28 January 2010

The Wrong Cannon Keeps Blasting Away

Are you kidding me? There is literally nothing I can write here that turns out to be insightful, or moderately correct. Consider yesterday's posts:

1) Ozzie gets the start tonight against the Wild. After writing a hundred thousand words on why his spouting off at the mouth is acceptable to me, I'd really appreciate it if he did not follow suit with Todd Bertuzzi and Jimmy Howard in proving that I know absolutely nothing about anything... Put up or shut up time, Wizzard. Every game is the playoffs now - let's see playoff Ozzie already.

2) Larry Aurie must be looking down at the Wings consistently shooting themselves in the foot and deciding that perhaps they're curse enough for themselves this season. Even though he's surely sore about Mr. I's refusal to honor his number, I'm sure he has a hard time watching the team he dedicated his career to dive into mediocrity. So - let's hope, wish, and pray like hell to Bear Jesus - it looks like he's easing up a bit now.

Now consider the results:
  • 1) Ozzie let in 5 goals, looked really rough on his lateral movements, and certainly didn't "put up." That was a direct hit from the Wrong Cannon. Blasted me right in the face.
  • 2) Fuck you Larry Aurie. Fuck you in your shiny purple ass.
    "General manager Ken Holland said Stuart is day-to-day after spraining his left shoulder Wednesday.... Stuart was hurt in the first period of Wednesday’s 5-2 loss at Minnesota but continued to play into the third period. He left the game early after the Wild had taken a three-goal lead."

    Link - Freep
Everything I post here turns out to be wrong. It seems the only Wing intent on ensuring that my opinions are proven correct is Brett "REALLY?!?" Lebda. Now, maybe I'm over-estimating myself, but I don't think I'm a complete idiot. Rather stupid? Sure. Downright incompetent? Most assuredly. But so lacking insight that I literally never get a single call correct? What am I? Rob Otto? (ZING!)

Fine. Whatever. New plan. Here are my predictions for the rest of the season:
  • Not only will the currently injured Wings miss the rest of the season, but the injury bug will strike again hard enough that, inspired by his "comeback" earlier this season, Ken Holland will actually sign 51 year-old Slava Fetisov to come back and quarterback our power-play.
  • Speaking of the power play, the officials will continue to call the games like they did in the third last night. The Wings will not see the man advantage until 2017.
  • Datsyuk and Zetterberg will somehow find a way to average less than zero points per game. By the end of the season, they will have achieved career lows of -15 and -4 points, respectively.
  • Chris Osgood will murder Jimmy Howard in his sleep with a claw-hammer.
  • After earning the starting job, Osgood will return to playoff form. Well, Manny Legace's 2006 playoff form.
  • The Wings will lose their playoff spot to the Carolina Hurricanes after Illitch trades it away so the Wings can play at Compuware Arena after his lease at the Joe expires.
  • Brad Stuart will earn 80 more assists before the end of the season... for the opposing team.
  • Brad May will serve a purpose and remain on the team.
  • Ville Leino will not catch syphilis from a 73 year old pre-op and die.
  • I'll start looking at hockey reasonably. I won't get worked up over losing efforts, poor goaltending, or lousy officiating. I will take losses in stride, not stressing over the Wings position in relation to playoff caliber teams. Even if these bastards continue to play like they're giddy over the prospect of extra golfing this season, things in my apartment will remain unbroken.
There. Now it's time to be consistent Hockey Gods, you crack-addict sociopathic sons of bitches. Feel free to toss in your own predictions in the comments. Lets put this Nuclear Wrong Cannon to good use already.

27 January 2010

I've Looked Stupid Enough - help me out here Oz

Ozzie gets the start tonight against the Wild. After writing a hundred thousand words on why his spouting off at the mouth is acceptable to me, I'd really appreciate it if he did not follow suit with Todd Bertuzzi and Jimmy Howard in proving that I know absolutely nothing about anything. Time to show up tonight Ozzie - if you want those starts, this is the time to grab them.

Now, for all you Ozzie detractors out there: What did you have to say about James last night? Let me be clear - I am absolutely not pinning the loss on the kid. However, for those of you who tend to blame goaltenders like Ozzie when a game doesn't go well - were you pinning last night's "effort" on the rookie? Did you hold his feet to the fire like you have Ozzie, so many times in the past. Dude let up five goals to the Phoenix Coyotes - not exactly the premier offensive team in the league.

Maybe... just maybe... you think Ozzie has a point?

Lets say this turns out to not be the exception for Howard from here out, but rather the rule. What if his reign as the hot goaltender wanes? Still happy that Ozzie has been slapped on the bench for so long?

I'm not. Here's hoping for a strong performance tonight.

An additional note: take a look at this article from Hockey or Die, analyzing the top 10 highest-paid goaltenders in the league and the return on those investments. Also note quotes like this:
I don’t think there’s any arguing the fact that Holland ... is right about goalies, and the fact that general managers continue to sign decidedly average players to big money contracts... boggles my mind. It’s the single greatest area of inefficiency in the cap era, and many of them don’t seem to learn from their mistakes .... Every single year, some cheap and hitherto unknown backup or some veteran, undrafted European goaltender shows up in the NHL and outplays an assortment of the money guys; it seems to me that it makes a lot more sense to run with a capable looking tandem and a good AHL goalie, as Detroit has done, and hope that one of the three catches fire in any given season.

(emphasis added)
That there is a helluva point. I couldn't agree more.

Put up or shut up time, Wizzard. Every game is the playoffs now - let's see playoff Ozzie already.

Larry Aurie loosens his relentless icy death grip - for now.

Well hot dog, what do we have here?
"Johan Franzen, a premier forward, could be back playing for the Detroit Red Wings within two weeks...

"Also, forward Jason Williams, out since Nov. 7 with a broken fibula, estimated that he’d be ready to play Friday against Nashville, and forward Tomas Holmstrom (foot) said he’d likely be ready to play Sunday at Pittsburgh...

"Defenseman Andreas Lijla said he’ll meet with team doctors Thursday to begin his comeback from a concussion that has sidelined him since Feb. 28. Lilja will have to be cleared to play, but he now has gone 15 days without a headache."

Link - Helene at Freep

Larry Aurie must be looking down at the Wings consistently shooting themselves in the foot and deciding that perhaps they're curse enough for themselves this season. Even though he's surely sore about Mr. I's refusal to honor his number, I'm sure he has a hard time watching the team he dedicated his career to dive into mediocrity. So - let's hope, wish, and pray like hell to Bear Jesus - it looks like he's easing up a bit now.

Do you know what that says to me?
  • No. More. Excuses.
So far, I'd tell you that Babcock should win the Jack Adams because of where this team is currently despite how many long-term injures to key players we've suffered. I'd tell you that Pasha and Z are on pace for career lows because they simply don't have the same talent surrounding them. I'd tell you that the defense has been as good as it can be, considering it has routinely featured both the names Lebda and Meech on the ice at the same time.

Not any more.

Now it's time to put up or shut up. Kronwall's first game back was last night's "game." Fil, Z, E, and Cleary have all been back for some time now. And hell, Bear Jesus willing we'll soon be staring down the barrel of a downright healthy team. The same basic team that marched into the 2008 Stanley Cup finals and called shotgun on the big shiny trophy.
  • No. More. Excuses.
None of this "I thought we played well, we just let up at the end there" garbage. No more "the pucks just aren't bouncing our way." Time for "they're a great team but we played our game and came out on top." Time for "Chicago? Fuck Chicago. Stan Bowman? That little shit used to run around here while his dad presided as lord of all hockey in the mid 90's. I've literally watched him piss himself on more than one occasion."

Time for Red Wings Hockey.

Now this begs the question: What will our team look like with fresh legs? It looks like we'll have about 21 games after the olympic break. If we're lucky (ha! like that'll happen) we'll have a full roster after Team Canada chokes on home ice (Sorry Stevie). That 21 game stretch will be the most important stretch of the season, without question. Consider:

Circled in red: Teams we're chasing.
Circled in black: Teams chasing us.

That's a lot of Western Conference play. Our lineup is going to need to be the best it possibly can to make it through that shitshow with a playoff berth. We cannot afford for any one of those games to be of the Phoenix Coyotes variety; no more commanding leagues and devastating collapses. Period.

Currently, the Wings are operating with the following 13 forwards: Dats, Z, Bertuzzi, Filppula, Cleary, Helm, Abdelkader, Draper, Miller, Eaves, Leino, May, and Maltby. On defense: Lidstrom, Raffi, Stuart, Kronners, Ericsson, Meech, Lebda.

The following Wings could/should be back soon:
  • Williams
  • Homer
  • Franzen
  • Lilja
That's at least three forwards and one defenseman that will need to no longer be a part of the team in one way or another. So who goes? My best guess (read: total shot in the dark):

The common perception is that first to be the odd-man-out will be Abbie. Not for a lack of effort or success; I think Abdelkader has done an outstanding job being the role-player we needed. However, he's got options on his contract to send him to Grand Rapids without having to clear waivers. That alone is the reason we likely will spend some time without Abbie - he'll assuredly be back as a Black Ace so long as the Wings play like they have to to make the postseason.

Brad "sigh..." May
It was not that long ago that I was absolutely ecstatic to see May in the Winged Wheel. We finally had a legitimate enforcer, someone to keep the flies off. Early in the season May was throwing haymakers like he got paid by each ounce of blood he extracted from his opponents' faces.

Now? I have to imagine if there were a quick performance review it'd go something like this:

When Patrick Eaves is standing up for the team? Yeah, not a good sign for Brad May's future on this team. All aboard the bus to Grand Rapids.

Ville "Ya ain't in Finland anymore kid" Leino
Obviously the biggest flop across the board. Dude's got a worse +/- than Brett Fucking Lebda at -10. He's got 7 points in 42 games. That's right, the Finnish Elite League MVP is on a 0.16 point per game tear. But hey, don't worry, at least he forechecks. I mean, he's got a solid 12 hits all year.

That sick-ass goal against the Caps in your first NHL game will only take you so far you little shit. Get on the bus. Grand Rapids? No, no, no. We don't need you poisoning our prospects. This bus is going to be driven right the hell into Lake Michigan. Hope you can swim better than you can play hockey.

Eaves and Miller? They've both played outstandingly. I'd like to see them keep playin in a Wings jersey beyond just this season. I'm not sure it will be entirely possible, but their play has certainly earned it.

Alternatively, I could see a trade happening before the deadline. We've got guys to move, and should have some money to spend in the off-season. I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of magic Kenny Holland has up his sleeves.

Minnesota Wild tonight. Last time we met we blew a lead and finally pulled through in the shootout. Tonight? Stay the fuck away from OT. Time to show up. No more excuses. Time to play like Red Wings.

26 January 2010


Enough said.

A Race to NOT make the Playoffs.

Looks like we have found ourselves in a playoff-less race. Detroit or Calgary, who will fuck themselves harder? Well, thankfully for us it looks like Calgary is the winner. Losers of 6 straight, it would appear they have beat us at our own game.... Don't get me wrong, the Wings have tried their damndest to not make the playoffs, going 4-4-2 in the last ten (a superb effort in the race to mediocrity I might add) but let's not count out the flames... they slid into shitsville with an impressive 1-8-1 record (P.S. that's the same record that Lebda has in stopping an offensive rush, fuck bag).

Alright, in all seriousness it is time for this team to buckle down. I don't care if we are hurt and I certainly don't care if we have a goalie controversy (which we don't... split the effing starts already). Even with the injuries we have on record, the Wings STILL have what should be an extremely potent first line in Dats, Z, Tuzzi which SHOULD light up the scoreboard on any given night. On top of that, even if that first line doesn't light up the scoreboard they are certainly effective enough in their own zone to neutralize the opposing top line.

Let's move to our second line... Filps, Cleary and whoever the fuck. Still at minimum a competitive second line on ANY team in the league. I guess what I am really getting to is that we should stop playing the line matching game with other teams, let them worry about matching with us. We are still damn good enough up front for the rest of the league to have nightmares about... start scoring some goals for fuck sake. We are dead ass last in goals for and fucking 4th best in goals for, I don't know about you... but that goal for tally is unacceptable to me. Think about it... EDMONTON, COLUMBUS AND ST. LOUIS have all scored more goals. Terrible. P.S. even without filps in the lineup most of the year we STILL should have a better second line than the likes of "David Legwand, Martin Erat and Joel Ward" (Nashville's second line).

Alright, but I digress. Big game against the Coyotes tomorrow... here's hoping we don't fall on our face, cheers.

25 January 2010

In Defense of the Wizzard: From "Pride of the Emerald City" to "Dude Behind a Curtain"

See what I did there? Clever, eh?

First, two quick apologies. 1) Sorry I've been silent for some time. It's been a helluva busy start to the semester. 2) Sorry for the length of this post. I think lots needed to be said, and I certainly was not sparing in saying it. So grab a Red Bull or six and settle in.

Lots of talk lately about the goal-tending controversy in Detroit. Though, here, the word controversy isn't applied in the way it is for most franchises. Usually, a controversy means that there is some debate open to whether or not the backup will unseat the starter. In Detroit, it's clear James Howard is your man. The Chicago game last Sunday (God the Hawks are easier to hate when they don't suck) was Jimmy's twelfth straight start. I cannot remember the last time a Red Wing goalie went 12 in a row. At least in recent history, there's almost always been a 2 or 3:1 starting ratio. Sometimes you'd get six or seven deep, but that's about it. Clearly, Jimmy Howard is the starter.

Here, controversy means something much different. Most of the controversy surrounds the comments that Mr. Osgood has made in the press. He sure as hell doesn't appear to be holding back. I'm confident that most of you have seen these comments by now, but just for the hell of it, lets recap:

Before the Caps Game on Tues:
  • "The Capitals are the highest-scoring team in the NHL. 'That’s quite a coincidence. Or maybe not,' Osgood said after the morning skate. 'We’ll see how it works out.'" Khan - Mlive
  • "'At the start of the year, Howie (Jimmy Howard) didn’t play for about a month and then I didn’t play for a month,' Osgood said before Tuesday’s 3-2 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. 'To me, that’s not a good way of doing things, to let one guy get stagnant'" Khan - Mlive
After the Caps Game:
  • "Asked if the loss is tougher to take because the team is desperate for points, Osgood said, 'I got him (Babcock) a lot of points. I got him to the (Stanley Cup) finals twice.'" Khan - Mlive
Hot dog. That right there is a controversy.

A few points before I continue:
  • I don't like the fact that Ozzie has said these things in the media. I don't think that the best policy for a struggling goaltender is to berate the coach in the press.
  • I don't know shit about hockey. I've clearly demonstrated that here on this blog. I certainly will never be as in-tune with the game as Babcock. Ever.
That being said. I understand it. I truly understand the frustration. In fact, if it were me, I'd probably be saying much harsher things. These would be things that Mr. Khan would have difficulty getting past his editor. That being said, I'd probably be doing so in another city. I'd get up and march my ass straight to Kenny Holland's home, tell him that I have no interest in playing for a team that doesn't respect me, and I'd jump ship. Is it the most honorable, sportsmanlike, or reasoned approach? Not at all. Is it reasonable? I think so. Allow me to elaborate.

Chris Osgood is an absolutely integral part of the Wing's success in Gary "piss-ant" Bettman's post-cap NHL.

Yeah, that's what his mother called him. Also, you know what? I'll do you one better. Ozzie is one of THE MOST integral parts of the Wings' success since the imposition of the cap. I know - he's not Martin Brodeur. He's not even the best player on the team. Hell, not by a long shot. However:

Chris Osgood is - without question - the absolute best playoff goaltender of the past 15 years.

Go ahead and refute that... I'll wait...

That's what I thought. Ozzie's got three cups and he was the starting goaltender for two of those. He's been to two Stanley Cup Finals since the lockout, and he played amazingly throughout the playoffs for both of those runs, sometimes putting the team on his back. He's one of the most experienced and successful goaltenders in the league. And what is he compensated for that kind of resume?
  • A cool $1.45 million.
Dude makes less than Draper, Holmstrom, Jason Williams, and Todd "get off the bandwagon guys, he's a streaky fuck player" Bertuzzi. Compared to other netminders? Here's a few that make close to Ozzie:
  • Scott "Backup-for-the-panthers" Clemmensen: $1.2m
  • Mathieu "Who?" Garon: $1.1m
  • Peter "not good" Budaj: $1.25m
That's right. Dude's pulling down Peter Budaj money. Now consider the amount of cash most franchises pay their goaltenders. Here's a quick illustration of some checks currently being cashed by goaltenders who's ring fingers are ridiculously light:

Yeah. Also on that list? Backstrom ($6m), DiPietro ($4.5m), and fuck - Vesa Fucking Toskala makes $4m. Pascal Leclaire? $3.8m. Ridiculous.

My point?

In a cap world, you need efficient salaries to compete. I'm willing to bet Ozzie's contract is likely the most efficient non-rookie paycheck in the league. The dude has done wonders, and his hardware does not lie. The Wings' dish out less money to Ozzie than they use to pay Todd Bertuzzi to take stupid penalties in the offensive zone. Beyond his outstanding play, that salary was integral in our regular and post-season success the last couple of years.

Think of it this way: If you get rid of Ozzie within the last couple of years and pick up a goaltender that will truly be amazing during the regular season, you HAVE to also ditch at least one of our cornerstone players. We simply could not afford them. Period.

  • You think the 08 cup or the 09 finals would have been reality without Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Rafalski, or Filppula?
Didn't think so.

Granted, none of this really excuses Ozzie's lackadaisical play over the last regular season and a half. Nor does it entitle the man to a starting job if he cannot perform to the levels that he needs to to keep it. But repeated slaps in the face? Starting a rookie for 12 games in a row? Starting him through back-to-backs and after poor performances? That's beyond a goaltending policy - it's a statement. It is a statement to Chris Osgood that he's not respected, nor his he trusted. At all. Not even a little bit. It is a public declaration by Mike Babcock:
"Chris, you are bad. You are not a good goaltender and you don't deserve an NHL job. You're lucky you have a contract, otherwise you'd be chain-smoking Parliament Lights in some Plymouth dive bar while literally anyone else more than capably filled your spot on the bench. Furthermore, your sister is a whore and your family is not respected in the community."
Something like that.

Ozzie's been publicly bitch-slapped. And by the organization he has contributed so much to, no less. As I alluded to earlier, if I were in that position I'd be a bit less than thrilled. Those quotes I included from Ozzie? Mine would resemble something like this:
  • "Yep. Going up against the Caps. Quite the potent offense there... good thing I'm limber and ready to go, what with all that strenuous game-time activity of keeping track of faceoff wins for the last 12 games. Boy, I sure do hope Brett Fucking Lebda is on the ice. He's really pulled my ass from the fire time and time again. Good to see his -8 is still getting ample ice time and not being benched in favor of a rookie. That'd be terrible..."
  • "Babcock? Yeah, great coach. Also a Class A fuck-bucket. Dude's gonna slap me in the dick and then throw me to the wolves? I hope he gets hit by a plane. Seriously. I hope he's walking down the sidewalk and a fucking plane just falls right out of the sky and murders him. Yeah, that sounds about right."
  • "Yeah, losses are hard. Hey, funny story. You guys remember in 2007 -08 when I played out of my motherfuck mind. Every time I took the ice I uncle-fucked the entire other team. Then come playoffs, Dom 'Meet You At The Faceoff Circles' Hasek got the start. After he decided he was no longer interested in preventing pucks from entering the goal, Professor Happypants reluctantly threw me in. I forget - could you remind me what I did next? What's that Helene? Oh yeah. I picked the team up and put them on my back. Me and the Mule decided we wanted to hang out in the finals together. Yeah, the finals where I got two consecutive shutouts. Those finals. So, uh, do I think that if we miss the playoffs this year it's my fault because I didn't save the defense's ass after filling out charts for 12 games? I'll answer that question with a question: would you like me to slap you in the face with my reproductive organs? Oh yeah... and you can write that."
Again, don't get me wrong: None of this is appropriate. And I don't think Babs is a Class-A fuck-bucket. The guy has demonstrated that he's one of, if not the, best in the game. But you really have to question why a guy would follow a policy like this. What happens when Jimmy Howard returns to form? You know how it's often said that a batter will usually hit his career average over the course of a season? Well, I have to think that a similar line of reasoning applies to atheletes across the board.
  • Todd Bertuzzi will always be streaky.
  • Brett Lebda will always be terrible.
  • James Howard will - most likely - always be inconsistent.
He's hot right now. No denying that. But that does not guarantee that he will be hot for the rest of the season. Or for the rest of the post-season. Or next year. So if - or when - our rookie goaltender cools down... what options to we have?

A disrespected, underpaid goaltender that has more rust than the average 1985 El Camino on cinder blocks in a Taylor front-lawn? When the playoffs come, and - Bear Jesus willing - we find our way in, and - Bear Jesus forbid - James just straight can't handle it... what's the option? Golf?

Are any of you Ozzie detractors seriously OK with that?

Finally, I have one last point. This is directed directly at the fans. As much as Ozzie has been disrespected by Babcock, he has been perennially unappreciated by the fans. When he's on, he's loved. Every time he touches the puck the Joe resounds with the chants of "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie." And don't you even consider telling me that you've been to a game where Ozzie was playing hot and making the big saves, and you weren't on your feet, pumping your fist, and hailing the Great and Powerful Wizzard of Oz. Don't tell me that in 2008 you were not thanking the sweet dear baby Bear Jesus after #30 got the nod against he Preds. Because if you try, I will call you a liar. Either a liar, or the world's shittiest fan.

But what happens when Osgood doesn't play like a $6million/year goaltender? When perhaps he plays to his paycheck?

Everything is all his fault.

One of my biggest issues with Ozzie detractors this season is that when the Wings lose with Howard in net - no matter what happens - it's in spite of him, rather than because of him. When Ozzie takes a loss? Always completely his fault. He never gets the excuses that Howard does. He's not afforded the benefit of the doubt when the offense doesn't show up, or when the defense breaks down. Take the Capitals game for example.

  • Lebda fails to pick up his man, and watches the pass rather then backchecking. (SURPRISE!)
  • Ericsson fails to pick up his man, and haplessly hacks at him well after it is too late
  • Ozzie takes the blame.

  • Todd Bertuzzi takes a stupid penalty.
  • Brad Stuart decides to play golf, rather than defense.
  • The tying goal becomes Ozzie's fault.

  • Jon Ericsson lets an attacker right by him with no challenge.
  • Brett Lebda stands around wondering if anyone would actually be stupid enough to pick him up off waivers.
  • Ozzie shoulders the entire blame
Sure, they were weak goals. But for each one, it becomes an illustration on how terrible Ozzie is rather than how the defense has failed. And for a guy who has been sitting for an entire month? I'll call it excusable.

Inexcusible? Giving Howard a pass in a similar situation. Call yourself a Wings fan? Get off the Ozzie hate-train. Respect the man for what he's done, and hope that Babs gets him back in the rotation. Without that, we run a serious risk of being up shit's creek without a goalie. Not a real attractive option from where I'm sitting.

23 January 2010

Nice 15 Minutes!!!

Yep, great first 15 minutes to this one. We outplayed the Kings and made them look like the garbage team we are accustomed to. We even got 2 quick goals in the first 10 minutes... awesome, right? Well fuck that and fuck the rest of the 45 minutes. We played terrible. It's like they are scared to stay in the playoffs right now. The rest of the West if falling into the Wing's lap and they went ahead and fell on their face tonight... it is driving me insane.

Anyway, back to the game... the second period was embarrassing. The Kings had the puck in our zone so long at points that it swear i coulda hopped my fat ass over the glass, walked over to Quick and started pissing on his leg and nobody would have noticed (well except for Quick maybe).

Argh, I am so frustrated that I can't focus on what to write about this game.... more on other stuff in a few hours.

Alright, I think I can go on but I will keep it brief. What the hell was the reasoning behind having the third line out there up against Kopitar when they scored the third goal? There isn't really much of an excuse for it considering we get last change. And when can we just bring up Kindl? I am so damn tired of seeing Lebda out there making an ass of himself.... Kindl can't be worse. Little message for Lebda: Stop jumping up into the offensive zone if you don't know what to do with the damn puck once you get it, players like Cleary shouldn't be responsible for jumping back to save your ass once the play goes the other way.

P.S. Apologies for the lack of posting for the past month on my part. GO WINGS

14 January 2010

A Little Perspective; 2 points is just not that important

Props to MrNorrisTrophy over at Winging it in Motown for beating me to this. Read his post "Hatian Earthquate Relief" here. Follow those links and donate if you can.

If anything, this kind of tragedy puts things in perspective. As I sit sulking because Datsyuk doesn't want to score anymore and my team is a few points out of playoff position, 1800 miles away the Red Cross is estimating that 50,000 people are dead. The roads are so bad that aid cannot get to the sick and injured, and a country already gripped with suffocating poverty is nothing short of completely devastated.

Two points just don't seem quite as important in that light.

I hope the Wings win tonight. I hope they find a way to get the puck past a red hot Cam Ward. I hope we get to see "Interested Pavel" rather than "Perimiter Pasha" tonight. But you know... if we dont?
  • It's not the end of the world.
Mark this post down as likely the only time I'm realistic about hockey and its importance.

P.S. One more thing: if you happen to listen to people like Rush "Pill popping hypocrite" Limbaugh or Pat "well... that's a whole new brand of crazy" Robertson, and you react in any way other than disgust... we probably shouldn't be internet friends. Go read the pensblog.

12 January 2010

Wings X - Islanders >X; Mid-Game, Post-Game recap.

Well, the Wings sucked it up tonight. Did you have any doubts that this would happen tonight? You did? You are stupid.

I don't even need to wait for this one to be over.

Screw the score, and screw the effort.

Prove me wrong bitches.

Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Kansas City Islanders

As promised, rather than attacking Pavel today, I've decided to aim my childish sights at the enemy. The hope here is that I won't have to be mean to a personal hero, but he'll still be motivated knowing that at any second, the wrath could turn right back to him. I mean, who would want to deal with such gems as "Datsyuk? More like FATsyuk! Snap!"?

Not me. Not me.

That being said. I really can't pick on any single Islander. This has nothing to do with individual likability, or even the fact that some of the players are simply beyond reproach. No, I find it impossible to single out a single player because... well... they're so obscure. So, I'll just have to take potshots at the team as a whole.

The whole team. As in this merry band of rapist-looking motherfuckers:



  • Ha! You play for the Islanders!
Game. Set. Match.

Lets Go Wings! Two points tonight, regulation or otherwise.

10 January 2010

I'm Awesome at Being Wrong

Seriously, it's a skill. This year, I'm not sure I've made a single correct prediction. In fact, it seems that every time I boldly state something, the Wings go out and make an idiot out of me. I said Bertuzzi was a waste - dude started scoring. I said Howard would never be an NHL goaltender - the kid is currently one of the best in the league. I declared the year of Larry Aurie's curse to be over - Homer goes down pretty much the next day.

The other day, I took some shots at Pasha. I aimed my wrong-cannon right at #13 and fired without discretion. Hell, I went so far as to compare the kid to Mitch Albom. It was tough. It wasn't easy for me to do. Some even mistook my aggression as some sort of hatred for Dr. Dangle. Let me assure you, I've got nothing but love for the guy. In fact, my frustration stemmed from the fact that he was not living up to my astronomically high expectations. I figured that perhaps a bit of berating might do him some good - motivate him a bit.

Well now I'm stuck.

See, I'm not a big fan of heaving stones at Red Wings not named Lebda. And after a great game against the Sharks, I think Pavs may have just earned himself a bit of amnesty.

On the other hand...

In the extremely likely scenario that Pavel reads The Winged Wheel before every single game by having google translate it into that communist gobbedly-gook the Russians call a language, perhaps my public berating of the young man worked. I can envision him driving the net yelling "THIS IS FOR MY MOTHER'S BORSCHT!!" right before he lit the lamp. Maybe every time he took the puck away from an opponent he was muttering "Mitch Albom my ass..." under his breath. Perhaps every time he passed the puck he was thinking "Dr. Rahmani is one of the most respected ophthalmologists in the industry... that guy's full of shit."

So what do I do now? Do I dare call off the barrage and risk Pasha slumping back into being less than the amazing superstar we all know he is? Or do I keep firing at will and risk sending him into a deep, dark depression that would surely swallow even the strongest of men? What to do, what to do...

I suppose I'll try out a compromise. From here out, I'll try to attack one players on the team the Wings face off against on game-day. This way, any damage to said player's eternal soul will not fall on a Wing, and Pasha will keep scoring because he'll know... as soon as he stops that wrath will be turned again to him.

And lets face it... I'm not sure he can handle it. I mean, who could?

09 January 2010

Rubber, meet Twine. Note to Pavel... Wake up.

Tonight, the Wings take on the Sharks in San Jose. Howard starts his 8th consecutive, and will take the blue ice after standing on his head to literally rob the game from the Kings. But for his effort, and the effort of Darren "holy shit that kid is fast" Helm, the Wings would be five points out of the playoffs right now.

But the Wings worked hard and earned a win. They've got lots to be happy about.

In related news, the Lions had an outstanding season and have a tremendously bright future.

Also, it is clear the Tigers got the better end of the deal in that Granderson trade.

Furthermore, I started shitting silver dollars and pissing rainbows.

See what I'm getting at here? The Wings sucked and sucked hard.
  • Out-shot 52 - 24
  • Out-hit 39 - 22
  • Out-played: 60:00:00
No way did this team deserve even one point from this match, let alone the two that Jimmy Howard gave them. Period. This was a MUST WIN game. Rather than rallying and coming back from one of their worst performances of the last decade against Anaheim, they fell back on their heels and sucked it up. Hard. Who's fault is that? Well, here's who's fault it was not:
  • Jimmy "Yum down that crow, bitch" Howard
  • The Defense
  • The penalty kill
  • The coaching staff
  • Danny Cleary
  • Darren Helm
Hell, I think Z gets a pass as well. It was his first game back and he played hard. Everyone else? Play. Play the game. There's no way that the forwards can sit back and hope that the defense and goal-tending will bail them out tonight. Not against Team Canada's the Shark's offense. No sir.

The Wings' offense is garbage, and has been playing like dickbags pretty much all season. Where to point the blame?

How about last years Hart trophy candidate who is far and away from any type of MVP consideration this year? How about the guy who scored 97 points last year, 97 points the year before and, this year, is on pace for 63? How about the guy who can't manage to light the lamp during the playoffs, notwithstanding 2008? How about the guy who makes $6,700,000 a year but can't seem to score?

We're talking Dr. Dangle - now more appropriately named "Professor Pass First" - Pavel Datsyuk.

What to do, what to do... What on earth can help bring Pavs out of this funk? Nurturing encouragement? Helpful linemates? Patience?


The new, official strategy of The Winged Wheel is going to be to berate Pavel until he turns his game around. Perhaps a healthy dose of pure cruelty will help. Hell, nothing else has...

Let the games begin:
  • Pavel, James Brown sucks and your ring tone is stupid. "I Feel Good, Nana nana nana na, because I just freebased a bucket-full of coke and popped a few Percoset, Nana nana nana na." Watch this and be embarassed:

  • Your mother's perogi's taste like sand. Also, her borscht is bland and could use more salt. Snap.
  • You look like Mitch Albom. In fact, a Winged Wheel exclusive reveals the following:
  • Mickey Redmond thinks your composite stick makes you a little bitch.
  • The Day of National Unity is a stupid holiday. I plan on spending this 04 November pouring cheap vodka on a Russian flag while I sing John Mellancamp songs, wearing a red, white, and blue bandana and holding a deuce-deuce of Bud heavy.
  • Dr. Rahmani is an inferior opthalmologist.
  • YOUR FACE need more shoot.
Sick burn. That hurt me more than it hurt you. Ah, who am I kidding, that must have been pretty devastating. I didn't want to do it but you've forced my hand. I fully intend on keeping this up until you find yourself on AT LEAST a point per game pace for an extended stretch. No excuses Dr. Dangle. Earn your paycheck.

08 January 2010

Breaking News: Crow Tastes SO DAMN GOOD!

Wings win. If you recall, I labeled this game as a "Must fuck win." I hold to that. Danny Cleary, Darren Helm. You gents get the prizes. All other forwards... we'll talk about that later.

But the real hero? The true victor? The Wing that put this team on his damn back and carried their impotent asses through this MUST WIN?

  • Jimmy "where did that come from?" Howard
In October? I was confident that Jimmy needed to be on waivers by November. I was certain that he would be our downfall. I saw him as the reason that Ozzie had to be started so many games in a row that his performance went down. I knew with every ounce of my being that Jimmy Howard was not an NHL goaltender. He certainly wasn't a starter. No sir.

And you know what? I still think I was justified at the time. But now? Hot damn was I wrong.

I now bow to the altar of Jimmy. I now worship at the temple of #35. This kid was SICK tonight. And his numbers don't lie. He's been on fire and when the Wings lose, it's usually in spite of his effort and never because of him. He's really turned it around, and I'm more than happy to accept that I don't know dick about hockey.

Good on you Jimmy. Good on you indeed.

07 January 2010

Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. Larry Aurie Strikes Again.

If you recall, I recently reported that the year of Aurie was over. 2009 ended, our injuries began to come back, and everything seemed to be getting better. I hoped that Aurie's bloodlust was quenched with one year's feasting. That he would hibernate and not return to murder a season for another 70 years.

No dice.
Detroit Red Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom will be out 3-4 weeks with a non-displaced fracture in his foot, general manager Ken Holland said today.

Link - Khan @ Mlive
I'm sorry. I truly am. I poked a rabid angry bastard with a stick. I was wrong as hell, and now Homer's down for a month. Mr. I... raise that number up there. Put it right up there between Lindsay and Delvecchio. Make Aurie happy, I don't care if he DID bang your grandma and never telegraphed her again. The fate of this franchise depends on it.

And if you dont? I don't care how drunk I get, I will never buy another Hot N' Ready again. Dick.

Oh, but it's OK. Homer's kind of a role player guy right? Not the best skater, really. Not really the most defensively sound player on our team. And hell, it's the Red Wings. No trouble scoring goals right?

Oh yeah. Homer is our leading goal scorer. With fifteen. Bertuzzi's next at twelve.

  • What. The. Fuck.

96 has FIVE more goals than PAVEL "Almost won the Hart" DATSYUK. Dats is on pace for less than 20 goals. I repeat:

  • What. The. Fuck.
I don't want to hear anyone bitch about Ozzie. I don't want to hear anyone bitch about Howard. I don't want to hear about the defense, or the penalty kill. I don't want to hear about coaching. I don't want to hear one damn complaint that isn't about our absolutefuck inability to PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET. I don't mean to get all pissy before a big game. But for Bear Jesus's sake... tonight had better be a watershed.

Tonight, (the first time the Wings have played the Kings looking UP at them in the standings since the early fuck 90's), tonight can be summed up in three words:
  • Must.
  • Fuck.
  • Win.
I'm not looking at Howard to save us. I'm not looking at the defense to tighten up, or for the PK to be super-duper solid-a-rooskie. I'm looking at you Pavel. Right in your beady little ruskie eyes. Not to pass to Bert for the goal. Not to dance along the perimiter. Not to hope that the return of Z and Cleary (finally) will take all that pressure you've been shouldering so admirably (ha!) off you. No, tonight, I'm looking at you to SCORE SOME GOD DAMN GOALS.

Make it happen. Сделайте это, траханье случается.

05 January 2010

Great Reasons to Hate the Ducks, as if You Needed Convincing.

As the Wings lace up to take the ice in Anaheim tonight, I figured I'd offer a few insights about our opponents tonight. I hate the Ducks. I'm sure that just about anyone who has stumbled across this blog shares this distaste, but in case you don't, I offer several reasons to share my hatred.

  • #1: They still reek of Disney

Ha. Being a lifelong Wings fan, I'm obvoiusly very proud of our historic tradition. Born in 1926, the Wings are a member of the Original 6. We have one of the most iconic sweaters in all of sports; the namesake of this blog being one of the best logos of any team. The Ducks, on the other hand, are the antithesis of this. Born in 1993 (HA!), the original name for this great team: The Mighty Ducks. Whereas us Wings fans can revel in our history, Anaheim fans can feel pride that their franchise bears the name of a bunch of douchebag kids in a Disney movie. Though the Ducks have since dropped "Mighty" from their name, attempting to separate themselves from their Disney past, their franchise has been forever soiled with that drivel. Walt just happened to be a crazy racist manipulator of children, and I've decided that these characteristics are appropriately attributed to the entire franchise. Do I have a basis for this? No. Do I find it amusing? Yes. Are you offended? I don't care.

  • George Parros is a rapist.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Q.E.D. Bitches.

  • Corey Perry
Perry's a dirty prick. Period. However, he does provide good entertainment, seen here:

  • Chris Pronger
I know he doesn't play for the team anymore, but just like Disney, professor elbows leaves a foul stench all over a team. Even though this douche of Sasquatch proportions wears a Flyers jersey now, I still attribute his evil to this team.

  • California is terrible.
I don't care that I've never been there, I feel fully justified in declaring that California is a horrible state. Even though it's full of affluence, it's broke as hell. It's people elected a governor who's resume includes starring in Predator and Conan the Barbarian. It's property values are SKY HIGH despite the fact that at any given moment, every part of the state is either a barren desert, engulfed in flames, or about to fall into the ocean. It's largest city is doing everything it can to murder its citizens with smog, and somehow those bastards have the big brass balls to bitch about how Detroit cars ruin the environment. Also, Julia Roberts lives there.

This state as THREE NHL teams. That's HALF of as many teams as the entire country of Canada has. There is no justice in this world. That is, until the Wings come to town and spank the Ducks like it's the 2009 Western Conference Semi-finals.

04 January 2010

Back from NOLA, the year of Aurie is over... hopefully.

As I continue to beat the shit out of this dead horse, it is 2010. That would be seventy ONE years after Aurie last took the ice. If I'm correct in my analysis - and I almost never am - that means the curse should hopefully be over. 2009 saw far too many injuries ranging from an ever-more-likely career ending Weber killing to "deep bone bruises" to horrendous testicular nightmares, to exploding ACL's, shattered backs, femurs cracked in half, shoulder's considering divorces from torsos, knees bending the wrong way, and all kinds of other "Final Destination-esque" disasters.

But damnit, bitches, its 2010. Here's hoping that's over. Hopefully #6's overwhelming blood-lust has been satisfied and we can get back on track with that whole "Red Wings win games, damnit" thing. Val's back. Z and Cleary will be back soon. Kronners should return this month, as should J Willy. The Mule is still looking at the first week of March or so, but I'm confident he'll find a way to lead the team in goals because he's a machine. Halfway through, we're on pace for 96 points despite our injuries. It's not too crazy to think we'll crack 100 again, considering the first half should not be the better of the two. I'm starting to feel a bit better about this season.

I would spend this time commenting about recent games, trends among lines or players, or something insightful, but... well... screw that. The fact is, I missed most of the recent games as I was on vacation in New Orleans. My apologies for the lack of posts, but I still think you should just blame J-Rock. The south is an interesting place. While driving down to the big easy, I was asked "what's a Red Wing?" by a kindly, old, presumably super-racist gentleman. We did see one guy on Bourbon street wearing a Wings jersey on New Year's Eve which brought me great excitement and prompted boisterous high-fiving, despite it being a Hossa sweater.

Overall, it was a tremendously good time. I dig the hell out of that city, and I'm committed to adopting the Saints as my undisputed #2 NFL team. Don't get me wrong, it's a real blast cheering for the Lions, but I'm having a hard time taking it much more. As a graduate of EMU - yes... that's right... tied for 120th in the nation EMU - and a lifelong resident of southeast Michigan, my two football teams are 3-53 in the last two years. There's something about the excitement in NOLA over everything Saints that gives me hope. Also, any city where you can walk around with an open container down a crowded street and scream "WHO DAT?!" at the top of your lungs over and over without consequence... well... that's just dandy with me.
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Blog Archive

  • ▼  2010 (97)
    • ▼  January (16)
      • The Wrong Cannon Keeps Blasting Away
      • I've Looked Stupid Enough - help me out here Oz
      • Larry Aurie loosens his relentless icy death grip ...
      • A Race to NOT make the Playoffs.
      • In Defense of the Wizzard: From "Pride of the Emer...
      • Nice 15 Minutes!!!
      • A Little Perspective; 2 points is just not that im...
      • Wings X - Islanders >X; Mid-Game, Post-Game recap....
      • Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Kansas City Isla...
      • I'm Awesome at Being Wrong
      • Rubber, meet Twine. Note to Pavel... Wake up.
      • Breaking News: Crow Tastes SO DAMN GOOD!
      • Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. Larry Auri...
      • Great Reasons to Hate the Ducks, as if You Needed ...
      • Back from NOLA, the year of Aurie is over... hopef...