Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Above the Fold - My mea culpa regarding the Red Wings

I've been on the receiving end of some grief from the Red Wings faction of Detroit fandom. Basically, I was told that I, and most other bloggers, don't write about the Wings nearly enough.

My reply? Guilty as charged.

There is a reason, though. Of the 4 major sports, hockey is the only one I never played at any organized level. In other words, I know football, baseball, and hoop pretty damn well, as I played the games. I know them well enough to feel more than confident to give my mostly half-assed opinions. I'm much more confident in my writing when opining about those sports, and I think that comes across on the blog.

But hockey? Not nearly as much. I'm more a fan of the Red Wings, than the NHL as a whole. I've been going to Red Wings games since Gordie Howe was still a Wing, so I've always been a fan. But being that I never played the game, even though I know the rules well, when it comes to strategy? I'll put it this way. I can talk about zone blocking schemes, the pick and roll, and when to hit and run well enough to be dangerous. But the left wing lock? I feel lacking. Yes, this blogger is admitting that he's not a smart ass know-it-all. Well, I'm still a smart ass...

When you factor in the above with the utter futility that is the overlong NHL regular season, that the Wings play the BJ's 50 times a season, that it's a relatively easy road to the playoffs for the Wings, thus making the regular season mostly meaningless, all the western conference bullshit, and that Gary Bettman is a clueless fuckhead that is ruining the sport, that lends to me not writing nearly as much about the Red Wings, when compared to the Lions, Tigers, Pistons (Though I have been recently lacking there as well) and Wolverines.

So today I'm aiming to change that...

I'm going to try and do a Red Wings "Above the Fold" once a week, at the very least. On with the Wings link dump, and my lame, uneducated commentary.

At the News, David Gorecki talks to NHL experts (Barry Melrose? That's streeetching it, you think?) and they come to the conclusion that the Red Wings and Ottawa Senators are on a collision course to meet in the Stanley cup Finals. In fact, the Mullet picks the Rings to win it all...

"Without a doubt they are the top two teams, no one could argue with that," Melrose said. "It would be an awesome series if they played for the Stanley Cup, great for the NHL.

"Who would win? I'd say Detroit. The Red Wings have been winning with great style. Nick (Lidstrom) and (Brian) Rafalski are playing well, (Henrik) Zetterberg's line is great and they're getting good secondary scoring; guys who they thought were 20-goal scorers are putting the puck in the net, guys like (Jiri) Hudler and (Johan) Franzen."

Considering this is coming from Melrose, I'm, talking it with a massive grain of salt.

At the Freep, Helene St. James writes a fawning piece about the long time Grind Liners, and forever the favorites of the big haired, sweater wearing, Downriver puck bunnies, Kirk Malby and Kris Draper. It's hard to believe how long the pair have been Wings...

It's because the two Red Wings forwards have become synonymous with one another. Maltby, 35 next month, notched his 900th NHL game Saturday, four games after Draper, 36, played in his 900th. Maltby has played 737 of his games for Detroit, while Draper is at 885 Wings' games entering tonight's match against St. Louis.

The two have been linemates for the vast majority of their time in Detroit, something that makes their NHL longevity even more special.

"I'm a very lucky guy to have a guy like him to be able to play with for this long," Maltby said Tuesday.

Asked if Draper ever tells him so, Maltby laughed. "We tell each other that," he said.

They sound like a old married couple. Not that the Downriver puck bunnies haven't dreamed of such a scenario...

At Mlive, Kahn! (I love it when A2Y calls him that...) talks to former Wing Jiri Fischer, who was literally a dead man 2 years ago tonight, when his heart stopped on the Red Wings bench. He's doing quite well, and to the Red Wings huge credit, is still with the organization.

After Fischer's contract expired last season, Red Wings general manager Ken Holland wanted to find a place for him in the organization. Fischer enjoys interacting with young players on a personal level, providing feedback, helping motivate them and trying to teach them what habits they need to develop to make it to the NHL.

Amazingly, Fischer still hopes to play again, someday.

"I know right now nobody is going to risk their career to clear me so I can play in the NHL," Fischer said. "I know if that moment comes when I'm cleared to play, at my own risk or not, even being cleared would be such a tremendous achievement, going from no hope to some hope to actually being approved."

No smart ass comment, I'm just glad he's OK. It's a damn shame he's not a top 4 defenseman with the Wings.

On the web, Let's Go Wings has had a makeover! The ubiquitous Christy, of Behind the Jersey, and Winging it in Motown, is now also writing for LGW. She has a review of the first 20 games of the season, and gives praise to the de-facto backup goalie, another puck bunny favorite, Chris Osgood...

Osgood has been playing like the number one goaltender. Yes, Hasek starts slow and had an irritated hip, but in the last two games he played, Hasek allowed four goals on 16 shots or less in each game. We need the crazy Czech from the playoffs last season to return. That's why we're seeing Osgood in net Wednesday night; he's simply playing better.

The Chief talks goaltending at Abel to Yzerman. He has a transcript of the Wings' brain trust discussing the Hasek-Osgood "Situation."

Holland: If we sit Dom, who knows how he’ll react? The last thing we want is another “situation.” He could very well go crazy. Literally.

Bowman: Sounds like fun. Sit his ass.

Babcock: I want a Wii for Christmas.

Dom Hasek, a big time bomb of crazy just waiting to explode!

Matt of On the Wings has his game day preview of tonight's matchup with the Blues. He reminds us that an old friend is between the pipes tonight...

Former Red Wing Manny Legace should be in net for the Blues tonight. Since the last time we saw him, Manny has improved to a 2.22 GAA (from 2.27) and a .918 save-percentage (from .914).

That's "Above the Fold" for Wednesday, 11-21-07! Go Wings!

1 comment:

  1. Bettman has been terrible for the NHL. They need to get rid of him!!