Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yzerman, Holland, & Babcock Totally Looking Out for Me

I know I'm late, cause everyone has already seen it, but the full roster was just announced for the Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team, and as soon as I read it, I got a warm, tingly feeling inside. Why? Well, just looking at the names on the list reassured me that even with the bumps and bruises we've suffered this season, the Red Wings are still looking out for me. Steve, Kenny, and Mike have completely got my back. They know how hard it would be for me to juggle rooting for Team Sweden, Team USA, and Team Canada all at the same time, so they've saved me the heartache by putting together a Canadian roster completely populated by all of my least favorite players in the NHL. With the ice packed with players I loathe and despise, I can completely cross Canada off my list and concentrate on rooting for the Wings-packed Swedish roster with any leftover fan energy trickling down to my patriotic Team USA boys!

So to Misters Yzerman, Holland, and Babcock:
Thanks, guys! I couldn't have asked for more. I knew I could count on you. It's so sweet how you've always got my back.

Hugs and kisses!

Love, ChristineRWBNB

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


That's the summary of my feelings right about now. I missed last night's game (damn Gary.ass and his network-bitch Versus) and went to see Sherlock Holmes instead. I hear that Jimmah played great until, you know, we got shut out in OT. I suppose I should be happy that we at least got a point, but meh to that, too.

In fact, I've decided to put an official and overarching meh on the first half of this season and take a break until the new year. Since the New Year's Eve game isn't on Versus, I technically could watch, but at this point, I think I'll just go to the NYE party I've been invited to and get drunk instead. Then I can put this half-season behind me and concentrate on getting excited about the returning players and all the points we're going to start picking up (knock wood, laminate, tile, ceramic, and any solid surface I can find) as we head toward spring and the playoffs.

Until then, meh to it all and hand me the champagne. Bring on 2010, bitches, and let the heads of our enemies begin to roll.

Let's go, Red Wings!!!

Monday, December 28, 2009


From Ville Leino's own mouth:
“I’m not a player who is a fourth-liner and just works hard every day, only can concentrate on that. I’m not very good at that. It’s not my best thing on the ice.”

Can I even count the number of things wrong with that quote? Can I keep the vomit backing up into my mouth from spewing forth when I see that? Can I content myself with only one comment?

I'll try. And here it is:
That's what you think about hockey? You think the only guys who need to "[work] hard every day" are the 4th liners? You think you get to stay on the 1st or 2nd line if you don't work hard every damned day? Every damned shift?

That, my friend, is why you're riding pine. Again. Not because you're not scoring, but because you're not working hard. And frankly, I couldn't be more pleased.


I give. I have a Twitter account. @RedWhiteBNB. You know, if you care.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ber-TUZ-zi! Ber-TUZ-zi!

Oh, thank you, Todd, my darling love! I didn't get a chance to watch the game last night (the last one I'll miss due to this trip, thank God), but I so enjoyed reading the recaps. If we hadn't put this one in our pocket, I would have had to carry out the suicide-by-hanging-from-the-rails-over-the-tunnel threat. I was that depressed by the Chicago debacle(s).

And imagine my joy in hearing that Todd Bertuzzi was once again the hero of the night. The games where he saves the day are my new favorites, simply because I know that Petrella over at TPL will be taking crap for it for at least 24 hours afterward. And I'll get to read about it and giggle maniacally. That, my friends, is a total win!

I leave for the airport in a little less than 2 hours, and I'm totally ready. I can't wait for Monday's game. Not because it's the BJs again, but because of the irony that the first game once I'm back home is on Versus, which DirecTV is boycotting, so I won't even get to see it. But at least I can listen without family interference, damn it, and I intend to!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Happy Boxing Day!

I didn't post yesterday, but I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and that the present Santa left under the Red Wings' tree is feeling happy, healthy, and ready to kick BJ butt in tonight's game. I want some points on the board and even more points in the standings. And to go home where there's NHL Network and Center Ice to keep me warm. Flight leaves tomorrow afternoon.

Let's Go Red Wings!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

An Excellent Day for an Exorcism*

In the dressing room of the Detroit Red Wings...

Mike Babcock, an air of intense concern underlying his death stare, peers out the door at the gathered crowd. He speaks, his voice low and urgent. "I need a young priest and an old priest."

The crowd parts and two figures, clad soberly in dark suits, step forward. Their red and white collars clash mildly with the purple stoles around their necks, but no one seems to notice, let alone mind. Babcock nods to them and steps aside to wave them in. "Stevie. Ted. Thanks for coming."

The Captain nods solemnly. "How could we not?"

Mr. Lindsay holds a battered black valise clasped in his age-weathered hands. "In your hour of need, we could never turn away."

Babcock nods. "Come in."

The dressing room door closes and all three men turn to survey the scene before them. Support and front office staff stand at the ready, looking weary ad worried. The entire Red Wings roster fills the dressing room. They sit before their numbers in front of the cubbies and appear to be bound to the benches. In the center of the room, so packed in that there isn't space to slip a sheet of paper between them, stands a row of 9 medical gurneys. Lilja, Cleary, Williams, Zetterberg, Filppula, Ericsson, Kronwall, Franzen, and Rafalski lie on the crisp white sheets, hospital restraints binding them in place.

As Babs, Stevie, and Ted approach, Hank raises his head and grins, his teeth bright among the wild tangle of his beard. His face appears scratched and infected and his skin has a gastly green tint. His upper body lifts off the table, but his left shoulder dangles sickly behind him. His voice cackles, rough and menacing. "What an excellent day for an exorcism."

The sound of maniacal laughter wells up from the other players, and Babcock shoves his hands nervously into his pockets. You'd never know by looking at his face. "Do you guys, you know, want some background first?"

Ted Lindsay shakes his head. "Why?"

The Captain places a commiserating hand on the coach's shoulder. "We already know, Mike."

"Number 9!" Franzen shrieks, laughing and struggling against his restraints, kneeing the air like a Rockette. "Number 9!"

"And he don't mean good ol' Gordie," Rafalski hisses. Blood dripsruns from the stitches on his upper lip as green mucus drips from his nose. "Number 9. We're 9th in the conference, boys. Out of the playoffs. Now kindly undo these straps."

Yzerman reaches into Lindsay's valise and takes out a tray of Holy Ice. He chucks a cube at the American defenseman. "Only for the moment. There are still plenty of points out there."

"Remember," Lindsay says, grasping the Captain by the arm and watching him intently, "avoid conversation with it. We can ask who it is, why it's here, but anything beyond that would be dangerous."

Yzerman removes a tatter Red Wings playbook from the large bag and hands it to Terrible Ted with a nod. "They've been quoting the media, saying they're through. That all that talk about dynasties was premature. They're saying they won't make the playoffs."

"41 points!" Cleary cackles.

"41!" the other players echo, and the chilling sound of evil raises gooseflesh on all those who listen.

"The demon is a liar." Lindsay opens the playbook, marking his place with a ribbon. "He'll try to confuse us with lies and will mix in the truth as an attack against us. It's a powerful psychological attack. Do not listen to him."

He makes a gesture and both retired Red Wings turn to face the players. The team struggles hard against their bindings and begins to growl, low and ominous.

"Let's begin." Lindsay holds up a hand. In it rests the game puck from 4 June 2008. "Save us, o' Hockey Gods, by your inscrutable power. By your might defend our reputation. Inferior teams have risen up against us. Teams of poor sportsmen and dirty bastards seek our playoff spot, but you can help us. Lord Stanley sustains our record and has delivered his cup to us 11 times. Glory be to the Red Wings."

Yzerman murmurs, "As it was in the beginning, was far from in the 70s, but shall be ever more."

A collective moan rises from the players. Several begin to scream Swedish, Russian, Finnish, or French-Canadian obscenities.

"Hear our cry for help," Lindsay continues, "and snatch from ruination and from the clutches of the injury bug this team of greatness. Take from them the game night borderline hits and the pernicious flu. Drive from them the snakebite of self-doubt and low confidence and cleanse them of malaise and lackluster performance. Let them once again strike terror into the heart of the beast, their rivals, and let the season of despair release this team from captivity.

Yzerman chucks ice cubes at the players, who recoil and writhe in pain. "Hockey Gods, you who gave to us the sacred Cup, entrusting it to your apostle, Lord Stanley, and through him to this team 11 times, grant this team pardon for their missed shots and lazy starts, for their performances in Sweden, and for the games they appeared to not take seriously. Give them the power to reach for number 12."

In the center of the room, Kronwall throws his body around the gurney with such force that all 9 of the wheeled tables shift more than a foot to the left. Babcock, Kenny Holland, Brad McCrimmon, and Jim Bedard rush forward and brace themselves on either end of the row, trying to hold the injured players in place.

"Keep going, Ted!" Mike Ilitch shouts from the corner of the room. "Stevie, keep going! I think it's working!"

"I command you to leave this team!" Lindsay yells, grabbing a handful of ice from Yzerman's tray and flinging it at the players on the gurneys even as Yzerman continues to pelt those on the benches. "Depart from these players now and never return!"

In front of his cubby, Ville Leino opens his mouth and spews a thick and vile green liquid onto Piet Van Zant and Paul Boyer. Pavel Datsyuk's head spins a slow 360-degrees, and shallow slices begin to appear on the face of a glowing-eyed Darren Helm.

"The power of the Cup compels you!" Lindsay shouts.

"The power of the Cup compels you!" Yzerman echoes.

One by one, the members of the front office and support staff join in the chant. "The power of the Cup compels you! The power of the Cup compels you!"

"Hockeytown compels you!"

"Hockeytown compels you!"

"The power of the Cup commands you!"

An enormous crash thunders through the room and the ground shakes as if an earthquake just struck downtown Detroit. There is a flash of blinding light and several hoarse shouts can be heard through the din.

When the room settles back into silence, people can be seem picking themselves up from the floor. The players on the benches sit or sprawl in boneless exhaustion and those on the gurneys lie quietly.

Rising slowly to his feet, Mike Babcock straightens his lucky tie and looks impassively at Lindsay and Yzerman. "Is that it? Is it over?"

Lindsay sighs and shakes his head. "For the moment."

"We've done all we can," Yzerman agrees. "That is, without resorting to human sacrifice. I mean, don't get me wrong, but I've done my part for the team. I won my Cups. I started the 18 year playoff run. I'm not ready to throw myself out a window, or down a stairway or anything."

"So we just wait for the next game and see what happens?"

Lindsay places the last of the ritual tools in the valise and snaps it shut. "That's up to you, Mike. But I can't deny that if it were me, I probably wouldn't be satisfied until I'd tried six ways from Sunday to fix things."

Babcock escorts them to the dressing room door and sighs as he reaches for the doorknob. His expression doesn't shift. "That's what I thought. Thanks for coming by, guys. We appreciate it."

Yzerman and Lindsay nod and leave. Babcock looks out over the crowd gathered outside. After a few seconds, he points to a dark figure dressed in a colorful tribal costume, complete with beads, feathers, and bones.

"You," he barks. "You're up next. Get in here."

The witchdoctor steps into the dressing room, where he and Babs disappear from sight. Outside, the crowd subsides with a murmur. The rabbi and the Orthodox priest return to their discussion, and the witch and the Native American shaman resume their game of chess. It had been an excellent day for an exorcism, but the night is still young. And there's still half the season to go...

*All due credit and thanks to William Peter Blatty and The Exorcist

Holding Up the Fort

Since Christine is firmly within the loving bosom of her family in rural Tennessee ….okay, that sounds bad. Start over.

Since Christine is spending the holidays with her affectionate yet always appropriate family in a state far away, and has no access to this week’s games except through text messages and unreliable internet feeds, it falls to me to keep up with the blog. I, for those of you who do not know (and that’s pretty much all of you), am Christine’s roommate Hannah. I grew up in Michigan , and cut my teeth on the Red Wings (they were the Dead Wings back then – and now I have to go outside, turn around three times and spit to avoid the wrath of the hockey gods). Before me, and the 2008 playoffs, Christine had never watched a professional hockey game. The obsession that spawned this blog is, therefore, all my fault.

You’re welcome.

Anyway, I simply don’t have the memory to recap the weekend’s games the way she does, so my version of the post game roundup is going to be much shorter than you’re used to. Ready?

Saturday – we lost, not too badly, to Dallas . It sucked.
Sunday – we lost, very, very badly, to Chicago . It sucked out loud.

I could say more, but that’s really what matters, isn’t it? Now I am not a Negative Nancy by nature, and I truly believe our team can turn this season around. Indeed, I’m always reminding Christine (gently, so as not to draw the wrath often direction at the television screen upon my own head), of the following:

  1. It’s only December – there are plenty of points still up for grabs
  2. We’re down EIGHT starting players, most of whom will be back in January, all of whom should be back after the Olympic break, and our spring should look vastly different from our autumn/winter
  3. Shared adversity strengthens a team

It’s number three that I think is most important. The hell hole we’re in right now with injuries has gotten to the point where I no longer think it’s insane to wonder if we’ve been cursed by some voodoo witch hired by Gary Bettman (that was for you, Christine), and it’s been nothing short of awful. But I’ve seen something start to happen in the last few weeks. Yes, I see frustration and despair on the faces of players and coaches alike, but I also see something starting to shine through it: determination. There’s a lot of talent, drive, skill, and heart on this team, and if all my years as a Red Wings fan have taught me anything, it’s that this organization, these players, they will not go gentle into that good night. And we, their fans, must back them up - we must, if you will, rage against the dying of the light.

Christine’s going to remind me I said that (and mock me for quoting Dylan Thomas) the next time I tell her to calm down as she’s "raging" at our television set. But that’s okay – she has what all devout followers must: a fierce dedication to her team, the passion to root them on, and the love that is tested but will stand during these trying times.

She also has a truly excellent repertoire of curses, and those always come in handy.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Home for the Hellidays

It's that time of year, boys and girls, when the air begins to smell of wood fires and snowflakes, when the chill wind smacks some rosy-red color into your cheeks, when visions of sugar plums and buttered rum shooters dance in your head. And when I make my yearly pilgrimage to the South to do penance at the altar of My Mother.

I'm the baby of my family, which becomes a more ridiculous thought every year, but this fact makes my presence at The Family Christmas (tm) as necessary as the presence of the turkey at Thanksgiving dinner--there's no holiday without it. So say My Mother and my older sister, anyway. And they say it often. Every damned year. Beginning around the 4th of July.

Coincidentally, also like the Thanksgiving turkey, I end up feeling stuffed, plucked, roasted, and picked at for about a week.

Resistance, as you might guess, is futile. It's easier not to fight, but just to let go and allow myself to be assimilated. Thankfully, my parents are total winos, so at least there will be booze. What there won't be, though, is hockey.

I know, I know. Even the booze might not get me through this.

I get on a plane tomorrow morning, well before the ass-crack of dawn, and where I'm going, there's no Center Ice, no NHL Network, no Versus, no anything. I'm going to miss the Dallas game, BOTH Chicago games, and the Columbus game before I escape. Which means that I'll be relying on other Red Wings fans, Twitter, and the internet to keep me up to date on all the latest news and injuries. I'm predicting that by early Christmas morning, I'll be found clutching my netbook to my chest, drooling and twitching as my parents lameass internet connection attempts to download grainy, bootleg game footage from some blackmarket hockey site in Kyrgyzstan.

So, the point of all this is that I'm asking--no, begging--that my readers (all 3 of you... ok, ok, all 4 of you) do me a favor and give an extra "Let's Go Red Wings!" chant for me during each of the four games I'm missing. With Zetterberg out of action even longer than I'll be, I have a feeling we'll need all the help we can get.

Thanks. And Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Bright Yuletide. Whatever sparks your plugs.

Red, White, & Black'n'Blue

Thursday, December 17, 2009

That's the Way. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.

Now this was the kind of game I like to see. A solid effort for 60 minutes. Or just about. Let's take a look-see, shall we?

Period 1
We had a bit of a slow start, but not nearly the way we have in other recent games. Instead of waking up half way through the period, we looked great by the five-minute mark, and kept it up through the first, even in the wake of disaster. More on that later.

Of course I have to give a shout out to Drew Miller for the awesome goal he put in off a long, high pass from Rafalski. Rafi looked like he mostly just meant to move it in deep, but Drew batted it out of the air, onto the ice, and into the net. I could have watched that over and over again. Even the Bobby Orr impression.

Now, of course, it's time to talk about #9. No, I don't mean Gordie Howe. I mean Henrik Zetterberg. Our 9th player out due to injury. Hank went down hard off a hit by Ohlund and was helped off the ice, not to return for the rest of the night. Wings fans around the globe will be haunting the internet for the next several hours looking for news on the extent of the injury. From what Babcock says, the shoulder that took the hit is the one in question. Zetterberg was able to drive himself to get an MRI, so I've got my fingers crossed it's not too serious. I could deal (maybe) with missing him for a couple of weeks. A couple of months would make me cry like a hungry baby.

Period 2
Oh, Leino. I yelled, I taunted, I begged. And yet you still suck. What more can I do? You shone for one brief moment later in the game, but I refuse to delete this because after all the disappointment you have caused me, you need more than 1 good play per game to make me eat my words.

Once again, it looked to me as if Datsyuk is still not his old self. He continues to have some great steals and good passes, but he's not what we've seen in the past. Are we ever going to find out what's up with him? Bert gave him an awesome feed in front of the net during a 4-on-4 and he bobbled it rather than shooting. Something bigger is going on with that boy than his wife’s homesickness.

And speaking of things that look different from last year, Mickey and Ken had a discussion about the fact that if Zetterberg were to miss any significant amount of time (Gods forfend), we would be 200 goals out from last year. 200 GOALS, and where are we? 8th* in the Western Conference. Who else could do that? What other team? No one. Cause we're the Red Wings, baby. Deal.

*Note, if we were in the East, 41 points would put us at 4th. Cause it's a candy ass conference.

Period 3
After two solids, I was a little afraid that we'd be overly cautious in the third, but once again, we played well and got two more goals to show for it. The first goal of the period was killer. Absolutely killer. Datsyuk made a great steal and fed it to Holmstrom, who passed in front of the net to Bertuzzi, who potted it. It gave me a total tingle. I love that kind of goal. I really, really do.

Then Eaves and Lidstrom sank another and I swear I heard choirs of angels singing. This game was a pleasure to watch, especially after all we fans have suffered through earlier this season.

And then even Leino had his moment. The only one he's had since Filppula was injured, I swear. He made a truly impressive spin move about 16 minutes in, totally confusing the Tampa players surrounding him. It was the first worthwhile thing I’ve seen him do in months. As my housemate Hannah described it, “he spun that guy around by the short hairs and left him in a puddle!” Now if only Leino would do that on a semi-regular basis (and actually sink the puck, too), I might have to apologize for all the nasty things I've said about him. And will continue to say until he gives me a reason to stop.

And go Jimmy Howard with your first shut out. Way to be, kid.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for the Wings performance tonight. It left me in such a good mood, I might even be able to put the Zetterberg injury out of my mind until morning. Actually sleeping the night after a game would be a refreshing change of pace.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Even Gods Like Booty Shakes

I presume it was my primitive ritual dance that persuaded the Hockey Gods to keep Ericsson's injury to a manageable deep bone bruise and calf sprain rather than making it an MCL or ACL tear. There's clearly no other explanation. Because the weeping, crying, bargaining, praying, and body part-crossing I did for all the other injuries this season made absolutely no difference to them. So yes, I am taking credit.

Turns out that Kenny is calling up Janik rather than Kindl, which of course makes sense when you think about their roles. Janik is a penalty killer, and that's the area where Ericsson's loss will be felt. So, I approve. What the hell, it's Kenny f'ing Holland; I'd approve if he called up Bozo the Clown, because I know he'd have good reason. I'd just have to listen to the games with a blindfold on. I don't. Do. Clowns.

Next up is Tampa, and I'm bracing myself. Two days off in a row haven't been the best thing for the Wings this year, but maybe the spirit of grinding it out will move them again. Here's hoping.

Go Wings!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Red, White & Black'n'Blue

Is the naming of this blog a sin I should have confessed to the Hockey Gods over at Snipe, Snipe, Dangle, Dangle? Honestly, when I started, I was thinking of classic moments like the '97 fight against Colorado, or even the kind of punishing, open-ice hits Kronwall makes that give me a little tingle. THAT was the "black'n'blue" I was referencing, not this never-ending parade of injuries marching through our depth chart. I swear. I never meant to cause...this.

Tonight we pulled out the win against Phoenix, but I have a bad feeling that it came at the expense of Jonathan Ericsson. No word so far on the extent of the injury, but after seeing it on TV (and several times on DVR) I have a very bad feeling it might be an MCL or ACL tear, which would wrap up the season for him. Believe me I'm crossing my fingers, praying, lighting candles, and doing primitive ritual dances in hopes that it's nothing more than a bruise. But if the season so far is any indication...

I've heard some speculation on bring Ward in off waivers or inviting Chelios back, but I think it's much more likely that we're going to see Kindl back up from grand Rapids, and I'm actually fine with that. Hopefully, Kronner is back in 4 weeks or so, Cheli is not much of a realistic possibility given his age and the amount he played his last season with us, and I don't think Ward is worth the price. Kenny's already said he's not making trades, and if there's one thing I've learned in my time as a Wings fan, it's to always trust Kenny.

Just don't trust the Hockey Gods. Sneaky bastards.

Three In A Row

...officially makes it a streak! Go Wings!!!

Okay, we're going to try something new here. If it sucks...well, no surprise there. But we're going to break it down by the periods.

First Period

Okay, coming into this game, who the heck would have predicted the first 5 minutes? I don’t mean the fact that 3 minutes in, Newbury gets his first penalty on his first shift as a Red Wing; I mean that a minute after Newbury's out of the box, he gets his first goal off a gorgeous feed by Draper (meant for Miller, but whatever). Not me, but I’ll take it. Of course, Newbury looked as shocked by it as the rest of the Joe did. He looked much more comfortable when he took another penalty just a couple of minutes later. Since the cameras got to spend so much time on him because of his surprising debut, I discovered that Newbury's real contribution was comic relief. He was cracking me up, just because he looks constantly either confused or like he’s about to cry. Maybe both. I actually think it’s just his face, though.

In summary, the first 10 minutes were a big improvement over our recent starts, and I'd like to see that continue in future games.

I also have to give a shout out to that shorthander by Eaves off a hell of a wrister. I’ve been begging for one of those for weeks now. And let me tell you, it felt damned good.
What didn't feel so good was the latest edition to our hit parade of injuries. Raise your hand if you vomited when Rafi and Dats had to help Ericsson off the ice. And for Phx to get a goal off it made it doubly nauseous. How do you not get a whistle when a guy is down in the fetal position and clearly not able to get up? Yes, I know the whistle doesn't have to blow until the Wings get possession, but that's really a call at the discretion of the refs. Which means the Wings get screwed. You're right. I should just expect that.

2nd Period

Hearing that Ericsson was definitely out for the rest of the night did not get things off to a very good start, but thankfully the Wings seemed determined to keep up the pace for at least the beginning of the period. Actually, the pace was a little crazy at the start of the period. The back and forth was pretty intense. But honestly, the momnet that made me label the period crazy town was Meech's shot from the blueline that just skated right on past Bryzgalov's catching glove. I mean seriously. Meech?

Eaves threw down another impressive performance. I've really been happy with his play both on and off the 3rd line. Actually, I think a serious portion of our kids, call ups, and new signings have been making themselves quite valuable for us. It makes me think that I really do not want to be Kenny or Uncle Mike when the stars start coming back and it’s time to make some roster decisions.

You know, if we ever get everyone healthy.

3rd Period

Damn, the 3rd period was UGLY. But we came up with the win, which is the bottom line. I’m still waiting to see a full 60, though. The last 25 minutes saw way too much of us circling the wagons and waiting for the end of the game instead of moving forward and shoving the puck down the throat of the opposition. Which is, of course, what I want to see. What I don't want to see is all of the time chasing the puck instead of controlling it, or all of the time spent in our defensive zone. I spent a lot of the third yelling at the TV about it looking like we were on a penalty kill when we were actually at full strength. That needs to change. Clearly.

Anyway, that's how I saw it. I definitely like making it a streak, but I want to see that streak continue. Without further injuries, please.

I'm just sayin'.

Get Thee to A Website!

You must go here: The Obstructed View.

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The power of Christ compels you!*

*Sorry. Had a little The Exorcist moment there. I'm better now. Would you care for some split pea soup?

Tonight: Phoenix vs. Grand Rapids

Seriously, that's about what it amounts to now that Helm is down with a wrist injury and Kris Newbury has been called up to replace him. I think if any player gets hurt tonight, Ken Holland and Mike Babcock are just gonna start waving in guys from the stands. Anyone in a Wings jersey who can still see his feet when looking down over his stomach will strap on skates and pads and take a spot on the power play.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure the power play would be much worse off if that happened.

In anticipation of the 7:30 puck drop (4:30 me time), I've got booze chilling by the gallon and some Halcyon I hoarded from my last dental work. I'll try to remember not to take both of them, because I don't want to miss it when our injuries finally start coming back. You know...eventually.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Sing A Chorus...


The 2nd Nashville goal made me crazy, not because the Wings didn't have a part in that goal, because you don't quit until you hear the whistle anf you don't leave your goalie to face a 3-on-1. But the refs sucked. The whistle should have blown, because that puck hit Bert before he was off the bench. If they weren't going to whistle it as out of play, then they should have whistled the Wings for too many men on the ice. You can't have it both ways, boys. That's not how it works. Or at least, that's not how it's supposed to work.

And if that hadn't been enough, the fact that less than two minutes later, there was yet another Nashville punch to a Wing that wasn't called pissed me the f*&! off. During the 2nd intermission, Sullivan actually had the gall to say that Nashville wasn't getting all the calls they thought they should have and I think I laughed out loud.The sheer number of cheap moves Nashville made that weren't called nearly put the poultry to shame. I counted at least half a dozen blatant kicks and punches they threw at various Wings that never got called, so it was either laugh or shoot someone. And unlike Nashville residents, I don't actually own any firearms.

The flurry that ensued after that ridiculous goal in the third, though, was amazing. Shots everywhere, on both sides of the ice. It amounted to an intense period which led to a supremely satisfying overtime win. Where once again, Bertuzzi became our hero!

I'm going to have to grow past my mild inherited antipathy toward him.

Other than that, I was much too focused on screaming about the dirty play to notice much. Except that Leino showed a little more improvement tonight. A little more hustle and a little more grit, but honestly what I liked most was the chemistry he seemed to have with Abdelkader. Those two looked really good together and had a couple of good chances, especially early in the second. I would not be adverse to seeing them stay together until Filppula gets back.

And with that, I'm going to go bask in the glow of another 2 points. Let's hope we can stay on this trajectory for another game or 2. Or 30.

Go Wings!!!

Pointless Recap

I say pointless because I'm so late in getting it out that really everything that needs to be said has already been said by superior bloggers. But then I realized that's true even when I post 5 minutes after the game ends, so what the heck. I can do pointless.

Thankfully, though, the Wings were not pointless last night, for a change. They pulled out 2 by clinching it over the Ducks in overtime. Thank gods for Todd Bertuzzi. And how weird is that?
Todd Bertuzzi celebrates his overtime game-winning goal with Henrik Zetterberg. Bertuzzi also netted the game-tying goal midway into the third period. (Kirthmon F. Dozier / DFP)

So, here's what I saw:
  • We really have trouble starting on time, don't we? Even when we're skating hard in the 1st, it seems like we're skating without purpose. Moving our feet without quite knowing where we're moving them to. We need to get a handle on that, yes?
  • Jimmy Howard had another solid game, with with notable (and much noted) exception of the second goal. But like others, I think the important thing was that he bounced back from that weak miss and didn't let it throw off his game. Like a real NHL goalie!
  • Dats and Z... Oh, dear. Where have our boys gone? I miss them. Dats needs to ease up on his beautiful dangling to, you know, shoot the puck once in a while. And Z needs to work on his aim, which is not what it once was, one might say. Both of them seem to need new sticks, 'cause WTF?
  • Abby did a good job, with the exception of being the worst face-off man, well, ever. Maybe he can get some one-on-one practice time with Drapes and sort that out, because right now he's abysmal. But he really worked his tail off, and that's going to take him a long way. In a few years, I think he's going to be a hell of a player. And I loved him for continuing to whale on Perry even after he was on his back on the ice.
  • Leino got a point. So, yay him. Am I bowled over? Not quite. Yes, I will admit there was some improvement in his game, but seriously it wasn't like he could have gotten all that much worse. Last night was a better outing than he's had previously, but he still needs to step it up if he's going to come close to fulfilling this team's expectations.
  • Homer is my hero. I've always loved him, but this season I adore him all the more for stepping up at exactly the right times and generally playing like he's shed about 5 years.
  • Wish we could have sewn this up before the end of regulation, but I'll take 2 points and stop whining. At least until tonight's game against the Bubba.
  • Go, Bert. Keep it up and I'll become your newest defender. And stay right there at the side of the net all 60 minutes every night if you can keep throwing them in from there.
That's about it. We're up again tonight, when Ozzie will presumably take his spot in the net once again. Please let him be the old Ozzie I know and love and not the "think I'll let in a goal in the first 2 minutes" Ozzie I know and hate.

Go Wings!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

You're Kidding, Right?

I laugh. I cry. I taste gunmetal.

Cleary's out.

Dear God, Ville, PROVE ME WRONG!!!

Trust me, I'm not too proud to beg.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I just...

I just can't. I hurt. In my heart, in my soul, and by morning, in my head. After I finish off this bottle of Scotch.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Yes, this post may make it seem like I have some sort of personal axe to grind with Ville Leino, that I dislike him as a human being and think that he tortures kittens and leers at small boys and lights nursing homes on fire in his spare time. So, to be fair, let me state that I don't think any of these things. What I think, is that it's time for him to "nut up, or shut up."

A lot of people seemed to think that Leino would be a big part of our success this season, that he would step in for the loss of a player like Hudler, or at least Samuelsson, and make the off-season defections nearly a wash in terms of production.

Yeah, hasn't happened.


So why did people think this? Well, Leino played with us last season, and man, he was on fire. In 13 regular season games, he put up 9 points (5G, 4A) and was a +5 with only 6 penalty minutes. His shooting percentage was 29.4. Yes, you read that right. He followed this up with 7 playoff appearances that cleared no goals, but managed 2 assists, a +2 rating, and no time in the box. Pretty respectable for a new kid. So was that what we should be expecting from him now that he's permanently up with the big boys? I'd like to think so.


I haven't seen it yet this season. Trust me, I was looking. Especially at the beginning. I wanted Ville to succeed. After all, the more success he had, the more success we could expect the Wings to have. What's not to love about that? But instead, I've seen the 25 year old Leino being out-skated, out-shot, and out-efforted (Yeah, I make up words. Suck it up.) by two 22-year-old kids who only the die-hard fans were talking about during the off season, one of whom wasn't even supposed to make the roster this year: Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

Consider the evidence:
In the same number, or fewer, games than Leino, Helmer and Abby have each put up the same or better numbers in terms of production. They've been better defensively. And just from watching them play game-in and game-out, I've seen better and more consistent effort out of each of them. The only things Leino has to show for himself are the ability to stay out of the box and a slightly higher shooting percentage. Yet the younger kids have anchored the 3rd and 4th lines, while Leino has been mostly hopping back and forth between lines 1 and 2.

Helm has actually totaled more TOI than Leino, but that's likely a reflection of the fact that his line has consistently been the hardest working on the ice and Babcock had been willing to recognize that. But Abdelkader's equal or slightly better stats have come while he averaged just under 12 minutes per game to Leino's 15 (11:57.6 vs 15:01.8). So who is it we should be looking to this season? The kid who was supposed to slide right into a solid support role, or the kid who was supposed to spend the season in Grand Rapids?

Don't get me wrong. I'd love it if Leino went on a tear, pumped up his numbers, and proved me to be a total nimrod. That would be great, because the Wings would likely wrap up a few more wins in the process. But I'm looking at Leino's play this season and his stats back in GR, and I'm comparing those to Helm's and Abdelkader's play this season and their stats back in GR, and frankly, I think that painting Leino as the Hope of a New Generation might have been a tad premature. His run last year was phenomenal, but was that what we should expect to be his norm, or was it a fluke? At the moment, I'm leaning toward fluke.

Go ahead, Ville. Prove me wrong.


Sunday, December 6, 2009


I'm just beyond relieved that we won. And in regulation, too. Will wonders never cease? Okay, so I'm bitter, but that's okay, because I'm happy. I am a conundrum.

Here's what I saw:

  • I am so glad Ville Leino was benched. Hell, if I were Babcock, I'd bench him AND call someone up from Grand rapids (Tatar, anyone?) just to scare the shit out of him. Or into him. Whichever works. Frankly, I think just getting him off the ice helped our game.
  • Is it me, or did we spend a good chunk of the 1st period just looking...confused? I mean, we looked like we were trying, but just had no idea what the other guys on our team were doing.
  • One of these days Mickey and Ken are going to give up the pretense and just hit the bong right there in the announcers booth.
  • Ericsson, SERIOUSLY! Okay, I'm going to take a deep breath here. I don't think Ericsson lacks potential. I think he could become a decent player. Be he needs to stop being an idiot.
  • Another night where I yelled over and over "That should have been IN!!!"
  • Wow, our power play sucked at times tonight.
  • About time, Pasha! Thank you!
  • This seemed like a fairly lackadaisical game. Because I lack the motivation to come up with a better excuse, I'm going to go with Mickey and Ken and blame it on bad ice because of the earlier basketball game.
  • Damn it, Pasha, SHOOT THE DAMNED PUCK!
  • That empty netter was fun. Winning was more fun.
All in all, I have a hard time arguing with a win. I thought we were a little slow, but so were the Rangers, so I'll blame the ice. I think keeping Leino off the roster made us better, and what does that say? I think finally benching him might have helped Uncle Mike feel more comfortable shaking up the top 2 lines, and that seemed to help, too.

No matter how you call it, I'm just going to pocket the win and put away the booze before my liver explodes.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Less Painful than It Could Have Been?

Well, we didn't win, but at least we played. And we managed to get 1 point, so it could have been worse. And lately, often has. I burn with impotent rage at having to settle for that.

So here is my free-form recap. I vow that I will attempt to come up with a format as soon as the Wings win 3 in a row. (Ha. Suckers.)

  • How pathetic is it that I'm excited to be able to write we made it a whole minute without giving one up? Especially with Ozzie in net. And I've always been an Ozzie supporter. *sigh*
  • Bertuzzi is still annoying me. Was that his first touch that he gave the puck away on?
  • Holmstrom showed some nice hustle early. I like that. I love that he's playing like five years ago again.
  • If Helm could pocket 1/2 of the sots he makes, we'd be at the top of the league right now.
  • Is Babcock proof of your mother's assertion that your face would freeze like that?
  • God, I almost died when Helm got hit in the leg. My life flashed before my eyes. You can't take my Helmer!!! I'm convinced he's currently the only thing keeping up from getting whipped like a red-headed step-masochist.
  • And then Eaves went down, and I began to savor the taste of gun metal.
  • Can we stop falling down, now? Please?
  • Apparently, it's cheap shots on the Wings night. Have the Devils been throwing punches as a form of defense, or is it just me?
  • Lovely. Bullshit calls once again. If that was a hand-pass, I'm a six foot tall black man with a full beard and lobster claws for hands.
  • Love that Draper goal. There's another player this season working like he's suddenly five years younger.
  • You know, I think that even if I weren't a Wings fan (impossible, I know, but bear with me here) I'd still want to watch FS Detroit broadcasts of the games just to listen to Mickey Redmond. The man is out of his mind, but funny.
  • I see Ericsson is back to tripping over his own feet. Or, rather, his own ineptitude. I think he proves the fact that being big is not necessarily all it takes to be a defenseman.
  • Shoot, Pavel! Just SHOOT DAMN IT!!!
  • Holy shit! A Power Play Goal! I thought we forgot how to score those!
  • Mickey called Homer "Mr Demolition Man." I like that.
  • I know you can get away with a lot on Holmstrom, but sitting on his back will thankfully still get you a penalty.
  • And bless Patrick Eaves' little soul. I love that our kids are really making a place for themselves. Also, I am so far liking Kindl. He can stay. For now.
  • Wow. "Let's go Devils" sounds just like "Let's go Assholes" when chanted at top volume.
  • Damn it. I hate OT, but not nearly as much as I hate shoot outs.
  • Why, OH WHY, would you put Leino, who can't bury the puck with a shovel so far this season, on the shoot out?
  • And that's why I hate shoot outs. *sigh*
The wine* I drank during the game helped dull the pain, but I was braced for a lot worse. We at least looked like we cared for most of the game, and that does count for something. My new theory is that someone has placed a curse on Lidstrom. I mean, look at his play so far. This is not The Perfect Human we know and love. No, he doesn't suck, but he isn't playing like we know he can, either. I think the curse on him is holding him back and spilling over on the rest of the team. Once he breaks it (by scoring) the evil witch doctor will die and we'll climb out of the basement and sing the soundtrack to the new Disney flick. Or something. Christ, what do you want from me? I'm grasping at straws, here!

*Normally, I believe beer goes better with hockey, but I also find it much more filling, and I anticipated needing a LOT of alcohol.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Do Over

That's right. I'm calling it. I want a do over on this season. Tomorrow I will wake up, it will be a new day, the sun will shine again, and perhaps an ember of hope will rekindle in my heart.


But for tonight, I'm just going to crawl into my bed, pull the covers up over my head, cradle a bottle of Scotch to my chest, and decide that this season isn't happening. It's a nightmare. A painful figment of my imagination. I got home late from an unexpectedly arduous hike with my dog just in time to see that the score was 4-1. That's when I turned off the TV and reached for the Dalwhinnie. And found out Ericsson is now "day-to-day" with an injured left knee.

And that's when I called for a do over. I want to stop this season right here, erase the record, and start over. With a healthy roster, a consistent goalie, and a burning need for the cup. Until that happens, I'm going to go to sleep.*

Night, y'all.

*Technically, I'm only going to sleep til about 8 AM tomorrow, December 4, 2009. But with luck, that will mark the beginning of our new upswing. Please god.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dear Lord, What's Next

Jakub Kindl has been recalled to "potentially" replace Rafalski, who's apparently battling a bad back. Maybe if Rafi hadn't made this move back in September...

PHOTO: via

If one more defenseman gets hurt this season, I think we'll deserve a rules amendment that allows us to place landmines under the ice in crucial spots of our defensive zone. Just to even the playing field.

Man, I need a drink...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Don't Mean A Thing If It Don't Wear the Wing(ed Wheel)

Damn it, now I'm getting songs stuck in my own head.

Okay, so rest assured that this will remain a Red Wings blog. I have no intention of dignifying Little Gary's League by spouting off about just any ol' NHL news that happens to come along. But once in a while, every once in a while, I'll have to take a short detour away from Motown to mention something about something other than the Wings.

Rest assured, this will almost always be prompted by an upwelling of bitterness and vitriol in what passes for my soul.

Today's rant--Alexander Ovechkin Received a Two Game Suspension.

I'm fine with the suspension, which I believe fits perfectly in the grand scheme of the NHL's official suspension policy. Ovechkin deserved it. When Kronwall got hit on the 21st, I think we all agreed that a suspension in a similar situation was necessary, since it's not at all cool to stick your knee out on another player.

What I'm not fine with is, a) that the reason Ovechkin got 2 games probably has more to do with the fact that he's Ovechkin than that the guy he hit managed to skate in the next game, and b)his own damned coach was quoted in print talking about how he "admires" Ovechkin.

Why do these things piss me off? Because players like Ovechkin (who I realize is talented, don't get me wrong) seem to be growing more and more common in the NHL. Players who are treated like rock stars so often that they begin to believe their own shit doesn't smell. Gary is determined to make the NHL into a league of superstars instead of a league of teams. He pimps players like Ovechkin and Rosby until their damned dicks must be chapped, while real, talented stars like Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Lidstrom have the class not to read their own press aloud before bed every night, thus preserving their modesty and getting about 1/100th of the accolades.

One of the reasons why my love for hockey took root so deeply and so fast was because the hockey I love is a team sport. It's not basketball with a bunch of rich assholes showing up on the society pages as often as the sports pages. It's not football with idiots going to prison for running dog fighting rings out of their backyards. It's hockey, and it's about hard work and skill and sweat and communication. And I, for one, don't want that to change.

Yes, I realize that sounds ridiculously idealistic. I mean, we have Patrick Kane getting arrested for punching cabbies and Sean Avery choking on his own damned kneecap when his stupidity works faster than his mouth, but those incidents seem to happen a lot less often in our sport than in the other major American sports. And the NHL at least has the courtesy to express disapproval most of the time.

And how often do you ever see a Red Wing involved in that kind of garbage?