St. Louis = Lindstomped

We'll get to this in a moment...

FINAL SCORE (Hi Mr. P!)
3-1 Wings. Suck it St. Louis.

THE RUNDOWN
Well how about that? For a team that has struggled to step up and deliver when there’s a cloud of hype and excitement, the Wings got it done and did it in a big way. With the win, they’ve opened up a three point lead on both St. Louis and Chicago and continued to stretch the home winning streak out to an unbelievable 17 games.

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • Despite the win, the first period was nothing spectacular. In fact, it kinda sucked. A bad line change led to a 3-on-1 goal for the Blues and the Wings were clearly on tilt. It was a classic Mike Babcock “Didn’t get started on time” moment in the making until…
  • …Brad Stuart levels Alex Pietrangelo near the end of the period, prompting Chris Stewart to rush in and instigate a fight. There are so many things wrong with this sequence for Stewart, including (but not limited to):
    • Instigating a fight on a clean hit.
    • Stewart on Stuart violence. C’mon, just because they don’t see eye-to-eye on spelling doesn’t mean violence is needed.
    • But mostly the fact the Stewart’s antics – trying to defend a teammate and make a statement in a game you are leading – backfired. It’s the classic mistake of forcing a fight when your team clearly doesn’t need it. St. Louis had the momentum and the lead, but Stewart gets antsy, starts a fight, and gets the extra time in the box. That’s playing with the fire of momentum, and we all know what happens next…
  • …Pavel Datsyuk converts on the power play less than a minute in to the second period. Beauty of a goal and still the best way to punch an opponent back.
  • Gotta love the Mule’s team leading 19th tally. Not only was it the go-ahead goal and eventual game winner, but cleaning up a rebound in front always gets me more fired up than a perfectly wired shot from the slot. Dude is big and huge and gifted. If he’s willing to clean up messes in between sniping the corner of the net, there’s no reason he can’t keep leading this team in scoring. Frankly, there’s no reason he SHOULDN’T lead this team in scoring.
  • The Jim Howard lovefest continues, not only because he’s STAUNCH between the pipes, but because the dude has a shorter fuse than anyone of his teammates and is willing to throw some fisty-cuffs to make his point. Remember when a nameless blogger said Howard sucked and would never hack it a few years ago? Yea, Petrella (read: Hollis) sure looks stupid now. I bet Petrella (Hollis) is willing to spend the next few years trying to redeem himself in the eyes of ol’ Jimbo. Oh yeah, dude picked up his 30th win of the season too. Bazinga.
  • Todd Bertuzzi with another point tonight. What up Petrella (read: Petrella)?
  • Jaroslav Halak takes his first loss in regulation since November 22nd. Sweet, sweet music to these ears.
  • One more matchup left with the Blues this year, and it’ll be in St. Louis. So far, the home team has won every matchup. Just sayin’.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • Mike Babcock’s exchange with Pierre McGuire is the stuff of legends. Babcock essentially telling Pierre to shut up so he could get back to his job may have made my whole year. And judging by Twitter, I assume I’m not the only one.
  • It’s been well documented in the @TPLhockey feed, but NBC had some truble wif namez tonight. Apparently a few Norris trophies and a Hall of Fame lock still don’t mean much to NBC Sports Network. Nicholas Lindstrom at your service on the Wings blue line. Wait, it’s not Lindstrom? Oh, you must be talking about Nick LINDSTOM!!!

“HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Jim Howard. Big saves, 30 wins, some Mike Tyson all up in that grill. If “horsecop” is in the dictionary, that’s the definition.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Blame it on the euphoria of the win or maybe just a total lack of respect for the guy, but we’re breaking tradition tonight and giving it to Chris Stewart. His antics were the epitome of “Shitboxian” in that I could totally see Jonathan Ericsson try and get in a fight to rally the troops, win it, and then watch the other team take control of the game from the penalty box. If we have to go with a Wing (checking the rules…….we do) I’m giving it to Dan Cleary.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Wings kick off a six game road trip in Montreal on Wednesday. Petrella’s back in the driver’s seat, and there’s a strong possibility we’ll be getting our “Armageddon” on for the pregame.

Finally, a personal sidenote: I’m sure this won’t come as a surprise to many of you given my lack of posting around here lately, but a busy personal and professional schedule means this is likely the last you’ll hear from me on the site until sometime in March. I’m going to try and work in the occasional long-form piece here and there, but the lady and I are in final preparations to move down to San Francisco, and for the sake of both our sanity, my focus will be on getting her, the dog and myself settled in the Bay Area. I’m also hoping we can get a TP:60 or two recorded over the next month, so I won’t be completely gone. But between the move, business travel and a bachelor party (Vancouver, Feb. 2nd, Rogers Arena. I’ll be the entirely way too hammered Wings fan) there’s not a ton of time to dedicate to the bloggy business. Petrella, Disch and Stevie will keep you company until I return, which means the content will be both engaging and well-written. My drivel is no match.

Don’t miss me too much.

Jan. 23 :: You Are Part Of A League of Morons

Ken Hitchcock's reaction to the team dinner menu tonight...

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
At the behest of Disch, we continue our theme of Brad Pitt inspired pregames this week. “Burn After Reading” gets us set for the fifth of six matchups between the Wings and Blues. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a postgame wrap-up too! (Sorry about Saturday folks.) The NBC Sports Network is your home for coverage tonight.

WHERE WERE WE?
:: Detroit scratched out a 3-2 shootout win over the BJ’s in Detroit on Saturday.
:: The Blues dropped the Sabres on Saturday, 4-2.
:: In the four previous meetings, the home team has won each time. The most recent tilt saw the Wings take a 3-0 decision on New Year’s Eve in Detroit, with Johan Franzen, Justin Abdelkader and Jiri Hudler scoring for the good guys and Jim Howard pitching the shutout.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
B.J. Crombeen. Duh.

‘MEMBA ME?
No former Wings on the Blues.

OH, HI AGAIN
According to THE CHART, Ty Conklin is the only former member of the Blues on the Wings roster.

THE LINEUP
Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Miller-Helm-Cleary
Emmerton-Abdelkader-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Ericsson
Commodore-Stuart

Howard (starting)
Conklin

SCRATCHES
Kindl
Mursak
Eaves (face)

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: Dr. “Looks Like His Optometrist Has A Sense Of Humor” Rahmani
STEVIE: Studyin’
HOLLIS:  Jiri “He Could Be One Of These Guys That Cruises the Internet” Hudler
DISCH: Jiri “We’ve Been Over, And Over, And Over This, First You Say You Can’t Commit, And Then…” Hudler

5 HOLE
:: It’s been noted over and over again, but the Central Division is a total clusterfuck right now. Four teams over 60 points…and Columbus. The Wings and Blues are in an absolute dogfight for the top spot right now, with Chicago and Nashville lurking back like Ryan Kesler in a postgame interview. A Wings win in regulation tonight puts them squarely in the lead of the division, despite having played one more game than St. Louis. A loss, and the Wings fall a point back of the Blues with St. Louis still holding that game-in-hand advantage. OT or shootout? Well,…forget it. Too many numbers. We’ll shoot first and ask questions later.
:: On top of being an incredibly important game for division positioning, the Wings have that whole 16 game winning streak at the Joe on the line again. I’ll be honest: If there’s a game where it’s likely to come to an end, it’s tonight. That pains me to say, but honesty is a virtue. So are superstitions. *Knocks on wood, throws salt over the shoulder, spins three times.*
:: Who’s been effective for Detroit this year against the Blues? Try Jiri Hudler. Scuttles has 2 goals and 3 points against the Notes in four matchups, as well as a +2 rating. Kronwall and Datsyuk also have 3 points against St. Louis, so look for them to be active.
:: For the Blues, it’s been the Jaroslav Halak show. Dude is 11-0-3 over his last 14 starts and has pitched three doughnuts in his last five games. Respect, because that’s just filthy.
:: It’s also worth noting that Alex Pietrangelo is cruising along on a nine game point streak. He’ll get the more reserved “Somebody cover this guy” for tonight’s game.

Jan. 21 :: You’re the All-Singing, All-Dancing Crap of the World

The only person that likes James Wisniewski...

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
This is the third matchup of six against the BJ’s this year. Puck drops tonight at 7:00 PM JLT (Joe Louis Time). FS-D has the coverage.

WHERE WERE WE?
:: Detroit scratched out a 3-2 shootout win over the Coyotes in Phoenix on Thursday.
:: The BJ’s got left dry in a 3-0 blanking by the Predators on Thursday.
:: As mentioned, this is the third time these two divisional foes have tangled this season, with the other two coming in October. Detroit took the first matchup at the Joe by a score of 5-2 on October 21st, before dropping a 4-1 decision in Columbus four nights later.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
While I would normally be all about Fedor Tyutin, I’m going with the curveball today and taking Maksim Mayorov.

‘MEMBA ME?
The sheer joy I take in typing the following words knows no bounds: Brett Lebda.

OH, HI AGAIN
According to THE CHART, Ty Conklin and Mike Commodore left the sinking ship and joined the good guys.

THE LINEUP
Franzen-Datsyuk-Bertuzzi
Filppula-Zetterberg-Hudler
Miller-Helm-Cleary
Emmerton-Abdelkader-Holmstrom

Lidstrom-White
Kronwall-Ericsson
Commodore-Stuart

Howard (starting)
Conklin

SCRATCHES
Kindl
Mursak
Eaves (face)

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: Bian “Is Tyler My Bad Dream, Or Am I Tyler’s?” Burke
STEVIE: Patrick “Motherfucker! You Hit Me In the Ear!” Eaves
HOLLIS:  Mike “Why Do Guys Like You and I Know What a Duvet Is? Is it Essential to our Survival, in the Hunter-Gatherer Sense of the Word?” Commodore
DISCH: Derek “I Am Jack’s Inflamed Sense of Rejection” Meech

5 HOLE
:: I love streaks as much as the next guy – especially ones that involve the Red Wings winning – but the FSD crew has a nasty habit of beating these things into your head so that you never can forget them. I’ll make this quick then, before I’m off to knock on wood and grab my lucky rabbit foot: Wings looking for 16 wins in a row at home tonight.
:: Todd Richards sucks. Brett Lebda will not dress and play tonight for the BJ’s. I wonder how much ol’ Lebda had to slip the coach to keep him out of the lineup.
:: I know the guy is injured, but man, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that James Wisniewski is a total douche that signed away the prime of his career to the worst  team in the game. I’ll never forget his comments about Detroit not paying “market value” for free agents, so watching Columbus suck and Wiz sit on the sidelines still makes me giggle deep down inside.
:: I had a whole post written in my head about Todd Bertuzzi’s recent awesomeness, but I just never got around to putting fingers to keys. At any rate, Bert has been stellar in the shootout of late, and has 4 goals and 2 assists in his last four games. The numbers aren’t off  the charts, but his game and his presence up on the top line have been a big factor in the Wings’ success of late.
:: And now it’s time for the obligatory”Somebody Cover Rick Nash” plea that I make every time the Wings play the BJ’s. Ready? Here goes: SOMEBODY COVER RICK NASH! Nash has four goals in his last nine games (not awesome), but has found a way to pour in 23 goals against the Wings over his career, which is tied for the most against ANY opponent. Ken Holland, I’m begging you: Find a way to pry this guy from Scott Howson’s kung-fu grip.

Rally ‘Round the Conk: Wings Win 3-2 in the Shootout

FINAL SCORE (Hi Mr. P!)
3-2 Wings in the Skills Competition

THE RUNDOWN
Both teams coming off of a game the night before. Wings started slow and got down early, but took control and got the two points in the end.

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • If last night was the way to start a game, tonight sure as hell wasn’t. Yes, Tomas Holmstrom ripped home a gimme slapshot from ten feet out to give the Wings the lead, but five shots during the opening stanza didn’t really light the world on fire.
  • Not much Conklin could do on the first goal, but man, where was Lidstrom’s patented stickwork to help a brother out on the second goal? Puck drops neatly to Loui Erikkson, and he’s able to outduel The Captain with a broken stick? I’m guessing Lidstrom owed Loui payment on a bet from over the summer or something.
  • After a little puck luck on the Happy Hudler goal, the Wings picked up the pace for the rest of the second period and looked pretty darn good. A solid forecheck generated some scoring chances, but a lack of traffic in front gave Bachman a much easier time seeing shots and limiting rebounds.
  • The third period was more of the same for the Wings. Pressing the play, but not alot of traffic early. As the period wore on, the Wings started generating some pretty good chances, but tip your hat to Richard Bachman. Dude blended solid saves with a little bit of luck and both teams wound up with a point.
  • The Stars controlled most of the extra session and seemed to get the better chances, but took a late penalty on a terrible turnover giving the Wings a power play for 17 seconds. It wouldn’t matter, as Steve Ott won the faceoff and the Wings couldn’t muster a shot.
  • Weird shootout. Datsyuk and Erikkson hit posts, Hudler pulls out the old drag, Bertuzzi with a piss poor effort and Ty Conklin blanks the side. We’ll take it.
  • With the win, the Wings moved to 61 points and sole possession of first place in the West. Of course, that could change by the time I hit “publish”, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE
I was talking to my boss (Dallas fan) during the game, and he gave me an interesting idea for a new TPL game: Lamest Ads on the Boards. Keith votes for Purina Dog Chow on the St. Louis boards. I’m inclined to agree. The bar is set. Let’s see if we can find something worse.

“HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Give me Jan Mursak. Loved the hustle on Holmstrom’s goal and hope that The ‘Sak can keep bringing that kind of intensity as he finds his way back into the lineup. Runner up to Jiri Hudler for the carbon copy of Zetterberg’s shootout winner from the other night.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Brad Stuart/Mike Commodore. On a night where everyone played pretty darn well (after the first period), Stuart and Commie had a miscommunication on a line change and cost the Wings a “too many men” penalty. Fortunately, Dallas would take their own penalty 16 seconds later, so no real harm. Still, hate seeing those mental lapses.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Wings head to the desert to battle the Yotes on Thursday night.

Dry your eyes, Eddie — Bertuzzi’s got a hanky for you.

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
3-2 Red Wings in Overtime.

THE RUNDOWN
Third meeting of the season between Wings and Hawks. Third time it was a 3-2 final. But it was the half-toothed murderer who ended this one. After missing the last game with an undisclosed injury, Todd Bertuzzi Kool-Aid manned his way through the Joe Louis doors and said, “I GOT THIS.”

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • Game was all Detroit in the first period. The Wings had something like 11 shots before Chicago got on the board at all. Then, with the first power play, Tomas Holmstrom just doin’ what Tomas Holmstroms do — the best in the business tipped an Ian White shot from the point, and it’s 1-0. Wild Cherry’s Play That Funky Music filled the arena and all was right in the world. Todd Bertuzzi would make it 2-0 on a dumbshit Chicago line change with under 4 minutes in the frame. Pavel Datsyuk registered an assist on both first period goals.
  • Jimmy Howard had no business stopping that point-blank shot after a funky bounce that sent the puck sailing over his stick with a wide open net waiting for the Hawks. Somehow, he got his jimmy legs over to the opposite post and denied an opportunity to make it 1-1 a few minutes after the Homer goal. He wouldn’t be so lucky in the second period, as another miscue with the stick turned into a Hawks goal into a gaping net. That would make it 2-1 with just twenty minutes left.
  • Take the first bullet and reverse it. It was all Chicago in the early going of the third, holding Detroit without a shot until nine minutes in. Some Wings penalties (notably, a double minor for Drew Miller’s high stick drawing blood), some Hawks scoring chances, and it was scary for a bit. The Wings would kill the double minor, and Drew Miller jumped out of the box and found himself on a breakaway. Though he was denied by Crawford, it represented a metaphorical changing o the tides. The Hawks started to get desperate (Eddie Olczyk started crying about uncalled and non-existent interference), and allowed an odd-man rush with less than two minutes to play. But they’d pull Crawford and tie it with 51.7 to play. Shit.
  • Franzen was the best player on the ice for either team in overtime. He was all over the ice, controlling the puck and everyone else was forced to wait for him to decide what he was going to do. Force. But the hero of the day will be Todd Bertuzzi — scoring his second goal of the game in sudden death and sending the Hawks west.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • “Those of you tuning in to see the Olympic Trials: Marathon…” Who the hell sets an alarm for that? Even hockey out-rates distance running. Maybe.

DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Todd Bertuzzi. A game-time decision turns into a two-goal day.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
I’m going to go with Ericsson here, and here’s why: at one point in the second period — despite all the trouble Howard was having playing the puck — he gestured to Tiberius like “come on, get the puck to me up the ice!” which he then carried TOWARD Howard and promptly iced. Mix in a little “ill-advised penalty right after the Hawks found some life,” and you have quintessential Shitbox.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Wings welcome Buffalo to the Joe on Monday. I’ll be on the ice for practice, so one of the other fellas should have your pre-game.

Photo Credit: AP

Jan. 14 :: May the Force Be With Us All

Even Natalie Portman's sweet ass couldn't get me to see this nonsense

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Wings and Hawks. For the third time in two weeks. This time, it’s a Saturday matinee: 12:30pm on NBC. The real one. Not the random cable channel no one can find. The Wings will attempt to tie a franchise record of 14 straight home wins today.

THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit grabbed a shootout victory, 3-2, on Thursday night against Phoenix.
:: Chicago earned a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
:: I feel like we just did this — the Wings and Hawks grappled on Sunday, with Pavel Datsyuk banking a win off of Nick Leddy’s ass in overtime.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Dan Cleary :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler :: Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg
Jan Mursak :: 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

Scratches
Patrick Eaves [jaw, LTIR]
Mike Commodore [foot]
Todd Bertuzzi [unknown]

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 “You Stupid Little Astro Droid!” Hudler
HOLLIS: Sending out the search party first thing in the morning.
DISCH: Sweltering in Texas.
STEVIE: Nicklas “Soon I Will Have a New Apprentice, One Far Younger and More Powerful” Lidstrom

FIVE HOLE
:: As the game was ending on Thursday, Jimmy Howard took an awkward spill. He ended up winning the contest, but we’ve all been wondering if — after the adrenaline wore off — he’d be too sore to play in this game. Last we heard, he should be in net, even though Conklin was able to defeat the Hawks in the last go-around.
:: Mike Commodore will not play for the third straight game, having blocked a shot in the last Chicago game with his right foot.
:: Todd Bertuzzi is a game-time decision two nights after surprisingly be scratched after the pre-game warm-up. The official diagnosis is — wait for it — undisclosed. If he can go, he’ll likely replace Jan Mursak in the lineup.
:: It might have flown under the radar, but it was announced yesterday that the Red Wings have waived Chris Minard with the intention of sending him to Grand Rapids. This is news because Minard has missed the entire season (and almost a full calendar year), the result of a concussion from two seasons ago. That he’s being waived means he’s healthy enough to be designating for assignment, which – of course – is great news.

I felt impotent and out of control which I really really hate (loss candy)

What the hell---yo, you gettin' on the highway!

Final Score (Hi Dad!)
5-1 Islanders. No, seriously.

The Rundown
This is a game that was over before it started. Anytime you saunter into Long Island to face the powerhouse Islanders, you just gotta expect an ass-kicking. What’s that? Oh, you say they’re the worst team in the L’Eastern Conference? Well shit, I got nothing. Well, the joke’s on them. The Wings may have lost, but the Islanders have to stay in and around Massapequa. Toss up.

The Islanders took advantage of their opportunities and the Wings failed on theirs. In case you missed the Filppula whiff, I caught some video of it:

Loss Candy
Continuing the theme:

Cher Horowitz

Josh

Jan. 10 :: Hey Yo Woman, Len’ Me Fi’ Dollars

Rest in peace, Tai. You could have been a FAAARMER in those clothes.

UPDATE! Per Ansar Khan of MLive, Pavel Datsyuk is out tonight with an undisclosed injury sustained in the Chicago Blackhawks game on Sunday. Rather than calling anyone up, the team will use 7 defensemen and 11 forwards.

ANYTHING HAPPENS TO MY DAUGHTER, I GOT A .45 AND A SHOVEL. I DOUBT YOU’D BE MISSED
The Red Wings’ annual Fathers/Mentors Trip comes to a close tonight. The team’s gift to their dads — a four-day tour of world class North American cities — sees their trip go from Toronto to Chicago to… wait, are you fucking serious? Long Island? What — was the team plane for the Kuwait trip overbooked? Have you ever been to Long Island? Five minutes there and I’m contemplating my chances swimming anywhere else. Also, check out this website.

The Wings and Islanders faceoff for their once-yearly get-together. Puck drops at 7pm Eastern and can be seen on Fox Sports Detroit Plus for those of you still in the homeland or with Center Ice. A half hour before game time, the Vikings and Buccaneers (the Pennsylvania high school hockey kind, not the shitty football kind) will be facing off, as well. The Red Wings are 2-2 when I’m behind the bench at the same time. Both losses came to the Blues somehow.

Anyhow, back to the game. Do you think the Islanders prefer fashion victim or ensembly challenged?

SOME LIKE IT HOT AND SPORADICUS
:: Detroit needed overtime to drop the Hawks 3-2 on Sunday. Somewhere, Ed Olczyk is still crying.
:: The Islanders were curb-stomped by (wait for it) the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-1, on Saturday.
:: The Wings and Isles rarely meet, what being in alternate conferences and all. An injustice that was supposed to be rectified next season, but won’t be now. It’s been over a year since these two teams last met: New Years Eve as 2010 rolled into 2011. The Wings were 4-3 overtime losers, but I assume half of them were drunk on champagne already. It was Tomas Tatar’s NHL debut, and he scored a goal (along with Filppula and Franzen); and Jimmy Howard suffered his 9th combined loss of the season.

“EXCUSE ME, MISS DIONNE”
Lots of really great nominees for Best Name, but if you think it’s going to be anyone but Nino Neidereitter for the foreseeable future, you’ve got something else coming. Special shout out to Rhett “I Trust My Eyes to Doctor” Rakhshani and Jesse “I’ve Got My Mind Set” Joensuu.

I HEAR GIRLS AT NYU AREN’T AT ALL PARTICULAR
No former Red Wings on the Islanders or their farm team, but Brian Rolston is a Flint man.

SAVING HERSELF FOR LUKE PERRY
(alternatively: YOU KNOW I DON’T SPEAK MEXICAN)
Todd Bertuzzi was drafted by the Islanders (one pick after the Red Wings picked Anders Eriksson); and third string goaltender and all-around awesome dude Joey MacDonald spent a few seasons in Long Island. I assume they grew tired of whatever language they claim they speak in that part of the country and/or people who think that going to the Eastern-most part of a garbage-filled island constitutes “high class vacation.”

YOU THINK THE DEATH OF SAMMY DAVIS LEFT AN OPENING IN THE RAT PACK?
Todd Bertuzzi :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler :: Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg
Dan Cleary :: Justin Abdelkader :: Drew Miller
Tomas Holmstrom :: Darren Helm :: Cory Emmerton

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

Ty Conklin
Jimmy Howard

Someone Mel Gibson Never Played
(alternatively: I Can’t Find My Cranberries CD. I Gotta Go to the Quad Before Someone Snags It)
Patrick Eaves [jaw, LTIR]
Pavel Datsyuk [undisclosed]

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 “Well… I Broke In My Purple Clogs” Commodore
HOLLIS: MIA
DISCH: Jonathan “The PC Term is Hymenally Challenged” Ericsson
STEVIE: Valtteri “I Do Not Wear Polyester Hair, Okay? Unlike Some People I Know Like Shawanda” Filppula

MY BUNS? THEY DON’T FEEL NOTHIN’ LIKE STEEL
:: If you hadn’t already heard, Chris Conner has been returned to the Grand Rapids Griffins now that Tomas Holmstrom and Darren Helm are healthy enough to play every game. Jan Mursak’s conditioning stint expires later this week, and when he returns, there will be 13 forwards, 7 defensemen, and 2 goaltenders: one under the 23-man limit. Patrick Eaves, when healthy enough to return, will be #23, assuming no one else ends up on IR in the meantime.
:: Ty Conklin will start for the second game in a row. It’s the first time he’s done that since Mrs. Howard was birthing Baby Tiberius: October 22nd and 25th. Both of those outings were losses, and 11 goals were allowed. However, after a strong showing against the Blackhawks on Sunday, Conklin has certainly earned the right to play a little more often, particularly when the team is facing off against one of the weaker teams in the League.
:: Z WATCH — it has now been ten games since Henrik Zetterberg got on the board. In that time, Jiri Hudler has six goals (most on the team), followed by Valtteri Filppula (4), Dan Cleary (3), Todd Bertuzzi (3), and Pavel Datsyuk (3). Zetterberg does have 7 assists in the last four games, however.
:: Obligatory “Rick DiPietro so flimsy” joke here. The team is also missing Al Montoya, the de-facto starter, due to a concussion. Evgeni Nabokov is likely to start his ninth straight game, and the first since he was signed by the Red Wings and claimed by the Islanders on waivers.
:: Tonight is Game #42, meaning the second half starts right now. The Wings are on pace for 106 points, 268 goals for, and 188 goals against. Each of those marks would be better than a year ago (104/261/241).
:: From the Official Game Notes, courtesy of @RooseBill and The Detroit Red Wings: the Islanders leading scorer, John Tavares, has 36 points on the season and 9 points (2G, 7A) in the last 5 games… the officials for tonight’s game are Brian Pochmara, Chris Rooney, Brad Kovachik, and Mark Wheeler… the Wings are 44-44-8 all-time against the New York Islanders, but it’s important to remember that they were a respectable franchise in the 80’s… it’s been over 8 years since the Wings beat the Islanders in regulation… Frans Nielsen is the NHL’s all-time leading shootout converter, which is so lame I’m sorry if I’ve written it… if the Wings win tonight, it will be the 400th win of Coach Mike Babcock’s career. He would be the third fastest to attain the benchmark (his 697 games are just shy of Glen Sather’s 694 and Scotty Bowman’s 690)…

CINEMATIC INSPIRATION

Conner sent to GR

Quick note: the Red Wings announced that Chris Conner has been returned to the Griffins now that Tomas Holmstrom and Darren Helm are both healthy enough to return to the lineup in an everyday capacity.

The roster move puts the roster at 21 players — two below the limit. Jan Mursak is set to return later in the week from a conditioning stint. Patrick Eaves, who isn’t close to returning at last report, would make 23.

Per the Detroit Red Wings:

The Detroit Red Wings today announced that veteran forward Chris Conner has been reassigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins (AHL). Conner, 28, has made seven appearances with Detroit (1G-2A-3P) and 20 with Grand Rapids (7G-16A-23P) this season, his first with the organization.

Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski, Getty Images

Conklin, Wings down Hawks in OT

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
3-2 Red Wings in overtime

THE RUNDOWN
Man… Wings/Hawks games are fun. Great energy, lots of action, and a beautiful overtime victory after three unanswered (and unanswerable) goals by the good guys. A solid game from Ty Conklin, who stopped 29 shots — including a penalty shot — and earned his second victory of the season, and first in 92 days.

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • I missed the first four minutes, but by the time I got to whateverthehell channel the NHL is on now, it was 2-0 Blackhawks. Ty Conklin was starting, so I just assume that they started the game with the score that way. All jokes aside, the other 56 minutes looked fantastic for the backup netminder.
  • The Wings got a bit lucky with Seabrook’s penalty that led to Filppula’s first period goal. There’s no doubt that Homer got a stick on Seabrook — probably not enough to knock a grown ass man down like he got shot in the chest — but Seabrook retaliated as rejects are wont to do. It was 5-on-3 for a few seconds, and the Wings scored as the first period ended. They’d be down 2-1 heading into the intermission.
  • The score would remain 2-1 into the third period, where some shenanigans took place. There was a scramble in the Red Wings crease — the initial shot hit the post and made it’s way behind a sprawling Ty Conklin. Tomas Holmstrom dove over him, put his hand on the puck and scooped it out to safety. The whistle was blown, the call on the ice was no goal — but a penalty shot. They reviewed it anyway to see if maybe it went in, and fifteen minutes later the call on the ice stood. Rookie Jimmy Hayes was selected to take the shot, which Ty Conklin stopped — so I suppose it was the best possible outcome to the play (since a second after the whistle blew, the puck found its way into the back of the net somehow… which, I guess, means that Holmstrom didn’t cover the puck in the crease now, did he?). It was the second penalty shot against the Red Wings in as many games, and third in five.
  • Scramble in front of the Blackhawks net with less than five minutes to play results in a tying goal off of the stick of Dan Cleary who kind of “pool cued” it under the legs of Crawford. Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg made it happen, and a dirty goal results. Like I always tell the kids I’m coaching, they count for two if they’re pretty. Just put it past the line. UPDATED: Henrik Zetterberg has been given credit for the second Red Wings goal. I suppose it doesn’t matter, but that’s the official word as of this post. UPDATE, THE SECOND! The goal was changed back to Dan Cleary. Stick tap to @JeffHancock41 for the head’s up.
  • Beautiful patience by the Red Wings’ Pavel Datsyuk to win it in overtime. The puck found it’s way out of a crowd and Datsyuk scooped it up, calmed it down, and flung one from behind the goal line, off of Nick Leddy. Booyah.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • Kudos to Mike Commodore who blocked a shot and was hobbled but got up anyway and got back into the play. That takes nuggets. Later, someone from the Hawks was stepping a bit out of line and Commie went over to sheriff the situation. That’s all you can ask for from a third pairing defenseman. I’m particularly hard on him, but credit where credit’s due.

DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Ty Conklin kept the Wings in this one much more than anyone thought he would. Hell of a game, and well deserved Horsecop for him.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Niklas Kronwall was -1, took a booty penalty, and had a turnover that led directly to a Chicago goal. Winner!

WHAT’S NEXT / LOSS CANDY
Tuesday night against the Islanders, I’ll have your pre-game. You may be riding the crimson wave and have to haul ass to the ladies.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images