Cuz I’m leeeeavin’ on a jet plane…

FINAL SCORE
Red Wings 4-2

SERIES STATUS
Detroit leads 3-0

TIDBITS
:: The big news before the puck drop was whether or not Johan Franzen would be in the lineup, after skipping practice yesterday and taking it easy at today’s morning skate. Well, Franzen’s less of a man, more of a beast; and not only did he dress, he started the game with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. He played a bit tentatively (for a mule, that is) and I bet that’s attributed to the visor. He’s not used to facial protection and it takes some getting used to. In college, you must wear full facial protection, and the summer before my junior season, I decided I’d try out one of those hybrid visor/cage deals, with the clear window on the top half and a wire cage on the bottom. I used it for all six weeks of tryouts with an old helmet. The night of our first game, our team-issue helmets were sitting in our stalls, and they were all fitted with the full cage. I thought I’d see if I liked it before, because I could always swap it out between periods. It’s night and day. The visor combo SUCKED compared to having a cage and while I never played without anything in front of my face, I will say that having “polycarbonite” in front of your eyes isn’t an easy thing to get used to. By the third period, though, it looked like Johan Franzen had gotten used to it — scoring the Red Wings fourth goal.

:: Ruslan Salei, of all people, opened the scoring for the Red Wings as he unleashed a bomb from the blueline that found its way through “potential series MVP” Ilya Bryzgalov. Drew Miller would add a second goal 44 seconds later, on a deflection. If Mike Modano’s going to get into the lineup, it’s likely going to have to be with Kris Draper having a seat. Drew Miller’s just playing too damn well, and even chipping in on the offense. You can’t sit him.

:: Speaking of grinders, how about Justin Abdelkader? Before the season started, you couldn’t have convinced me that he could be a top six on the Red Wings. But in the absence of Henrik Zetterberg, he’d stepped into a slot in between Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary and looked damn good doing it. The kid’s playing like he’s on fire, hitting everything and creating offense. What a stud.

:: Sticking with the muckers theme, Patrick Eaves went down after an awkward collision at the blue line with 14 minutes left in the third period. He would miss a few shifts, but eventually returned with about five minutes left in the contest. He continued playing physical and looked good on the forecheck so it looks like crisis averted.

:: Jimmy Howard is in the zone. He was making brilliant saves and seemed to have his head in the game, which is great because there were a handful of games in the regular season where he just didn’t. On the other side of that coin, Ilya Bryzgalov was having trouble seeing the puck. A few squeakers got by him, but it was even more evident in the replays where the puck would hit him and he’d just have no idea what was going on. Take a look at the replay of the Franzen goal… Bryzgalov didn’t even give it much of an effort, and didn’t even react. Almost like I could hear him say “ah to hell with it.” It’s not a good sign (for Detroit) and I hope the Red Wings continue to exploit his fallibility. In his last four post-season games against the Red Wings, Bryzgalov has allowed 18 goals (that’s 4 1/2 per).

:: Despite my partner in crime (let’s not name names… we’ll just call him C. Hollis. No, that’s too easy… Christopher H.) taking every opportunity to give Val Filppula an Ericsson-like ribbing, Flip showed a few flashes of why I love him. With excellent patience and super soft hands, he made the game 3-0. He may not be as flashy as Hank or Pav, but I’m a big fan and it’s certainly possible I’m overlooking his downside.

:: A player I compared first to Jonathan Ericsson and then to Cory Cross (earning a Wyshynski RT), David Schlemko got the Coyotes on the board in the second period. They’d add a second goal with 7 minutes left in the third, as former Wing Ray Whitney scored on the power play, after the puck bounced around in front of the net and eventually found the back of Ruslan Salei and the net. Seeing eye puck.

:: Nicklas Lidstrom got knocked around a little bit tonight, taking some body from Shane Doan and others. We’re not used to seeing him on his back, but Lidstrom’s resilient and didn’t seem any worse for wear. The Twitterverse was abuzz, but I didn’t see anything dirty about the hits, which I’m sure makes me a shitty fan. Apparently it’s not a contact sport if you’re a legend. I’d prefer he didn’t get hit, too, but that’s not realistic, and if anyone’s proven they can handle the physical aspect of the sport, it’s our captain.

Photo Credit: Ross D. Franklin, AP

Apr. 16 :: That was a clean kick to the face mask…

Win a few more and it's time to... PAAAaaaaaAAAaaarty.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The series swings to Arizona, as the Wings and Coyotes play their first of back-to-backs in the desert. The puck drops on Game 3 at 10:30pm in the East. 7:30pm Phoenix time. 9:30 in Winnipeg.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE
10:30am local / 1:30pm Eastern :: Coyotes Practice
11:30am local / 2:30pm Eastern :: Red Wings Practice
7:00pm Eastern :: Philadelphia vs. Buffalo, Game 3
7:30pm Eastern :: Boston vs. Montreal, Game 3
7:30pm Eastern :: Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay, Game 3
10:30pm Eastern :: GAME 3 at JOBING.COM ARENA

WATCH IT
Versus, CBC, RDS, Fox Sports-Detroit and Fox Sports-Arizona will all carry the game, depending on your geography.

EXPECTED LINEUP
By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Bertuzzi — Abdelkader — Cleary
Hudler — Filppula — Miller
Eaves — Draper — Helm

Lidstrom — Stuart
Ericsson — Rafalski
Salei — Kronwall

Howard
MacDonald

SCRATCHES
Chris Osgood [groin]
Henrik Zetterberg [knee]
Mike Modano
Jakub Kindl
ACES: Pearce, Janik, Lashoff, Meech, Smith, Emmerton, Mursak, Tatar

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Disch: Darren “He Played Like a Goddamn Wildman! No, Like a Rampaging Beast! And That’s the Way You Gotta Do It! You Go Out There, You Tear Their Fucking Heads Off, And You Shit Down Their Necks! Let Us Pray” Helm
Petrella: Phoenix “The Alamo Was the Home Field” Coyotes; Also: Jonathan “Fumbleaya. Fumbleruski” Ericsson
Hollis: Chris “Oh Yeah, Well I’m Not That *Eld* Alright?” Osgood
*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
:: With Henrik Zetterberg unable to return to the lineup, Pavel Datsyuk took over Game 2. Among his four points was this absolutely filthy set-up of Darren Helm’s goal, and everyone’s junk moved. If ever the Red Wings needed a superstar to step up, it’s now. The Wings slid into the playoffs, not playing their best hockey and the Coyotes were the sexy pick among brain-dead analysts. With one superstar down, another one steps up. The Aristocrats.
:: Meanwhile, Henrik Zetterberg has made the trip to Phoenix, but isn’t expected to play. During the broadcast on Saturday, they showed a few seconds of Z skating, but he ended up wincing and hobbling off the ice. I’ll be honest, it didn’t look good. If it’s a ligament strain (as suspected), he’ll heal, but you don’t want to push and come back sooner than you should. Hopefully, the Wings can keep up their torrid pace, get out of the first round and give Hank as much time as he needs to prepare for Round 2.
:: Our usual playoff destroyer, Johan Franzen, had a rough second game. After only 1:22 of icetime, he caught an edge, didn’t get any help from two pursuing Coyotes, and ate some boards. Twenty-something stitches later, he came back looking like Frankenstein. My favorite moment (aside from the Datsyuk through the legs move) was Franzen shaking his head like “no, bro” when Babcock asked why he didn’t have a visor or mask. He played the rest of the game pissed off, and something tells me he’ll come screaming out of the gate tonight. Watch your ass, Doan.
:: Nicklas Lidstrom was +2 in Game 2, and he improved to +55 in his career in the post-season. Per Ansar Khan, that’s an NHL record. So, just an average Saturday for Norris Nick.
:: The first game after the FREE THE OCTOPI campaign was kick-started, one cephalopod did hit the ice, immediately after the anthem and landed between Jimmy Howard and his net. I’ve got the over/under for tonight’s octopi at 1.5, any takers?
:: Per team release, the Red Wings will be hosting viewing parties for the away games, giving Metro Detroiters a chance to get together and cheer on their team. For tonight’s game, head over to Hamlin Pub (50659 Gratiot in Chesterfield); and Wednesday’s Game 4 can be joined at Motor City Casino downtown. Check the official site for more details.

WHAT WE LEARNED IN GAME 2
An outrageously dominant first half of the game doesn’t mean you get to coast for the second half.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN GAME 3
:: In the White Out (lol), will the Coyotes get any energy from their crowd like the Red Wings have been? Or will the Detroit fans be loud, thus giving the road team a boost?
:: The Coyotes turned up the heat in the physical game on Saturday. One can only assume that trend will continue and the Wings will have to watch out for flying elbow drops and other tomfoolery up the sleeves of class acts like S. Albert Doan.
:: Ilya Bryzgalov will want to rebound from a less-than-stellar performance and regain his status as the best player in the series (lol, again). Make no mistake, he has the ability to be a game changer, and just because he was (easily) beatable in the first two games, doesn’t mean he’ll let floaters in from above the circle tonight. Although, if I’m Mike Babcock, I’m urging the boys to try anyway.

TPL PREDICTS…
:: Bryzgalov gets pulled in one of these two games in Phoenix. And I get to pull out a SWEET CANDELABRA OF LABARBARA! reference, a la Hermes Conrad.

Give Our Creation… LIFE!

I’m sure everyone noticed that Johan Franzen took a Doan-assisted header into the boards early in yesterday’s game. When came back to the bench a period later with 21 stitches, cotton in his nose, and no visor, I think we all saw how badass hockey players can be. (And when Turris tore off a fingernail later in the game and was crying about it, well that just shows how  some hockey players can be total babies.)

Those stitches, added to the other cuts and scrapes on Franzen’s face, had some of us comparing him to a certain stitched-together, reanimated monster.

He doesn't like fire much either.
Thanks to Petrella for the inspiration.

Maybe when he needs a scoring boost we can hook up a car battery to those neck bolts and give him a jump.

TP:60 – Episode #16

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? The TP:60 Archive has you covered.

Finally. After almost two months of patient waiting and some serious sobering up, the TPL crew is back for another episode of TP:60 It’s Chris Hollis and Michael Petrella holding down the booth as Rob Discher is off Hosecopping his way around town, but that doesn’t mean the dynamic duo is left in the dark. Old friend and show regular Sean Gentille of the Sporting News stops by to break down all of the happenings in each of the playoff matchups, provide the keys to success for each of the series, and give Craig Custance flack for his Flyers love affair. The crew also discusses the benching of Mike Modano and the newly enforced ban on octopi being thrown in Detroit, which – according to Gentille – is somehow like the US War on Drugs. It’s another fantastic episode with an old friend of the show, which means you won’t want to miss a second.

Don’t forget: FREE THE OCTOPI!

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

FREE THE OCTOPI

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the Octodrama: a Red Wings fan cited for tossing the traditional cephalopod onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena. It’s been covered beautifully by our friends Matt Saler and George Malik, and we certainly won’t step on their news-reporting toes. We will say that the NHL stepping in — in between periods, no less — to try to put a stop to one of hockey’s most storied traditions is one more in a long line of spineless, stupid moves from a League that clearly has no goddamn idea how to connect with fans that have been around since before 1996.

Red Wings fans aren’t known for shutting up, sitting down, and minding their business. We make noise when something pisses us off (Operation: Curly Fries), we pay for half of the damn teams south of the Mason Dixon, we’re going to splash our glorious red all over the ridiculous White Out that’s worked a grand total of zero times in that godforsaken desert.

And we’ll probably throw some more octopuses (or octopi, if you prefer).

Show your support of a tradition older than 24 National Hockey League teams. Visit The Production Line Store and buy your FREE THE OCTOPI shirt now.

Go Red Wings.

It’s Time To Lay Off the Bottle: Red Wings 4, Coyotes 2

Kinda looks like hockey pucks at first glance...

Final (Hi Mr. P!)
Red Wings 4, Coyotes 2

Thoughts
I just got back from New York City yesterday. When NYC presents itself as larger than life and having something to do whenever you want to do it, it’s not lying. Up for meetings, around the block for lunch, back for more meetings, off to a bar for drinks, out to a fancy dinner, hurrying back to the hotel, answering e-mails, hailing a cab, beers and shots at a dive bar in SoHo, a crazy spicy gyro, another cab back to the hotel, face washed and in bed at 4 AM. A grind? Absolutely. But when that wake up call comes at 8 AM, the thought of getting up and doing work hurts almost as much as the hangover headache that greets you at the shower door. You struggle to operate the knobs, drop the shampoo, accidentally wash yourself with the conditioner, forget to wash your face and stumble through the fancy glass door with soap still covering you from head to toe. It’s awkward and it’s tough, but you get through it and get to your next meeting, where someone has a steaming hot cup of coffee to wash down the four Advil in your pocket. The day has officially started, you’re a complete mess, but you’re surviving. Slowly, the caffeine and Advil start doing their job and you feel yourself locking in to the task at hand. An hour later, the fog has cleared and despite being tired, you’re clicking on all cylinders.

Of course, expending all of that effort eventually takes it’s toll on you. After checking your bags at JFK and finally boarding the plane, you’re wiped out and finally succumb to a sleep that has no benefit to your health whatsoever. It’s fitful and uneasy and you wake up feeling just as tired as when you closed your eyes 2,500 miles away. After dragging yourself to the baggage claim and securing your luggage, you stumble through the parking garage aimlessly clicking your key fob until finally – mercifully – you find your car. A sketchy 30 minute car ride later, you’re home and undressed and climbing into bed. Sleep comes quickly but it’s effects are limited and the next day at work is still sluggish and unproductive. You regret that last car bomb you took 48 hours prior and swear up and down that you will head to bed early and get the rest that you need. The next day is one of the most productive in recent memory and you walk out the door feeling productive and appreciated, ready to keep it going when the alarm clock rings the following morning.

The Red Wings need to stop getting drunk.

Not literally, of course. But watching this team stumble through the first period tonight was like watching myself try and give a device demonstration through the cloudy haze of Jameson and cheap beer. Despite all of the talk of being ready for the playoffs and ramping up the intensity, the Wings slogged through the first period like it was a Wednesday night outing with the boys after a hard day of work. No need to hold back on the boozing because your smartphone tells you that your 9 AM meeting just got cancelled and you have nothing but eight hours of staring at a computer screen in front of you the next day. Too often the Wings look just like that guy at the bar with his tie wrapped around his forehead, while you wonder how he’s going to function in the morning. You know it’s going to be a mess, and the Wings were that mess in the first period tonight. You could hear the groans all the way in Seattle when the ‘Yotes tallied first, and the worry about the proverbial hangover was in full effect after the first period.

Somewhere during the intermission, however, the Wings found their coffee and Advil and got themselves in a position to start executing. After feeling their way through the first few minutes of the second frame, Datsyuk was the hair of the dog before Franzen cleared the fog. Rafalski was the lunch that you are finally hungry for and Hudler was the 3 mile run that sweats out the last of the booze. Peak performance? Absolutely not. Effective enough to feel useful? Sure.

But this is where we enter the dangerous territory. The Wings will rest and get back to work this weekend, but who knows how much tonight’s effort will impact Saturday’s play. One can only hope that the Wings will practice tomorrow and shake off the lingering effects of having to work extra hard to be successful tonight. Hopefully they’ll get the rest they need to be productive and effective for an entire 60 minutes this weekend. There’s no more easy days on this calendar for the Red Wings. Every day has a meeting that demands full mental awareness and flawless execution, and the Wings need to spend every single moment up to that point in intense mental and physical preparation. They can’t afford to have a beer with the boys and let their guard down. It’s time to earn every inch and make the extra effort to get the job done.

There’s plenty of booze waiting at the finish line to celebrate a job well done. It’s time to get sober for a few weeks.

Bullets of Actual Commentary

  • Give it up for Todd Bertuzzi. Sure, Rotislav Klesla is a dumbass for running Bert and then dropping the gloves, allowing the tide to be turned, but Bert deserves full marks for stepping up and making a statement to his teammates. It was one of those “Made for the Playoffs” moments, and Bert turned the tide at a critical time.
  • Time to put a big fat line through one of Disch’s predictions as Johan Franzen returned to the world of productivity with a big goal tonight. I’m not sold that Franzen is fully back to relevancy quite yet, but another tally on Saturday may put me over the edge.
  • For all the criticism he received this week leading up to the game, Jimmy Howard stepped up and got the job done. He had a number of big saves to keep the listless Wings in the game during the first, which leads me to believe that someone should pay the MSM to question his ability before each and every game.
  • Pavel Datsyuk was Pavel Datsyuk. What more needs to be said?
  • Jiri Hudler’s GWG was a thing of beauty and one can only hope that he finds a way to keep the productivity up as the playoffs move forward. Second and third line scoring will be the difference in an early exit and a sustained run, so cross your fingers and hope the hookers don’t take too much energy out of lil’ Jiri.
  • Babcock said after the game that Bertuzzi’s tilt was the first postseason fight he remembers in his six years of coaching the Wings. Total embellishment on Babcock’s part, as I can clearly remember Abdelkader dropping the gloves last year. That said, tell me your first thought after Babcock’s comment wasn’t Francois Beauchemin’s fist caving in Tomas Kopecky’s face two years ago.

Programming Note
It’s been quite some time since we’ve all sat down and recorded an episode of TP:60, but that’s about to change. The work schedules have cleared and the technology is working again, so Petrella, Disch and myself will be sitting down for a chat with Sean Gentille this week. Expect the episode to go live on Saturday morning, just in time to get you ready for Game 2. We can’t make any promises, but we’ll do our best to make sure we don’t have another drought of this magnitude on the TP:60 airwaves.

Apr. 13 :: GAME ON!

Yeah, I know. But this Phoenix is hotter.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?!
And so it begins… the real season. After 82 games played, 47 wins, 261 goals, and 263 man-games lost to injury, it’s all erased — none of it matters once you’re in the post-season. There are sixteen teams and all of them are 0-0. All of them have the chance to do something special. All of them think they can win sixteen games.

It’s time for our Red Wings to flip the switch and wake up on time for every game from now until the parade. Late starts won’t be tolerated in the playoffs, and the Coyotes are going to come to play after being bounced last season by the Winged Wheelers. Game 1, tonight at 7. Be there.

TODAY’S SCHEDULE
10:30am :: Red Wings practice
11:30am :: Coyotes practice
7:00pm :: GAME 1 at Joe Louis Arena, Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh
7:30pm :: Rangers vs. Washington
10:00pm :: Chicago vs. Vancouver
10:30pm :: Nashville vs. Anaheim

WATCH IT (EVEN THOUGH IT’S ON AT THE SAME TIME AS MY NEW TLC SERIES)
Versus, CBC, and Fox Sports Detroit will all carry the game, depending on your geography.

NOW, WHERE WERE WE?
October 16th @ Phoenix :: Red Wings OTW 2-1 :: Jimmy Howard :: Datsyuk (3), Kronwall (2)
October 28th @ Detroit :: Coyotes win 4-2 :: Chris Osgood :: Franzen (6), Holmstrom (2)
November 8th @ Detroit :: Red Wings OTW 3-2 :: Jimmy Howard :: Cleary (4), Zetterberg (4), Lidstrom (2)
March 5th @ Phoenix :: Coyotes SOW 5-4 :: Jimmy Howard :: Franzen (27), Filppula (13), Helm (9), Miller (7)

ISN’T THIS FAMILIAR?
The Wings played the Coyotes in the first round last season, as well. It was a seven-game series that ended with the 5th seed Wings moving on to face the San Jose Sharks in Round 2.
Game 1 :: Coyotes 3-2
Game 2 :: Red Wings 7-4
Game 3 :: Coyotes 4-2
Game 4 :: Red Wings 3-0
Game 5 :: Red Wings 4-1
Game 6 :: Coyotes 5-2
Game 7 :: Red Wings 6-1

OH, HI AGAIN
Former Red Wing Ray Whitney now plays in Phoenix. The Wizard played 67 games for Motown in 2003-04 before moving onto the Hurricanes, where he would win a Stanley Cup. This is his first season in Phoenix. Also, Recent Hobey Baker winner and Coyote signee Andy Miele is a Michigan native, hailing from Grosse Point Woods.

MEMBA ME?!
Dan Cleary played 68 games in Phoenix, also in 2003-04 (weird). There’s a trade I’d make again.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Hyphens always win.

SAY WHAT?

ON THE TWITTERZ
Red Wing Black Ace Brendan Smith :: @bssmith7
Coyote Fighter/Scratch Paul Bissonnette :: @BizNasty2point0
Coyote Defenseman/BNN Oliver Ekman-Larsson :: @hockeyolli (take that, Jokinen)
Coyote Forward/Mustache Afficionado Ryan Hollweg :: @TheStache15
Coyote Forward/Draft Pick Kyle Turris :: @kyleturris
Coyote Forward Brett MacLean :: @macattack_39
Coyote Forward/Mini Me Andy Miele :: @Andy_Miele

EXPECTED LINEUP
By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Franzen — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Bertuzzi — Abdelkader — Cleary
Hudler — Filppula — Miller
Eaves — Draper — Helm

Lidstrom — Stuart
Ericsson — Rafalski
Salei — Kronwall

Howard
MacDonald

SCRATCHES
Chris Osgood [groin]
Henrik Zetterberg [left knee]
Mike Modano [healthy]
Jakub Kindl [healthy]
ACES: Thomas McCollum, Jordan Pearce, Travis Ehrhardt, Doug Janik, Brian Lashoff, Derek Meech, Logan Pyett, Brendan Smith, Joakim Andersson, Cory Emmerton, Ilari Filppula, Jan Mursak, Francis Pare, Brent Raedeke, Tomas Tatar

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
In honor of the twentieth straight playoff appearance, the Red Wings have become The Usual Suspects.
Disch: Jonathan “A Man Can Convince Anyone He’s Somebody Else, But Never Himself” Ericsson
Petrella: Jiri “Is That the One About the Hooker with the Dysentery” Hudler
Hollis: Jiri “Man, I Had a Finger Up My Asshole Tonight” Hudler
BONUS: Jimmy “Hand Me The Keys, You Fucking Cocksucker!” Howard
*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.*

TPL PREDICTS…
Disch: Red Wings in 6. Three Homer goals, another one waved off. Two Bertuzzi goals. One 1-goal performance from Howard. Three timeouts used by Babs. Zero points for Modano.
Petrella: Red Wings in 6. Paul Bissonnette plays when the Coyotes fall behind in the series.
Hollis: Red Wings in 6. Johan Franzen with the series winner.

TIDBITS
:: Agruable team MVP Henrik Zetterberg will not be available to start this series, but everyone’s hopeful that he’ll be in the lineup in a few days. In last season’s first round matchup, Z scored six goals, including a hat trick in game 2’s curb stomping.
:: Niklas Kronwall missed the final five games of the season, but is expected to play tonight. Thus begins the “Who’s #6” Debate as Ruslan Salei and Jakub Kindl were (inexplicably) thrust into a battle for the last spot on the blueline. If Kronwall can’t go, after all, they’ll both be in… but the six backliners will be a gametime decision, it looks like.
:: Jimmy Howard is going into his second post-season a bit more confident than last year, he says. That’s excellent news, and it’s clear to everyone he’s the man. Chris Osgood, who has been practicing, is the #3 guy, as Coach Babcock gave Joey MacDonald the back-up job, at least for this series.
:: Worth repeating: head over to Winging it in Motown to enter their playoff tournament, donate a few bucks to the Humane Society of Michigan, and you’ll have a chance to enter some awesome prizes from your favorite Wings blogs.

SEASON RETROSPECTACUS :: RED WINGS LEADERS
Games Played :: Nicklas Lidstrom & Darren Helm (82)
Goals :: Johan Franzen (28)
Assists :: Henrik Zetterberg (56)
Points :: Henrik Zetterberg (80)
+/- :: Justin Abdelkader (+15)
Points Per Game :: Pavel Datsyuk (1.05)
Penalty Minutes :: Jonathan Shockersson (87)
Power Play Goals :: Johan Franzen, Henrik Zetterberg, & Tomas Holmstrom (10)
Shorthanded Goals :: Darren Helm (2)
Game-Winning Goals :: Dan Cleary (8)
Shots Taken :: Henrik Zetterberg (306)
Shooting Percentage :: Pavel Datsyuk (16.8%)
Average Time on Ice :: Nicklas Lidstrom (23:28)
Faceoffs Taken :: Henrik Zetterberg (984)
Faceoff Percentage :: Kris Draper (56.6%)

GET UP, EVERYBODY’S GONNA MOVE THEIR FEET

Red Wings recall 15 Griffins

With the Griffins season officially over, the Detroit Red Wings officially recalled fifteen players to serve as Black Aces for the playoff run. Joining the main roster are the following players:

GOALTENDERS
Thomas McCollum
Jordan Pearce
(already with the team: Joey MacDonald)

DEFENSEMEN
Jug Danik
Travis Ehrhardt
Brian Lashoff
Derek Meech (who must clear re-entry waivers to join the team. We’ll know Tuesday at noon if he’s cleared)
Logan Pyett
Brendan Smith

FORWARDS
Joakim Andersson
Cory Emmerton
Ilari Filppula
Jan Mursak
Francis Pare
Brent Raedeke
Tomas Tatar

Players currently under contract with the Red Wings who were NOT recalled include Sergei Kolosov, Sebastien Piche, Gleason Fournier (who hasn’t officially turned pro yet, continuing his junior career this season), Jordan Owens, Jamie Tardif, Willie Coetzee, Chris Minard, and Jamie Johnson.

Notably absent is two-time Hobey Baker finalist Gustav Nyquist, who joined the Griffins for the last week or so of the season. It’s entirely possible that his two-year deal doesn’t kick in until next season and that he’s ineligible to join the Wings, or it’d burn a year of that contract if he did.

WIIM’s Playoff Prediction Contest AND Doggie Fundraiser

Well, here we go, Hockeytown. In a few days, our boys in Red and White are going to embark on a journey that will end one of two ways — returning hockey’s holy chalice to its rightful place in Motown… or heartbreak. As we gear up for Wednesday night’s first game against the Phoenix Coyotes, some preparations need to take place. I’ll be shaving on Tuesday night and won’t be shaving again until the Red Wings are swigging their favorite beverage from the beautiful, arched rim of Lord Stanley’s grail. Chances are very good you’ll be seeing less of me on Twitter, since I can’t tweet and pace the room at the same time.

Something I’m going to be doing as soon as possible is joining Winging it in Motown’s inaugural playoff prediction contest. Each correctly predicted winner (and game totals) will bring you closer to bragging rights and immortality among Red Wings fans.

To sweeten the pot a tiny bit, the fine fellows at WIIM, On the Wings, and The Production Line are offering a prize pack that contains t-shirts and internet fame if you’re entry into the contest is accompanied with the proof e-mail that you’ve donated to Michigan Humane Society and helped to get Patrick Eaves out of the doghouse. The top predictor who has also donated $10 will win some swag from their favorite Red Wings blogs.

You remember Patrick’s hilariously gigantic doggie Rueben. When we posted last week, he was only 39% of the way to his goal. In the few days since then, he’s nearly doubled that — just under 70% as of this writing. I’m confident that with WIIM’s tournament’s help and your continued generosity, we can hit that goal and we can do it before the parade through Campus Martius.

Go Wings! Go Winging it! Go Humane Society!

Loss Candy :: They Said It

We feel the same way, Jimmy...

Final (Hi Mr. P)

Blackhawks 4 Red Wings 2

Thougths

Who better to tell you how this one went than the involved parties. I know I’m sure as hell not wasting my time recapping another piss poor effort from this team…

Babcock:

“We got down 3-0 or 4-0, and I don’t know if we ever got playing,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “We scored a couple of goals, but I don’t think, obviously, the level of urgency was there. We weren’t good enough. That’s all there is to it.”

Lidstrom:

“They were a lot more desperate than we were, especially in the first period,” said Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom. “They came out with a better push and they pushed us back.”

Cleary:

“It’s pretty tough,” said Detroit forward Danny Cleary. “We haven’t played well at home. We haven’t played well for a while here consistently. We’ve got to find a way.”

Aaaand Babcock to wrap it up:

“We’ve got one more game to get ourselves ready,” Babcock said. “We’ve got to get our brain in gear and get playing. The good thing about the playoffs is it’s only long for two teams. The rest can be done in a hurry. The sense of urgency we have to have and the change in mindset we have to have is very apparent just from watching this game tonight.”
Blah, blah, fucking blah. Those quotes have been repeated umpteen times since the beginning of February and all it’s done is make it very apparent the Wings think they can just flip a switch in a few days and make the magic happen at will. Newsflash: That mentality will do nothing but sink the Wings ship much sooner than anyone hopes or expects. But, hey, no need to panic, right?
Loss Candy
In honor of the tropical destinations the Red Wings are likely to find themselves at in May if their play keeps up, it’s a tropical themed loss candy tonight.
Originally from Oahu and now residing in Las Vegas (Brett Lebda just peed himself), the Wings will have plenty of opportunity to see Taylor Makakoa.
And while the boys are swimming and relaxing in Hawaii, the ladies of the Red Wings can check out Jason Momoa and his sweet dreads.

Jimmy photo courtesy of David Guralnick/Detroit News