… Tonight’s the first late-night test of your dedication: a 10:00 p.m. ET start. Fun times, eh?
… The Coyotes are off to a pretty strong start in spite of all the distractions of the summer that have bled over into a season of organizational uncertainty. They’re 5-2-0 and sit in 8th place in the West, just 1 point back of San Jose for the Pacific Division lead.
… The ‘Yotes have been off since Saturday, when the beat the Bruins at home 4-1.
… They’re winning, but doing it in front of very few fans. They hit 17,532 (official) Â in the home opener, but fell to 6,899 (official) for the second home game. Apparently, the tally for that one was closer to 5,000 in actuality.Â Their most recent game supposedly had 9,162 fans in attendance, but like the other two numbers, that includes unused season tickets.
Those numbers are quite pathetic, obviously, but given how those fans have been jerked around over the past few months, I can’t blame them. It’s easy for me, as a fan of a team with zero chance of ever moving, to say, “Well, why don’t the fans rally and prove their team belongs there?!” Like I said, they’ve been jerked around all over the place throughout this process. And there wasn’t a massive herd of them to begin with.
… There should be some more fans there tonight, though, since the Wings are in town and the Coyotes know games against Detroit are popular enough to enforce “Premium Gate Pricing” for them. As far as I can tell, the Wings are the only team they do it for. Nice, huh, Michigan expats?
… Ilya Bryzgalov hasn’t been confirmed as the starter yet, but you know he’ll be in net. He’s 3rd in the League this young season in save percentage at .953 and fourth in goals against average with 1.14. He was the NHL’s First Star of the Week last week. He’s tough to beat.
… I’m not aware of too many Coyotes blogs, but Five for Howling should suit your needs if you’re looking for their perspective.
… Like the Coyotes, the Wings haven’t played since Saturday. Unlike the Coyotes, they lost that night. It took them blowing a two-goal lead and a one-goal lead in succession, and failing to stop a puck in the shootout, but they did it.
… Tonight they’ll look to get their season back on track and, we can hope, find a way to string a few wins together so this win-loss wave can end. Getting away from any distractions in Detroit should help, as should the team’s being forced to spend more time together off the ice. With so many new faces, some bonding’s obviously got to be done.
… A big boost should be provided by the scheduled return of Pavel Datsyuk to the lineup. He missed two games with an upper body (probably shoulder) injury and, if he’s in tonight, should be amped to go.
… Chris Osgood will start tonight. As a side note, I have to comment on something I missed yesterday due to the move: the question of Osgood and number retirement. I say “yes.” Megan pointed out that the current banners, with the exception of Yzerman, are all players from that ’50s dynasty. You’d obviously want guys instrumental in the 1990s-2000s dynasty to be up there next.
I don’t see how Osgood could be excluded. Sure, he wasn’t here his whole career, but his departure was due to Hasek falling in the Wings’ lap and forcing him out for a couple years. Two Cups with him in net means something, however. I’d think he’d be under consideration, for sure.
As a further sidenote, other guys I’d like to see receive that honor:
Lidstrom – lock, lock, lock.
Fedorov – As George has said, a likely lock if he and the team can get past their differences. Big if.
Shanahan – Doesn’t quite meet the criteria as an outsider originally, but he was the final piece.
Holmstrom – No one short of Yzerman sacrificed more of his physical health over the years and not many guys are more responsible for wins without showing up on the scoresheet than he is. That said, I doubt the Wings’ll look at him.
… Anyway. This is where it needs to start for the Wings. It’s true that the season has barely started, but the sooner they can right the ship, the better. Get it done, guys.
… I do plan on livetweeting again tonight: @OtW_InGame.