Monday, May 18, 2009

Western Conference Finals Wings 1, Hawks 0

Wings win 5-2

In typical Detroit Red Wings fashion they came out in the first period and played a bit sluggish to say the least. I'm sure it had something to do with coming off the high of the Anaheim series and not playing with the fear that Brown would rip your head off at any moment or that Pronger may try to eat your children after the game. With only a couple days of rest they had to prepare themselves for an entirely different kind of opponent.

Before I had to catch my flight I was able to watch the first period. It didn't necessarily leave me with any warm and fuzzy feelings. So despite the fact that I was DVRing the game to watch later, I had an uncontrollable urge to know the results on a minute to minute basis. So I followed the live blog from A2Y refreshing on my Blackberry every 30 seconds like some sort of obsessive high schooler on their Facebook page. And while I've followed the live blog before, I've never done so while not watching the game. Just want to say damn, great recaps, insight, and run down of the game. I think if you just remove the words bitches and fuchers NBC should just have some recent college broadcasting graduates sit up there and read the live blog updates. It sure as hell would be more interesting and accurate than the shit spewed by NBC. When I finally made it home and watched the game, I think they actually discussed the game for a total of 1 minute and 44 seconds. The remaining time was spent on Sidney Crosby, football, Eddie's beautifully manscaped eyebrows, and what they plan to have for dinner once this boring game with minimal headshots is done with.

Ok so here are my random and jumbled thoughts about the game.

I think it took Chicago scoring first on a lucky bounce to wake the Mule and Cleary from their hibernation. The Hawks first goal started from a poorly managed Ozzie pass and ended with Ericsson and Lebda apparently having the communication skills of one year child. Not sure what was going on with those two last night, but it took them a long time to adjust to playing together. Maybe they're in some sort of bitch fight over their latest card or video game. I don't know but I'm pretty sure they were refusing to talk to each other out there. I was just waiting for Ozzie to grab them both by the ears like some crazy old lady and bitch them out in front of all their friends. Either way Ericsson finally made some noticeable rookie mistakes, and looked like an actual human being. Yeah sorry dude, not playing with Lidstrom anymore. I'm sure they'll both be able to shake it off and come out stronger on Tuesday.

After Chicago scored Dan Cleary decided he wants to win another cup, just so he can have another catchy little New Foundland song written about him, so thinking he is Zetterberg or something he flies down the left side and sends a beautiful wrist shot past Khabibulin. Seriously a great playoffs so far from Cleary. With Datsyuk still not on the score sheet, Hossa minimally participating, and Zetterberg deciding he just wants to get the record for most empty netters, Cleary has picked up a lot of slack offensively. I think the young kids on the team may start believing his stories of being a offensive stud in juniors and drafted as 13th overall.

With Cleary getting them even, the Wings started to play with a bit more jump but they weren't forechecking as much. I honestly think they were still adjusting to Hawks defense.

On a side note, Babcock made good on this threats to Homer, and demoted him to the fourth line at the beginning of the game. Detroit opened up with Hossa, Datsyuk, and Abdelkader as the first line. As expected this didn't last long and a pissed off Homer worked his way back up. While not his greatest game, he did play well and was doing the little things expected of him, fighting in the corners and introducing Khabibulin to what he had for lunch. Bulin guessed it was Swedish meatballs.

For the majority of the game, both teams were giving up the puck like a Las Vegas hooker in a back alley. Apparently the Hawks were a bit easier because they were responsible for the majority of the turnovers. This caused a number of odd man rushes and lead to some seriously north and south hockey. Both teams will have to work on their outlet passes and overall play in the neutral zone Tuesday.

Ozzie once again had a great game. He came up with some huge saves and I absolutely would not fault him on the second goal and the first should have been cleared out of the zone before it got to that point anyway. And yet the media for some reason still seems to think he is a liability. At this point I'm sure Osgood just says fuck it. Even if he lead the team to a cup, with each game being a shut out, and sweeping every series, people would still call him "mediocre." They would probably still go as far to say Detroit won despite Ozzie. Whatever, the guys playing great and will hopefully just continue to give the collective hockey world the middle finger.

Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Mule, Helm, Stuart, Lidstrom, and of course Cleary had great games. That switch which turned on for Ozzie during the playoffs did so for Zetterberg as well. As expected a great defensive effort by him and he certainly started some offensive chances.

Datsyuk, while still about as likely to score as the kid in high school who picks his nose and eats his own boogers, had a great game. It just has to go in for him at some point. He is setting up so many chances. Who knows when his puck luck will finally turn around, but I wouldn't want to be the other team when that happened.

Mule was well, playoff Mule. Getting the second goal, because that's how he rolls. He worked hard in the corner, came out with the puck and used his long reach to wrap it around past Khabibulin. Amazing. 11 years of Mule is looking pretty damn good right now.

Helm and Draper on a line together almost requires the use of slow motion. I'm sure Abdelkader feels the same way. I just hope Bitchman doesn't find the need to bring out that blue puck tracking software from the 90s and use it on these two speedy bastards.

Alright, now I have to talk about this. I fucking hate it when I have to eat my own words. Earlier during the playoffs I felt the need to apologize for praying that Holland would sign Hossa over Mule. Then in the same post, I felt the need to apologize that I used my wish on a wish bone to hope that if Holland signed both Mule and Hossa, he would get rid of Filppula. And now after all of the jokes of Samulesson being more likely to send his shot over to Canada then on net, he has once again scored. And a clutch game winner at that. I feel like my world was turned upside down. Samuelsson may very well have been the first authentic Mike Babcock player crush. He used him on the pp and top lines when the rest of the world was screaming for him to be traded. Begging that some one could help him get his shot on net. Perhaps now, that Babcock seems to only have googely eyes for Ericsson, Helm, and Abdelkader, Samulesson felt like a jilted old housewife and decided to throw on a sexy red dress and score. I don't know at this point. The entire playoffs have been bizarre, but a Samuelsson goal is about as allusive as a virgin in a frat house.

Overall the Wings seemed to dominate the play half way through the second and through the third. (I think I am just going to copy and paste that line into every post from now on.) If someone could just tell them the game starts 2 hours before it actually does, just imagine the possibilities.

The Hawks seemed to have come into this game too cocky and believing everything they read. I think they almost expected to win this one because the "old" guys would be far too tired. Either way, they will elevate their game on Tuesday and I hope the Wings are ready.

As far as Detroit, this was hardly their best effort. They played sloppy through the neutral zone and their penalty kill needs some serious work. If the Hawks thought they were given a lesson last night, I just hope they are able to see Detroit at their best.

After yesterdays game I still think this will be a long series, and some great hockey to watch. If only I were an impartial fan and I didn't have to do so while curled up in the fetal position.

More later.

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