Mar 20 :: The News (the kind from the 80s)

What’s that black guy doing near Huey Lewis?
WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Happy Birthday, Valtteri Filppula. Our little boy’s all groweds up. Celebrate by watching the Red Wings and Canucks. 10pm, Saturday. 
H2H IMPLICATIONS
Each goal tonight is worth at least $20.90.
Matching TPL’s pledge of $2 per goal tonight are Drew from Nightmare on Helm Street, Rob from Etched in ColdJennbikegirlBrad BoswellSigSegFalt, and Sara from A Neuie PerspectiveMike Serven has pledged $5 per goal and my pops is dropping 10% of the grand total. 

A win is worth at least $95.70.
Vicky Bash has pledged $26 per win, Baroque $20 (for tonight), Mike Serven $19, Andy from Fight Night at the Joe $9, Nurse Nitz $5, CaptNorris5 $5, Ben from Below the Crossbar $3. Plus the same 10%. Krononymous will donate an extra $5 for a shutout.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. Son of a bitch, two points against the NHL’s worst would have been nice. Now the Wings are forced to play overachievers against a top three club.
2. Mikael Samuelsson, who is having a career year (the nets must be bigger in BC), is out for the next three weeks with a shoulder injury, so we won’t be seeing him tonight. Let’s hope the doctor has better aim with that scalpel than Sammy does from the point!
3. Vancouver has the third best home record in the league. So…ya know. Enjoy.

5. Colorado :: 86 pts (12 GR)
6. Los Angeles :: 85 pts (13 GR) [play the Islanders tonight]
7. Nashville :: 85 pts (11 GR) [play Columbus tonight]
8. Detroit :: 81 pts (12 GR)
9. Calgary :: 81 pts (11 GR)

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Nucks played earlier this month, meeting on the 3rd. The final score was 6-3 Vancouver, and Howard was yanked after 32 minutes (and four goals). Scoring for the good guys were Zetterberg, Franzen, and Williams.
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
 :: Mikael Samuelsson is a former Wing, but he’s not playing tonight.
 :: Todd Bertuzzi (and Brad May) used to play in Vancouver.
 :: BNN is Tanner Glass
THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit somehow lost to the Edmonton Taylor Halls, 3-2, in a shootout, last night.
–Vancouver beat San Jose (of COURSE they did), 3-2, on Thursday.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 34-23-13 (3rd in Central, 8th in West) :: 15-13-8 on the road. 
–Vancouver Hockey-Stick-in-an-Ovals :: 44-24-3 (1st in Northwest, 3rd in West) :: 26-8-1 at home.
CANUCKS SHOULD KNOW
Cam Neely (way to go, Vancouver) :: Igor Larionov (way to go, Vancovuer) :: Mark Messier (way to go, Vancouver) :: Trevor Linden (way to go, Vancouver) :: Markus Naslund (way to go, Vancouver) :: Pavel Bure (way to go, Vancouver) :: Dan Cloutier (way to go, Vancouver)
EXPECTED LINEUP
Eaves is out with a cefalgia, and Jonathan Ericsson is supposedly being considered to suck at forward tonight instead of defense. To be fair, he was originally a center in Sweden, so maybe he’ll find his calling. Because he sure as hell hasn’t found it on the blueline. Naturally, I’d assume Brett Lebda will be back in on D. 
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Filppula — Zetterberg — Cleary
Bertuzzi — Miller — Williams
Draper — Helm — Ericsson
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Lebda — Lilja
Howard (starts)
Osgood
Because Hollis is my boy, and he was the first respondent to my Twitter request, we’ve got some Huey Lewis and the News comin’ atcha.
Scratches
Derek “Don’t Need Money” Meech
Derek “Don’t Take Fame” Meech
Injuries
Kirk “If This Is It” Maltby
Patrick “Doing It All” Eaves
Honorable Mentions
Tomas “Heart and Soul” Holmstrom
Jonathan “Hot Lovin’ Every Night” Ericsson
Todd “Stuck With You” Bertuzzi 
Darren “Here, There, and Everywhere” Helm
Jimmy “It’s Hip to Be Square” Howard
Bobby “I Want a New Drug” Probert
Brian “One That Won’t Make Me Sick” Rafalski
Niklas “Or Make Me Feel Three Feet Thick” Kronwall

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Well, we’ve half buggered ourselves not picking up both points against the Oilers. The Wings have no choice but to get a win — regulation or not — tonight.
2. Pavel, Z, and Franzen are on notice. Two thirds of them have been playing well, but more should have come from all three last night.
3. Vancouver’s offense is second only to Washington, so expect lots of pucks. Jimmy Howard, starting for the 18th straight game, should be prepared to stop more (and better quality) opportunities than 24 hours ago.
4. Speaking of which, the blueline needs to step it up — not that they haven’t been effective, but a misstep tonight is likely a puck in the twine.
5. Missing Patrick Eaves hurts. He’s a top-notch shot blocker, a good penalty killer, and an excellent transition guy. Missing those tangibles, not to mention the energy and grinding, might show up against a strong team like Vancouver.
WHAT WE LEARNED against the Oilers
Long Island extends a lot further West and North than I thought it did.
CANUCK WE COVET (JJ Special)

Worst team of all time defeats mighty Red Wings

Even Ironhide is getting tired of this shit

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Oilers 3-2, in a shootout.

H2H DONATIONS TALLY
Beanie :: $20 :: She had to bow out early, and generously gave another twenty.
Mike S. :: $10 :: $5/goal
Rob M. :: $6 :: $2/goal + $2/Defenseman goal below the faceoff dot
Sara S. :: $5/Datsyukian mention
Sara N. :: $4 :: $2/goal
Drew :: $4 :: $2/goal
Jenn :: $4 :: $2/goal
Brad B. :: $4 :: $2/goal
SigSeg :: $4 :: $2/goal
J.J. :: $4 :: $2/goal
CaptNorris :: $2.20/Lebda scratch
Ben G. :: $1.30/Datsyuk point
The Production Line :: $4 :: $2/goal
TPL Dad’s 10% :: $7.25
TOTAL PLEDGED VS. EDMONTON :: $79.75
TOTAL RAISED AFTER NINE GAMES ::  $1543.63
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
Oh good, another early goal against. Fifty-something seconds into the game, Oiler We Covet Andrew Cogliano would open the scoring — followed four minutes later by Ryan Whitney’s first goal as an Oiler. Niklas Kronwall, Brad Stuart, and Henrik Zetterberg were all -2 by the 5:00 mark of the first period. Most of those five minutes were spent in the Wings zone. Honestly, I don’t remember the Red Wings crossing center ice until about halfway through the first period. I don’t follow the Oilers that closely, but I think it’s fair to say that this was the single best period of hockey in the history of the Oilers (Gretzky era included). 
It was revealed just after the intermission that Mike Babcock didn’t say a word — or even look at his players — when he called timeout after the second goal. Ken Daniels said it was completely silent. Somehow I doubt the locker room was silent…
Patrick Eaves went down and was slow getting up early in the second period. He didn’t seem to miss a shift, and he converted a wicked passed from Draper below the goal line to cut the lead to one. However, as the third period began, the Wings were down a body on the bench, and we were informed that Eaves would not return with an “upper body injury.” No word yet on his status for Vancouver on Saturday. 
With Jimmy pulled, the Wings finally felt the urgency. It didn’t look good, and the crowd was cheering as the Oilers were doing their best to fall on the puck in the corners. It squeaked loose, and Brian Rafalski got the puck through the crease with just under a second to go and BOOM! FACE-HUMPED, ALBERTA. With 0.3 seconds on the clock, the Wings tied it up, and we’re heading to overtime.
After that, it was pretty much exactly how you think it’d go: a limp overtime, and a shitty shootout. Jimmy Howard is pretty weak in the skills competition, as are the Wings shooters. Datsyuk and Flip were denied, but Jason Williams had a nifty one in between them. Didn’t matter, however. Ballgame. 
You know… all of these damn games would stop being so friggin’ important if ANY team we needed to win EVER did. It seems like every time someone can help us out (COUGH, Eastern Conference or the Sharks), they shit the bed, forcing the Wings to do it all themselves. Simple odds would point to this, too, being a curse of the Malocchio. San Jose lost, meaning Calgary has 81 points on the season…which is the same total the Wings have now. 
RE-VISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. The Wings played exactly like a team on vacation for the first 59 minutes and 59 seconds. 
2. I didn’t notice Ericsson once, but he wasn’t on the ice for either Oilers goal, so I guess that’s something. For the record, the last three Wings losses are the only three games Ericsson has played in. Chew on that for a minute.
3. The big Wings weren’t very big tonight. Datsyuk was dangling, but had a grand total of zero shots. Zetterberg continues to wobble his way through the season. Johan Franzen seemed to get his puck on the stick a lot, but nothing came of any of it.
4. The Oilers looked like a team that is dealing with a lot of injuries — and they are. But they outplayed the hell out of the Wings.
5. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the start in Vancouver, because Jimmy Howard is very clearly the guy — and the guy that Babcock’s said will be used when they need points. They need points, but no one would be shocked to see Chris Osgood in net.
WHAT’S NEXT?
Back-to-back. Vancouver Canucks. Saturday night.

I NEARLY FORGOT…
Here ya go, Hockeytown. Blame Serven for reminding me Vanessa Hudgens existed. She’s Latin, so it counts (also, she’s 21, so it’s okay to oggle her now).

Mac and Claude on OTR

I know it’ll pain some Red Wings fans to see Claude Lemieux and Darren McCarty shake hands during this interview, but these videos are a must-watch for any hockey fan. Canadians sports talk show Off the Record landed both guys — their first ever meeting off the ice — and didn’t hold back, asking questions about turtling, sticking up for teammates, and even admiration for one kicking the everloving shit out of the other.

It’s in three parts, big time thanks to Daywalk3r and HockeyWebCast for getting the entire segment online for all of us south of the border to enjoy.

They’re both refreshingly blunt and open. Claude Lemieux fully admits to taking cheap shots against the Wings (particularly against Kozlov, which probably started the whole thing for real). Darren McCarty says he absolutely hated Lemieux, but would have stood up for him if they were teammates, too. Mac makes it clear that it was more than hockey — it was personal, since he and Draper are best friends and he was the one carrying Draper’s pliers around to loosen his jaw wires when he’d eat. Incredible insight into the whole thing.

The conversation transcends the rivalry, as they get into respect among hockey players today, and retribution in the form of illegal hits. A valuable conversation with two guys that defined old-time hockey in a transitional period into the present that seems to have lost that on-ice respect and protection which is nearly gone.

They seem to play nice, but I’ve seen McCarty on Versus. He is still a little uneasy around Claude Lemieux, and — while totally honest — seems to be biting his tongue just a little bit.

Visit HockeyWebCast’s YouTube page by clicking here.

Mar 19 :: This Reminds Me of a West Side Story

NOW WITH LESS ROB THOMAS!

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Detroit Red Wings are fighting to hang on to 8th place in the West, facing the NHL-worst Edmonton Oilers. 9:30pm, Friday the 19th.
H2H IMPLICATIONS
Each goal tonight is worth at least $23.10.
Matching TPL’s pledge of $2 per goal tonight are JJ from Kansas, Drew from Nightmare on Helm Street, Rob from Etched in ColdJennbikegirlBrad BoswellSigSegFalt, and Sara from A Neuie PerspectiveMike Serven has pledged $5 per goal and my pops is dropping 10% of the grand total. 

A win is worth at least $84.70.
Vicky Bash has pledged $26 per win, Mike Serven $19, Andy from Fight Night at the Joe $19 (for tonight’s game), Nurse Nitz $5, CaptNorris5 $5, Ben from Below the Crossbar $3. Plus the same 10%. Krononymous will donate an extra $5 for a shutout.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. Red Wings have won three in a row, and have had three days off. 
2. The Oilers are the only team that has been eliminated from playoff contention. They’ll be trying to play the role of spoiler.
3. Two more points maintains a three-point lead over Calgary.

5. Colorado :: 86 pts (12 GR)
6. Los Angeles :: 85 pts (13 GR)
7. Nashville :: 85 pts (11 GR)
8. Detroit :: 80 pts (13 GR)
9. Calgary :: 79 pts (12 GR)





NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The last matchup between these two squads was a 4-1 ass-whooping by the Oilers in early December. The Wings were without Andreas Lilja, Johan Franzen, Valtteri Filppula, Jason Williams, Niklas Kronwall, Brian Rafalski, and Patrick Eaves. 
OH, HI AGAIN
Dan Cleary is a former Oiler. Also, the Red Wings acquired Kirk Maltby from Edmonton in exchange for Dan McGillis in 1996.

MEMBA ME?!
There are no former Red Wings in central bumfu — I mean Alberta. 

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers.

THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit beat Calgary, FUCKYEAH to 1, on Monday.
–Edmonton lost to Minnesota, 4-2, on Tuesday.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 34-23-12 (3rd in Central, 8th in West) :: 15-13-7 on the road. 
–Edmonton Kurris :: 21-42-7 (5th in Northwest, 15th in West) :: 13-18-4 at home.
OILERS SHOULD KNOW
Cogliano :: Gagner :: Hemsky :: O’Sullivan :: Penner :: Gretzky :: Messier :: Kurri :: Anderson :: Fuhr :: Coffey
EXPECTED LINEUP
Ericsson in, Lebda out. Jimmy Howard starting for the 17th time in a row, and its the first of a back-to-back. Should we expect Osgood on Saturday?
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Filppula — Zetterberg — Cleary
Bertuzzi — Miller — Williams
Draper — Helm — Eaves
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Ericsson — Lilja
Howard (starts)
Osgood
So I did things a little different this time. I decided to make the nicknames based on whatever the first song to come on my iPod was. It was Santana. Look, I like Santana enough… but it accounts for 0.2% of my iPod (yeah, I did the math), so it was a bit of a shock.
Scratches
Brett “Let the Children Play” Lebda (h/t Brad B.)
Injuries
Honorable Mentions
Jonathan “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me Baby” Ericsson
Ville “Spanish Harlem Mona” Leino
 — orrrrr

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Hopefully the break was good to the Wings. They’ve been clicking since the Olympic break and compiling a league-best 7-2-1 in their last ten games. Which is great, because they need every point they can get to fend off Calgary, and keep up with (chuckle) the Predators.
2. Jonathan Ericsson will be under the microscope as he makes his first appearance after three games in the suites. Lebda seems to be playing really well with Andreas Lilja, as noted in this week’s podcast, so any errors will be glaring.
3. Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen are lighting it up since Mulo got healthy. More of the same should equal two points against an injury-depleted Oilers team.
4. Speaking of which, Edmonton is dealing with a ton of band-aids and crutches. They’ve slipped into dead last, which should actually speak volumes about the Detroit Red Wings and Mike Babcock’s ability to keep the Wings competitive this season, despite an injury story that rivals any in history.
5. The Wings play the Canucks on Saturday. In two of the last three back-to-back sets, Jimmy Howard has started both games. Its been reported that Uncle Mike told Ozzie to be ready for his chance, because it was coming, and all signs pointed to this game against the Oilers. Now, who knows…
WHAT WE LEARNED against the Flames
OILER WE COVET (JJ Special)
I’m a big fan of Andrew Cogliano. A two-time member of the Canadian World Junior team, a former Michigan Wolverine, and a straight-up deigo. Win. 


Look at that, not ONE single mention of Oye Como Va.

TOV Episode 12

SOUND THE HORNS! The greatest thing in the history of the world, The Obstructed View podcast, is back and ready to jailsex your ears. Joining host/handsome devil Chris Hollis is Matt Saler from On the Wings, Casey Richey from Winging it in Motown, and our very own Rob Discher.
Give it a listen right now… I’m about to. I swear to God if one of the answers to “NAME THAT WING” isn’t Sheldon Kennedy, I’m going to write Hollis a furious e-mail demanding that only 1992-93 Red Wings be included next time around. YVES RACINE FTW!

H2H Update ***IMPORTANT***

It looks like we’re going to have to cut our pledge drive a game short. All donations need to be received BY MARCH 23RD to be eligible for the prize drawings. Originally, we had planned to do the dozen games before H2H approached, but logistically it won’t be possible to prepare all the entries in time for the big day.  

So, the Pittsburgh Penguins game on March 22nd is the final TPL H2H pledge game. After the game, I’ll add up the pledges (and by “I,” of course, I mean “Excel Spreadsheet”) and send each of our pledgers an e-mail (or Twitter direct message) with their 11-game total. It is imperative that action is taken immediately and that donations are received by the Herm 2 Hockeytown Paypal account in a timely manner. In the e-mail, I will include step-by-step directions and you can always e-mail me if you have questions.

When Rob and I began this thing, our goal was $1,500. With your unbelievable generosity, we’re only $36 off of that number already. We’re excited to be just a tiny part of this movement, and we’ve had so much fun that we’ve decided we’re going to do it again next season. We haven’t thought far enough ahead to pick a reason or a charitable organization — but since H2H might become an annual thing, I sense we’ll have a reason soon enough…

Tomas Holmstrom, you magnificent bastard!

Pavel and Homer’s new linemate: Thing from The Addams Family

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Wings 2-1. 
H2H DONATIONS TALLY
Mike S. :: $29 :: $19/win + $5/goal
Vicky B. :: $26/win
Sara S. :: $10 :: $5/Datsyukian mention (I missed one last game, d’oh!)
@thenewthomas :: $10/last night’s win (I see all on Twitter)
Andy :: $9/win
Sara N. :: $6 :: $2/goal + $2/Eurotwin goal
Nurse Nitz :: $5/win
Beanie :: $5/win
CaptNorris :: $5/win
TPL Mom :: $5/Ericsson scratch
Ben G. :: $4.30 :: $3/win + $1.30/Datsyuk point
Allison :: $4 :: $2/Flying Circus goal
Drew :: $4 :: $2/goal
Jenn :: $4 :: $2/goal
Rob M. :: $4 :: $2/goal
Brad B. :: $4 :: $2/goal
SigSegFalt :: $4 :: $2/goal
Natalie :: $2/Holmstrom point
The Production Line :: $4 :: $2/goal
TPL Dad’s 10% :: $14.43
TOTAL PLEDGED VS. CALGARY :: $158.73
TOTAL RAISED AFTER EIGHT GAMES ::  $1463.88
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 12 games. 
TPL’S TAKE
Okay, the Flames goal was a bit of a stinker. Jimmy Howard pulled a Chris Osgood, sliding the wrong way across the crease, and by the time the puck got to Craig Conroy, we were all shit out of luck. However, aside from that, Tiberius played damn good. The offense was stifled, so it was going to be a low scoring game, and – clearly – allowing a second goal against could have meant the difference between a win and sitting in 9th place this morning. Kudos, Tiberius. Again. 
I’ve said it before, so this won’t be news: I really hope the league takes a look at penalty calling this off-season. The inconsistencies game to game are staggering. Last night’s penalty shot was mind-numbing. Stick to stick, and known goal-scoring dynamo Curtis Glencross couldn’t get a shot off. That’s called defense. Nevertheless, I’d much rather have a penalty shot than a minor assessed at that moment. Call me crazy, but Jimmy Howard only has to stop one shot on the penalty shot, whereas he might face four or five calculated chances on a power play (although last night the Wings were already on the power play, so it would have become 4-on-4). That’s not meant to minimize the contribution Curtis Glencross makes to the Flames, but come on… if given the choice between having Kirk Maltby take a penalty shot and a power play with Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Tomas Holmstrom, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Brian Rafalski on the ice. Which would you choose? The penalty shot may be exciting, but strategy, system, and efficient special teams win hockey games. 
Also, take a look at what stopping that penalty shot did. First of all, Howard did a fist-pump, which is the most emotion I’ve ever seen him offer. Second, the Wings took advantage of their still-existent power play and scored the tying goal. We’ve got a ballgame here. Put a hold on the Latinas. 
I love Dino Ciccarelli. He’s a little guy (by comparison). He’s a deigo. He’s got a mouth like a goddamn sailor. He has charisma to burn. He hates the motherfucking Avalanche. He scored 600 goals. He was fearless. He was everything you want a hockey player to be — particularly a net-front guy. But Tomas Holmstrom is the best player from five feet out of all time. Put aside for a moment the abuse he takes, physically, and look at what he can do with his stick. That deflection last night, to win the game no-less, was absolutely magical. The shot was well wide of the net, and not only did he get a piece of it, he knew EXACTLY where he was putting that redirect. It was no accident – he does it fifteen times a year. That guy is absolutely special. Shame on all of you hoping he’d retire this past off-season…or this upcoming one.
Drew Miller might have been on fire last night. Like, literal fire. He was all over the damn place, making things happen at both ends of the ice. He was arguably the best player for either team, though he didn’t end up converting on his chances. He and Jason Williams made a surprisingly good combination. The third member of their triad, Todd Berfloozy, was once again a turnover machine. He’s slumping bad, and has now gone 18 games without a goal. In case you’re keeping score at home (and I know you are), he’s on pace for 18 goals by season’s end. At one point, he was on pace for 26. Also, from what I hear, he ate a kitten during the intermission. 
Raise your hand if you miss Jonathan Ericsson in this lineup. Not you, mom. 
RE-VISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. There wasn’t a whole lot of effort on the Wings part early. They seemed listless, and when Rafalski’s shot hit the post, you could almost hear the groan on the bench. But, somehow they got a fire lit under their tocheses, and for that you have to commend Mike Babcock. 
2. Jimmy Howard’s rebound control was better. I feel like he was working a little harder on controlling them, particularly in the waning minute when he really did keep the puck out of danger.
3. Kiprusoff looked really good, but the Wings found a way to squeak some by. They only needed two, even if the kids like it better when they score four or five.
4. Jarome Iginla was kept off the scoresheet, but his presence was — like always — very prevalent. That guy is a hell of a hockey player. How he’s not the face of the league is beyond me. He’s an incredible talent, he’s willing to stick up for his teammates, he’s handsome, he’s well-spoken, he’s a minority, he’s a constant goal-scoring threat. He has everything the league should be taking advantage of. Instead, we have to watch Giant Lips Crosby mutter his way through an emotionless dryer story. Again. And again. 
WHAT’S NEXT?
A few days off. Phew. Wings back in action on Friday. 
Photo Credit: Larry MacDougal, CP

Mar 15 :: It was always burning since the world’s been turning

Anyone else think Billy Joel looks like Jean Reno?
WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Wings start the fire. 9:30 on a Monday. Doesn’t exactly have the same ring to it as nine o’clock on a Saturday.
H2H IMPLICATIONS
Each goal tonight is worth at least $20.90.
Matching TPL’s pledge of $2 per goal tonight are Drew from Nightmare on Helm Street, Rob from Etched in ColdJennbikegirlBrad BoswellSigSegFalt, and Sara from A Neuie PerspectiveMike Serven has pledged $5 per goal and my pops is dropping 10% of the grand total. 

A win is worth at least $79.20.
Vicky Bash has pledged $26 per win, Mike Serven $19, Andy from Fight Night at the Joe $9, Beanie $5, Nurse Nitz $5, CaptNorris5 $5, Ben from Below the Crossbar $3. Plus the same 10%. Krononymous will donate an extra $5 for a shutout.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?



1. Holy balls, the Red Wings are in control of their destiny again. Just like last time they played the Flames.
2. There are a few days off between tonight’s game and Friday’s tilt against the Oilers, so everyone should go balls out.
3. Not only would a win tonight put some breathing room between 8th (Detroit) and 9th (Calgary), the two points would bridge the gap between 8th and 7th (Nashville). The Predators have played one more game than the Wings, but sit three points above them in the standings. And just for parallelism, “balls.” 
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
Tonight’s game is a rematch of last Tuesday. That game was at the Joe, but the Flames won, taking over the final playoff spot – albeit momentarily. Final score was 4-2, including an empty netter. Datsyuk and Holmstrom were your goal scorers, and a paltry $67.32 was raised for the kids. But we were treated to some Latin hotness, which is TPL’s consolation prize to the universe. 
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
Repetition is a sign of mental illness, and you said that only proves that I’m insane:
 :: No former Wings.
 :: Bertuzzi flamed out in Calgary after a single season (TREND!), Brad Stuart spent 27 games as a Flame, and assistant coach Brad McCrimmon was behind their bench for three years.
 :: Jarome Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis Iginla.

THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit beat Buffalo 3-2, in overtime no less, on Saturday.
–Calgary lost to Vancouver, 3-1, last night. 
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 33-23-12 (3rd in Central, 8th in West) :: 14-13-7 on the road. 
–Lanny MacDonald’s Mustache :: 34-25-9 (3rd in Northwest, 9th in West) :: 17-15-3 at home.
FLAMES SHOULD KNOW
Harry Truman :: Doris Day :: Red China :: Johnny Ray :: South Pacific :: Walter Winchell :: Joe DiMaggio :: Joe McCarthy :: Richard Nixon :: Studebaker :: Television :: North Korea :: South Korea :: Marilyn Monroe :: Rosenbergs :: H-Bomb :: Sugar Ray :: Panmunjon :: Brando :: The King and I :: The Catcher in the Rye
EXPECTED LINEUP
Since none of the beat writers bothered to wake up today, I’m going to assume that the lineup stays the same as the last couple games, although it will likely be announced that Ericsson is back in and Lebda is out as soon as I press Publish Post down there. So… wait for that.

Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom

Filppula — Zetterberg — Cleary
Bertuzzi — Miller — Williams
Draper — Helm — Eaves
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Lebda — Lilja
Howard (starts)
Osgood
Scratches
QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Seriously… don’t come out like the last Flames game. 
2. Hey, Jimmy Howard, with the rebounds. Knock that shit off.
3. Fire lots of rubber at Mmiikkaa Kkiipprruussooff. 
4. Perhaps tonight is a good game to start the next “Jarome Iginla hasn’t scored against the Wings in 19 games” thing.
5. Jiri Hudler’s season came to an end this weekend – as his team bowed out in the opening round of the KHL playoffs. Do you know how many times the Wings exited in the first round during your tenure in Detroit, Scuttles? NEVARRR!!!
WHAT WE LEARNED against the Sabres
Boom. Overtime.
FLAME WE COVET (JJ Special) SPECIAL VIDEO SELECTION

Pretty much perfect game for Theresa Miller…

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Wings 3-2 in overtime. 
H2H DONATIONS TALLY
Mike S. :: $34 :: $19/win + $5/goal
Vicky B. :: $26/win
Andy :: $9/win
Sara N. :: $8 :: $2/goal + $2/Eurotwin goal
Drew :: $6 :: $2/goal
Jenn :: $6 :: $2/goal
Rob M. :: $6 :: $2/goal
Brad B. :: $6 :: $2/goal
J.J. :: $6 :: $2/goal
Nitz :: $5/win
Beanie :: $5/win
CaptNorris :: $5/win
Baroque :: $5/Lidstrom point
TPL Mom :: $5/Ericsson scratch
Ben G. :: $4.30 :: $1.30/Datsyuk goal + $3/win
Natalie :: $2/Homer point
Allison :: $2/Flying Circus goal
The Production Line :: $6 :: $2/goal
TPL Dad’s 10% :: $15.23
TOTAL PLEDGED VS. BUFFALO :: $167.53
TOTAL RAISED AFTER SEVEN GAMES ::  $1305.15
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 12 games. 
TPL’S TAKE
Kaboom! That’s how you start a hockey game. Pavel off the boards with a nasty-angled goal makes it 1-0 early. I wonder how much the Sabres guys made of the “active boards at the Joe” that Tim Connolly even referenced in his 2nd intermission interview.
SAT Prep Time. Ryan Miller : Poke Checks :: Jimmy Howard : Rebounds. That might be a bit harsh, because Jimmy Howard is straight-up awful at controlling rebounds, but Ryan Miller is slightly snakebitten with the poking. The second Wings goal was a bit fluky, but it looks a tiny bit like the Sidney Crosby gold-medal winning goal with the misplay by Miller. 
Anyone else have a minor heart attack when it was apparent we were headed to overtime? An awful feeling, but thank Silver Medalist Brian Rafalski for beating Silver Medalist Ryan Miller and deliver the second very necessary point.
The Wings needed the points a hell of a lot worse than the Sabres did, so this ended nicely. But the Sabres could use all the points they can get, too, to pull away from the Senators in the Northeast. Giving away a point to the Eastern Conference means nothing to me — particularly given how awful the East is this season — so this overtime game was just fine by me.  
RE-VISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Two points secured. Next.
2. The Wings did, in fact, capitalize on the chances they got, and they made Ryan Miller pay for the few mistakes he made… or what they could generate out of luck.
3. Buffalo certainly didn’t have control of the game for the most part… mission accomplished, defense.
WHAT’S NEXT?
Big one again… Monday vs. Calgary, who is momentarily in ninth place. The Flames play the Canucks on Sunday, so we’ll be rooting — reluctantly, I’ll add — for the Nucks. 
Photo Credit: Carlos Osorio, AP

Mar 13 :: Wings and Slugs



WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Wings and Sabres. 7pm. Be there.
H2H IMPLICATIONS
Each goal tonight is worth at least $23.10.
Matching TPL’s pledge of $2 per goal tonight are JJ from Kansas, Drew from Nightmare on Helm Street, Rob from Etched in ColdJennbikegirlBrad BoswellSigSegFalt, and Sara from A Neuie PerspectiveMike Serven has pledged $5 per goal and my pops is dropping 10% of the grand total. There are player-specific pledges as well, but they’ve become too numerous to list. The most cash for a single goal scorer is now Darren Helm, whose next goal will be worth $41.

A win is worth at least $79.20.
Vicky Bash has pledged $26 per win, Mike Serven $19, Andy from Fight Night at the Joe $25 (for this game), Beanie $5, Nurse Nitz $5, CaptNorris5 $5, Ben from Below the Crossbar $3. Plus the same 10%. Krononymous will donate an extra $5 for a shutout.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?



1. Drew Miller vs. Ryan Miller
2. After a strong showing against Minnesota, Detroit could use two points against an inter-conference foe…
3. …speaking of which, have you heard how much the Eastern Conference sucks donkey nards?
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Sabres played on October 13th, a 6-2 loss for the good guys. Along with the shit show on the Island and last week’s Canucks game, the Sabres have put the most goals on a Wings goaltender of any opponent this season. Osgood was in net for the first 33 minutes, surrendering five of those goals, before Jimmah came in for mop-up duty. Oh, also… Pavel Datsyuk was injured in that game. Memories…
OH, HI AGAIN
Former Red Wing/Black Ace/Griffins Captain/O.G. Matt Ellis is in Buffalo. 

MEMBA ME?!
Former Sabres Doug Janik and Brad May are kinda/sorta Red Wings, currently playing in Grand Rapids.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Former BNN Raffi Torres is a new Sabre, but I’m going to go with Andrej Sekera. 

THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit whomped Minnesota, 5-1, on Thursday. Not that either Rob or I could see it…
–Buffalo somehow lost to that same Wild team, 3-2, last night. Further proof that the Eastern Conference is a joke.

RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 32-23-12 (3rd in Central, 9th in West) :: 18-10-5 at home. 
–Buffalo Sabreschmeers :: 36-21-9 (1st in Northeast, 3rd in East) :: 15-12-3 on the road.
SABRES SHOULD KNOW
Tim Connolly :: This Tiger :: Jason Pominville :: Derek Roy :: Drew Stafford :: No, No, No. Is a Z. Z for Zorro :: Tomas Vanek :: Tyler Myers :: Ryan Miller 

EXPECTED LINEUP
No lineup changes for today’s game. I mean…why would there be?
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Filppula — Zetterberg — Cleary
Bertuzzi — Miller — Williams
Draper — Helm — Eaves
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Kronwall — Stuart
Lebda — Lilja
Howard (starts)
Osgood
Last week, Natalie at the Scrappy Octopus posted the single greatest thing ever written about anything, and it was in that post’s comments that Dena hinted that sexually explicit rap lyrics might make for good nicknames. Well, friend, your wish has been granted (sort of — not all of them are explicit). I was having too much fun finding what would become the scratches’ nicknames, that I decided to do one for each Red Wing — and some that continue to make for the best nicknames game after game.  
Honorable Mentions
28 Brian “Leave That Ass Leakin‘” Rafalski
51 Valtteri “I Get More Ass Than a Toilet Seat” Filppula
96 Tomas “Tryin’ to Get a Nut to Move Ya Butt” Holmstrom
 :: Mikael “I Got the Magic Stick” Samuelsson

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Ninth place Red Wings continue to need two points to keep up with the pack, or start to watch their season slip away.
2. Ryan Miller won’t give many chances away, but if the Wings offense is firing like it was Thursday, they capitalize on the few chances they’ll receive.
3. Likewise, Detroit’s defense needs to limit Buffalo’s chances. Jimmy Howard shouldn’t have any trouble with the Sabres offense, but he’s fighting pucks and giving huge rebounds, so those will need to be cleared to prevent gimmes. 

WHAT WE LEARNED against the Wild
Never trust DVR.
SABRE WE COVET (JJ Special)
Well, the obvious choice is Michigan State Spartan and Silver Medalist/Real American Hero Ryan Miller. He’s incredibly vanilla off the ice (which is probably a good thing, Sean Avery), but it must feel good for Sabres fans to know that the future of their goaltending is in very good, very competent hands. We may have something in Jimmy Howard, but never in my nearly thirty years of Red Wings fandom have we had a “legit, long-term stud” in net for the foreseeable future. Every one of you remembers the day Ryan Miller re-signed long-term with Buffalo because it ended a collective dream in which he desperately wanted to play for the Wings.