Ritola up, Blue Jackets again, Bertuzzi’s our biggest fan

Your first star. Snowballs abundant in hell.


WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
Monday, December 28th, 2009. The Red Wings play the second half of the second half of back-to-back rematches (say that five times fast). This time, Detroit heads to Columbus. I’m in Pennsylvania, stopping by my fiancee’s family’s home, so I’m not entirely sure I’ll have a chance to check it out since…ya know… no one has Versus.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
1. Todd Bertuzzi: Scoring Machine. More positive than the last kind of machine he was. Oh you didn’t hear? We’re pen pals now.
2. Ville Leino, sit down. Some kid from Grand Rapids is taking your place. Anyone think he’ll be in Motown next season?
3. Jimmy Howard sure does play a lot for a guy that isn’t the starter…
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The Wings and Jackets just played on Saturday in front of a pretty good crowd that included yours truly. My personal favorite Red Wing, Sir Toddeus Bertuzzi, singlehandedly beat Columbus. The final score was Columbus Blue Jackets 1, Detroit Todd Bertuzzis 2. TODD BERTUZZI!
WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THEN
Mattias Ritola was called up from Grand Rapids, and Uncle Mike had the following to say about Ville Leino being the “working in” guy in practice:

Anytime someone comes in and moves into the spot you were in and now you don’t have a line, I’d say that’s a message. But it’s not about sending a message anymore. We got to be better. You get so much opportunity and if you don’t take advantage of your opportunity, somebody else gets the opportunity.

That sound you heard was whatever was left of Ville Leino’s manhood being sucked COMPLETELY inside his body.
OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?! / BEST NAME NOMINEE
These are the same as the other night, no former Red Wings in Columbus – and Jason Williams and Andy Delmore are former Blue Jackets in Detroit-ish. The Best Name Nominee was Raffi Torres.

THEIR LAST GAMES
Detroit defeated Columbus 2-1 on Saturday.
RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 19-14-5 (3rd in Central, 10th in West) :: 12-7-2 at home.
–Columbus Blue Jackets :: 14-18-7 (5th in Central, 14th in West) :: 6-12-3 on the road.
JACKETS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Fredrik Modin :: Rick Nash :: RJ Umberger :: Antoine Vermette :: Mike Commodore :: Rusty Klesla :: Thriller :: Steve Mason :: Jan Hejda
EXPECTED LINEUP
Not only is Valtteri Filppula back, but Dan Cleary participated in full practice, meaning he’s getting close. Ritola is penciled into that second line, though Mike Babcock made no commitment to actually playing him there (or at all). Like I mentioned above, Howard is starting again, making it twelve of the last fifteen games. Can we call him the starter yet or what?
Bertuzzi — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Ritola — Filppula — Miller
Draper — Helm — Eaves
May — Abdelkader — Maltby
Lidstrom — Rafalski
Lebda — Stuart
Meech — Janik
Howard (starting)
Osgood
Injuries
Andreas Lilja
Johan Franzen
Jason Williams
Niklas Kronwall
Dan Cleary
Jonathan Ericsson
Henrik Zetterberg
QUICK THOUGHTS
1. During the last game, I thought Nicklas Lidstrom was forcing some shots, and seemingly to let the lack of offense get to him. I’m really hoping he can break the goal-scoring curse soon, but it’s not like he’s not contributing. I expect a big time game from the best in the business. After all, he was just named to Team Sweden for the Olympics so perhaps he’s got a bit of an extra confidence boost.
2. Speaking of which, former Red Wing scapegoat Mikael Samuelsson was “snubbed” by the team (no word yet on who will fill the “firing pucks into the corner” role for that squad). He had the following to say about it, per Bob McKenzie: “Probably going to get in trouble for this, but they can go fuck themselves.” Classy.
3. Ritola playing over Leino is probably a bigger deal than the team will let on. Leino hasn’t exactly been quiet about the fact that he’d head back to Finland if he didn’t get an NHL spot, but it’s clear he doesn’t really belong.
4. I am now eight Bertuzzi goals away from changing the simple banner to one depicting my “true” feelings of the man. Could reeeeallly use a couple quiet games from him.
5. Darren Helm finishes. You heard it here first, folks.
WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Beejers
Yup, Todd Bertuzzi reads The Production Line. And he loves what he sees.
JACKET WE COVET (JJ Special)
Once again, I asked J.J. from Kansas to chime in, since I’m getting tired of saying Rick Nash over and over again. Last time, J.J. delivered Spear of Testiclese. And here’s what we get for tonight’s game:

It’s hard to pick a BJ other than Nash because this team has jack for talent. I’d go with Jakub Voracek. He reminds me of a labrador puppy. His feet are a bit too big for his age and he hasn’t figured out how to use his size the right way, but he’s got plenty of energy. Worst case, he ends up the next Kopecky and we ship hiim off later to get overpaid for unrealized potential. Best case, he rounds out to Franzen 2.0.

There you have it. Voracek it is.

116 thoughts on “Ritola up, Blue Jackets again, Bertuzzi’s our biggest fan”

  1. I was talking about over at my site this morning that Leino is on notice, and that I'm willing to bet if they have to waive anyone it will be him. Miller and Eaves have both earned their spots. Leino forced the management's hand and prevented himself from ripening like their general plan is with most players. I suppose they thought they had another magic fin like Fil. He did in fact only spend 1 season in GR. He wasn't sent into a 2nd line spot his first year on the team though.

  2. If Bert really reads TPL, I'm betting he lays another big, wet one on you! I just wish we could get video…

  3. "Ritola — Filppula — Miller"…still blows me away that we're anywhere near contention with a second line that features TWO guys who we thought might…maybe…at some point…get called into action this season. Does feel nice to see Flipper back up there though…eases the heartburn a bit.

    Christine, I was going to make a revenue stream/web cam follow-on comment to that, but I'll refrain. This is a classy site. Right.

  4. Crater – Meant to respond earlier. Couldn't agree more with the idea that Miller and Eaves have EARNED their spots. Ville got the nod based on potential…which a lot of us (myself included) thought was there when we inked him to a legit deal this summer. I'll leave the cap/contract ramifications to him getting waived to Mr. Petrella.

  5. While I hope the Wings hang on to Miller and Eaves, as well, I can certainly answer the numbers/waiving question for ya, Crater.

    Let's pretend for a minute that EVERYONE comes back (except Lilja) healthy (which we know is a longshot), the Red Wings will have only two extra bodies on the roster. Justin Abdelkader, obviously, will be going back to Grand Rapids, as was the plan at the beginning of the season.

    The next guy to go might be Brad May because he's on a two-way contract, so he'd PROBABLY be next. Ville Leino has a one-way, so financially, it makes more sense for the Wings to try to shuttle Brad May down to the farm. I don't think any team will throw up much of a roadblock.

    Another option is Drew Miller, since he IS on a two-way, but anyone with eyeballs has realized he's fit in really nicely, a lot more than May has. Miller is currently playing second line minutes, that's not the kind of guy that you view as a rental.

    But with Abdelkader and May off the active roster, they'll still only have 23 guys (which is the limit), and with all the injuries that have mounted, cap room won't be an issue.

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