Order Restored: Kronwall Locked Up For 7 More

Lots of reasons to smile for #55...

Back when Jonny Shitbox signed his three year deal that made everyone and their brother question the sanity of Ken Holland, Niklas Kronwall must have been secretly smiling and opening a few more bank accounts. If the Rig was going to pull down that amount of cash, then Kronwall was all but assured to make bank once his negotiations came to an end, and that’s exactly what was announced today. Kronwall’s seven year extension provides an average cap hit of $4.75 million per season, making him the 12th highest paid D-man against the cap that is currently signed to play in 2012-2013 and putting him back above the RigBox on the payroll. With the deal, Kronwall is now under contract with the Wings until he’s 37 years old, and (of course) his deal is front-loaded to reflect that.

With Kronwall now locked up, the Wings have four of their current seven top defensemen under contract for next season, with the fates of Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Mike Commodore still hanging in the balance. Of course, youngsters such as Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff will look to make a case for the big club next season, and it wouldn’t be all that surprising to see Ken Holland make a competitive offer to Stuart later this year or once free agency opens up. Once he’s back from his Mexican vacation, expect Petrella to get THE CHART updated, which will answer all of your remaining burning questions.

Oct. 28 :: Tell Me You’re Not Taking This Seriously

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN
Team TPL is on the road and in the airportz as the Wings renew their burgeoning rivalry with the San Jose Sharks tonight. Puck drops at 7:30 PM tonight. NHL Network will be screwing all of you Center Ice owners (Disch) and Gamecenter Live owners (Me) yet again.

NOW, WHERE WERE WE
The Wings went from suck to blow after starting the season red hot, and now find themselves with a 5-2-0 record and 10 points. SanJo has been picking up the pace after a slow start, and sports a 4-3-0 record.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Torrey Mitchell. Sounds like 1) A woman and 2) A washed up singer from the 90’s.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Do you really want to remember? 4-1 loss to Team Beej.
:: The Sharks continued rolling along on their road trip, knocking off the Preds 3-1 on Wednesday.
:: Last time these two teams met, Detroit ended up on the golf course. A 3-2 Game 7 win in San Jose for the Sharks, before they headed off to get beat down by Vancouver, an annual tradition.

MEMBA ME?
No former Wings on the Sharks. Somewhere, Todd Diamond cries a single tear for Andreas Lilja.

OH, HI AGAIN
Ian White used to play in San Jose. I’m glad he doesn’t any more.

TYPING WITH PURPOSE
Henrik Zetterberg :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Buckets Cleary
Jiri Scuttles :: Valtteri Filppula :: Johan Franzen
Patrick Eaves :: Danger Helm :: Todd Thunderchief
Tomas Holmstrom :: Justin Abdelkader :: Salt N Pepper Miller

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kaboom
Jakub Kindl :: Johnny Shitbox

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conkblock

COCOON OF SELF-BANISHMENT
Jan Mursak [left ankle]
Mike and The Commodores [knee]
Fabian Brunnstrom
Cory Emmerton

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Just like last season, submit your nickname suggestions (follow the theme!), and we’ll use our Facebook page to allow people to vote for the best… the winner gets a free TPL t-shirt!
PETRELLA: Fabian “I’m A Parenthesis?” Brunnstrom
DISCH: Nick “You’re So Pretty. You’re Exactly What I Want to Look Like In Fifteen Years” Lidstrom
HOLLIS: Jonathan “Isn’t Ten Million Just a Number?” Ericsson

QUICKLY…
:: As I mentioned, all of us are out and about doing travelling, so keeping an analysis at the minimum. Frankly, there doesn’t need to be much analysis done on this one. The Sharks, a team that has become a rival (albeit one-sided) after meeting the Red Wings in the playoffs the last two seasons are in town, and they are heating up. The Wings on the other hand, have lost that identity that they had in the first five games of the season, and need to get things going. If they don’t come out jumping tonight, sit back and expect a long game with an unfavorable ending for the good guys.
:: Henrik Zetterberg has been quiet early on, which is never a good thing. One point and one assist over the first seven games isn’t going to cut it.
:: Joe Thornton has owned Detroit in the last six regular season meetings, scoring five goals and adding four helpers. He’s looked dangerous early this year, so definitely an area for emphasis on the backcheck tonight.
:: Mike Babcock seems  overly frustrated with this club right now, and it shows in his lines. With six different combinations against Columbus, Babbles has the blender on high and hoping something turns out. If the pairings get crazy tonight, it probably means  things aren’t going well. Here’s to stability.
:: PROGRAMMING NOTE: The recap for tonight may be a little late, given the busy schedule, but we’ll have a full pre-game up tomorrow no matter what. I’ll set up some loss candy before I hit the town tonight though, just in case things don’t go so well.

WTyF? Yes, there’s Loss Candy

Yeah, it was sort of like that.

The Final (Hi Dad!)
4-1 Blue Jackets.

The Skinny
So this could have gone one of two ways: 1) a repeat of 96 hours ago, where the Red Wings had their way with their half-retarded neighbors to the south, firmly entrenched in the living hell that is Ohio. Or 2) the Blue Jackets finally found a set of testicles, played like they were interested in winning something this season, and combining that new-found feeling of self-worth with the shitstorm that is Ty Conklin.

Spoiler alert: it was the latter.

The story is going to be — and rightfully so — Ty’s goaltending. For the second game in a row, he had no idea where the puck was and where the rebound was heading. Although, around period #4 of this version of Conklin, even he had to know that most of those rebounds were heading toward twine. I hate to pick on the man, especially when he saved the Wings’ bacon a few seasons ago, and started this season with a shutout. But the last six periods have seen his GAA jump from 0.00 to 3.37. Like Brett Lebda’s -3 game in a game his team won 9-3 a year ago, that kind of individual statistical anomaly takes sincere effort and suckitude.

Bullets of Importance

  • 21 seconds. That’s all it took for the Columbus Blue Jackets to remember what they saw in the game film from the Wings’ Saturday game against Washington: Ty Conklin couldn’t catch a cold on a trans-Atlantic flight full of sniffly Frenchmen. That RJ Umburger goal was followed by Ryan Johansen’s first NHL goal… which was followed by John Moore’s first NHL goal. If I learned anything through the first 30 minutes of this one, it was that tonight should have been my NHL debut. May have had a chance to net one.
  • Darren Helm would (briefly) even the score when he hustled (as he is wont to do) and converted a broken, behind-the-net jambalaya of a hockey play into a grinder’s goal. Steve Mason was hurt at some point during the play (which, if you were paying close attention, actually featured the Helm line coming onto the ice twice before a whistle blew), and would go off for repairs. In came Allen York, making his NHL debut, but unlike all of his little friends, he DID NOT score on Ty Conklin in the 2:33 of relief he played before Mason was able to return.
  • Fairly poor game all around tonight. The Wings couldn’t convert on their power play opportunities (again) — including a 6-on-4 late in the game where they allowed a goal. Their penalty kill allowed a goal (again) — bad news that becomes worse when you hear that the Wings took 7 penalties (the Jackets took three). They were badly out-shot in the first period (14-6). They lost 55% of the faceoffs. They had half as many blocked shots, a third as many takeaways, and 35% fewer hits than their opponents.

Bullets of Less Importance

  • Wisniewski with an “A.” And why not? This was his first game for the Blue Jackets, and the only thing he’s contributed to hockey in Ohio is that about 9% of his annual salary has already been forfeited because of his massive 8-game suspension. Stay classy, Columbus!
  • Linesman Brad Kovachik took a shot directly to the back during the third period. You’d think with all this “quality skater” nonsense you hear about the guys who “do a great job 99% of the time,” they’d be able to, you know, get the fuck out of the way of a shot from the point — a thing that happens approximately 700 times a night in each and every NHL game. Glad to see he was alright, but please don’t shove that bullshit down my throat anymore — they’re failed hockey people who act tough to compensate for their tiny wieners.

The Disch Approved “Horsecop” of the Game
Darren Helm converted hard work into a goal. He was also one of the only Red Wings to finish the game +1. A rare bright spot in a dark cave of a night.

The Riggy “Shitbox” of the Game
Who do you think it is? If it wasn’t for the posts, and the general incompetence of the Columbus Blue Jackets, the game would have been a 7-1 repeat of Saturday night.

What’s Next?
Friday against San Jose. Hollis is all over the pre-game.

Loss Candy
MTV’s teen drama Skins may have only lasted nine minutes, but something tells me they asked Sofia Black D’Elia to stick around the office a little longer than that:

Her castmate, Mitch Hewer, posing as a Red Wings fan on Tuesday night.

Conklin photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt, AP

Oct. 25 :: Tell Me, Mirror, What is Wrong?

BREAKADAWN
The Red Wings get back to business after the game that shall not be named. Puck drops on the seventh game of the season at 7pm in Columbus.

STAKES IS HIGH
The Wings will be without starting goaltender Jimmy Howard who welcomed James Howard IV to the family. Joey MacDonald has been called up to backup Ty Conklin — making his second start in a row, and he’ll certainly be hoping to improve on Saturday night’s display in the crease. Pro-tip: 50% of Ty Conklin’s starts this year ended in a shutout. Of course, the other 50% were  a total disaster of a nightmare, so… there’s that.

EGO TRIPPIN’
:: Detroit got straight-up smoked in the nation’s capital, 7-1, on Saturday night. Twasn’t pretty. On the plus side, Irina Shayk made her TPL debut, so…
:: Columbus fell to Ottawa in a Battle of the Shittiest, 4-3, also on Saturday night.
:: The Wings and Jackets just played one another on Friday. It was a 5-2 win that spurred one of the greatest things ever to grace these pages: an overview from Tyler of the Triple Deke. Your goal scorers were Nick Lidstrom, Valtteri Filppula, Pavel Datsyuk, and a pair from Johan Franzen. Flip and Mulo had four points each.

LITTLE HISTORY LESSON
One year ago tomorrow, Disch’s mom started the DATE MY MOM posts. Maybe she’ll finish on the anniversary?

RING RING RING HA HA HEY
Henrik Zetterberg :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Buckets Cleary
Jiri Scuttles :: Valtteri Filppula :: Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader :: Danger Helm :: Todd Thunderchief
Tomas Holmstrom :: Salt N Pepper Miller :: Patrick Eaves

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kaboom
Jakub Kindl :: Johnny Shitbox

Ty Conkblock
Joey MacDonald

ME MYSELF AND I (alternatively: SAY NO GO)
Jan Mursak [left ankle]
Mike Commodore [knee]
Jimmy Howard [baby daddying]
Fabian Brunnstrom
Cory Emmerton

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Just like last season, submit your nickname suggestions (follow the theme!), and we’ll use our Facebook page to allow people to vote for the best… the winner gets a free TPL t-shirt!
PETRELLA: Fabian “Right is Wrong When Hype Is Written” Brunnstrom
DISCH: Pavel “What I Do Ain’t Make Believe” Datsyuk
HOLLIS: Tomas “Grinning and Laughing, Laughing and Grinning” Holmstrom

KEEPIN’ THE FAITH
:: Ty Conklin’s going to be looking to play really strong after the stinkfest on Saturday. He can’t be allowing the weak ones to squeak by, and he’s really gotta stop those last-second floaters as the periods wind down.
:: Despite having a fantastic start to the season, both of the third pairing defensemen (Kindl and Ericsson) incurred a -3 on Saturday (so did Franzen). Obviously, no one was exempt from blame of a blowout, but the blueliners are going to need to look alive, as well. For what it’s worth, Ian White was the only defenseman not to be on the ice for a goal against (or three).
:: The spread-out scoring is impressive, even after six games. But there are a couple of guys that will look to get off their respective schneids. Tomas Holmstrom, Drew Miller and Dan Cleary are the only forwards to have played in four or more games and are without a goal. Brad Stuart and Patrick Eaves are the only players in the lineup without a point on the season (Stuart is also the only regular in the minus column).
:: At the same time, the big guns have to be big guns. Expect some flash from Henrik Zetterberg (who has only potted one this season) and Pavel Datsyuk.
:: Patrick Eaves in the lineup two games in a row for the first time this season. Rookie center Cory Emmerton comes out after a fairly poor game for the youngster. Since opening night (when he scored and added an assist), he has been held point-less and is losing nearly 60% of the faceoffs he’s taking. Those are rookie things that I’m confident he’ll fix, but it gives Eaves — and Tomas Holmstrom — another shot to prove they might not belong in the rotation.

MUSICAL INSPIRATION

You Can’t Win Them All (Well, the Caps Still Could…)

"Scoring goals? No, I only smile for Tattoos and Family and Tattoos that say 'family'."

Final (Hi Mr. P!)
Caps 7, Red Wings 1

Thoughts
For a team that talked all week about “wanting to get back to playing”, the Wings sure didn’t look that interested in participating in Saturday’s heavyweight tilt against the Capitals for the first 30 minutes. The Embarrassment that it is Mike Green and his Edmund Dantes goatee scored two goals, Cory Emmerton gifted another one, and that was all the Capitals would need to take the title belt in this battle of undefeated teams. Frankly, neither team looked all that impressive for large chunks of the game, but the difference was in execution. The Caps capitalized when they had chances, the Wings didn’t. Instead of burying turnovers in the back of the net, Detroit buried shots in Tomas Vokoun’s stomach (granted, he did have some exceptional saves.) And when the Wings needed a big save (or 6) Ty Conklin didn’t answer the bell, letting in a few “dandies” that triggered the mechanism that automatically makes us here at TPL post this:

Caught ourselves just in time. Wait, no we didn’t. Shit.

Look: It’s one game. It happened on the back end of two games in a row. It happened with Fabian Brunnstrom and Patrick Eaves knocking off some rust. It’s not the last time it will happen this year. It just sucks that the Wings laid an egg in the first big game of the season on a national stage. Thems the breaks.

BULLETS!

Bullets of Importance

  • Niklas Kronwall became the 11th Red Wing to score a goal this season, coming on a beautiful 5-on-3 power play. Despite a slow night tonight, the Wings are still clicking along and spreading the offensive wealth.
  • After really cranking it up last night, the power play took a step back tonight, going 1 for 4. While 25% is still pretty good, it’s still tough to watch a 5-on-3 fail to connect while the Wings set up fancy sets and find the perfect shot.
  • Conklin was NOT GOOD. OK, now that we’ve established that, neither was his support. Conklin gave up a few that were pretty freaking ugly, but Kronwall and Stuart were terribly out of position on the first goal, Emmerton gifted the second, Kronwall got caught pinching on the fifth and Riggy Shitbox forgot about the slot on the sixth. After five games with a defense that looked outstanding, expectations have now plummeted back down to Earth.
  • Hats off to Tomas Vokoun. Dude looks like he’s on a mission from God to win at all costs and he sure as hell played like it tonight. Some seriously spectacular saves.

Bullets of Less Importance

  • Mike Green is a tool.
  • I blame Doug from Puck Buddys for this loss. He predicted a Red Wings win knowing full well that he was just clowning us into a false sense of security. Sneaky mother fucker right there. In that case, the Caps are going to win 27-1 when they come visit in March, Doug. Boom.
  • HAPPY 1,500th GAME NICKLAS LIDSTROM!

The Disch Approved “Horsecop” of the Game
Niklas Kronwall backs into this one since he’s the only Wing who scored a goal.

The Riggy “Shitbox” of the Game
Maybe Ty Conklin used up all his talents bagging groceries during the week off. After tonight, he might have a career in it sooner than thought.

Loss Candy

If anything can break the Russian Machine, our money is on Irina Shayk.

This is Sean Biloski. I have no idea why he is important. Other than his good looks.

What’s Next?
Tuesday in Columbus. Petrella has your pregame.

Post-Game… courtesy of Tyler (get the popcorn)

(Note: tonight’s post-game was written by our very good friend, the quasi-retired All-World blogger Tyler from The Triple Deke. While he is enjoying his time in metaphorical Florida, playing shuffleboard and eating dinner at 3pm, he has an open invitation to contribute here — and we hope he takes us up on it, or — at least — re-opens the doors to the mecca that was TTD.)

Well, what an honor this is, gracing the pages of The Production Line, a site that I remember reading about as a little boy in Sports Illustrated, and a site that one John Keating described as, “Prime naked reading with the lights out material” live, on the air, while eating a bushel of curly fries in the mold of Chris Hollis’ head.  Definitely the high point in my life, I’d say. I just wish the high point of my entire life were graced with tiny golden giraffes and strippers strewn about on the furniture like a week’s worth of laundry.  Instead there’s 26 empty Vernors cans, a picture I drew of me and Mike Babcock in a 3-legged sack race, and a cat licking his balls.  Fuck me.

To the game bullets!

  • Jeff Carter was out as he continues to nurse a hairline fracture. What a pussy. Ryan Getzlaf has been playing with this injury for like four straight years.
  • Larry Murphy on Shea Weber’s $2,500 fine: “That’s a non-suspension”.  Which is sort of like saying a tree is a non-suspension. So is an apple pie. So is a speeding ticket. So is James Earl Jones. None of these things are suspensions.
  • Red Wings are 5-0-0-(0?) for the first time in four decades.  When contacted by the media the Detroit Lions responded, “CAN WE JUST HAVE ONE FUCKING THING?”
  • Mickey Redmond called the suspension-laden preseason, “The ol’ spend a nickel to make a dime theory.”  I’ve never heard this phrase, but I always enjoy new synonyms for “New York Islanders”.
  • FSD showed a cool clip of Datsyuk and Hudler working at Tim Horton’s and surprising customers.  Datsyuk apparently signed a coffee cup for one lucky fan while working the drive-thru.  While most professional athletes would simply sign their name, Datsyuk wrote, “Working conditions not good.  Weird animals out by trash dumpsters.  Possible Chupacabra situation.  Send help.” Datsyuk was later seen fending off a confused Jiri Hudler with a spork.
  • Tomorrow against the Capitals, Nick Lidstrom will become just the 4th Red Wing to play in his 1500th game. What I find especially incredible is that he hasn’t missed a game since the 2008-09 season. In playing all 82 games in both the ’09-10 and ’10-11 seasons, he became the first NHL player aged 38 or older to play a full season in back-to-back years. And yet, that still doesn’t sound quite as ridiculous as this: He’s been in every EA Sports hockey video game except the very first one, which I think was played with a bag of marbles and 12-sided dice.
  • Franzen playing center, Filppula playing wing: 3 goals and 7 points for them on the night. During postgame, Fil told Trevor Thompson that the Mule passed over a hat trick because of how his goal-scoring luck panned out the last time he had a hat trick. Oh come on, Mulo – it wasn’t so bad! What, like 2 goals over the last 3 months and a number of folks on the webs, including this site, and the guy currently writing this sentence, maybe, talking about how moving you wouldn’t be such a bad idea?  Yeah I’m kind of glad Fil got the empty netter.
  • Overall, pretty good win considering the Wings had 33 shots-against and double-digit giveaways.  When you win by three and look mediocre doing it, coming off another huge layoff, that has to be a good sign. Honestly, after looking at how the schedule was set up, if you told me at the start of the year that we’d be 5-0-0, I’d be very surprised.  So I am now pleasantly surprised. Because I’m not a liar.
  • Since Petrella isn’t here, I’ll take a wild guess at what was going through his mind when Ericsson fought Derek Dorsett:

“Man, It feels great being Michael Petrella, considering I base my entire worth as a human being around the curb-stomping I put on Tyler in that euchre game at H2H2 that I’m sure he’s still bitter about and can’t get over, which feels amazing because I totally got away with cheating and he doesn’t know it hahaha. I am good-looking .”

/gloves dropped/

“This fuckwit.  Looks like a drunk mummy trying to unhook Frank Costanza’s bra.  Bet he’s one of those people who buys paper plates so he doesn’t have to do dishes, only he then ends up using the paper plates for every other daily task out of laziness, like leaving notes or using them as coasters. This is totally a thing by the way, Self, you are definitely not crazy. People do this. You may have crazy thoughts from time-to-time, but this is not one of them. You are still good-looking.”

/fight/

“Hey, not too shabby, Shitbox. I’d say he looks more like a mummy after just two drinks, and instead of Frank Costanza’s bra, it’s more like Mila Kunis’ bra.  Not that he could get with Mila Kunis, because if he did I would kill myself. I would fucking kill myself. Everything that I know about this planet would be upside-down and black would be white and dogs and cats and Bea Arthur doing Zumba–”

/Mickey Redmond/ “ If he keeps punching the back of his head he’s gonna break his hand!”

“…. /Petrellagasm/….”

Is Eaves in the doghouse?

One of the things I like to track on The Chart is the team’s scratches. It’s easy to keep track of the injuries — like Mike Commodore’s knee and Jan Mursak’s ankle — since much is made of their rehabilitation and dates that they’re set to return. A little more under the radar, however, are the healthy scratches.

It’s something I’ve been keeping track of for years. Generally speaking, it’s the youngsters (Kindl last season, Meech the year before) that are getting the bulk of the press box passes. But, if the entire roster is healthy at the same time (which is unlikely), an NHL team will have three healthy scratches each game. Last season, there was a rotation. Or, more accurately, a few different rotations.

It wasn’t until we were into November that it became clear, thanks to all of the injuries up front. Beginning November 5th — and continuing until the 26th — the healthy scratches among forwards looked like this:

Miller — Eaves — Miller — Eaves — Miller — Eaves — Miller — Eaves — HUDLER — Miller.

On the 26th of November, Mike Modano’s wrist was sliced by a skate blade, effectively ending his season, necessitating the use of all spare forwards. Until Draper was ready to return in Early December (the 3rd), when the rotation switched to this:

Draper — Eaves — Draper — Miller — Draper — HUDLER — Draper — Miller — Draper — Hudler — Draper.

Kris Draper was an every-other-game scratch, and then Miller and Eaves rotated for the first couple games, before Jiri Hudler was inserted into the rotation, and Eaves was removed. It had nothing to do with Eaves’ hat trick, as he was removed from the equation on the 5th, and his goal-scoring outburst was on the 29th.

Fast forward to the end of February (Eaves was hurt, but Modano was able to return), and the new rotation went like this:

Miller — FRANZEN (who was probably hurt) — Draper — Miller — Draper — Miller — Draper — Miller — MILLER — Draper.

For the first time, someone was a healthy scratch in back-to-back games, but it seemed clear: Kris Draper and Drew Miller were your two players battling for the last spot in the lineup. A precedent that was set a few months earlier when Eaves seemed to have played his way out of the rotation.

There were a slew of injuries as the season wound down, but the final seven games of the regular season saw a pattern, of sorts, emerge:

Miller — Draper — Miller — MODANO & DRAPER — HUDLER & MILLER — Draper — Eaves.

Somehow, Patrick Eaves made his way back into the rotation, perhaps because it’d been 51 games since the last time he was scratched without an injury — and he was, essentially, in a similar contract and playing situation boat as Drew Miller and Kris Draper.

In the playoffs, Mike Modano was the odd man out, with a rotation taking place around him. The healthy scratches for all eleven post-season games:

Modano — Modano — Modano — (none) — Modano & Draper — Modano & Draper — Modano & Miller — Modano & Miller — Modano & Hudler — Draper — Modano.

One thing was for sure — Patrick Eaves had become an everyday player, even when there were no injuries to speak of. He had found a way to vault himself above Drew Miller, Kris Draper, Mike Modano, and even Jiri Hudler.

And now, this season. It’s only five games old, but Eaves seems to have become the new Draper — sitting every other game while others are rotated around him — particularly if you believe that he was actually a healthy scratch in game 1 and not suffering from remnants of a leg injury:

Brunnstrom & Eaves — Brunnstrom & Holmstrom — Brunnstrom & Eaves — Brunnstrom & Miller — Brunnstrom & Eaves (tonight).

We can’t be the only ones wondering what’s going on. Obviously, Jiri Hudler is having a fantastic start to the season, and the top six seem to be set. The third line of Helm-Abdelkader-Bertuzzi is wonderful and starting to click, so it’s understandable that Coach Babcock doesn’t want to disrupt the budding chemistry. The fourth line, however, is a complete hodge-podge that hasn’t looked the same for two games in a row. There are four players (five, if you count Brunnstrom who hasn’t gotten into a game yet) vying for the three slots on that line. Cory Emmerton has played in all of the team’s games so far — possibly because he’s a natural center, and because he’s having a great young season. Tomas Holmstrom are Drew Miller are the others that are in a dogfight with Eaves.

Holmstrom and Miller, though, are scratched 50% as often as Patrick Eaves, a man who eight short months ago played his way out of that kind of rotation and into everyday land — ahead of Drew Miller.

It’s certainly possible that Eaves is still a bit banged up from his pre-season injury, when he blocked a shot against the Penguins in early October. But it’s worth keeping an eye on… maybe he’s in the doghouse.

The Wings are doing a great job of spreading the scoring wealth. In the 13 goals scored through four games, there have been ten different goal scorers. In fact, everyone that has played in a game — at all — has at least one point, except for Brad Stuart (who has played in all four) and Patrick Eaves (who has played in two). That can’t be it, can it?

The only two players that aren’t PLUS players are Stuart and Eaves — who aren’t exactly minus players, either, coming in at Even. Eaves has taken one penalty, has won half of the faceoffs he’s taken, and logs an average of just over ten minutes of ice time per appearance — which is less than anyone else on the roster, save for rookie Cory Emmerton (9:16).

Tomorrow’s game against the Capitals should be Patrick Eaves’ third game of the season (unless he truly is injured… or truly is in the doghouse), and he’ll be joined by Fabian Brunnstrom who will be playing for the first time this season. Something tells me Eaves will want to become the eleventh different goal scorer and prove that he belongs in the lineup everyday. Something that he proved last season, but seems to have been forgotten.

Photo Credit: Doug Pensinger, Getty Images

Oct. 21 :: Do You Suppose We’ll Meet Any Wild Animals?

Who wins in a race: Tin Man or Holmstrom?

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN
After surviving a hairy couple of days with random exotic (and lethal) animals running around Ohio, the Columbus BJ’s have safely made their way to Detroit for tonight’s tilt against the Wings. Puck drops at 7:30 Eastern. This is the first of six meetings this season between the Central Division rivals. The Wings went 4-1-1 against Columbus last year.

NOW, WHERE WERE WE
The Wings haven’t played in six days, but bring a 4-0-0 record in to the Joe tonight. Columbus is looking  to get of the schneid after starting the season 0-5-1.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
The 16 year-old boy in me wants to go with Grant Clitsome, but we’ll give the nod to Fedor Tyutin in honor of Ken Daniels using his full name at least 20 times during the broadcast tonight. Remember, it’s not “Tyutin plays the puck,” it’s “FedorTyutin plays the puck.” Don’t believe me? Just watch.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: We’ll have to hop in our time machine and go back to last Saturday for the Wings’ last action, where they picked up a 3-2 (or 4-3 if you’re Disch) OT win over the Minnesota Wild.
:: The BJ’s were on the wrong side of a 3-2 final to the Stars on Tuesday night.
:: The Wings and Jackets last played one another on March 17th last season. Detroit blanked the BJ’s by a score of 2-0 to finish up the season series. Joey Mac was in net, and goals were scored by Drew Miller and Valtteri Filppula. Scratches that night were as follows: Draper (healthy), Hudler (flu), Osgood (groin) and the late Ruslan Salei, who was celebrating the birth of his child. Still hurts to type that.

LITTLE HISTORY LESSON
The win on March 17th was Mike Babcock’s 300th career win behind the Red Wings bench.

MEMBA ME?
Mike Commodore used to be Scott Arniel’s favorite player in Columbus.

OH, HI AGAIN
No former Wings on the BJ’s roster, although James Wisniewski originally hails from Canton, Michigan.

WE’RE OFF TO SEE THE WIZARD
Henrik Zetterberg :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Buckets Cleary
Jiri Scuttles :: Valtteri Filppula :: Johan Franzen
Justin Abdelkader :: Danger Helm :: Todd Thunderchief
Tomas Holmstrom :: Cory Emmerton :: Salt N Pepper Miller

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kaboom
Jakub Kindl :: Johnny Shitbox

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conkblock

IF I ONLY HAD A BRAIN/HEART/NERVE
Jan Mursak [left ankle]
Mike and The Commodores [knee]
Fabian Brunnstrom
Patrick Eaves

The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Just like last season, submit your nickname suggestions (follow the theme!), and we’ll use our Facebook page to allow people to vote for the best… the winner gets a free TPL t-shirt!
PETRELLA: Jiri “Where Do You Want To Be Oiled First?” Hudler
DISCH: Jiri “Then This Is A Day Of Independence For All The Munchkins And Their Descendants!” Hudler
HOLLIS: Jiri “Then The Next Time She Squawks, Walk Right Up To Her And Spit In Her Eye. That’s What I’d Do” Hudler

SUPER PETRELLA BONUS: Mark “If I Were King Of” LaForest

HOW BOUT A LITTLE FIRE, SCARECROW?
:: The biggest question of the night will be which Red Wings team shows up. All week long the guys have talked about their desire to get back on the ice and play against a real opponent, but such a long layoff between games is an open invitation for the rust to show. Columbus is going to bring it all night long, desperately searching for that first win of the year.
:: Can the Wings keep spreading the scoring wealth? 10 different players already have a goal and 17 of the guys have registered a point. Guys yet to tally a point? Eaves, Stuart, Commodore, Brunnstrom and Jimmy Howard (Laugh all you want. Ty Conklin has an assist.)
:: Sure would be nice to get the power play going. The Wings have converted a dismal 5.26% with the extra man this year, putting them 13th in the conference. Yikes.
:: Speaking of some not-so-great numbers, the Wings haven’t been overwhelmingly impressive in terms of winning faceoffs either. 45.8% success on the dot is less than inspiring, especially when Columbus comes in to the Joe winning over 50% of their draws.
:: Somebody cover Rick Nash. 6 points in six games makes him public enemy number one tonight.

TP:60 – October 20

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.

(Ed. Note: Before you get all up-in-arms, we are well aware of the incessant clicking throughout the entire length of the audio. We’re not sure what caused it, but rest assured we are looking into it and will have it remedied before the next episode. Otherwise, every show from here on out would sound like it has a ticking time bomb of fury attached, and that’s no good. We apologize for the inconvenience this week, but hope you can forgive us while still enjoying the show.)

This week on TP:60:

  • Fan Time!: Contest winner Matt Shea (@SpaceCityMatt) joins us to talk Doug Fister, NASA and moon theory. Look out for big words.
  • 30 Good Minutes: JJ and Graham from Winging It In Motown stop by. Did someone say Ville Leino?
  • On the Dot: Doug Johnson from Caps blog Puck Buddys stops by to verbally joust with the group about this weekend’s matchup with Ovi and company. He also talks about TPL asses.
  • The Pipeline: Now a part of TP:60, The Pipeline returns this week with Wings goaltending prospect Thomas McCollum.

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