Archive for February, 2009

Off Again

We’re going Up North again this weekend and I’ve got an all-day meeting today, so posting will be light to non-existant until Sunday, at least. It’s unfortunate timing given the two major storylines tonight: Osgood’s return and Hossa’s first missed game due to injury as a Red Wing. I won’t find out how it went until we get home Sunday. Sucks.

Wings 4, Sharks 1

… That was fun. Despite being outshot by two, I felt the Wings had this one under control much more than the Sharks, who looked jittery. It felt like less of a showdown than a schooling.

… Zetterberg looked on fire offensively last night. His shorthanded goal deservedly draws a lot of wows, but his second of the night demonstrated a nice level of trickery. It was a great play, regardless of the fact that Evgeni Nabokov’s head was somewhere up his large intestine.

… Datsyuk was as physical as we’ve seen him. His hit on Dan Boyle that led to Boyle’s slashing penalty was classic Pavel.

… Ty Conklin looked strong. My confidence in him is growing. Should Osgood not come through and step up his play, I may be able to deal with Conks as goalie.

… Dan Cleary is really starting to fit in well with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. He’s really sacrificing his body out there, which parallels what Holmstrom would do.

… The Sharks kept allowing Hossa to break free last night before they put him out of the game. His goal was one such example. However terrifying it was to see Hossa walk in untouched, though, Nabokov should have had that one.

… Ville Leino continues to make the decision on whether to send him back to Grand Rapids when Holmstrom returns a difficult one. He’s contributing, but has he done enough to take the job of a playoff veteran? I’m not fully convinced on that, but he’s making a good argument. If he’s going to just sit and watch from the luxury box, he ought to be in Grand Rapids getting playoff experience at that level. Either way, though, it’d be a waste of a tool the Wings could use. But you can’t knock out Maltby or Draper in the post-season, can you?

… All in all a solid game for the Wings. They’ve given themselves a slim chance of catching the Sharks and brought their play to a high level again following a subpar performance in Minnesota. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out in the standings down the stretch, but I’ll go into the post-season with a fair amount of confidence regarding a potential San Jose matchup.

Home Ice

Think home ice just got a lot more important to the Sharks? They just aren’t the same team at the Joe. Expect them to fight hard to maintain their lead down the stretch. The Wings can’t afford to falter, in case the Sharks happen to.

More on the game in the morning.

Marian Hossa Leaves Game With Upper Body Injury, Will Not Return (Updated)

Update (03. Mar, 10:54 PM): For news on Hossa’s injury in the March 3rd game against St. Louis, go here. – Matt

Update (02. Mar, 4:10 PM): The latest on this is here. – Matt

Update (10:44 PM): Ansar Khan has updated his post on the incident to include Babcock’s comments. It may be worth watching the post for more information, should he get any more. – Matt

Update (10:30 PM): Babcock just said in the post-game media interview that Hossa will be fine. I hope that’s true. – Matt

Update (9:44 PM): Ansar Khan’s post on this is here, with confirmation that Hossa will sit out the rest of the night as a precaution. – Matt

Marian Hossa was on the receiving end of an awkward (but not vicious, or overtly malicious) sandwich-type hit in the second period of tonight’s game against San Jose. It looked like he was hit in the head.

He left the ice right away and went to the lockerroom, where he was apparently checked out by the team doctor. The FS Detroit crew said later that he would not return, though it sounds like that may be more out of the team’s usual caution than anything else. Here’s hoping he’s okay or not going to be out too long.

Game Day Notes: vs. San Jose

… This is the fourth and final meeting between these two teams this season. The Sharks lead the series 2-1 with wins Oct. 30 and Jan. 17. The Wings won the Dec. 18 meeting.

… The Sharks are 5-1-4 in February. They’re winners of their last four, including a 1-0 decision over Dallas on Monday.

… They hold a five-point lead over Detroit with 91 and maintain a pair of games in hand.

… San Jose will be without Marcel Goc (lower body) and Torrey Mitchell (leg).

… Evgeni Nabokov (who else?) will start.

Projected San Jose lines:

Clowe-Thornton-Setoguchi
Michalek-Pavelski-Roenick
Cheechoo-Marleau-Grier
Shelley-Plihal-Lemieux

… That last line is sure to get a lot of attention at the Joe, thanks to a certain #32. Read George Malik’s thoughts on the Sharks’ resident rotting sack of excrement  here. Bill’s got some more here.

As for me, I’ll leave it at my previous description and add that Lemieux is only as big a story here as we allow him to be. As much as I’d like to see his world rocked by Kronwall or someone else, I’d rather he be a complete non-factor in any sense. He’s not worth any more ink/pixels than the lines that must appear in the boxscore and game stats. Any particular attention on the part of the Wings detracts from their mission. Knowing how much he loves hate from the stands, I’d even say don’t even bother booing him, were that not a right granted to all fans.  

… The Wings are 9-2-1 in February thus far. They’re coming off a 5-3 loss Saturday night in Minnesota, a game that followed a 5-2 win over Anaheim the night before.

… Brad Stuart (back, ribs) is slated to return against his former team tonight. He’ll likely join Nik Kronwall on the second pairing.

… To make room for Stuart in the lineup, Chris Chelios is a healthy scratch.

… He’ll be joined by Tomas Kopecky, who will take his turn on the fourth line rotation that last had Kris Draper on the sidelines.

… Tomas Holmstrom (sports hernia) and Brett Lebda remain out.

… Ty Conklin will start tonight.

… Projected lines:

Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Hossa
Hossa-Filppula-Franzen
Hudler-Helm-Samuelsson
Maltby-Draper-Leino

Lidstrom-Rafalski
Stuart-Kronwall
Lilja-Meech

… This is a big game for the Wings as it’s their last chance to directly effect the Sharks’ record. They’ll be unable to catch the Sharks in any case unless they stumble down the stretch, but a win tonight ups the odds just a bit.

San Jose is firing on all cylinders at the moment, something the Wings can’t claim with their lackluster appearance Saturday. They’ll have to be at their best tonight and with the homecrowd offering extra motivation, I think it’s a safe bet that they will.