Nov. 30 :: What’s Nordberg Doing in Detroit? So Send Him Some Plane Fare and a New Pair of Pants

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Your Red Wings close out November against the Sharks — a late 10:30pm start and only the second Wings Wings Tuesday of the season.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Detroit is rolling, having gone 9-2-1 in the penultimate month of 2010. Someone learned a new word!

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
Last we saw the Sharks was May 8th. It wasn’t pretty, as the Guppies bounced the Wings from the ’10 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They went on to (SURPRISE!) get smoked in the third round, despite having named known finisher Joe Thornton their captain.

OH, HI AGAIN
There are no former Wings playing in St. Joe, but their bench boss is former Babcock assistant Todd McLellan.

MEMBA ME?!
Brad Stuart was drafted by the Sharks. He played a little more than five seasons in California, but was traded to the Bruins in November of 05. The return was the aforementioned Jumbo Post-Season Vanishing Act wearing #19.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Is it weird to anyone else that if you A-Rodded the Sharks goaltenders, you wouldn’t know which I was referring to if I said “AntNi”? I’ve got a soft spot for Antero Niittymaki because of the ridiculous amount of repeated letters in that name. I had to Google it to make sure I got it right. It is, in fact, two I’s followed by two T’s. Crazy Finns.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit defeated Columbus 4-2 on Sunday. It was beautiful.
:: San Jose defeated Edmonton 4-3 on Saturday. The internet tells me they’re struggling with injuries this season.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Homer
Thunderchief — Flip — Mulo
Buckets — Gator — Scuttles
Eaves — Helm — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Rafalski — Shitbox [yeah, he’s back in this nickname]
Cirque — Kronwall

Tiberius
Joey Mac

Scratches [in memory of the late Leslie Nielsen]
Jakub “Good Luck, We’re All Counting On You” Kindl

Injuries
Kris “Birds Singing. Dew Glistening on a Newly Formed Leaf. Stoplights.” Draper [groin]
Chris “You’re a Member of this Crew, Can You Face Some Unpleasant Facts?” Osgood [groin]
Mike “Free to Pursue a Life of Religious Fulfillment” Modano [wrist]

Honorable Mentions
Todd “I’ve Been Swimming in Raw Sewage. I LOVE IT” Bertuzzi
Todd “Like Eating a Spoonful of Draino” Bertuzzi
Jiri “I Don’t Know Where I’ll Be But I Won’t Smell Too Good” Hudler
Jiri “Nice Beaver” Hudler
Ville “Our Lady of Worthless Miracle” Leino
George “Awfully Big Mustache” Parros
Andreas “Never Bet on the White Guy” Lilja
Marian “Don’t Call Me Shirley” Hossa

THE FIVE HOLE
1. Jimmy Howard will be starting his 13th straight game for the Red Wings, but Khan tells us that streak will come to an end this weekend. Chris Osgood should be able to return (he’s been practicing), but if he’s not — Joey MacDonald will start in Los Angeles.
2. Speaking of looking ahead to the weekend, Kris Draper will be returning either Friday in Anaheim, or Saturday in LA. Unless, of course, he doesn’t. Let’s pretend Draper returns Friday. That gives only THIS game for the Millers, Hudlers, and Eaveseses of the world to make their case.
3. Nicklas Lidstrom has gone three games without a point. Clearly, his age has caught up to him. In the last week. Byfuglien for Norris. Sarcasm. I has it.
4. Our own little Flapjacks has been playing really well — and he’ll need to pick up the slack with Mike Modano out (and not really blowing the doors off the scoresheet anyway). He’s been killer, so here’s hoping he continues to man up.
5. Congratulations to draft pick Riley Sheahan (who I had the opportunity to interview at the Draft), who was selected for Team Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp.

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE BLUE JACKETS
Suck it, O’Halloran.

WUT?

Cyber Monday!

Now that you’ve polished off the Thanksgiving leftovers and already promised yourself that you’ll hit the gym for every single day leading up to Christmas, it’s time to take part in the final time-honored, post-Thanksgiving tradition that’s left…

Spending money.

If you head on over to the TPL Store today, you’ll be treated to 25% savings on all of the shirts. It’s the perfect opportunity to pick up a Shirtuzzi for that special someone, or maybe even score yourself a Curly Fries shirt in support of Operation CF. At any rate, UGP is hooking it up for you, so head on over and score some of that sweet TPL swag.

Nov. 28 :: One More Time…

Quick and dirty today…

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Wings and Jackets finish their home-and-home, with a 5:00pm matinée at the Joe.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
With the win on Friday evening, Detroit sits pretty atop the Western Conference standings, but Columbus is only two points behind (and an extra game played).

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
Literally less than 48 hours ago, the Wings were 2-1 winners on the strength of goals from the Mule and the Flapjack. Mike Modano was lost to a wrist laceration.

OH, HI AGAIN
There are no former Wings in Columbus…

MEMBA ME?!
…just like there are no former Jackets in Detroit.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Wait, “Rusty” is a nickname for people named Ruslan AND Rostislov? Seems like cheating to me.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit 2 – 1 Columbus, Friday.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Thunderchief — Filppula — Franzen
Cleary — Abdelkader — Scuttles
Eaves — Helm — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Rafalski — Rigbox
Potter — Cirque

Tiberius
Joey Mac

Scratches
Jakub Kindl

Injuries
Kris Draper [groin]
Chris Osgood [groin]
Mike Modano [wrist]

THE FIVE HOLE
1. I think the most important thing to look at today will be how Jiri Hudler (and, to a lesser extent, Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller) plays. Will he feel more confident knowing that, because of Modano’s injury, he’s in the lineup for the foreseeable future? Or will he coast knowing that he’s in the lineup for the foreseeable future?
2. Jimmy Howard played very strong on Friday. Can the Wings expect the Jackets to only score once again? Also, I haven’t heard if he’s definitely starting again today, but if MacDonald gets the call — Hancock will have nailed it on TP:60.
3. Remember when Dan Cleary was unstoppable? Then I put him in my fantasy lineup.
4. Despite having played better recently, Todd Bertuzzi proved ONCE AGAIN he doesn’t belong on the ice in the final minute of the game when the other team has their goaltender pulled. He got schooled when he was flopping around trying to clear the zone… which he failed miserably. Several times.
5. Is anyone else still eating mashed potatoes and  pie from a few days ago? How long does that stuff last?

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE BLUE JACKETS
Mmm…leftovers.

OH NOOOOOdano

The Red Wings will be without center Mike Modano, who is “out indefinitely” after suffering a lacerated tendon in the right wrist during Friday night’s game against the Blue Jackets. Extra special thanks to Fox Sports Blohio, who didn’t even bother to show a replay and offered only a fleeting “a Red Wing is heading to the dressing room” before moving onto something about the rich history of hockey in Columbus.

All signs point to Modano being out for a few months, solving the Hudler/Miller/Eaves rotation problem for a few games — at least until Kris Draper returns from his torn groin, who is expected to join the team next week. From the sound of reports, Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger’s skate caught Modano’s wrist. He winced in pain as he changed into street clothes and headed back to Detroit with the rest of the team. He underwent surgery Saturday morning to repair the tendon, and look into some nerve damage.

If Modano is unable to return to the lineup before January 22nd, he’ll fail to make at least one of his performance bonuses — one that would pay him $100,000 for appearing in 55 games this season.

Justin Abdelkader will take Mike Modano’s spot as the third line center, but we all know how long we should expect line tweaks to last. Jiri Hudler (wut?) will take Modano’s spot on the point of the second power play.

Happy Thanksgiving from TPL!

TPL wants to wish you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving! We are very thankful that all of you take the time to share in the site with us, and we couldn’t do this without your support. Now get on with enjoying your meals, spending time with family and watching the Lions get their traditional ass-whooping.

We’ll be back to normal posting tomorrow, and we should have some updated production charts as well. Just depends on how much wine I have with dinner…

Loss Candy: Thanksgiving Edition

Well that game was garbage from the get go. But you’ll be rewarded, like any other Wings loss…

First, one of the most beautiful Native American actresses I could find — a young lady I had a massive crush on in high school when she was on Buffy. I actually never watched Buffy, but I liked Sarah Michelle Gellar and Charisma Carpenter:

And the Thanksgiving story wouldn’t be complete without a visit from the Protestant Pilgrim:

Have a happy and safe holiday — we’ll see you on the other side of it!

Nov. 24 :: No One on the Corner Has Swagga Like Us

In honor of the Wings only visit to Hotlanta this year, I present good friends of mine: The Swagger Crew

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Wings make their one and only trip to the Dirty Dirty this season: 7pm, Wednesday.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Detroit finished their season-long six-game homestand collecting ELEVEN out of a possible twelve points. That’s nasty.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
It’s been a year — almost to the day — since the Wings and Thrashers met. On November 25th, 2009, the Wings were shutout at home by Atlanta: 2-0. Missing from the lineup was Andreas Lilja, Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen, Jason Williams, and Niklas Kronwall.

OH, HI AGAIN
There are no former Red Wings on the Thrashers now that Slava Kozlov has moved on — but you may remember Brent Sopel from the tryout he was on, until he signed with the Chicago Blackhawks without telling the Red Wings…on the day that the Wings and Hawks played a pre-season game against one another. He gets a pass for being an awesome sport, and holding up his end of the bargain, riding in the Gay Pride Parade with the Stanley Cup — AFTER the Blackhawks had traded him.

MEMBA ME?!
There are no former Thrashers in Detroit.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
You’d be hard pressed to find a cooler name than Aleksandr Burmistrov. Speaking of which, keep your eyeballs on him (he’s #8), because that kid is damn good. Though Burmistrov is this edition’s winner, there are plenty of awesome names in that dressing room: Evander Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, Johnny “I Do” Oduya, and Ondrej Pavelec. Too bad cool names don’t win you hockey games.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: The Wings held a hell of a rally, taking back their Sunday matinee from the Calgary Flames, 5-4 in overtime.
:: Atlanta defeated the Islanders 2-1 in overtime on Sunday, handing the Islanders their 400th straight loss.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Zetterberg — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Franzen — Modano — Cleary
Scuttles — Flip — Thunderchief
Gator — Helm — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Rafalski — Rigbox
Potter — Cirque

Tiberius
Joey Mac

Scratches
Jakub “Took a Look in the Mirror, Said What Up” Kindl [for @seangentille]
Jiri “Cream on the Inside, Clean on the Outside” Hudler [just a hunch…no intel]

Injuries
Kris “Try to Copy My Swagga, I’m on that Next Shit Now” Draper [groin]
Chris “Yeah Buddy, Rollin’ Like a Big Shot. Chevy Tuned Up Like a Nascar Pit Stop” Osgood [groin]
also….
Chris “Lean Back, Right Hand on the Pinewood” Osgood

Honorable Mentions
Brett “Swagga On a Hundred, Thousand, Trillion” Lebda
Jonathan “Wake Up and be the Shit and the Urine Na Na Na” Ericsson
Niklas “Can’t Wear Skinny Jeans Cuz My Nuts Don’t Fit” Kronwall
Nicklas “No Exaggeration Necessary, Living Revolutionary, Nothing Less Than Legendary” Lidstrom
Patrick “Gangsta Shit Hereditary, Got it from My Dad” Eaves
Ville “If He Get Outta Line, His Feelings Finna Get Hurt” Leino
Chris “I Ain’t in the Game Still, Imma Problem On the Low” Chelios
Marian “Smell Money in the Air Soon as I Roll Up” Hossa
Jiri “Jumpin’ In and Outta Bitches Like I’m Playin’ Hopscotch” Hudler
Todd “Flow Sick Crazy Deranged Need Counselin'” Bertuzzi
Derek “Only Time You Make It Rain When You Throwin’ Change in a Fountain” Meech
Henrik “Don’t Fuck With Me, Cuz Right Now I’m Higher Than Captain Kirk” Zetterberg
Andreas “I’ll Snatch… Her Purse” Lilja
Andreas “Screens on the Dash Watchin’ Saved By the Bell, Got a House by the Bayside” Lilja
Aaron “Trunk Hit Hard Like Kimbo Slice” Downey
Jason “Make It Move Like U-Haul” Williams

THE FIVE HOLE
1. For the second game in a row, one team gave up a late regulation goal before succumbing to an overtime loss. This time, the Wings were able to capitalize on the late outburst, riding noting but momentum to a late win. Everyone (minus Todd Bertuzzi) looked like they were willing that win against the Flames, and if they can ride that feeling through the rest of the month, the Wings should have themselves sitting pretty after 25-ish games.
2. Dan Cleary left Sunday’s game and didn’t return — which had everyone’s sphincters puckered up somethin’ fierce. Luckily, he’s okay and was held out just as a precaution. He’ll be back in tonight and — if he continues to play as he has been — will continue to be a force to be reckoned with.
3. Todd Bertuzzi had an 09-like game against Calgary, and you know I’m going to jump all over him if he plays like that again. He gets a pass because he’s played overwhelmingly strong all year, but he’s gotta make that dumbass pass into the corner in overtime…or go off-side at wholly inopportune times…
4. Jimmy Howard has let in a few softies over the last few games, and I’m sure he’s more pissed off about it than you are. He’ll rebound and play it strong tonight.
5. No bullshit: having met the kids that make up Swagger Crew when I was filming for The Travel Channel, I’m proud to call them friends. They’re awesome men and women, unreal dancers, consummate professionals, and classic showmen. Check them out on Facebook and watch the following video from America’s Best Dance Crew. They may not have won the damn thing, but they were always fun:

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE FLAMES
Darren Helm in overtime. That’s what.

TP:60 – Episode #6

Don’t forget, you can keep up-to-date on all of the latest TP:60 happenings – including previews for upcoming shows – at the TP:60 Home Page. Miss an episode? Just want more TP:60 awesomeness? TheTP:60 Archive has you covered.

The Red Wings are still red hot, and so is this week’s episode of TP:60. Petrella and Disch take the reigns while Hollis struggles to find his way home in the mess that is Seattle weather. Joining the show this week is our old friend Andy from Fight Night at the Joe, as well as the third member of the Winging It In Motown “hat trick,” Graham Hathway aka “Amerinadian.” The guys tackle everything from the week that was in Red Wings hockey, from the wins to the goals to the lack of top-line production, as well as the idea that playing for a single point is a “good” thing. Andy and Graham also answer the Willa/Duff debate, and the group talks about the launch of Operation: Curly Fries.

It’s going down on TP:60, just like the Junior Roast Beef sandwich.

As always, send your questions, comments and feedback to contact@theproductionline.us. Looking to subscribe to the show? iTunes has you covered.

Bingo, Curly Fries!

By now, you’ve heard the horrible news. The Detroit Red Wings’ fast food partner, Arby’s, has changed their special giveaway if a Red Wing nets a hat trick. Deviating from their classic and awesome Curly Fries, they’ve begun offering something called a Small Roast Beef Sandwich should a Winged Wheeler put their third puck in the back of the net.

Friends, this cannot stand.

Make no mistake — I’ve got no beef with the beef. In fact, those sandwiches are delicious. But there is a series of good reasons why we should band together and demand that the deal revert to its natural state: one in which Red Wings fans all over the nation get their delicious, deep-fried curlies the morning after an emotional offensive display. This campaign has absolutely nothing to do with The Production Line Store’s Curly Fries t-shirt, because it’s a well-known fact that each and every one of you have at least t-shirt in your wardrobe that’s deemed “vintage” or “classic” and — therefore — much cooler than the rest of your outfit-completing crew necks.

No. It goes deeper much than that.

First, Exhibit A. Take the following video as an example (hat tip to @bradonweb for passing along the video when we needed it most).

Hearing Mickey say “He’s thinking Small Roast Beef Sandwich” doesn’t have the same ring to it as “He’s thinking Curly Fries!” Likewise, “BINGO! SMALL ROAST BEEF SANDWICH” is very much the antithesis of the excitement every last one of us felt when we heard “BINGO! CURLY FRIES!”

Coupled with the fact that “Curly Fries” have become synonymous among Red Wings fans with dynamic scoring displays, and you’ve got a hell of an argument to keep Fries the Fast Food Face of the Franchise.

Exhibit B has more to do with frequency than urgency. In the past three seasons, there have only been THREE Red Wing hat tricks: the pictured Zetteronslaught of the Ducks last November, a three goal effort from Z in Game 2 of the Phoenix series last season, and a four-goal jailsexing of the Sharks at the hands of Johan Franzen this past May.

I’m sure Arby’s has a good reason to have changed their Hat Trick giveaway. And I’m sure it has something to do with money. Perhaps it’s cheaper to give away a Small Roast Beef Sandwich than it is to give away Curly Fries. Perhaps they’re hoping people will try a Sandwich and make Arby’s their meal of choice when they’ve only got a few minutes. My question to them is this: is it worth the extra few cents when it’s only been utilized three times — and your target audience is a little bit annoyed that they can’t get curly fries? I’m willing to bet a Curly Fries shirt that they simply don’t know people have noticed things have changed…

Exhibit C is courtesy of my wife, a noted vegetarian and the designer of more than one of the TPL Store’s trademark shirts — including Curly Fries. She caught wind of the changing Arby’s landscape during the last telecast and offered this: “I’m pissed. As a vegetarian, I’d much rather get my hands on some curly fries than dead animal flesh.”

I looked up from my juicy t-bone steak, which was topped with chicken wings and bacon, and realized that she had a point. Vegetarians and vegans may not make up a large percentage of Wings fans, but they’re there nonetheless, and they’re not rooting any less hard than the rest of us (though their lack of protein may prevent them from rooting AS LONG). They deserve to be rewarded by the Henrik Zetterbergs, Johan Franzens, and Pavel Datsyuks of the world just as the rest of us do.

So join us. Join us in the comments. Join us on “The Twitter” (using the hashtag #OperationCurlyFries). Join us on Facebook. Join us in spirit. Join us in legion. If we get 100 comments, we WILL bring this to Arby’s attention and be the mouthpiece for Red Wings Nation, fighting to get your Curly Fries back. Let us know how you feel and if it’s worth the effort.

Why now? Because we’re getting close… the Wings have had a few two-goal efforts lately, and we can all smell it. And, if I’m not mistaken, 100% of us are smelling curly fries.

Operation: Curly Fries.

***UPDATE***

From our good friend @lolabythebay, comes this wonderful photographic proof that we, as Red Wings, do in fact ADORE our curly fries following a hat trick. In this case, Franzen’s four goal playoff performance:

Nov. 21 :: Sundays with Mr. Excitement

Joining Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke in "The Triumvirate of Soul Legends With Completely Fucking Bizarre Deaths" is Mr. Excitement, Jackie Wilson

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Wings and Flames — 5pm, Sunday.

WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
After dropping their first game in two weeks, the Wings look to get back on the pony and start another multiple-game winning streak. The last one was four. The one before that was three. Do I smell five? It’s not out of the question, as Calgary is followed by Atlanta, a home-and-home with the Beejers, and a Wings Wings Tuesday in St. Joe to close out the month.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: but the Wings and Flames have played already this season. Twice, in fact. Furreal? Furreal. The last one was on November 3rd: a 2-1 win, with goals from Mike Modano and Justin Gatorkader.

OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?!
Todd Bertuzzi and Brad Stuart each spent some time in Cowtown.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: The Wings gave up a late regulation goal before losing in overtime to the Wild 4-3 on Friday.
:: The Flamejobs jailsexed the SHIT out of the defending Stanley Cup champions, 7-2, also on Friday.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Franzen — Datsyuk — Zeeburger
Thunderchief — Modano — Cleary
Scuttles — Flip — Abdelkader
Homer — Danger — Miller

Lidstrom — Stuart
Rafalski — Rigbox [don’t make me regret that…]
Potter — Cirque

Tiberius
Joey Mac

Scratches
Patrick “Just Once in a While. That’s All I Need” Eaves
Jakub “Walks That Walk, Talks That Talk” Kindl

Injuries
Kris “Another Night…” Draper [groin]
Chris “My Pillow’s Never Dry of Lonely Teardrops” Osgood [groin]

Honorable Mentions
Todd “If You Don’t Stop, I’m Going to Put You Down” Bertuzzi
Valtteri “Thrills Me So, I Do A Back-Over Flip” Filppula
Henrik “The Closer You Get, The Better You Look Babe” Zetterberg
Jiri “All of These Girls, It’s a Pity” Hudler
Jonathan “Wanna Thrill Ya, Pretty Mama” Ericsson
Marian “Disappointment Was My Closest Friend” Hossa
Ville “I Want Somebody to Hold My Hand” Leino

THE FIVE HOLE
1. Jimmy Howard didn’t have one of his better games on Friday, and I’m sure he’d like at least one of those goals back. But he also made some brilliant saves that kept the Wings in a game that they had no business being in for the first half of the contest. I’m sure he’s anxious to bounce back and get his 11th win on the season.
2. Make fun all you like, but Jarome Iginla is a good hockey player. He’s always been a good hockey player. He may not be as dominant as he was once upon a time, but it’d be foolish to pretend he can’t bring the mojo. He’s notoriously quiet against Detroit, but he was given a vote of confidence last night — assured he wouldn’t be asked to waive his no-trade clause, and something tells me he’s going to be looking to prove that the Flames are still his team.
3. For the last 7 games (this will be 8), Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves have rotated who’s in the lineup and who’s in the press box. In each of the last two games, the one on the ice has scored a goal. If that’s not fourth liners doing everything they can to stay in the lineup, I don’t know what is. I expect another good game out of Drew Miller tonight.
4. Likewise, each game that goes by that doesn’t see a Modano Hat Trick has the Nodanos shaking, looking for new ways to scream that he doesn’t belong in the everyday lineup. But wait! Going back the last Flames game, Modano has a goal, five assists, and is +6 in 8 games. He’s been playing great hockey.
5. PETRELLA CROW SECTION: While Jonathan Ericsson played very well on Friday evening, making the plays that a good defenseman makes. Kudos to the young sir.

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE WILD
Does it count as “learning” if we already knew that giving up a Budd Lynch goal just before a W will equal an L almost always?

WUT?