Friday, April 20, 2007

Wings 2, Flames 2

I'm in a shit mood today.

I keep reminding myself that this series is exactly where I expected it to be at this point. I picked the Wings in 6, which means I have them winning Game 6 in Calgary. Which means that Calgary had to win 2 of the first 5 games...which ones would be the most likely for us to lose? The two road games...hence a 2-2 series coming back to Detroit.

So why such a shitty mood?

Because it's the same damn stuff that has been going on for years. We get to the playoffs, teams start to force us to dump and chase, and we can't do it. Teams get physical with our sissy Europeans and they fold like a cheap hooker who got punched in the stomach by a fat guy with sores on his face. We run into a hot goalie who can keep his team in the series despite getting outshot 2 or 3 to 1. The other team sells out on defense. Their guys give up their bodies like they're nothing to block shots. Our guys try to block shots standing straight up, and just screen the damn goalie. And nothing ever changes.

I don't understand why we continue to try and play puck-possession throughout the entire regular season when we know it's not going to work come playoff time. Lose 5 or 6 extra games in the regular season, and work on dump-and-chase, so that come playoff time it looks like we have some idea what the hell to do.

That said, game 3 was bad. Game 4 really wasn't. The line switches that Babcock made worked pretty well. The big problem right now is our special teams are horrible. The power play has been sub-par the entire season and the penalty kill is horrendous. Stay out of the box (or at least don't give up 5 on 3s) and we're still in pretty good shape. It's just too bad that this series has basically come down to us depending on Calgary to play completely clueless hockey on the road again.

It's also been alarming how the top line has been invisible the last couple of games...especially with Regher out of the lineup for Calgary. One suggestion: If we're going to be dumping and chasing, they need someone on the top line who can go muck in the corners and get the puck back. Holmstrom can muck, but he can't skate. Put Bertuzzi up on the top line with Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Bertuzzi was our best player last night, and he can get in front of the net just like Holmstrom. He's not as good at it, but he's more talented in all the other areas. We have to do something to jump-start that top line. It's like Datsyuk scored his two goals, so he hit his playoff quota for the next 5 seasons. I hate that signing by the way. Too much money, too much "term". I'm not ready to start making jokes about it, but they're definitely running through my head.

All that said, the Wings should still win this series. If nothing else, we've got two home games left and Calgary is clueless on the road. One thing I will say though: If you're a Wings fan reading this, and you (obviously) want the Wings to win the Cup this year...root for Dallas. Be as big of a Stars fan for the next (hopefully) two games as you are a Wings fan. Because I'm pretty damn sure we won't win the Cup unless the Stars win their series with Vancouver. If they do (and the Wings beat Calgary), we play Dallas, who we've dominated this year. If they don't, we play San Jose and our chicken-shit penalty kill will be the end of us. Calgary isn't even good offensively, and they're hurting us bad on the power play. San Jose will be at 50% if we keep playing like that. With Dallas winning, SJ would have to play Anaheim, who is better equipped to handle them, in my opinion.

Edit: One more quick thing about the Wings. I hate that we have Samuelsson on the point on the power play. I hate it in general when teams put a forward back there (it bugs me when Michigan does it with Cogliano, too). Forwards aren't used to holding the puck in at the point, they're not used to the angles, they don't know when to step and when to back out, etc. There was one play last night where we won the draw and it rolled softly back toward the point. Sammy was in no-man's land because he didn't know if he should go get it or not. Any of our defensemen would've known to have gone and gotten it. He eventually did, and panicked and threw it across the ice to no one. Put Lebda back there. That guy has "power play specialist" written all over him.


Tom said...

Wow, I can't believe that you got through that entire post without once mentioned Robert Lang who was nearly invisible in the third period of game 4, right up until the last couple of minutes when I'm pretty sure he was playing for Calgary.

Packer487 said...

Crap. Yeah, how did I forget to mention him?

I've firmly believed that the people who said "Lang is lazy and he sucks" the last two years have been completely off base (and I still do believe that they were wrong), but I'm firmly on-board that bandwagon this year. He doesn't even look like an NHL player, let alone one who led the NHL in scoring for most of the year before the lockout....

Anonymous said...

berenson played the point on the PP in the NHL, which is why he makes michigan do that as well with cogliano. i dare you to take that complaint up with him.

as for the wings, you (and i mean you in a general sense here for people with the same opinion) seem to get discouraged extremely fast when two games ago nothing but praises could be sung. this sky is falling mentality is extremely annoying. i'd say chill out a bit. detroit is still the better team and hopefully that will show in the next few games.

Packer487 said...

That's fine. I'm sure Red has his reasons for doing it and there's a reason that he's a legendary coach and I'm not. Just saying I don't like having a forward back there and I don't understand the point of it.

With Michigan it's a little different because who the hell else are we going to put back there? Johnson/Hunwick are on one PP. Who do you put with Mitera on the other point? Dest? Cook? Kampfer? So for that reason I can see having a forward back there, but as a practice, I don't really like it. It works well with certain guys. But I see no point in Samuelsson back there.

What does he add that a guy like Lebda doesn't? Lebda's a better passer, Lebda's faster so he can pinch and get back on D (less chance of short-handed breakaways)...Sammy has a better shot, but he hasn't exactly been bombing away. I just don't get the point of using a guy that has had exactly ONE good offensive game in the last 3 months on your power play unit--particularly out of position.

I've been pretty consistent with my view throughout that we won't beat San Jose (but I even said that Detroit would still likely win the series with Calgary). That's not doom and gloom. That's a terrible matchup against a team that killed us 3 times this year.

It's just alarming to see the same old ghosts coming out of the closet. Calgary's not a good enough team to hurt us. San Jose is.

You don't think there's a reason for Wings fans to be a bit paranoid after 3 straight seasons of very early departures against inferior teams?

Tom said...

Well, that was a fun game last night. Lang played A LOT better, his best game in a long, long time. Not only did he get the goal, he seemed to back check quite a bit and broke up several Calgary chances. This is the happiest I've been to be wrong in a while.

David Moss was definitely my favorite Michigan player while he was there, so it hurt to see him miss that wide open net, but felt so good at the same time. He reminds me a lot of Holmstrom, always has.

Here's hoping this was the wake-up series.

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