Posts tagged “Hurricanes”

Wings 5, Hurricanes 4

Skid Over: It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Wings finally got their win, bringing the skid to an end at six games. There was enough positive in this one on top of the win to think they may have a streak in them next.

Nick: Nick both was and wasn’t one of those positives. He was in that his presence in the lineup was an obvious plus from a morale perspective. He wasn’t in that he was definitely a bit rusty. He started shaking off that rust as the game went on, however, so there’s no reason to believe he’ll continue to make the kind of misjudgment that led to the LaRose goal. He was a big part of the comeback, manning the blueline in the offensive zone like a boss and creating scoring chances.

Zetterberg: Carried the team on his back for swathes of the game. The Wings weren’t playing badly per se, but they were down due to some freak opportunity capitalization by the Canes. Zetterberg assessed the situation and started taking care of business. It was great to see. And every time he does that, I’m reminded of all the folks who doubted him.

Hudler: Had a strong game from a scoring chance perspective. Finally scored on one of them in the third. He could have had a hat trick, though.

Kindl: The other injury return. I didn’t notice him.

Holmstrom: Homer pushes the envelope as part of his game-to-game job. There’s no denying that. So I don’t expect much outside sympathy for what follows. But that goaltender interference penalty was a steaming pile of bull. When a defenseman cross-checks a forward into his own goalie, that forward shouldn’t get hit with a penalty. That’s basic hockey rules. I guess the ref nailed Homer on the qualification that he had to make a “reasonable effort” to avoid Ward. Which is weak.

Nyquist: I saw some commentary that because Nyquist hasn’t taken advantage of the chances he himself is creating, the commentators are losing faith. That’s asinine. Nyquist is going to be a force, but he’s still young. He’s younger than Pavel Datsyuk was when he entered the League full-time, for example. Yet he’s being held to that standard by some. Lame.

He was very good last night.

The Race: The win kept the Wings a point ahead of the Predators, who won at home against the Jets. Now we face the awkward necessity to hope Chicago wins over the Predators tonight to keep the Wings in 4th.

Game Day Notes: vs. Carolina

… This is the only meeting between the Wings and Hurricanes this season.

… The Canes are 11th in the East, with a 30-30-15 record. They’re 7 points back of 8th place with 7 games left.

… They’re coming off a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jackets last night in a game that cut off a winning streak at four. That loss puts a dent in their playoffs hopes, which were slim already.

… Eric Staal has been racking up points—44 points in 36 game and 6 in his last 4s—but was pointless last night.

… Andreas Nodl and Jaroslav Spacek were out last night. Nodl was injured on this charge by Zach Bogosian.

… Cam Ward should get the start tonight. He played last night and gave up five goals on 26 shots.

… The Wings are winless in their last six games. They hit the high point of the skid in their last game, a closely-fought 2-1 overtime loss to the Rangers on Wednesday.

… That overtime loss gave the point they needed to take back fourth place from the Predators. The have a chance to pull ahead to a three point lead on the Preds tonight with a win themselves and a Nashville loss to Winnepeg.

… Good injury news: Jakub Kindl will be back tonight, taking Doug Janik’s place in the lineup.

… Better injury news: Nick Lidstrom will take warm-ups and be a game-time decision. Brendan Smith will be the odd-man out if Nick can go.

… The skate was optional, but Johan Franzen took part, so that’s positive news. Even if he apparently doesn’t look close yet.

… Ty Conklin gets the start with Jordan Pearce backing him up. Jimmy Howard was at the skate and should be close.

… The Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot last night against the Blue Jackets and they know it. They’ll be desperate tonight, knowing that they have zero margin for error on top of having to hope for a miracle. The Wings need to bring the effort they had Wednesday night to the rink and take advantage of being slightly less shorthanded.

The skid needs to end now.

Wings 0, Hurricanes 3

Oomph: What the Wings lacked last night, or more specifically, that extra oomph. Their worth ethic was good, I thought and most nights against most teams, it would have been enough. But Carolina had greater motivation and thus had a better work ethic. And that was enough for them to hold off the Wings.

Ward: … with a little help from Cam Ward, who was outstanding. Got lucky a few times, but he made his own luck the rest of the time. Where the Wings’ talent would have overpowered the Canes’ work ethic, Ward was there to fill in the gap. If the Wings had been a bit more more persistant, they might have cracked him, but they weren’t, so they didn’t.

Jimmy: Made a number of big stops and just looking at those, he had a strong night. I’m less a fan of the goals he allowed, however. The first wasn’t through that much of a screen. On the second, he seemed way slow to react to Skinner going around behind the net. I guess Skinner’s figure skating thing (which they harped on all night) made things move faster than expected there or something. And the Cole goal was a bad defensive break-in, but you still like to see your goalie make that save. I’m not saying he had a bad night by any means, but the three goals were a little sour-tasting.

Jonny: Just when I thought he was having a better night than usual, he let a pass up through center go right through him to allow the Canes to get a great scoring chance later in the game. I don’t know what goes through his head sometimes.

Datsyuk: Looked dangerous early. Noticed him less once Zetterberg went down.

Zetterberg: If the injury is going to have him out very long, the Wings are in trouble. Also: who do the Wings need to pay off to keep Bryan Allen away from Z? Guy needs to sign in Siberia next contract expiration.

Continuous play: One of the nice things  about this game. There were long stretches of it at various points and it was good to see the officials let them, you know, play hockey.

Next: Not a lot more to say about this one. The Wings needed to stay healthy and they played like it. The irony is that Zetterberg got hurt anyway. Meanwhile, the Canes needed the game and played like it themselves. I would have loved to have seen the Wings go out and play harder for second place, but rationally speaking, that’s maybe not the smartest thing. Friday and Sunday, though, may be a different story, since they’ll have a shot at cutting down a potential playoff opponent. They’ll need to show up against Chicago.

Wings 3, Hurricanes 1

What Is And What Should Never Be: A win over Carolina. The hockey world took a step toward rightness with this one, folks. The Wings should lose to the Hurricanes next to never.

The Song Remains The Same: Jimmy, despite the mercy yanking Tuesday, was back to his recent excellent self last night. He’s showing  remarkable (for him) mental resiliance this year…

How Many More Times: … which is why I’m wondering how Babcock can justify starting him back-to-back this weekend by hiding behind the lame excuse that he doesn’t want to throw a bucket of cold water on one of the hottest goalies in the League.

Well, Mike, if the Ducks and Islanders didn’t slow him down, do you really think sitting against Dallas and getting the nod for a huge game like that against Chicago is going to be a blow to his psyche? Really? Goalies around the League have to deal with sitting for one of two games in a back-to-back. If Jimmy’s going to be  goalie in this League, he’s got to be professional enough to handle that without suffering a setback.

The case for a personal issue with Osgood builds ever so slightly.

Your Time is Gonna Come: That said, this bold label’s for you, Oz.

Heartbreaker: Back to Jimmy for a second. Rebound control, Jimmy. Learn it, love it, live it. Please.

Stairway to Heaven: Did the clouds not part when Nick Lidstrom finally scored? They sure did for me. Goals aren’t the most important thing Nick does, and as we covered in the podcast, his lack of scoring wasn’t a major concern, but it was great to finally see him get one.

Black Dog: So his hair’s more on the grey side, but this one fits Miller for me for some reason. Heck of a game. Why wasn’t he on the power play before?

Thank You: Not long after I tweeted that the Wings needed a goal to get ahead of that one-goal lead late, Henrik Zetterberg came through.

That’s The Way: The Wings definitely didn’t take the Canes for granted. They had decent jump most of the game, and though they surrendered 38 shots, I don’t remember specific long stretches where the Canes seemed to be carrying the play. Tighter defense is a must against better opponents, but they got the job done last night. They need to keep getting it done.

Ramble On: We finally got Mickey Redmond back and Larry Murphy was relegated to his rightful role as third man on the org chart.

No Quarter/Bring It On Home: Important game tomorrow because they’re all important now, but Sunday’s huge. It won’t have much to do with the standings, but it will have a lot to do with message sending. As Bill said in the podcast, the Wings need to send a message Sunday.

Game Day Notes: vs. Carolina

Keeping this brief:

… All you need to know about Carolina, really, is that they suck. No team in its right mind would lose to them on most nights. But they’ve gotten past enough teams to somehow manage 14 W’s so they are capable of winning when their opponents fall asleep.

Don’t be that team, Detroit.

… On the Wings’ side, they have the return of Jonathan Ericsson slated for tonight. Doug Janik has been reassigned to Grand Rapids.

Here’s hoping Playoff Jonny’s back, not Very Much A Rookie Jonny.

… Ville Leino will take his black hole of suck to the luxury box or lockerroom or wherever the heck he watches games when he’s not “playing.” Brad May will bring his own black hole to the bench. And, occasionally, the fourth line.

… Jimmy Howard will get the start tonight after getting a sanity pull from Babcock during Tuesday night’s Islander-induced shellacking. As I wrote yesterday, here’s hoping Howard wasn’t negatively affected by that game.

… And here’s hoping the Wings, far from forgetting about the embarrassment on Long Island, have enough shame from that experience to come out fired up and pissed off tonight.

Right the ship, boys. Now.

Hurricanes possibly seeking an enforcer

Update (9:52 PM): Well, I’m an idiot. As Defenseman pointed out in the comments, Maltby is the only player on the IR right now and Mark Hartigan is in his place, putting the Wings at the roster limit. That means when Maltby returns, Hartigan will go and the team will stay at the limit.

In short, Downey’s job with the Wings is not in danger and the post below is idiotic. Sorry. - Matt

After the Colton Orr hit on Carolina forward Matt Cullen last night, the Hurricanes have expressed an interest in acquiring an enforcer.

You may be thinking, “This is a Wings blog. Why is this relevant?”

Well, when Henrik Zetterberg, Kirk Maltby, and Tomas Holmstrom return to the lineup, the team will be one over the 23-man roster limit. At that point, they’ll have to send someone down to Grand Rapids and the short list of candidates pretty much consists of Aaron Downey.

“So what?” you say. “That’s at least two weeks from now. Surely Carolina will have found a trade partner by then.” That is indeed possible, though I’d call it unlikely, given the stagnant trade market.

“Alright, maybe a trade is unlikely. But what are the chances that the Wings won’t have someone new on the IR at that point?” Yes, the realist in me has to admit that another injury is definitely not outside the realm of possibility. That doesn’t mean it’s a given, though.

Again, if the Wings are healthy in two weeks, Downey’s place on the roster evaporates. When the Wings waived him earlier in the season, it was worrisome, but no team was openly talking about needing an enforcer, so there wasn’t much chance of his actually being claimed. This time, that’s not true. Also, the Wings don’t necessarily have to wait until the team is healthy to waive Downey. In fact, they’re not likely to, as doing so would delay the return of the last injured player (probably Holmstrom). So, you can shave a couple days off the full two weeks time frame.

I think it’s safe to say that few in Hockeytown would be happy to see Downey taken off waivers. I know I wouldn’t. I’d much rather he stay within the organization, where he’s widely regarded as a positive force. That’s why I’m hoping the Hurricanes find their man some other way.  It’s possible that Downey may not represent the right mixture of toughness and skill that the Hurricanes are looking for, but there’s always the chance that they’d be interested in picking him up.

If the Wings do end up needing to send Downey to Grand Rapids and he isn’t claimed, there will remain, of course, the risk of his being claimed on re-entry waivers down the road. Once he’s in GR, though, he probably wouldn’t be the first choice for the call-up, as the team would probably seek to fill another need.