The Preview Where I Make a Concerted Effort Not to Mention a Certain Someone **UPDATE**

Guardian Legend II: Hockey Hotbed



12:24pm :: Update :: Patrick Eaves is out of the lineup. See updated lineup below.


NOW, WHERE WERE WE?
The last game played between these two clubs was March 20 of last season. Chris Osgood was in net for the 6-3 ass-kicking, a game won on the strength of goals from Marian Hossa (36), Johan Franzen (30), Pavel Datsyuk (29), Jiri Hudler (21), Dan Cleary (14), and Brian Rafalski (10). The Wings improved to 48-15-9.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THEN?
Atlanta finished 13th in the Eastern Conference, missing the playoffs by 17 points. They’ve actually had quite a bit of turnover and most of the notables were positive improvements:
Out – Garnet Exelby, Colin Stuart
In – Maxim Afinogenov, Nik Antropov, Pavel Kubina, Steve McCarthy, Christoph Schubert

OH, HI AGAIN
One of the Thrashers’ alternate captains is Vyacheslav “You May Know Him Better as Slava” Kozlov. Kozlov was traded, in 2001, to the Buffalo Sabres when the Red Wings acquired Dominik Hasek. After only 38 games as a Sabre, he was flipped to Atlanta for draft picks.

MEMBA ME?!

Jason Williams is the lone former Thrasher on the Red Wings, but he obviously won’t be playing into his leg is back in one piece. Assistant Coach/Reason for the Special Teams Woes Brad McCrimmon was an assistant in Atlanta before taking the bench job in Detroit.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Evander Kane.

DID YOU KNOW…
The Red Wings beat the Thrashers in the new franchise’s second game ever? The score was 7-1, but Kris Draper didn’t get one: Atlanta is one of only two teams he has yet to score against (Florida is the other).

THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit lost to Nashville 3-1 on Monday.
–Atlanta lost in overtime to Tampa Bay 4-3 on Sunday.

RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 11-7-4 (xxx in Central, xx in West) :: 7-2-2 at home.
–Atlanta Bird/Rat Combos :: 10-7-3 (xxx in Southeast, xx in East) :: 6-2-1 on the road.

EXPECTED LINEUP
Before your head explodes seeing the third defense pairing, here’s an explanation from Uncle Mike, via Khan: the top two pairs from the Predators game will remain the same (Lidstrom with Ericsson; Rafalski with Stuart), Those pairings will play against the Thrashers top two lines. Then, the remaining defensemen (Lebda; Meech) will be paired with one of the top four and rotate. It looks like Howard will start, and Maltby is the scratch for the second game in a row.

Unknown — Datsyuk — Holmstrom
Leino — Zetterberg — Cleary
Draper — Helm — Miller
May — Abdelkader — Maltby

Lidstrom — Rafalski
Ericsson — Stuart
Lebda — Meech

Howard (starting)
Osgood

Scratch
Patrick “Leads the Forwards in Plus/Minus” Eaves
Injured
Andreas “Swedish for Andrew” Lilja
Johan “Swedish for John” Franzen
Valtteri “Finnish for Walter” Filppula
Jason “Canadian for Mediocre” Williams
Niklas “Five Games Seems Fair” Kronwall

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. I can’t wait to see if Drew Miller can build off of his performance from the Nashville game. I’d love to see him get rewarded and bumped up to a scoring line again, because not only does it boost his confidence, it puts everyone who isn’t named Datsyuk or Zetterberg on notice.
2. Jimmy Howard gets the start following a fantastic showing by Chris Osgood. It looks like the starts are being rotated, which is a good idea considering how the games are stacked on top of one another.
3. I wonder how Brett “Brad” Lebda and Derek “Darren” Meech feel about being one of the “other defensemen.” It can’t do much for their confidence to know that they simply aren’t as trusted as the other guys, but if they thought they were, they have some sort of mental illness. That’s what we called a double-edged sword.
4. I love Darren Helm. I could literally watch him skate all game. TPL partner-in-crime Rob put it best during last year’s playoffs: it’d be worth paying $5 for a personal camera on him for a full game.
5. If I’m Ville Leino, I’m coming out of the locker room itching to score. He was dropped down to the fourth line in the last game, and I’m sure he’s feeling the heat…

WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Predators
Now, I’m not going to mention any names, but the team AS A WHOLE took far too many offensive zone penalties. During two of the ensuing power plays, the Preds scored. Moral of the story is: stupid penalties give birth to losses, via goals against. As it were.

THRASHER WE COVET
Ilya Kovalchuk. Yeah, I know he wouldn’t fit in on Detroit’s roster, but homeboy is one of the ten most talented players on the planet.

115 thoughts on “The Preview Where I Make a Concerted Effort Not to Mention a Certain Someone **UPDATE**”

  1. Helmer is rapidly becoming the only thing this season that's keeping me from hari kari. Now if only he could get the puck in the net on at least 50% of his chances…

    Actually, the 3rd and 4th lines are keeping my hopes alive. I wonder if that has anything to do with the malignancy on the 1st line mucking things up.

    So for my rubber ducky revenge: "One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong."

  2. I'd take Helm-Datsyuk-Miller on a line in a heartbeat right now. Datsyuk may still end up with the puck on his stick 90% of the time, but at least he wouldn't be getting triple-teamed.

  3. I adore Darren Helm. I, too, would love to see him with a real playmaker like Datsyuk – although I'm not sure he has the skill-set to be a top six kind of guy. What he does, he does well, and I love him for it.

    But, I do believe in the rewarding players for hardwork, like he gives every shift. I don't, however, believe in giving someone every opportunity to play with one of the most gifted players on Earth, only to watch him fail over and over again.

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