Friday, May 28, 2010

SCF Post

It's been discussed in almost every single Red Wings blog so far: who do we root for to win the Stanley Cup?

For us Wings fans, this is a terrible SCF. Our division rival, whom we have a long history with, or Philly, who has Chris Pronger, among other players we have deemed "douches." One has Hossa, who jumped ship last post-season and made a lot of people in Detroit hate him, the other has Leino, who did nothing while he was here [though Babcock didn't exactly like him] yet now he's super awesome.

So which is the lesser of two evils?

It all comes down to your own opinion.

At the start of the season this year, I said if the Wings couldn't win it, I hoped it would be Chicago. Now that it's to that point, I regret ever saying that.

But I hate Philly with a passion. I hate Chris Pronger. Philly fans are annoying as hell and members of my family can attest to that claim: my brother went to a Wings/Philly game in Philly a few years ago with a friend of his. He wore a Zetterberg hat and no other Wings attire. He wasn't an obnoxious fan and didn't start anything. Yet the Flyers fans around him heckled the shit out of him and pissed him off beyond belief. And it wasn't like the Wings even won the game, so that they felt like they had to be jerks to a Wings fan in their midst.

I hate to say it, but I think I'm rooting for Chicago. I don't want the hype around them. I don't want to have to face them next year and hear the whole "There's a new reign in the Central Division!" jargon. I don't want Patrick Kane to get his thug name on the Stanley Cup. I don't want to have to put up with pretentious, idiotic Hawks fans who think they know hockey.

Why am I rooting for Chicago, then? Because if they win the Stanley Cup, it means Jonathan Toews will be the youngest captain to win the Cup. Not Sidney Crosby. This is the only plus side I can see. And as a coworker of mine said after I told her this, "I like how it always comes back to ousting Crosby. Even when he's not in it this year."

If Philly wins, I won't be angry. This is a Stanley Cup that I'm a little indifferent about. Hell, I might not even be home for the Cup-winning game. Even with the unappealing teams in the Finals this year, I still think it will be a ridiculously good Finals. These are two teams that want it badly. They're going to do anything they can to win and it'll be a hard-fought battle, no matter who wins.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DRW Comic - Shadowing Crosby

While my computer is sucking and my new computer is on the way, I have reverted to hand-drawing comics. So for those of you who were just introduced to this comic whenever I posted Bertuzzi's Pizza, you have yet to see the old school style!

So as Red Wings fans, we all know that Zetterberg shadows Crosby during games. He's on top of the guy, poking pucks away, holding him pointless, frustrating the shit out of him until Howard comes up and makes him smell the glove.

Anyway. What if Zetterberg kept this up off the ice, too? It might go something like this... [click it so you can actually read it.]

And the Toy Story 3 line is not a slight at Crosby's immaturity [though if you want to think of it like that and it makes it funnier, go ahead]. I'm just super excited for Toy Story 3.

If you like this and think it's an awesome way to relieve the depression of a hockey-less summer, don't worry! I'll be drawing a bunch more. I have a whole freaking list of ideas in a notebook.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


So maybe Yzermemories doesn't flow so well off the tongue like when you add "Zetter" to the front of anything (Zetterfries, Zettercaptain, Zetterbeard, you get the point), but we all have them. We all have those memories of Stevie Y.

My time for grieving is over. It was short-lived. Yzerman was bound to move on sooner or later, and this is just a step that will bring him closer to coming back (or so we all pray). Now I wish him the best. I wish him success. He'll do Tampa Bay some good. And besides, I said from the start if it came down to Holland or Yzerman, I'd stick with Holland. But this post isn't about that. This is to share my memories of Steve Yzerman.

My first Red Wings game was October 24, 2003 against the Dallas Stars. It was 0-0 after the first and I (stupidly) believed that I wouldn't see a single goal in my first hockey game. But we won 4-0. Dominik Hasek had the shutout. Stevie had two goals, the first assisted by a sweet drop pass by Zetterberg. It was a great first game.

April 7, 2006. A game at The Joe versus Columbus. The game should have never gone to a shootout - we had been up 4-1 going into the third. Damn Rick Nash and his spinning abilities to get his first career hat trick to tie the game! The loudest thing I have ever heard in my entire life (this includes loud rock concerts) was when Steve Yzerman stood at center ice to take the second shot of the shootout.

I wish I had had a video camera to show you how loud it was. It was heartwarming, breathtaking, you name it. Yet over the cheering for our Captain, we could hear the puck ring off the post. (Homer ended up winning for us. I know, right?)

July 3, 2006. The day we will always remember what we were doing when the press conference was on. I was babysitting. I made sure the girl was down for her nap by the time the conference started. I sat on the couch and watched it, crying.

This is all part of Steve Yzerman's legacy. The good, the bad, and the ugly, it's all there. His departure may feel like the bad right now, but maybe it'll be for the good in the long run. We'll have to wait and see.

A Letter to Stevie Y

Dear Steve Yzerman,

Just remember that Hockeytown loves you. We always have and we always will. We won't forget you, now you don't forget us.

Saying goodbye is never easy. We all just pray this isn't the post-season where we lose both of our captains.

We wish you all the luck in the world and hope that you're successful down there in Florida. Maybe we'll see you in the Stanley Cup Finals some day.


Your fans

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Red Wings Comics

Let it be known that I draw ridiculous (and sometimes stupid) Red Wings comics. This is probably news to you if you haven't read my Blogspot profile or are extremely forgetful.

It all started last April when two friends and I started dorkily planning a "What our wedding would be if we could marry Red Wings players." I was marrying Ozzie, one was marrying Filppula, and the other was marrying Filppula's brother, Ilari. The things we came up with were hilarious, like Babcock officiating and Datsyuk doing the readings, and a cake shaped like the Stanley Cup.

So I started drawing it. If you're really interested in it, you can see it over at Livejournal here, but you'll have to join. Anyway, because of this, it branched out into ridiculous comics, like Babcock's Red Wings GPS Tracker and the new look of the drawings when I finally got a tablet.

I finally finished another comic today. It was inspired by a friend's misread of a pizza company. Therefore, I drew Bertuzzi's Pizza. [You'll have to click on it to see the whole thing bigger.]

As you can see, they're pretty pointless, but can bring some laughs, especially if I'm really in the mood to work on them. And they are drawn crappily. By no means am I trying to be a super awesome artist. I draw them for the lolz.

Do the Red Wings know about this comic? Well, seeing as how I gave Jimmy one about him and Ozzie being BFFs and I gave Filppula one about him being SuperFil the Superhero, I would say no. Because they probably laughed at how terrible they were and threw them out.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


I was going to make this post after the playoffs ended, but then realized that was stupid. Also, I put it off as long as I could manage, and I need some form of Red Wings hockey in my life again.

We're all freaking out about the off-season and whether Nick Lidstrom will return or not. Putting that slight hiccup aside, let's look at the rest of the team. This is my take on what Ken Holland & co. are going to do this off-season and you all probably have this diagrammed out and hanging above your computer screens, but I'll take a stab at it anyway. So don't shoot me if you don't agree.
[side note for this post: is your best friend.]

The RFAs: Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Mattias Ritola, Derek Meech.
The UFAs: Tomas Holmstrom, Todd Bertuzzi, Kirk Maltby, Jason Williams, Brad May, [Nick Lidstrom,] Andreas Lilja, Brett Lebda

The UFAs
Tomas Holmstrom: I've said it before - if Homer doesn't resign, he's retiring. No way in hell is he going to another team. He's a Red Wing through and through. And after the season he just had, he's not going to retire. I say he's back for more around $2mill.

Todd Bertuzzi: Again, this is the player who had my brother screaming, "He's going to have seven points this season!" after the games in Sweden. He was our savior in the middle of the season when we lost our offense. He was flighty for parts of the rest of the season, but he played solid hockey. He and his family have expressed wanting to stay with Detroit. If we can get him for $1.5mill again, I say he's here for at least another year or two.
I know, I know. We want him off our team, but hey. He did what we signed him to do: get 40 points this season and score some timely goals.

Kirk Maltby: Malts, it was said by a friend of mine last year, "I hate Maltby's play during the regular season, but the playoffs come along, and I love him to death." This was also the same friend who, before the fateful Game Seven, said, "Kirk Maltby might have five Stanley Cups. Kirk. Maltby."
Kirk, I love you. But I don't see us re-signing you. Now, we don't dispose of our veterans normally, but sometimes change is necessary. Abdelkader is a good replacement for you. And Patrick Eaves is almost a mirror image of your play right now, slightly cheaper, and he's about fifty years younger, too. ...Or eleven years.

Jason Williams & Brad May: Sorry, guys. You're both gone.

Brett Lebda: Sorry, Brett, but you're gone. You'll always have a special place in my heart since our lunch together, but all you've got going for you is your speed. [and if you're curious on the lunch thing, I was at the Detroit Economic Club Luncheon last year and he was at my table. He's super nice.]

Andreas Lilja: Lils, my laptop is named after you, because I get so freaking frustrated by it. Aside from the second round of the playoffs, since your return, I've actually started to like you. A lot. I say if we can get you for the same price you're at now, $1.25mill, and you promise to work on your play this summer, we'll keep you. Otherwise we're losing another Swede.

The RFAs
It's already been said that Holland's going to try to sign as many of them as he can. Helm and Abdelkader are back, that's no question. And we already re-signed Ritola, who I think will make it into the lineup for a bit next season.

Patrick Eaves will definitely be back, especially if we let Maltby go. Miller wants to stay and he's a good third/fourth liner who can score timely goals. If we can get both of these guys for a similar price, or at least under or around $1mill, they'll both be back.

Meech, on the other hand, is a toss up. I think Meech's position on this team depends on who in the free agent pool of the NHL has interest in the Red Wings. Meech played well this season, I won't deny him that. But he's not a key player.
Maybe closer to July 1, I'll do a post of players we might try to go after. I was going to include my fantasy of Nicklas Backstrom coming to the Red Wings, but he murdered that dream of mine on Monday. Oh well. Maybe in a trade someday.

Ken Holland will work his magic. I have no doubt in that.

Friday, May 14, 2010

A Letter to Nick Lidstrom

Dear Nicklas Lidstrom,

We're all a little concerned right now in Hockeytown. See, when it was your predecessor's turn to step down, we all knew it was coming; injuries had put an end to his career, among other factors. And while we knew what to expect, that didn't make us any more prepared.

In your case, you're not in the same boat as your predecessor. You still have amazing hockey left in you. You have a place on this team. You have a place as our number one defenseman. Hell, you have a place as one of the best defenseman of all time in the National Hockey League. All of these facts make it harder to try to swallow the idea of you retiring. We can't stand to think of our team without you on it.

You need to come back. You need to get that fifth Stanley Cup. You need to get that seventh Norris trophy. You need to tie [or pass] the league leader in consecutive years in the playoffs [the record is twenty]. You need to be our captain still. We're not ready for the ZetterCaptain just yet. To see someone else wearing the C so's not time yet.

We stop breathing every time we catch a headline that involves your name. We click it anxiously and grit our teeth and wait for the page to load. It doesn't matter what the news is - we're on edge no matter what. We breathed a sigh of relief when Babcock said he knows you'll be back. We started being optimistic when Holland said he planned on getting you signed within a few weeks. We lost all of those confident feelings when you said you weren't sure what you were doing.

We had heart attacks when you said you enrolled your oldest son in a Swedish school. In Sweden.

Nick, don't leave us yet. It's not like you've turned into Chris Chelios. You're still one of the best defensemen in the league. Sure, you may not be as fast as you used to and you play a few minutes less per game than you used to, but has that stopped you from being amazing? Has that stopped you from continuing to be The Perfect Human? No, it hasn't. There's still a fire left in you - a good fire - and you shouldn't let that go to waste.

Look at what you did yesterday. You threw the first pitch at the Tigers game. And you threw a freaking strike. And then you said you could have done it better if you had a hockey stick to take a slap shot. Fuck, just seeing that picture of you up there in this post made me go into a fit of fangirlish, "HOLY CRAP! LIDSTROM, DON'T LEAVE!" shrieks - while no one was home, mind you. Go on the internet, check out the other Wingnuts' blog posts. See how many of them are about wanting you to stay for another year [or two].That should show you how much we still love you.

We're not ready to lose you yet, Nick. You shouldn't be ready to leave us, either.

With all the love in our hearts and souls,

Your Fans in Hockeytown and around the world

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Questions & Opinion-Based Answers

It seems as though every other Wings blogger on the internet has touched on Game Five, so I'm going to go ahead and skate around that one and barrel right on through to the "what ifs" portion of our season. You know, that part we all thought wouldn't start until mid-June because we'd be back for the Cup for a third year in a row.

I was reading this article over at The Bleacher Report that poses ten questions facing the Wings this summer. I thought I might answer these with my own thoughts.

10. Is Jiri Hudler going to be a factor?
All of my Wings friends are completely split on the prospect of Huddles coming back; half are just as happy as he is after he scores a goal, the other half have the reaction of, "Oh, you again? Ehh..." Like Matt Hutter writes, Huddles' breakout season was projected for this past season, but he went for the money and left us. That fact has left a sour taste in a lot of Wings fans' mouths.

But look at it this way: he was a clutch in the shootouts. Look at how many shootouts we lost this season and think about how many points we could have gained had he stayed on the team this year, not to mention the amount of goals we wouldn't have lost in the off-season. He'll be a factor, but it may take him a while to re-warm up to us.

9. Is Kirk Maltby's time in Detroit over?
In my honest opinion, yes. I really hate to see Malts not be in the lineup again, but we have young players that could use his spot on the roster more than he could. It's not like the Wings to dump their veterans, but I don't see another way. Abdelkader is a good replacement toughness-wise for Malts and Patrick Eaves is a good replacement for the clutch goals and penalty-killing. Plus, Abbie and Eaves are both a lot younger and have years ahead of them.

8. Is Steve Yzerman on his way out?
I say not this year. Not yet. I say he leaves when Lidstrom does, but that's just me. I hate to see Stevie leave, but it's going to happen. And don't do the "Holland or Yzerman as GM?" question because I'll pick Holland. I know what Holland's capable of and what he's put together.

7. Will Todd Bertuzzi be resigned?
At the start of the season, I said no. In the middle of the season when he had a bunch of game-winning goals, I said yes. At the end of the season, I was indifferent. At the start of the playoffs, I said no. This is the same guy whose play in the first game in Sweden prompted my brother to exclaim, "Todd Bertuzzi is going to have seven points this season!"

I didn't like Bert when he was here before and I wasn't very welcoming when he came here in the offseason [I vaguely remember calling my brother at work and yelling about it when I saw the headline on]. But my honest answer is yes. We will resign Bert. As streaky of a player as he is, he does play solid hockey. He does have his good moments. And his mere presence, his large body, his tough demeanor is something we need on this team.

6. Was 2009-10 the start of perennial battles to make the playoffs?
I say no. Look at the fluky injuries we had the entire season. And look at what we did when we had all of our players back and healthy. Hell, if there had been ten more games to go in the season, we could have conceivably caught up to Chicago. And while Babcock will say this wasn't the case, I believe the Olympics did distract him a bit from the Wings. Look at how well we did after the Olympics [plus the injured players being healthy and rested].

I will say no on this until my team proves me otherwise and I hope that doesn't happen anytime soon.

5. Is a Central Division Championship no longer a realistic goal?
This kind of links up to question six. Like I said: if our team had been healthy eight or ten games earlier in the season, we could have caught up to Chicago. That may not have been the exact case, but it certainly wasn't an impossibility.

Also keep in mind that Chicago has a very, very serious problem with the salary cap this postseason. I've said this whole season, if the Hawks don't win the Cup this year, they're blowing their only chance in the immediate future. If they can figure out a way to keep their big players and keep this chemistry going [and find a good goalie], then maybe the answer to this question is yes. But for now, I'm going to say no.

4. Will all of the RFAs return next season?
I'm going to expand on this one in a later post, probably come June. For now, I'll list the RFAs for this off-season:

Darren Helm, Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, Drew Miller, Mattias Ritola, Derek Meech, Jakub Kindl.

Who stays, who goes? Who do we try to pick up? Will we get another Hossa-like signing? Again, this will all be in a different post.

3. Is Jimmy Howard ready to continue as Detroit's starting goalie?
I'll pose the same example that Hutter does: Steve Mason.

I think Babcock will be more careful with the goalie situation this coming season [since he kind of really screwed it up this past season, in my opinion]. I think he'll play it more like in 2007-08 with how Dom and Ozzie split things. As much as I am an Ozzie fan and love that goalie to death, next season is the last season of his contract. I think he'll take a backseat to Jimmy. Jimmy's future looks bright and promising - Ozzie's is coming to a close.

Just...don't screw up the goalies next season, Babs. Please. That was the one thing that had me wanting to throttle you.

2. Will Tomas Holmstrom be re-signed?
That rumor about St. Louis going after him is complete bullshit [well, they may have thought about going after him, but they won't get him]. If Homer doesn't re-sign with us, he's going to retire. I firmly believe that after the season he just had, he will be back for at least another year, if not two. And I also believe that if he's back, Lidstrom's back.

Just the thought of Homer in a non-Winged Wheel jersey makes my heart hurt.

1. What is Lidstrom going to do?
That's the million-dollar question. I constantly warned you blog readers to watch these do-or-die games as though it was Lidstrom's last game. I might have been wrong in saying that, but it's better safe than sorry. Sure, Lidstrom isn't as outstanding as he once was. But it's not as if he's suddenly a fourth-line D-man. Screw that. He'll retire long before that happens. He won't pull a Chelios [no offense, Cheli].

I'm preparing myself for his retirement, but honestly? I think he'll sign a two-year deal. Hopefully for a lot less than his current contract is giving him, and knowing our Captain, he knows that he should take a pay cut. Don't hang up the skates yet, Lidstrom. You need that fifth Cup and that seventh Norris trophy.


So that's my take on all of this. I don't know if it's very insightful or not, but hopefully it gives you a different take on everything.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Living on a Prayer

Too many people at work this morning told me the Wings could pull it off and listed reasons as to why they can. And here I am, trying to be pessimistic for once and not get my hopes up so that I'm not disappointed if/when they lose. A lot of people told me I should drink a lot of coffee to stay awake for the game. Screw that, I'll need it tomorrow morning when I'm opening at work on four hours of sleep after staying up for the game.

I told myself on Thursday that if the Red Wings won, all it would do would get my hopes up for a nearly impossible comeback and I would be looking forward to Game Five and we would lose and I would be absolutely devastated. At least I was prepared for a loss in Game Four. Game Five...I'd like to say that I'm expecting failure, but that's a half-lie.

Don't stop believing. It's as simple as that. The song that plays at The Joe when victory is within our grasp. It's a simple enough lyric, an even simpler action. Believing isn't impossible and if there's any team that can pull this off, it's us. Because we have The Mule, who is hungrier than ever. Because we have a core group of veterans who want that fifth ring to make a complete fist with. Because we have those rookies who want to win the Cup. Because we have players who were disappointed that they were just one goal away from winning it against last year.

Every game past Game Four is a bonus game for me, because I honestly believed that we were done. If we win tonight, that's fantastic. If we don't, well, it was a good run, a good season. And the Wings will have done what they were supposed to do: end on a ridiculously awesome win at home and lose on the road. Hell, if you would have told me three months ago that the Wings would make it to the second round playing the Sharks, I would have laughed in your face because the Sharks are playoff chokers and the Wings were sitting in tenth in the conference.

If I may quote myself for a moment, bringing your attention back to the upcoming Game Five: Pray for consistent reffing on both sides of the call. Pray that the Red Wings play out of their damn minds like last game. Pray that Nabokov has an off night and Jimmy Howard looks less like a rookie and more like Chris Osgood when he came in for Hasek in the 2008 playoffs. Pray that the Game Seven Red Wings show up. [Game Seven against Phoenix or Game Seven against the Avs in '02.]

Watch your captain, Wingnuts. Watch Nick Lidstrom like you've never watched him before. Because this could be the last game you ever see him play. As depressing of a thought as that is, it might just be the truth. I never wanted him to have an ending like Stevie Y, but it may have just come to that.

I'll be wearing my Franzen jersey when I see Iron Man 2 at 7:30 tonight [so if you happen to see a crazy girl wearing a Mule jersey walk past, it's probably me]. I'll be wearing it during the Wings game, too. It's 4-0 at the Joe and now 2-0 at my house.

We're living on a prayer, Hockeytown. And sometimes that's the best damn hockey you'll see, when your team is living on a prayer.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Living on the Edge

It's only normal for a blog named "Franzenmuth" to make a blog post after Johan Franzen pretty much single-handedly defeated the Sharks last night, right? I mean, he is the namesake of this blog, so it seems fitting that I make a post about the game...even if I would do that anyway.

I will admit right now that I missed 2/3 of his hat trick. My brother and I decided that missing the last half of the first wouldn't be a huge deal, so we started watching Community on NBC, which was amazing. But when my cell phone rang at the same time as the house phone, we knew something was up.

The beast has awoken. As my friend said, "He got hungry...for curly fries." [Goals, too.]

Michael Rosenberg makes an accurate point: "In the playoffs, Franzen makes the amazing seem inevitable. He simply overwhelms people. Franzen now has scored 31 goals in his last 49 playoff games. Not one of these goals was a fluke."

Remember when he scored more goals than Colorado two years ago? He had hat tricks in two consecutive games. Someone remind me, who did San Jose play before us? Oh, that's right. From Franzen's mouth: "Yeah, Hank and Bert tried to feed me as much as they could, I think." They don't call it "Feed The Mule" for nothing. Hell, I have a t-shirt that says that. It's what you're supposed to do during the playoffs.

Dear Joe Thornton, Get your hands off of my Captain. I know you're frustrated because one Red Wing is outscoring you personally in the playoffs, but taking cheap shots at someone like Nicklas Lidstrom is an unforgivable sin. And dear non-Red Wings bloggers and sports writers, Stop saying that the dynasty is over. You say that every year since Stevie retired and it's getting tiresome.

Oh hey, Dan Boyle. Thanks for scoring another goal for the opposing team. Keep that up and we'll make you an honorary Red Wing.

Okay, okay, maybe I'm getting my hopes up a little bit too much. I told people yesterday that I honestly expected us to lose last night and if we did win, I knew I would just get my hopes up and when we lose on Saturday, I'll be devastated. And that is exactly what's happening.

Time for me to be a Debbie Downer and point out the reality, as much as I hate to admit it. We've won one game, and we won it convincingly. But if we want to go to the Conference Finals for the fourth consecutive year, we have three more of these to win. I'm pretty sure Mike Babcock is constantly telling his players, "Take it a game at a time, guys," and if they do that, it should work out well. The non-Debbie Downer aspect: if we can steal Game Five from the Sharks at home, we're heading back to The Joe and the pressure is more on San Jose. If we can do this, even if we still lose in the end, we will have given it a fighting chance.

But this is all still up in the air. There are a lot of "Ifs" in the second half of that last paragraph. Have the Red Wings played two dominating games in a row these playoffs? And I mean really dominating. From what I can recall, no. That's another reason why I'm hesitant to jump on the "History Will Be Made" train and be super excited for Game Five.

Even if we go on to lose Game Five, the Red Wings did what they were supposed to do: They didn't get swept on home ice, they didn't lose on home ice, and they ended their season at home with a thrilling victory. And you know what? That's good enough for me if we can't come back and win it.

Enjoy your Franzenfries, people. Enjoy the good times, even if it is pouring rain right outside your window [like it is for me].

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Don't Stop Believing

You know how when you normally put your iPod on shuffle and it's really stupid, but there are those timely moments when it seems like the little machine is reading your mind? Mine is reading my mind right now.

#882/1496 on my top-rated shuffle: Don't Stop Believin' by Journey. I don't think there's a more fitting song to start off my day.

I may have resigned myself to the fact that the series is possible [and more than likely] over, but will that stop me from supporting my team through to the very end? Absolutely not. Two nights of sleep after a disappointing loss gives me my optimistic edge back. It's a long way back to the top, people, but the Wings can do it, if they play these remaining games like every single one is a Game Seven.

Don't look at it as a "Oh, we have to win four in a row." Look at it as a, "Oh, we can win this one at home because there's no way we're going to let ourselves get swept at home," and then a, "Well, it's possible that we can steal one on the road," and then a, "Hey, we're back at The Joe! They can win it for us!" and then end it with a, "Well, it's Game Seven and we fought back from a 0-3 deficit to make it here. If we win, sweet, if we lose, at least we fought like crazy."

Now doesn't that sound a little easier and a little more possible? The tricky thing about it? The Red Wings need to think like this. Like Pierre LeBrun said in a video he posted yesterday, if there was one team out of the thirty that could pull this off, most people would say the Wings. But it's easier said than done.

Pray for consistent reffing on both sides of the call. Pray that the Red Wings play out of their damn minds. Pray that Nabokov has an off night and Jimmy Howard looks less like a rookie and more like Chris Osgood when he came in for Hasek in the 2008 playoffs. Pray that the Game Seven Red Wings show up.

Work today will be a test of my patience with people who believe they understand how much I love this sport. They know I'm a little more than obsessed, yes, but for me there's a difference between obsession and love. Wearing my Homer shirt and sporting some Wings earrings, I already know I'll be barraged with the, "So are they gonna wiiiiin?" taunts. And I will smile and say, "If they win, they win. If they lose, they lose. We're allowed to lose in the second round once every four years."

I'll be wearing my Franzen jersey during the game. It's 4-0 at the Joe and 1-0 at my house [1-0 in Game Sevens, mind you. This is sort of like a Game Seven!]. I hate to put this out there, but it's what my brother said to me before Game Seven, "Keep your eyes on Nick Lidstrom, because this could be the last game you see him play."

I sure as hell hope it isn't. We all do.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

They Say It's Your Birthday

Time for some humor to lighten the day!

After sleeping on last night's loss and knowing that nothing can change what happened, I'm looking into the future toward Game Four. And also trying to enjoy my birthday. While last year's was ruined at the last minute by the non-goal on Hossa, this one was ruined from the start and I was expecting to be absolutely terrible. So far, however, it's been okay.

So let me show you a little tradition in my household. It's not entirely hockey-related, but it kind of is. Just bear with me for a second.

In my house, the siblings make birthday signs for each other and they're normally pretty humorous. This year, what with one brother of mine having moved out and the other super busy with school, I wasn't expecting any. But they proved me wrong.

This was hanging in my bathroom. In case you didn't know, Valtteri Filppula is my favorite Red Wings player, along with Ozzie. But unlike Ozzie, I've met Val twice and both times were damn fantastic.

Now for the humor. This one was hanging in the kitchen.

Explanation: There's a joke in my household that Tyler Kennedy from the Pittsburgh Penguins is a living basilisk. Or if you don't feel like clicking on the explanation, he causes people to die with just one look because of how ugly he is. I mean, look at him. You can't honestly look at that picture and tell me he's a handsome hockey player. It's just not possible.

With those two signs [among others, like one from Greg Monforton, whose commercials are always on the Windsor feed of the CBC], I'm pretty sure my birthday will be pretty good. And there's playoff hockey on tonight. Nothing can cheer me up like hockey, that is one thing that will never change.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It Goes On And On...

Yet another game where we looked tired in the third period. Yet another 4-3 loss. Yet another hole to dig ourselves out of.

I want to post something optimistic about the outcome of this game, but I can't find anything. I will admit that I take Red Wings losses hard; I have for the past three years and that fact is never going to change. My intense love for this hockey team stemmed from my senior year of high school, but none of you guys want to hear that story, so let's come back to the present moment.

The end of our season is looming and while I'd like to believe that a four-game winning streak is entirely plausible from the Wings, I have to look at the reality of the situation and say that I think we're burnt out. I know, I know, you don't want to hear those words. But look at the facts: we worked our butts off to get into the playoffs, we had to go to seven games to beat Phoenix... Maybe a two-game win streak. I mean, we did drop Game Three at home against Phoenix and win Four and Five. I think we could do that against the Sharks, but the Wings have to want that.

We've had a problem holding two-goal leads this entire season. We've had a problem putting our hearts into games and proving that we want to win. Game Three and/or Six against Phoenix, anyone?

Yeah, I could point the blame at bad reffing and blown calls and soft goals, but I won't. The officiating was not as bad as the past two games [though it was still pretty bad]. And I have nothing against the non-goal on Zetterberg. While I don't think he was intentionally kicking the puck, it was more of a kicking motion than the Sedin goal that was waved off in Round One.

My birthday last year sucked, too. Last year's birthday was Game Three against Anaheim when they called off Hossa's goal with 1:07 left in the third that would have tied it up. I didn't think it could be worse. But this year, there are other things going on in my life where I could use a happy Wings victory to brighten some aspect. While my birthday isn't until tomorrow, I was counting this as a birthday game.

This entire post sounds as though the series has ended [and has no coherent structure to it]. In retrospect, most Wings fans know that winning four games in a row is tough in the playoffs, and they're already grieving for their team. I wish I could muster up the strength to be optimistic like usual. I'll end with a ridiculously depressing thought, since that's the theme for tonight, what with the Wings and Tigers losing, and Ernie Harwell finally passing on:

What's the worst thing about being swept in this series? It could quite possibly have Nicklas Lidstrom contemplating retirement.

Lucky Charms!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this series is not over. Contrary to what everyone else is saying, this series is just getting started.

With that being said, I'm not taking any chances. I'm pulling out all of my good luck charms for tonight's game. Yes, I think we can win without me doing stupid things that don't actually affect them, but it's those damn superstitions and since I'm a crazy hockey fan, I can't not do them. I know I posted my good luck charms earlier, but I'm going to post some of them again.

1. Andy Capp's hot fries. These babies worked during Game Five versus Phoenix and during Game Seven. I even bought some to help the Capitals during their Game Seven [yes, I like the Caps. Don't kill me], but instead, they helped the Detroit Tigers destroy their opponent. So they only work for Detroit teams.

2. Flying the Wings flag on my car. This hasn't done much as of late, but I'm going to keep it up.

3. Pierre LeBrun will be here. [This doesn't make sense? Read this.] Actually, he'll be at both games. He sent a tweet my way and said, "True, they're 3-0 in my presence this spring. I'm in Detroit for Games 3-4 vs Sharks." So that makes me a little less frightened.

4. I'll be telling my friend that he needs to be wearing his lucky Red Wings socks and make sure that he has a six-pack of beer for tonight's game. That was the trick in Game Seven.

5. I'll be sitting in my usual spot for Wings games. For Game One, I was stuck in the basement and for Game Two, my brother was sitting in my spot. But also for Game Two, we had a friend of a friend over, who was over for Game Seven versus Pittsburgh. Needless to say, he is never invited back into the house for a Wings game.

Pull out your own good luck charms, Wingnuts. It'll make you feel a little better about tonight's game.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Anything is Possible, Apparently...

It's been touched on by literally everyone already, but the officiating of last night's game wasn't even sub-par, it was just bad. I hate sounding like one of those fans that when their team loses who says, "Oh, if it wasn't for the officiating, we would have won. They made some bad calls and that was our downfall, or else we could have wrapped that game up."

In last night's case [and consequently, in Game One as well], the officiating was beyond bad. Even if you're a Sharks fan, you have to admit that somewhere inside your mind, there's a little voice saying, "Wow. This is just ridiculous."

Ten penalties were called against us in last night's game. Ten penalties against one of the least-penalized teams during the regular season. Ten compared to four against San Jose. Ten, equaling twenty minutes. That's an entire period of hockey, in case you didn't know. Twenty minutes on the penalty kill. Tell me, NHL referees and officials, how are the Red Wings supposed to have a chance to get into the game or keep their one-goal lead when they're playing twenty minutes shorthanded? Like Mike Babcock said, "The reality is that you can't have momentum if only half your players can get on the ice because they are sitting in the penalty box all night long."

And look at some of the penalties that were called. Bertuzzi for goalie interference in the second when he brushed Nabokov's glove. Bertuzzi for holding when he shoved the San Jose defenseman. ...Okay, maybe the most blatantly terrible calls were on Bert, and maybe it's just because he looks like a bear with that beard, but come on, refs. Let us play.

There were some misfortunate accidents, too. Like Lidstrom shattering his stick when he tried to take a slapshot and Thornton and Heatley going down two-on-one to score the game-tying goal. Lidstrom did everything he could to try to stall Heatley, but it wasn't any use. I know Mickey Redmond was at home watching the game and had a massive heart attack at that point. Sorry about that Mick, but I'm right there with you.

Jimmy Howard looked like a rookie at times in net. But he had some major game-saving stops at timely moments. And come on, people, I'd like to see you do better as a rookie goalie trying to fight off twenty minutes on the penalty kill. I can't blame Jimmy for this loss. I won't blame Jimmy for this loss.

So to you Wings fans that are freaking out about the series being over, let me quote Homer Simpson when he's talking to Selma on the phone: "Listen, shut up for a second." This series isn't over until we lose one at home. And Mike Babcock will not let his team do that. The Red Wings won't do that. And if they do, only then will I start to worry.

And PS - They don't play on my birthday this year, so you guys don't have to worry about an "intent to blow the whistle" on a Hossa goal to tie the game up with 1:07 left in Game Three. Worst birthday present ever, refs. Don't do it again this year.

Top-Rated Shuffle: #727/1496: I Won't Be Left - Tegan & Sara

Sunday, May 2, 2010

To The Forum! ...Or Game 2.

It's game-day, people, and you know that means a lot of contemplative blog posts from us Wingnuts on what tonight's game will bring and what set of Red Wings will show up--the ones that played in Game Seven or the ones that fell asleep during the first period of Game One?

This series doesn't make me panic as much as the Phoenix series did, but we're only one game into it. That can easily change after tonight. But even if we do lose tonight, I won't be freaking out.

My Keys to Victory for Game Two in the Shark Tank:

1. Someone at work this morning told me that we're undefeated after we've had two days of rest between games. I'm not sure if this is accurate or not, but I do remember Mickey spouting a bunch of facts about when we're rested and when we've traveled within 24 hours or so.

2. Jimmy Howard. Has this guy had two bad back-to-back games yet? I keep bringing this point up, and no he doesn't. Letting in three goals in less than a minute and a half? Yeah, he's not going to let that happen.

3. Our defense. Letting in three goals in less than a minute and a half? Yeah, Lidstrom's not going to let that happen. Neither is Rafalski, or Kronwall, or Stuart. Most of my hockey friends want to get rid of Stuart, but I don't. Yeah, he's had a few bad games this season, but ignore that and he's been pretty damn solid. He's saved us a lot of goals. Anyway--Kronwall was laying out the hits last game [or at least more than he did in the Phoenix series], so let's keep that up.

4. The Sharks/referees pissed off the wrong Mule and he's going to be out for vengeance for that non-call on a blatant high stick. I'm telling you, this is Franzen's series. This is your time of the year, Johan. Live it up.

5. The Sharks are running on a high from breaking the trend of their first-round exit and the fact that Marleau is coming back for tonight's game. The Wings need to one-up their opponents' high and score a goal quick or at least shut down the Sharks' offensive chances.

6. Babcock wants to win. Which means that he will etch this into the minds of his players, whether they like it or not. Coming back to The Joe in a 1-1 tie would be a hell of a lot better than being down 2-0, even if our good luck charm will be at Games 3 & 4.

6. Power plays are always important. Likewise, penalty killing. The Sharks had, what, two goals on the PP last game? Remember when we let Phoenix get away with three in Game One? Yeah, let's do that again, Red Wings.

If what San Jose brought to the table last game was their best performance, I'm not worried one bit. But I don't think that was the case - I think they just jumped on our misfortune of sleeping during a game and ran with it. Getting Marleau back will help them out.

We haven't been down 2-0 in a series yet these playoffs. Let's not start now, please.

PS - Top-Rated Shuffle: #682/1496 - Pineapple Express - Huey Lewis & The News