Month: January 2018

Game 48 – Chicago Blackhawks @ Detroit Red Wings – Pushed to DeBrinc

It’s always a pleasure when you turn a game on to find that your team has forgotten how to play hockey.

The Good

Mantha scored his team leading 16th of the season on a PowerPlay goal to spoil the shutout. So there’s that.

The Bad

What is the point when your team isn’t even playing? The defense was standing still on almost every goal. They’re letting cross ice passes come through for easy shots on goal. Howard looked terrible and got yanked in the first. For once the 72-71-59 line just got absolutely smoked in the neutral zone and the offensive zone. Nothing looked dangerous, nothing looked like HOCKEY out there. This team defeated themselves before they even got on the ice, and they played like it accordingly. For crying out loud, we moved Witkowski back on defense and he had all the standout offensive chances in the 2nd period that I even remember. WITKOWSKI.

Look at these goals and tell me that we don’t look like a disaster on them.

 

The WTF?

Here’s a WhoTF instead of a WhatTF: who’s the Red Wings starting goalie next season? Is it Howard, or Mrazek? Because Howard’s had the better stats but also has an injury history and if he gets in his head he can make mistakes. But Mrazek is inconsistent, even with flashes of brilliance and age is on his side. I’m asking because I don’t really know. There’s pros and cons to both of them. As far as I can tell, it might be a crapshoot either way if they’re playing behind this dumpster fire of a defense. But just food for thought, since I think one of them gets moved before the start of next season.

Game 46 – Detroit Red Wings @ New Jersey Devils – Joe Hicketts Day

Happy National Joe Hicketts Day! I was so excited for this kid for a long time now. A 5’8″ 180lb undrafted defenseman making the NHL is such a phenomenal story and it helps that he’s been pretty good in his career so far. I want him to be a staple Red Wing for sure.

As it was, his first game was pretty solid for him. He’s a bit aggressive, a couple pinches led to bad chances that the Wings barely managed to negate, but he is fearless out there. He laid both the body and the shot in equal measure. I think if he keeps this up he makes the Red Wings next season.

The Good

If Bertuzzi-Larkin-AA is split up then I think it’s our duty to riot. This is our best line we’ve iced all season and is making chances happen every time they hit the ice. But we know it will be, as soon as Abby comes back, so let’s just enjoy it while we have it. Bertuzzi opened the scoring with his second career goal with a beautiful bury of a rebound. He is looking like a much more complete hockey player than I thought he was. Once again, I love it when I’m wrong about this stuff. What a great game by him.

Who else scored the third goal but yet again another member of that line but #1 player on the Red Wings Dylan Larkin assisted by current #2 player on the Red Wings Athanasiou. Refs waved this off at first but Larkin saw it the whole way. Players know when they’ve scored.

David Booth, because irony is a thing, was waived today and scores a goal on a slapshot from the Wing. It deflects off of Vatanen’s stick but man oh man what a rocket that Schneider just couldn’t track. After a terrible second period hemmed in on the PK for what felt like forever it was nice to go up 2-0

Petr Mrazek played probably his best game in recent memory, and his last game was a freaking shutout. Of course, this game was also a freaking shutout. CONSECUTIVE SHUTOUTS.He was our number one penalty killer (and there were a lot of penalties for us). I mean, he robbed Boyle almost as bad as he did in that playoff series against Tampa. Look at this!

Man I really hope he finds a home, since it’s obvious the Red Wings have no interest in him anymore. How is no one interested in this type of raw talent?

Howard will get the next start anyways.

The Bad

Um, so I don’t think our new powerplay lines are working. Just in general, based on the way that we spend 50% of them pinned into our own zone as if we were on the PK or struggling to sting together enough passes to leave the Neutral Zone. Kronwall in particular looked awful tonight, barely stringing passes together, unable to hold the puck in the zone. How many PP points does he have this season? Hockey Reference says 6, which is half of Mike Green’s 13. I just can’t help but feel like maybe Daley deserves a shot on it.

At least, when he comes back.

The WTF

This is the WTF where I have to acknowledge that holy shit some refs made a really correct call that I was initially outraged by.

Larking goes in the boards and Blake Coleman–I think he makes grills or stoves or something–comes in and gives him a whack with the stick and a cross check on the ice. Larking pops him and it looked like he was called 2 minutes for roughing. I was livid.

Turns out, Larkin that sneaky little hockey boy placed his hand on the puck and pulled it underneath himself, a clear violation of the “don’t close your hand on the puck you idiot” rule. That was actually a correct call.

Good job ref!

Next Game

Tomorrow against Philadelphia.

Game 45 – Carolina Hurricanes @ Detroit Red Wings – Bad and Bored

This was a real low key affair, wasn’t it? I forgot most of the 2nd period even happened. 5v5 was basically a crapshoot, the only thing that mattered tonight was the special teams and we at least got a few goals to keep us from completely dozing off.

The Good

Tomas Tatar, good ole Tommy Taters, had himself a game. Though he’s had a somewhat lackluster season, he slammed a PowerPlay one timer home with brutal efficiency in the 1st period and had an almost equally highlight reel goal in the 2nd that beat Ward but went off the post. Blashill’s new PP lines seem to have worked for now, which will definitely continue because a sample size of 1 is good enough to base things on.

Larkin continued his streak as our best player, starting right off the puck drop with a solo effort in against Ward. He continued to harass the Canes, got some good chances. His line with Bertuzzi and AA was the line I noticed most tonight in a game where very little was noticeable.

The Bad

My favorite thing about this PP goal against is that DDK takes a penalty on the play as Lindholm scores so we get to celebrate a failed PK with another PK. That’s pretty much the most dejecting thing that I can think of, especially since it happened less than 3 minutes into the first period. Our PK continued to be not very good, letting up another goal later on from who else but Lindholm again with a rebound that Howard manages to get a little of but not nearly enough. Here I’m upset that Lindholm was left alone enough in front to get that play off a Faulk shot. I understand its the PK but even still, you should cover the net front better than that.

The most frustrating part of tonight’s game was that it felt slow and boring due to a lack of urgency and hustle by the Red Wings. When you have just had almost a full bye week again, you really need to come out and play a higher intensity game than they did tonight. When they finally did realize they were almost out of time, they made mistakes and eventually gave up a game sealing 3rd goal from Justin Williams.

The WTF

Jimmy Howard whaaaat!? What an amazing save. You’re not going to see a much better save than that.

It’s nice to do one of these that isn’t outrage or a principled stand. Sometimes you just get a nice save from your goalie.

Next Game

Monday against the New Jersey Taylor Halls