That's going to hurt in the morning. Wings successfully complete their penalty kill.

7:39 -- Within the last minute of the period, Ovechkin winds up with the puck in his own zone and charges up the ice. He and Brian Rafalski have an interesting collision; Rafalski follows through and prevents Ovie from doing a thing.

First Intermission

7:40 -- HOLY SHIT! FSD IS INTERVIEWING PASHA!!!!! God, this is like finding a lucky penny perched atop a four-leaf clover at the end of a rainbow. His recipe for defending against Ovie? "No give him the puck. I keep my puck with me. No give the puck to that guy." Brilliant. Why isn't every reporter clamoring for airtime with this guy? He NEVER disappoints.

Our first period entertainment is watching the remainder of Jeopardy! because, well, we're both nerds who enjoy exercising our mental prowess on a daily basis. For the record, there was a category on sports terminology, and one of the answers was "offside". You know, I really doubt that the show would include hockey jargon if its host wasn't Canadian, but it's awesome nonetheless.

Second Period

7:57 -- The Wings held the Caps to only three shots on goal during the first period. Excellent job by the Wings' defensive play and the penalty kill.

7:58 -- Tom Poti misses the puck, which negates the icing call that would have been called against the Wings, which, in turn, would have prevented the awesome shots on goal that Zetterberg and Stuart just produced. Brian just died of laughter.

8:01 -- Green definitely showed up for this game. He just produced a good scoring chance off a pass from Chimera. It kinda seems like they're the only guys with solid shots on goal tonight for the Caps.

8:03 -- Dan Cleary scores! Theodore made a series of saves on Cleary, but let the rebound go to the boards, where Cleary retrieved it and buried it. Brian wonders how he didn't manage to bury it the first time. Sigh. Such has been the inconsistent play of Cleary. But hey, it wound up in the net on the third or fourth try; Wings lead 1-0. Also, despite the energy of the home crowd, there was still a substantial amount of noise following the goal. Hooray for Mid-Atlantic Wings' fans.

8:06 -- Penalty called on Mr. Cleary himself for hooking. The home crowd has gotten fired up for the power play; however, it takes the home team the first full minute of their power play to get settled into position. Ozzie makes one solid save. Ovie's stick breaks at one point. Helm blocks a shot by Green; the puck clears into the neutral zone, where Helm beats everybody else--surprise, surprise--and kills the remainder of the Caps' power play time.

8:08 -- Two-on-one breakaway for the Caps; Ozzie makes a hell of a save. Immediately thereafter, Theodore makes a hell of a save on Patrick Eaves and then on Zetterberg. Then Bert passes to Zetterberg. ("When Bertuzzi has Zetterberg with him, he just refuses to shoot the puck," according to Ken Daniels. I don't hear any complaints.) Somebody cranked the intensity of this period up to eleven.

8:11 -- FSD shows footage of Niklas Kronwall skating at practice for the first time in a couple of weeks. Somewhere, TSO friend Dena is fainting of happiness.

8:12 -- Green just attempted homicide on Datsyuk, which, in Mother Russia, means there's a crew of thugs plotting Green's demise as we speak (unless, of course, Mafskia kingpin Ovie can dissuade them). Here comes another Wings' power play! Rafalski manages a shot on goal before the Caps clear the puck the length of the ice. Theodore holds on to a shot from Datsyuk; Theodore cries to the refs between whistles that Bert interfered with him--in reality, Bert was shoved into Theodore by the goalie's teammate. Funny, I thought we weren't playing the Pens until the 31st. Otherwise, I would have brought my hanky to wipe up all the crocodile tears.

8:17 -- Speaking of weeping, Brian: "You know the T-shirts that say, 'Daddy drinks because you cry'? Well, in this case, Daddy drinks because Meech and Leino get power play time." Word. (Anybody else find it fascinating that Leino's surname is suspiciously close in spelling and pronunciation to a certain late-night comic who's currently under fire for being, well, not particularly gifted at his job? The mind reels.)

8:26 -- Ovechkin has a couple of nice chances around the 17:00 mark of this period; Ozzie makes the saves, while Lidstrom blocks one of the shots.

8:27 -- Matt Bradley scores for the Caps by being faster than Jonathan Ericsson; according to FSD, it's Bradley's 50th career goal. Score tied, 1-1, with fewer than two minutes to go in the period. This could be a big momentum changer for the Caps heading into the third period. Yikes.

8:30 -- During the final 0:30 of the period, Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Bertuzzi keep the puck in the Caps' zone; Theodore makes a save on Bertuzzi to the sound of the buzzer. Fingers crossed that the Wings maintain this energy and grit coming out of the locker room for the final period.

Second Intermission

Our visual snack for this break is the Blackhawks/Senators game; we tuned in just in time to see Marian Hossa score a shorthanded goal. You know what's even worse than watching Marian Hossa score a shorthanded goal for the Blackhawks? Hearing the Chicago Blackhawks' commentators jizz a Nor'easter in their pants over it; by far, we find these guys to be the most insufferable of all the hometown crews. Maybe we're a little biased by our hatred of all things Blackhawks; maybe they're always getting good use out of their kneepads. In any event, we promptly turned the channel.

Chris Osgood's favorite musical artist is the Black Eyed Peas? Sweet. I wonder how he'd answer the question of what he's going to do with all that junk, all that junk inside his trunk?

Third Period

8:50 -- Close-up of Theodore fixing his pads between whistles. Not that it matters on anything other than a superficial level, but wow is his helmet ugly. Doesn't it look like a cheesy graphic from The Colbert Report?

8:52 -- Osgood makes a save, but leaves a scary rebound out in front of the crease; Helm clears the puck. The Wings' top line comes out and produces a nice scoring chance, but Theodore blocks it away. Ovechkin breaks away and has a frighteningly good chance of scoring, but Ozzie stays with him; a delayed penalty on Lidstrom for hooking results in the Caps bringing on a sixth skater. The Wings stave off the extra attacker until the whistle. (Damn, did it have to be Lidstrom? The Caps are hot on our heels right now.)

8:56 -- Wings kill off penalty, despite strong offensive pressure from the Caps. The Wings' top line takes to the ice with a couple of nice chances of their own; how much money do you think we could all contribute if it ensured that Datsyuk's wicked shots entered the net every time?

9:00 -- Mike Green is the fifth defenseman ever to reach consecutive 50+ point seasons. One of our favorite trolls, Sergei Gonchar, is also on that last. On an actual, non-sarcastic, bright note, so is Larry Murphy.

9:01 -- (I love that they're still using the Homer for the Holidays graphic. In our current Homer-less existence, I'll take it.) Wings earn a power play due to a penalty committed by Tomas Fleischmann for hooking. Our power play looked good until Bert lost the puck with 0:30 remaining on the Fleischmann penalty. Leino had a nice chance on the second unit; however, unsurprisingly, nothing happened. Filppula put some stank on a shot with Cleary and others screening, but alas, no goal.

9:04 -- Brian Rafalski scores on a wide open opportunity from Filppula, who snagged the puck on a Caps' turnover. Wings lead 2-1 with 8:53 remaining.

9:06 -- Draper, Helm, Eaves, Stuart, and Meech (yep, even Meech) hold the puck in the Caps' zone with some urgency; Ken Daniels remarks that that line of forwards has worked particularly well tonight. We concur.

9:09 -- Todd. Bertuzzi. Why the fuck did you just trip Mike Green? Thanks for the penalty kill, asswipe, with 7:20 remaining. Backstrom drags the puck past Stuart and zeroes in on Ozzie. Unsurprisingly, he scores and beautifully so, I must say, tying the game, 2-2. (TSO's official stance is that Backstrom is our favorite Capital. Well, obviously not right NOW, but in times of neutrality.)

9:12 -- Dave Steckel scores in the weirdest manner ever on a rebound; the puck enters upstairs on the right side after Ozzie makes the initial block on someone else's shot (I didn't catch whose, to be honest). By the way, the crowd chanting "Osgood" can go to hell; Ozzie's played a decent game tonight. And, barring the last three or so minutes, so has the team as a whole.

9:16 -- Lucky break for us: Knuble commits a penalty by tripping Datsyuk. Thank. Christ. Let's do this. Theodore saves on shot from Zetterberg. I'm happy to see Ozzie with 20% of the vote for player of the game. Although Howard's played ridiculously well and despite Ozzie's whinebagging to the press, I still have mad love for him. Plus, he's had a decent game for the most part, considering it's his first game back in forever. (I just typed that as the power play continued because absolutely nothing happened after Zetterberg's shot, over a minute ago.)

9:20 -- Theodore grips shot from Lidstrom. Sigh. The energy of the home team and the home crowd are at a fever pitch right now. When the period winds down like this, and the Wings are trailing by a point, it just makes the deficit feel that much more insurmountable.

9:22 -- The Wings fail to keep the puck out of their own zone so Ozzie can vacate the net until 1:05 remaining; they then have trouble getting untangled from the opposition in the neutral zone. Finally, they get it out with 0:51 remaining; however, Meech soon has to chase the puck down into our zone. Zetterberg carries it back up into the Caps' zone, where play continues uninterrupted until 0:31 remaining. After the faceoff, there's another scramble in the neutral zone; Datsyuk comes up with the puck and passes to Zetterberg, but Theodore sends it to the boards. A clusterfuck ensues in the final seconds, involving what seems like everyone ever falling down. Lidstrom tries for one more long shot in the final seconds, but no dice. Caps win, 3-2, despite being outshot 46-23. Suck. Ass.

18 January 2010

Miscellaneous hockey-related funnies, shamelessly borrowed from Deadspin.

Catching up on my Google Reader reading during lunch, and I thought of you guys when I came across the following two things on Deadspin:

The first is a nice ditty from way up in Alaska, which will forever be known in my book as the state producing the weirdest people ever. (Yeah, we all know Sarah Palin is nutty. But they've also produced Ted "The-Internet-Is-a-Series-of-Tubes-and-Oh-Yeah-I'm-a-Convict-Too" Stevens and Mike Gravel, star of the most kickass campaign ad spot ever.) Anyway, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks have a new video featuring their polar bear kicking ass, including a Top Gun-esque air assault on the houses of their foes. Fun times for all. I wonder if this bear took pilot lessons after seeing Putin fly over its home. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) Without further adieu:

Also courtesy of Deadspin, we learned that the skanks from Jersey Shore graced the crowd at the Ducks @ Kings game last week. I know Rob over at The Production Line will wig out over this. Wait, shouldn't they have been at a Devils game? Well, at least now you know how Santa fulfilled my Christmas wish of sending crabs to the Ducks' locker room...

17 January 2010

Do we have to come up with a title?

Our second attempt at a "live blog", posted well after the game ends. I started it off; Brian took it over at the end of the third and continued through overtime and the shootout. Main lessons learned from this venture? Dan Cleary shouldn't appear in shootouts, the Wings played (mostly) a hell of a game and still lost, which means we're just at a complete loss of coherent thought right now, and we're going to go ahead and blame this guy since he was at the game. Payback for Grandy, pal; plus, we just gotta blame somebody.


12:35 – Pierre McGuire asks Nicklas Lidstrom how the Wings will hold up to the younger players on the Blackhawks’ roster. Wow. I really wish I had heard before that Chicago’s roster was laden with young stars. All this time, I thought their collective age was 4,735,093 years old.

First Period

12:36 – Puck drop. Let’s go, Red Wings!

12:37 – Antti Niemi makes the first save of the game. Duncan Sheik is, apparently, the MVP of the Hawks, according to Eddie Olczyk. I don't suppose he's worth the price, worth the price that Chicago pay-e-yay-yay-yaid?

12:38 – First time today: Chicago is the new Detroit. Have they won the 2010 Stanley Cup already? Somebody once tried to explain to me the fundamentals of quantum physics, in which every imaginable possibility to every imaginable scenario occurs at some point in a parallel but distinct universe. I really wish I had paid closer attention. Maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter.

12:38 – Hell of a scoring chance by Darren Helm. Love the crowd’s reaction to everything this kid does. Valtteri Filppula follows suit with a nice chance chasing the puck up through the neutral zone.

12:39 – “Tomas Kopecky is not being booed here in Detroit.” That’s because nobody gives a fuck.

12:40 – Replay of Steve Ott “goal” yesterday. The “frustration” they’re feeling on the Red Wings bench seems to be translating to speed and urgency in the play; can they sustain three periods’ worth?

12:40 – Niemi makes a save on great shot by Pavel Datsyuk, who is starting the game by having more shoot. Datsyuk had a decent chance on the rebound, too, but Niemi was too fast for it.

12:41 – Dan Cleary shot just wide of the net, but it’s nice to see him working hard.

12:42 – Derek Meech takes the first penalty of the game for hooking Brian Campbell, who was charging to the net. Thanks, #14. Anybody want to give Kronner a knee transplant so (A) reader Dena gets her groove back and (B) Meech goes away?

12:43 – Chicago’s power play makes me nervous. Nicklas Lidstrom helps to take away some of that nervousness by playing tight, clean defense, per the usual. The Hawks manage to keep the puck in the Wings’ zone for the first half and change; Wings clear with 0:50 remaining. Hawks scramble to get back into PP order; Drew Miller—everyone’s favorite fourth liner-cum-rock star deflects puck out of play. Wings manage to keep Chicago’s power play unorganized for the remainder of the penalty kill.

12:45 – Nice pass by Bert to Hank, then to Datsyuk, who tried to find his way to the net, but too much traffic in front prevented a score. Coherent and organized work by our current top line on this shift. Wings outnumber Hawks in shots so far, 6-2.

12:47 – FUCK. Brad May/Justin Abdelkader/Kirk Maltby fail to bury on awesome breakaway chance—May tore puck away, passed to Abdelkader, and Maltby joined up at some point and tried to net the rebound; in the blink of an eye, Jonathan Toews and Troy Brouwer carry puck back up the ice. Toews passes to Brouwer. 1-0, Blackhawks. The crowd is chanting…something. I hope it’s obscene.

12:51 – Hawks appear to have gained some momentum; they’re on the Wings’ second line like Kane on cabbies white on rice. Whoa, NBC just revealed that Brent Seabrook has the third-best plus-minus in the League with +23.

12:52 – Marian Hossa touches the puck for icing against Detroit. This is the first time I’ve noticed him all game.

12:54 – NBC goes to commercial break; the camera catches Abdelkader saying something to Patrick Kane. I hope it’s something about two dimes being forcefully placed into an orifice.

12:56 – Mike Babcock denies that his team is frustrated. I love Babs, but frankly, I want to hear that they’re frustrated. They should be frustrated. Just make it translate into something productive. That’s all we ask.

12:57 – Power play for Chicago for penalty called against Brad Stuart for…something. It looked like good defense. Maybe the good folks in Toronto sent out a strongly-worded memo including this in list of no-nos for Detroit?

12:58 – Jimmy Howard stands tall against shot by Troy Brouwer. Marian Hossa is on the Hawks’ second power play unit; the crowd boos. Nicklas Lidstrom blocks shot by his nemesis, Patrick Sharp. Red Wings clear the puck with 0:22 remaining. Rest of the PK disappears without much notice.

1:00 – Darren Helm steals the puck and sprints up the ice with Patrick Eaves alongside. Effort is broken up by Chicago’s tight defensive play. Helm takes the puck away again—get your tickets, everybody! The Darren Helm one-man-show, coming to a venue near you. Never gets old watching it, does it?

1:02 – Penalty called on Patrick Eaves for high-sticking. Shit. It just feels as if it’s a matter of time until Chicago capitalizes on Detroit’s lack of discipline this period, although Jimmy is playing his ass off.

1:03 – Patrick Kane scores his 20th goal of the season. 2-0, Chicago. Fuck.

1:05 – Jeremy Roenick is celebrating his 40th birthday today at NBC. Lucky us. He and Mike Milbury can duke it out for Jagoff of the Day. Very special.

1:07 – Fucking tight save by Howard on a shot by Andrew Ladd, right in front of the net.

1:08 – Nicklas Lidstrom scores #3 of the season! The drought is over times two. The play leading up to the goal was magnificent—hell of a pass from Henrik Zetterberg to Pavel Datsyuk, who somehow appeared in the play and finagled his way around several opponents.

1:09 – Patrick Eaves, scrapping it up at the faceoff with Kris Versteeg. Love this kid’s chutzpah. I’ll give Eaves $--HOLY SHIT, THEY ARE FIGHTING! HELL OF A FIGHT! YESSSSSSSS. That fucking kid can fight! Whoa. I am just floored. Patrick Eaves is my new hero. Maybe Brad May oughta take fighting lessons from him? I mean, get your five minutes’ worth.

1:12 – Just as Pavel was moving his way up the ice with good speed after a takeaway, Bert draws a penalty for interference. Damn. And for the record—the organ playing doesn’t make it any easier to watch.

First Intermission

I left the room as soon as I saw Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick seated together. Aneurysm avoided.

Second Period

1:31 – Darren Helm speed thrust, AGAIN. Solid coverage by the Hawks prevents him from capitalizing. Especially nice effort, considering we’re still killing a penalty.

1:32 – Jimmy Howard makes a tight save on Marian Hossa, who has stopped being invisible against Detroit. Every time Howard makes a save on Hossa, an angel gets its wings, and we have a teeny, tiny orgasm. It’s not really worth booing him in light of this. Also, enjoy it while it lasts Chicago. He'll go back to being a figment of your imagination in April. Can't wait.

1:32 – Flurry of action, starting from Zetterberg passing to Bert, who passed to Jonathan Ericsson at the blueline. Ericsson shot it in, the rebound was there for Zetterberg and Miller, but Niemi finally made the save.

1:34 – I can’t stand hearing Johan Franzen’s name pronounced with the same “a” sound as in “France”.

1:35 – Penalty against the Blackhawks, their first of the game. Tripping call against Colin Fraser. Brian Rafalski’s wristshot almost made it in to the net, but was deflected. Wings hold the puck in the Hawks’ zone for the first half. The second power play unit looks so drastically different from the second power play unit a few weeks ago or even earlier in the season. Remember when Ville Leino played on the second unit? Fuck, it’s nice to have Filppula back. Except…it sucks to watch Jimmy have to make two saves while our opponents are shorthanded, which just happened. On the bright side, at least it’s a high-energy game, meaning the Wings definitely showed up this period.

1:38 – Brent Seabrook takes a penalty for holding. He does the douchey, “Oh, but that other ref didn’t call it.” I love when people live up to my preconceived impressions of them.

1:41 – Delayed penalty call on Patrick Sharp for nearly murdering Dan Cleary. That was the longest penalty delay I’ve ever seen in my life—exhausting the remaining 0:16 of the Seabrook penalty and change, even-handed.

1:42 – Wow. I hadn’t realized how much I don’t miss GoDaddy.com commercials and Danica Patrick’s skeeziness until I saw the first one I’ve seen since last year’s SCF.

1:44 – Patrick Kane is a crater face.

1:45 – HENRIK ZETTERBERG TIES THE GAME WITH A PP GOAL! He swiftly maneuvers the puck—somehow, in the midst of a Chicago line change—and beats Niemi. Beautiful. He had an off game yesterday; this is much better.

1:48 – Patrick Sharp scores. On a shitty defensive breakdown by the Wings. What could Jimmy have done in that situation? Gross.

1:51 – Joel Quenneville is so hot.

1:55 – Tomas Kopecky is so funny to watch. It’s kind of like watching two orange hamsters boning.

2:01 – Brent Seabrook continues his dickweed behavior—as Brian pointed out, he sorta karate-chopped the ice with his stick because the refs called Chicago offside. (Side note: MS Word just autocorrected “dickweed” to “duckweed”. Anybody good with computers out there who can develop a scrappy word processor for us? I want my ambivalent or mild language to be autocorrected to strongly offensive diction. Get on it.)

2:03 – End of the second period. Chicago leads, 3-2.

Second Intermission

Mike Milbury talks something about Brian Rafalski and the Olympics and—OH, JESUS CHRIST, WHY DID WE FORGET TO TURN THE CHANNEL?! Fuck, Jeremy Roenick’s still there, too. NOOOOO…

(I hope on my 40th birthday, I have somebody more kickass to hang out with than Mike Milbury. If not, I’ll just hang it up.)

Third Period

2:21 – Third period starts off kinda weird; Jimmy had to make a couple of great saves on unfortunate chances for the Hawks. The Wings aren’t doing a whole lot to generate offensive pressure.

2:23 – Darren Pang reveals that before the game, Colin Fraser said that his team is good, and they know it. Eat a dick.

2:26 – A whole clusterfuck involving various saves by Jimmy and rebounds, ending with a scary chance for Toews. No score, though. I hate this kind of play, when it just feels as if it’s a matter of time before the other team scores.

2:28 – Niemi makes a strong save on Dan Cleary; immediately thereafter, Jimmy saves on what would have been an unassisted goal by Hossa on a breakaway. Thank. Christ.

2:30 –Abdelkader and Brent Sopel crash into Niemi after Niemi makes one of the craziest kinds of saves, leaping off the ice to swat the puck from high above him. Sopel limps off the ice. Whatever. We always predict pain for these meetups; it’s disappointing when it doesn’t happen (to the other team).

2:32 – Patrick Kane was miked up for NBC’s Sounds of the Game. What we discovered today: He screams “boom” when he scores, and he mumblefucks with his mouthguard hanging out of his mouth. So now we know exactly what it would be like if we did the grownup with him.

2:39 – FUCK YOU, NBC, FOR NOT SHOWING THE GOAL TYPING THE GAME 3-3. Patrick Eaves is my star of the game. Fuckin’ A, man. Wish I could have seen it…LIVE. Instead, we had to stare at Niemi’s mug, which is hilarious, since he was simultaneously giving up a goal.

[Tag-team member Brian takes over the helm.]

2:48 – Draper gets away with a high stick. Chicago baby-cries about it. They lead the league in that category, which is good for them. Detroit is playing with a ton of passion right now. NBC just dropped a hard stat – only three shots on goal for Chicago in the third. Craziness.

2:54 – Bert decides to lay down and take a nap on Niemi’s back on a breakaway. Jimmy makes a nice save or two on the other end. The tension could be cut with a knife. It would be great to steal a point today.


3:00 – And we’re going to overtime! It is really nice to get that point today, a point that you’d be hard-pressed to think we would’ve gotten out of this game today. Let's hope they finish it.

3:02 – Seabrook completely shit his pants. What a save by Niemi on the breakaway by Zetterberg. Damn it.

3:05 – Holy fuck balls. Two on one, Datsyuk breakaway, Jimmy with no stick standing on his head, giving a big fuck you to Chicago...

3:07 – Holy mother of god. I cannot even type fast enough to describe everything that just happened. You saw it. I watched the last minute of overtime, and I shit my pants. Wow. Shootout.


3:11 – Datsyuk with an amazing move, and then Toews buries one on the other end.

3:12 – Zetterberg smacks the crossbar. Now for 20 cent……..FABULOUS stop by Jimmy! I think I’m feeling faint.

3:13 – BERT LOOKING LIKE A FIGURE SKATER. I thought everything he did involved falling down and committing penalties...and Hossa, of all people, evens it up. That stings.

3:14 – Babcock does the unthinkable and puts out Cleary, who, unsurprisingly, does nothing, followed by Sharp winning the game. I have no words.

Whoa, was there a game yesterday?

Because to me, it looked like stone cold, country bullshit.

When will the NHL get this right? In this season, we've seen a puck enter the net--and get stuck there--only to get disallowed due to a Dennis LaRue's early whistle (Brad May). We've witnessed other close calls due to premature ejaculations of the whistle. We're still reeling after Marian Hossa's goal was waived off due to an early whistle in last year's Semifinals against the Ducks, which eventually went the full seven games.

Not to mention the other teams it's happened to across the League: Just the other night, I tuned in to the Ducks @ Kings game, and never in a million years would I have thought a no-goal call on the ice, by a referee standing in perfect position to see the back of the crease and the puck, would have gotten overturned after review. The NHL's explanation for it?
A lengthy review determined his shot slipped underneath Jean-Sebastien Giguere, reversing referee Don Van Massenhoven's apparent call and agreeing with a linesman's determination.
Can I have some of what they're smoking in Toronto? Usually, my drugs just numb the pain of everyday existence, but this shit has to be a full out-of-body experience.

But never, in a trillion years, did I expect to see something like what happened yesterday, considering (A) the referee was staring at the goal line, (B) there was a camera angle showing the puck not fully crossing the goal line, and (C) overturning the no-call on the ice resulted in a shootout win for the Dallas Stars.

I don't know what the solution to this is. There's no way we can threaten to stop watching hockey. We're at the mercy of this bullshit for as long as it continues. Maybe Toronto should be forced to share immediately whatever footage they use to determine their decisions. It is, after all, stated that they need indisputable video evidence to reverse the ref's call. Maybe they can also go to hell. So can anybody who mocks us for being tin-foily at times. What does the League expect?

Oh, and for fuck's sake, did it really have to be Steve Ott scoring the game-winning goal?

Blackhawks @ Wings today at 12:30 p.m. on NBC. That's right, boys and girls. You get to nurse your hangover listening to the bile spewing forth from Mike Milbury's lips. Might as well vomit now and get it over with.

14 January 2010

Red Wings vs. Tropical Storms - A Running Diary

So, tonight the Wings are taking on the Carolina Hurricanes. Generally, it’s hard to get up for a seemingly meaningless regular season game against the worst team in hockey, but this season is different. To borrow a phrase from the lovely folks at Nightmare on Helm Street, this game has turned into a "must not lose". Bundle that with the fact that the Wings, for whatever reason, cannot get up for bad teams, and you have an extremely worried fan base...

But I'm still going to talk an ample amount of shit. Why? Because it’s the Hurricanes. The Carolina Hurricanes. THE LAST PLACE HURRICANES. I have the added personal benefit of knowing a Hurricanes fan! My good friend Chris Mullan, one time co-worker, now Raleigh, NC, resident, is a fairly big Hurricanes fan. Is he the only one? Probably. The Hurricanes should be harmless; however, I'm going give you a list of reasons to dislike them:

1. They used to be the Hartford Whalers. The Mighty Whale. Remember seeing them when you played NHL 93? Hearing their song when a goal was scored? That was something, wasn't it? Hartford probably sucks as a town. The Whalers were badass, and now they're in Carolina, and that's unfortunate.

2. Their jerseys. Much has been written about these things, but my, they are a piece of work. They look like a bag of runny shit and throw-up all mixed together.

3. As noted by TPL today, Rod Brind'Amour looks like an asshole.

4. Personally, I don't like warm weather hockey. Is it irrational? Sure, but if it’s warm there in winter, it feels unnatural.

5. It’s disappointing that most fans who show up to their games are saddened by the fact that the game is actually NOT NASCAR on ice.

Do they have a dedicated fan base? Maybe. But who cares? It’s Carolina. So, to commemorate the hopeful Wings beatdown of my friend's team, I decided to honor the occasion with a running diary (a concept I fully accept that I am borrowing from Bill Simmons, TTD, Fight Night at the Joe, and any others out there who have done the same, and probably better)! Here’s hoping I don’t eat my words.


7:31 – Welcome from the Scrappy Hacienda (even our house is scrappy)! Mickey Redmond just winked at me personally (Natalie says it was at her. Whatever). One point out of a playoff spot? Definitely a must-not lose.

7:34 – The first Murph appearance. He looks a bit flushed and is probably already half in the bag.


7:41 – The Big Rig’s first appearance on the ice. It is good to see. Why? No more Doug Janik. (Wouldn’t you rather it have been no more Derek Meech? He can eat a dick.)

7:43 – Something to note: the Cleary, Filpula, Miller line looks good tonight. As does the Hank, Datsyuk, and Bert line. Somewhere, Michael Petrella takes another bitter drink.

7:49 – Nice scoring chance by Lidstrom set up by Datsyuk. He looks like a man possessed. My question: Is it really so difficult to get up like that every game? Typing that makes me sad.

7:53 – Nat is reading a cookbook while watching the game. This would be a great time to point out that in addition to being amazing, funny, smart, etc., she’s also an amazing cook. If there were an #H2H cookoff, she would win.

7:55 – Penalty on someone named Jerome Sampson. Can anyone state definitively that they have heard of him before tonight? If so, you’re a better person than me.

7:56 – LIDSTROM SCORES! Slapshot and a great screen by Drew Miller. 1-0 Wings. Confused, Carolina fans clamor for the Hurricanes to change Crew Chiefs.

8:05 – Jimmy looks good so far tonight. He’ll need it, as Fil just went to the box for tripping.

8:06 – Patrick Eaves is one scrappy little son of a bitch. Two pucks to the upper body, and he still gets the clear on the PK. Who else hopes this kid is back next season? ME, ME!!!! Observation from Natalie, and I quote: “This is the worst group of puck handlers I’ve ever seen”, in reference to Carolina. On a related note, Carolina is in last place.

8:08 – How did Fil not bury that pass from Datsyuk? Hot damn. When Datsyuk is playing like this, when he’s in “Fuck you, I’m Pavel Datsyuk” mode, he really is amazing to watch. Unfortunately, he is only that guy every third game nowadays.

8:10 – The Wings lead 1-0 at the end of one. First period observations:

1. The Wings look MUCH better tonight.
2. John Keating and Murph drank before the game. A LOT.
3. Jimmy is on tonight.
4. I’m EXTREMELY thankful to NOT have to hear about Lidstrom’s goal drought anymore.
5. Mickey York’s hair is certainly spiky enough to kill a guy.

8:19 – Intermission entertainment: Iron Chef America, Morimoto vs. some poor soul who will get pummeled by Morimoto. It may be cliché to say it, but Morimoto is easily one of the baddest men on the planet. If you say that to someone, and they disagree with you, that’s a clear indicator they are a Communist.

8:24 – Just got delivered a bowl of ice cream by Nat. She rules. I just saw a commercial for a show on the Food Network about a kitchen boot camp for people who can’t cook. My question – How am I NOT on that show? A quick list of things I’ve literally set on fire while cooking: two ovens (pizza), spinach, green beans, Spaghetti-O’s (they were literally black). I have given food poisoning to Nat with undercooked chicken. Um, I shouldn’t be allowed near a kitchen. Ever. Thankfully, I can peel a mean potato.

Second Period

8:29 – Howard leaves a juicy rebound in front, but these are the Hurricanes, so it’s ok. Jussi Jokinen tries to commit homicide on Kerry Frazer via Helm. Detroit power play.

8:30 – Drew Miller, you old so-and-so. 5th of the season. Right place, right time. I love what this kid brings to the table. Is he a 4th liner when we’re healthy? Sure. But I like him.

8:32 – Natalie: “Ref, yah suspect!” regarding the non-penalty shot slashing call. Whatever. Another power play goal?

8:34 – No power play goal. Best chance was a Carolina shot on their own goal. Is it possible to simply erase the fact that Carolina won a cup? Can’t we all agree it never happened?

8:40 – Excellent breakaway chance by Bert, who is playing well tonight. He really is skating like he has something to prove to Michael Petrella personally. Maybe he read a certain list……?

8:45 – Power play comes and goes. The Wings with several good chances. How terrible would Carolina be if Cam Ward weren’t there? And how badly do you think he’d like to be ANYWHERE else?

8:48 – My favorite moment thusfar? Fil making Brind’Amour look like an asshole.

8:56 – Bert just hit the post. I think I just saw him mouth the words “Love me TPL. Won’t you love me?” Natalie: “You know what Bert’s favorite clothing store is? The Gap”. HA!

9:00 – Ward saves on a breakaway, then on a giveaway, and another without a mask. Wow. He is ridiculous in goal. Anyone remember that series against Buffalo in the playoffs? When Ward is on, he is REALLY good. I’m not trying to pile on, but other than Ward, the Hurricanes REALLY look like a last place team.

9:03 - End of the 2nd, 2-0 Wings. Intermission ahead, or as Carolina fans refer to it, “Time for a pit stop”. Intermission entertainment will be Office Space. Timeless.

Third Period

9:26 – Three minutes into the third and the Wings look good. FSN just showed a goaltender stat graphic. I only mention this to state that Tukka Rask and Ilya Bryzgalov are two of the goofiest looking people I’ve ever seen. Thank god goaltending doesn’t require you to be pretty.

9:32 – Nice save by Jimmy on a redirect. Jimmy looks great, and Carolina is impotent. Mickey is confusing Aaron and Cam Ward and made some sort of bizarre King James reference. Get that man another beer!

9:34 – Um, Jimmy. Come on, buddy. I thought we were over this inability to control rebounds. 2-1 Carolina. That was horseshit. And now a hooking penalty. You remember those games Detroit has, where they’re ahead and seemingly have the game in hand, and then take their foot off the gas (or let in a soft goal), and all of a sudden it’s a game again? Um, that’s not whats happening here, right? Right? Anyone? Somebody hold me.

9:38 – Great kill by the Wings. Great recovery by Maltby to lift that stick. That was so very needed.

9:45 – Darren fucking Helm. Hustling, creating chances, but no goal. Great save by Ward on Eaves. Question – What would the score be tonight if Manny Legace were in goal tonight? How many emo statements would he make after the game? Food for thought. My guess? 4-1 and 7. I cannot believe he is still being paid to play hockey.

9:46 – 3-1 Wings. Nice pass Bert. That turnover is why the Hurricanes are the Hurricanes. I don’t even need to say anything else here.

9:53 – What a stop on Bert’s breakaway. Drew Miller scores a goal; unfortunately, it is because he lifted the back of the net. Um, that doesn’t count sir. He kicked it and everything.

9:55 – How did Bert’s wrist not get broken? Game over. Lets pile on and get another goal or two. Serves you right for leaving Hartford. Jackasses, the lot of you.

9:58 – Game over. 3-1 Wings.

And that's all she wrote. The Hurricanes have been downgraded to a Tropical Storm. This is the kind of effort that you need night in and night out, and it was refreshing to see tonight. The 1st line played ridiculously well, the role players came through big, and Lebda/Meech didn't play like a complete bag of ass. I'll take that.

Go Wings.

13 January 2010

Wham! Wednesday.

Remember last Wednesday, when we were so distraught over the loss to the Ducks that we created our own fantasy fantasy hockey team and made ourselves feel 0.3% better?

Despite the Wings' road wins in Los Angeles and San Jose, due to the team's performance last night, today feels like a complete clusterfuck. So, true to the promise I sorta made, of making this a recurring feature, I am going to posit another question to you today:

What is your favorite memory of your early days as a Wings' fan?

As a relative newcomer, the first thing that comes to mind is watching the Wings win the 2008 Stanley Cup. The actual Cup celebration--I'd never seen anything like it. I grew up in a football-obsessed household, and for as much hype and commercialization that encompass the Super Bowl experience, there is something much more genuine and special about the way hockey teams celebrate championships. Each player has his own turn skating around the ice with the Cup, displaying it for the fans, and there is always so much camaraderie among the team and their coaches, trainers, and so on. As my hockey obsession progressed, I learned about the traditions rooted in the Stanley Cup presentation and celebration and am still awe-struck by it--no, I didn't actually watch the presentation of the Cup to Sidney Crosby; unfortunately, there isn't enough shielding oneself that one can do to avoid subsequent replays of it on Gary Bettman's Summer-Long Boner: 2009 the NHL Network.

I'm a big fan of traditions. The Stanley Cup tradition is undoubtedly the most kickass in all of sports. One day, I hope to drink out of the Cup while partying with some members of the team. Aim for the stars.

What about you guys?

Also, let's all do ourselves a favor and cheer the fuck up:

Balls to the wall: Reflections on becoming a centenarian.

Surprise! Your Scrappy Octopi, so seemingly full of joie de vivre, are actually elderly people (crotchety octopi!), approaching the century mark, and today, we’re announcing our retirement into an actual retirement community, which means we’ll no longer continue trekking along on this blog. How will we find the time? Our days will be filled with strenuous (wheelchair) rides to the common-area TV in time to catch The Price Is Right, followed up by an afternoon of my stories (fuck you, CBS, for canceling As the World Turns and Guiding Light…sheesh, almost as bad as NBC and Conan-gate); never mind that our evenings will be boisterous affairs, what with all the bingo and pancake suppers that will soon fill our social calendars. Sigh. It’s been real, readers.

Oh, bollocks. Of course we’re not hanging it up. And of course we’re not 100. It’s just that…our humble little blog here has turned 100, as in 100 posts! Yippee! (I mean, really: Could a senior citizen have the moves and finesse that B-Dawg exhibited during his dancing extravaganza?)

To commemorate this important milestone in TSO history:

1. Thank you to the readers who have placed TSO among the Wings blogs you read on the regular. I know we’ve said thanks before for various things. (Remember those Reader Appreciation Days? I don’t. They were that amazing, duuuuuuude. High five!) But taking a five-out for serious time: I mean, we don’t even always discuss hockey on here! (Like, er, this particular post. But really, would you rather me recap last night’s shit-tastic loss to the Islanders for post #100? 6-0? You know, the one in which a win would have bumped us to #8 in the West? Here goes: It blew ass. Or would you rather me distract you with my razzle dazzle, celebratory blah-blah-blah? That’s what I thought.)

2. TSO has existed for roughly three and a half months. In that short period of time, we’ve made connections with people, literally around the world; we’ve become part of an amazing community, full of knowledgeable and creative fellow bloggers and fantastic and witty readers alike. My understanding of how awesome the Wings’ fans’ community is increased tenfold when I joined Twitter and began participating in real-time conversations with many of you for the first time. Another solemn statement: You guys rock.

3. On a personal level, starting this blog is something I am so indescribably happy I finally did. I’ve always written about various things--privately, since being out of school--and since becoming a hockey fan, I’ve wanted to share my feelings and observations with the rest of Red Wings Nation. My biggest triumph, in reflecting on these first 100 posts, is that I feel Brian and I have managed to write in the matter in which we watch the game, which is to say, completely irreverently and acerbically. Is this everyone’s cup of tea? Doubtful. For fuck’s sake, I did put “balls” in the headline today. (And don’t forget Brian’s infamous “cock punch”, “shit the bed”, plus our various other diction choices that would force my mom to disown me and encourage George Carlin to adopt me from the grave.)

4. There are just so many damn good sites out there. Seriously. The pantheon of Wings’ sites runs deep with fans who know their hockey and write superbly and entertainingly. One of the most challenging things for me has been the stress of conveying our own voice in the midst of so many other blogs we admire. For example, if I’m planning on writing a game recap, and I don’t write and post it until the next day, I refrain from reading anybody else’s recaps before I write my own ideas, lest I get what one of my high school English teachers described as “tennis ball brain” (nope, the use of “ball” is not intended perversely this time, kiddos)—that is, the inability to extract your own ideas from somebody else’s that you read first. It’s difficult enough that we’re writing about, literally, the exact same things—the games we just watched, players who make us happy, players on our shit lists, and so forth. The point I’m making here is that writing and maintaining a blog has made me a better reader of other people’s work; I appreciate even more now the effort it takes to create your own, unique perspective, especially given the narrow niche of writing about a specific hockey team.

5. Blogging is harder than it looks from the outside. One of my friends has blogged for a couple of years now, and while I had a general idea of the time she invested in maintaining her site, creating content, and interacting with her readers, I never realized just how time-consuming it could become. Obviously, you can determine the posts on here that aren’t as well prepared (see one labeled “PashaPashaPasha” from back in the day, for example, or not, if you think the aforesaid title fully conveys the inanity). But really, the blog has become an extension of our experience as fans; it hasn’t taken over any particular part of my life, but rather, it’s enhanced the experience of watching a game. Now, instead of having only each other with whom to discuss the Wings, we can turn to the blog, put our thoughts out there, and talk it out with anyone who wants to participate. Face it: We’re all addicted to hockey. I wouldn’t spend hours writing on here, and you wouldn’t spend the time reading this and other sites, never mind talking about it on live blogs and Twitter and comment sections, if you weren’t a junkie, too. Blogging is the democratization of the experience of being a fan; we all have an outlet to express ourselves, no matter whose site we’re on, and for me, the ability to communicate with so many fellow addicts enriches the entire experience.

All of this is to express our thanks to the readers who support our site with their readership and commentary, and our fellow bloggers who have been supportive and helpful from day one with their shoutouts and feedback. If it weren’t for all of you, I’d have hung this up after 20 posts and gone back to talking to my dog about hockey. Don’t believe me? A snapshot of my life sans TSO:
Me: Why does Ville Leino suck at life, Lucy?

Lucy: [Quizzical expression.]

Me: I mean, why won’t he live up to his potential?

Lucy: [Sniffs my hair.]

Me: You know, I really didn’t mean that I hate-hate him; I guess I’m just disappointed.

Lucy: [Waltzes over to coffee table and puts her nose against her goody box. Conversation over. End scene.]
It’s just not the same.

12 January 2010

Wings @ Islanders tonight, new TOV, plus a special Homer ode redux.

Subtitle: In which I go overboard with my love of hypertext.

Ah, the New York Islanders. Tonight, the Wings travel to Long Island for the teams' only meet-up during this regular season. Why, do you ask, should we care about this game? I'm glad you asked.

Reasons to Consider Caring About This Game:

1. We want our team to continue its win streak.

2. We want Jimmy (who's starting--again) to continue his hot streak.

3. We want the recent scorers (Datsyuk, Helm, Cleary, Eaves) to continue to showcase their offensive prowess on the ice. As Brian observed in his recap of Saturday's game against the Sharks, this was the first time in a long time--possibly the entire season, or at least it feels that way--that the offensive powers on the team actually felt like a cohesive, offensive powerhouse. More, please.


Also, per that same article by Khan, Jonathan Ericsson hopes to return Thursday against the Hurricanes. Fingers crossed for the next 48 +/- hours...


And for any of you concerned out there about the prevention of animal cruelty, you're in luck for tonight:

The thing is, I get that it's a spoof of that fantabulous Big & Rich song, of which I am quite fond of playing/singing at redneck bars (oh, aren't you excited to hang out with me at Herm to Hockeytown?), but since when is Long Island synonymous with cowpokes? Am I missing something?


If you haven't yet, check out Episode 5 of The Obstructed View, featuring Matt from On the Wings, Michael from The Production Line, and The Chief from Abel to Yzerman. I can't wait to listen to this tonight. By all accounts, it is a fabulous episode, as always.


Yesterday, after our get-well card to Homer made the rounds, we got an email from a fabulous TSO reader named Sara, who shared with us two of her favorite Homer photos she'd taken earlier this season. She's allowing me to publish them on here for all of you to enjoy:

It's kind of a story of the Homer experience in yin and yang: the first one captures his goofiness; the second, his badass-ish-ness. Thanks for sharing, Sara!

10 January 2010

Wings cock punch Sharks, win 4-1

How do you follow up one of the best goaltending exhibitions that most people have seen (myself not included, as I went to bed, as I am old and work super early in the morning)? You dominate the second-best team in hockey.

After a fairly even first period, the Wings dominated the remainder of the game, rattling off four unanswered goals. It was kind of a needed performance after allowing poor Jimmy to get shelled against the Kings. The defense looked decent, the offense looked good. In this game, the team looked closer to the Red Wings we're used to and against a good Sharks team. That's encouraging. As usual when I fill in, a few observations from the game:

1. It's fun to watch Jimmy grow this season. Opinions in the preseason ranged somewhere between "Let's give the kid a chance" to "I wonder if Beachball Cloutier will still be available after he fails". To be fair, it was easy to doubt. This kid has stepped up. It's almost to the point where you don't really know what else can be said. Great game by Jimmy. Again. The game looks easy for him right now.

2. Also fun to watch - the evolution of Darren Helm. I hope this kid is around for a long time.

3. 70 goals Heatley, while having a good season, is going to have to pick up the pace a bit, isn't he?

4. Thank you, St. Louis. I know it's early, but being in 9th is worrisome anytime.

5. Non-Red Wing related, this video is fun! Kick ass Russian fighting.

6. I did not think Dan Cleary had wicked, well-placed wrist shots in him.

7. My thoughts on this team overall - right now, I know we're in ninth, but this team is endearing, isn't it? I mean, we're all Wings fans, and we have our favorite moments. Yzerman's toughness, the Russian Five, Hasek, Bowman, et al. This year's team is interesting and chocked full of all kinds of stories. This is the closest I've seen the Wings to being a team of "cast-offs". Look at some of the players who have stepped up. Todd Bertuzzi, bane of TPL's existence, has stepped up in a big way with everyone injured. Tomas Holmstrom, given up for dead by so many (sadly? I'm slightly guilty of this. I love him, but I was worried he was done after last year), has hooked himself up to the rejuvenation machine. The evolution of Darren Helm from young spark plug to dynamic force you can't take your eyes off of (lest you miss something amazing). Young players like Abdelkader stepping up before they're ready. Cast-offs, people who were either waived during the season (Drew Miller), getting no offers in the off-season (Bert, Doug Janik), or completely given up on (think Carolina wishes they had Patrick Eaves)? They're really hanging around with this crew? This year's team is gritty. The fact that the Wings are even 9th right now in the West is largely due to coaching and leadership. We're lucky to have Uncle Mike and company and a great front office who time and time again find these spare parts on the scrap heap.

I guess what I'm saying here is this is a team I'll remember, what they've overcome and how they've hung in there. Maybe Jimmy is our goalie of the future; maybe he's Jim Carrey. Maybe some of our young players won't pan out. Maybe some of these guys who are around this year will flame out. One thing is for sure - this is a team I'll remember, and I like where they're headed. They are playing good, sound, tough hockey. Missing all the players they've missed, and they survive. This team is going to be even more ready to go once players start trickling in from IR. By the time Franzen gets back, everyone SHOULD be healthy, and won't that be around the time this team is hitting its stride? You think the top folks in the West want to play this team in the first round?

Next year's team is going to look different from this one. I'm certainly enjoying this year's team, though. This was a good win tonight. Go Wings.