Dec. 30 :: Wipe Them Out, All of Them

Jar Jar Binks: More Irritating than Chicago?

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
First of six matchups against those clowns from Chicago this year. First “episode” of Star Wars pregame themes. We’re hoping that starting with Episode 1 (the shittiest one) doesn’t translate to a shitty performance on the ice tonight for the Wings.

Red Wings and Hawks, 8:30 PM Eastern. FSD has you covered.

WHERE WERE WE?
:: Detroit rallied from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Blues on Tuesday, 3-2.
:: The Hawks got blanked at home on Wednesday by the Kings, 2-0. You may remember this as the game where Drew Doughty got a little “fresh” with Jarret Stoll.
:: As we mentioned, this is the first of six matchups between the biggest rivals in the Central Division. The Hawks took the season series 4-2 last year, but it was the Wings who had the last laugh, beating the Hawks 4-3 in Chicago on the final day of the season last year. Tomas Holmstrom, Pavel Datsyuk (sans glove), Drew Miller and Danny Cleary tallied for the Wings, while Jimmah outlasted Corey Crawford for the win.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
They all suck, so go with the name that sounds the most like a STD: Sami Lepisto.

‘MEMBA ME?
Marian Hossa. Yes, we all remember him.

OH, HI AGAIN
Dan Cleary had a cup of coffee with the Hawks back in the late 90’s.

THE LINEUP
Johan Franzen :: Dangles Datsyuk :: Todd Bertuzzi
Val Filppula :: Hank Zetterberg :: Scuttles Hudler
Danny Cleary :: Justin Abdelkader :: Goose Nyquist
Salt n’ Peppa Miller :: Cory Emmerton :: Joakim Andersson

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kronwall
Mike Commodore :: Riggy Shitbox

Tiberius Howard
Ty Conkblock

SCRATCHES
Eaves [face]
Holmstrom [groin]
Helm [groin]
Conner [hand]
Mursak [conditioning in GR]
Kindl

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: Brett “You Were Banished Because You Were Clumsy?” Lebda
STEVIE: Jonathan “Why Do I Get the Feeling We Picked Up Another Pathetic Life Form?” Ericsson
HOLLIS: Nicklas “It Is Possible He Was Conceived By the Mid-Chlorians” Lidstrom
DISCH: Back in 2012

5 HOLE
:: In case you didn’t already get the picture, it’s the first of six meetings between the Wings and Hawks this year. Everybody and their mother has pointed out the fact that it’s taken longer than usual to get to the first matchup, but I like it. Both teams have had a few months to gel and work out the kinks, so we should get a good idea of how well both squads stack up against each other in a tightly contested Central Division.
:: Speaking of the Central Division, don’t forget that these two teams could be on top of the heap competing for the very last Central Division regular season title by the time April rolls around. A lot could happen between now and then, but two points for the Wings tonight would bring them within a point of the division lead, with a game still in hand on Chicago.
:: With Homer and Helm both on the shelf nursing injured groins, Joakim Andersson is back in the lineup for his second consecutive game and will be joined by our good pal Goose Nyquist. Should be a good test for the young kids in an atmosphere that is unforgiving and downright tough to play in.
:: “The Carbomb” Dan Carcillo is back in the lineup tonight for Chicago. Expect the forecheck to be relentless and the hitting in droves, especially when he’s on the ice.
:: The Wings insist that they are “ready” for Chicago and the United Center tonight, but does that mean they are “prepared”? The Wings said the same thing about the Vancouver matchup earlier this month, yet their play didn’t show it. It’s a frustrating trend for these Wings, always promising that they are ready to take a crucial regular season matchup seriously, and then coming out looking like they just ate three plates of leftover Christmas ham. Fingers crossed for some urgency early, otherwise this thing could get ugly in a hurry.
:: BONUS! DRINKING GAME! Take a drink every time the crowd chants “Detroit Sucks.” Take another drink every time Jonny Rigbox touches the puck. You’ll need it.

Editor’s Note: Postgame may or may not happen tonight as I have plans immediately following the game. We thank you for your understanding, and should the result require loss candy, I’ll be sure to get something extra special up this weekend. Hopefully, it won’t and we can all go get drunk and enjoy a win tonight. Go Wings.

Transactions Everywhere!

Busy day for our friends at the Red Wings who write the press releases. The following transactions been made official by the Detroit Red Wings in the last 24 hours:

  • Jan Mursak activated :: Injured since a pre-season collision on September 25th, Mursak missed the team’s first 36 regular season games recuperating from a fractured left ankle. He has been skating for a few weeks and was medically cleared to return to game action on Wednesday afternoon.
  • Jan Mursak assigned :: The team then assigned Mursak to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. He may play with the Griffins for up to two weeks before he must be recalled by the team (or be subjected to waivers). The Sak was in the lineup last night against the Lake Erie Monsters and registered an assist in the overtime loss.
  • Tomas Holmstrom placed on IR :: After missing the last game (and the third period of the one before it) with a slight groin tear, Homer has been placed on short-term injured reserve (meaning he must miss at least seven days). The initial estimate for his return was 8-10 days, so this is likely a paperwork transaction. Joakim Andersson has replaced him in the active lineup.
  • Gustav Nyquist called up :: This afternoon in Chicago, Red Wings center Darren Helm tweaked his groin, and will not be available for the next two games. The Wings top prospect, Nyquist, was recalled and will play his second and third games with the team this weekend.

Including Andersson and Nyquist, the team has 12 healthy forwards, 7 healthy defensemen, and 2 healthy goaltenders. Darren Helm, who will be unavailable for the next two games, is on the roster and will not be placed on IR, meaning the team is carrying 22 players against the 23-man limit.

Chris Conner, Patrick Eaves, and Chris Minard continue to occupy injured reserve.

The Top Shelf: Back to Work

The Kids Table at the TPL Holiday Feast

How does this thing work again???:: After gorging ourselves on the finest food and consuming all of the best top shelf adult beverage offerings, we’ve finally pried ourselves off the leather and cherry-wood couches and are ready to get back to work here at TPL. Apologies for the lack of posting around the St. Louis win earlier this week, but all of us were still in the midst of our long winter’s nap. That said, a big thanks goes out to @stevieroxelle for holding down the fort and kicking ass while Petrella, Disch and myself were busying ourselves with all of the fun and excitement that comes with this time of year. Don’t worry: there will be plenty more of Stevie in the future, so turn those frowns upside down.

The Sak Attack:: With the Wings getting a rare day off, the big news out of our friends at the MSM was the return of Jan Mursak to the Grand Rapids Griffins for a conditioning stint now that his broken ankle has healed. From Khan(!):

Mursak said Tuesday that he expected to play tonight in Lake Erie. He has been out since Sept. 25 with a broken left ankle.

He anticipated playing between 4-6 games with the Griffins but could be brought back to Detroit sooner if the Red Wings have another injury and need him.

While it’s good to see Mursak getting himself in shape to make the jump back up to the Wings, the timing of his return will eventually force some lineup shuffling from Ken Holland and Mike Babcock. While Patrick Eaves remains sidelined with a fractured jaw, Chris Conner – impressive in his time with the Wings – is likely to return to the lineup in early January, and Tomas Holmstrom should work his way back into the rotation before long as well. This, of course, assumes there are no additional injuries, but one would assume that Holland and Co. would look to get Mursak in the lineup at the expense of Conner and then rotate guys in the Leino Lounge. At any rate, good to hear that #39 is on his way back and we can only hope he’ll be ready to get down to business when his number is called.

Take Care Champ:: Sad news yesterday as the Wings lost a legend and a leader (B1G pun intended) as four-time Stanley Cup Champion player/coach Johnny Wilson passed away. From the official release:

The Detroit Red Wings mourn the loss of former player and coach Johnny Wilson who passed away this morning at the age of 82 following an extended battle with lung disease.   Wilson skated in 379 games over six seasons for the Red Wings, and was a member of four Stanley Cup championship teams as a player forDetroit (1950, ’52, ’54 and ’55).  Johnny registered 79 goals, 100 assists and 179 points in 379 regular-season games for Detroit. In 50 post-season games with the Wings,Wilson tallied 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points.

A native of Kincardine, Ontario, Wilson served as the Red Wings Head Coach for 145 games in 1971-73 and 1972-73 (67-56-22).  He also served behind the bench with Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and Colorado of the NHL and Cleveland, Michigan and Baltimore of the WHA.

One of the best things about being a fan of the Wings is the appreciation the entire organization has for their history and heritage, and it’s great to see them acknowledge the success of a man who is often overlooked in the history books. Godspeed Johnny Wilson. Smile warmly upon the Wings.

Fire Up the Rumor Mill:: Nope, not Eklund. This time it’s ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, who says the Wings are in the mix to pursue the up-and-down Ales Hemsky from the Edmonton Oilers:

Another club that could come calling on Hemsky is Detroit. The Red Wings have cap space and will be an aggressive team come the trade deadline. They’ll look at all kinds of options but I believe Hemsky will be among the names on their shopping list.

While LeBrun is just getting the train rolling on this one, our good buddy George Malik has been all over this and isn’t sure that Hemsky is the ideal target for the Wings:

I’m not so sure that the Wings are interested in another finesse player, but that’s just me.

If you’re one for predictions, even from a legitimate journalist, Matheson doesn’t believe that Nicklas Lidstrom has a chance in hell of winning the Norris Trophy this year, either, so take that with some salt, and I will say this about Matheson and Wings-related rumors, lest you have visions of a top-ten scorer for a seventh-round draft pick dancing in your head: when Matheson was really “on” regarding the Wings and free agents or re-signings, it involved Ken Holland’s dealings with Edmonton-based agent Rich Winter.

Guess which agent happens to represent #83? We might be talking about a case of a familiar source dangling suitable destinations for his client in front of a hockey writer willing to indulge the agent’s GM-baiting for an easy story’s worth of salaciousness.

While I tend to agree with George on this one in that Hemsky isn’t exactly what the Wings need, his case is an interesting one in that Detroit runs the risk of losing a Cory Emmerton or Jan Mursak trying to pass them through waivers once the roster is fully healthy, and Ken Holland may decide it makes more sense to get something in the short term by trading for a rental player like Hemsky and then filling the void next season with the young talent steadily climbing up the ladder in Grand Rapids. One thing is for sure: the Wings have money to spend, but where they choose to spend it is anyone’s guess. With rumors circulating that bigger trades will happen well before the deadline this year, one would think that the stage is set for the Wings will do some soul-searching and potentially walk away with a new player, but with Kenny you just never know.

And Finally…:: Joakim Andersson heads into uncharted waters in Detroit hockey history. Remember Danny Dekeyser? He’s all the rage right now. @commie22 has usurped Jakub Kindl’s role. Can it last? Finland dropped the US at the World Junior Championship. I hope my professional colleagues are out celebrating.

Holmstrom out, Andersson recalled

Photo Credit: Bill Roose, DetroitRedWings.com via Twitter (links to follow)

Just a quick note this morning — Tomas Holmstrom, who left last night’s game against the Nashville Predators with an undisclosed lower body injury, will not be available for tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues. News has leaked that Homer suffered a groin injury at some point late in the second period.

Replacing him in the lineup is call-up Joakim Andersson (6-2, 206, Sweden, Center), who will become the first Red Wing to wear #63 in team history. His jersey is seen above, courtesy of a tweet from DetroitRedWing.com’s Bill Roose. Also according to Roose, Andersson will play on the fourth line with Cory Emmerton and Justin Abdelkader.

The 22-year-old is making his NHL debut after 109 games played in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins. In 29 games this season, Andersson has 8 goals and 9 assists, and his 17 points place him fifth on team scoring. Gustav Nyquist, who was the first Wings call-up this season, leads the team with 30.

Tomas Tatar, who was called up December 15th but did not play, seemed like a more likely candidate, but the Red Wings want to see what they have in their 3rd round pick from 2007. Detroit didn’t have a second round pick that year, but their first round pick (Brendan Smith) also made his NHL debut this season.

As always, you can stay up to date with THE CHART by clicking the various tabs at the bottom of the spreadsheet.

This Time John Wayne Does Not Walk Off Into the Sunset With Grace Kelly:Wings Beat Predators

Stop distracting, Babcock, I watch Cleary score goal in second.

FINAL SCORE (Hi Mr. P!)

4-1 Wings

THE RUNDOWN
I was watching the game while working, so my observations are sporadic, but the Wings looked good tonight. Real good. They finally potted a win on the road, against a team who notoriously gives us trouble. Cleary, in his post game interview, attributed at least partially to the absence of Weber. Whatever it was, the Wings looked strong from what I saw.

Your goal scorers were Filppula (twice), Datsyuk, and Cleary. Filppula’s first came from Zetterberg capitalizing on a turnover, and gives a great pass up to Filppula all alone in the slot. Datsyuk’s was a wraparound that he called before the referees did, and that had to be reviewed in Toronto. Cleary’s technically came 13 seconds after the Datsyuk goal. That goal I think was a bit of a backbreaker, and Filppula’s goal was icing on the cake. He was presented with a completely open net after some dirty work around the goal by Abdelkader and Emmerton.

The only Nashville goal came late in the 3rd. Blum flung a wobbly puck in, that Jimmy just didn’t see in time. Otherwise, Howard had an excellent game, as usual, and the Wings prevented Nashville from scoring on the power play, who entered the game with the league’s second best power play.

In other small notes, Darren Helm played with some gnarly stitches after taking a puck to the face in the pregame skate, and Holmstrom left the bench in the third, which has now been evaluated as a lower body injury. Hopefully its nothing serious and we’ll get our net crasher back soon.

HORSECOP OF THE GAME
Jimmy Howard. Monster saves. Twenty-one wins. Aw yeah.

RIGGY SHITBOX OF THE GAME
Hard to decide, but I’m giving it to Ericsson. It’s practically tradition.

WHAT’S NEXT

The Wings play St. Louis tomorrow at 7:30 EST, at the Joe. I think one of the gents have pregame tomorrow, so rejoice! You shall be free of me and back in the capable hands of Petrella, Discher, and Hollis soon.

Dec. 26th:: Yippee-ki-yay, Motherfucker

Now I know what a TV dinner feels like.

WHEN AND WHERE?
Red Wings vs. Predators, in Nashville, 8:00 PM Eastern. Game is on FSD and FSTN.

WHERE WERE WE?
:: Detroit lost to Calgary last Thursday, despite a third period rally. That feels like forever ago.
:: Predators lost to the Stars on Friday, 6 to 3.
:: This is the third out of six meetings with the Preds this season. The first time we beat them 4-1, the second time they beat us 4-3. Let’s hope it goes more like the first meeting than the second.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Pekka Rinne is too much fun to say. He has one of those names you have to say in full, like Tuuka Rask.

‘MEMBA ME? & OH, HI AGAIN
No former Wings on the Predators, and no former Predators on the Wings.

THE LINEUP (As far as I know, to be updated if necessary)
Franzen :: Datsyuk :: Bertuzzi
Filppula :: Zetterberg :: Hudler
Cleary :: Helm :: Miller
Abdelkader :: Emmerton :: Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kronwall
Jakub Kindl :: Riggy Shitbox

Tiberius Howard
Ty Conkblock

SCRATCHES
Eaves [face]
Conner [hand]
Mursak [left ankle]
Commodore [Twittering]

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:  Mike “Trust Me, I’ve Been Doing This Eleven Years” Commodore
STEVIE: Pavel “I Am An Exceptional Thief, Mrs. McClane” Datsyuk
HOLLIS & DISCH: Jingle bellin’

5 HOLE
:: As we saw in the last game against them, Nashville can come hard in the later periods, and that’s a time to watch out for. Hopefully the Wings don’t do their usual Wingsy thing in the 3rd and let up.
:: In fact, the Wings not playing the whole 60 minutes is becoming a theme. In the last game against Calgary, the Wings picked it up in the third period after the Flames had a 3 goal lead. If the Wings can play all 60 minutes, maybe they’ll blahblahblah I sound like Babcock.
:: The Wings have had a 3 day break, while Nashville only had the weekend off. Hopefully the extra time means more rest and not more rust, and the team comes out ready to go.
:: Nashville hasn’t been the best between the pipes lately, allowing 11 goals total in their last two games. Rinne allowed 5 against Columbus, and then was pulled after allowing 3 goals in 7 shots against Dallas. I assume that Nashville is putting him out tonight over Lindback. Rinne can be scary solid, and he’s had a break, but if the Wings can capitalize on him being leaky then they might be alright.

INSPIRATION

I watched this whole movie last night, but here’s the short version for you.

Merry Chrismtas from The Production Line

I despise this holiday, but that’s not going to stop me from drawing something silly.

Alternate speech bubbles:

  • What is a “Tumblr” and why do they want “sloppy makeouts?”
  • Do they want us to kidnap Shea Weber or…?
  • What is a “Shitbox” and why do they want it on fire?
  • Do they thing Ken Holland is Santa or something?
  • Why is someone asking me to get you some hooks, Huds?

You can comment with what you think Filppula could be asking Hudler about.

And Merry Christmas everyone.

Dec 22nd :: Russ, Go Get the Hammer

Shitter's full.

WHEN AND WHERE?
Hey its me again. I don’t get celebrate holidays like a normal person, thanks to being a Master’s student, so I’ve got your next few pregames. In honor of the rest of the TPL team being out of town, today’s nickname theme is Christmas Vacation.

Red Wings vs. Flames, 9:30 PM Eastern. Game is on FSD and TSN, just like last night.

WHERE WERE WE?
:: Detroit fell to the Canucks in a game which should have been 3-2 if referees understood what goalie interference is.
:: Calgary beat the Wild 2-1 on Tuesday.
:: This is the second time playing against the Flames, in what was the last game of the Wings six game losing streak. The final score was 4-1, Danny Cleary being the lone goal scorer.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
I like saying Rene Borque’s name a bunch of times and pretending to be the Swedish chef. I was going to give it to Kostopoulos but he’s a dirty jawbreaker and doesn’t deserve anything nice said about him.

‘MEMBA ME?
Both Todd Bertuzzi and Ian White once played on the Flames.

OH, HI AGAIN
There are no former Wings on the Flames.

THE LINEUP (Assumed)
Franzen :: Datsyuk :: Bertuzzi
Filppula :: Zetterberg :: Hudler
Cleary :: Helm :: Miller
Abdelkader :: Emmerton :: Holmstrom

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kronwall
Jakub Kindl :: Riggy Shitbox

Ty Conkblock
Tiberius Howard

SCRATCHES
Eaves [face]
Conner [hand]
Mursak [left ankle]
Commodore [Twittering]

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:  Jonathan “You Check Our Shitters, Honey?” Ericsson
STEVIE: Jimmy “Alright Then, If You’re Not Man Enough To Put An End To This Shit, Then I Am.” Howard
HOLLIS: Jimmy “You Just March Over There And Slug That Creep In His Face” Howard
DISCH: Holidayin’

5 HOLE
:: So if you don’t know, I lived in Alaska for a summer. They have a delicacy, if you can call it that, called muktuk, that consists of whale blubber and skin that’s preserved by burying it in the permafrost. It is disgusting. It tastes like rotting fat, and its impossible to break down. Unless you spit it out, you will chew and chew and chew and the flavor will continue to permeate your mouth. I’m treating last night’s game like  a chunk of muktuk, and I’m spitting it out before that shitty flavor taints my palette. Even better, we have tonight’s game to continue to hopefully flush that flavor of dead whale away.
:: If we have to pick one player to watch out for, it would be Jarome Iginla. I like the guy when we’re not playing him, but in the last game he scored two goals and had one assist, and in the game before that (in the previous season) he also had two goals and one assist. The Wings can’t afford to leave him alone tonight.
:: The Flames are 12th in the West, with a 15-15-4 record. This could be one of those games that we should expect to win, except we all know how things go against this team, and I’m certainly not holding my breath.
:: I’m assuming they’re starting Kiprusoff, and besides Iginla, he might be the most dangerous player on the team, because when he’s on he is ON. This is coming from someone who watched his crazy infamous kicksave live in a San Jose game. He’s won 15 games, .915 save percentage, and a 2.49 GAA. Compare to tonight’s starting goaltender for the Wings. Conklin has a .889 save percentage and 3.27 GAA. Of course, Conks hasn’t gotten many opportunities to make up for his previous play, and I want to believe, but I feel kind of vomity about him starting.

INSPIRATION

Because we need some boob jokes after last night.

This way for some nip slips… I mean Freudian slips.

Like You Mean It…


Even Mr. Underwood knows how to send a physical message...

FINAL SCORE (Hi Mr. P!)
4-2 Whales

THE RUNDOWN
We all give Mike Babcock alot of grief around here for using the same tired quotes when the Wings take one solidly on the chin. So then it’s extra fitting that when watching the first period of the shitshow in Vancouver, the first thing that pops into my head is an animated .gif of Mike Babcock saying “We didn’t get started on time.” Fuck me. Babbles has won. He’s got control of my mind and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Well, the proof was certainly in the pudding tonight as the Wings surrendered two goals in quick fashion, answered back, and then gift wrapped another two goal lead with a fierce and lethal combination of lazy play, poor positioning and a general lack of anything resembling interest in competing. Sure, the shots will tell a different story, but the moral remains the same: dig a hole against a good team and good luck getting out of it.

The most frustrating part about tonight isn’t the fact that the Wings failed to show up and play in the first period. This isn’t the first time they’ve been disinterested in playing hockey and it certainly won’t be the last. No, in a game that Mickey Redmond would have called a “throwaway” if he wasn’t at home asleep in his bed, the part that keeps me from just wastebasketing the Wings effort is Jimmy Howard. Not his play between the pipes, mind you. No, it’s the fact that he’s the toughest enforcer the Wings have on their squad, which is one hell of a travesty. Nobody else steps up after the whistle for a little extra fun. Nobody else cares enough to facewash a guy and then sock him in his jaw. No, the only guy willing to do that is Howard and it’s a total fucking embarrassment. What’s worse, nobody even sticks up for HIM. When Hansen laid his hands on Howard after the fourth goal, someone – ANYONE – should have been right there putting five fingers in Hansen’s face. Instead, Howard gets mobbed by three guys before Lidstrom can come over and ask everyone to politely step away from James and return to the match.I get it. Lidstrom’s not an enforcer. But who is? Who’s the guy the Wings have that will goon it up after a play and make sure that it’s understood that liberties won’t be taken? Who’s the guy that horsecollars Livonia Native Ryan Kesler after he spends half of the third period treating Valtteri Filppula like his red-headed stepchild?

THAT’S what’s disturbing about the game tonight. A loss to a good team with a hot goaltender is nothing to be ashamed about. What is shameful is when a team fails to use it as an opportunity to send a message for the next time around. You can bet the Canucks will continue to agitate the Wings in their last two matchups of the season. The real question is who’s going to stop them?

HORSECOP OF THE GAME
Jimmy Howard. For having a pair. Drew Miller gets honorable mention for scoring yet again.

RIGGY SHITBOX OF THE GAME
Justin Abdelkader. What happened to that tough guy image he was working on? Look kid, if you’re not going to score or contribute on the scoresheet, get out there and stand up for your teammates by knocking someone’s head in.

LOSS CANDY (Toughness Edition)

Gina Carano is an MMA fighter. And a former American Gladiator (AWESOME). Let’s get her some skates.

GSP. Duh.