Posts Tagged ‘blog’


Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

The Detroit Red Wings have won their 11th Stanley Cup!  Congratulations to the entire Red Wings organization.  What a great season!

Congratulations also to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  They made it one hell of series.  From game 3 on I never once felt confident.  They showed a lot of heart, class, and character.

Now….it’s time to party!

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 6 (6/4/08)

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

It was nearly two days after the disaster that was game 5 and I think the players had probably recovered more than I had.  The last game was still hurting me.  To lose the way they did, after being 34 seconds away from winning it all, was so painful for me as a fan and I can’t even imagine what it was like for the players.  There’s only one cure for something like that and its initials Stanley Cup.

Game 6 offered the Red Wings the promise of redemption, retribution, and jubilation.

In the beginning of the first period the Red Wings looks a little bit shaky, not as bad as in game 5, but they had a few sloppy passes and defensive breakdowns.  Mostly, I think these problems were caused by Pittsburgh playing very aggressively more than any nervousness on the part of the Wings.

The Penguins were called for a penalty which was pretty clearly embellished by Maltby.  I really hate to see players diving like that, even when the call favors the Red Wings.  The important things is that the Red Wings scored a power play goal that went from Datsyuk, to Zetterberg, to Rafalski to the back of the net.

The Red Wings played fairly well after that and even killed off a 5 on 3 penalty after Drake was called for charging and then Draper was called for boarding.  I couldn’t really tell if the charging call was legit because of the camera angle, but the call on Draper was fair.  I don’t know what he was thinking.  He came in high with his arms up hitting the Gonchar from behind and shoving his head into the glass.  They’ll call that one every time.

For most of the second period the Red Wings looked very good.  They were shutting down the neutral zone and had the puck most of the time just like they did in the first two games.  They got another goal that was scored when Filppulla picked up a rebound and put it between Fleury’s legs.  The crowd seemed to be losing their voice and the Penguins players seemed worn out.

Then things changed when the Penguins scored a goal as Malkin finally got the monkey off his back.  After the goal Detroit had a power play that Pittsburgh killed off.  The momentum seemed to be swinging back in Pittsburgh’s favor.  The period ended with the Red Wings up 2 to 1 and, and needing just 20 more minutes of solid hockey to win the cup.

In the third period the Red Wings went into shutdown mode and looked pretty fantastic for most of the period.  The Red Wings scored another goal that was pretty unfortunate for the Penguins.  Zetterberg took a shot and it looked like Fleury had it but had trickled between his legs and stopped just in front of the goal line.  Everybody except the ref thought that the puck was under Fleury.  The players mostly all stopped and nobody noticed the puck.  Eventually, Fleury fell back onto the puck and knocked it into the net with his butt.  It’s one of the things that happens in hockey.  It was a bad break for the Penguins but that’s the way it goes.  Over a 7 game series, these kinds of things will hopefully even out.  Remember Kronwall putting the puck in his own net in game 5.

With that goal the Red Wings were up 3 to 1.  They were shutting down the Penguins very well when Hudler was called for hooking.  It was a really weak hook, no effect on the guy being hooked, but it’s the type of thing they’ve been calling all year.  I didn’t expect that type of call with less than two minutes to go and the cup on the line.  The wings were shorthanded because of the penalty and also the Penguins had pulled the goalie for another attacker.  With around a minute left the Penguins got the power play goal.  I had flashbacks of game 5 and just felt sick.  The Red Wings had to kill off the rest of the game still shorthanded since Fleury was on the bench.

As the clock wound down, Hossa had one last chance that nearly beat Osgood but he saved it.  Hossa took another crack at it and luckily the puck went straight across the goal line without crossing.  The last sequence had me nearly screaming in panic.  Once I realized the game was over and I was not having a heart attack, it was such a relief.  I realized I hadn’t breathed in a while, so I went ahead and did some of that.  It felt pretty good.

This 3 to 2 win earns the Red Wings the Stanley Cup!

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 5 (6/2/08)

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

With the Red Wings leading the series 3 games to 1, they were in a position to win the Stanley Cup in this game. The Red Wings focus was on staying relaxed to avoid letting the Penguins back into the series the way they did with the Stars. For the Penguins it was do or die.

The Red Wings didn’t look very good to start the game. Their passes were sloppy, and they made a lot of unforced turnovers. People like to call it nerves but in truth I think they were just trying too hard.

The Penguins were able to score two goals on Detroit. The first one was a shot that Osgood maybe should have had but he was screened a little bit by Lidstrom. The second goal was actually shot by Kronwall in a clearing attempt that went off the skate of a Penguins player and into the net. It’s hard to believe but I think the Red Wings were actually lucky to only be down by two after the first period. There was at least one great chance that Pittsburgh had that was turned away by Osgood. It easily could have been three goals for the Penguins.

The second period started out as bad as the first. There were several terrible turnovers by the Wings. Osgood saved their bacon numerous times or it would have been a blowout. He even stopped Crosby on a breakaway with a brilliant toe save. Helm was one of the hardest working Red Wings to that point in the game and he was rewarded with a goal. The shot looked like it may have redirected off the skate of a Penguins player so that makes up for the one Kronwall shot.

The Red Wings seemed be gaining some momentum at that point. They had a big penalty kill in which the Penguins couldn’t do anything. The momentum didn’t seem to take them anywhere however. The puck was bouncing everywhere, players were over-skating passes. Apparently, heat may have been a factor causing poor ice conditions. It’s too bad the playoffs come so far into summer.

At the end of the second period Pittsburgh suffered two major injuries. Gonchar went hard into the boards and left the ice in pain. Then Malone, who had his nose broken earlier in the series, got hit in the face by a rocket of a shot. He left the ice with blood pouring out of his nose.

In the third period the Red Wings came out looking much better. Babcock had made a seemingly minor change of splitting up Datsyuk and Zetterberg. The effect was incredible. The Red Wings were buzzing like crazy. They had one shot after another, passes were tape to tape, and the Penguins were scrambling. Datsyuk showed great individual effort and got a shot that everybody thought was in. After review, it had hit the crossbar, not gone under it, so the game wasn’t quite tied yet.

Not much later Detroit got a power play goal that was tipped in by Datsyuk to tie the game. Then a short time later Franzen made a sweet pass to Rafalski who scored the go ahead goal.

Detroit put the hammer down and pressured like crazy from that point on. Somehow the Penguins were able to get the puck in deep. They pulled the goalie and the puck ended up near the side of Detroit’s net. The Penguins got a couple of whacks at the puck and squeezed it in between the post and Osgood’s skate to tie the game with only 35 seconds left. The regulation time ended with the game tied.

In the first overtime period Detroit had a truly ridiculous number of quality scoring chances. For most of the period it was all Detroit. Fleury was rock solid however and the Red Wings just couldn’t score. Pittsburgh showed some serious character in this period and in the game in general. The onslaught that they weathered was amazing. I can’t believe that kind of pressure was kept up for that long without a goal by Detroit.

The second overtime was more of the same. The Red Wings had to kill off a second questionable penalty called for goaltender interference. The first one came at the end of the first overtime. Both calls were pretty weak. There was some minimal, unavoidable, and unintentional contact with the goalie that happened during an attempt to score a goal. There was nothing Zetterberg or Cleary could have done differently and the calls should not have been made. Detroit had a power play towards the end of the second OT but still weren’t able to score. There were again lots of chances but no puck luck.

In the third OT the Red Wings were looking good when Jiri Hudler accidentally high-sticked a Penguins player and drew blood resulting in a 4 minute power play. Not long into the power play Sykora got the game winnner for Pittsburgh. Apparently, at some point in the second OT Sykora tapped on the glass and told Pierre McGuire that he would score the game winner. Then eventually he followed through on that promise. Pretty amazing.

It really sucks to be so close to wrapping up the season only to blow it with 35 seconds left in regulation.  Then spend half the night wearing themselves out only lose and have to play again on Wednesday. The Red Wings had so many chances that they failed to capitalize on that I could hardly believe what I was seeing. How many times can you shoot without scoring? You certainly can’t question the heart of anyone in this game but my hat’s off to the Penguins. They really proved that they deserved to be in the Finals and that they aren’t going to roll over. Much respect.

This 4 to 3 triple overtime loss brings this Stanley Cup final series to 3-2 Detroit.

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4 (5/31/08)

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

The rock-n-roll pace of game 3 continued in the first period of game 4.  The action was incredible both ways.  There were tons of hits and also a lot of penalties.   The teams traded power play goals so the game was 1 to 1 at the end of the period.  Both teams had great chances but I felt like Pittsburgh played slightly better in the first period even though they were out shot by the Red Wings.  Detroit seemed a little sloppy with the puck and the Penguins seemed more confident.  I was relieved not to be behind after one.  I thought Osgood looked a little shaky at first.  He failed to cover the post on the goal he allowed and then a short time later one hit the crossbar.  He seemed to settle down after that and played well.

The insane action continued in the second period.  Osgood played very well.  Although neither team scored I felt like Detroit played better than they did in the first.  The Red Wings seemed to have slightly more energy than the Penguins.  The shots were pretty even but it still seemed like the Red Wings had the edge.

In the third period the Red Wings looked more like they did in games 1 and 2.  Detroit was dominant and the Penguins were chasing.  The Red Wings even killed off a long 5 on 3 which gave them even more energy.  The game winning goal was a softie scored by Hudler.  He turned around an shot a backhander from a terrible angle that went through Fleury’s armpit.  There’s no such thing as a bad goal!

All in all, with the exception of the final score, this game seemed exactly like game 3.  I thought that game 3 could have easily ended up with the Red Wings on top.  Right up to the end it was anybody’s game.  This game was the same deal except that Detroit had the lead.  Averaged out over the whole game I think Detroit played just as well in game 3 as they did in game 4.

Well folks, we’re down to just one more win…it could happen Monday night in front of the home crowd.  Let’s go Red Wings!

This 2 to 1 win brings this Stanley Cup final series to 3-1 Detroit.

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 3 (5/28/08)

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

For game 3 the series moved to Pittsburgh.  The Penguins were hoping that having the home town crowd behind them combined with getting the last change would make all the difference in this game.

For most of the first period the change of venue didn’t seem to have much effect.  Detroit seemed to have slightly more trouble controlling the puck and the chances weren’t quite as good, but all in all Detroit was still dominating. 

Then as the period started to wind down, things changed.  Pittsburgh started to put together a few good shifts in a row and got several shots on goal within a few minutes.  As the Penguins confidence grew, Stuart tried to make an outlet pass to Zetterberg but put it in his skates instead.  The Penguins picked up the loose puck and moved it to Crosby who crossed in front of the net and shot.  Osgood got a piece of it but it went between his legs and in, giving the Penguins the first goal and some mental relief.

In the second period Pittsburgh came out with a vengeance.  They started the period with a continuing power play in which they generated some chances and kept the momentum going after it ended.  They got another goal on a second chance shot.  Crosby was standing next to the net and poked it home after Osgood turned away the first shot.  For most of the period they were just flying.  They finally looked like the Penguins that I expected to see in this series and the play was very exciting.  It was starting to look like the Penguins had stolen the Red Wings’ mojo.

Not to be outdone, Franzen took matters into his own hands when he got the puck from Lidstrom and stick-handled around just about everybody and roofed the puck.  It was such a quick shot that even in the replays I couldn’t really tell how it happened.  Either way, The Mule is back! 

The pace in the third period was just insane; the kind of play that is just so much fun to watch.  I was on the edge of my seat for most of the period.  They moved the puck up and down the ice with good chances at both ends and incredible energy.  At one point they went for well over 5 minutes without a whistle.

Unfortunately, the Penguins scored again when things got dicey in Detroit’s end.  Osgood tried to poke the puck behind the net but couldn’t reach it.  One of the Penguins got it, centered it, and they scored.

Samuelsson got another goal for Detroit as he let a blast go that may have been redirected.  That goal made it 3 to 2 Pittsburgh.  After that it was an all out attack by Detroit as they tried to tie the game.  By the time Osgood got to the bench for the extra skater there was less than a minute left.  Detroit had lots of chances but ultimately weren’t able to tie the game. 

The Penguins earned this one.  It was a great and entertaining game but I wish the result had been different.  The action was just incredible.  Detroit’s top line had tons of minutes.  Luckily there will be an extra day to rest before game 4 on Saturday.

This 3-2 loss brings this Stanley Cup final series to 2-1 Detroit.

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 2 (5/26/08)

Monday, May 26th, 2008

The Red Wings got off to great start in this game.  They picked up right where they left off in game 1.  Detroit shut down Pittsburgh’s offense and pretty much had their way with them.  The Penguins where barely able to get the puck into Detroit’s end before the Red Wings had it back and were moving it quickly up the ice. 

Detroit opened the scoring when Brad Stuart let a hard shot go that Fleury got a piece of, but not enough.  Later in the period Detroit got the second goal of the game by working in the Penguins end, keeping the puck alive like they do.  It came to Zetterberg who shoved it toward the net.  It got passed Fleury who reached back for it.  It was out of his reach but it was slowing down as it headed for the goal line.  Holmstrom was there to reach in with his stick and push it the rest of the way into the net.

This was a perfect period for the Red Wings.  Pittsburgh only had 6 shots on goal, and those all came when Detroit was short handed.  Detroit had 12 shots on goal.  Osgood was there to bail out his team when they left any openings for the Penguins.  This excellent period ended with the Red Wings ahead 2 to 0.

In the second period there was no scoring but Pittsburgh seemed to generate a little bit of momentum.  They were more effective both offensively and defensively.  Most notably, their fore checking was much better.  Fleury came up big with some great saves to keep his team in the game.  Osgood was there when he was needed but most of Pittsburgh’s best scoring chances missed the net or didn’t reach him.  Detroit was as good as they had to be, but they need to be better in order to prevent Pittsburgh from gaining too any confidence.

The third period was pretty much all Detroit again.  Pittsburgh fell apart and took lots of penalties, especially towards the end of the game.  Detroit added to their total when Franzen made a nice pass to Filppula who beat his man and the goalie with a diving shot.

Towards the end, a couple of the Penguins started taking cheap shots of Franzen’s head.  Nothing too hard but just the fact that they were doing it was pretty low.  It was clear that they were intentionally trying to aggravate his concussion symptoms.  They also took a shot at Osgood which led to somewhat of a brawl that took several minutes to sort out.

It didn’t rattle Ozzie at all though as he coasted to his second shutout in a row.  That’s an incredible achievement against an offense as powerful as the Penguins.  A lot of the credit also goes to the guys in front of Osgood though.  Anytime he gave up a rebound they were right there in the middle to clear it away.  Again it was a team effort tonight and it’s just great to see the Red Wings playing so well.  The Penguins look really outgunned.  I hope the Red Wings can keep it up in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

This 3-0 win brings this Stanley Cup final series to 2-0 Detroit.

Game 4 TV Coverage Change in the Tampa Bay Area

Monday, May 26th, 2008

Game 4 on Saturday is scheduled to be broadcast on NBC.  However, in the Tampa Bay area the NBC affiliate, WFLA channel 8, is scheduled to be showing the All Children’s Hospital telethon.  They’ve arranged for the game to be shown on MYTV Tampa Bay.  That’s Bright House channel 6 and 611 for the HD channel.  The over-the-air channels are UHF 38, and digital channel 38-1 for the HD channel.  I don’t understand why they can’t move the telethon back a week since this seems to happen every year.  Just another example of hockey getting no respect in the U.S.

Franzen Cleared For Game 2

Monday, May 26th, 2008

The NHL Live! program on XM Radio and The NHL Network has just reported a surprise change in Franzen’s status.  Apparently, during today’s press conference Babcock was handed a note and he announced that Franzen would not be available to play tonight in Game 2 even though he’s practicing at full speed.  Then the press conference ended and most of the reporters left.  A short time later Babcock stuck his head back in the room and announced that Franzen WOULD play tonight!  That sure is great news for the Red Wings.

Stanley Cup Finals, Game 1 (5/24/08)

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Well, here we go folks, it’s finally game on! I’ve been really looking forward to this matchup and expect it to be a great series. It’s hard to judge what to expect since Detroit and Pittsburgh haven’t played at all this season until now.

The first period of game 1 was very spirited by both sides. They all seemed to have a lot of adrenalin. Detroit spent most of the period killing penalties. Some of them were real and some were imaginary. The worst example of the latter being the goaltender interference call against Holmstrom. It wasn’t quite as bad of a phantom call as the disallowed goal in game 4 against Dallas, but it was still a pretty weak call. Even worse, it negated a beautiful goal. During the penalty kills Detroit had a few breakdowns where Penguins players were able to get to the net. They recovered nicely however and were able to clear the puck pretty quickly. It was a nice team effort. Osgood did his part as well making some great saves. Kronwall had a few big hits in open ice which really ramped up the excitement.

All in all the first period was probably a bit of a feeling out process for both teams. That being said, I think Detroit’s offense was more effective that Pittsburgh’s even though Detroit had so many penalties to kill. The Red Wings were still able to keep the shots about even and their chances seemed more controlled and of higher quality.

In the second period the Red Wings were even more dominant. They badly outshot the Penguins aided in part by getting their fair share of the power plays. The Red Wings got on the board and this time it counted. Samuelsson had the puck and he picked a wonderful time to start scoring goals again. He went around the net and scored on a wrap-around shot that went in off of Fleury’s skate as he tried to come across to block it. That was the only goal of the period so at that point it was 1 to 0 Red Wings.

Detroit continued to dominate in the third period. Fleury turned the puck over to Samuelsson who scored again. Both of his goals were unassisted. He really cranked things up in this game. Then Cleary scored shorthanded, and with just a few seconds left in the game Zetterberg scored on a power play making it 4 to 0.

The Red Wings defense looked far superior to Pittsburgh’s. I wouldn’t read too much into this win however. Let’s give the Penguins time to address their problems and see how they do in the next game. If game two is similar to game one then I’m afraid it’s going to be a short series. I’d like to see it become a long series just so I can see more great hockey games, as long as the Red Wings still win in the end, I’d love for it to go seven games! :-)

Way to go Red Wings…..just three more wins!

This 4-0 win brings this Stanley Cup final series to 1-0 Detroit.

Detroit to Face Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Detroit won the Campbell Bowl tonight as the Western Conference Champions.  They move on to play Pittsburgh in the Stanley Cup Finals starting Saturday night.

Unfortunately, because of the league’s current schedule, the Red Wings haven’t played the Penguins at all this year.  Personally, I’m very unfamiliar with them.  I’m sure the Wings will be watching a lot of tape over the next few days to study up. 

It’ll be great to see Sidney Crosby and crew in action, and even better to see them lose to the Wings!  :-)  Everyone keep their fingers crossed that we can get Franzen back in time for game 1.  This should be a fantastic series.  I can’t wait!  Just four more wins, boys!