NIGHT STARTS NOW BABY ROLL WITH US
It is, in fact, October yet.
After a horrifically long off-season — one that saw Red Wings fans have to say goodbye to Chris Osgood, Kris Draper, Mike Modano, and Brian Rafalski; and say goodbye in a much more permanent way to Ruslan Salei, Brad McCrimmon, and Stefan Liv — it’s time to drop the puck, start anew, and get back to business.
What has accurately been called the worst off-season in the sport’s history — not only did we lose an entire KHL team, we also lost Derek Booggard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak — October 7th will forever be known as the date that we wiped the final tear, lifted our heads, and bellowed a loud and proud “SOUTH DE-TROOOOOIT!”
The Red Wings season is upon us. For our wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, sons, daughters, and co-workers, today is likely the last time they’ll see our faces until the snow melts and the parade is planned.
Game #1. There are only 81 after it. Cherish them all.
Wings. Senators. 7pm.
A MYSTICAL QUEST TO THE ISLE OF TORTUGA
Detroit’s 2011 ended much the same way that its 2010 ended: with a one-goal loss to the San Jose Sharks in the second round of the playoffs. Only this time, it was a 7th game. The date was May 12th: our trusty Hank and Pav scored our goals, Johan Franzen missed his second game in a row with an ankle injury, and it was the last time Brad McCrimmon and Paul MacLean would be behind the bench for the Wings.
Fewer than five months later, we’ll see Paul MacLean again — only this time, he’s across the red line, behind Ottawa’s bench.
There’s not even a close second for the Best Name Nominee on the Senators. Mike Zibanejad has the inside track on this year’s BNN race.
THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit lost to the Sharks, 3-2, in May.
:: Ottawa lost to the Bruins, 3-1, in April.
:: Detroit and Ottawa last met on February 2nd, 2011. It was a 7-5 victory for the Wings in Canada’s capital. You may remember it as the Muletrick game — Franzen scored five, Niklas Kronwall and Kris Draper each added one. The Wings were without Modano, Datsyuk, Stuart, Osgood, and Homer.
ROGER THAT, LET ME TRY IT WITH ANOTHER FILM
Of the current Detroit Red Wings, two were Senators in a former life. New defenseman Mike Commodore and grinder Patrick Eaves spent a combined 183 games in black and red, and scored 38 combined goals. Guess how many of those 38 Commodore scored (hint: it’s zero).
YEAH THAT WAS KINDA WEIRD BUT WE’RE BACK
None of the current Senators spent any time in a Wings uniform, unless you count new head coach Paul MacLean.
MOTHERFUCKIN’ ICE MAN, I’M THE TOP GUNNER
Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Scuttles :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Buckets Cleary
Justin Abdelkader :: Danger Helm :: Todd Thunderchief
Tomas Holmstrom :: Cory Emmerton :: Salt N Pepper Miller
Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kaboom
Jakub Kindl :: Johnny Shitbox
THE WOMB IS POLLUTED
Jan Mursak [left ankle]
Mike “Food Court” Commodore [knee]
Patrick Eaves [leg]
The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Just like last season, submit your nickname suggestions (follow the theme!), and we’ll use our Facebook page to allow people to vote for the best… the winner gets a free TPL t-shirt!
PETRELLA: Patrick “Raven Locks Swayin'” Eaves
DISCH: Jiri “More Like the Meet Ya, Take Ya Home and Fuck Ya Twice Guy” Hudler
HOLLIS: Jonathan “Not Better” Ericsson
MICHAEL BOLTON, WE’RE REALLY GOING TO NEED YOU TO FOCUS UP
:: Like usual, the notes begin in goal. Jimmy Howard had a poor pre-season, and we have to hope there’s a switch he can flip and get into the form that we know he’s capable of. A strong start would do wonders for his confidence — and the collective confidence of an always-hesitant-to-trust-goalies Red Wings Nation.
:: It’s probably the last dance for Nicklas Lidstrom — despite coming off of a Norris-winning season and showing very few signs of slowing down. New tandem partner Ian White hit the jackpot, signing with Detroit and being paired up with Lidstrom, but he’ll have to show he’s ready for that kind of prime time night in and night out. It’ll be interesting to watch and I’m anxiously awaiting it.
:: Speaking of the defense — it’s time to tighten up. Niklas Kronwall had a monster of a post-season, so let’s hope that carries over into the new season. With Rafalski retiring, and Kronwall entering his sixth season in Detroit, he’ll be relied upon more heavily for leadership and on-ice performance. With steady Brad Stuart back on his pair, it should be a decent (and loud) pairing. Jakub Kindl who did nothing except improve every single game last year will be given a chance to show he belongs in the top six permanently with a guy who absolutely does not, despite his massive paycheck, Johnny Ericsson.
:: Per usual, the Red Wings will begin the season by splitting up the Euro Twins. Only now, instead of Flip toiling on the third line where he doesn’t belong, he’ll be moved to wing to accommodate playing with one of the big boys. Keep an eye on that — there might be some excellent chemistry there and hopefully scoring will come in bunches.
:: Tomas Holmstrom’s body has to be exhausted. After over 1,000 games (regular and post-season) of nothing but taking chops in the back, I was surprised to see that he wanted to return for what will likely be his swan song, as well. It looks like he’ll no longer be playing top six minutes, instead dropping down to the fourth line and chipping in on power plays.