Mar 30 :: You Better Love Somebody!

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Edmonton Oilers at Detroit Red Wings. 7:30pm, the final Wings Wings Tuesday of the Regular Season.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. Detroit is riding a season-best five game win streak into this game, and find themselves positioned nicely in sixth place. Amazing what a tiny run will do, ain’t it?
2. Edmonton has officially been eliminated from playoff contention and their pro-shop is already making blue and orange Taylor Hall jerseys.
3. Jimmy Howard is starting his 23rd game in a row a few days after being named the NHL’s #2 Star of the Week, thanks to going 4-0-0 with a 1.22 goals against average and .958 save percentage. Suck it, Roy Edwards!

THE SITUATION
5 :: Nashville :: 94 points (5 games left)
6 :: Detroit :: 91 points (7 games left)
7 :: Los Angeles :: 90 points (7 games left)
8 :: Colorado :: 89 points (7 games left)
9 :: Calgary :: 85 points (6 games left)

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Oilers were the last team to defeat the Red Wings (in fact, the Wings have to win tonight to avoid being swept on the season by the Oilers). The 3-2 shootout loss came on March 19th.

OH HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
Wash, Rinse, Repeat!
 :: Both injured Wings – Cleary and Maltby – are former Oilers.
 :: There are no former Wings
 :: Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit defeated Nashville, 1-0, in a shootout on Saturday. James Tiberius IV was named Pope of Chilitown.
–Edmonton lost to St. Louis, 2-1, on Sunday.

RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 39-23-13 (3rd in Central, 6th in West) :: 22-10-5 at home.
–Edmonton Oilers :: 24-44-7 (5th in Northwest, 15th in West) :: 8-25-3 on the road.

OILERS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Daniel Plainview

EXPECTED LINEUP
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Bertuzzi — Zetterberg — Filppula
Miller — Draper — Williams
Eaves — Helm — Meech

Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Ericsson — Lilja

Howard (starting)
Osgood

I promised my mother I’d do a Rick Springfield-themed post the next time Jonathan Ericsson scored, clearly thinking I was safe until AT LEAST 2011. But, alas, with us all in the stands, Rig (probably accidentally..NAY..Ericssonianly) tipped one in, and I’m a man of my word. Not much of one, but still.
Scratch
Brett “Loving You Has Been Hard On Me” Lebda
Injuries
Kirk “Working Class Dog” Maltby
Dan “Hard to Hold” Cleary
Honorable Mentions
Todd “Don’t Talk to Strangers” Bertuzzi — or
Todd “You’re Gonna Pull You Just A Little Too Far…One Night” Bertuzzi
Jonathan “Speak to the Sky” Ericsson — or
Jonathan “Affair of the Heart” Ericsson (YOU’RE WELCOME, MOM)
Darren “Bop til You Drop” Helm
Jimmy “Celebrate Youth” Howard
Chris “Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet” Osgood
Valtteri “And I’ve Been Lookin’ in the Mirror All the Time” Filppula
Derek “Wonderin’ What She Don’t See In Me” Meech
Kris “I’ve Been Funny” Draper
Henrik “I’ve Been Cool with the Lines” Zetterberg
Nicklas “Ain’t That the Way Love’s Supposed to Be” Lidstrom

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. If James Howard and the defense in front of him keep playing, like they have been — and the offense is firing on all cylinders, like the Wild game — I won’t poopoo weak bouncing Owen Nolan goals from the blueline. But if the offense can’t muster (i.e. Saturday), weak goals won’t cut it. Tiberius seems to have been working on his rebounds (thank the Christ), so how goes J-Ho, so go the Wings.
2. That Z’Fliptuzzi line still looks good. Seven games to get three goals, Todd. Countdown has begun.
3. You know who looks good lately? Drew Miller. Let’s see where that goes…
4. The Oilers have next to nothing to play for, so if we can escape with a win, and no injuries, I’ll be thrilled.
5. Now that Detroit making a bit of a run, I can’t wait to watch Colorado crash and burn after fucking us a few weeks ago. It looks like Calgary has just about given up on the season, but I’d laugh so hard at Denver if failed to make the playoffs after that “CRAIG ANDERSSON IS THE GREATEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD OMFGLOL!” thing earlier this year.
6. If you haven’t been over there yet today, check out my Winging it in Motown post where I dump the Eastern Conference on it’s cheating ass.

WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Predators
It ain’t the Wings goaltending that sucks in the shootout.

OILER WE COVET (JJ Special)
A huge Production Line congratulations to JJ from Kansas and his lovely wife, who welcomed their first daughter, Emma, into Red Wings Nation. This is the first pre-game we’ve done since she was born on Wednesday, and since this is hers section to inherit one day, we dedicate tonight’s game to the lovely Emma.

TPL meets the Good Old Hockey Show

Exciting news! I’ll be on The Good Old Hockey Show this Saturday. They were kind enough to ask me to call in to the show, chat about H2H, the Red Wings’ playoff picture (which looks a hell of a lot better than it did a few days ago), and other hockey junk.

They’re good guys from what I can tell, and the show sounds awesome (it’s archived on their site). You can listen in live on Saturday, and I’ll post a link when the audio’s available later in the week.

TPL Guest Post: FUCKYEAH! Haters. Rig Rules!

It’s been months and months, but Disch and I have been trying┬ádiligently┬áto get my mother to plop some words onto TPL, and finally – after a positively inspired performance by Jonathan Ericsson – she obliged. Below are her words, verbatim, no interjection or editing.


It’s been a spectacular few days.

Herm To Hockeytown was frolicking awesome! Herm is now a local sensation and will probably never talk to any of us again unless we go through his publicist. We met him on Thursday, he was shy and quiet; by Friday, he was twittering Emma Andersson (HANK WHO?!) and swept Robs new, hot girlfriend off her feet…and she wasn’t even there!

It was wonderful to put faces to names and we’re so grateful that you awesome winged wheeler fans came from far and wide to make H2H a huge success. And your generosity, unbelievable; $5365.72, all for Children’s Hospital.

The people involved in making this happen deserve a group hug…your countless hours spent planning the event resulted in one hell of a party!

I’d like to recap the game for you, but Jonathan “Gettin’ Riggy wit it” Ericsson scored and poof, time stood still. The shock & awe of it ground the earth’s rotation to a halt.

To all that I’ve had the honor of meeting these past few days, and to all my newly “adopted” kids, it’s been a blast. Be safe and GO WINGS!!!!

TPL Mom

H2H :: A Survival Guide

FIRST OF ALL…
What a weekend. As we all return to reality, and the relative break that work will be, it’s time to reflect on what can only be described as three days of awesome. Friday was legitimately one of the best days of my life – I had an unbelievable time meeting everyone, doing a little partying, and welcoming a friend from South America to the States. I am truly honored and grateful to have had a role in making this come together, and it’s something everyone should be proud of. We raised over $5,300 for Children’s Hospital, and that’s above and beyond what was raised to get Herm to Hockeytown. So we’re looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of $7,500. I’ve said it before, but the generosity of Red Wings fans shouldn’t surprise anyone anymore, but that’s a huge number. Your pledges accounted for about a third of that grand total — and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Rob and I felt a little strange not having anything up on TPL for a few days, and here’s hoping you’ll forgive us. It’s been a wild 72 hours, but we should have you back to your regularly scheduled jailsexing shortly.

THANK YOU
The sincerest of thank you’s to everyone who had a hand in making H2H happen, but particularly Jennifer Macrostie, Mike Serven, Chris Hollis, Ellen Manuszak, and Bill Houlihan – the Chief architect that couldn’t be with us, but was there in spirit. That’s a cabal I’m humbled to be a part of.

Herm, it takes serious cojones (sorry, I don’t know the Portuguese word for “balls”) to do what you’ve done – between meeting hundreds of strangers and having a camera in you face for two days.

To the Detroit Red Wings – particularly Ryan Michaels and Nicole Yelland. These two people are perfect, shining examples of why the Red Wings are the best organization in all of professional sports. The lengths to which both went to make this dream come true is inspiring and everyone needs to know how much they’ve done for us. Some of the photos and stories that follow will help paint that picture.

H2H FIX
If you’re looking for photos, videos, and recaps, check out these links. If you’ve got photos you’d like to share, or a post I may have missed, send me an e-mail and I’ll rectify that situation pronto.
 :: Herm2Hockeytown Official Site – for all your H2H needs.
MEDIA
 :: Fox Sports Detroit – Trev takes on Herm.
 :: Fox 2 – feel free to mute my interview.
 :: WXYZ – with jumbotron footage.
 :: Herm in the locker room with Darren Helm.
 :: The Detroit Red Wings Twitvid.
 :: Detroit News – photo gallery. Check out photos 10-16.
 :: Hollis’ interview on XM Radio.
 :: Kris’ mom‘s photo gallery. These are awesome photos.
MUST READS
 :: Part I of Herm’s recap at Red Wings Brasil.
 :: Caue’s post at Red Wings Brasil.
 :: J.J.’s must read for some perspective.
 :: Paul Kukla‘s Post at NHL.com.
 :: Abel to Yzerman
 :: A Nueie Perspective photos
 :: Babcock’s Death Stare
 :: Big Red Machine
 :: Jennemy‘s Flickr Stream
 :: Etched in Cold (and Part II)
 :: Motown Wings
 :: On the Wings
 :: Red, White, Black and Blue
 :: Sara’s LiveJournal recap

 :: Snipe Snipe Dangle Dangle
 :: The Triple Deke – who totally pre-stole my timeline idea.
 :: Winging it in Motown

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW AND SEE
If you weren’t there, hopefully this will give you a tiny glimpse into the extravaganza. If you were there, hopefully it’ll help piece together what may otherwise be a total fog of beer, accents, and the occasional hockey game.

The flight that Ellen and I were on landed in Detroit at 2:41 on Thursday. That’s basically the last time I realized what time it was. We went from baggage claim to Joe Louis, where I found Herm and Orst a few minutes later. It was in the mid-40’s, but our favorite Brazilian was freezing his ass off, so we headed on inside.

Fittingly, longtime-blogger-turned-Red-Wings-staffer Christy Hammond got the tour kicked off right, telling Herm he’s going to meet grinder/deity Darren Helm after the Wild game.

A few seconds later, Nicole presented Herm with a Hockeytown: No Limits sign, graced with the signature of the entire club.

In the visiting locker room, the organizers and Herm are interviewed by Red Wings TV – who, unwisely, turned the microphone over to Christopher J. Hollis. I look positively thrilled to be there. Or maybe it’s just that I’m so impressed with his perfectly sculpted facial hair.
Later that evening, everyone would meet at one of Hollis’ old stomping grounds, The Old Shillelagh. I arrived at about 8:30. By 8:32, I was being accosted. It was excellent to put some more names to faces, and the ladies were nice enough to pose for an H2H Gone Wild-esque photo. Pictured left to right are SaraJennGreta, Jen Macrostie (I promise she’s there), Jennemy, Ellen, TPL Mom, and Adrienne:
We called it a night around 1am, which would be — by far — the earliest night of the weekend, but Friday was a big day and we all needed our beauty sleep. We were greeted at Hockeytown Cafe with this marquee:
Shortly thereafter, Fox 2 made the mistake of interviewing me – it took all my might to keep myself from screaming “FUCKYEAH JAILSEXED WOO!” into the camera, but I think I was kept in line by the fact that Ronnie Dahl is no less than 7 and a half feet tall.
Just after the doors opened and the crowd flooded in, there was  TPL reunion and all was right with the world. It had been almost two years since I’d seen Disch, and there was much huggage. Rob’s brother Johnny, who I have now adopted as my own, was also in attendance (oh, there’s pictures, I promise). I think it’s fair to say that Johnny is our biggest fan and I would like to say that the feeling is mutual. Sorry Natalie, I have dibs on the entire Discher family – that’s just how it’s going to be.
Before he could put his coat down, Rob was snatched up by Nicole from the Red Wings.
Rob and I presented Natalie and Brian with a signed copy of the She-Tuzzi. 
Herm was becoming a natural in front of the cameras, as Fox Sports caught up with him at Hockeytown Cafe.
Baroque and Jen writing out the giant check.
Chris Hollis reaches into the tub of tickety goodness to reveal some gameday prize winners. For the record, the prizes listed on H2H’s website were drawn late last night and Ellen is getting in touch with the winners and posting a blog about it shortly. 
The moment you’ve all been waiting for: The Shirtuzzi. 
As demanded by Disch, a shot of whiskey for my mother.
The voices behind The Obstructed View. I’d say we all have a face for radio, but that’s clearly not the case at all — look at these beautiful/handsome folks. Pictured, left to right are Kyle, Hollis, Kris, Casey, yours truly, Disch, Ellen, Tyler, and Jessie.
We arrived at the Joe, and there was much rejoicing (particularly by that lady none of us recognize behind us…). Herm was already getting set up in the penalty box to watch warmups. 
It’s a bit fuzzy, like Malik’s chin, but the photo below is our beat writer in residence George Malik atop the Zamboni during the first intermission. He’s waving a Bill Houlihan face-on-a-stick, which will be available at Meijer and Belle Tire outlets within the hour. 
During the intermission, and until the first commercial break in the second period, Herm was wedged between Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond (funny, they don’t let Murph that close), and he was actually in the booth with a headset to call the first two Wings goals. Eat it, Doc Emrick! Around the same time, tinfoil hats courtesy of Lola were being passed through the sections.
I dare you to come up with a better “It’s a Power Play” celebration than flashing a tat.
Arguably the best photo taken at the game came from Miss Red Wing. Check out her twitpic to see Johnny snapping a photo of our row sometime during the second period. Right around the same time, Herm was being interviewed by Wings TV and broadcast to 19,000 new friends.
After the game, we totally accepted a ride from a stranger – but he seemed friendly enough. While waiting for the shuttle back to the Cafe, some other bar’s bus rolled up and said we could all fit. It was a tight squeeze, but Billy Mays jokes and lost cell phone stories more than made up for it. We took up residence at our new hangout, The Town Pump right around the corner from Hockeytown Cafe. It was here that the legend of Mike Serven: Ladies Man was born. Pictured with him are Baroque, Lola (she’s back there), JJ’s sister Anne (who is totally awesome, by the way), and Kris.  
There was “dancing.” Make sure to check out Tyler’s creepy demon eyes on the background.
It was discovered that the reason for the Wings offensive onslaught was, in fact, Dena‘s Swedish underpants.

Saturday was mostly wasted, as nearly everyone was comatose until the late afternoon, but some of us worked up the energy to go to Cheli’s/Hockeytown Cafe/Town Pump to watch the Wings 1-0 shootout victory over the Predators. Pictured (poorly – my bad) are Kris (poking in the corner), Sara, Nurse Nitz, Brian, and Natalie.

I am, in fact, real. As is Sara.

The fucking-hipster-DJ-that-Natalie-hopes-dies-of-herpes did his best to drawn out our laughs. To make matters worse, he didn’t pump the Megamix or Walk the Dinosaur. I have absolutely no idea why Serven and I were talking about Wakl the Dinosaur, but I assure you we were. Putting a cap on a perfectly awesome weekend, it came on the radio as I drove back home. I shit you not. Fate intervened upon H2H this weekend.

After watching the shootout, Kris and I formed, under the watchful eye of Sara and Nitz, the Coalition for Making EAVESED Happen. Look out for the new vocabutastic word in the near future.

H2H2 is going to have its hands full matching this level of awesome, but I don’t doubt it happens. We’ve all made friends for life — not just internet friends, the real kid — and I’m looking forward to doing this again. To those of you that couldn’t make it, know that you were with us and absolutely a part of the fun, thanks to Twitter and whatnot. We’ll see you all next year.

H2H Ticket Giveaway

If you missed out on buying your official Herm2Hockeytown pre-party ticket and a seat to the Wings game against the Wild, you’re in luck.

The Obstructed View is giving one smart, beautiful, jailsexed fan an opportunity to join the masses celebrating this historic occasion. All you’ve got to do to be entered is send an e-mail to TOV, telling everyone what the first thing you’d say to Herm would be. The best, most creative submission, which will be announced tomorrow, wins a ticket to Hockeytown Cafe to party with the crowd and a ticket to join us at the Joe to watch the Wings destroy Pinky’s Stinkies.

Good luck! See you at Hockeytown Cafe and the game!

Pair of Wings prospects Hobey Baker finalists

I won’t even begin to tell you how close I was to posting a picture of myself playing in college 
instead of Gustav Nyquist. But those Maine uniforms are beautiful and I didn’t want to keep them from you.

I’m way behind the curve on this one, but I didn’t want the entire week to go by without mentioning something so awesome. Each season, the Hobey Baker Award is given to the top hockey player in the NCAA. Obviously, not every young player comes up through U.S. college hockey, and it’s generally assumed that Canadian Juniors are the top NHL feeder league on the planet, but that’s not to say that American college hockey hasn’t grown and hasn’t become a full-fledge legit feeder league full of incredibly talented kids.

Wisconsin defenseman, and the Wings ’07 first round pick, Brendan Smith joins University of Maine winger and Best Name Nominee-in-Training Gustav Nyquist on the short list for the 2010 honor. Of the ten nominees, two are Red Wings. And that’s amazing. Proof of development at every level.

Nyquist currently leads the nation in scoring, with 19 goals and 42 assists in 39 games as a sophomore. Smith is leading the nation in defenseman scoring (by a mile), with 15 goals and 30 assists in 38 games as a junior. Smith’s numbers are good enough for 19th overall in the scoring chase. Maine didn’t qualify for the men’s tournament this season, but UW is the #1 seed in the West Regional (which kicks off Thursday in St. Paul). Also in that regional is St. Cloud State and Red Wings prospect Nick Oslund, who is not up for any awards (chump).

If Brendan Smith wins, he’d be the first Badger to do so, despite their incredible history of churning out quality talent. Nyquist would be the third Black Bear. By all accounts, Nyquist has it all but wrapped up. The Red Wings have never had a Hobey Baker winner in their system (though Drew Miller’s cousin Kip won in 1990).

Past winners include Matt Gilroy (09), Kevin Porter (08, late addition to this list to keep Hollis from exploding), Jordan Leopold (02), Ryan Miller (01), Chris Drury (98), Brendan Morrison (97), Paul Kariya (93), Neil Broten (81), and my favorite non-Red Wing of all time Tony Hrkac (87).

Zetterberg beats Penguins, Howard beats the hell out of Crosby

BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Red Wings 3-1.
H2H DONATIONS TALLY
Sara S. :: $87/Crosby scoreless
Mike S. :: $49 :: $19/win + $5/goal + $5/Lady Gaga song + $10/PUMPIN DA MEGAMIX! 
Nitz :: $45 :: $=GW(Z) + $5/win
Mauvais :: $35 :: $5/Lady Gaga song + $30/Because she’s awesome
Brad B. :: $32 :: $2/goal + $13/Datsyuk takeaway
Vicky B. :: $26/win
SigSeg :: $26 :: $2/goal + $10/place in the standings (from 10th)
Blair :: $25/win
Jenn :: $22 :: $4/goal + $10/Crosby scoreless
Sara N. :: $20.56 :: $2/goal + $2/EuroTwin goal + 5.28/Crosby scoreless + $5.28/Crosby goalless.
Rob M. :: $14 :: $2/goal + $2/ +/- over 11 goals (8)
Baroque :: $10/Lidstrom point
Andy :: $9/win
Andrea H. :: $7 :: $2/goal + $1/Verizon commercial
Dena :: $6 :: $2/goal
Natalie :: $6 :: $2/goal
Drew :: $6 :: $2/goal
CaptNorris :: $5/win
Ben :: $5/win
Allison :: $4 :: $2/Flying Circus goal
Jeff :: $1/Bertuzzi fall
The Production Line :: $6 :: $2/goal
TPL Dad’s 10% :: $44.66
TOTAL PLEDGED VS. PITTSBURGH :: $446.56
TOTAL RAISED AFTER ELEVEN GAMES ::  $2551.08

TPL’S TAKE
Holy shitballs, what a goddamn hockey game, peoples! I hope your eyes were open, because that was sicknasty. And yeah, I’m going to go ahead and take full credit for that unbelievable game by Henrik Zetterberg by merely suggesting he was going to build off of that emotional winner the game before. Okay, maybe he gets a tiny bit of credit. But it’s like 98% Petrella, 1% Zetterberg, 1% Emma Andersson’s magnificent gams. Anyone know the literal Swedish translation for “GOTTTTDAAAYYUUMNNN”?
I tell ya what. We all like to make fun of Marc-Andre Fleury (and for good reason, look at this damn goob), but he is one hell of a goaltender. You’d think it’s odd to start with him, considering he allowed three goals in a loss. But, he’s no joke back there. There was a moment early in the first that Nick Lidstrom appeared to have a wide open net. I jumped off the couch thoroughly convinced it was telegraphed for the back of the net. A few seconds later, he had the save of the night on Flip. There’s only one reason that didn’t make the game 1-0, and it has three initials. 
Flip made up for it by snapping an absolutely nasty shot through the legs of Sergei Gonchar. That shot was filthy. That’s all there is to that. The entire period, it looked like Flip was going to make something happen — and good on him.
For as much as we rag on him around here, I have a compliment that needs to be paid to Brian Rafalski. He is one of the best (if not the best) in the business at keeping the puck in the zone at the blueline. The things he does — at the boards, in the middle of the ice, and everywhere in between is unmatched. Pay attention next time…
Is it me or does the power play look absolutely lethal again?
***NO BULLSHIT ZONE*** For the next twenty seconds, I’m going to be completely serious. No one will believe it, but for real — I mean every word. So pay attention, everyone-who-gives-me-shit-for-Bertuzzi-bashing: Todd Bertuzzi played a hell of a hockey game tonight. I’m man enough to admit when he has a good game, it’d be really swell if you can own up to when he has a shitty game (ya know, like 65 of the other ones). He made great defensive plays, he stayed on his feet all night, he went to the net hard, he stuck up for his teammates, he took smart shots, he set up plays. That was a hell of a hockey game for Shetuzz’. 
(Back to bullshit)
So, let’s talk officiating. I feel like they let a lot of Wings stuff go (and I’m sure Penguins stuff, too). As in, there probably could have been a handful of calls made that weren’t. I felt like the refs wanted to let them play, for the most part, settling for 4-on-4 situations twice when it really would have been easy to call just one. Good on the stripes for letting them go…
Has Derek Meech leapfrogged Brett Lebda on the depth chart? Or is it just that Meech is better at adapting to playing forward?
And now it’s time for the main event: James. Tiberius. Howard. The Fourth. I have no idea if he’s actually a fourth. I doubt it. But why not? I am in love with him. Not just hockey fan love anymore. Did you see him get all up in Sidney Crosby’s grill? Oh lordy, my jeans got a tiny bit tight. In the sixty minutes before that, he was especially composed – still had trouble with the rebounds, but he did look otherwise confident and focused. That man is in the zone. What a stud. Look what already has 1,600+ fans: This Facebook Page.
This was the last game for pledges — but, all joking aside, we had the best time keeping track of all your hilarious, creative, and generous pledges. 
RE-VISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. These two points are going to go a long way. Even in games played with Calgary, and four points up. That’s the best cushion they’ve had all season. 
2. Howard needed a strong game against that offense (though they were missing Malkin), and he delivered a playoff performance. Any doubters left?
3. I figured Nicklas Lidstrom would play one of those STFU&GTFO Crosby games, and that he did. 
4. Zetterberg! King of the universe!
5. Helm looked like no one told him this wasn’t the Final. He was skating — and I don’t think this is an exaggeration — mach seven, hitting douchebags, stealing pucks, making things happen. I am also in love with Darren Helm.
WHAT’S NEXT?
St. Louis on Wednesday

Lucky 13th podcast debuts new TOV website

In the Old Country, the Petrella clan huddles by the warm radio to listen to the first broadcast of TOV on AM radio.

Gather ’round, children. ‘Tis podcasting time.

Joining Host/Superstar Chris Hollis from Motown Wings were Kyle from Babcock’s Death Stare, George from Snapshots, and yours truly. We touched on a bunch of great subjects, like heart attacks, tracking flights, driving drunks around, and the vile incompetence of the Red Wings in the shootout.

Check out the new TOV website and give ‘er a listen. There’s a slight hiccup with iTunes, so you may need to re-subscribe to a new subscription. I have no idea what that means, really, just repeating what the cooler kids said.

Feedback for my ramblin’ ass is always appreciated — and make sure you follow TOV on Twitter to be the first on your block to get all the inside info about trunkettes and #FUCKYEAH.

Mar 22 :: Game 9 of the Stanley Cup Final





***UPDATE***
Kick-ass pledges are streaming in. The following are new pledges since the publishing of this post:

  • Nurse Nitz is matching her pledge from the Canucks game. Whoever scores the game-winner will have his jersey number matched in dollars (i.e. Zetterberg = $40).
  • Dena is dropping $10 on a Franzen hat trick and $5 for each Crosby tantrum (get your checkbook ready, babe). 
  • thenewthomas will match the $10 Franzen pledge. 
  • Along those same lines, Sara N. will pledge $10 for a hat trick from any Red Wing.
  • Sara S. wants to give $87 for keeping Sidney Crosby goal-less.
  • TPL Mom thinks Rafalski and Miller want revenge for the Olympics. $20.10 if either of them score (and $52 if Ericsson scores).
  • Brad has pledged $13 per takeaway by Pavel Datsyuk. $26 if he takes the puck away from Crosby or Malkin.
  • Jenn’s got $29 on Fleury being removed from the game. Gotta score early and often, boys.
  • Crosby held scoreless? Jenn has $10, Sara N. has $5.28. Another $5.28 if he’s held point-less.
  • Serven’s got $5 for each Lady Gaga appearance. $10 for MegaMix.
  • Adrienne has $5 for each Lidstrom goal.
  • Bikeguy59 has $25 for the win. The win is now worth $94.

Keep ’em coming, gang.


WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?

The Red Wings and Penguins meet for the 17th time in the last 21 months. Monday, 7pm, Versus.
H2H IMPLICATIONS
Each goal tonight is worth at least $29.70.
Matching TPL’s pledge of $2 per goal tonight are silvrbuttflyDena, Natalie from the Scrappy Octopus, Drew from Nightmare on Helm Street, Rob from Etched in ColdBrad BoswellSigSegFalt, and Sara from A Neuie Perspective. Jennbikegirl has pledged $4 per goal for tonight, Mike Serven has pledged $5 per goal and my pops is dropping 10% of the grand total. 
A win is worth at least $75.90.
Vicky Bash has pledged $26 per win, Mike Serven $19, Andy from Fight Night at the Joe $9, Nurse Nitz $5, Ben from Below the Crossbar $5, CaptNorris5 $5. Plus the same 10%. Ben will donate an extra $10 and Krononymous will donate an extra $35 for a shutout.









Game Specific Pledges:
Hold Sidney Crosby scoreless, that’s $10 from Jennbikegirl. Someone fights Crosby – $20 from silvrbuttrfly. Someone knocks Crosby on his ass – $10 from George at Snapshots. Every time Todd Bertuzzi falls onto the ice – $1 from my cousin Jeff (in addition to the $1/penalty minutes from Bertuzzi). Each Alex Ovechkin mention is $1 – as is each Verizon commercial appearance.

Top Money Making Opportunity:
Darren Helm scores, from Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom, with Jonathan Ericsson on the ice. That’s worth $57.50. If it happens in overtime, $133.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. Don’t fool yourself. Just because the Penguins are in the other conference doesn’t mean they’re not the Red Wings biggest rival right now. We haven’t played anyone in the last two years as many times as we’ve played Pittsburgh. Not even St. Louis, who we seem to play 44 times a season.
2. Of the prior sixteen meetings, each team has taken 8 games and a Stanley Cup from the other. Obviously, there’s a tiny bit less at stake for this matchup than many of the others — but it’s still a huge game for both sides, as they’re angling for playoff position.
3. Just find a way to win. Two big points (against the shitbox Eastern Conference) will go a long way in hunting down the Avalanche, Kings, and Predators — and shove the Flames a bit further back.

5. Nashville :: 89 pts (9 GR) 

6. Los Angeles :: 87 pts (12 GR) [play Colorado tonight]

7. Colorado :: 86 pts (11 GR) [play Los Angeles tonight]
8. Detroit :: 83 pts (11 GR)
9. Calgary :: 81 pts (10 GR)


NOW WHERE WERE WE?








The most recent game with Pittsburgh ended in a 2-1 shootout loss on January 31st. Jimmy Howard played all 65 minutes, and Dan Cleary was the lone goal scorer for the good guys – and they played without Lilja, Holmstrom, and Franzen. The heartbreaker earned some cash for Haiti, as Casey at Winging it in Motown did a wonderful organizing a relief effort, donating five cents for each comment. Kudos, again, sir. 
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
We’ve done this before, so just to reiterate: there are no former Wings on the Penguins, just like there are no former Penguins on the Wings. Ben Lovejoy has the best name on that squad. 
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit defeated Vancouver, 4-3, with 0.3 seconds left in overtime on Saturday. 
–Pittsburgh lost to Carolina (somehow) in overtime, 3-2, on Saturday.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 35-23-13 (3rd in Central, 8th in West) :: 19-10-5 at home. 
–Nearly Kansas City Penguins :: 42-24-6 (1st in Atlantic, 2nd in East) :: 21-14-2 on the road.
PENGUINS SHOULD KNOW
EXPECTED LINEUP
Eaves and Cleary are still out, and Brad Stuart is suddenly questionable. If he doesn’t play, the Wings will be forced to play a man down all night, as they’re not able to bring anyone up from Grand Rapids with their lack of salary cap space.

Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom

Filppula — Zetterberg — Bertuzzi
Meech — Miller — Williams
Draper — Helm — Ericsson
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Lebda — Lilja
Howard (starts)
Osgood
I received an e-mail from my cousin Jeff – and he included suggestions for today’s nicknames. Clearly inspired by the Off the Record interview with Darren McCarty, he used only Grinder songs. Frankly, I didn’t know they had this many songs, but well done, Jeffrey. Well done.
Scratches
none
Injuries
Kirk “Broken” Maltby
Patrick “Everyting” Eaves
Dan “Gotta Keep Moving” Cleary
Honorable Mentions
Pavel “Out of Our Heads” Datsyuk
Jonathan “Bring Me Down” Ericsson
Brett “Wouldn’t Want To Be You” Lebda
Chris “Nothing Left” Osgood
Tomas “Under My Skin” Holmstrom
Darren “All That I Want” Helm
Drew “New Way Out” Miller
Nicklas “Neat Neat Neat” Lidstrom
Jimmy “Be Me” Howard
Justin “Another Day” Abdelkader
Jiri “No Fun” Hudler
Darren “Step Outside” McCarty
Ville “Moving On” Leino
Todd “Affliction” Bertuzzi — orrr
Todd “Sham” Bertuzzi — orrr
Todd “So Cold” Bertuzzi
QUICK THOUGHTS
1. The Wings got a tiny bit of breathing room over the weekend, taking three of four points and actually getting some help from the right clubs. They’ve got two points on Calgary, with a game in hand, but that doesn’t mean they can take the night off. They need all the points they can get to solidify their playoff slot.
2. Jimmy Howard has played very well lately, losing in regulation only once in the last eight games. The Penguins have as much firepower as any (especially now that Malkin is back), so he’ll be test often. A strong game goes a long way.
3. Speaking of which, this is a quintessential game for Nick Lidstrom to step up and dominate defensively.
4. Will Henrik Zetterberg build off that emotional game winner from the other night and snap out of his relative slump?
5. Perhaps Darren Helm will have war flashbacks of the last two Finals and go all torpedo on everyone.
WHAT WE LEARNED against the Canucks
That’s what you get for picking the wrong moment to go pee.
PENGUIN WE COVET (JJ Special)


Red Wings and anteaters are totally clutch

I have a feeling you’ll be seeing this guy around a lot more…

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)

Red Wings 4-3 in overtime.
H2H DONATIONS TALLY
Mike S. :: $103 :: $5/goal + $20/Huey Lewis video + $1/Shutout Streak (4) + $20/allowing goal in first five minutes + $19/win
Nitz :: $45 :: $5/win + $=GW (Zetterberg)
Christine :: $40/shorthanded goal
Vicky B. :: $26/win
Ben :: $24.30 :: $20/reaching our goal + $1.30/Datsyuk point + $3/win
Baroque :: $20/win
TPL Mom :: $20/Flip goal
Marlon :: $20/allowing goal in first five minutes
Hollis :: $20/Michigan winning CCHA
Maria :: $15/Bertuzzi goal
Sara N. :: $12 :: $2/goal + $2/EuroTwin goal
Sara S. :: $10 :: $5/Datsyukian mention
Andy :: $9/win
Drew :: $8 :: $2/goal
Jenn :: $8 :: $2/goal
Rob M. :: $8 :: $2/goal
Brad B. :: $8 :: $2/goal
SigSeg :: $8 :: $2/goal
CaptNorris :: $5/win
Dena :: $5 :: $1/Murph slur (3) + $2/Kronwall point
Allison :: $4 :: $2/Flying Circus goal
The Production Line :: $48 :: $2/goal + $20/Huey Lewis video
TPL Dad’s 10% :: $46.63
TOTAL PLEDGED VS. VANCOUVER :: $512.93
TOTAL RAISED AFTER TEN GAMES ::  $2059.86 ***ONE GAME LEFT!***
If you’re interested in joining the fight and have a fun pledge you want to share with The Production Line, Herm 2 Hockeytown, and Children’s Hospital, please let me know in the comments or via e-mail. Check out the TPL post introducing the fun times and check out everyone’s pledges! If you’re on this list and don’t have a calculator handy — no worries. I’m keeping tabs on every single goal via a massive spreadsheet and will e-mail or Direct Message you your total at the end of the 11 games. 
TPL’S TAKE
I hardly remember the Canucks first two goals. They seem like an eternity ago. Come to think of it, I can’t remember anything before Henrik Zetterberg’s overtime winner right now. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll have more clarity.
For the second game in a row, the Red Wings scored with 0.3 seconds left on the clock — but this time it was in overtime and bought us another point. Which was important because everyone on the planet keeps winning, too. Frankly, anything that keeps this team from going to a shootout is fine by me. What an unreal finish…
OTHER NOTES

Prior to the game, Serven had a great idea via Twitter. $20 to the first person to record a video of themselves singing a TPL-endorsed Huey Lewis and the News song. I was happy to match that pledge, and another $20 to the next two as well. I figured it was a good investment, because I’d be able to do this:
Brett Lebda’s icetime tonight: 0:00. So…the same as me. That’s another thing we have in common (American, born in ’82, played in college, went undrafted, and NOW THIS!? Kindred spirits, I tells ya) 
Nightmare on Helm Street was mentioned by Fox Sports, as it was revealed it was Darren Helm’s favorite blog. I hope Drew and Chris are flying, because that’s pretty goddamn awesome. Way to go, boys. The Wings began their barrage IMMEDIATELY following the mention (and even broke the record for fastest two Red Wings goals: five seconds).
Todd Bertuzzi played Devil’s Advocate with himself (giggity?): often making dumbshit plays we all expect, but playing really strong in patches, too. He finally netted one, which I’m sure feels fantastic after going 19 without one. Let’s hope – for the Wings – that his confidence comes seeping back and he starts scoring again (and feel free to ignore the fact that he was back on a top six line with Dan Cleary’s injury…)
The Winging it in Motown thread (threads, actually) was an extra special breed of crazypants, with the anteater photos and whatnot. If you aren’t around during gametime, you should check it out once in awhile. Always fun.
RE-VISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Two points. Book it.
2. Big three turned it around. Two goals and an assist. Add Flip to that equation and you have six points.
3. Howard looked strong. The only reason the Wings got to overtime at all.
4. Blueline looked pretty whack for having 32 defensemen dressed.
WHAT’S NEXT?
A rematch of the last two Stanley Cup Finals.