Feb. 10 :: I’M NOT RUNNIN’!

Pictured: Anaheim's season as it flips out of control

IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU WIN BY AN INCH OR A MILE. WINNING’S WINNING
The Wings and Ducks tussle at the Joe, 7:30pm. The Wings will be going for their 19th win in a row on home ice — which would be one shy of the National Hockey League record.

BE READY TO HAVE YOUR ASS HANDED TO YOU
:: Detroit had a re-match with Edmonton on Wednesday, and came out 4-2 winners.
:: Anaheim needed overtime to drop the Hurricanes 3-2 on Wednesday.
:: This is the third of four meetings between the Wings and Ducks this season. The Wings have positively owned the Ducks this season, winning 5-0 in early November, and then 4-2 a few weeks later. Franzen, Zetterberg, Stuart, and Lidstrom each have two goals against Anaheim this season — Kronwall has the other.

TYPICAL WHITE BOY NAME
The Best Name Nominee is newcomer goaltender Iiro Tarkki. Don’t get much whiter than that.

EVEN THE COPS IN HOLLYWOOD ARE HOLLYWOOD
There are no former Red Wings in Anaheim.

BUSINESS DEAL WENT SOUR
Former Ducks Todd Bertuzzi, Drew Miller, and Mike Babcock now call Hockeytown home.

I LIVE MY LIFE A QUARTER MILE AT A TIME
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

You Couldn’t Even Tow That Across the Finish Line
Patrick Eaves [jaw, LTIR]
Dan Cleary [knee]
Jimmy Howard [they call ’em fingers, but I never see ’em fing]
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: Kyle “What Did You Put in that Sandwich” Wellwood
HOLLIS: Movin’
DISCH: Brendan “Typical White Boy Name” Smith
STEVIE: Todd “Sounds Like a Serial Killer” Bertuzzi

I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO KICK HIS ASS THEN…
:: One day after the Winter Classic announcement, the Red Wings will be riding some major hometown mojo into the Joe. Expect the fans to give the team a nice ovation in preparation for the outdoor classic that’s — oh — eleven short months away.
:: Joey MacDonald gets the start again in net, proving once again that confidence in Ty Conklin is at an all-time low, somewhere in the negative twenties.
:: The Ducks are looking more and more like they’ll be sellers at the deadline later this month. Even though they’ve gone 11-2-2 in their last fifteen, they find themselves sitting in 13th place in the West — seven points behind 12th and ten points out of a playoff spot. It’s rumored that Bobby Ryan and maybe even Ryan Getzlaf could be moved.
:: Henrik Zetterberg may have snapped his goal-scoring drought on Wednesday, but he’s still underperforming by Zetterbergian standards. He’s finding ways to contribute, but wouldn’t it be swell if we had more than one guy (Franzen) in the 20-goal range? Jiri Hudler (17), Valtteri Filppula (16), and Pavel Datsyuk (14) are next in line for the feat.
:: Tomas Holmstrom will be playing in his 1,000th game tonight. Probably feels twice that many to his lower spine.

Wings Beat Oilers: Sketchy Migraine Postgame

Final Score: 4-2 Wings (Hi, Mr. Petrella!)

Breakdown:

  • The first thing of note is Abdelkader did his Abdelkader thing and gets in a fight with Ryan “The Flow” Jones, for payback on what looks like a clean hit. Abby gets an extra 2 minutes for cross-checking Jones before the fight.
  • Franzen scores a goal on the power play (I know, right?!) after tipping in a shot-pass from Ian White. Datsyuk has the 2nd assist.
  • After Emmerton is sent to the box for holding at 15:27 in the first, Stuart joins him approximately 45 seconds later for boarding Eberle. No big deal, though, because the Wings kill the 5-on-3 and the remainder of the Stuart’s penalty.
  • Two minutes into the second, Emmerton chips in the puck, after Abdelkader does most of the work. Abby wins the puck against the boards and tries to jam it in on Khabibulin, and Emmerton cleans up after him.
  • Nine minutes later, Gagner scores. I didn’t happen to see this goal because of my feed crashing, but from the sounds of it, it occurred because of a sloppy line change. Ben Eager slams into Cleary as everyone is trying to change. Ericsson was making a move to get off, but instead moved to fight with Eager. White was just getting on the ice. The puck got to Gagner, and he managed to have a breakaway. Since I didn’t see it, I’m not passing judgement on any of it. However, I think this is accurate:
  • Holmstrom gets called for goalie interference, when he was blatantly shoved into Khabibulin by Whitney. Nice reputation call there.
  • After the Wings kill that penalty, they get called again for too many men on the ice. That penalty bleeds into the third period, but they manage to kill that one as well.
  • Abdelkader, starting to get a bit rougher in the 3rd, trips Hemsky and is sent to the box. While he stews in there, Gagner scores another goal. At this point, we’re all tied up with twos.
  • A little more than two minutes after that, the tie is broken by Miller. Abdelkader again does most of the work. His initial shot is blocked, but the puck trickles out from between Khabibulin’s legs, and both Helm and Miller started swinging at it. Drew Miller pots it, continuing his excellent record against the Oilers.
  • Four minutes after that, Zetterberg scoops up a lose puck in front of the net and then very patiently pulls it to the left side of the net, and sinks it.

Lesser things of note:

  • The Press Box King was again caught tweeting during the game. It admittedly was in excitement of his Twitter chum Emmerton’s goal, but still, social media during the game is not allowed. I still wonder what the punishment is for breaking those rules. Apparently it’s not enough to keep him from doing it.
  • Joey Mac had a decent game, mostly because the Wings suppressed shots. He only faced 17 shots, where Khabibulin faced 30. He still seems to bobble rebounds (which led to Gagner’s second goal), but his second start in a row probably indicates that the Wings have possibly lost faith in Conklin?

Bonus drawings:

Like Vin Diesel, that effort was U-G-L-Y and only Howard has an alibi.

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Coyotes 3, Red Wings 1.

THE RUNDOWN
Ugly. The team is in trouble without Jimmy Howard. Not that this game is on Joey MacDonald’s head — he played quite well. But if we’ve seen anything this season, it’s that Howard finds a way to win, and the others don’t. Conklin and MacDonald are a combined 3-7. Howard, on the other hand, is 32-12. That’s a winning percentage of 73 — compared to 30%.

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • Surprise! The power play shits the bed again — getting an abbreviated (38 second) man advantage in the first period. Not only were they going ass-over-elbows over one another on the blueline, they give up a shorthanded goal. So… 1-for-41 coming into tonight’s game (in the last 15 road games) somehow gets worse. Eight minutes into the game, it’s 1-0 Coyotes, who were 19-4-5 when scoring first.
  • COACH PETRELLA TIME! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the X’s and O’s part of our beautiful game, there’s a phenomenon referred to as “50/50 pucks.” What it means, essentially, is a puck that isn’t possessed by any team, with both teams having an equal opportunity to gain possession. Perhaps it’s a missed pass that floats into an unoccupied corner, or a strategic re-direct by a goaltender into a deserted swatch of ice. Nevertheless, with the competitive equality between teams’ talent levels, games can be won and lost by deciding who gets more of the 50/50 pucks. In the first few minutes, the Wings had awesome puck control and kept possession very nicely. However, after the five or six minute mark, the Coyotes owned the 50/50 pucks. At the heart of it, it’s a matter of appetite for it. You have to want those pucks and take them, not just hope they find their way to you. THAT’S the difference going into an intermission down one.
  • Rather eventful first half of the second period: Ian White took his second penalty of the game, and was joined shortly after by Pavel Datsyuk. White’s penalty would expire, but the Wings wouldn’t be so lucky on the second. Ray Whitney found a little bit of real estate and fired a puck into traffic (it looked like it hit Martin Hanzal on the way in) and banked one in for a 2-0 lead. During the kill, Niklas Kronwall blocked a shot with his right hand or wrist and would go off to get some attention. Kronwall would return, however.
  • Johan Franzen would finally break through — both in the “score a goal” way and in the “stop sucking so badly on the power play” way. The Mule is the first Wing to 20 goals this year, and the Coyote lead was cut in half. The Wings PP “improved” to 2-for-44 (4.5%) in the last 16 road games. The score would remain 2-1 Coyotes heading into the locker room a second time.
  • The third period provided more of the same — Phoenix playing better hockey than Detroit, and eventually sealing it with an empty netter.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • Congratulations to Dan “Bear” “Buckets” “Loins” Cleary, who played his 800th career NHL game against a former team.

DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Joey MacDonald played very well in what is considered his audition for the backup role. Ty Conklin fluttered that chance away, and Mac is going to do what he can to convince the Wings NOT to make a deal at the end of the month, and instead keep him. It was a good first step.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
No question here: Ian White — two penalties, a collision leading to the first goal, a stumble leading to the second goal. It was an ugly night for the usually-steady White, and I’m sure he’ll bounce back. But he earned this tonight. Honorable mention to the goal scorer, Johan Franzen, for handing the empty net goal to the Coyotes on a silver platter when the Wings were trying to gear something up to tie it.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Wings are back on Wednesday night against the Oilers. They’ll look to continue their torrid win streak at the Joe, where they haven’t lost a game since November 3rd. It’ll be the first game of a six-game home stand. Vin Diesel Week continues. Let’s all hope that Sam Gagner Week does not.

LOSS CANDY
Say hello to former Miss USA and current Red Wings fan Rima Fakih (literally, say hello: @officialrima):

Her Mr. Universe counterpart, Tarik Kaljanac:

Wings need shootout despite breaking shot clock in regulation

NOOGIE! Playing the role of the Vancouver Canucks in this photo is Justin Abdelkader

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Red Wings 4, Canucks 3 in the Shootout

THE RUNDOWN
More Jekyll and Hyde hockey from the Detroit Red Wings. The first half of the first period was all Wings — the second half, all Canucks. The Wings were flat-out dominant for much of the first stanza, but the talented Canucks were able to keep it even heading into the break. The second period started much like the first: all Red Wings, including two solid minutes in the offensive zone to start the frame. It was 13+ minutes of “Red Wings hockey with special guests the Canucks,” and the good guys were able to take a well-deserved lead into the locker room. Through those first two periods, the Red Wings directed 53 shots at the net (only 30 reached it, but still… that’s a shit ton).

And then the third period happened. Detroit failed to register a shot in the first ten minutes of it, and Vancouver took advantage of an errant puck in between the dots to tie it at 2… it looked scary. But Detroit found a way to pry another goal out of the stingy Vancouver defense of the third period, and re-take the lead. It wouldn’t last — Vancouver found another gear and tied the game with 4:24 left in the game. We’d head into overtime… and then the shootout, where the Wings are suddenly invincible.

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • All Detroit early tonight. 12 of the first 13 shots came from the Wings’ sticks. However, one instance that didn’t earn a shot was a Valtteri Filppula in the opening minutes. He was hooked to shit (upon realizing that the Wings were playing one of the Canadian teams, there was no call), and lost the puck around the crease. A moment later, Todd Bertuzzi had a golden opportunity in close and fired a backhand directly into Roberto Luongo’s glove. It wasn’t until Dan Cleary banged in a floater that Detroit was able to break through.
  • The first Canucks Power Play came after — AND ONLY AFTER — the nancies started throwing their arms up and skating toward the referee. When reminded that they’re obligated to do whatever they can to help the Canadian teams, the ref raised his arm and gave Henrik Zetterberg a penalty for being very, very near a Canuck. The Wings would kill off the two minutes, but the next six shots (after the aforementioned 12-1 start) were Vancouver’s. Near the end of the first, the Canucks would tie it up by shoving everyone up in Tiberius’ grill, with Kesler (AN AMERICAN) forcing one in. It’s one of those dirty area goals I’d love to see the Wings score a touch more often, and the teams would take a 1-1 tie into the first intermission, courtesy of the Canucks whining and bitching.
  • The Wings Power Play sucks. That’s a fact. So many weapons, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to net one on a man advantage when they’re being as tenacious as they were tonight at even strength. For some reason, they drop a gear when they’re up a body and — although maintaining puck possession and control — they just can’t put the puck in the net. Bizarre.
  • The first 11 shots of the second period were off of Red Wings sticks. It wasn’t until 12:26 into the middle period that the Canucks were able to put one on Howard.
  • With just over six minutes to go in the second, Jiri Hudler scored his 17th of the season with a cannon from just inside the circle. He currently leads the team in goals. Yeah, you heard me.
  • Immediately after, for some reason, Justin Abdelkader agrees to fight Max Lapierre. It was an ill-advised time to drop the gloves (on Gator’s part), but he “won” that fight, if you want to call it that, in a re-match of an October bout in which he thoroughly kicked the shit out of Lapierre. The Wings would take a 2-1 lead into the locker room after two.
  • Todd Bertuzzi and Keith Ballard would scrap a few minutes into the third period after an icing call. Ballard went a little low on Bert, who didn’t appreciate it, and fists were thrown for just a few seconds before they fell down. Let’s call that one a draw. I guess.
  • Alex Burrows would score on the Canucks’ sixth shot of the third period (all of which came before Detroit could get one) to knot it up at two. Drew Miller could be blamed for flubbing on a clear, but he found a way to make it up to his teammates a few minutes later — scoring the go-ahead goal to make it 3-2. “Ryan Miller’s brother,” as he’s become known on broadcasts outside of Detroit, scored for the second game in a row, and ninth of the season — one away from his season best (both last year, and the year prior, in Detroit).
  • Mason Raymond would tie the game at 3 with just over 4 minutes to play. Uh oh. With a scoreless overtime, we’d head to a shootout, tied 3-3. Coming into tonight’s game, the Wings were an impressive 5-0 in the skills competition.
  • VNC: Alex Edler (stopped by Howard), Mason Raymond (lost the handle)
  • DET: Pavel Datsyuk (GOAL), Jiri Hudler GOAL). Chicken dinner.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • Anyone else catch Assante advertised on the glass? Sure is nice to see the guy from Private Benjamin finally get some recognition.
  • Gordie Howe in the building tonight, and it’s always nice to see Mr. Hockey around. There was a lot of chatter earlier today about his declining mental health, but that’s not something anyone should be speculating about. Just wish him well and — if it’s your thing — pray that you never have a friend or family member go through something as horrible as dementia.
  • Jannik Hanson nearly broke Jonathan Ericsson’s legs on a late second period icing play, tapping Shitbox’s skate as he barreled toward the boards. That’s an awful, disgusting, dangerous play to make and he deserved those two minutes. Ericsson’s very lucky he didn’t shatter a femur.
  • Happy 37th Birthday to Todd Bertuzzi. Thank you for not killing me for all of the things I’ve said about you over the years.

DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Jiri Hudler had a goal in regulation, and the winner in the shootout. Shout-out to Jimmy Howard, who has stopped 14/16 shootout attempts this season. Nasty.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Johan Franzen. This was a game that The Mule should have been able to dictate the pace of. Instead, whenever he had the puck, he was lumbering and doing very little to aid the Wings in the way that we know he can.

WHAT’S NEXT
The Wings have the Oilers on Saturday night.

Photo Credit: Rich Lam, Getty Images

Feb. 2 :: Strike up the music, the band has begun…

BING!

RISE AND SHINE, CAMPERS!
The Wings swing a bit more West through Canada, landing in Vancouver for the second of a four-game winning streak road trip. Puck drops at 10pm in the time zone that matters, and you can catch the game on Fox Sports Detroit or Sportsnet Pacific. It just so happens that today is Groundhog Day, so don’t forget your booties cuz it’s cooooooooooooooooold out there today!

JUST PUT THAT ANYWHERE PAL, YEAH GOOD SAVE!
:: Detroit dropped a nifty third period on the Flames, winning 3-1 on Tuesday evening.
:: Vancouver needed overtime to defeat the Hawks 3-2 on Tuesday.
:: This will be the third match up between the Wings and Nucks. The team split the first two, each winning at home. The most recent game was December 21st, and the Wings were 4-2 losers on that night. Your goal scorers that evening were Drew Miller (his 7th) and Todd Bertuzzi (his 4th but, you know, he’s an offensive force this season).

NED… RYERSON?
The Best Name Nominee is Aaron Volpatti. Because he can do this to me.

NOW DON’T YOU TELL ME YOU DON’T REMEMBER ME BECAUSE I SURE AS HECKFIRE REMEMBER YOU
No one in Vancouver used to play in Detroit. But, and I don’t have you’ve heard or not, Ryan Kesler is from Livonia. Also, David Booth is a Detroiter.

CHANCE OF DEPARTURE TODAY 100%
Todd Bertuzzi played over 500 games for the Canucks. It didn’t end well.

DID HE ACTUALLY CALL HIMSELF “THE TALENT”
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

Scratches
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: Mikael “Aim High, You Don’t Want to Hit the Groundhog” Samuelsson
HOLLIS: Bachelor Partyin’
DISCH: Dany “Don’t Drive Angry! Don’t Drive Angry!” Heatley
STEVIE: Darren “I’m A God. I’m not THE God. I Don’t Think” Helm
BONUS: Todd “Do You Have Live Insurance? Because If You Do, You Could Always Use a Little More” Bertuzzi

I MAKE THE WEATHER!
:: Jimmy Howard and Pavel Datsyuk had the day off yesterday since they didn’t get a break over All-Star Weekend. Both will be in tonight.
:: Tomas Holmstrom is back in the lineup after missing the Calgary game with an inflamed knee, courtesy of an injection to provide artificial lubricant.
:: Congratulations to our Christopher J. Hollis, who is in Vancouver tonight celebrating his bachelor party with dear friends. If he calls after the game to discuss any of the following, we’ll be sure to record it and include it on the next TP:60: A) Todd Bertuzzi spin-o-ramas, B) Bullshit penalties, C) Alcohol intake, D) How much he loves, and deservedly so, Meg, or E) Fucking Stephane Auger, man.
:: We did a Groundhog Day post a few seasons ago, but I could literally do this for every game. I love that damn movie.

CINEMATIC INSPIRATION

Red Wings ride two third period goals to win

LET'S GET SOME CANADIAN HOOKERS!

FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
Red Wings 4, Flames 1.

THE RUNDOWN
The Wings didn’t look too much in control of this one until the third, when difference in talent showed. Nice way to start a road trip, but the Wings will face a tougher opponent on Thursday when they meet Vancouver. With the win, the Red Wings evened up the season series with Calgary, each winning a game at home and on the rod. Fact is, this is a game that they should win, and the team gets back up to .500 when wearing white sweaters. They’ll look to build on that the rest of the week.

BULLETS OF IMPORTANCE

  • First, and very much most importantly, the tribute to Brad McCrimmon was beautiful and classy. It was impossible to have dry eyes during a wonderful video with excellent clips and comments. Kudos to the Calgary Flames for allowing the Red Wings to be a part of the ceremony. Once again, we hope he rests in peace and is coaching from up above.
  • Cory Emmerton got the scoring started, notching his fifth of the season on a well-placed rebound. It would prove to be the only goal of the first frame, but another one almost squeaked by Kiprusoff, but it was reviewed and determined not to have crossed the line.
  • During the first Wings’ kill (with Todd “SURPRISE!” Bertuzzi in the box), Justin Abdelkader caught a stinger, blocking a shot and slowly limping off of the ice to get looked at in the room. It didn’t even last the whole period, as Gator would return. I was unaware except that he started to tussle with a Flame toward the end of the 1st… but it was an undercard for Mike Commodore vs. Tim Jackman, which sort of came out of nowhere. Commodore didn’t seem terribly into the fight early, but he certainly held his own and arguably won the bout — though it might be fair to call it a draw. Good on him for answering the bell and having a good time with it. The Wings would take a 1-0 lead into intermission.
  • Bertuzzi started the second much in the same way he played the first: by taking penalties that probably weren’t deserved. But the Wings weren’t as lucky this time around — the Flames converted on their power play, as Mike Cammalleri banged in a rebound of a Alex “Where Are You GOING” Tanguay shot. Seriously, I couldn’t figure out what Tanguay was up to, but he’s a better hockey player than I was. A relatively uneventful second period would end, with the Wings and Flames tied at 1.
  • The back-and-forth hockey would continue into the third, until the 11:29 mark when Valtteri Filppula shoved a lazy backhand through the crease, putting it on a tee for Jiri Hudler, who nets his 16th on the season — and third in two games. The lead would be Detroit’s again. Tempers started to flare — Justin Abdelkader gets tied up with Tom “I Broke Brad Stuart’s Jaw” Kostopoulos with 7 minutes left. Both would get two minutes for purse-swinging and the teams would play four-on-four for the next thirty seconds before Mark Giordano gets two minutes of his own for interference, a call he protested by flip floppin’ his punk ass all over the ice.
  • Detroit made it 3-1 on a kick-ass play where Dan Cleary’s stick was torn from his hands (and wasn’t called a penalty only because the last call had been against the Flames), Ian White waited a second to allow Cleary to regain his stick before moving the puck up to Helm, who immediately gave it to a streaking Cleary, who put a puck through the slot to Drew Miller. Really nifty play that involved everyone and you could see coming from a mile away because the Wings’ composure was palpable, especially compared to the monkey-chasing-their-own-ass approach the Flames have.

BULLETS OF LESS IMPORTANCE

  • A fun thing happened about five minutes into the second period. Jan Mursak played a whole shift with a Calgary Flame stick stuck in the fighter’s strap of his jersey. That he could skate as well as he was with that hanging off his back is pretty amazing.
  • Pavel Datsyuk caught an errant Jay Bouwmeester stick up under the chin near the end of the second period, but he was no worse for wear. Anytime some lumber catches your face, it stings, but Pavel’s part man, part amazing, so he was fine.

DISCH APPROVED “HORSECOP” OF THE GAME
Brad McCrimmon. This was a partly chippy, partly finesse kind of game that Beast loved playing and, very likely, loved coaching. All of the best highlights of the night had him, and his gnarly nose, in them.

THE RIGGY “SHITBOX” OF THE GAME
Todd Bertuzzi took two penalties and then passed to no one in particular, nearly causing a third.

WHAT’S NEXT
I’ve got the pre-game for Thursday’s tilt in Vancouver. If you’d like a hint for the theme, click here for an audio sample.

Photo Credit: Mike Ridgewood, Getty Images

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

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

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.