Jan. 31 :: Is that how you say hello where you come from?

We kick Bill Murray Week off with a Double Tap

LET’S PLAY THE QUIET GAME
Fresh off of the All-Star Break, the Red Wings are looking to start the symbolic second half off on the right foot, visiting Western Canada for the second time this season — an injustice that was supposed to be rectified next season before the Players Association threw the preemptive tantrum. Tonight’s game in Calgary (9pm, Fox Sports Detroit Plus) kicks off a four-game roadie that will continue Vancouver, Edmonton, and Phoenix before heading home for six in a row, where — as we’ve learned — they’re made of magic, rainbows, and puppy glitter. 

SET THE STANDARD FOR “NOT TO BE FUCKED WITH”
:: Detroit was chopped up and added to some disgusting poutine last Wednesday, losing 7-2 in Montreal.
:: Calgary got the short end of the stick in an offensive explosion of a game against the Sharks last Tuesday, losing 1-0.
:: This is the fourth, and final, match up of the season between the Wings and Flames. The most recent game was the last one before Christmas, on December 22nd. The Wings and Ty Conklin were 3-2 losers on that evening. Goals were scored by Jiri Hudler and Ian White. With a win tonight, Detroit can split the season series 2 and 2.

WHO’S GANDHI?
With Rene Bourque unfortunately jettisoned to Quebec, we need a new Best Name Nominee. Let’s go with the guy that absolutely HAS to be using his porn name, Lance Bouma.

THE FIRST TO GO, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS, WERE THE FATTIES
Brad Stuart, Ian White, Mike Commodore, and Todd Bertuzzi all spent some time in Calgary. If the Florida Panthers are the Used To Be Red Wings, then the Red Wings are the Used To Be Flames.

FUCK THIS CLOWN
No one in Calgary used to be a Red Wing, but injured forward David Moss is from Livonia.

TIME TO NUT UP OR SHUT UP
Todd Bertuzzi :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler :: Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg
Dan Cleary :: Darren Helm :: Drew Miller
Tomas Holmstrom :: Justin Abdelkader :: Jan Mursak

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kronwall
Jakub Kindl :: Jonathan Ericsson

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin

Where’s the Fucking Twinkies?!
Patrick Eaves [jaw, LTIR]
Mike Commodore
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: Mike “It’s Amazing How Fast the World Can Go From Bad to Total Shit Storm” Babcock
HOLLIS: Movin’
DISCH: Hostin’
STEVIE: Mike “Here’s the Deal: I’m Not Easy to Get Along With, and I’m Sensing You’re a Bit of a Bitch” Babcock

YOU WANNA FEEL HOW HARD I CAN PUNCH?
:: Jimmy Howard had a nice showing in Ottawa, starting the first period for Team Chara. We was pulled in the final game before the break, and there was some speculation as to whether or not he’d continue to get some rest as Detroit visits the underachieving Flames. Calgary sits 11th in the West, but only three points out of a playoff spot.
:: Pavel Datsyuk was the toast of Canada’s Capital, with the respect of his peers pouring all over him all weekend. After being the top draft pick in the Fantasy Draft, both captains said they would have liked him to be the guy they built their teams around. Although he didn’t score in the game, he seemed to enjoy himself and here’s hoping that the good mojo carries over into the final 30 games of the season.
:: Nick Lidstrom used the break to get over the flu that kept him sidelined in Montreal. He’ll be back in the lineup tonight.
:: Now would be an excellent time to start turning around that horrible road record. Like mentioned above, they’re damn near unbeatable at home, but are under .500 when playing as visitors.
:: The Flames will be honoring former Flame and Red Wing player and coach Brad McCrimmon, who was killed in the tragic Yaroslavl Lokomotiv plane crash last year.

CINEMATIC INSPIRATION

TP:60 — Episode 23

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.

After an involuntary hiatus (THANKS, GO DADDY!), we’re back with an abridged version of TP:60. Joining Disch and Petrella this week is Pro Hockey Talk on NBC‘s Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT), who was live — in the flesh — in Montreal for the complete disaster of a game last week.

  • New Logo: Kick-ass serving from our lovely Stevie.
    All-Star Festivities: Whose shootout goal was better — Kane or Perry — and can we all agree that they’re both douches?
  • Columbus? The Blue Jackets will host next year’s game…will that save hockey in Ohio? Hint: no.
  • Trade Deadline Approacheth. Will the Wings make a move? Who might be on their radar? Who can they get rid of for a return?
  • Lundqvist or Howard. Who do you build your team around? Stand by for a doozy.

Stay tuned for a full episode of TP:60 — which we hope to have up and running soon. A little bit of a tease: we have Chris Conner lined up for an interview as soon as we can coordinate everyone’s schedules, but we’re excited to have him and look forward to chatting with the part-time Red Wing.

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

Despite loss (AGAIN), TPL/WIIM All-Star Weekend a rousing success

The second installment of The Production Line vs. Winging it in Motown All-Star Spectacular ended much like the first one did: with beer money clenched in our cold fists, making our way to the concessions to serve some draft suds to our friends from down the street. Congratulations are in order for Team Winging It — who were the victors by a score of 56.5 – 48.8.

Things were looking good for Team TPL: we were comfortably in the lead after the Skills Competition…and grew that lead in the first period of yesterday’s game. All the more reason for applause was Winging It’s come-from-behind victory, despite the game’s MVP being on our side.

However, the real winners of the weekend (I’m told this is something losers say) is The Michigan Humane Society, who will be the proud recipients of $1,284.50. Once again, thanks to @ayronatthewings for her generous gift of Bobbleheads, which will be given to the winning pledgers as soon as JJ receives them.

I was asked to appear on Winging it in Motown Radio to recap the All-Star Weekend and play a very disastrous game of FMK with the Full House bunch. Click here to head over to the site and give a listen, also featuring @TheTripleDeke’s Tyler Devereaux.

Speaking of podcasts, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’ve slacked a little bit. Between the technical difficulties that the site has endured and the travel schedules of our principal staff, it’s been impossible to get an episode out. However, we’ll be recording later tonight with Pro Hockey Talk on NBC’s Joe Yerdon and releasing an abridged episode tomorrow morning. We’re hopeful that we’ll be able to get a full episode out soon — as soon as the rest of the kinks are ironed out. Thank you for your patience.

TPL / WIIM All-Star Challenge Update

Just a quick update a night before the Skills Competition. Our good friend Ayron (@ayronatthewings) has very generously sent a pledge of her own: a full set of six bobbleheads to one lucky pledger.

Long story short — make us a pledge.

The top pledger via The Production Line and the top pledger via Winging it in Motown will take home the Red Wings Bobblehead of their choice to go with their giant animal-loving hearts. The other four will be raffled off in a randomized drawing. For every $5 you donate to the cause (via our little shindig here) will get you an entry into a drawing.

So, quit your procrastinatin’… make a pledge in the comments RIGHT NOW.

Team TPL to take on Team WIIM

We just wrapped up the second annual All-Star Fantasy Draft with our friends at Winging it in Motown. We were defeated ever-so-slightly last season and this year, instead of picking with our hearts, we picked with our brain — hoping to take the victory on points over our arch-frienemies.

No, all of our players may not be totally likable… but they’re going to propel us to a victory over the Red Wings fan-pandering (fandering?) Winging It fellas. Sometimes you have to make the hard decisions and know that your peoples will stick by you. We hope.

All jokes aside, we’re looking forward to another go-around with the WIIM gentlemen. Feel free to drop your pledges into the comments (all funds raised will go to the Michigan Human Society). The winning team will donate $50 to the cause… and the losing team will donate $100. Pick your sides, or pick your random events!

TEAM TPL FORWARDS
With the first pick in the Draft, WIIM selected (SURPRISE!) hometown hero Pavel Datsyuk. Trying to keep up with the Joneses, Disch went to the podium and selected one of the top players in the league this season, and Datsyuk’s countryman, Evgeni Malkin. Yes, he’s a Pittsburgh Penguin. No, it’s not an ideal NHL affiliation for our first pick, but he’s just as likely to tear the scoring open as anyone in the All-Star Game. Should be awesome to watch and root for… for once. Plus, we felt okay taking Malkin since it’s not the Stanley Cup Finals and he’s more likely to show up on Sunday.

Hancock then went the Petrella Route and selected Steven Stamkos, although he didn’t have to overlook Nick Lidstrom to do so. Chris Hollis selected fourth, and took former Red Wing and current asshole Marian Hossa. No doubt he’s a talented dude and we’re hoping for a few points from the man that let us all down way back when. The next forward picked came from yours truly, taking surprising jersey salesman Claude Giroux.

Hoping to take advantage of speed (assuming his groin doesn’t explode), we took the front-runner for the Fastest Skater Competition: New York Ranger Marian Gaborik. After seeing Winging it in Motown select the ugly twin, we swooped in and took Henrik Sedin. Closing out the top six is young stud Islander John Tavares.

Fresh on the heels of his Hossa selection, Hollis snatched up Twenty Cent Patrick Kane. He may be a Red Wings villain, but he’s the kind of guy that will take this game ultra seriously and score 8 goals. The selections continued with Tyler Seguin of the Bruins (very likely the only guy in the history of the solar system to be drafted second overall, win a Cup immediately, and be name an All-Star all before turning twenty). Jordan Eberle was a gut selection by Petrella, hoping to take advantage of his relatively unknownness (in this game, anyway).

The Production Line got stuck with the final three picks in the real Fantasy Draft, although it didn’t play out like that in ours. Jamie Benn, fresh off an emergency appendectomy, didn’t take the easy (Ovechkin) way out, and opted to go to Ottawa and show off his stuff. Logan Couture may be rockin’ a new Honda has he pulls into the arena, but he’ll be diving his way to a penalty for Team TPL (we hope). Finally, we were assigned Jason “BRING IT ON DOWN TO” Pominville.

TEAM TPL DEFENSEMEN
We went for Red Wings fans’ hearts with our first two selections on the blueline. The man we’ve all been coveting for half a decade, Shea Weber, is practically a shoo-in for the hardest shot (YEAH, I SEE YOU ZDENO). The man more likely to end up a Red Wing when the Predators can’t find the space for him, Ryan Suter, will get a nice long look from all of us. Filling in the “overrated” slots on our roster is Dion Phaneuf and Keith Yandle. Rounding out the D corps are Kimmo Timonen and Dan Girardi.

TEAM TPL GOALTENDERS
We were lucky enough to draft first in the goalie round and take our very own Tiberius, Jimmy Howard. Team Alfredsson’s assistant captain Henrik Lundqvist was our second pick for the position, and we closed out Round 4 with Brian Elliot.

TEAM TPL ROOKIES
Unlike the NHL’s Draft, we selected rookies individually. They’ll count toward any points earned just like any other player. Our selections were University of Michigan man Carl Hagelin, the second overall pick from a year ago Gabriel Landeskog, Blue Jackets stud Ryan Johansen, Buffalo Sabre Luke Adam, Minnesota Wild Nick Johnson, and Montreal Canadien Raphael Diaz.

TEAM WINGING IT IN MOTOWN’S ROSTER OF RUNNERS-UP:
Pavel Datsyuk — Steven Stamkos — Jarome Iginla
Daniel Sedin — Jason Spezza — James Neal
Phil Kessel — Daniel Alfredsson — Corey Perry
Joffrey Lupul — Scott Hartnell — Milan Michalek

Zdeno Chara — Erik Karlsson
Kris Letang — Brian Campbell
Alex Edler — Dennis Wideman

Tim Thomas
Jonathan Quick
Carey Price

Rookies: Sean Couturier, Matt Read, Craig Smith, Cody Hodgson, Colin Greening, and Justin Faulk.

As a reminder, the scoring for our little competition is as follows:

2 points for a goal in the All-Star Game.
1 point for an assist in the All-Star Game.
2 points for a penalty in the All-Star Game.
0.1 points for each save in the All-Star Game.
0.5 (up or down) for +/- in the All-Star Game.
3 points for the player selected First Star in the All-Star Game.

3 points for each Skills Competition win.
For the Team Relay Challenge, the side which has drafted the most players from the winning relay team will be awarded 3 points.

Big thanks to Winging it in Motown for another fun day of hockey chat and drafts. Even though we’re going to win on paper, the Humane Society is the real winner, so don’t be shy!

Red Wings spanked in Montreal

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
A lot to a little, Montreal.

THE RUNDOWN
Skipping the whole thing. No one cares.

WHAT’S NEXT
We’ve got Calgary on the other side of the All-Star Break. Puck drops at 9pm next Tuesday and you’re stuck with me again.

LOSS CANDY
A pair of athletes who were likely working harder than the Red Wings tonight:

The best reason to watch soccer, Alex Morgan

Professional ping pong player Rafael Nadal

Jan. 24 :: Option A: You talk, we listen, no pain.

Brad Pitt Week continues

OPTION B: YOU DON’T TALK, I REMOVE YOUR THUMBS WITH MY PLIERS. IT WILL HURT.
Our boys are riding seven straight wins as they head into a five-game road trip, which is too bad since they’re basically invincible at home. They’ve earned seventeen straight wins in the Joe, but are merely .500 on the road. They’ll face a hostile (not to mention, racist!) environment in Montreal tonight, as the puck drops at 7:30pm and will be seen on NBC Sports Netwurk (see what I did there?), TSN, or — if you speak the only language that is worthy of human ears — RDS.

The game may be interrupted sometime during the second period to discuss the head coach’s newly learned French and the confusion on the bench since none of the goddamn players speak that language anyway.

YOU ARE THE JOB
:: Detroit continued their domination over the completely worthless St. Louis Blues on Monday, 3-1.
:: Montreal defeated the Maple Leafs in, what Canada will have you believe, was the only game on Saturday, 3-1.
:: The last time Detroit and Montreal met was December 10th, 2010. The Wings were 4-2 winners at home, in a really fun game to watch. Your goal scorers were Pavel Datsyuk, Niklas Kronwall, Patrick Eaves, and Nicklas Lidstrom. Kris Draper was a healthy scratch and Mike Modano was on IR. Jimmy Howard improved to 16-4-2 on the season.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY NOW?
I’m going to go with Erik Cole as the best name nominee because that’s the most Anglo name on the board and I’m in the mood to piss off some Francophones.

STILL ALIVE, BABY?
Red Wing-for-a-hot-minute Garrett Stafford plays for the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate. He made the news on Monday when he was suspended for throwing a water bottle at the Toronto Marlies bench during an outdoor game.

TEMPTING, BUT I DON’T GET OUT OF BED FOR LESS THAN HALF A MILLION DOLLARS
Griffins defenseman Doug Janik was a Canadien until the Montreal media discovered that it’s a “J” sound, and not some phlegmy “Y” sound.

SAME OLD. PEOPLE NEED KILLIN’
Todd Bertuzzi :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler :: Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg
Dan Cleary :: Darren Helm :: Drew Miller
Tomas Holmstrom :: Justin Abdelkader :: Cory Emmerton

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kronwall
Jakub Kindl :: Jonathan Ericsson

Jimmy Howard
Ty Conklin

The New Curtains Are Hideous
Patrick Eaves [jaw, LTIR]
Mike Commodore
Jan Mursak
(note: just playing the odds here… we haven’t seen an updated lineup for tonight)

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: Pavel “It’s Called Evasive Driving” Datsyuk
HOLLIS: Jiri “How Many? Ok… I’ll Go First, Then. I Don’t Keep Exact Count, But I’d Say, Uh, High 50s, Low 60s. I Mean, I Know I’ve Been Around the Block and All, But…” Hudler
DISCH: Ville “Wait, Why Do I Get the Girl Gun?” Leino
STEVIE: Darren “Your Aim’s As Bad As Your Cooking, Sweetheart… And That’s Saying Something!” Helm

YOU OBVIOUSLY WANT ME DEAD AND I’M LESS AND LESS CONCERNED FOR YOUR WELL-BEING
:: The Wings are getting some kick-ass contributions from all over the board. Jimmy Howard has 30 wins — three more than second place in the league. The blueline has chipped in 33 goals — most in the NHL. Johan Franzen is about to be a 20 goal scorer again. Pavel Datsyuk needs one more assist for 40. Ian White, Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi, Niklas Lidstrom, and Pavel Datsyuk are all in the top 12 in +/-. Oh, and we’re sitting atop the league standings with 67 points.
:: This is the final game before the All Star Break — where Datsyuk and Howard will be on display for the world to see. Last season, the Wings were 30-13-6 heading into the break, so we’re slightly ahead of the pace this season.
:: Tonight’s game is on NBC Sports Networks, so… get your spell check ready.
:: Don’t forget to get your pledges in for the WIIM/TPL All Star Game Spectacular.

CINEMATIC INSPIRATION

TPL vs. WIIM Reeeeeemiiiiiiix!

Remember last year? Everyone hated me for about nine minutes when it became public knowledge that I selected Steven Stamkos instead of some 40-year-old dinosaur on defense in the first round of the All Star Fantasy Draft (I wonder what happened to that fogey, anyway…).

The trash talk started early.

The trash talk continued late.

The beers were purchased (and likely spit in) because to the victors go the spoils.

And now it’s time for a re-match. We’re not at all pleased about losing to the Winging It fellas, even when the payout was merely a beer (likely something we’d buy for one another ANYWAY… IT’S THE PRINCIPAL). So we’re going to do it again. JJ, Graham, Hancock, Hollis, Disch, and I will be gathering around the campfire (read: half-burnt down porno shop), and select All Stars one by one until someone gets stuck with Jason Pominville.

The rules will likely be the same — point values assigned to skills competitions and actions within the game itself — and we’ll be keeping track very publicly because that’s how the best trash talk goes: loud enough for everyone to see and act like we’re on Maury.

Keeping in the spirit of things, we’re going to open up the pledge drive for this little shindig. After we’ve selected our teams, place your wagers and we’ll make sure that all of the dinero ends up in the very worthy hands of the Humane Society of Michigan. Feel free to pledge for an individual action ($5 if Logan Couture actually turns into a donkey) or the win ($10 if Team TPL comes out on top), and we’ll keep it tallied.

So standby… we’re going to be picking teams like it’s gym class in just a few days…