Remember when you were a kid and you jumped on your first bike without training wheels? It was a liberating feeling once Dad let go of the bike and you realized you could keep it up on your own. All you wanted to do was ride the bike everywhere and explore every little detail of every single thing around you. Eventually, as your confidence grew, you took on bigger challenges like jumping curbs or popping wheelies, and pretty soon you felt like the king of the street.
Like every kid, however, you eventually grew up and moved on to bigger and better things like cars, girls and (eventually) booze and parties. The thought of being on a bike was one that never crossed your mind until one night you saw a bike leaning against the side of your fraternity house and thought “Hey, it would be pretty sweet to take that thing for a spin around the block.” Of course, you failed to take into account that you had already knocked back an entire case of Natty Light, and that the fact you could even walk was a small miracle at that point. Nonetheless, the only way you were landing that hot chick from the house across the street is if you could toss her on the handlebars and take her for a lap around campus. As soon as you hopped on the bike though, it became quickly apparent that the whole “It’s just like riding a bike” phrase didn’t necessarily apply to…you know…riding a bike.
Crash. Burn. Broken arm. Bruised ego. Cuddling with a fifth of Jack and some codeine.
I imagine that’s how the Wings felt last night when they took the ice. Sure, these guys are professionals, but even the most seasoned vet can’t be expected to come flying out of the gate at top speed after not being in the saddle for almost a week. It takes time to ease back into the game, just like it takes time to get familiar with that bicycle when you jump back on it for the first time in five years. Unfortunately for the Wings, time was not a luxury afforded to them by a feisty Phoenix Coyotes team, who jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the first period and hung on for the 4-2 win.
Look: I know you are waiting for me to dog on Chris Osgood’s performance, and I promise you, we’ll get to that. But first, let’s take a second and find Jesus together. Osgood or not, the Wings played largely like crap throughout the entire contest, relying on sheer talent to muster up a pair of goals to make things interesting. Guys looked slow and uncoordinated, making careless passes and turning the puck over with alarming frequency in their own end of the ice all night long. I thought Brad Stuart looked downright awful, getting beaten regularly while looking extremely fatigued for a guy coming off of 972 days of rest. Niklas Kronwall also looked like a bag of dog shit, putting the cherry on his poop pie by coughing up the puck at the blue line with under a minute to go, allowing Laurie Korpikosksoksjijdfski to drive home the empty net coffin nail (although, I’m not sure Osgood would have stopped it anyway.) The lack of energy “off the hop” killed the Wings and they just didn’t have enough in the tank to dig themselves out of a gaping first period hole.
Now to everyone’s favorite part of the show: Chris Osgood. Three goals in the first period, with at least one of them being ridiculously soft? What is “The Chris Osgood Memorial Start,” Alex.
I’m just not sure what to say about this guy anymore. I want to believe in him. I root for him to succeed and I want to see him come in and do well, but there’s a reason why when I sit down on my couch halfway through the first period and he’s in net, I fully expect to see Gamecenter welcome me with a deficit (usually larger than two.) I don’t get how one guy can be that bad over the span of 20 minutes, and then go lights out for the next 40. Sure, Jakub Kindl’s triple lutz of FAIL while trying to stay with Vrbata ultimately led to the first Phoenix tally, but the other two were just plain BAD. The Yandle power play goal saw Ozzie get caught on his knees and get picked over the high shoulder, while the eventual game winner was a freakin shorthanded shot from 20+ feet away that Ozzie just watched sail by him. Seriously, it was like watching someone let the air out of an overinflated balloon, fart noises and everything. To be fair though, Ozzie did make some excellent saves in the second and third periods, so we can’t pin this one entirely on him. Notice I said entirely…
This is what happens when teams take long breaks, especially teams that are working on building chemistry, timing and all of the other X factors that go into being a successful hockey club. Practice only affords these guys so much in terms of playing together, with the real chemistry developing when the other team is pinning them into the boards or chasing them down the ice. Those intangibles will come, and I have the feeling they will come rather quickly now that the endless layoffs between games are finally over with. The Wings are still a very good hockey team and have plenty they want to accomplish this season.
They just gotta hop back on that bike and keep pedaling.
In honor of the show I’ve been watching on DVR for the last two nights, tonight’s loss candy comes to you courtesy of ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7, whose cast was recently at the Joe taking in a Wings game.
Motown. TV. Good looking people with guns. Sounds like the perfect recipe for some sweet candy.
For the gents…
It’s all about the incredible and lovely Erin Cummings, also known as Dr. Abbey Ward on the show. Deceivingly good looking, Miss Cummings (leftover “porn name” entry, anyone?) portrays the medical examiner for Detroit’s finest, yet sadly, she doesn’t receive nearly enough air time. ABC: please remedy this yesterday.
And for the ladies…
How about the rugged and handsome D.J. Cotrona, who plays Detective John Stone on the show. A former narc cop, Stone is now working his way up the ladder of the homicide department, all while looking dashingly handsome yet totally sweaty at the same time.
Editor’s note: Totally unrelated, but I’ve talked with Petrella and Disch and we’ve decided to bring back all of the stat charts from last year that used to live over at Motown Wings. Obviously, we’ll leave the CSSI to J.J., but the line production numbers should be up and running sometime later today.