Friday, January 13, 2006

Good Night in Detroit

The Wings and Pistons had games last night, both against teams who were in the top 2 in their respective leagues. They both won in convincing fashion.

I caught more of the Wings game than I did the Pistons game, but man was that an entertaining hockey game, and a true indication of how good hockey has gotten thanks to the new rules. 1-1 through two periods, but a pretty entertaining 1-1 game. The Flyers had a goal waived off for one of the most phantom penalties I think I've ever seen. The announcers weren't sure if it was called for goalie interference, or Savage pushing Schneider a little bit to set up. If it was the former, he never touched Legace and if it was the latter, it was an extremely weak call. They blew that one.

But man what a performance out of Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg! Those two guys are so much fun to watch when they're out there together. Babcock put them back together, on a line with Shanahan, and they only combined for 4 goals and 8 assists. The Captain also had a great pass to Robert Lang for essentially and empty-netter, which put Stevie past Gordie Howe into 7th place on the all-time assists list.

Meanwhile, the Pistons took care of the Spurs, once again by 15 points and once again holding the Spurs well below their average point total. For the two game series this year, the Pistons held San Antonio to a total of 138 points. And once again the Stones absolutely dominated SA on the boards. And here's a fun fact for you: There's no one coming to help SA on the glass unless they pull a trade before playoff time. Tim Legler wrote today (get this) that the Pistons would sweep San Antonio if the Finals started today. Can't say I disagree. You're not supposed to go into SA and win as easily as Detroit did. When Sheed is hitting from outside, they're almost unbeatable. Billups can beat you in so many ways. This is without a doubt the best starting 5 in basketball, and unless they get a major injury or face the Jazz in the Finals (haha), you have to like their chances.

Some familiar names on the rosters for the AHL All-Star game. For PlanetUSA, Wings' prospects Jiri Hudler and Valteri Filppula. 'Anny Richmon' and Al Montoya also made the roster. The Canadian team includes Jeff Tambellini. That makes me feel better about Montoya and Tambellini going pro. At least they're not skating around in the E, or fighting for shifts in the A, they're all-stars in the league right below the NHL, and they've both seen some games up in the Show, even if Montoya didn't play.

I'm off now to go watch the Wolverines hockey team take on the USA Under 18 team. It'll be nice to see Chris Summers again and see how he's progressed since the last time I saw him, which was over a year ago. He was a little too much Werner for me last time, so hopefully he's gotten a little more responsible in his own end. Sweet Lord can that boy skate though. Pat Kane will also be playing for USA, and according to the Yost Post hockey hotboard (and a tidbit Inside the Fort), the chances of him becoming a Wolverine are looking better and better. Another bit of good news as Chad Kolarik, thought to maybe be done for the season with a hernia, may actually play tonight. I don't know that I'd risk him in an exhibition game, but it's nice to know the possibility is there. Save him for MSU Tuesday.

The Blue also picked up a commit from 6'1" forward Max Pacioretty from Taft School in Connecticut. Nobody seems to know much about him yet.

UNO also took a hit, with sophomore defenseman Joe Grimaldi leaving school to go to the OHL. He was benched for the Friday game against Michigan and apparently wasn't too happy about it. Don't know if that played a role. That's a big loss for the Mavericks though. That kid's a good player....

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