About Last Night: The Finland Chronicles

Advertising in Finland: Not subtle.

As previously noted, TPL headed over to Helsinki, Finland to take in a SM-liiga game between Jokerit and Saipa. Here are my raw, unedited and completely pointless ramblings from an evening of Finnish hockey…

First Period

20:00 – We’ve made it.  Not quite a full house, but both end zones are boisterous and chanting. Jokerit clearly with the larger group of spectators, but the Saipa faithful (all 20 of them) are rather loud. No surprise, given the amount of beers I see in hands.

20:00 – Quick observation on Finnish culture: They really love American music. Everywhere I’ve been this week has featured a crazy mash-up of American rock and late 90’s R&B. This game is no different.

20:00 – A moment of silence is in order for the NHL and the Red Wings, as Jokerit starts a line of Filppula-Filppula-Pulkkinen.

19:59 – I’ve begun counting the ads on the ice. I assume this will wrap-up sometime during the inevitable shootout. Current count: 8

14:51 – Jokerit strikes first with their “Past-present-future” line of Wings. It’s a power play tally from Larry Flip, off a beauty of a pass from crowd favorite Valtteri Filppula. Teemu Pulkkinen just skated around and looked good. We’ll take it.

9:37 – Saipa ties it up 1-1 with a cheap one at the end of the power play. Not a lot of physical displacement in front of the net. Kind of like watching Brad Stuart on the PK last year.

7:28 – 2-1 Saipa. Another power play goal. By my count, the two teams combined are now 3-3 on the power play. With the amount of penalties called so far, the final result may be something reminiscent of a football score.

3:22 – Jokerit fans unhappy with a non-call on a mugging of Valtteri Filppula. Really hoping someone starts throwing flares on the ice. Or toilet paper. They do that here, right?

1:49 – Penalty on Saipa. The power play streak is on the line. The brothers Filppula on the ice to keep it going and Valtteri hits the post.

0:00 – That’s it for the first. Saipa – clearly outplayed – heads to the locker room with the lead. 10 seconds left on the Jokerit power play to keep the power play perfection alive.

Second Period

20:00 – Period two about to get underway. I’ve now devoured traditional Finnish beef, some sort of potato pancake, a salad and some blueberry pie. On to Karjala – a Finnish beer – for the rest of the game. Look out – they have the coveted (I assume) center ice advertising spot, so I assume this is the best beer Finland has to offer.

20:00 – Ad count: 15

19:50 – Saipa kills it off. Combined power play only batting .750 now.

19:49 – Lines switched up a bit. “Two Filppula’s and a Pulkkinen” is now “Two Filppula’s and a Canadian” as Best Name Winner Steve Moses has rotated in.

16:21 – Pulkkinen to the box for tripping. Soft call.

16:21 – So apparently, the leading scorer for each team wears a gold helmet. We just had a faceoff between both “goldies”, which seems rare. It’s the magic of TPL, I’m convinced. Unless this is a regular occurrence. In that case, whatever.

15:58 – Both power plays employ the same technique: setting up to the left of the net and looking for the backdoor pass. Given the success rate tonight, perhaps the Wings should look into this. It’s a lot more entertaining than watching bomb after bomb from the point.

14:21 – Jokerit kills off the penalty and the success rate drops to 3 for 5.

11:05 – Beginning to wonder if we will see an even strength goal tonight…

11:02  – Nevermind. Saipa makes it 3-1 on a juicy rebound. Jokerit faithful seem undeterred from chanting and further drinking.

9:13 – Val with two beautiful rushes, but fails to shoot both times.  #Thingswesaidin2010.

9:09 – Chelsea Dagger. Fuck off.

8:06 – Mikael Samuelsson sighting. Not really. Although the blast from  #21 looked eerily similar as it sailed 20 rows deep.

6:44 – Jokerit back on the power play and a much better effort from Val. Looks like he’s settling in…

6:42 – And then he promptly air mails a pass to center ice from behind the net.

3:08 – Val on the PK. Hoo boy.

2:49 – Nice steal by Val, actually. That said, he’s not really skating too hard out there, and his shifts are short. Looks winded. Too much summer fin with Jiri Hudler I assume.

1:48 – Some guy named Rita scores a shorthanded goal (of course it’s a shorthanded goal) for Jokerit and the crowd is back in this thing. Also – in a nod to the Wings on the squad I assume – Jokerit goal horn is a recorded version of the Wings goal horn.

0:36 – There’s a guy with a bullhorn leading the cheers for Jokerit. Holy shit do we need this in the NHL.

0:00 – Two in the books. 3-2 Saipa heading into the third. Shaping up to be a solid Finnish… *rimshot*

Third Period

20:00 – Ad count: 21. Think I’ve got them all. At least on the ice, that is. Assuming each player has somewhere in neighborhood of 20+ ads on their person as well.

17:56 – Just realized there’s no trapezoid. Cue images of 2002 Dominik Hasek. Cue heart attacks.

14:40 – Jokerit just finished up an impressive looking power play with both Teravainen and Pulkkinen on the ice. Couple of nice passes and chances for both. Then, without fail, Pulkkinen gets sent off for a blatant trip.

14:18 – They have cheerleaders in the stands. Not only do they have cheerleaders, they change outfits every period. The third period features each of them in a wifebeater with a player’s name and number on the back. Out of the 25 I count, 15 are wearing #51. He’s a baller over here too, folks.

11:44 – All tied up. Larry Flip scoops a pass at center ice and takes it all the way, finishing on a nice backhand. While Ilari went up the middle, Val coasted on the left wing, well behind the play. Seems to be the story of the night here in Helsinki. Either that or he just “knew” his brother would score. I bet that’s what he goes with in the post-game presser.

11:05 – Great rush from Pulkkinen. Got ridden to the boards and still took it to the net hard. He’s getting better as the game goes along. A lot to be excited about with this kid. I could see him and Goose Nyquist as a scary tandem in two years.

9:01 – Val on his ass. Surprise. Looks badly out of shape.

8:19 – Saipa retakes the lead on some lazy defensive play. Either that or #63 had too much beer at the intermission. He had a great view of the puck going in, however, as he was down on his face just in front of the crease.

8:18 – 1:23: Struggled with the bottle opener. Waited for the bathroom in the box to open up. Struggled with the bottle opener again…

1:22 – Empty net for Jokerit. Team Flip is out and Val is breathing hard as he steps in for the faceoff…which he loses (SURPRISE!).

0:03 – Oh man, what a series. It’s like someone finally told Val he’s supposed to do something other than coast around the ice. Jokerit with a 6-on-4 for a full two minutes and team Filppula was all over Saipa. Val dug a puck loose out of the corner, backhand flipped it across the front of the net to Ilari who ripped one right into the pads of the goalie. Except it wasn’t covered and sat in the crease for a full two count before Larry Flip stepped in and poked it into the gaping net. Crowd goes wild! BUT WAIT! HERE COMES BRAD WATSON FROM THE STANDS TO WAIVE IT OFF!!! PANDEMONIUM!!! CONFUSION!!! DESPAIR!!! LOUD COORDINATED CHANTING IN A LANGUAGE I DON’T UNDERSTAND!!! ADVERTISING EVERYWHERE!!!

0:00 – Game over. Saipa wins it 4-3.

0:00 – Wait, what’s all this? The fans are no longer booing. They are…leaving the arena in an orderly fashion??? What the fuck?

0:00 – Seriously, it’s like the waved off goal never happened. The teams salute the fans, folks make for the door, and the arena is empty in under 10 minutes. If this was Detroit, we’d still be pissing rage in the stands and trying to slam that extra beer we bought at the beginning of the 3rd period in case of overtime. I can’t comprehend this.

0:00 – OK, that’s all from Helsinki. Quite the experience and I had an excellent time. Here’s hoping we get some hockey back in States in short order.

Sept. 25 :: Pond Hopping for Some Hockey

If only "Heino" was "Leino"...

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
While everyone else in the blogosphere continues to suffer through the financial crisis known as the NHL lockout, TPL’s commitment to the game remains firm and unwavering. Simply: we go where the hockey is (or where the real jobs say we need to go.) So with the Nokia box on lockdown for Tuesday night, TPL is going the extra mile to keep you up to speed on as many Wings as possible, all the way in Helsinki, Finland. That’s right, I’m here in the land of Filppula, covering all things Jokerit tonight. Look, if the Wings aren’t going to give us anything to talk about, then we’re going where the real action is. So – for today – “The Tuotantolinja” is all about the pride of Helsinki hockey.

Do I have any idea what this game means for either team? Nope. Do I care? Not really. It’s hockey and Valtteri Filppula (and his hair) are (potentially) in the house. Enough said.

Jokerit v. Saipa. 18:30 hours (that’s 6:30 PM for all of you at home) Finnish time. 11:30 AM Eastern.

WHERE WERE WE?
Uh…well…since it takes a decoder ring and secret formula to work out the standings and results for the Finnish League, it’s taken me the better part of the morning to figure out when the last time these two teams played. There’s also apparently a number of “seasons within a season” here, which makes this extra complicated. However, in an effort to keep you completely in the loop, it looks like the last match (read: game) between these two was back on March 3rd, which saw Saipa take home a 5-4 win in OT.

Here’s what we do know: Saipa is currently on top of the SM-liiga standings with 12 points (4-1), while Jokerit sits in 11th place with 3 points (1-2).

THEIR LAST GAMES
Jokerit:: The good guys dropped TPS Turku by a final of 5-1 on Friday night. Matti Lamberg led the way with a goal and two assists, and former GR Griffin Larry Flip added an assist on the evening.
Saipa: It was Saipa’s turn against TPS Turku on Saturday night, and they claimed a 2-1 victory. Goals were tallied by Jaakko Rissanen and Roberts Jekimovs.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Oh man, this one’s a field day. So many Finnish names, so little time. But since we ARE here in Finland, let’s reverse our strategy, which leaves us with…

Steve Moses.

‘MEMBA ME?
Jokerit features a few familiar names, including Valtteri Filppula, Ilari Filppula and prospect Teemu Pulkkinen. Some other names you might recognize: Jarkko Ruutu and Teuvo Teravainen.

THE LINEUP
You’re joking, right? No clue and I’m not even going to bother. The only certainty is that there will be a shitload of advertising all over the ice.

5 HOLE
:: If you really think I’m going to try and pull together five worthwhile points about this game, then you’re smoking the good stuff. It’s hockey. That’s more than we can say about the NHL right now.

PREDICTION
Jokerit wins 5-3. Valtteri Filppula scores and stays healthy. Book it.

“Full” wrap-up coming after the game. Brace yourself.

Gameday

Boom.

Bears repeating once more: congratulations to @Ayronatthewings and her crew on the unbelievable pre-game show. It was the talk of the town during Game 3 — even gaining mentions by the NBC crew as “the best in the business.” If you didn’t have a chance to see it live, or online yesterday, please enjoy the embedded video above.

After splitting Games 1 and 2 in Nashville, and thereby stealing home-ice advantage from the Predators, the Wings dropped Game 3 at home. As a result, they’ve got to win at least 艾福瑞 one more game in Tennessee to take their opening round series. Anything’s possible, as we’ve seen several times in this playoff season, but winning tonight will go a long way.

A victory on home ice, where they were nearly indestructible during the regular season, will make this a best of three series. And it will ensure that we’ll get to enjoy Ayron and her team’s creation at least once more prior to Game 6.

Let’s go Wings.

Country Grammar: Previewing the Predators

Country Grammar: Two Ways. Take your pick.

WHO’S THIS GUY?
Wait, you don’t remember me? I don’t blame you. It’s been almost three months of Hollis-free TPL and I’m surprised Petrella and Disch even let me back in the front door. Three months of watching the Wings go from on top of the world to staggering into the playoffs with nothing but questions marks and that sick feeling in your gut that only playoff hockey and a glimpse of your happy ex can generate. Three months of injuries. Three months of a woeful power play. You sure you’re ready for this?

That’s right, you have no choice. Let’s go.

WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
It’s the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, and the Wings start on the road for the first time since…well, since two years ago. Your TV schedule is below. Familiarize yourself with it and purchase booze accordingly.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
Friday, April 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
Sunday, April 15, 2012 Noon Nashville at Detroit NBC, CBC
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 7:30 p.m. Nashville at Detroit NBC Sports Network, CBC

  • Friday, April 20, 2012 8 p.m. Detroit at Nashville CNBC, CBC
  • Sunday, April 22, 2012 TBD Nashville at Detroit TBD
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 TBD Detroit at Nashville TBD
    • If necessary

WHERE WERE WE?
:: Detroit fell to the Blackhawks in the shootout on Saturday, giving them a finishing mark of 48-28-6, good for 102 points and the fifth seed in the West.
:: Nashvegas smoked the Avs on Saturday, securing the fourth seed in the West with a 48-26-8 record and 104 points.
:: The Wings and Preds split the season series this year, each taking three wins from the other. Looking for a trend? Both teams took two of three at home and one on the road. The Wings controlled the early portion of the series, while Nashville rallied to take two of the last three, including a 4-1 whoopin’ in Motown on March 30th.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Brandon Yip. Yip. Yip. Yip. Yip.

‘MEMBA ME?
No former Wings on the Preds.

OH, HI AGAIN
According to , no former Preds on the Wings.

FIVE TO WATCH – NASHVILLE
:: Pekka Rinne – He’s received more press this week than Mike Fisher did after he latched on to wife Carrie Underwood, and there’s no doubt the pressure is on Rinne’s 6’5″ frame. He played in all six regular season games against the Wings, garnering three wins and three losses while posting a GAA of 2.67 and save percentage of .920. If he gets hot, this series gets tiresome in a hurry.
:: Shea Weber – Duh. Dude is one of the best D-men in the game right now, and his slapshot was good for a team high three goals against the Wings this season. That said, Weber did post a team worst -4 against Detroit in only five games, so there’s points to be had.
:: Alexander Radulov – Remember three weeks ago when nobody would shut up about this guy? Yeah, that makes me nervous. The spotlight is off of him and he can settle in and play his game, which is a good one. If this guy gets on the ice across from Dan Cleary, it’s time to hit the panic button repeatedly.
:: David Legwand – The former pride of the Plymouth Whalers, Legwand has a team best six points against the Wings this year (so does Jordin Tootoo for that matter.)
:: Andrei/Sergei Kostitsyn – Mark my words: One of these two will have a crushing goal against Detroit late in the third period of one of these games. They may not have lived up to their much-hyped potential, but they are still damn good players.

FIVE TO WATCH – DETROIT
:: Jimmy Howard – No surprises here. Howard’s regular season was the giant leap forward we’ve all been waiting for, only to come back down to Earth with a pair of injuries on the back half of the schedule. Babcock thinks he’s rounding into form as he heads into the playoffs, but only time will tell which Jimmah is between the pipes against Nashville. If the Wings want to win this series, it better be the pre-injury Jimmy.
:: Johan Franzen – Perhaps the most frustrating player on this Wings roster, Franzen says he lives for the playoffs and some of his best games have come in the postseason. If the Wings continue to be cold on the goal-scoring front, Mule will have to find a way to strap the 捷凯金融 team on his back and make something happen on the scoresheet. He looked good in his final regular season tune-ups, so here’s hoping he continues to produce when it counts. That said, he was only good for a goal and an assist in six games against the Preds this year.
:: Valtteri Filppula – Coming off arguably his best season as a Wing, Filppula will need to continue to score points against the Predators to add some balance to the scoresheet. He led the team with four goals against the Preds this year, and his five points trails only that of Henrik Zetterberg.
:: Tomas Holmstrom – His ass in Rinne’s face will be a key component to scoring some goals this series, but don’t forget that Homer was a team worst -5 against Nashville during the regular season.
:: Darren Helm/Dan Cleary/Gustav Nyquist – Helm will find his way back into the lineup at some point in Nashville, which likely means the hyper-talented Nyquist will likely head to the Leino Lounge. That’s a tough pill to swallow, given Dan Cleary’s injury woes and corresponding limitations of late, yet Babcock is confident Cleary will be ready for the lineup. If Cleary looks terrible, expect the Nyquist rumblings to kick into high gear.


The TPL Name Game

PETRELLA: Jiri “Street Sweeper Baby, Cocked, Ready to Let It Go” Hudler
STEVIE: Todd “I Hang With Hannibal Lector So Feel Me When I Bring It” Bertuzzi
HOLLIS: Jiri “Let’s Show These Cats How to Make These Millions” Hudler
DISCH: Nik “Mean Mugs and Shoulder Shrugs” Kronwall

The Good Part: Predictions
PETRELLA:
Detroit in six.
STEVIE: Detroit in seven.
HOLLIS: Nashville in six.
DISCH: Nashville in six.

Howard starts, Quincey sits, Nyquist still in

A bevy of quick updates — despite Coach Babcock’s insistence that “anyone who can’t play Wednesday can’t play Friday,” the Red Wings will turn to Jimmy Howard to start tonight’s game against the Nashville Predators. that they’d be concerned he’d get run against the likely first-round opponent. Perhaps Ty Conklin’s less-than-inspiring (SURPRISE!) performance against the Blue Jackets rendered this decision a no-brainer, since all of the remaining will likely matter for playoff seeding and home-ice.

Continuing with the game-day news, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that tonight, making way for Jakub Kindl to return to the lineup. We breached the question during the Columbus game: how do we feel about Quincey 2.0 a dozen games in? “A hell of a lot worse than we did after 二元期权平台 1 game” was the consensus response. Babcock says there’s nothing to this move and that he wants to get all of the lower-tiered defensemen rotated in to prep for the post-season. Jonathan Ericsson, meanwhile, will continue to lumber around the ice doing nothing of value.

Gustav Nyquist, who only played five minutes while relegated to the fourth line on Wednesday, in the lineup. There’s no word which forward will be a healthy scratch tonight (it was Jan Mursak two days ago), but here’s hoping Goose can get more than a few minutes to show what he’s capable of and continue to contribute as he had been when on a scoring line.

Franzen & Ericsson in; Mursak & Kindl out

Per , both Johan Franzen and Jonathan Ericsson are healthy enough to return to action tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Franzen had missed the previous five with back spasms. Ericsson has missed 13 since fracturing his wrist against Colorado on February 25th.

Jakub Kindl will be a healthy scratch (remember those?) on the blueline, while Jan Mursak will sit out. That means that Gustav Nyquist has proven himself too valuable to be taken out of the lineup. Duh. Now, we’ve just gotta get him on a line where he’ll continue to be a force…

Your only remaining injuries are Patrick Eaves (post-concussion, likely shut down for the year), Joey MacDonald (back spasms, no timetable), Darren Helm (sprained MCL, out until the playoffs), and Jimmy Howard. Howard had Friday circled on his calendar as the day he’d be returning, but Coach Babcock said if he couldn’t 如何炒外汇 play tonight, he won’t play Friday — likely to keep him out of harm’s way against the likely first round opponent. No one needs the Predators taking a run at Howard, knowing that they’d immediately have the upper hand in that playoff matchup should he be re-injured. He’ll likely play Sunday against Florida.

If Howard plays the final four games of the season, as I’m sure is the plan, he will have played in only twelve games over the final thirty of the season. Not ideal.

Tonight’s lineup:

Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg :: Jiri Hudler
Johan Franzen :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Todd Bertuzzi
Drew Miller :: Justin Abdelkader :: Dan Cleary
Tomas Holmstrom :: Cory Emmerton :: Gustav Nyquist

Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Brad Stuart :: Niklas Kronwall
Kyle Quincey :: Jonathan Ericsson

Ty Conklin
Jordan Pearce

Q It To Me One More Time

Kyle Quincey, pictured here one of the few times he wasn't committing a penalty or scoring, played his first game back with the Wings.

Tonight, the Red Wings lost to the Vancouver Canucks by a score of 4-3 in a shootout.

You know the old saying in the NHL: “after you’ve won 23 games at home, there’s no sense in being angry about losing the next one.” Oh, they don’t say that?

That’s because it’s never been done before. The streak may have come to an end — but there’s nothing to be upset about. The Red Wings hadn’t lost at Joe Louis since November 3rd.

You know when I thought the Canucks were screwed? When they were treating this game like it was important. Hoping that the streak was still in tact so they could potentially break it… acting like this was parallel to a playoff game and such. You know who I want to face all day long in the playoffs? Roberto Luongo. He is to big games as dogs are to the curb. Shits all over ’em.

On the other end of the ice was Jimmy Howard, playing his second game since returning from a broken finger. He was an absolute monster in the first period — stopping all 17 shots he faced, including some doozies that had no business ending up anywhere except the back of the net.

Darren “No Finish” Helm scored his second goal in three games. It wasn’t pretty — everyone in the arena, including Roberto Luongo, thought he was going to pass to Justin “Abysmal of Late, But Give Me a Minute Here” Abdelkader. It looked like he might have tried to connect and accidentally scored, but whatever — we’ll take it. He would later add TWO assists. Offensive machine that young man is (not really).

In his first game back, Kyle Quincey acquitted himself quite well. He played on a power play unit, as well as a penalty kill unit. That’s huge for a number of reasons: A) he’s able to do those things, thereby being more valuable than whoever he’s replacing; and B) it provides a bit of a respite for someone above him on the depth chart 老虎证券 when he’s eating up those minutes. Those are big things for a newcomer to do, and that’s looking like it’s going to be a smart acquisition. Oh, and guess who was on the ice with less than a minute to play, holding onto a one-goal lead? I mean, it didn’t work out… but that shows he’s got the confidence of the coaching staff.

Oh, also, he scored.

How about that? Kyle Quincey, who was clearly excited to come back to Motown, reintroduces himself to the crowd with the Wings’ second goal on the night and gave a pretty little fist-pump in the direction of Denver. I think my favorite part of the trade so far is how much Adrian Dater hates Kyle Quincey all of a sudden.

Justin Abdelkader (start to) make up for playing so terribly the last few weeks by adding a third Wings goal only 20 seconds after the Canucks tied it in the third. That’s a huge goal in a game that the bottom six had no interest in losing. Miller — Abdelkader — Helm was the lifeblood of the Detroit Red Wings tonight and they did what Johan Franzen and Henrik Zetterberg should be doing in games like tonight’s: scoring important goals.

There was less than a minute to play and resident dumbshit Todd Bertuzzi iced the puck with Vancouver’s net empty. It was a bogus icing call, for sure, but why make it close enough to call? The Canucks took the ensuing faceoff in the Wings’ zone and fired a puck past Howard to tie it at 3. It’s the little things. Bertuzzi should know better.

A few chances were exchanged in overtime (including Dan Cleary’s point blank shot he fired directly into Luongo’s logo) and — for the tenth time since New Years — the Wings would head into a shootout. Normal lead-off man, Pavel Datsyuk, was not in the lineup tonight after having minor knee surgery earlier in the week, so Jiri Hudler would go first (and missed). Henrik Zetterberg, usually the fourth shooter, went next and missed the net after a deke. Todd Bertuzzi, in an effort to make up for his late-game flub, hit Luongo’s pads.

Howard shut the door on local hero David Booth and young All-Star Alex Edler, but allowed a goal by Alexandre Burrows.

With tonight in the books, the Wings have 20 more games to play.

Odds and Ends

Todd Bertuzzi, , was all kindsa riled up with known douchebag Max Lapierre tonight. The two were yapping during the first period (Lapierre was still on the bench) and it looked like they may go at some point during the game. Alas, the game ended without any fisticuffs.

I urged the Red Wings DJ (@tunes_by_t) to change that that he plays when the Wings take a penalty. Good friend of the site and executive producer of Red Wings event entertainment, Ayron, that it’s the player’s choice. She’ll ask them if they want a new one — but she’s hesitant to change anything during the streak (good point). She has to ask Kyle Quincey what he wants as his goal song, anyway. . With the streak over… GET THAT SONG OUTTA THERE, AYRON!

Loss Candy

From something called The Lying Game, Alexandra Chando

Her castmate Rick Malambri


Photo Credit: AP

What to do with MacDonald — and other tidbits

Today, the Wings take on the Sharks in an attempt to stretch their record home win streak to 23. The goaltender that’s won the last five is none other than Joey MacDonald — who, after having taken over for Ty Conklin in Edmonton on the 4th, has played bluehost remarkably well. Jimmy Howard had this game circled on his calendar as the one he’d return for, but it looks like they’re going to ride the hot hand and give Howie’s finger another day or two to fully recover after being broken against Vancouver on the 2nd.

After the game, there will be decisions to be made. Should the Wings hang onto MacDonald, or send him back down to Grand Rapids? If they opt to keep MacDonald in Hockeytown, they’ll have to decide what to do with Ty Conklin. Conklin can’t be assigned to the AHL without first being subjected to waivers — and although no one would dare put in a claim for someone playing as poorly as he has this season, it’s a risk that the Wings usually don’t take. Expect MacDonald to be demoted until the playoffs, when he’ll absolutely be the #2 guy behind Howard.

Would Joey MacDonald be better served playing more games in Grand Rapids than he would playing second fiddle to the clear-cut starter in Jimmy Howard? Whatever the case may be, the Wings only have a few more hours to make their decision. Howard is the scheduled starter Tuesday night in Chicago, and they likely won’t fly with three netminders.

What would you do if you were Ken Holland? I’m a big proponent of allowing the best players to be in the NHL, so I’d like Joey to stick around. That said, I see the other side of the argument, too: why risk losing an asset for nothing, and maybe it’d be nice to have MacDonald playing games more often than he would in Detroit. I expect to receive the press release immediately following the game saying that MacDonald has been assigned to the Griffins.

The puck drops at 12:30pm. We’ll keep you posted with any official word from the team.

I had a “Red Wings acquire Pavel Kubina” post all typed up and ready to go. Looks like I won’t be able to use it.

It was revealed on Friday night that the Red Wings made a formal trade offer to the Tampa Bay Lightning for their hulking defenseman Pavel Kubina. Kubina, who had been pulled from practice and games until a trade could be completed, had drawn interest from several teams around the league.

However, late last night, the Lightning announced that they had traded Kubina to the Flyers in exchange for a 2nd round draft pick, a 4th round draft pick, and Jon Kalinski.

The Flyers are also in the running for Columbus Blue Jackets’ star Rick Nash. that the asking price — so far — is James van Riemsdyk, Sergei Bobrovsky, and either Brayden Schenn or Sean Couturier. That’s a hell of a package… too much, even for Nash.

Speaking of potential trade targets, it’s clear that Holland is after a defenseman to shore up the third pairing. He pushed hard, , for Montreal’s Hal Gill (now a Predator), as well as Tampa’s Pavel Kubina (now a Flyer). It’s no secret that the Wings are always looking to improve their scoring ranks, as well, so perhaps the search for a top six forward is underway, as well.

In addition to the Stars, Canadiens and Lightning (who have already started moving players), it looks like the Hurricanes, Sabres, Islanders, Blue Jackets, and Oilers are sellers. Certainly, more teams may be added to that list by the end of the week, but start perusing their rosters for players to poach. At one quick glance, guys that may be on the radar include:

  • Ales Hemsky (Edmonton F) even if I’m not sold on it.
  • Tuomo Ruutu (Carolina F), but Hurricanes’ GM Jim Rutherford said that he’d prefer to re-sign him.
  • Chad Larose (Carolina F), a two-time Red Wings’ tryout that has another year on his deal after this one.
  • Bryan Allen (Carolina D), a 6-4 blueliner that was drafted 4th overall in 1998 (one after Brad Stuart).
  • Paul Gaustad (Buffalo F), a gigantic alternate captain for the Sabres.
  • Jordan Leopold (Buffalo D), who has been on FIVE teams since 2009. Wut?
  • Travis Moen (Montreal F), the gritty former Duck.
  • Chris Campoli (Montreal D), would IMMEDIATELY have to fight Emma Andersson for hottest Wings WAG.
  • Brian Rolston (Islanders F), a Michigan-native and veteran whose name hasn’t been in any trade rumors, but fits the M.O.

Knowing Ken Holland, it’ll be none of these guys. Plucking some dude that no one even knew was available. That’s how Tick Tock rolls.

Photo Credit: David Guralnick, Detroit News

Feb 12 :: Clock strikes upon the hour…

Whitney Houston, long considered a member of the TPL family for her uncanny ability to pull the Wings out of a slump, was lost yesterday

A FEW STOLEN MOMENTS IS ALL THAT WE SHARE
Tonight, the Red Wings reach for the record books. They’ve won 19 straight on home ice — one shy of the National Hockey League record. Some purists will tell you that Detroit’s version won’t mean as much, since there are a handful of shootout wins in there (which, in more trying times, would have been ties). But don’t let that distract you from what is an absolutely incredible feat in the face of overwhelming athletic talent in 2011 and 2012. The Detroit Red Wings, looking to add just one more bullet point to their encyclopedia of accomplishments, will drop the puck at 7:30pm and host the Philadelphia Flyers in a quest for #20.

And, as an aside, I’m sure you’ve noticed over the years that we rarely repeat a pre-game theme. We’ve probably done Groundhog Day and Jurassic Park twice, because it’s impossible not to. But for the most part, we try to keep it fresh and try something new for each of the 82 games. But one theme has an elevated status here at The Production Line. The beautiful Ms. Whitney Houston, who always comes and bails us out when we need a big win or a slump busted, passed away yesterday at the age of 48. We’ve had Whitney pre-games no less than five times around these parts and today’s big-time game is dedicated to her memory.

YOU GOTTA YOU GOTTA WAY THAT YOU’RE MAKING ME FEEL I CAN DO I CAN DO ANYTHING
:: Detroit took a shootout decision over the Ducks on Friday night, 2-1.
:: Philadelphia played last night and lost 5-2 to the Rangers.
:: The Wings and Flyers don’t meet too often — the last game between the two clubs was more than a year ago: January 2nd, 2011. The Flyers got the best of Detroit that night, winning 3-2. Jimmy Howard was in net, and goals were scored by Henrik Zetterberg and Valtteri Filppula. Ironically, the Red Wings were without Dan Cleary and Patrick Eaves that night — and will be again tonight. In 2011, they were also missing Pavel Datsyuk and Mike Modano.

A DAMN SHAME FORGOT MY NAME
For a team full of assholes in a city even more full of assholes, the Best Name Nominee has to be Jody Shelley, a goon blessed with not one, BUT TWO!, girls’ names.

I’VE BEEN IN LOVE AND LOST MY SENSES, SPINNING THROUGH THE TOWN
Today is an important day. Not only will the Red Wings be going for a record-tying 20th straight win at home, they’ll be welcoming back to the Joe an important part of their history and blueline might. That’s right… I’m talking about the one, the only… Andreas Lilja. And also, Todd Diamond.

REMEMBER WHEN WE HELD ON IN THE RAIN?
Even though there are no former Flyers on the Red Wings roster, they still own the NHL rights to Ole-Kristian Tollefsen, the inconsequential “also-ran” part of the Ville Leino trade from a few seasons back.

EVERYBODY’S SEARCHING FOR A HERO
Todd Bertuzzi :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler :: Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg
Justin Abdelkader :: Darren Helm :: Drew Miller
Tomas Holmstrom :: Cory Emmerton :: Jan Mursak

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

Joey MacDonald
Ty Conklin

Can’t You See the Hurt In Me?
Patrick Eaves [jaw, LTIR]
Dan Cleary [knee]
Jimmy Howard [finger]
Mike Commodore

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: Ken “I’ve Been Waiting for the Phone to Ring All Night” Holland
HOLLIS: Nicklas “There’s a Boy I Know, He’s the One I’m Dreaming Of” Lidstrom
DISCH: Jonathan “Gave Proof Through the Night” Ericsson
STEVIE: Darren “He’s All the Man I Need” Helm

SHARE MY LIFE, TAKE ME FOR WHAT I AM
:: Joey MacDonald gets the start again, which means Ty Conklin will sit yet again. I have a feeling he’s done in red and white.
:: Through 56 games, only two regulars have minus ratings: Kronwall (-2) and Holmstrom (-5). Since +/- is the stupidest stat that’s actually kept, it doesn’t mean a whole lot, but it is curious.
:: The Flyers are second in the Atlantic with 69 points, which would be good for fourth in the conference if the playoffs were to start today.
:: Detroit courted Jaromir Jagr this past off-season for some reason, so keep an eye on #68 — a living legend whose game hasn’t slipped too badly.

SO GOODBYE. PLEASE, DON’T CRY

You’re going to need more than that crotch rocket, Boudreau…

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Red Wings 2, Ducks 1 in a shootout.

THE RUNDOWN
Wearing their road white sweaters, the Wings seemed to play like they were the visitors — vulnerable and not necessarily in control of action, generally the opposite of how things have gone at the Joe. Third string goaltender Joey MacDonald kept the Wings in the game, stopping 28 shots in regulation (including 13 in the third). The Ducks abysmal power play didn’t help them any, going 0-for-7, including an attempt in overtime.

A crazy overtime wasn’t enough, and we’d head to a shootout, where it’s anyone’s guess…

The Wings would win their 19th straight at home on the strength of a Todd Bertuzzi shootout goal…

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • Unfortunately first goal of the game, as George Parros re-directs a shot from the point to make it 1-0 Ducks. The play would be reviewed, because it looked like he may have kicked it in, but ultimately it was decided that the puck made contact with his stick, and not with his boot. Prior to the goal, the Wings were in complete control of the game — holding the Ducks to zero shots on two power play opportunities, and transitioning out of the defensive zone quickly. Crummy bounce.
  • The lead wouldn’t last into the locker room, though, as Jakub Kindl sends a beauty of a shot through the slot. The tying goal was initially credited to Kindl, but the reviews clearly show that Justin Abdelkader got a stick on it just above the crease. The Wings and Ducks would each have one after one.
  • There would be no scoring in the second, but there were plenty of close calls. Nick Lidstrom hit a post for the second time in as many periods… Ryan Getzlaf had a wide open net and somehow flubbed it… the Ducks had a goal waived off after committing goaltender interference… another puck got by MacDonald, but Val Filppula was johnny-on-the-spot and swatted it away. The score was 1-1 going into the second intermission, just like the first.
  • More of the same in the third period, but the Ducks turned up the heat, peppering Joey MacDonald with more than a dozen shots in the final frame. The score would remain 1-1 after three and off to sudden death we’d go.
  • Brad Stuart would take a penalty in overtime, which is trouble, and the closest either team came to a goal was a Pavel Datsyuk shorthanded opportunity in which he drew his own penalty. Three-on-three hockey certainly opens the ice up, and Corey Perry took another penalty. You can’t have fewer than three players on the ice so, they gave the Wings an extra skater, making it 4-on-3, which became 5-on-3 as Stuart’s original penalty expired. Nevertheless, we’d head to a shootout with the score still tied 1-1.
  • DETROIT SHOOTERS: Datsyuk (goal), Hudler (miss), Bertuzzi (goal)
  • ANAHEIM SHOOTERS: Selanne (goal), Perry (miss), Ryan (save)

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • Congratulations to Tomas Holmstrom, who played his 1,000th NHL game tonight. He became only the sixth Red Wing to hit the milestone — quite a feat. It may have gone unnoticed, but Todd Bertuzzi was giving his teammate the stick-tap salute as he skated back to the bench after his first shift.
  • Likewise, congratulations to Nicklas Lidstrom, who played his 1,549th games with the Red Wings, tying him with Alex Delvecchio for second-most among all Detroit Red Wings. In just another 138 games, Lidstrom will tie Gordie Howe for #1. Fingers crossed for two more seasons of the Perfect Human.
  • Happy 25th birthday to Jakub Kindl.

DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Joey MacDonald played his ass off — particularly in the third period. Made a ton of important saves and proved he belongs in the net while Jimmy Howard is missing time with a broken finger.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Jonathan Ericsson had a rough night, getting beaten a handful of times and making poor decisions other times. Come to think of it, a lot of the defense — minus Lidstrom and Kindl — have played better games. Honorable mention to Todd Bertuzzi, who had dinner reservations several times at Le Chateau Box.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Wings invite the Flyers into the Joe on Sunday. Puck drops at 7:30pm as they go for 20 straight at home — which would tie the NHL record for consecutive wins on home ice. They’ll have a chance at the record against one of the teams that currently holds the record (the other is Boston).