Trade Watch ’11 :: Wings kick tires on Bogosian?

***UPDATE: 1:50pm***
Conflicting reports now, as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun tweets that there’s no truth to the Bogosian-to-Detroit rumors:

Regarding all the Detroit/Bogosian chatter, Ken Holland says via text that there’s ZERO truth to it; hasn’t spoken once to Atl about him

Fun while it lasted…and with this crazy part of the season, you never know what could happen.

Big thanks to Bob Duff of the Windsor Star, who tweeted the following this morning:

Two sources confirm #redwings have kicked tires regarding #thrashers Zach Bogosian, but say deal unlikely to happen.#NHL

He goes on to say that the Thrashers are asking for a high draft pick and one of Jiri Hudler, Jonathan Ericsson, or Jakub Kindl. If I’m Ken Holland, I’m making that Ericsson trade ALL DAY, BABY.

Duff continues, saying

If #redwings were going to pull trigger on Bogosian deal, you’d think they’d have grabbed a depth D off waivers today, but they didn’t.

I had a bit of a back and forth with Mr. Duff on Twitter about this point. I’m not certain adding a Wade Belak or Mike Commodore would signal an imminent move, but Mr. Duff makes a good point. If Ericsson (or Kindl, for that matter) were to head out of town, with Bogosian (or someone else) coming in, the Wings are down a player that knows their system heading into the playoffs. And we all know the general consensus of Jug Danik.

Just something to keep an eye on, I guess. Zach Bogosian is a former 3rd overall draft pick of the Thrashers (behind only Steven Stamkos and Drew Doughty), stands 6-3 and 215, and is the ripe old age of TWENTY. Duff leaves us with one nice little teaser:

If #redwings did land Bogosian, teamed with Brendan Smith, they’d be much better situated for eventual life after Lidstrom. #NHL

Indeed, sir. Indeed.

Just a reminder: we’ll be hosting a Trade Deadline Live Chat here at TPL — with many of your favorite Wings bloggers hanging out and shooting the breeze.

Photo Credit: Gregory Smith, AP

Loss Candy :: Trading Dallas for Brooklyn

FINAL SCORE
Dallas 4-1.

PLEDGE STORY
Tonight: $319.37
Total to-date: $4850.92

TIMBITS
:: Forget the play-by-play, this seemed like one of those nights were an average-ish goaltender elevated his game to play out of his mind against the Red Wings, and a few unfortunate bounces went the other way. Kari Lehtonen and the Stars haven’t played well in weeks, but definitely turned it up a few notches for tonight’s game. Unfortunately, the former first round pick made saves that you wouldn’t necessarily expect of him, and some blown defensive coverages in Detroit’s zone made all the difference. Not a pretty one.

:: The booing at the end of the first period? It’s good for them, and I have no problem with it whatsoever. If you remember SEVERAL of the player’s comments after the last time it happened, you’d also recall that they said it was the booing that lit a fire under their ass and directly led to the five game win streak and the efforts within. Fans in Detroit aren’t like fans everywhere else. They applaud penalty kills. They don’t piss and moan when something isn’t a penalty shot. They know their hockey. They were well within their rights as fans to boo the shitty effort from the Red Wings and a late shorthanded goal against. This isn’t Pee Wee. The fans aren’t hurting the players’ feelings. And while I understand the concern that it could become commonplace and sound like Montreal, I don’t agree. I think it’s good for the guys to hear from time to time to remind them that certain efforts aren’t going to be acceptable from the paying fan’s view. No more, no less. Now if they could just find a way to win more games at home…

:: There was a pretty big tussle involving Jimmy Howard and Johan Franzen, and it was mildly disappointing that the refs didn’t let them go. Just get it over with, ya know? Tensions are only going to boil over in a situation like that, and the Wings certainly could have used something to kickstart the emotion. Jonathan Ericsson would later drop the gloves with Steve Ott, which was the first event of the night that even began to scratch the surface of the pledges. Part of me thinks that Jonathan Ericsson knew he’s been to blame for 74% of the Red Wings goals against this season (even ones he was on the bench for, somehow) and that he had to do something before Monday’s trade deadline to stay in Motown.

:: The Candy…

In honor of the new Swimsuit Issue, and courtesy of SI.com, Brooklyn Decker...
...and her unfairly handsome husband Andy Roddick

Feb. 24 :: Kali Ma, Protect Us! We Are Her Children

A cinematic depiction of how Joe Nieuwendyk's heart was torn from his chest

We pledge our devotion to her with an offering of flesh… and blood!
Six pledge games down, six to go. The last two games haven’t yielded as much for the children, but we’re proud to say we’ve raised north of $4500 so far. There are a handful of game-specific pledges for tonight’s tilt, and every single one of them involves Steve Ott. If you have some pledges you’d like to include in tonight’s drive for Children’s Hospital of Michigan, shoot us an e-mail with the details and we’ll keep track as the night progresses…

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Wings. Stars. Thursday evening, 7:30pm in the only time zone that matters.

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The last time these two teams met was December 29th, a 7-3 ass-whoopin’ by the Red Wings. Patrick Eaves dropped some curly fries on Hockeytown, and Jimmy Howard got his 20th win of the season. I’ve got $73 on another 7-3 victory. Any takers?

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Karlis Skrastins. No brainer.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit couldn’t win their sixth in a row, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Fins on the final Wings Wings Tuesday of the regular season.
:: Dallas was shutout 1-0 against New Jersey on Tuesday. One of the hottest teams in the league taking advantage of one of the coldest.

EXPECTED LINEUP
By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Mulo — Zetterberg — Thunderchief
Scuttles — Datsyuk — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Miller
Sak Attack — Abdelkader — Holmstrom

Lidstrom — Stuart
Rafalski — Ericsson
Cirque — Kronwall

Howard
MacDonald

Holy Shit, There’s a Scratch?!
Jakub Kindl

Injuries
Mike Modano [wrist/Saturday]
Valtteri Filppula [knee/Saturday?]
Patrick Eaves [leg/day-to-day]
Chris Osgood [groin/March]

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Disch: Jiri “Hey, Dr. Jones, No Time For Love. We’ve Got Company. No Time For Love, Dr. Jones!” Hudler
Petrella: Chris “I Keep Telling You, You Listen to Me More, You Live Longer” Chelios
Hollis: Jiri “The Biggest Trouble With Her is the Noise” Hudler
*Now it’s up to you! Think up your best names and throw them in the comments — the best one will be shared for all to enjoy on the TPL Facebook Page. The best of the best will be pitted against one another at season’s end, and the winner takes home a TPL Shirt of their choice.*

TIDBITS
:: Patrick Eaves left the Sharks game in the second period after a collision with Torrey Mitchell behind the net. He won’t play tonight and is out “a minimum of a week.
:: Jan Mursak was recalled to take Eaves’ spot in the lineup.
:: Jason “Willi Vanilli” Williams returns to the Joe, this time as an invisible member of the Stars, allegedly wearing #27.
:: After starting the season red-hot, Dallas has faded a bit, going 1-8-1 in their last 10.
:: Mike Modano is well enough to return, but it was collectively decided that a return game against the Stars might be a bit much, opting instead to come back on Saturday against the Sabres. Valtteri Filppula also hopes to return on Saturday.
:: Dallas has beaten the Wings twice this season, and Loui Eriksson had the winner in both.
:: There are a lot of Red Wings prospects in TSN’s newest player rankings: Petr Mrazek (24th in OHL), Trevor Parkes (25th in QMJHL), Andrej Nestrasil (41st in QMJHL), and Tomas Tatar (32nd in AHL).

WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE SHARKS
Budd Lynch Goals will get you every time.

The Sak is Back: Jan Mursak Recalled

The ping-ponging that is Jan Mursak’s organizational status continues today, as #39 will head back to Detroit to replace the injured Patrick Eaves against the Stars tomorrow. Mursak, fresh off inking a new two year deal with the Wings organization, will step in for Eaves as the Wings weren’t able to get conclusive results from his MRI today. Unfortunately for “The Sak,” it will likely only be a one game show, as both Valtteri Filppula and Mike Modano are scheduled to return this weekend against Buffalo.

Mursak was relatively quiet during his 17 game promotion early this season, notching a single goal and posting a -3 rating while averaging just over 8 minutes per game on the ice (8:13). Still, good to see the Wings reward him with a new deal and some more time in the show.

Loss Candy :: Five In A Row Was Nice

Since we didn’t get a pregame up before the San Jose game, I’ll offer up a few of the regular “tidbits” in the postgame instead. Don’t thank me all at once.

  • Bert: Fresh off of his moment of glory in Minnesota, Big Bert’s follow-up act is a clunker against an opponent who could have playoff ramifications for the Wings later this year. -2 with 4 shots on goal may not seem that bad, but I can’t think of a single instance other than a slick breakout play that Bertuzzi just missed high on where #44’s presence was actually felt on the ice. Oh wait…there was San Jose’s third goal where Bert jumped up early on Thornton during the rush, thus taking himself out of position to backcheck effectively and allowing Setoguchi to get position for a goal. Look, I’m not trying to hate on ol’ Todd here. I was just hoping he would follow up that “I love YOU, You love me, Let’s Go Hang Out and Maybe Chill While We Keep Things Awesome for Awhile” moment with a little bit better performance.
  • The Injury Bug vs. Scoring Depth: No word on the severity of the injury that forced Patrick Eaves out of the game, but there were plenty of repercussions from his loss. Chiefly, Detroit’s lines got jumbled up, guys were playing with different linemates and the chemistry was lacking throughout the later stages of the contest. That’s to be expected. The bigger question that will ultimately have to be answered is whether or not the Wings are prepared the compete and win games when the top guys aren’t scoring. The Wings desperately miss Valtteri Filppula – and probably even Mike Modano to an extent – because those are guys who put pucks in the net. Scoring depth is key and the Wings struggled with it mightily against the Sharks.
  • Dan Cleary: I guess I should call him out more. Two minutes after this tweet and BOOM on the board.
  • Hank Finally Tallies Again: Yes, I know he scored against Boston on the 11 days ago, but even with that goal, Hank’s only potted 2 goals in his last 17 contests. Assists are great but goals are better, sir.

That’s enough from me. Hopefully the lazy passes and lethargic work ethic will work itself out before Thursday. In the meantime, come get some loss candy:

Kate Upton for the boys (thx @Detroit4lyfeRob)

Channing Tatum for the womenz. Enjoy.

The Pipeline: Riley Sheahan

With all the talent coming up through the Red Wings system, there’s plenty of unique stories, personalities and talents to share, and we here at TPL are doing our part to bring those to you via “The Pipeline.”

It’s time for another installment of “The Pipeline” and this time the guys welcome in current Notre Dame forward Riley Sheahan. Currently a sophomore at ND, Sheahan was drafted in the first round (21st overall) of the 2010 NHL Draft and is a promising two-way forward with a physical presence to boot. Sheahan has tallied 3 goals and 14 assists this year, all while helping lead Notre Dame to the top of the CCHA standings. With a big home-and-home looming this weekend against Western Michigan – and the CCHA regular season championship on the line as well – Riley was still able to take some time out of his schedule to chat about his experience at the Draft last year, the emergence of hockey at Notre Dame and which NHL player he patterns his game after. Riley also gives some insight into the never-ending quest to find a Brett Lebda statue on ND’s campus, as well as answering the TPL Five Pack of questions to close things out.

*A big thanks to Riley Sheahan and the University of Notre Dame for being so gracious and accommodating.

Photo courtesy of The Hockey News

Wings Fans: Losers, Hippies, Supporters of Terrorism

First of all, a hearty welcome to all of the FBI and CIA agents who just stumbled onto this post after our headline triggered those pesky anti-terrorist red flags. Drop us a line in the comments!

And now, please sit back and bask in the enlightenment that you so desire on this Monday.

It’s no secret that the Red Wings travel well. Detroit fans are a passionate bunch, and that extends outside the confines of Joe Louis Arena, as well as the state of Michigan. With a large contingent of Michiganders opting to take their talents to warmer climates during the winter – climates that aren’t traditional hockey markets – it’s no surprise to see Wings fans out in full force at road games. This past week when the Wings took their jaunt through Florida, both Lightning and Panthers fans got a bit of a shock as they watched their seats fill with Wings jersey, listened to chants for the “other” team and glared as octopi rained down on their ice surface. Adding insult to injury in Tampa was an overzealous employee of the Lightning organization hitting the ice to scoop up one of the aforementioned octopi, only to skate off twirling it above his head a la Al Sobotka.

Apparently, that was too much for one Lightning fan, who took to the comments section of the Tampa Tribune and shared his true feelings about Red Wings fans. Proper spelling was optional:

I think the 4000 or so folks who call Tampa Bay home but still rooted for the Red Wings are total losers (right there with Yankee, Red Sox and Philly fans).

I think it is totally pathetic that folks who left those loser cities to live in our Paradise, pay taxes, send their kids to our schools, and call Tampa home, still root for nothing more than a Jersey and a memmory! Pathetic…absolutely Pathetic losers!

If you love those places so daggum much, get in your VW Van and head back nnorth.

They probably root for Al Qeada too…

I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you over the noise of my AK-47 pumping rounds into a nest of Bald Eagles. Let me set down my bong and turn off my Hendrix and properly address you, dooooooooood.

If I had to venture a guess, I’m sure that user “USASoccer” probably couldn’t name any player on the Lightning roster other than Vincent Lecavalier, Marty St. Louis or Steven Stamkos. That said, he may be an incredibly intelligent Bolts fan who truly believes that a passionate group of hockey supporters are a bunch of terrorist hippies. The “Right” runs strong in Florida (my Mom lives in Tampa) and I’ve met a number of folks down there who still think it’s wrong that an African American is our President and that slavery was probably a good idea. Ignorance: They has it. Tact: What the hell is that?

Am I really chapped by this comment? Absolutely not. I find it funny that a threat as innocuous as an arena takeover leads to a tangential connection to a terrorist organization, but this is also coming from an individual  that probably wouldn’t be caught dead in a restaurant if it served “French” fries. Meanwhile, the complaints about living in their “paradise” and paying their taxes are pretty spectacular considering the amount of money that brings the region. Those fancy roads? Payed for by tolls and taxes from Floridians and non-Floridians alike. To hell with that though, right USASoccer? Here’s the knife my friend: Go ahead and cut off your nose to spite your face.

Look, I have plenty of friends and family in the Tampa area, and even the later comments in that Trib piece show truckloads of sense and better judgment about what transpired in Florida last week. A lot of the Lightning fans I know and have openly wished that they could re-channel the excitement of the Bolts’ Cup run a few years ago back into the city. I’m sure they will at some point, especially with Steve Yzerman at the helm. In the meantime, let’s all just sit back and enjoy the show that the “true” residents of Florida put on for us.

If you’ll excuse me, I have propaganda leaflets to print now…

Photos Courtesy of msnbc and Yahoo!

Three Thoughts: Bertuzzi’s Resurgence, Howard’s Way and Hockey Day in America

Bertuzzi’s Big Day

I have a bone to pick.

The other night, I wandered over to the NHL Shop website looking to spend a $25 gift certificate that I had received over the holiday season. As soon as I hit the site, I knew what I was going to buy: a red t-shirt with the Winged Wheel on the front and “Bertuzzi/44” on the back. So I started searching in the player apparel section, only to realize that the area in question could only satisfy my retail shopping needs if I was looking for a Datsyuk, Zetterberg or Lidstrom shirt. Undaunted, I headed over to the “customize” tab on the site, figuring that it would take a few more minutes and a couple of extra bones out of my wallet to get me a customized shirt in the mail.

Wrong.

After numerous attempts at trying to get the Bertuzzi shirt, the website remained steadfast in its assertion that I could not customize my apparel with a current roster player. So there I sat, not really sure what to do. I thought about putting the money towards a Bertuzzi jersey. I flirted with the possibility of customizing a shirt with “52” and “Shitbox” on the back. In the end, though, I did what 90% of all Wings fans out there wind up doing: I ordered a Datsyuk shirt.

While some might be disappointed in not getting what they originally intended to purchase at the store, I’m just thrilled we’ve made it to this point as fans. Todd Bertuzzi is finally doing what the Wings are paying him to do, and god dammit if it doesn’t feel good for everyone involved. Oh sure, there are still Bert haters out there who would prefer he wasn’t on the team, and to those “fans” I give a big wag of my middle finger and a “F**K YOU” to boot. I don’t care that certain folks may dislike Bertuzzi, because I know those same folks were trying to bury a grin after Big Bert canned the game winner and came around the boards smiling like some of us have never seen. Folks, don’t try and act like that didn’t make you feel good. In fact, I’ll let you in on a little secret: It’s OK to like Todd Bertuzzi.

Fact is that Todd Bertuzzi loves Detroit and loves playing for this organization and therefore – via the transitive property – loves each and every one of us that call ourselves Red Wings fans. Following the game, Bert told Darren Pang that this is the best place he’s been during his NHL career. Why wouldn’t it be? When nobody else gave him a chance, Detroit’s given him two. In an offseason without a ton of cap flexibility, Ken Holland found a way to give Bert his payday and then some. On the day of his 1,000 career NHL game, the Wings flew Todd’s entire family to Minnesota to watch Dad/Hubby bury the game clinching goal in the shootout. Things like this don’t happen for a guy who isn’t thankful to be where he is, and Bertuzzi is exactly that.

Perhaps the fans should learn a little lesson from big Todd. You see, rather than bitching and moaning about the guy who will always be linked to that incident with the guy and the place, maybe it’s about time to move past it and just support Todd Bertuzzi, the man. Yes, it’s hard to stand firmly behind a guy who hardly says anything to the media and is covered from head to toe in tattoos, but let’s not forget that this guy is a darn good hockey player and probably an excellent father and husband to boot. It’s taken some time, but Bertuzzi is finally starting to warm up both on and off the ice, which is bound to lead to a fascinating story for those who are prepared to listen.

So for those of you who still send e-mails and tweets wishing Bertuzzi was “somewhere else”: Thank you. Thank you for being so narrow-sighted that you are now making fools out of yourselves. Todd Bertuzzi loves Detroit and he’s here to stay and the sooner you realize that, the faster you can get back to enjoying being a Wings fan. It’s a fun ride and I’m glad Todd’s aboard. Now, if I could just somehow buy a shirt through NHL.com that shows that…

Let’s Not Forget

While the bulk of the focus was on Bertuzzi’s 1,000th career NHL game and shootout win (which, by the way, congratulations Todd…since I failed to mention it in the previous bullet), there’s no way I can get through this post and not mention to stellar performance from Jimmy Howard today. 25 saves in regulation and overtime, but the real gems were the back-to-back stops Howard offered up during the shootout. Jimmah looked focused all day long, and it really came through in his fundamentals and positioning. Havlat’s breakaway goal was one of those 50/50 situations where you never know what’s going to happen, and Howard just happened to be a split second late getting the paddle blade onto the ice. Otherwise, it was a rock solid performance from the NHL’s league leader in wins, which is definitely nothing to sneeze at.

Hockey Day In America

The entire day was screwy, IMO. Awful pregame, weird timing for the games and odd play-by-pairings made for an experience that was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. Unfortunately, one of those play-by-play pairings was the Red Wings own Ken Daniels, who wound up covering the Rangers/Flyers game with Joe Micheletti. While it was refreshing to hear Kenny’s voice on NBC throughout the day, I thought that he and Micheletti lacked chemistry until somewhere in the third period of the game, making the first 40 minutes rather awkward and forced. On the other hand, I was very impressed with the Pat Foley/Darren Pang combo that serviced the Wings/Wild game, despite knowing that Foley is the voice of the Chicago Blackhawks. The two had a very solid chemistry with each other, and it really showed throughout the broadcast. Now, if we could just figure out who that Jiri Whodler guy is…

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

TuzzDay: Bert Pots Two as Wings Take 4th In a Row

It’s good to be Todd Bertuzzi right now. For the third time in four games, big #44 found a way to pot a pair of goals, including the game winner over the Panthers tonight in Florida. Maybe it’s a new diet. Maybe it was the desire to score one for his son on his birthday, and then prove that love one more time with another goal. Maybe it’s because he owns a Shirtuzzi now. Whatever it is, I sure as hell hope it doesn’t go away anytime soon.

It’s not just Bertuzzi, though. This entire team of Red Wings is red hot right now, both individually and as a group. Pavel Datsyuk has 9 goals in his last 14 games, Henrik Zetterberg is quietly piling up the points and Dan Cleary tallied for the second night in a row as the Wings ran their winning streak to four in a row. What’s even more impressive is that three of those four wins are on the road at a time when road points are beginning to get more and more difficult to come by.

There’s not really too much more to say about this one. Sure, the Wings blew a two goal lead to make it interesting in the third period, but that’s the collateral damage that comes with playing two games in 24 hours. The difference is that they gutted it out and a big player made a big play to turn the tide. It also didn’t help that Joey MacDonald reminded the world yet again of why he’s a third string goalie, but allow me to give props where props are due for that monster save to preserve the lead late in the third.

Most importantly, however, was that more money continues to come in for Children’s Hospital of Michigan and our grand total of pledges is now over $4,000 after the first five games of the pledge drive. In fact, if you look on the right side of the page, you’ll see the excellent new widget that @inhyung helped make for us, so you can keep track of exactly how much has been pledged as we near the halfway point of our festivities.

At any rate, a win is a win and a road win is even better. So go out, have a beer and enjoy the rest of your Friday night knowing that the Wings are leaving Florida with four more points than they came in with.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press