Archive for December, 2009

12/29 Lilja Update

It’s an off day for the Wings, so that means another non-news workday piece from the media. This time it’s on Lilja, who’s still experiencing headaches 10 months on. It’s a good read, if you’re looking to become depressed.

Also, the team got the day off, so it’s doubtful we’ll get an answer to the question coming out of the last paragraph here until tomorrow. I say give Leino a shot at resurrecting chemistry with Filppula, but remind him Ritola’s just a phone call and a two-hour drive away.

Leino Out, Ritola In

Update (3:33 PM): Thought I should clarify what I meant by the horribly-worded “Even with Filppula back, he’s a non-factor.”

Way back at the start of the season, Leino and Filppula had some great chemistry, as you might remember. I assume Babcock remembers that as well. So, to me it’s telling that he’s sitting Leino despite Filppula’s return. You’d think he’d at least give Ville another game to try to regain the magic with Fil, but he’s not.

It doesn’t mean Leino will sit Thursday night as well, but it does tell me he’s majorly deep in Babcock’s doghouse.

If Leino is still the guy who was basically saying “I’d better in the NHL next year or else,” I wonder if he has the mental fortitude to find his way back out into the yard. – Matt

You have to wonder where Ville Leino’s NHL career is headed when he’s being replaced in a depleted, starved-for-offense Red Wings lineup by a minor league call-up. The fact that it’s come to this is a pretty clear indicator that maybe he doesn’t have what it takes. Even with Filppula back, he’s a non-factor.

Is he going to take this as a challenge and actually be better or is he going Axelsson his way back to Finland (either after being sent down to Grand Rapids or after a couple of weeks of sitting)?

The Obstructed View, Episode 3

The latest TOV is here. Tyler of The Triple Deke, Kyle of Babcock’s Death Stare and Kris of Snipe Snipe, Dangle Dangle star with Chris Hollis and Brian Kiernicki. Great stuff, guys.

Kris was on in Episode 1, but stepped in to cover for me when I had to back out due to holiday commitments. Thanks, Kris! I’ll be on one of these weeks, though the schedule’s screwed up now thanks to me…

Blog note: out-of-state family is in town for the week, so tonight’ll be another missed game for us. And Thursday, we’ll be at Van Andel for the Griffins game, so we’ll miss Disco Night or whatever’s going on at the Joe.

Game Day Open Thread: vs. Columbus

We’re spending the weekend at my cable-less in-laws, so we’re going to miss the game tonight. And I can’t steal away to the computer for much longer than it’ll take to write this, so no game day notes.

Blogging over the coming week may be spotty as well. At minimum, will return to regular service after the holidays.

Also, I had to drop out of this week’s podcast due to commitments on recording day. I’ll be on soon, though.

Wings 0, Blackhawks 3

I don’t have much to say about this one because I don’t want to dwell on it. Suffice to say that it sucked. Despite a fairly solid effort, the Wings were still overmatched. I’m with Bill on this: it was rock bottom.

But it’s a new season starting Saturday. Filppula kicks off the injury returns and that should mean a turn around. It’s going to be a heck of a second half.

Game Day Notes: vs. Chicago

… So, tonight the tables are turned a bit on the Hawks. On Sunday, it was the Wings who had played the night before and who were on the road. This time, it’s the Hawks who are on the road after playing the night before. Except they got to play theirs at home, though they did lose (3-2 to San Jose).

The biggest handicap is still in favor of the Hawks, though: the Wings’ injuries.

… This’ll be Hossa’s first visit to the Joe since he left. Bill wants fans at the Joe to refrain from booing him and gives a lot of good reasons to let him off the hook. I get that and can basically live with it (though I hate that he went to Chicago, of all teams), but nothing would be better than seeing him plastered by Brad Stuart. I guess a win would, but it probably wouldn’t be as cathartic.

So, don’t boo him, I guess, but cheer like crazy if he gets rocked.

… Looks like we might get Antti Niemi tonight.

… The Wings have been off since Sunday, but apparently at least one guy spent that time getting sick: Brian Rafalski. He’s officially questionable for tonight with the flu, with Kindl being recalled from GR, his chances of playing are close to zero (it is possible, if unlikely, that they called him up just in case).

The Blackhawks are probably smelling more blood in the water. I hope the Wings are ready to punch them in the gills.

… Meanwhile, Babcock is apparently going to doubleshift a center despite having four available to him. With Mattias Ritola years out from his last regular center stint and Kris Draper apparently locked in a winger slot, someone’s going to have the pleasure of skating with two of May, Maltby and Cough Drop. I guess for ice time reasons, lines can’t just be shuffled around a little so the centers are distributed throughout the lineup properly .

… Jimmy Howard’s getting the start tonight, which I guess means if the other guy has a crappy night, you’re in. Or that he’s become the regular season guy because this is a big game. But the official story’s more like the former, I’m sure.

… This may not be a fun game. I’m definitely not going into it with the same bravado I had in approaching Sunday’s game. Doesn’t mean I don’t have hope, though.

The Wings shouldn’t win this one, but that may be why they might.