The Captain made it happen.
I don’t capitalize that “C” lightly.
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The Captain made it happen.
I don’t capitalize that “C” lightly.
Last night was another of the Wings’ upswings this season, a game where they demonstrate that when they’re determined, they can be very hard to beat. It’s the kind of game that makes their downswings incomprehensible.
Contrast the absurdity of Game 3 with last night’s third period and overtime. It boggles the mind that we’re talking about the same team. Saturday night, the Wings were hapless suckers that looked like they didn’t belong in the playoffs. Last night, after a couple meh periods, they had the Ducks playing with a kind of ridiculous desperation as they poured on the puck possession, and had non-Wings fans on Twitter buzzing about how great the game was.
It’s kind of infuriating. Where’s that determination on a consistent basis? I love the upswings, but I want more of them.
Which team will we see tomorrow night? Jekyll or Hyde?
You know the pattern—here’s hoping they break it.
The story of this game is the Wings’ inability to score on the powerplay. They had enough opportunities in the first period to build a lead that might have withstood their later collapse, but even their loaded first unit couldn’t produce. That failure is what sealed their fate. I can’t emphasize that enough: the utter impotence of the Wings’ power play last night is what has them down 2-1 in the series. That can’t continue if they hope to do anything more in this series—just contrast Game 2 and Game 3.
Abdelkader’s hit on Lydman was just the final nail in the coffin. A big, stupid, inexcusable nail.
I fought this battle at length on Twitter last night, but I’ll repeat the basics here: the call on Abdelkader was a good one. If anyone has any doubts about that, I refer you to Rule 42.
That rule can be boiled down to the following: a + b = c, where “a” is extra distance travelled, “b” is extraordinary violence and “c” is charging. Abdelkader’s hit incorporates both elements of charging: he took a long beeline to Lydman (even if he was gliding by the end) and jumped to make a high hit.
It’s not a Rule 48 play, because the head wasn’t necessarily targeted. Though you could argue that the head was the principle point of contact (but not the first), because though there was a glancing blow along Lydman’s shoulder, the bulk of the energy of the hit is expended on his head. But I don’t think the League can review it under Rule 48. It’d have to be Rule 42, which has its own suspension clause.
A major penalty is at the ref’s discretion and is necessarily subjective. But once given a major, Abdelkader was subject to Rule 42.5, which stipulates a game misconduct should the hit player be injured in the head or face. Lydman went to the lockerroom as a precaution for a possible head injury, so it should surprise nobody that Abdelkader was tossed.
If your dispute is based on the claim that there was no call on the play initially, I refer you to the replay. Note the ref away from the play around :10. His arm is up. I have no idea why the ref virtually in Lydman’s face didn’t call it, but his colleague did.
So there was a call on the play—the penalty wasn’t conjured up out of nowhere as a response to Duck complaints (though I don’t see a rule that explicitly says the refs can’t assess a penalty retroactively).
At the time, the game was 0-0. The Ducks only managed to score one goal on their power play, but Abdelkader’s stupidity still cost the Wings, who were already behind the eight ball.
After the game, Abdelkader was nowhere to be found, since he’d already left the arena. So he didn’t face the media, which doesn’t bode well for hopes that he’d say something contrite about letting his team down. Maybe he had to hit an ATM to get the $100 for his fine under 42.6.
If he says it was a clean hit and claims surprise over the call, I’ll be annoyed. That was not a team play and he should own up to that.
Anyway, the Wings continued their Game 2 third period performance last night, rather than return to their Game 2 first period effort. Now they’re in serious trouble. They can’t afford any more mistakes, whether in the form of stupid hits or impotent power plays.
“It’s a good life lesson for our crew. We have lots of kids on our team. They’re not like veterans. It takes time for them to figure it all out. They’re figure it out and this will be a good thing.” (via)
I wonder if Mike Babcock is the kind of dad whose method for teaching his kids to swim involved tossing them into the water and presenting them with a literal sink-or-swim scenario.
Because that’s what he did last night, as the game was collapsing around the team’s ears. As @captnorris5 pointed out last night, Babcock’s refusal to call a timeout during that third period was problematic, even if it turned out okay in the end (thanks to College Boy Nyquist).
We’ll see if the lesson Babcock was teaching sticks.
Unfortunately, he’ll have one less kid to teach, now that Danny “#2” DeKeyser is out for the duration with a broken thumb.
19: So that was the Wings’ 19th straight win at home, which is one short of tying the NHL record. I wouldn’t call it their best of the streak, but there’s a sense which it was one of the more encouraging ones.
MacDonald: And that sense comes out of how well Joey MacDonald played, and how sold out his teammates were around the net for stopping the puck. The former indicates this guy can play, and the latter indicates that his teammates will play for him. Neither of those qualities have been showing up in Ty Conklin games this year.
Mac had the puck hit the iron on him a few times, needed a couple teammates to stop the puck for him, and had a few glorious Duck chances just plain blown by the shooter, but he still looked like the second best goalie we’ve seen in Red-and-White this year. He notched his second win and may have cemented a backup spotâ€”until the trade deadline, at least. I don’t know what happens then, but Joey’s eliminating the need to deal for a #2. If Holland finds a #1b for an affordable price, maybe Joey gets a pat on the head and sent back to GR.
But for now, he’s the guy. And it’s great to have confidence in your backup again.
Not Perfect: The Wings weren’t flawless in front of Joey, obviously. The most memorable case is the Parros goal, where 1) Franzen let a pass along the boards get by him and picked up by a Duck and 2) where Ericsson let Parros get between himself and the goal, leading to an easy redirect to make it 1-0 Ducks. Not a great sequence.
The Ducks: Kept it low tempo as much as they could for stretches of the game, which didn’t make for a lot of excitement. How far Anaheim has fallen.
Kindl: Looked pretty strong throughout the night and was especially involved from the offensive blueline, initially getting credit for Abdelkader’s goal, which was one of a few chances he created. Good to see.
Franzen: Gaffe on the Parros goal aside, I thought he looked more his positive self in this one, using his size well and creating chances. It didn’t pay off in terms of points, but maybe he’ll be on again tomorrow.
Holmstrom: Made it game #1,000 and had a pretty typical night around the net. Unfortunately, no goals or points, but there were a couple instances where he was very close to knocking it in.
If he can bear the abuse for another year, I hope he comes back. It’s going to be such a different team without him.
The Race: The Wings got their two points on a night that Chicago lost (again!), bringing them to 76 points and holding them in the League. They’re now five points up on St. Louis, seven up on Nashville and nine up on Chicago. The Blues do have three games in hand on them (while Chicago and Nashville only have one each), but the Wings have a pretty nice padding at the moment.
Nashville (in Boston), St. Louis (vs. Colorado), and Chicago (at Phoenix) are all active tonight.
Split: So the Wings split their road trip 2-2 with a pair of their worst losses and a pair of what are probably two of their better wins (in various ways). So it’s kind of a wash, but the positive take is that they’re on the upswing and getting closer to an encouraging answer to The Question.
Zetterberg: If Saturday night was Pavel’s night, Hank seemed to be determined from the onset to make Sunday his. He scored 1:26 and played with a lot more fire than we’ve seen from him this season for the rest of the night. He ended up with that goal and an assist, which isn’t necessarily a fair reflection of the kind of game he had. He looked much better.
Franzen: Continued to be effective, with another goal on a nice feed from Datsyuk. As long as he’s not dragging down the rest of the team, the Wings are in reasonable shape as far as Mule is concerned.
Jimmy: Played out of his mind, again. If he keeps this up over the course of the season, it’s going to be hard for even his external critics to deny that he’s one of the best in the League.
Smith: Definitely improving on a game-to-game basis and even a shift-to-shift basis. If the Wings can play him regularly, he may be better off in Detroit because his attitude in Grand Rapids so far hasn’t set him on a path to improvement there. He wants to be in the NHL and he plays like it when he’s in Red and White. When he’s in GR, he’s apparently a lot less interested in putting forth the effort. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens once White’s healthy again and the Wings are forced to make a choice.
Downside: The Wings let the Ducks get back into this game. Realistically, a team as talented as the Ducks isn’t going to be that far out of many games, even with their troubles this season, so I can’t get all over the Wings for it. But they do need to make sure they keep up an even effort. Even accounting for the Ducks’ skill, they leaned too much on Jimmy for stretches of this one.
Stuart: Awesome bank shot to add a little more sheen to generally bland empty net goals. His other goal was nice too. Good to see him contributing offensively.
Power Problems: 1) The Wings’ PP was pretty sad in the production department. 2) But not as sad as the Honda Center’s power problems. The delay was frustrating and amateur hour. Then the Detroit feed cut out and Ken Daniels was forced to call the game from his cell phone for a bit. It was quick thinking form the FSD crew, but another chapter in an eventful night of power issues.
Next: So the Wings get a couple days before facing the Flames on Wednesday. Here’s hoping they don’t lose the game they found in LA and carried through to much of the night in Anaheim.
Back in the Saddle: It’s just one game and needs to become a habit to go further in wiping away the skid, but this was at least a great first step. The Wings put in a full effort that more or less covered 60 minutes, with a few conceded shifts here and there. This was probably the kind of game they needed to pull out of this dive best: one that reminds them what they’re capable of, of what it feels like to dominate a game and be in control. A tightly-contested win brought on by garbage goals or luck might bring them out of this slump, too, but I like to think this particular win will have them firmer in the saddle than that.
Jimmy: Wouldn’t it have been just the way things have gone for the Wings to bring their A-game last night only to have Jimmy falter? Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Jimmy looked very good, especially considering the stretches in which he wasn’t tested only to come up with a big save suddenly. Now if everybody’s on the same page, maybe they can start making some hay over the coming weeks.
The Ducks: One note about beating the Ducks: this wasn’t exactly beating a good team at their peak. The Ducks are clearly struggling and not exactly impressive competition at the moment. A win’s a win, but the Wings are going to need to be more careful about taking dumb penalties like bench minors going forward.
Nick: George has a great case built for Lidstrom playing some of his best regular season hockey, so I suggest reading that. Nick is truly something special. The FSD crew spent considerable time praising him last night, but also spent a chunk of time pairing him with Teemu Selanne as two admirable and still effective veterans. I’ll grudgingly grant Teemu what he has accomplished, but I personally think naming him on equal footing with Nick Lidstrom does Nick a disservice. While Nick was busy leading his team to victory, Selanne was taking an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a couple misconducts to get himself taken out of the game.
I would rather have Lidstrom in any situation any day of the week a million times over.
Franzen: Nice little outburst from him last night. I hope it continues. My patience with Mule’s in-game streakiness is waning. If he can’t even get himself up to regular streakiness (scores three or four games in a row before going quiet for a bit), I’m going to be annoyed.
Fourth Line: Brunnstrom, Miller, and Emmerton looked really good together. Brunnstrom wasn’t a complete dead weight and Emmerton’s showing that he can play at this level. We all know what Miller can do. I could stand to see those guys a few more times. With Bert’s illness sure to work it’s way out of his system by Tuesday, though, and Eaves presumably headed back soon, I guess that’s not so likely.
White: Obviously, this has nothing to do with this, but I thought White looked pretty good in this one.
Hank and Pavel: On the road to making up some of the ground they’ve lost from a statistical standpoint and doing pretty well apart.
Next: The Wings play host to the Avs, who play tonight against the Flames and who have lost a couple in a row. The Wings got their cathartic win last night and now need to find a way to translate that into regular action. A 5-0 skid-ending win is a first step. Tuesday night needs to be the next one.