Archive for March, 2009

Columbus at Detroit (3/7/09)

Saturday, March 7th, 2009

The Columbus Blue Jackets came to Detroit to play the Red Wings tonight. Osgood was in for the Wings and the red hot rookie Steve Mason was the goalie for the Blue Jackets. Hossa was still out of the lineup tonight.

Prior to the game Bud Lynch called for a moment of silence in remembrance of Colleen Howe. Known as Mrs. Hockey, Colleen was the wife the Gordie Howe. She passed away on Friday after a long battle with Pick’s Disease. Our condolences go out to the Howe family.

Colleen Howe was one of the most instrumental women in the hockey world. She became a sports agent to manage the career of her husband Gordie and sons Marty and Mark. Colleen Howe also founded The Howe Foundation to help those in need and allow them to be able to enjoy, participate and learn about the great sport of hockey. Colleen and Gordie Howe were married for 55 years. She was 76 years old.

In lieu of flowers the Howe family is asking well wishers to visit and make a donation to The Howe Foundation.

After the moment of silence Karen Newman came out and sang the national anthem wearing a Gordie Howe jersey.

The Red Wings had a power play early in this game but failed to convert.

The Blue Jackets took the lead about five minutes into this one. Tyutin shot from the blue line. It was headed way wide but Torres tipped it in front of the net and redirected it right in. It would have taken some blind luck for Osgood to stop that one.

A few minutes later the Blue Jackets had a power play when Ericsson was called for interference. The Wings killed off the penalty but just after Ericsson came back onto the ice, Williams passed from the point to the left side of the net where Umberger was waiting. He tipped the puck behind Osgood and in.

After the first period it was pretty clear that the shuffled line combinations weren’t really clicking. The Wings weren’t able to put much offense together. Datsyuk and Zetterberg were on separate lines because of Hossa’s absence. The period ended with the Red Wings down two to nothing.

In the second period the Red Wings offensive struggles continued. They were able to sustain some pressure a few times and had some good scoring chances but Mason was rock solid.

Columbus scored their third goal of the game when Umberger shot the puck. Rafalski was in front of the net and had the puck but he wasn’t able to control it. It jumped over his stick and Jason Williams was right there to pounce on it and score. That made it three to nothing Columbus.

In the later stages of the second period Detroit went on the power play. Rick Nash jumped on a pass from Zetterberg and started up ice all alone. He was one on one against Osgood and beat him for a shorthanded goal to make it four to nothing.

A few minutes later Detroit scored to break Mason’s shutout. Datsyuk passed the puck across to Zetterberg who was coming down the slot. Cleary was in front of the net occupying the goalie and two defenders. Zetterberg tipped the puck just right and got it by Mason.

The second period ended with Detroit down four to one. The big difference in the game to this point was giveaways. The Red Wings had way too many in the first two periods.

It only took 15 seconds of the third period for the giveaway parade to continue and it cost Detroit another goal. Rafalski tried a cross ice pass in his own end and Rick Nash jumped on it. He wasted no time shooting the puck. It went through Osgood’s legs to give the Blue Jackets at five to one lead. This just wasn’t Rafalski’s night. He broke his stick on the crossbar in frustration after that goal.

A few minutes later Columbus went on the power play. Umberger took the puck into the Red Wings end. He pulled up around the faceoff dot and moved to the slot. He immediately shot the puck and Osgood missed it.

Mere seconds after that Lebda gave the puck away in his own end. It came to Murray who shot it and, of course, scored. Osgood got the hook at the point and Conklin came in. It was seven to one at that point. The Red Wings had 13 giveaways at that stage of the game and Columbus had two.

It was like they were replaying the Nashville performance for the home fans just in case they might have missed it.

A few minutes later Draper dug the puck out of the corner and got it to Meech. He shot the puck, it hit the shaft of Downey’s stick and redirected into the net. They gave it to Meech initially but it would be changed to Downey. It was his first goal of the season and 8th of his career.

The Blue Jackets weren’t done yet. After a faceoff in the Columbus end Rick Nash intercepted a pass from Datsyuk to Rafalski. He took off towards the Red Wings net, shot and scored. That gave Nash another hat trick against the Red Wings and gave Columbus the most goals they’ve scored in the history of their team. It was also the largest margin of victory ever for the Blue Jackets.

Thankfully, that was the end of scoring for this game.

The two goals for the Red Wings is understandable because Mason was absolutely brilliant. The Wings badly outshot the Blue Jackets but Mason had an answer for almost everything they threw at him. That doesn’t explain the eight goals against, though. It was another lapse in effort defensively just like in Nashville. Hopefully we won’t see any more of this type of thing the rest of the season and certainly not in the playoffs.

This 8-2 loss brings us to:
94 points

Detroit at Colorado (3/4/09)

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Tonight the Red Wings were in Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche. The goalies were Conklin for the Wings and Raycroft for the Avs. Downey and Ericsson were in the lineup again tonight. Hossa was not in but he did travel with the team after the game in St. Louis. That was amazing news; he didn’t even have to stay overnight in the hospital. I guess his crash looked worse than it was. He has a stiff neck and stiff knee. All things considered that’s excellent news!

This game started out with a bit of an edge. The teams were both playing and hitting hard.

Colorado took the early lead. Liles shot the puck from the point through traffic. The puck somehow made it through a couple of Red Wings and Smyth who was in front of the net blocking Conklin’s view. I don’t think it was redirected at all but Conklin couldn’t see it so he didn’t have much chance of stopping it.

They traded some power plays with no change in the score. With the period almost over, Draper passed the puck from down low to Lidstrom in the high slot. Lidstrom one-timed it but Raycroft stopped it. Kopecky got the rebound to Filppula. He turned around and snapped one past Raycroft to tie the game. When the goal was scored the clock was not moving because of a problem with the scoreboard. The period was being timed by a stopwatch so nobody was sure how much time was left in the period. Luckily there were 19 seconds left so the goal was good.

In the second period Kopecky stole the puck when Raycroft tried to make an outlet pass. He took it to the net, made a nice move on Raycroft and almost scored. He lost it trying to get it to his backhand which would have been an easy tap in. It was a fantastic play and highlights how great Kopecky has been playing lately. He just gets better and better.

Just a few second later, Franzen decided to show Kopecky how it’s done. He did just about the same play, but he ended up scoring the goal. It was a great individual effort by Franzen. That made it two to one in favor of the Wings.

A few minutes later Detroit scored a great goal from the grinders. Downey was fore checking and caused Foote to mishandle the puck. Meech took it and passed it to Draper in the slot. Draper backhanded it for the goal making it three to one.

Most of the third period passed uneventfully. The Red Wings continued to dominate. However, with about five minutes to go in the game the Avalanche started coming to life. At one point they shot the puck from a sharp angle. It got between Conklin’s legs but it was traveling almost parallel with the goal line. The puck was bouncing around right on the goal line with Conklin out of the net. Franzen was there and he alertly swept the puck away.

The Avs continued to get a lot of shots, scoring chances and goal posts from that point on. Eventually, the pressure paid off for them. They got the puck in deep behind the Red Wings net. Smyth passed to Hejduk who was camped out in front of the net. He quickly took a shot and beat Conklin. That brought the Avs back to within a goal.

The Wings were able to shut it down from that point on even though Colorado pulled their goalie and really applied the pressure. The Red Wings looked great in this game. Kopecky, Filppula and Ericsson all had particularly good games.

This 3-2 win brings us to:
94 points

Detroit at St. Louis (3/3/09)

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

The Red Wings were in St. Louis tonight for a game against the Blues. They were attempting to redeem themselves after the previous game in which they were beaten by Nashville eight to nothing. Hossa was back in the lineup for this game and so was Lebda. Downey was called up and Helm and Leino were sent down to Grand Rapids. Also, Jonathan Ericsson made his NHL debut in this game. The goaltending was handled by Osgood for the Wings and Mason for the Blues.

The game started out with a lot of energy and scoring chances by both teams. This looked from the start like it would be a really physical game.

Early on in the first period Marian Hossa was badly hurt. He was hit by Polak and lost his balance. He went down and slid head first very heavily into the boards. They had to stop the game and bring out the medical staff. They immobilized his neck, put him on a stretcher and took him to the hospital. It was a very scary situation. As Hossa left the ice he waved his hand a bit so at least we know that he could move. Polak was called for roughing on the play but it was a clean hit. It was just bad luck that Hossa fell and landed they way he did. Polak clearly felt terrible about the injury. This was Hossa’s first game back after the neck injury he suffered a few games ago. I sure hope this isn’t going to be anything too serious. The crash looked terrible; it looked like a neck breaker. I’m encouraged by the fact that he was conscious and able to move as he left the ice.

Halfway through the first period Janssen fought with Downey. It was probably the longest fight I’ve seen in 10 years. They were going at it for a minute and forty-one seconds. They were both exhausted by the end. Downey got the worst of it. He landed a few punches but took far more than he delivered. It was entertaining enough but there’s no heart in modern hockey fights. They were just fighting because that’s what’s expected of them. I’d rather see a fight caused by competitiveness in the heat of battle instead of two guys just going through the motions. It’s nothing against Downey, of course. He’s doing his job very well. My observation is more on hockey fights as a whole, rather than this particular fight.

Not long after that things got even more chippy. Kopecky was elbowed in the head and bloodied. Lebda was hit hard in the corner and then he high-sticked Polak. Lebda was given a double minor for the high-stick.

During the Blues power play Kopecky scored short-handed. Datsyuk stole the puck at his own blue line. He made a great move to get the puck to Kopecky. Then Kopecky made a nice move on Mason to get him committed to the short side, then pulled it back around him and into the net.

In the second period Detroit scored with just two seconds left on a power play. Detroit was putting the pressure on the Blues. Franzen was in front of the net. Zetterberg got it to Datsyuk who shot. The rebound popped up in the air and Datsyuk gloved it down and shot again. This time the rebound dropped to the side of the net. Zetterberg came around the net and smacked it in for the goal.

In the third period Detroit scored their third goal. Kopecky brought the puck into the zone and moved towards the slot. He shot it towards the net and Draper tipped it by Mason. That goal made it three nothing.

Around the halfway point of the third period Detroit went on the power play again. Kronwall shot from near the blue line. The puck hit a Blues player in front of the net and changed direction a little. Mason got a piece of it but it dropped in behind him. As it was trickling into the net Cleary tried to shove it the rest of the way. He fanned on that attempt but luckily it still went in the net anyway.

Later in the third Detroit had a 5 on 3 power play. Just as the penalty expired the Wings scored their fifth goal of the night. Filppula scored this one by standing next to the net and jumping on the rebound.

That was the final nail for this game. Osgood got the shutout. It was total redemption for the Nashville blowout. Ericsson looked good in his first game. The only real downside for this game was the Hossa injury. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as it looked.

This 5-0 win brings us to:
92 points