TP:60 – Episode #1 (Part Two)

Not enough of a premiere for you yesterday? We definitely agree, and that’s why TP:60 takes it up another level with Part Two of the season premiere. Tune in as the guys sit down with Sean Gentille from The Sporting News and Joe Yerdon from NBC Sports’ Pro Hockey Talk to get all of the insight on what to expect from the rest of the NHL this year, including Marty Turco’s chances in Chicago and Brooks Orpik’s straying knees. Chris and Joe also re-hash their longtime college hockey debate and the entire gang weighs in on a “Who Would You Rather?” between Mrs. Mike Modano, Willa Ford, and Mrs. Mike Comrie, Hillary Duff.

TPL and TP:60 also want to congratulate Doug Houvener for winning the voting battle to determine the official logo for the show. The winning entry took home 56% of the vote, and we appreciate Doug lending his creative abilities to the show and giving us such an excellent logo.

Questions for us? Contact@theproductionline.us is your direct line into our ear.

Deep Thoughts: Pre-Season Player Eval Edition (NOW WITH MORE DIATRIBE!)

Don't you EVER call me Ville again. AP -- Chris Young

Now that the pre-season has come to a close and it’s time to gear up for games that matter, let’s take a peek at how each player fared — minus the guys that were returned to juniors fairly early on. We were all fairly positive what the opening day roster would look like, but that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any jockeying for position taking place — whether it’s the call-up order, or attempting to guarantee a spot in the every day lineup.

Including Summer Strength and Conditioning Camp, the Prospects Tournament, and Main Training Camp — the Red Wings hosted a total of 82 players — and 59 of them won’t be Red Wings as of Wednesday.

This got a little wordy, so I split it up into two days — the first 26 are below; and the remaining 25 go up tomorrow.

2 Brendan Smith [assigned to Grand Rapids, October 3]
The kid’s good, but he’s not NHL good (yet). There was a lot of chatter that maybe he could sneak his way onto the team, and while some of us knew better — the romantic deep within begun thinking “hey, wouldn’t it be awesome if that kid made the Red Wings, proving to the next generation that, yes, it is possible to play in Detroit without spending four years in Grand Rapids?” Alas, it wasn’t to be (sorry, Hancock), but he did show that he’s not terribly far off — and a year or two in the AHL isn’t a bad thing, we all know that. The team is showing a lot of confidence in him, giving him Fischer’s old digit and giving him every opportunity to excite Red Wings fans. He’s going to play in the NHL sooner rather than later.

4 Jakub Kindl
If you want my honest opinion (and I’m sure you don’t), you’d have to be a blind foreigner to think that Kindl didn’t play his way onto the top six, in lieu of Jonathan Ericsson. I’m not sure what being a foreigner has to do with it, but I think I’ve made my point. Kindl is going to be a Red Wing, as he’s out of minor league options, and — unlike Ritola — he’s good enough that he’s guaranteed a spot on the final roster, whether or not that means he plays every night. I’m certain Babcock would prefer to have a solid, permanent top six (one that includes Rig), but Kindl has made the likelihood of a three-man rotation for the bottom pairing a reality we’ll be living with throughout the season.

5 Nicklas Lidstrom
He’s Nicklas Lidstrom. I don’t buy, for a second, that he’s dropped off so drastically in a year or two that he’s no longer one of the three or four best defensemen in the game. Whether this is his last season or not remains to be seen, but if it is, I bet he goes out with a gigantic bang: winning the Norris, the Cup, and — somehow — the Calder retroactively.

8 Justin Abdelkader
I am falling in love with Justin Abdelkader. And I don’t mean “admire as a hockey player,” I mean full-on love. He’s not expected to score fifteen goals, he’s expected to make life difficult for everyone who isn’t in red and white, throw his body around, work the corners, and keep the puck deep. And, by God, he does every single one of those like a little Maltby. The off-season boxing lessons are coming in handy, also, and he’s not afraid to drop the mitts. I’m sure some fans would rather have someone like Aaron Downey or Brad May (for some reason) on the roster to take up that role, but too bad. The Wings don’t have the roster space — or patience — for someone who serves only one purpose. Abdelkader will never be a heavyweight, but he’ll definitely be useful in a variety of situations — on the kill, on the fourth line, and — when needed — telling Corey Perry what’s what.

11 Dan Cleary
Tell ya what — I’m excited. After reading what Cleary went through last season, essentially playing through a dislocated human  body, and knowing that he’s healthy now… woo baby. He’s going to be hungry, he’s going to be angry, he’s going to want to prove to every one of us that questioned his contract that his first couple seasons in Detroit weren’t flukes.

13 Pavel Datsyuk
I’ve always hated the term “it is what it is.” I feel like that’s a retarded thing to say, because of course it “is.” That’s why I said “it is.” But Pavel Datsyuk is the human version of that statement. He is what he is. And he’s fantastic. We all know it, we all know what we’re going to get, assuming he’s healthy and playing. He’s going to take the puck from you, he’s going to enjoy it, he’s going to find some way to do something that even after seven years makes you say “how the fuck…?”

14 Derek Meech [waived September 8, unclaimed]
Poor Dirk Mench. Homeboy knew he wasn’t going to be a member of the Red Wings this year, totally mailed in his effort in training camp, and then suffered a concussion in the pre-season — his only opportunity to make an impression on other teams before being forced to take a demotion to the Griffins. He’s beginning to skate on his own and will hopefully be healthy soon, but he has missed the chance to catch on elsewhere in the NHL. The Wings will likely not call him up and subject him to re-entry waivers (because they’re loathe to pay half the salary of a man not playing for them), so unless they can find a team willing to trade for Meech, he’ll likely spend the year in Grand Rapids.

15 Jordan Owens [assigned to Grand Rapids, October 3]
Young Mr. Owens had possibly the most successful camp of any of the folks under contract with the Wings. And by that, I don’t mean he was the best player on the team — because, obviously, he had a tall mountain to climb for that honor. But even Uncle Mike admitted to not knowing who he was prior to Traverse City before admitting that he “knows who he is now.” Owens got a few games in on the top line and probably climbed his way near the top of the call-up list. Will he get the nod before Tomas Tatar or Kirk Maltby? I don’t know, but he’s certainly in the conversation.

17 Patrick Eaves
It’s unfortunate he bruised his ankle/foot blocking a shot, because that means that he had a shorter pre-season that the Wings would have liked. He’s clearly on the team, but the fourth line guys (of which there are about seventeen) were battling for the right to be everyday players. If you asked me last season if I thought he needed such a battle, I would have said no. Just like I do now. He and Helm are permanent fixtures as far as I’m concerned. At least… that’s what I’ll tell Babbles when he phones me up later today. Phones me. Yup. I’m British.

18 Kirk Maltby
I love Kirk Maltby. I get the feeling that he may retire. He’s been a fantastic soldier, and — at one point during camp — I thought he might actually sneak his way onto the team. I’ll say this: I bet he has a better shot of making the squad than Mattias Ritola does. But anyway, his quotes in the media have made it sound like “I haven’t decided what I’ll do when” he’s waived and assigned to Grand Rapids. Methinks he hangs up the boots.

20 Drew Miller
What an insane boost of confidence Miller must have gotten when Babcock said that he wasn’t battling for a spot on the lineup. As far as the Miller vs. Ritola fight for the final forward position, it’s a no-brainer. Drew Miller is very clearly an NHLer, and the same is yet to be seen about Ritz.

21 Tomas Tatar [assigned to Grand Rapids, October 3]
Kid’s got gusto. He’ll be a Red Wing. Count on it. So much energy, so much hustle, so much flow. That movie was terrible. Also, the men who make up Three 6 Mafia have Oscars. And I don’t. More on that on another day. Looooots more.

22 Logan Pyett [assigned to Grand Rapids, October 3]
I have nothing to say about Pyett except this: giving him a regular number (even if it was Lebda’s) shows that the team hopes he takes another step forward in his development — a development that has been a tiny bit slow, when compared to other guys that eventually make an impression in the NHL.

23 Brad Stuart
Interested to see how the new pairings work. Stuart and Rafalski make sense, but Stuart has expressed concern with switching sides. Having played hockey — granted, not at this level — all I can say is “BFD. Man up.”

24 Ruslan Salei
By all accounts, he’s a gamer — and he solidifies that third pairing. Ya know…the one that features the 6 foot 5 shitbox. To hear Malik tell it, he’s got all of the upside of Andreas Lilja, with very little of the downside. For me, though, please don’t call him Rusty.

25 Brian Lashoff [assigned to Grand Rapids, October 3]
The de-facto captain of the Prospects Tournament didn’t get his big boy pre-season started off the way he would have liked, going -153 in the game against Pittsburgh. The Wings certainly like him, and have given him plenty of chances to grow as a prospect since his signing as an undrafted free agent. Keeping him around until very late in pre-season was, in my opinion, an attempt to foster some confidence in a kid that may have lost some of it. He’ll be a hell of a guy in Grand Rapids and may very well be a Red Wing one day.

26 Jiri Hudler
His return from Russia has been highly touted, and everyone seems to think that this off-season addition will be the one that’s most notable. Hide your hookers!

27 Travis Ehrhardt [assigned to Grand Rapids, September 29]
I have absolutely nothing to say about Travis Ehrhardt. He was there. The training camp roster told me so.

28 Brian Rafalski
Is anyone else worried about all the maintenance days he’s had to take this pre-season? No? Alright…

29 Jamie Tardif [assigned to Grand Rapids, October 3]
The Griffins captain looks intense when they show him on the bench. He may never play a game in the NHL, and he’s certainly down the depth chart a bit, but he’s clearly another great character guy in the organization.

30 Chris Osgood
Another dude that didn’t make it all the way through camp unscathed. After taking a hit from known behemoth Patrick Kane, Osgood missed some scheduled starts with a charley horse. He’s had a rough go of it (to say the least) the last few seasons, so I’m sure he would have liked to have had more prep time leading up to real games. He says he’s more prepared and feels better than he has in a few Octobers, and we’ll just have to trust that and hope he bounces back quickly.

31 Joey MacDonald
He’ll have to clear waivers to be sent down to Grand Rapids, and something tells me we won’t have to worry about that.

32 Aaron Downey [released from tryout, September 29]
We all knew it was a longshot (wait ’til you hear the TP:60 outro), but it was nice having Downey in camp. Shortly after getting the shit kicked out of him and suffering a concussion as a result, he was released from his tryout and the dream was over. BUT WAIT! There’s a Red Wings-like twist. He was offered a job as a strength and conditioning coach for the Grand Rapids Griffins — another reason that the Wings are building a family, and not just a system of teams.

33 Kris Draper
If this were a report card, it’d say “Inc.” After suffering a slight groin tear, he didn’t get any action. Which I’m sure stings a bit, given that he’s embroiled in a battle for fourth line minutes. He’s got a no-trade clause (hear that, crazies?), so he’ll be a Red Wing, like it or not. I like it. He’s one of the best drawmen in the game, and he’s a calming influence with four rings. Ritola can eat a groin when compared to that.

35 Jimmy Howard
He’s your starter, and I will absolutely toss my hat into the ring of people worries about a sophomore slump — but only because he has such an insanely high bar to reach based on his stellar play last year. Like Osgood, he hasn’t impressed the hell out of me, and the goaltending has been lacking — to say the least — so here’s hoping he can play like he did last year.

36 Jordan Pearce [assigned to Grand Rapids, September 30]
He’s a smart kid, with a bright future as a doctor. Best of luck, dude.

…. see you tomorrow.

TP:60 – Episode #1 (Part One)

The wait is finally over. After a longer than usual offseason and a summer full of changes, what better way to welcome in the new season of Red Wings hockey than with a brand new episode of The Production Hour.

TP:60 is back and ready to get you through the last five days before the Wings drop the puck on the 2010-2011 NHL season. Sit back and relax as Chris, Mike and Rob launch the newly re-branded show with one of the most iconic of all Red Wings bloggers: Abel to Yzerman’s own Chief Bill Houlihan. Always outspoken and straight to the point, The Chief ensures that TP:60 lands with a splash as he and the guys break down everything from the extended offseason to the merits of Aaron Downey’s Red Wings tryout.

Not enough for a premiere? We definitely agree with you, and that’s why TP:60 takes it up another level with Part Two of the season premiere tomorrow. Tune in as the guys sit down with Sean Gentille from The Sporting News and Joe Yerdon from NBC Sports’ Pro Hockey Talk to get all of the insight on what to expect from the rest of the NHL this year, including Marty Turco’s chances in Chicago and Brooks Orpik’s straying knees. Chris and Joe also re-hash their longtime college hockey debate and the entire gang weighs in on a “Who Would You Rather?” between Mrs. Mike Modano, Willa Ford, and Mrs. Mike Comrie, Hillary Duff.

TPL and TP:60 also want to congratulate Doug Houvener for winning the voting battle to determine the official logo for the show. The winning entry took home 56% of the vote, and we appreciate Doug lending his creative abilities to the show and giving us such an excellent logo.

Questions for us? Contact@theproductionline.us is your direct line into our ear, and don’t forget to tune in again tomorrow to listen to Part Two of the season premiere!

One More Before The Show

The Wings will have one final dress rehearsal before the regular season opens this week, and here’s who the Winged Wheelers will roll out against the Penguins:

Forwards

Pavel Datsyuk-Henrik Zetterberg-Tomas Holmstrom
Johan Franzen-Valtteri Filppula-Mattias Ritola
Jiri Hudler-Mike Modano-Dan Cleary
Drew Miller-Darren Helm-Jan Mursak

Defense

Nicklas Lidstrom-Niklas Kronwall
Brad Stuart-Brian Rafalski
Jonathan Ericsson-Ruslan Salei

Goaltenders

Chris Osgood
Jimmy Howard

Sidney Crosby is not expected to play tonight because of a hip injury, and the master of the kneejob, Brooks Orpik, is out with a “groin injury”. For the Wings, the Bertuzz’ is still out with a stiff back, while Patrick Eaves will rest up his sprained ankle for another day. Justin Abdelkader will rock out in the press  box tonight.

Head to the Polls. It’s Time to Vote.

The time has come for YOU to elect the newest representative of the TPL brand! That’s right folks, as promised, it is now up to you to vote on which of the following logos will become the new emblem for the TP:60 podcast. As you may recall, we asked all of you for submissions when the site first launched, and since then we have received over 25 different entries. While we originally had planned on doing a “tourney-style” elimination bracket, we also wanted to ensure that everyone had to enough time to get their submissions before the show launches on Monday. So instead of doing a full bracket, Petrella, Disch and myself sat down and discussed all of the entries until we came to a consensus on two finalists. Of course, it took way longer than we expected, and I may have said some things about Petrella’s hair that I didn’t really mean, but the only thing that’s really important here is that we were all able to agree on the final two.

Drumroll please….

Entry #1: Doug Houvener

Big thanks to Doug, who was one of the poor souls that we had to ask for a re-submission from once we realized we couldn’t use the Red Wings logo in OUR logo. At any rate, Doug delivered this and it definitely stood out for us.

Aaaaaaand his opponent…

Entry #2: Casey Richey

You all know him as the main man over at Winging It In Motown, but did you also know that Casey has an artistic side? Well, you do now after seeing this entry from Mr. Richey, which is stylish and cool.

Now, this is usually the point where we would say “GO VOTE!” but there’s one more thing we have to cover before we open up the polls. Part of the internal discussion over here at TP:60 was over which variation of Casey’s logo we would use for the official submission, as he sent over a couple different versions of the same logo. After debating for quite sometime, we decided that it would only be fair to include both versions of the logo as separate entries for you, the readers, to vote on. So, that said, here’s the alternate version of Entry #2, which we shall call…

Entry #3 (original, no?): Casey Richey

Some style, some flare. It’s pretty sweet.

OK, that’s it. Now it’s up to you to decide which one of these logos will become the first ever TP:60 emblem. You’ll notice that we have opened up a new poll on the right hand side of this page, so it is your job to make the tough decision and vote away. The poll will close at Midnight on Monday the 4th, and the winning logo will appear alongside of the first episode of TP:60.

And with that, the floor is yours. Make your vote count!

Wings vs. Leafs. PLUS #500!

Great... now her children are going to starve.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Wings meet the Toronto Maple Leafs in yet another pre-season tilt, a tune up for the real thang — which starts nex– OMFG!

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. STOP GETTING HURT, GODDAMNIT. Now Todd Bertuzzi is “complaining” of back pain. Ya know who else complained about back– nevermind…
2.  Long-time Maple Leaf and even longer-time asshole Darcy Tucker retired earlier today. I’m sure the Leafs will demand some sort of pre-game celebration. Even though the game’s in Detroit.
3. This is the 500th post in TPL History (which is now a course taught at Eastern Michigan), giving it a benchmark by which to measure the next 500. Thanks for coming by and making it fun to do.
4. Bonus Big Idea: Chris Minard has been placed on waivers with the intention of assigning him to Grand Rapids.

NOW, WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Maple Leafs last played on November 7th. Despite the Leafs being a glorified minor league team for the infinityth season in a row, it was a 5-1 loss for the good guys. Shocker: Chris Osgood was in net.

OH, HI AGAIN
Brett “Big Money Big Money Big Money No Whammy STOP!” Lebda is now a member of the Maple Leafs. It took a grand total of eleven seconds for Toronto fans and media to drop the “what the fuck is this guy doing” on him.

MEMBA’ ME?!
There aren’t any former Leafs on the Wings big squad — but Brian Lashoff is the brother of current quasi-Leafs defenseman Matt Lashoff and Grand Rapid Griffin Joey MacDonald is a former Maple Leaf.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Nazem Kadri has one of the coolest names of any profession — and if he isn’t eaten alive by the T.O. media (prior to his twentieth birthday, by the way), he should be a hell of a player in the league. But, like everything else, I’m sure Toronto will find a way to ruin him based on nothing besides expectations. Felix Potvin says what’s up. Jonas Gustavsson is a good bet for BNN, as well. So is Luca Caputi. And Carl Gunnarson.

Also worth nothing, Kris Versteeg’s name is spelled wrong on the Cup. YOU CAN’T EVEN HAVE THE CUP BY PROXY, TORONTO!

EXPECTED LINEUP
Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Holmstrom
Franzen — Filppula — Ritola
Hudler — Modano — Cleary
Maltby — Emmerton — Mursak

Lidstrom — Kindl
Stuart — Rafalski
Kronwall — Lashoff

McCollum
MacDonald

Nicknames inspired by the song that came on Pandora immediately after I typed the Expected Lineup. Total luck of the draw.
Injuries
Todd “Ready Or Not, Here I Come, You Can’t Hide, Gonna Fiiiiind You” Bertuzzi
Derek “Sleepwalk Awake” Meech
Kris “Born Again Hooligan Only to be King Again” Draper
Patrick “On the Twelfth Hour, Fly By in My Bomber” Eaves
Chris “Pinch My Hips to See If I Still Exist” Osgood

Big League Scratches
Justin “Gun Blast, Think Fast, I Think I’m Hit” Abdelkader
Darren “Giddyupin’ On Their Horse” Helm
Honorable Mentions
Kyle “The World Ain’t Cake” Wellwood
Andreas “Jail Bars Ain’t Golden Gates” Lilja (so appropriate…)
Antoine “Everyone Would Have a Gun in the Ghetto Of Course” Dodson
Jiri “Kick a Rhyme Drinkin’ Moonshine” Hudler
Pavel “Thinkin’ Bout the Robbery That I Did Last Week” Datsyuk
Ville “Dance Around the Border Like I’m Cassius Clay” Leino