Posts filed under “Game Reports”

Wings 5, Wild 3

Data Collection Update: The Wings improved to 1-2-0 against legitimate hockey teams with this one, though parts of it looked like they’d fall to 0-3-0. The picture is filling in.

Offense Reliant: Although the defense played a solid game, this game hinted at the likely recipe for success for the Wings this season: the offense. The team will have to have a medium to high goal output with a defense the weakest the Wings have had in years.

Jimmy: Especially during the first period and middle of the second, Howard was very strong. He had no chance on two of the three goals and not much of one on the other. He kept the Wings in the game when they weren’t invested in it and the Wild were a threat. He’s even improving, which bodes well for his part in this season.

Bertuzzi: I definitely did not expect him to come back and immediately be so effective. I hope it wasn’t a fluke!

Also, I really enjoy how popular he is with the fans at the Joe. I doubt he would have ever earned that kind of reception in another city if he hadn’t come here.

Eurotwin Breakup: So yeah, spreading the wealth across two lines worked out. Stunning.

Helm: Like Bertuzzi, he was immediately effective and an impact player. Just having him in the lineup makes me feel more optimistic about the season.

Brunner: Still a beast with soft hands. His goal was a thing of beauty and he continues to be a threat on most shifts.

Z Line: The swapping in of Franzen worked out better than I would have expected. The Datsyuk line was the best but Zetterberg’s line was not far behind.

Kindl: Looked worse than Quincey. Yeah.

Lashoff: You know he’ll be headed to GR as soon as Ericsson is ready to go, but you also know it’ll be a shame. I’m definitely glad to be wrong about him. He’s an undrafted callup that outplayed a first round regular (Kindl) and would have earned a spot if he weren’t waiver-exempt.

Penalties: The Wings did a lot of standing around and that of course led to a lot of penalties. They need to work on moving their feet going forward.

Parise & #20: Parise scored a goal and was a threat, but I only really noticed #20 when JLA fans booed him.

Next: The Wings faceoff against Central-leading Chicago tomorrow night on the road. They’re four points back of the undefeated Hawks. A real challenge.

Wings 1, Stars 2

Swamped at work, so just a few brief words:

Data Collection Continues: It’s way early still, but the data collected so far on this team is not encouraging. I have it at 1-0-0 against crappy teams and 0-2-0 against legit teams. And four goals in three games.

Obviously, there are injuries that are skewing the results, but the forward corps is still pretty healthy so that doesn’t explain the lack of scoring. Not encouraging.

Brunner: What may explain the lack of scoring is what seems like 90% of the team’s scoring chances are going to Damien Brunner, who has thus far scored on like 1% of them.

I have noticed a lack of chemistry between Brunner and Pavel relative to that between Brunner and Z. That’s obviously going to happen given how new they are to each other.

But when Babcock threw the lines in a blender last night, one of the bits that slopped out onto the counter was a Franzen/Datsyuk/Zetterberg line. If we’re not going to wait for Pavel and Brunner to gel, my preference would not have been to reward Franzen (who played like a doornail), but to swap out Datsyuk for Filppula on a trial basis.

Anyway, Brunner managed to rob Lehtonen of the shutout much the way Kari robbed the Wings of goals prior to that point, so maybe he’s going to blow up now.

Lehtonen: Speaking of robbing the Wings of goals… I don’t want to take away from Lehtonen’s performance, which was very good. But I was frustrated to see the Wings make yet another goalie look so good.

Goalies in the NHL have like a 50/50 chance of either getting shellacked or kicking off a Vezina campaign when they play the Wings. (not) Glad to see that survived the lockout.

Jimmy: I thought he looked very good, though he didn’t match Lehtonen save for save. He gave the Wings a chance and it’s not his fault they blew it.

Though I wish he would have kept his skate away from Ian White.

Renney: The PP had some moments (mainly Brunner), but overall it was flat. Whatcha doin, Tom?

Tootoo: Totally wrecked a guy I think in the first period. I think the dude was a little too far away from the boards for my liking, but something like that is why you’re here, Jordin.

Kyle Quincey: [negative comment]

Next: The Wings host the Wild, so we’ll get a taste of what Life After Lidstrom could have been mingled in with what it’s actually like. Fun.

Wings 4, Blue Jackets 3 (SO)

Briefly:

That’s Kinda More Like It: As far as followups to Saturday’s performances go, this was a move upward. But still, the Jackets took the Wings to a shootout, and contrary to what James Wisniewski might believe, I’m not convinced they’re not still the league whipping boys. So, it’s a plus to get a notch in the win column, but I award no points for the execution.

Brunner: I will award Damien Brunner points for this, though. Pretty sweet.

Even without that, Brunner had a strong, if frustrating, night. He was a puck magnet and had some great scoring chances that he has to be burying before too long.

Colaiacovo: Got knocked out of the game in the third period with a shoulder injury and was largely unnoticeable before that. Now he’s out for a while and the Wings have signed Kent Huskins as an exciting replacement.

Eurotinws: Much better in this game. Between Brunner’s puck attraction and the Eurotwins’ ramping it up, this line was a threat most shifts.

Kronwall: Also looked better. He made a sweet heads up play to Datsyuk for the final real goal of the night and seemed sharper on defense.

Eaves: Had a couple chances in his first game back but otherwise I didn’t notice him a ton.

Lashoff: Gotta say I was wrong. He looked impressive in his first NHL game and managed to score with the help of a screen. We’ll see if he can carry it through but I’m glad I was wrong about last night.

Tootoo: I could have done without the dumb staged fight.

Quincey: Another poor game from him. That’s going to get old real fast if it hasn’t already.

Refs: The refs really got involved as the game went on and sapped the energy out of it. Frustrating. We lost nearly half the season, guys. Let them play.

Next: The Wings host the 1-1-0 Stars for the home opener. Jaromir Jagr already has four points.

Update: I should add that Gustav Nyquist has been recalled to replace Mikael Samuelsson, who will be out with a groin injury.

Wings 0, Blues 6

Okay, Get It Out of Your System: It’s only the first game of the season, but it was pretty terrible. It’s far too early to panic, but color me concerned. In a season this short, they can’t afford not to show up every night. They need to move onward and upward from this or it will be a long season despite being a short one.

Life After Lidstrom: Okay, so it wasn’t responsible for everything that went wrong last night. But let’s not kid ourselves, either: it played a role. There were a few cracks about Lidstrom finally winning a Hart Trophy and voters apologizing for ever depriving him of the Norris and for good reason. The Wings need to find their way without him, but last night, they looked completely lost.

Kronwall: The guy you most expect (and need) to step up, didn’t. Two penalties brought on by failure to do his job…not encouraging.

Quincey: Before the game, FSD played footage of Quincey saying that while he was away, he wanted to prove he belonged on this team. Well, he didn’t last night, unless this team is going to be terrible. In which case, he showed he’d fit right in.

But because I’m hoping that’s not the case, I’m also going to hope that his complete inability to defend an unknown quantity like Vladimir Tarasenko boils down to a lack of time to prepare due to the rushed start to the season.

The Defense In General: Was terrible. Quincey stood out in a specific way and Kronwall failed to show the leadership the unit needs from him, but it wasn’t just them. And it extended to the rest of the team’s own-zone play. It of course remains to be seen whether the system will take off from here, with a little more practice, but this wasn’t a good start.

Jimmy: The best player on the ice, but that wasn’t saying much. He wasn’t great, even accounting for the fact that he was hung out to dry all night.

Eurotwins: Zero shots. Unacceptable.

Brunner: Had three shots, but still adjusting to the rink size. Understandable.

The Offense: Didn’t crack double digits in shots until the third period and only reached 14 in the end. They had 44 shots in even their 10-3 drubbing at the hands of the Blues two years ago and that game was a real low point. I’m not saying 44 shots as ineffective as those two years ago would have been great, but this offense should be able to generate more than 14 against even a team as defensively systematic as the Blues.

Forwards on the Power Play: I guess Tom Renney has inherited Mike Babcock’s predilection with forwards on the power play. I think Brunner’s going to be an asset when he adjusts to the rink size, but those adjustments probably aren’t going to add weight to his shot. When he did get set up for a blueline blast, it was always more of a blueline bloop.

And he wasn’t very good when circumstances dictated he play a more defensive role back there. But I’ll mark that down to the aforementioned rink adjustment process.

Samuelsson got some time back there too, with predictable results.

David Backes: Played like a wrecking ball and demolished Mursak into the bench boards (taking him out of the game with a shoulder injury). The Wings’ wrecking ball, Jordin Tootoo, got a 10 minute misconduct for missing a hit. A new era.

Next: The Wings head to Columbus for a chance to redeem this performance. The Jackets are already off to a better start, with a win over Nashville under their belt. With Nash no longer with the team, the Wings should be in good shape, right?

Game 4: Wings 1, Predators 3

The Goal: If the Wings do end up going out of the playoffs to the Predators, Nashville’s second goal last night will be the moment I’ll go back to as The Moment. In a year full of plenty of bad defensive plays, that one takes the cake. It’s honestly hard to imagine a positive way forward from there. That’s the kind of play you see during a pee-wee intermission scrimmage, not from men collectively making $14.2 million.

Not far behind it is the way three Wings flow to the left side of the ice on the Predators’ first (counted) goal.

Fruitless Dominance: The Wings owned this game territorially pretty much from start to finish. At least, they owned everything but the homeplate in the Nashville end.

And it counts for jack. Because they couldn’t crack Pekka Rinne, who they’ve turned into a composite of the NHL’s all-time goaltending greats by taking the majority of their shots from the outside. Take a look at the Ice Tracker (take out the Predators and check just the Shot box). If that doesn’t make you said, you’re a disgustingly cheery person.

The Predators were on the road to victory every minute of ice time it was tied at zero.

Zetterberg: Followed not too far back by Jimmy Howard, Z is the one Wing to consistently show up on virtually every shift so far in this series. I hope this at least shuts up his detractors. Though I will say I was pretty annoyed by the late penalty. That was unfortunate.

Quincey: Had his best game of this tour as a Red Wing. A pity it was wasted.

Lidstrom: Looked disturbingly human. I don’t want my last sight of him on the ice to be him losing the puck at the blueline. Please bring back android Nick, Nick.

I’ve Got Nothing More: I don’t know what else to say about this game. The Wings need to find a way to dominate Game 5 in a way that’s actually fruitful. Or get dominated in the same way the Predators were and squeak something out. Anything else, and they’re done. And we’ve got some big questions.

Game 3: Wings 2, Predators 3

This One Bothers Me: I get that in an A-game to A-game head-to-head matchup, the Wings might very well lose to the Predators. They’ve got speed, size and a ridiculous goalie to go with a healthy dose of talent. So it’s not about the loss so much as it is (wait for it) about how the game was lost.

The Wings looked like a team unprepared for the battle the faced. They looked surprised that the Predators came out of the gate they way they did (read: primed to take a road game) and looked nothing like a team in the middle of a barfight. By the time they started shoving back, it was (wait for it) too little, too late.

After this season is over, I should go back through the archives and see how many times I had to type “too little, too late” or some variant. I’m sure it’ll make me sad.

Weber: He would score again. You know, I’m fine with the team giving him the one physical challenge and winning Game 2 as a way of getting revenge, but after watching him score again, I’ve decided I have a new requirement for making him pay the debt he incurred by slamming Z’s head into the boards: the Wings should keep him off the scoresheet. Sound good?

Zetterberg: Player of the game in my book. Datsyuk lead the charge in the third, but Z was the guy driving the offense in the first two periods when everybody else was dragging their feet.

Datsyuk: As for Pavel, it was about time. More. Now. Well, not now, but you get what I mean. Game 4’d better be your best.

Also, that goal was sweet.

Stuart: Is anybody out there not done with him yet? How many more goals against does he have to be on the ice and actively not-involved-in-stopping for?

Joe Crowd: The crowd at JLA was incredible. They were chanting before the game and booing Weber beautifully during it. They put out a great noise throughout the game and really did a good job.

The Officiating: It started with the chintzy call on Miller that was wrong either because he did try to stop or because he was pushed into Rinne (or both). And the lopsided standard continued all night. I don’t think the Wings even got a crowd call despite the well-timed gasping that went on.

It wasn’t enough to blame the outcome on, but it is still very frustrating that the abject incompetence of NHL officials continues. They suck.

Franzen: I thought he looked decent, though I’m still mad at him for his idiotic penalties.

Special Teams: The PK finally gave up a goal, but otherwise looked very strong. The PP had a good start to the third period and managed to put one in the net lat in the game, but otherwise was not awe-inspiring. Unless you’re awed by suck.

Emmerton: I’ll shut up now.

New Practice Idea: Focusing on teaching White how to get shots through. I feel like his shots get blocked a ton.

Faceoffs: Awful day on the dot for the Wings. Can they get Kris Draper to give the guys some tips?

Game 4: Obvious must win situation is obvious.

Game 2: Wings 3, Predators 2

Correct Response: As I suggested last night, the total of this game was the right response to the Weber situation. Todd Bertuzzi stepped up for his teammate in the old fashioned way and settled the matter from a physical perspective. The important thing to point out is nobody else at any point went out of their way to get Weber: he paid with that early fight.

Then the Wings took care of business after that. They got the win in spite of Weber and that’s the right response.

Jimmy: The best Wing on the ice last night. He was incredibly sharp in the first period when the Wings were giving up disturbingly good scoring chances and carried them through the rest of the game whenever the Predators threatened. Neither of the two goals looked particularly great, but both included Predators being given far too much space. I’d mark those down as more negatives for the defense than for Jimmy.

The PK: Continues its surprising dominance. I did not anticipate this.

Stuart: Overall had a good game. About time. It doesn’t make up for his weeks of sub-par play, but if he can keep it up, I’ll stop being so frustrated with him.

Emmerton: Sweet shot on his first playoff goal. It was good to see him provide value beyond simply being a center. The fourth line had a very good game, I thought, and Emmerton was a big part of that. Keep it up and I’ll be glad to be proven wrong to be skeptical of his place in the lineup.

Nyquist: No points, though he should have gotten an assist on the Emmerton goal. He was creating opportunities on each shift he got, though there weren’t many: he finished second last in TOI with 7:16.

Franzen: Maybe we need Mike Fisher to mug him early in every game, because it looked like he was much more motivated than usual in this game. He scored the game-winner by virtue of going to the front of the net and having Stuart use his leg as the redirect. Maybe he scores goals on his own in Game 3.

Defensive Zone: One of the negatives of the night was the Wings play in their own end. Too often, they were too casual with the puck and if they’d had a lesser goalie, they would have paid for it. It’s great that Jimmy’s such a boss, but I’d like to see them have some better puck security.

White: Made a nice play on his goal to change the angle. He looked pretty good.

The Power Play: Mostly flat, again.

Nashville Fans: I noticed Zetterberg was booed later in the game. Stay classy, Tennessee.

Reverse: This game had elements of reversal from Game 1. The Wings got their bounces and the Predators got their fruitless scoring chances. But I wouldn’t take claims of reversal too far. The Wings were much closer to their Game 1 control than the Predators were to the Wings’ level in Game 1.

Home Ice: Now the Wings have home ice. That’s pretty good news for them.