Sooo….what’d I miss?

Oh wait, no…

Gigantic high five to Rob for holding down the fort solo over the last week or so. It was one of the rare times I didn’t even have a minute or two to update things ’round these parts, and – per usual – he delivered the LOLZ to TPL.

Massive hat tip (sombrero tip?) to @Mariia19 for hooking me up with a way to watch the game on Thursday. The video was a bit shaky, but at least I got to check out the EIGHT ROUND SHOOTOUT. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I would like to echo Rob’s praise regarding Mike Babcock’s use of Ville Leino in that shootout. If he had scored, playing that hunch would have been universally hailed as brilliant. But instead, Leino muffed, ate some ice, cried a little, and returned to his lonely spot at the end of bench.

The Wings were in 7th place for about nine minutes before dropping into 8th — which is where they started Saturday.

I didn’t see a single second of the Kings game. By all accounts, that’s a good thing. The Wings blew a two goal lead, fell out of the playoffs, and some jagoff climbed the rafters at the Joe before getting spooked and not being able to climb down on his own. Like Hoarders, I don’t know if that’s sad or hilarrrrious. I’m going to go with hilarious (unlike Hoarders, which is sad).

The weather in Atlanta was horrific, tornado watches/warnings all day yesterday, and guess who had to fly back to New York? Flying into or out of New York is always a pain in the ass, but coupled with Atlanta’s day, it was the start of an epic Fail of ginormous proportions. Very long story short: I was delayed four hours,  and didn’t walk into my apartment until 4am.

BUT! All is not lost. I woke up to some awesome news. Per Khan, it looks like Niklas Kronwall is playing tomorrow and — even though Mickey Redmond was called a drunk liar over and over again — it looks like Andreas Lilja is on his way back very soon, too. The gist:

–Niklas Kronwall is back Tuesday.

–Tomas Holmstrom is slated for either Friday or Sunday.
–Jason Williams “could” play Friday. Like in all the injury reports since his injury, it’s almost a throwaway line.

–Andreas Lilja is on Day 13 being headache-free, so he could be cleared as early as tomorrow.
–Johan Franzen is seeing a doctor to see if he can return prior to the Olympics or — more likely — play with the Wings when the NHL resumes after the Games.

The salary cap won’t be affected until Franzen comes off IR. But, as they’re currently carrying 21 men, they only have two roster spots left. Kronwall would make 22, Homer and Williams would make 24. Justin Abdelkader is likely headed back to Grand Rapids, even though he’s clearly one of the top twelve forwards at this point. Gator can be sent down without being waived.

When Lilja returns, another player would have to go. I gotta believe Brad May will be waived with the intention of sending him to Grand Rapids. I’d laugh my ass off if anyone claimed him.

When Franzen returns, it’ll be interesting to see what happens (assuming another player hasn’t been injured in the interim). Derek Meech or Brett Lebda could be traded, as could Ville Leino (in theory). Drew Miller seems to have worked himself into the lineup, potentially earning himself a contract extension.

Chris Osgood: despised by Mike Babcock, the rest of us

Boy oh boy, Chris Osgood certainly has the right things to say doesn’t he? Anyone who’s ever done anything even remotely competitive can understand — even appreciate — his desire to play more, and the fire that burns inside him when he’s sitting on the end of the bench, charting faceoffs. In that respect, I feel for him. I didn’t play much when I got to college, and it’s hard to sit back and watch when you love something so deeply.

But, he’s still expected to be a team guy, and be a respected veteran, and a locker room presence. In years past, he’s been an unbelievable influence — and not just on young goaltenders, on young players in general. This year, that train has seemed to become derailed. There’s a very clear rift between Chris Osgood and head coach Mike Babcock, and it all began a few weeks ago when Osgood questioned Babcock’s decision to play Jimmy Howard more often. It led to Ozzie implying that he knows more about goaltenders than Babs does. On the surface, that claim seems downright plausible. However, that’s not the kind of thing you say about your coach, who — surprise! — decides who plays when.

When it was announced that Osgood would play last night against the Capitals, we got more gold from Ozzie, who seemed to infer that he was being thrown to the wolves, making his first start in nearly a month against the high-octane offense of the Caps.

That’s quite a coincidence. Or maybe not. We’ll see how it goes.

Doesn’t exactly ooze confidence, but he couldn’t be blamed for feeling less than ready – it had been awhile, after all, since he last got the nod. Emo Manny Legace he is not, but he’s been opening his mouth quite a bit more often than he’s been known to. Osgood continued by letting his true feeling about how Babcock has handled the situation be known:

At the start of the year Howie didn’t play for about a month and then I didn’t play for a month. To me that’s not a good way of doing things, to let one guy get stagnant. You have to have both guys going, especially with the amount of games we have, especially coming back after the Olympic break we have a ton of games in March. So we have to have two guys in case something happens.

First of all, he’s absolutely entitled to this stance, and like I said earlier, I’d be worried if he wasn’t interested in playing more. However, not all successful teams “have to have two guys” going. New Jersey has done just fine with one, San Jose and Calgary use the hell out of their Number Ones, Roberto Luongo has never needed a “mental break.” Furthermore, these aren’t things that you say publicly, if you’re expected to be treated a certain way.

If you think Osgood has played up to Howard’s standard this year — or Conklin’s last year — you’ve been living under a rock and I feel sorry for you. Make all the excuses you want, like Osgood, but the numbers don’t lie. He’s currently stopping fewer than 90% of the shots he has faced this season, and – frankly – that’s a disturbingly low number for an NHL goaltender.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not blaming yesterday’s loss (solely) on Osgood. But the fact remains that if Jimmy Howard plays that game, we have two points – easily. The Wings badly outplayed the Capitals for most of the  game, hold a 42 second span that completely derailed Detroit. I said the same thing on TOV a few weeks ago, but if things continue to go the way they’re going, there’s absolutely no way in hell that Chris Osgood starts in the playoffs – should we get there. It’s clear that Jimmy Howard is the guy now, and that Babcock is going to go with him to get the wins. Case in point, the post-game press conference where Babcock was quick to steer the conversation toward Tiberius, even when asked about Osgood.

That was an opportunity for him, and I thought we gave him real good support and Howie will start in Minneapolis. 

Notice how he wasn’t asked about the next game, but rather the one that had just ended. The press conference would continue and when asked about how important it is to get both guys going, Babcock informed everyone that would listen that you can’t win without goaltending and that WE’RE LUCKY TO HAVE JIMMY HOWARD. Boom.

Chris Osgood continued to make excuses and pass the buck on a less-than-stellar performance, claiming that if he had played more often, he would have made the saves we needed to win.

It was tough. I haven’t played in a month. I think if I played a little more — they were good goals, but still I would have stopped them if I were in more of a groove. It was tough, especially against a team that doesn’t shoot a lot but waits for their best chances.

I didn’t see the following conversation take place, but it certainly reads like there’s some aggression going on. When told that Babcock is playing Howard on Thursday because the team “needs some points,” Osgood responded with:

I’ve gotten him a lot of points, you can write that. I got him to the Stanley Cup Finals the last two years, you can write that, too.

Nothing like taking total credit for a team sport…and then refusing to take any blame when crapping the bed.

I can’t speak for the organization, obviously, but there’s certainly an uprising among fans who are growing tired of his lackluster play the last two regular seasons, and growing even more tired of him flapping his gums. I totally understand the urgency he feels to get back in the game, but he’s not winning anyone over with his mouth lately.

Photo Credit: Keith Srakocic, AP

Osgood / Leino in, Brad May to NOT stand up for teammates from the Press Box

Osgood, pictured here in his chubby cheekies phase, looks — and SOUNDS — thrilled to be back in the lineup

Hat tip to JJ from Kansas, who directed me to Khan’s latest, uber-timely article. Chris Osgood spoke with the confidence we all expect from him regarding his first start in just under a decade coming against a high-octane offense like Washington’s:

That’s quite a coincidence. Or maybe not. We’ll see how it works out. 

Thanks, Chris. That should quell us. He would further bury himself with this gem…

At the start of the year, Howie didn’t play for about a month and then I didn’t play for a month. To me that’s not a good way of doing things, to let one guy get stagnant. 

Team guy, all the way.

Mike Babcock defended his decision by saying, “He was due,” which is loosely translated as “Run off at the mouth some more and I would have held out until you found a way to go back in time and match up against the 1980 Soviet team.” If you’ve been living under a rock, Jimmy Howard had started twelve straight, and this will be Chris Osgood’s first start since December 20th.

In other, less depressing news, Brad May is returning to the press box (YAY!) and Ville Leino comes back in (oh….). Leino has been a healthy scratch three games in a row.

From the “who cares” department: Jason Williams says he’s about 10 or 14 days away from returning. At least that means BOTH May and Leino will have to be benched, then. Huzzah.

Jan 19 :: Storming the Capital (Capitol?)

Remember this crazy son of a bitch? Also, I’m sorry 
to display a picture that might have given you a seizure. 

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Red Wings @ Capitals. 7pm. Wings Wings Tuesday. Have you ever driven in DC? It’s a nightmare. In fact, when I was working at Travel Channel, I wrote a (required) crew blog post about my experiences shooting in DC. Give it a read and then comment more on this post than those crazy Travel Channel fans did for that one.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. The Wings are coming off of two heartbreaking shootout losses, but this is an interconference game and, though its against one of the better teams in the East, the Western Conference has been having it’s way with the Eastern Conference this season. Let’s hope that continues.
2. This spot was reserved for the announced starting goaltender. We haven’t been told.
3. Alex Ovechkin has thirty goals on the season. Thirty. For reference, that’s the same amount Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski and Johan Franzen have. Combined.
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Caps played on October 10th, the fourth game of the season (strangely, it followed a Blackhawks game). Detroit won by a score of 3-2, with Chris Osgood in net. The goals were scored by Homer, Leino, and Jason Williams. It was the first game the Wings played without Johan Franzen.
OH, HI AGAIN 
Former Red Wing and Michigan Wolverine Mike Knuble is now a Washington Capital. Here’s an odd bit of trivia that I uncovered: of all the former Red Wings still in the NHL, he has been gone the longest. He was traded to the Rangers in 1998 for a second round draft pick (which became the one, the only Tomas Kopecky).
Capital Tomas Fleischmann was a Red Wing draft pick that went to DC as part of the Robert Lang deal. The other parts were a first round pick in 2004 (which ended up being Mike Green) and a fourth round pick in 2006 (which ended up being Luke Lynes).

MEMBA ME?! 
There are currently no former Capitals on the Red Wings.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Alexander Semin. No, I’m just kidding. That’s a horrible name. I’m going to go with Jason Chimera, since it sounds like it’s the name of some horrible man-made disease from a Michael Crichton novel.
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit lost, in a shootout, to Chicago on Sunday. I died on the inside just a little bit.
–Washington defeated Philadelphia, 5-3, on Sunday. Everyone who is supposed to score, did. It was like NHL 94 ’round that bitty. Interesting: Alex Ovechkin’s goal came on the 2,000th shot of his career, giving him a career 12.45% shooting percentage. NASTY.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 24-16-8 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 10-9-5 on the road.
–Washington Capitals :: 30-12-6 (1st in Southeast, 1st in East) :: 16-3-3 at home.
CAPITALS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Nicklas Backstrom :: Eric Fehr :: Brooks Laich :: Quintin Laing :: Baton Rouge :: Brendan Morrison :: Alexander Ovechkin :: Alexander Semin :: Mike Green :: Tom Poti :: Semyon Varlamov
Also of note, Team USA defenseman and World Junior Championship hero John Carlson has been called up from Hershey. He’s played the last two games for the Caps (going a mediocre +4 in the process).
EXPECTED LINEUP
I haven’t heard any news, but I’ll be shocked if Brad May is in tonight. It’s about time to give Leino another shot (in Babcock’s book) and he can’t possibly be worse than Brad May. Also, haven’t heard which goaltender is going, and frankly – neither would surprise me. Watch how I play Devil’s Advocate with myself: It could be Jimmy Howard because it’s clear he’s the man. It could be Chris Osgood because Howard looked a little frustrated after the back-to-back losses. That said, maybe Babcock feels like he needs to go with Howard so Howard doesn’t think it was his fault. But, if Osgood doesn’t play after a losing streak, when will he? Washington’s one of the top teams in the league, so you have to play your starter (Howard). However, they’re an Eastern Conference team, a much safer bet for your backup.

Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Bertuzzi

Miller — Filppula — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May — Abdelkader — Maltby
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Meech — Stuart
Lebda — Ericsson
Howard / Osgood
Nicknames courtesy of Ernie Capadino.
Scratch
Ville “See How It Works Is, The Train Moves, Not the Station” Leino
Injuries
Andreas “No Skin Off My Ashtabula” Lilja
Johan “Well Then! This Would Be More, Wouldn’t It” Franzen
Jason “If I Had Your Job, I’d Kill Myself” Williams
Niklas “I Hate When They Get Attached to Me Like That” Kronwall
Tomas “Hey Cowgirls, See the Grass? Don’t Eat It” Holmstrom
QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Whoever plays goal is going to have a hell of a day. 52 shots from the Caps are possible.
2. Nicklas Lidstrom has two goals in his last three games (also, two goals in his last 46). We touched on it in the newest podcast, and though I don’t think the drought had any effect on his confidence, it’s gotta feel good to get off the schneid and maybe he keeps rolling.
3. The Capitals are a team that has unbelievable firepower. If they’re going to keep up offensively, they’re going to need guys like Zetterberg and Datsyuk to counterstrike when they get the chance, because the Caps defense is questionable at best. That said, guys like Flip, Eaves, and even Darren Helm might be the ones getting the chances – and it’d be swell if they finished on them.
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Blackhawks
Patrick Eaves is a badass.
CAP WE COVET (JJ Special)
It’d be easy to throw a dart at this roster and hit a talented player. In a perfect world, every team would have it’s AO. I’ve always loved Knuble, and Morrison, but I’m not sure they’d fit in on the current squad. If I could poach one current Capital and make him our own, it’d be Brooks Laich. He’s a fantastic locker room guy, a gritty go-in-to-the-corners and sacrifice your beautiful nose for the team kind of player. He’d be welcomed with open arms in a blue collar town like Detroit.

TOV: The One Where I Feel Like Doug Janik

The sixth episode of the Obstructed View is now available for download. Right after the Chicago game, I got a call-up, as it were, to fill in for Red Wings Guy Joe Burkel – who had to back out after his son’s hockey team advanced in a tournament. Burkel was to fill in for our very own Rob Discher, who had to take a raincheck as well.

Like always, it was a hell of a time. TOV finally gets ahold of everyone’s favorite Norwegian, Andy from Fight Night at the Joe, and he and I joined the very hilarious Jessie from Bingo Bango. Leading us every step of the way was producer Brian Kiernicki and Motown Wings’ Chris Hollis.

Click here to go to the TOV website and give it a listen!

Behold: The She-Tuzzi in all her vileness

KILL IT WITH FIRE!

I wanted to take a quick minute to share with you the abomination that our dear friend Casey has created. This sin against nature is the embodiment of TPL’s favorite character, the She-Tuzzi. Somehow it seems fitting to have Madonna’s crypt keeper arms, fresh from carving a plea bargain into a cartouche, gracing the She-Tuzzi’s lovely, lovely, figure. Come to think of it, I think that “lady” lives in my neighborhood. I saw her last night, arguing with a raccoon. Stupid raccoon thought the Haitian earthquake was caused by global warming, then claimed it was “gettin’ too old for this shit,” and finally complained that cabs wouldn’t stop for him. 

Like I mentioned in the Stars pre-game, I’ve put links to the epic Where’s Bertuzzi and Where’s She-Tuzzi posts in the upper right hand corner of the page. For keeps. Keep the sightings coming!

Back to Back Heartbreakers

For the second day in a row, the Red Wings lost in an extra-innings shootout, this time to the Goddamn Blackhawks. It’ll be quick because I’m full of hate.

However, if I’m an outsider, a casual hockey fan, that was one of the best regular seasons game in recent memory. An absolute beauty of a game, and if the newcomer NBC viewer can’t fall in love with hockey after Sunday afternoon, there’s no hope for them at all.

TPL’S TAKE
1. After an unfortunate 2-on-1 featuring Justin Abdelkader and (wait for it) Brad May, the Hawks turned and went 180 feet for a goal. Like the day before, a failed opportunity turned into a goal for the opposition. We’re going to have to start finishing on these opportunities – and when we do, a lot more wins will come. In the new NHL, its rare to get random chances from your fourth line guys, and the Wings can’t do much worse converting on them.

2. The Wings found themselves down 2-0, but then a beautiful Zetterberg-to-Lidstrom play snatched the game back, at least momentarily, as momentum started to swing Detroit’s direction. The Wings outplayed the Hawks for much of the game, and the crowd was certainly awake…

3. How ’bout Patrick Eaves? He was tired of Brad May not doing a goddamn thing to stand up for his teammates so Eaves took care of it himself, dropping the gloves with Kris Versteeg. Great to see the emotion, and he ended up with a gash under his eye, but he came up smiling and the wind was 100% behind the Wings.

4. Just like that… Bertuzzi sucked the air out of the building with an ill-timed dumbass penalty 130 feet from Howard. It’s been questioned that Keith skated INTO Bertuzzi, and I haven’t seen another replay, but frankly – if we all know he’s under a microscope and any little thing Todd does is going to get penalized, he has to know that, too, and needs to adjust his game accordingly. Thankfully, the PK looked pretty good, and the team split the Hawks power play up over the two periods. More on Bertuzzi later who, like he does, redeemed himself randomly.

5. EuroTwins Powers Activate! Datsyuk to Zetterberg, tie game. Awesome. All is right in the world.

6. Sharp’s goal was a thing of beauty…if you ignore the fact that Brett Lebda was all up in Brad Stuart’s business, ignoring his own man and Brad May was standing around waving at the crowd…

7. NBC FAIL ALERT! As Patrick Eaves was busy scoring on the set faceoff play, the entire audience was staring at replays from earlier in the day, listening the Douche Canoe go on and on about God knows what. We heard the crowd reacted to Eaves’ tying goal before we saw it. Thanks, NBC! Shouldn’t you get back to screwing Conan now?

8. By all accounts, the overtime was fantastic. I wouldn’t know because (CABLEVISION FAIL ALERT!) my internet and cable dropped out for no real reason. I hate you. I hate you so much, Cablevision. I hope you and UPS somehow get into fiery trainwreck with one another. Everything got back up right as the overtime was coming to an end, allowing me to see the shootout.

9. What a pair of goals by Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi. I was very impressed with Pav’s lob over Niemi (who played a strong game). Bertuzzi’s spin-o-rama was nice, as well. Who needs on-ice vision, hand-eye coordination, skating ability, hockey sense, or impulse control when you can score for 7 inches from the goal line, am I right?!

10. Hate to see Howard get frustrated like that and slam his stick over the crossbar. He’s clearly upset about how the weekend went down. And he should be. We all are, Tiberius.

REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. The Wings didn’t crush the Blackhawks, but dare I say they controlled the tempo for most of the game? They looked FANTASTIC right from the jump, and took it to the Hawks – it was great to see. Finish was an issue (not Flip, the kind where goals are scored), and one bounce a different way, we had two points…
2. Nick, Z, and Pav needed to have a great game, and a great game they had. All three of them. It was needed.
3. Jimmy Howard played really well. Frankly, he stole both points the Wings got this weekend. Without that effort in net, the Wings lose both games in regulation. Period.

What’s next?
Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Grand.

Jan 17 :: Oh, How I Loathe Them



WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?

Red Wings vs. Blackhawks. Big Brother vs. Little Brother. Self-Made vs. Self-Important.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. The second of back-to-back games for both clubs. Who will come out with more jump?
2. My mom’s in the crowd, which means that Todd will score two because he knows I’m there by proxy.
3. I have no idea who is starting – there was no mention (surprise) before I crashed for the night…
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Hawks have met three times. The last two times were ugly. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s too painful. DON’T TOUCH ME THERE!
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
This has been covered, like yesterday, a handful of times.
 :: Hossa and Kopecky come back to the Joe.
 :: Cleary faces his former club (Jason Williams is still on IR)
 :: Dustin Byfuglien. What’s that about?
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit was shafted, hard, in Dallas. Every time, but I guess the most recent time was Saturday.
–Chicago won a goaltending duel in Columbus, 6-5, on Saturday.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 24-16-7 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 14-7-2 at home.
–Chicago Blackhawks :: 33-11-4 (1st in Central, 1st in West) :: 12-6-3 on the road.
BLACKHAWKS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Bolland :: Brouwer :: Burish :: Byfuglien :: Hossa :: Kane :: Madden :: Sharp :: Toews :: Versteeg :: Barker :: Campbell :: Hjalmarsson :: Keith :: Seabrook
EXPECTED LINEUP
When I was heading to bed, there was no word on starter, or if Ville Leino comes back in for Brad May. I gotta believe May comes out after Saturday’s game, but the Hawks are a bit chippy. Not that May would do anything about it anyway.

Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Bertuzzi
Miller — Filppula — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May / Leino — Abdelkader — Maltby

Lidstrom — Rafalski
Meech — Stuart
Lebda — Ericsson

Howard / Osgood ??

Injuries
Andreas “Jonas Berggren” Lilja
Johan “Ulf Ekberg” Franzen
Jason “Jenny Berggren” Williams
Niklas “Linn Berggren” Kronwall
Tomas “Johnny Linden” Holmstrom

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. I’m too angry from Dallas to say anything intelligent about the Chicago game. I just want the Wings to crush the Hawks in every sense imaginable.
2. Good game for the leaders to step up: Nick, Pav, and Z are going to need to deliver big games if the Wings are to have any chance.
3. Whoever plays net will have to play lights out. Hasn’t been a problem for Jimmy. If it’s Osgood, I’m sure there’s some rust to shake off.
4. For the record, I’m aware you don’t measure players’ worth by whether or not they score in a given game. But I’m also aware it’s okay to point out when they miss the net by a mile or spend more time on their ass than that 800 pound guy from Maury (who MIGHT have been the baby daddy).
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Stars
Even IF the Red Wings deserved to win (which they did not), the League will find a way to manifest a loss.
HAWK WE COVET (JJ Special)
For the second game in a row, I asked JJ his thoughts. Here they are, slightly less prison rapey. Which usually means less funny. Not this time, though:

I narrowly picked Patrick “Spear of Testiclese” Sharp over Dustin “Fugly” Byfuglien last time, so this time I’ll go with the big Butt-ugly. He’s mean, he’s big, he stands up for his guys, and he’s no threat to Valtteri Filppula for best hair on the Wings. Also, I’ve never seen anybody get the best of Kirk Maltby as often as he has. That has to count for something, right?

SCREWED AGAIN

YET AGAIN, the NHL finds a way to shaft the Red Wings. In the sixth round of a shootout, Steve Ott’s shot CLEARLY stops on the line – with the referee eight inches away emphatically waving no goal. They go to Toronto, to find a way to fuck the Wings, and sure enough after 15 minutes, they do. They must have seen an angle we didn’t, because that puck does not cross the line in any of the many camera angles from FSD.

To change the ruling on a play, the video evidence has to be CONCLUSIVE the other way. Seems to me it wouldn’t take three hours to find that footage, if it exists, which we all know it doesn’t. Tin foil or not, that was bullshit and yet another Red Wings game was snatched from us.

***UPDATE***
The explanation, with a million thanks to @it_burns_us because Center Ice cuts away ASAP:

Explanation: Toronto ruled the video inconclusive. Mike Leggo and one of the linesman overruled the other referees ruling of a goal.

Schwa? So the guy LIVING in the crease is overruled by the further linesman? What planet are we on?

***UPDATE 2***
A picture, courtesy of @kjordan77, showing the puck 100% not across the line:

TPL’S TAKE
After a shot that went about forty feet wide, Todd Bertuzzi redeemed himself with a beautiful goal. JJ from Kansas called it in the comments of the pre-game, and was seconded by Andy, so those two deserve 100% of the credit (leaving 0% for Todd). Moments later, Bertuzzi would misfire on a shot after an ill-advised Pavel Datsyuk pass. It could have been blown wide open early in the first, but Detroit took their foot off the accelerator and allowed Dallas to use Jimmy Howard for target practice.

Speaking of Andy, anyone else think he should submit a song for April in the D? Get to work, son.

Rafalski made it 2-0 on a nice little series of passes during the power play. I was hoping for some tic-tac-toes on the PP, if you recall, and they got one.

Brad Richards got Dallas on the board with a nice shot during a 2-on-1. He faked pass, and the shot eventually trickled past Howard. The play started a 2-on-2 the other way, maybe ill-advised on the kill, and some of the Wings had trouble transitioning back to defense.

Steve Ott has it in for Brad Stuart for whatever reason. Later, he and Bertuzzi would have words before various whistles, never coming to any pass. At one point, Ott reached in, yanked Bertuzzi’s helmet off prior to a whistle, and no penalties were called. Fine. Let them play, I suppose. Then, as Dallas tied the score, we see that Krys Barch was practically making love to Jimmy Howard in the crease. If that had been Tomas Holmstrom, not only would that goal not have counted, he would have gotten two minutes in the bin. Howard was then run, a minute later. Followed by a high stick on Eaves that cut him. Followed by a high stick that damn near removed Brett Lebda’s head. All I have to say about all this is: Thank God Brad May is on the Red Wings to keep the flies off. Thumbs up, shithead. Not even an orchestrated make-out session with Barch today. Get off my team.

Justin Abdelkader was everywhere. Buzzing around the net today. Looked real good.

When the game was tied, the Wings were giving up tons of opportunities. They’re lucky they have Jimmy Howard in games like this. This one point is thanks to Tiberius.

REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Tiberius did what he could. The offense didn’t muster enough. Period.
2. No goal from Shiny Nickel. He was close though. Close doesn’t count.
3. Yup, a PP TTT (tic tac toe) play for a goal by Rafalski.
4. I called out Bertuzzi and he answered with a goal. Fantastic.
5. No goals from either Z or Pav, but Zetterberg had a pair of assists.

What’s next?
Chicago tomorrow. Joy.

Jan 16 :: Texas? Afternoon? MUST be hockey!

That is a mighty fine looking college hockey jersey there…



First things first — you may notice that in the upper right hand corner, you’ll find links to our uber-popular WHERE’S BERTUZZI and WHERE’S SHE-TUZZI posts. PLEASE continue to add comments, they’re keeping us aLOLing (TM, Tyler).


WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?

The Red Wings are back on the road for an afternoon game vs. Dallas. 2pm Eastern
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. Jimmy Howard starting his eleventy billionth time in a row.
2. The power play looked much less anemic than it has lately. Build off it.
3. Are Brad May and Krys Barch going to continue this charade and pretend they don’t like one another for 45 seconds, and then spend the rest of the night giggling like She-Tuzzis about it?
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
This is the fourth meeting of the season between these squads. The latest was a 4-3 Stars victory at Dallas on December 19th. Howard played in that contest. Interestingly, it was the first game of back-to-backs (the second half was Chicago…WEIRD!). Goals were scored by Homer, Bertuzzi, and Datsyuk. The team was missing Lilja, Franzen, Filppula, Williams, Kronwall, Cleary, Ericsson, and Zetterberg.
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
We’ve been over this a handful of times now, so here’s the rundown.
 :: Janik is a former Star, but he’s back in Grand Rapids now.
 :: No former Red Wings in Dallas
 :: Mark Fistric is the best name on a roster full of lame names.
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit rebounded to beat Carolina, 3-1, on Thursday.
–Dallas lost to Montreal, 5-3, on Thursday.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 24-16-6 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 10-9-4 on the road.
–RIP Minnesota North Stars :: 19-17-11 (4th in Pacific, 11th in West) :: 12-5-5 at home.
STARS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Jere Lehtinen :: Mike Modano :: Alpha Centauri :: Brendan Morrow :: James Neal :: Mike Ribeiro (injured) :: Brad Richards :: Matt Niskanen :: Marty Turco
EXPECTED LINEUP
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Bertuzzi
Miller — Filppula — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May — Abdelkader — Maltby
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Stuart — Ericsson
Lebda — Meech
Howard (starts)
Osgood


*Nicknames courtesy of Gino the Ginny, a theme recommended by Ellen, she chipped in some of the following, as well*
Scratch
Injuries
Johan “I Smell Like Gahlic” Franzen
Jason “I Can’t Feel My Legs!” Williams
Niklas “I’M ON STEROIDS…. Bitch” Kronwall
Tomas “GO GET ME ANOTHA BUMP” Holmstrom










QUICK THOUGHTS

1. Tiberius has played very well lately, but he has a poor record against Dallas. However, in his one win and three losses, he’s only allowing 2.2 goals a game. So here’s hoping he offense can put some pucks in the Stars net. 
2. Can Lidstrom build on his goal? I foresee seven goals from Shiny Nickel today.
3. Speaking of which, if the Stars are going to continue to dive into shooting lanes, the Wings are going to have to put forth a better effort down low and put some tic-tacs onto toes.
4. Hey, wait a second. Where’s Todd Bertuzzi been? Oh, those hundreds of places you all have come up with…. because he sure as hell hasn’t been scoring goals. Which explains why my BlackBerry hasn’t caught fire lately.
5. Really hoping for a goal onslaught from Zetterberg and Datsyuk.  





















WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Hurricanes
W00t! This is what it feels like to pick on the weaker kids…

STAR WE COVET (JJ Special)
Once again, I turned to dear friend of TPL, JJ from Kansas, who offered this wonderousness:

Mike Ribeiro… ahaha, just kidding, I’d rather be raped by an Australian prisoner than accept that dirtbag on the Wings roster. For real though, I’d take Loui Eriksson. He’s big, he’s Swedish, and his name comes pre-packaged for an awesome song to be played at the Joe whenever he scores (especially if you’re a fan of Animal House, which you are if you’re not a commie).