Friday, October 14, 2005

"The cup still goes through Detroit"-Andy Murray

First up, Michigan hockey takes on BC tonight and here's a six-pack of things I'd like to see:
#1) Sauer to continue playing well, cut down on his rebounds, and handle the puck a little bit better.
#2) Jack Johnson to still look better than everyone, despite playing against a top-notch team.
#3) Tim Cook to continue his strong play.
#4) The defensemen to do a better job of staying out of the box.
#5) Continue to block shots as well as they did last weekend.
#6) SHOOT THE DAMN PUCK on the Power Play.
I don't have to see a win tonight, though it'd be very very nice. This is a very nice measuring stick for how we stack up against a top-notch team (granted one that hasn't played a full game--regular or exhibition--yet). Show me some good things, and I'll be very happy.

The Wings are off to a 4-1 start, much to my delight. Before last night's win over LA, Andy Murray had this to say: "Tell me where there are holes in their lineup. I think the Stanley Cup still goes through Detroit".

Methinks Andy Murray might just be right, provided they stay relatively healthy and get anything out of their goalies come the postseason. I don't like Ken Holland, but I can give him credit when credit is due. Mikael Samuelsson was a brilliant signing. He's only 28 and he's got 4-2--6 in 5 games so far this year, and has tallied at least 1 point in every game. He looks great. The Daniel Cleary signing is also working out very nicely. He fits right in on the Grind Line and the Penalty Kill. He brings a lot of energy, and he's mentioned that Draper is a great influence. He also said something to the effect that with Babcock he knows that he's gotta go all out every night or he won't be in the lineup the next game.

Brendan Shanahan has also been much improved in the early going. He started pulling a Fedorov on a regular basis under Lewis, but there's only been 1 game this year where I feel like he's been invisible. Look at the balance on this team though. 6 guys averaging a point a game through 5 games, and only 6 players who have played a game don't have a point yet (and only 3 of those have played more than 2 games).

Legace's been solid in goal, though his save % doesn't reflect that just yet. He's been big when he has had to be. The Power Play looked great for the first 3 games, but hasn't been there for them the last 2. The Penalty Killing has been outstanding though at 3rd in the NHL...only Minnesota and TB have been better than Detroit's 93.9%. However Detroit has also scored 2 shorties, and the teams ahead of them have 0. I wish they'd enact a volleyball-hitting-percentage type rule for Power Play % and PK%. Take the number of goals scored/allowed and subtract shorties allowed/scored and then divide. Thus the Wings would be at 100% on the penalty kill, because they've scored as many short-handed goals as they've allowed power play goals. I feel like the net goals should be factored in somehow.

All things being said, a pretty solid start to the season. Zetterberg has been great, Datsyuk has shown flashes (though I'm sure he's not all there yet), we've seen a couple new guys play very well, and a couple of the older guys look to be back to where they were. I'd like to see Lilja take a few less dumb penalties, but apart from that things are good. Fischer looks really great so far, which is a nice bonus.

I'm using the head-in-the-sand tactic when it comes to Michigan football. This season just isn't happening.

And my Astros are gonna win it all. No, I don't care about baseball. I arbitrarily picked Houston as my team to root for before the playoffs, simply because I really like Roy Oswalt.

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