As Promised: Charts

Nothing deep and insightful this morning from me as I prepare to don a flight suit and kick off somewhere between 10-16 hours of drinking and general shenanigans. Instead, you get charts. As promised, we’ve pulled together the line production charts that I slaved over so diligently last year, and they now live on the nifty toolbar right above this writing. Don’t want to play with the toolbar? No worries: bookmark away.

For those of you who enjoy these charts and were asking for them to be brought back: you’re welcome. I think you’ll enjoy some of the features the new charting system affords us, including the ability to sort by statistics and receiving instant results after a search. I’ve included a sample below for reference. For those of you that hate these charts: feel free to carry on. The actual talent on this site will have something better up in a few hours.

[table id=3 /]

Feliz Aniversário Herm!

From all of us here at TPL, we wanted to wish a Happy Friggin’ Birthday to the Red Wings favorite Brazilian, Herm.

Congrats on another year buddy. Here’s hoping you spend the evening partying it up like Jiri Hudler with a brown bag of cash in Vegas.

Oh, one more thing…

That’s in the mail to you. Just a little sumthin’, sumthin’ from your TPL pals.

Two-Wheeled Troubles

Remember when you were a kid and you jumped on your first bike without training wheels? It was a liberating feeling once Dad let go of the bike and you realized you could keep it up on your own. All you wanted to do was ride the bike everywhere and explore every little detail of every single thing around you. Eventually, as your confidence grew, you took on bigger challenges like jumping curbs or popping wheelies, and pretty soon you felt like the king of the street.

Like every kid, however, you eventually grew up and moved on to bigger and better things like cars, girls and (eventually) booze and parties. The thought of being on a bike was one that never crossed your mind until one night you saw a bike leaning against the side of your fraternity house and thought “Hey, it would be pretty sweet to take that thing for a spin around the block.” Of course, you failed to take into account that you had already knocked back an entire case of Natty Light, and that the fact you could even walk was a small miracle at that point. Nonetheless, the only way you were landing that hot chick from the house across the street is if you could toss her on the handlebars and take her for a lap around campus. As soon as you hopped on the bike though, it became quickly apparent that the whole “It’s just like riding a bike” phrase didn’t necessarily apply to…you know…riding a bike.

Crash. Burn. Broken arm. Bruised ego. Cuddling with a fifth of Jack and some codeine.

I imagine that’s how the Wings felt last night when they took the ice. Sure, these guys are professionals, but even the most seasoned vet can’t be expected to come flying out of the gate at top speed after not being in the saddle for almost a week. It takes time to ease back into the game, just like it takes time to get familiar with that bicycle when you jump back on it for the first time in five years. Unfortunately for the Wings, time was not a luxury afforded to them by a feisty Phoenix Coyotes team, who jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first period and hung on for the 4-2 win.

Look: I know you are waiting for me to dog on Chris Osgood’s performance, and I promise you, we’ll get to that. But first, let’s take a second and find Jesus together. Osgood or not, the Wings played largely like crap throughout the entire contest, relying on sheer talent to muster up a pair of goals to make things interesting. Guys looked slow and uncoordinated, making careless passes and turning the puck over with alarming frequency in their own end of the ice all night long. I thought Brad Stuart looked downright awful, getting beaten regularly while looking extremely fatigued for a guy coming off of 972 days of rest. Niklas Kronwall also looked like a bag of dog shit, putting the cherry on his poop pie by coughing up the puck at the blue line with under a minute to go, allowing Laurie Korpikosksoksjijdfski to drive home the empty net coffin nail (although, I’m not sure Osgood would have stopped it anyway.) The lack of energy “off the hop” killed the Wings and they just didn’t have enough in the tank to dig themselves out of a gaping first period hole.

Now to everyone’s favorite part of the show: Chris Osgood. Three goals in the first period, with at least one of them being ridiculously soft? What is “The Chris Osgood Memorial Start,” Alex.

Absofuckinlutely.

I’m just not sure what to say about this guy anymore. I want to believe in him. I root for him to succeed and I want to see him come in and do well, but there’s a reason why when I sit down on my couch halfway through the first period and he’s in net, I fully expect to see Gamecenter welcome me with a deficit (usually larger than two.) I don’t get how one guy can be that bad over the span of 20 minutes, and then go lights out for the next 40. Sure, Jakub Kindl’s triple lutz of FAIL while trying to stay with Vrbata ultimately led to the first Phoenix tally, but the other two were just plain BAD. The Yandle power play goal saw Ozzie get caught on his knees and get picked over the high shoulder, while the eventual game winner was a freakin shorthanded shot from 20+ feet away that Ozzie just watched sail by him. Seriously, it was like watching someone let the air out of an overinflated balloon, fart noises and everything. To be fair though, Ozzie did make some excellent saves in the second and third periods, so we can’t pin this one entirely on him. Notice I said entirely…

This is what happens when teams take long breaks, especially teams that are working on building chemistry, timing and all of the other X factors that go into being a successful hockey club. Practice only affords these guys so much in terms of playing together, with the real chemistry developing when the other team is pinning them into the boards or chasing them down the ice. Those intangibles will come, and I have the feeling they will come rather quickly now that the endless layoffs between games are finally over with. The Wings are still a very good hockey team and have plenty they want to accomplish this season.

They just gotta hop back on that bike and keep pedaling.

LOSS CANDY

In honor of the show I’ve been watching on DVR for the last two nights, tonight’s loss candy comes to you courtesy of ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, whose cast was recently at the Joe taking in a Wings game.

Motown. TV. Good looking people with guns. Sounds like the perfect recipe for some sweet candy.

For the gents…

It’s all about the incredible and lovely Erin Cummings, also known as Dr. Abbey Ward on the show. Deceivingly good looking, Miss Cummings (leftover “porn name” entry, anyone?) portrays the medical examiner for Detroit’s finest, yet sadly, she doesn’t receive nearly enough air time. ABC: please remedy this yesterday.

And for the ladies…

How about the rugged and handsome D.J. Cotrona, who plays Detective John Stone on the show. A former narc cop, Stone is now working his way up the ladder of the homicide department, all while looking dashingly handsome yet totally sweaty at the same time.

Editor’s note: Totally unrelated, but I’ve talked with Petrella and Disch and we’ve decided to bring back all of the stat charts from last year that used to live over at Motown Wings. Obviously, we’ll leave the CSSI to J.J., but the line production numbers should be up and running sometime later today.

Oct 28 :: Mine’s Ryan Fallow — What’s Yours?

I planned on using an image from the Coyote Ugly Saloon here, but I've been trying to work with them and they're not being cooperative. So... to hell with 'em.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Yotes visit Detroit this time — 7:30pm in the only time zone that matters. Even when I lived in Chicago, the Central Time Zone seemed worthless. Like a baby brother to the times they talk about on TV. But then it became second nature to subtract an hour from any time that was printed — and sometimes it got to the point where you had to remember WHO was giving you this time. If it was a local publication or station, it was the actual time they said… but if it was a national thing, it wasn’t. Very bizarre feeling, knowing for a FACT that you and everyone like you were very much an after-thought. Like, the party is at 9 o’clock, cool kids. The rest of you can figure it out, ya know, if you want… Anyway, 7:30pm East.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
The Wings are semi-hot, holding one of the better records in the NHL at the moment. Jimmy Howard, who is one game away from owning the Red Wings record for most consecutive games played without a regulation loss, went down with back spasms today and will not be available for the game. Joey MacDonald was called up to backup Chris Osgood — and Brian Rafalski was placed on short-term IR to make room, roster-spot wise (and Kris Draper was officially placed on long-term IR, creating cap space).

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
This is the second meeting of the young season for these two — the first being October 16th. The Wings were 2-1 winners in the desert, and there was no BizNasty sighting.

OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BNN
Ray Whitney. Dan Cleary. Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit outlasted Anaheim, winning 5-4 on Saturday.
:: Phoenix took a curb-stomping in Ottawa, of all places, on Tuesday: 5-2.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Homer
Bertuzzi — Flapjack — Mulo
Scuttles — Modano — Suitor #1
Suitor #2 — Danger — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Potter — Janik At the Disco
Amazon — Cirque du Salei

Pinto
Joey Mac

Scratches [nickname idea courtesy of @Wings3_26_97 and made with help from the Porn Star Name Generator]
Justin “Buck Darkholder” Abdelkader

Injuries
Kris “Sir Slapshot” Draper [groin]
Jonathan “Sinn” Ericsson [back]
Brian “Doctor Nekkid, DDS” Rafalski [knee]
James “Javier Spreadum” Howard [back]

Honorable Mentions
Todd “Buster Hump” Bertuzzi
Nicklas “Sir Phukzalot” Lidstrom
Dan “Orel Banger” Cleary
Patrick “Don Quickie” Eaves
Brad “Corporal Sticky” Stuart
Jiri “Lexx Jammer” Hudler
Christopher “Ronn Spankadocious” Osgood
Henrik “Spanky Peachybutt” Zetterberg
Darren “Gunnar Tang” Helm
Niklas “Orel Nutt” Kronwall
Johan “Sir Hardon” Franzen
Tomas “Mister Muffmuncher” Holmstrom
Darren “Ricky Cucumber” McCarty
Kirk “Doctor Rugmuncher” Maltby
Andreas “Dick Pantsmaster, Esquire” Lilja
Jason “Sir Jiggles” Williams

THE FIVE HOLE
1. Microscope firmly placed on Osgood, with news of the late scratch of Jimmy Howard. It’s a Wings World divided on his, and a good outing would go a long way. The team should be well-rested and they’re playing their A-team, for the most part, so Ozzie should have sufficient support in his return to the crease.
2. Ericsson should be ready to return next week-ish, which will mark the end of the Janik Era. Here’s a tissue.
3. The third line was put on notice by Uncle Mike — so expect to see some fireworks from them, in an effort to remain in the lineup. I doubt that Cleary’s in danger of losing a spot, but a lot was expected of Scuttles and Mike Modano is taking some time getting adjusted.
4. The top six look pretty nifty. If they keep up the scoring pace, with occasional contributions from secondary scoring on the lower ranks and strong defense led by a hotshot goaltender… we may have stumbled across a formula for winning hockey games. Novel idea, that.
5. BUY SOME SHIRTS! I gotta see if there’s a way to offer $1 off the Shirtuzzi if he scores…

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE DUCKS
Sniffle, Teemu has a boo boo. And it’s on his vagina.

TPL Store: No Longer a Dream

That’s right gang, not only can you read TPL everyday, you can now rock out in official TPL-sanctioned apparel. Get your credit cards ready.

This has been something we have been working on for awhile now, and we wanted to make sure that we got it right. Not only did we want to provide all of you with entertaining t-shirts, we also wanted to make sure you were getting high-quality gear that won’t fall apart after five washes. In addition, we wanted to ensure that the buying process was easy and secure, and that if you needed to return or exchange something, it wouldn’t be a major hassle. Yes, we are THAT committed to you guys.

So with that in mind, we knew there was only one place to go: Underground Printing. Not only did they offer everything we were looking for, they are also a local business with tons of ties to the region and have plenty of experience working with blogs and bloggers. A few discussions later, and The Production Line Store was born. Not only will you get high quality apparel from the store, you’ll also be working with a great group of individuals who will make sure you get exactly what you ordered in a timely fashion. It’s a win-win for everyone.

I know, enough with the chatter. You want to hear about the shirts…

Jimmah: Celebrating the greatness that is Jimmah Tiberius Howard. Enough said.

The Dickster: One of the most popular characters to continually come up on TP:60, Hat Trick Dick’s whereabouts are now proudly displayed on a shirt for all to see.

Helmanity: It wasn’t so long ago that Darren Helm was breaking hearts all over Chicago. Celebrate all of Darren’s ridiculous plays and achievements in a shirt that pays homage to a legendary image that gave us a reinterpreted catch phrase.

Curly Fries: If there’s one thing Wings fans love almost as much as winning, it’s a free order of curly fries after a hat trick. Make a statement to your favorite Wings player during your next trip to the Joe, and maybe he’ll do us ALL a favor. It’s easy as 1,2,3…

And, of course…

Shirtuzzi: No explanation needed. It’s the signature shirt of TPL. Wear it proudly (in either red or white!)

So there you go folks. The TPL Collection. Have an idea for another shirt? Send it to us at contact@theproductionline.us. We are always looking for new ideas, so don’t be shy. In the meantime, why don’t you head on over and pick up a few Shirtuzzis? Remember, Todd is watching YOU.

Oct. 27 :: TPL vs. The Suck

Editor’s Note: Yes, I’ve lost my mind.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Team TPL heads into battle yet again against a foe that knows no mercy: a day without Red Wings hockey. Wednesday. All day. 24 hours of mind-numbing boredom and incessant scouring of Khan articles for something worthwhile to write about.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
The Wings last played in December of 1992, securing a 3-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. That came hot on the heels of a spectacular 4-3 victory over the Hartford Whalers, who were fresh off of a 3-3 tie against the Quebec Nordiques due to the fact that the winning goal was called back because of a two line pass.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
Well, let’s see. When we last saw our TPL heroes, Disch was doing his best “Hitch” impersonation with his Mom, Petrella was putting on the war paint, and this humble blogger was staring at a picture of a rabbit with a pancake on its head, trying to find the inspiration to fight through a case of writers block the size of Dan Cloutier’s five-hole (HEYYO!).

OH, HI AGAIN.
My desk is in the same place I left it last night (which was also sans Red Wings. As was the night before.) Couch? Yep, still there. Full size Fathead of Triple Deke Tyler? Still above my bed.

MEMBA ME?!
Today = Yesterday = The Day Before Yesterday = And the Day Before That Too. Cue Bill Murray.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
“Riggy Shitbox”. Best thing I’ve read all week.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Disch likely dominated a sixer of Shiner Bock, Petrella remained chained to his desk somewhere in Manhattan and I suffered through an episode of DVR’d Gossip Girl with the lady.
:: Tuesday was in complete control from start to finish, much like Wednesday probably will be. Methodical. Surgeon-like in its pain-inducing precision.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Press Release — Disch — Jim Beam
What Not to Wear — Petrella — Train ride to Brooklyn
Couch — Hollis — DVR’d Detroit 1-8-7

Injuries
Chris “Another Brick in the Wall” Hollis [writer’s block]

THE FIVE HOLE
1. I’m tempted to make tacos for dinner tonight, but I feel like those should only be rolled out on special occasions. Kraft Mac and Cheese it is.
2. Apparently there was a big upset last night in Dancing With the Stars. I’ll try and get the scoop from Mama Hollis today. Stay tuned.
3. In other news, Jiri Hudler is still without a goal.
4. Those wall mounted heaters in apartments? Super efficient. Can’t believe how well it warmed the house last night.
5. Oxy Clean really does get those whites even whiter. Dominated whites last night. Looking for a repeat against the colors this evening.

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST TUESDAY
The gym needs to re-stock the cleaning wipes. Nobody likes a dirty treadmill.

Are We Not Men?!

“Back in my day, we had people that stood up to ruffians.
We called them ‘MEN.'”

This isn’t going to be pretty. But I won’t apologize for a single word of it. Because I woke up and put boxers on today. Not whatever lacy, screen-printed, sweet-smelling bullshit Adam Burish and Teemu Selanne slowly pulled around their ankles, up over their love handles and onto their tushies. I say tushies because only men have asses.

It’s important to say right up front that I respect the game — and those who play it. I understand that there’s a definite need for some semblance of diplomacy. Shit-talking others off of the ice is generally a no-no. As is doing whatever the fuck it was Rick Rypien did in Minnesota that made that poor, poor 28-year-old grown-ass boy shat in his Huggies.

I played hockey for a long time. Nearly two decades. Much of it at a decent level. Nowhere near the NHL (obviously), but there were a few things I learned along the way that I feel are benchmarks to point out right off the hop:

  • Running your mouth is acceptable. Hell, it’s expected. You can make fun of a guy’s mother, his girlfriend/wife, his SAT scores, and whatever hillbilly barn he rolled out of and into the rink. Very little is off-limits (however, CANCER is one of them, Sean Avery). It’s fair game because you know that when the game is over, you’re going to be men, shut the fuck up, shake hands, buy each other a beer, laugh about something that happened that night, and go your separate ways. That’s called “hockey.” I’ve said vile things about people’s family members and only once did the guy take me seriously – and it was in a men’s league, so it hardly counts. Don’t ask if I actually did those things to his daughter — because I won’t tell.
  • Physicality is one of the cornerstones of this game. It’s what separates the greatest game on Earth from (sorry, dad) soccer. I dig soccer. It’s a cool game. It takes a serious athlete with unbelievable endurance to be a soccer player. But don’t tell me for a minute those fellas are tough. HOCKEY PLAYERS are tough. At least, they’re supposed to be. When you strap on skates, you should expect to be hit — cleanly, obviously — and expect that it’s going to hurt. During the course of a career, you’re going to hurt someone, too. If you’re lucky, it’s doing something you’re supposed to be doing (Niklas Kronwall) — and not doing something stupid (Shane Doan). The point is crying like a little princess about getting checked is pretty fucking stupid. You don’t like contact? Go play basketball with all the other talentless crybabies.
  • Almost every player that’s a superstar at running his mouth (Kirk Maltby, Michael Petrella) is also very often the first player to stand in line to shake hands at the end of a hard-fought playoff series or — in the latter’s case — a game against rednecks in Lexington at the University of Kentucky. You do things throughout the course of a game that you may not be proud of, but it will always — and I mean ALWAYS — end on a note you can be proud of: putting it behind you, admitting to yourself, your teammates, and your opponents that it’s just a game and it isn’t personal. We’re all supposed to know that.

The reason for this rant is two-fold. Somehow, there were two different moments over the last week that make our game look like it’s full of whiny hipster poets, instead of testosterone-fueled supermen like Cam Neely was.

First, Adam Burish apologizes for his comments about Chris Pronger. After winning the Stanley Cup (since apparently kicking the shit out of your opponent on the biggest stage in our game isn’t enough anymore), he ran his yap about Chris Pronger being stupid and the worst player on the Flyers. We all know some of that’s true. We don’t need All-Pro (and possible Mensa member — I’ll have to get back to you) Adam Burish telling us how retarded and skill-less a repeated Norris Trophy candidate is. You don’t say something like that (although, it was very Blackhawksesque, taking a moment to kick a rotting horse carcass instead of — I dunno — celebrating the best moment of your life). But what you REALLY don’t do? Apologize for it six months later, re-hashing a moment that made you look like a penis. I forgot it happened. I’m damn sure Chris Pronger forgot it happened (since, as we’ve learned, he’s stupid). I don’t want to discount the value of an apology, because every once in a while, one is deserved. Which is why you pull Chris Pronger aside, as a man…in person…having made an actual effort, and say “hey, that was a dumbshit thing to do, my bad.” 100 times out of 100, a MAN will respond “it’s part of the game.”

There was a night, when we were playing Bradley University in Peoria, that I took a shot that must have caught the defenseman in just the right spot because he went down like a tree in the rainforest. Turns out I broke his ankle. Obviously, I didn’t mean to — it was a shot, a total freak accident. Nevertheless, I know that sucks (having broken an ankle myself) and I made sure I found him the next night to shake his hand, tell him I hope he got back out there soon and to keep his head up. The point is — he appreciated that I made the effort to say “hey dude, my bad.” I didn’t have to turn in my man-card, and the fine gentleman that wore #2 got to use his, as well, by not being a punk and thanking me for doing something that — really — didn’t seem like an option at all, I wanted to do it. Because it was the right thing to do.

In Burish’s case — he shouldn’t have said what he said publicly. You have two options if you’re Burish: 1) Keep your goddamn mouth shut once the buzzer sounds or 2) Sack up and own those words. Don’t curl your tail between your legs now that you’re not riding the euphoria of finishing on top.

Second, Teemu Selanne got his fucking Nokia nuked by our very own Niklas Kronwall. Only sissies and grade schoolers will say that was a dirty hit. Niklas Kronwall used his shoulder. That shoulder hit a well-aware Teemu Selanne, who was more embarrassed than shaken — as evidenced by his returning to the game immediately and eventually scoring a goal.

Again bringing personal experience into this: playing against Northwestern, I was knocked unconscious by a hit. It was a clean hit, mind you, although it would be arguable if it needed to be taken. It was probably overkill given that I’m 5’8″ and he was in the neighborhood of 6’3″ and he had already beaten me to an iced puck. But I didn’t bitch and moan about it because I’m a man and I signed up to play hockey, not Skip-It. Trust me when I say I didn’t score a goal after that. I could hardly remember my goddamn name for 72 hours. I was given the smelling salts (not recommended), played a shift or two after my eyes uncrossed, and — the following night — rocked a kid from that same team in open ice and watched as his purple helmet bounced into the stands. You win some. You lose some.

Bob Probert and Tie Domi fought 150 times. And every single time, despite clearly hating one another for those 90 second intervals, they tapped one another on the shoulder and knew they’d meet again. Do you understand how massive Tie Domi’s balls must be to sit front and center at Mr. Probert’s funeral and CRY about losing a fellow man?

The moral of this diatribe is if you play hockey, you’re going to get hit. And you’re going to do something that might step over the line a bit. The NHL has to do a better job of regulating what’s legal and what isn’t, but if you put your steel on the ice and expect to make it out unscathed and without hearing something about your Playboy-posing alleged-rockstar wife, you should maybe consider being a barista instead.

We don’t get to tattle to the principal. We don’t get to sulk and kick dirt. We don’t get to roll around clutching our ankles after a Frenchman ran by us. We don’t get six days off in between games — of which we only play sixteen a year. Yeah, I went there, football. What are you going to do about it? The answer is nothing because A) you probably can’t read and B) it’s your bye week.

You shake it off. You shake hands. You dust off your icechip-soaked jersey. You dust off your favorite one-liner (“how’s your wife and my kids?”). You stand up for your teammates. You stand up for yourself. You get your revenge cleanly. You get to play again.

Niklas Kronwall and Mike Babcock have both said publicly how much they respect Teemu Selanne, and how they never want to see a player — any player — get hurt. For their part, Teemu Selanne and Randy Carlyle whimpered and blamed Joe Louis Arena.

Mike Babcock’s a man. Kirk Maltby’s a man. Steve Yzerman’s a man. Bob Probert was a man. Tie Domi still is.

I take great pride in knowing that I’m a man.

Niklas Kronwall’s a man. And you’re lucky to have met his shoulder, Teemu.

Oct 23 :: Nappy With a Country Bump

Doug Janik? YOU GOT KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT!

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Red Wings and Anaheim tussle for the second time in the young season. Saturday at the Joe. 7pm Petrella Time Zone, 6pm Discher Time Zone, 4pm Hollis Time Zone.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
The Wings are riding a two-game win streak, and hope to keep the offensive momentum and solid goaltending going as they meet former doormat-turned-OHNOESWELOSTHIM! defenseman Andreas Lilja. The Diamond’s top client is the newest addition to an absolutely horrifically bad Anaheim Ducks team that is still trying to get clicking.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
Woo baby, it was the first game of the season. There were a few ass-whoopings: on the scoreboard, as Detroit unleashed a 4-0 W. Also, Pavel Datsyuk — YOU HERRD ME — dropped the gloves and put knucks to the lil’est lil fucker Corey Perry.

OH, HI AGAIN.
Dre Dre Lilja took his caveman brow to the ‘burbs. For a shade over half of what he turned down to stay in Detroit. WHERES MY ABACUS?!

MEMBA ME?!
Rusty (nay, CIRQUE) Salei, Drew Miller, and Todd “I Can’t Stop Dancin’ My Feets Are On FIRE” Bertuzzi are all former Fowl.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
It was Fowler last time.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit churned out a fairly complete effort in a 4-2 victory over Calgary on Thursday.
:: Anaheim won their most recent game, too, defeating a — YOU GUESSED IT! — Leastern Conference foe, 3-2 over the Flyers, also on Thursday.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Zetterman — Sookie — Homer
Bertuzzi — Flapjack — Mulo
Scuttles — Modano — Cleary
Eaves — Danger — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Potter — Janik At the Disco
Amazon — Cirque du Salei

Tiberius
Pinto

Injuries
Have you ever re-falled in love with something you’ve fallen in love with several times before? That happened to me this week, when I was pleasantly surprised by a Nappy Roots song I’d heard several hundred times came on my iPod. I know hip hop isn’t for everyone, but I urge you to give them a try if you’re even slightly inclined. If not, they still make for hilarious nicknames! This will probably be a regular thing… the following are just from the first few tracks on the first album…
Kris “With Them Big Fat Wheels” Draper [groin]
Justin “I Ain’t Tryna Be Ya Buddy” Abdelkader [ribs]
Jonathan “Atari 26 One Stick Never Worked” Ericsson [back]
Brian “No Perm No Fade No Brush No Comb” Rafalski [knee]

Honorable Mentions
Todd “Aw Naw HELL NAW” Bertuzzi
Todd “Where Yo Head At?” Bertuzzi
Todd “Peep the Vertical Grill” Bertuzzi
Todd “Murdered My Granddad Over Real Estate” Bertuzzi
Jiri “If I Love It, Ima Lick It Like It’s Pun’kin Pie” Hudler
Mike “Take A Honey With the Silicone” Modano
Darren “Quicker Than a Wide Receiver Running Out on a Cross” Helm
Pavel “Hooked It Up Like the Waitress From the IHOP” Datsyuk
Drew “Big Bang Baller on a Budget” Miller
Derek “You Gotta Better Chance at Winning the Lotto” Lebda
Jason “Colt 45 Errytime Like Billy Dee” Williams
Brett “Interstate 65, Headin’ Down to Cashville” Lebda
Kyle “Get Your Mind Outta The Gutter and Pass the Butter” Wellwood
Kyle “Gotta Be Thicker Than Granny’s Gravy On the Side” Wellwood

THE FIVE HOLE
1. Todd Bertuzzi’s on a roll. I admitted via Twitter that I’m digging the game he’s playing right now and — when I regained consciousness — I read that he has eight points in six games.
2. Johan Franzen has points in — if my math is correct — 726 straight games. More than a handful of those points have come as bank shots off of a goaltender’s dome. That’s baller.
3. Nick Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg got their first goals of the season on Thursday, leaving Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler as the only two glaring goose eggs. I’m sure Homer’s not worried because Homer’s doing what Homer does: Homer stuff. Scuttles, on the other hand, is probably getting itchy.
4. James Howard is a man. That is all.
5. Anyone want to take odds on the time of the first fight? After Game 1, it seems pretty obvious these two squads don’t much care for one another and the Ducks go all poopy-diaper crybaby when things aren’t going their way.

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE FLAMES
Big players come through with big plays.

Oct 21 :: Which Is, Like, February in Dog Years

The Tuzzi Spaniel

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Red Wings. Flames. 7:00pm on Thursday.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Johan Franzen makes his triumphant return to the lineup, and the Wings go for two in a row. Fans are encouraged to wear pink for breast cancer awareness, and it’ll be the first game at the Joe without Orange Hat Guy. Rest in peace, good sir. Hopefully Mo’ Cheese puts a little more boogie in that booty for you.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The date was March 15th. Billy got us through the wait. Homer got his 20th, Datsyuk got his 22nd, Tiberius got the dubya in a 2-1 contest. And we raised $158 for the kids.

OH, HI AGAIN.
No former Wings on this squad, but my former classmate David Moss is a member of the Flames — although he’s on IR at the moment.

MEMBA ME?!
Brad Stuart played 27 unremarkable games in a Flames uniform. Todd Bertuzzi played 66 games before getting dropped on his ass. #3 on the Wings bench, Brad McCrimmon, was most recently an assistant coach in Calgary.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
All else fails, pick the Italian. Mark Giordano is the winner.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit got an overtime tally from Potter Kronwall 16 seconds before heading to a shootout on Saturday.
:: Rene Bourque (more on him in a minute) scored the only goal in the Flames OT win in Nashville on Tuesday.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Homer
Bertuzzi — Flapjack — Mulo
Scuttles — Modano — Cleary
Danger — Eaves — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Potter — Janik At the Disco
Amazon — Cirque du Salei (h/t Amer)

Tiberius
Leave Christny Alone

Injuries [theme courtesy of @mserven]
Kris “Graybeard Greyhound” Draper [groin]
Justin “Afro Akita” Abdelkader [ribs]
Jonathan “Shitbox Shih Tzu” Ericsson [back]
Brian “Dearborn Dachshund” Rafalski [knee]

Honorable Mentions
Todd “Cerberus” Bertuzzi
Doug “Foxy Boxer” Janik
Pavel “Husky Rusky” Datsyuk
Dan(ny) “Newfie Newfie” Cleary [h/t @JJfromKansas]

THE FIVE HOLE
1. Mulo is pretty pissed that Mark Fistric wasn’t punished for his, ya know, elbow to the face. I predict a  nine goal onslaught from the ‘Stache.
2. For the first time this season, a goaltender will start back to back games (although, with four days in between them). Howard looked sharp against Phoenix — he’ll face an even more potent offense tonight. Did I say potent? Because I meant useless. They’ve scored 9 goals this season — only one more than the fewest in the league (Phoenix, in one more game)
3. At the same time, they’ve only allowed 11 goals against — the fewest of any of the teams to have played five games except Nashville.
4. Jakub Kindl is the low-man on the team with a -3 rating, a schneid I’m certain he wants to get off of. But he’s got some time to turn his game around and make an impression: Ericsson hasn’t skated in 12 days, and Brian Rafalski is a few weeks away from returning.
5. Tomas Holmstrom has as many points on the young season as I do — which can’t possibly last much longer, so why not tonight?

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE COYOTES
Seriously. Just no shootouts.

JJ SPECIAL
“For Calgary, I won’t go with the obvious and take Jarome Iginla. Instead, I’ll get to the point through a pointlessly long story. I was playing NHL 10 last season and, right about the time the Wings gave up on Leino, so did I. I went looking for a trade and offered him to Calgary. Calgary’s EA artificial intelligence GM told me he almost felt bad for stealing from me for such a ridiculously low price. Well, at the end of that season, Ville Leino had six goals for Calgary and Rene Bourque won the Selke for Detroit. Suck it, Sutter.

Oct 16 :: …or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Tuzz


This photo has nothing to do with anything, but I recently learned that NASA images and video are public domain, so... here we go.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Wings head into the desert to face the Coyotes. No word yet if @mserven, @bizcassty, @bingobangodrw, or @sullyosis will be in attendance. Puck drops at 9 o’clock in the East.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Game #5, following a straight-up ass-whoopin’. Oh, and we’re minus one Johan. Fantastic. We’ll be playing a man short — what are we, the Devils? — since the team doesn’t have cap space to call someone up. Not quite sure why Rafalski’s not on LTIR yet, but here we are… five players injured, zero healthy scratches, and 19 warm bodies. At least one of them is Doug Janik. Thank Jeebus for that.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Dogs were the first round foes of our beloved Winged Wheelers. Phoenix was dispatched in seven games. If I’m not mistaken, seven was also the number of stupid rubber snakes that hit the ice. All series, I mean. Way to go, Arizona! The final score of the most recent contest was 6-1. Datsyuk and Lidstrom had two each, Bertuzzi and Stuart had the others.

OH, HI AGAIN.
Ray Whitney played 67 games for the Wings — and another 12 in the post-season. Sami Lepisto is Valtteri Filppula’s best friend…so there’s that.

MEMBA ME?!
Only one former Yote on the roster — Dan Cleary.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Hyphens get the win more often than not in this category. Which is odd because I hate hyphenated names everywhere else.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: The Wings got their as– HEY, I see what you did there. It’s over and it never happened.
:: The Coyotes haven’t played since Sunday (WHAT’S WITH PLAYING TEAMS WITH SUPER HUGE LAYOFFS?!), and they were curb-stomped 3-0 against Boston.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Homer
Miller — Filppula — Tuzzi
Scuttles — Modano — Cleary
Helm — Eaves — NO ONE.

Lidstrom — Stuart
Potter — Janik
Amazon — Cirque du Salei (h/t Amer)

Tiberius
Osgood

Injuries [theme courtesy of @FightNightatJoe]
Kris “I Don’t Want No Horsin’ Around” Draper [groin]
Justin “One of Them Doomsday Machines” Abdelkader [ribs]
Jonathan “A Big Plane Like a 52…Varoom!” Ericsson [back]
Brian “Mein Fuhrer! I Can Walk!” Rafalski [knee]
Johan “Don’t Give a Hoot in Hell How You Do It” Franzen [brain]

Honorable Mentions
Todd “This Man is Obviously a Psychotic” Bertuzzi
Jiri “Toe to Toe With the Ruskies” Hudler
Jiri “Some Kind of Deviant Pervert” Hudler
Doug “You Can’t Fight in Here” Janik
Brett “Shoot, A Fella Could Have a Pretty Good Weekend in Vegas With All That Stuff” Lebda

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. If you don’t already (but I’m sure you do), follow @BizNasty2point0 right now.
2. Playing with eleven forwards shouldn’t make a HUGE deal, but I guess we’ll see, eh?
3. Also worth noting is that Dan Cleary was nearly injured in practice (you better cut that shit out — we have enough trouble getting through games, son), so keep your eyes on him to make sure he doesn’t look worse for wear.
4. The top line guys were horrendous on Thursday — so I’m sure they’re all anxious to get back on the + side.
5.  Drew Miller on the 2’s. Let’s see where this goes.

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE STARS
Apparently — and stop me if you’ve heard this before — Chris Osgood isn’t to blame for anything ever. Also, Brad Stuart wanted no part of helping out.