Month: December 2016

Game 36 – Detroit @ Ottawa – Swedish Heroes

Congratulations Daniel Alfredsson on a fantastic career. 1246 games played with 1157 points, he was a great player and I thoroughly enjoyed his year in Detroit, not in the least because he lead the team in points (49, actually tied with Kronwall).

The Red Wings needed 2 points here, and they managed to get them, even if it was dicey at times.

The Good

Yet another goal for Anthony Mantha, points in 5 of the last 6 games I think, and once against I can’t seem to figure out why management was ever disappointed in him. Sure he took a bit of time to adjust to the AHL and then broke his leg and had to come back from that, but he’s pretty consistently been a dynamic offensive force everywhere he’s gone and the NHL is no different.

But the real hero was Henrik Zetterberg because the game tying goal doesn’t happen without his crazy good stretch pass to Tatar.

Holy shit, that pass is so good (and the finish too).

Henrik Zetterberg has been the best overall player on this team this year, no contest. The guy is fucking 36 and he is out there putting his body on the line every goddamn shift and he’s actually making it happen despite that fact that he is literally a shadow of the player he once was. Think about it. This Z is barely half as good as he was in his prime and he is still just dominant when he plays, probably the only fucking player that other teams have to try that hard against. The Tatar-Z-Mantha line is a great possession line, probably the only line on our team that works. What I’m saying Ottawa is that our Swede is just as good as your Swede was.

I thought Ericsson, Smith and Ouellet all had good games on defense, Kronwall got it done in OT but otherwise looked a little shaky, and together those 4 helped redeem a very frustrating showing from DDK and to a lesser extent Jensen (I don’t think Jensen is bad but honestly I think Sproul was better. I’d love to provide stats to back that up but I’m still on vacation, only so much work is going into these).

Coreau got to win in front of his 92 year old grandmother who looks like she’s still in her 70s, I mean shit this team is going to kill me well before I’m in my 90s but if I did make it that long no way I would still look that put together.

The Bad

HOW DOES JOHN TORCHETTI STILL HAVE A JOB?

Our road powerplay is 2/50. That’s 4%. FOUR. FUCKING. PERCENT. I thought it was too much to hope that maybe we could get a 2 game streak of powerplays going, and I was fucking right because we couldn’t. Kronwall let like three pucks slip by him out of the offensive zone which always always ALWAYS causes us to lose a good quarter of the powerplay at least to get ourselves regrouped and then we fuck up the god awful zone entry.  I want to know what the worst PP in the history of the NHL was over the course of a season. Because we are approaching the halfway mark way faster than I’m comfortable with without any of the fucking PP problems getting fixed. Ordinarily you’d think there’s a pill you take when your PP doesn’t work THAT’S A BAD JOKE BUT I DON’T CARE. I’m out of shit to say. It was by and far the worst part of this game watching the Wings go 0/5.

Or at least it would have been if not for…

The WTF

Hey guess who’s back again? It’s Danny DeKeyser and he brought Nick Jensen with him!

I’m sorry, but why is Hoffman being treated like Wayne Fucking Gretzky there? Let’s just put both defensemen on the posts and let him pass it out in front of the net. That way our goalie has a lot of shit in his way and no one is there to attempt the block the shot. This whole game was garbage for DDK actually, both Ottawa goals were caused by turnovers and poor defensive play on his part. Watch here.

I don’t care if he got hooked or whatever on that play, he didn’t get the puck out which is his fucking job. I honestly don’t know what happened to him. DDK was talked about as our future top pairing guy, and now I swear to god he looks like last season Ericsson half the time. And if you didn’t watch last season, that’s fucking awful.

I don’t want to be breaking down plays like this during the WTF. I want to be doing like, outrageous goals or crazy plays or some shit. But this season all I get to show you guys are ridiculously bad defensive plays to lead to our goals getting poked full of holes.

Next Game

New Year’s Day against Toronto, the outdoor game. I generally don’t like outdoor games, but I am excited to watch this just to see the young players at Toronto. Maybe we’ll be seeing exciting rookies like that soon.

In the Wings: Former Harvard Captain Kyle Criscuolo Helping Lead Griffins Offense

Photo by Gil Talbot

Personally, I did not know much about Kyle Criscuolo until I saw this goal pop up all over reddit and Twitter.

Just look at that beautiful one timer. Cameraman doesn’t even react fast enough to follow the puck in. Speaking of the puck, it looks like it was still in midair!

So needless to say, I’ve definitely been paying more attention to Kyle Criscuolo since then to see who he is and what he’s about.

At 5’8″ and 170 pounds, the 24 year old center isn’t the biggest or strongest guy on the ice, but he hasn’t let that stop him from being successful where he’s been. He had a solid NCAA career at Harvard University, where he put up 113 points (53 goals and 60 assists) over 124 games, most of the alongside Jimmy Vesey. For the last two seasons, he served as captain. He was a 2015-16 Hobey Baker finalist, and at the end of that season the Griffins signed him to an amateur tryout as he was undrafted. He appeared in 4 games before getting a 1 year minor league contract to play with the Griffins full time in the 2016-17 season.

Note: Criscuolo is not able to get called up at the moment because he is only on a minor league contract. The potential is there for the Red Wings to sign him to an entry level contract at the end of the season. 

This season has been good for Criscuolo and the Griffins. They currently lead the Central Division with 39pts (18-7-1) and are 3rd overall in the AHL. Criscuolo has been a large part of it, leading all rookies on the team with 20 points (9 goals and 11 assists) and is only behind Matt Lorito for total points this season (Matt has 30, the next rookies on the team are Evgeny Svechnikov and Joe Hicketts, with 13 and 10 points respectively).

We’ve already seen one, but let’s look at some more plays and see what he’s been doing.

10-18 Game Against Iowa Wild 

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Pretty good play here by Criscuolo, he makes a smart pass by the defender and then crashes the net to bang home the rebound on the doorstep.

11-25 Against Cleveland Monsters

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I like this assist almost more than I like the goal, because it shows one of the things that people bring up about Criscuolo and that’s his hockey IQ. Now, if you’re like me, you shoot the puck whenever you’re within sight of the net, but we see Criscuolo here is smart and and passes it off to this season’s whipping boy Brian Lashoff who puts it home.

View post on imgur.com

Here we are later in the game and Criscuolo puts in another rebound goal after another smart pass to get by the goalie. It’s a decent shot but honestly this is a goal that I would expect every player to score with a wide open net like that.

12-7 Against Chicago Wolves

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Oh that poor goalie. We’ve seen Mrazek make a similar mistake this year. This goal doesn’t show off a wicked shot or anything but it brings us back to IQ. He sticks with the play and is there to capitalize on the mistake.

Looking Forward

The future is hazy for Criscuolo. I like what I’ve seen from him in Grand Rapids, but I showed you that one goal to make a point about what he’s scored so far. The goals seem to be, apart from that one ridiculous one timer, very similar in nature: close in rebounds and so called “greasy” goals on the doorstep. That said, he looks to be a strong skater and has a good sense of where to be, you don’t put up over 3/4ths a point per game without a bit of skill and scoring touch. He’s got a good knack for being in the right place at the right time and that’s nothing to scoff at.

On the other hand, he’s already 24 and size wise is not the type of player that usually breaks into the NHL without a significant scoring presence. I can definitely see potential for him in the bottom 6 for the Red Wings, if they ever need someone new there, but for the time being he’s going to need to keep producing at this rate to get a sniff at an ELC. The window is only going to be open for a couple more seasons at most, and if he doesn’t break in by then, I think we’ll see him as a career AHLer.

Sources

Griffvision

eliteprospects

The AHL stats

Game 35 – Buffalo @ Detroit – 20 Years From Greatness

Tonight was the reunion for the 1997 Stanley Cup team, which happens to be my first memories of Red Wings fandom. I think I still have a commemorative set of pucks from that season somewhere in my old room at my Dad’s house. That team was such a joy, such a huge part of how I got to this point of hitting keys to say shit about a sports team for hours every week, it was so wonderful to see them reunited like that.

The team we got this season isn’t quite the same caliber. But holy shit, did we get a game that was actually pretty exciting once we got out of the first period.

Today’s streamables come from /u/HailtheBan on reddit, who also works harder than I do.

The Good

SWEET STICK OF GRETZKY DID WE SCORE A POWERPLAY GOAL?

It might have even been a bounce off of Sheahan, which would be two impossible things occurring at the same time. (As of now it has not been credited to him, meaning that the universe won’t fucking implode on the weight of the monkey falling off his back). I didn’t actually know it was possible for us to score on the Powerplay. I thought it was mythical, like the Ovechtrick or politicians working together. Note that I’m not actually saying our PP was good, I’m just saying we got a fucking goal, which is where we are with this team right now.

I liked the offense as a whole tonight, actually. Put up 40+ shots, which means out the gate we are already solving one of the main problems this season which is the inability to shoot the fucking puck. 3 goals is honestly much more than I expect to see from the Wings at this point, so this looks like a game they should have fucking had, but once again they didn’t. This team is not making up ground, even when they more or less play well.

The fights were….I don’t want to say good, but I feel like they’re indicative of when the team is actually trying and so by that metric I like it. However, I don’t want to see fresh off the IR Brenden Smith and literally our best fucking player Anthony Mantha doing it. That’s what Steve Ott is for. Letting them fight is how you get a Max Domi situation (fucking stupid).

Extra note here: I’ve really been noticing Xavier Ouellet in the offensive zone. I like that he shoots the puck and seems to be generating rebounds and good chances. I hope he gets to stay up.

The Bad

Jimmy Howard would have won this game.

God fucking dammit. Mrazek got like 60% of it, and you know what. This goal backs up all the shit that I’ve been told about how goalies work. Mrazek is a reactionary goalie, always playing what I thought was very exciting flashy hockey, but he’s lost his confidence and this is where you see it. He was a fucking half second too slow and didn’t get enough to stop the goal. That’s fucking shitty, and the defense didn’t exactly help, but Mrazek has to have that. He also needs to have the Eichel goal where it gets slipped up over his shoulder. He’s also gotta stop the fucking wrap around goal Kane scored in the first period.

Look he’s young and in a huge slump and I get it, I’m not saying that Mrazek is a garbage goalie like half of goddamn twitter right now. But what I am saying is he is playing bad right now, and he needs to be fucking better for this team to have any real chance of not finishing in the bottom 5.

I don’t even want to get into it again but the fucking lines man. Ott was playing on the top line for a bit. STEVE OTT. I LIKE STEVE OTT BUT NO. Glendening in the top 6 again. NO. STOP. Why is this so hard to put together some reasonable lines that make a minute amount of sense in regards to the stats and just leave them for a few games. Maybe they’ll get some chemistry, maybe the kids can benefit from more TOI? MAYBE SPROUL SHOULD BE PLAYING STILL. Sorry Jensen, but you did not prove you were better than Sproul. What you did do is help take Jimmy away from us.

The WTF?

AHHHHH WHY DOES THIS SHIT ONLY SEEM TO HAPPEN TO US?

I’ll say up front. Glad that Lehner is okay, and the ref’s call was correct in not awarding a goal. Had Lehner not gone down, that would not have been a goal, and the whistle is clearly blown before the puck crosses the line (but you can’t hear that because the streamable has no sound, take my word for it).

BUT FUCKING HELL.

Bogosian happens to both hold our own player and cause the momentary injury to his own goalie, and the refs don’t notice either of these things but is fucking on the ball to blow the whistle at the speed of fucking sound in order to take any lucky bounce away from the Wings. I mean, this is just one of those things that only happens to the Wings right now. When the team is already struggling and under performing, here we also get just the shit end of the stick when it comes to bounces and calls.

At this rate, we’ll get in the lottery and get the worst possible pick we could.

Next Game 

Thursday in Ottawa. Nothing left to say besides: we need points.