Okay, so the Red Wings dropped both “home” games in Sweden, and start the season 0-2 for the first time since 1989. Ouch.
First of all, the one positive I can think of: what a great play by Kris Draper on the Jonathan Ericsson goal, the first Red Wings goal of the season. Draper clearly still has the speed, and using the zebra to set a pick on the defender was beautiful. All in all, the “aged grinders” looked really good – Draper and Maltby pulled their weight, and Justin Abdelkader looks like he belongs in the NHL. I was surprised that Eaves didn’t come into the game for Saturday’s contest, but really – who could have come out? You don’t take Maltby out after scoring a lovely shorthanded goal; and Justin Abdelkader isn’t on the team to watch from the press box. Frankly, I’ll be shocked if Eaves isn’t in the lineup on Thursday. Maltby was a bit more invisible in Game #2, so I be he’s a scratch. I’m also pretty surprised that Derek Meech didn’t come in for Lebda. Mike Babcock really must not think Meech is an NHLer, because Lebda played like poopoo and still held his slot over Meech.
Special teams look whack again. Allowing three power play goals on Saturday is ridiculous. Leino’s power play goal was nifty (thank God), but I’ve long felt that an NHL team can’t convert an extended 5 on 3, they deserve to be demoted to the AHL, and that’s precisely what the Wings did on Friday afternoon.
Speaking of Friday afternoon, was it me or did Todd Bertuzzi spend an awful lot of time on his ass — just like I thought he would — and like he did the first time around? Why is he a poorer skater than I was when I was 7? In addition, I’m going to start a new stat column: PTN [passes to nowhere], a category I have no doubt Bertuzzi will lead.
Dan Cleary was ROBBED by Chris Mason on Friday. So was Johan Franzen. Franzen took a great pass from Datsyuk, who REALLY should have pulled the trigger.
While we’re on the subject of goaltending… it’s nice to see Chris Osgood is back in 2008-09 form. Getting beaten from 70 feet is criminal. I don’t care that three people were in between the shooter and the crease, compared to most shots an NHL goaltender faces, one from there takes about 8 hours to get to them. And what the hell is Jimmy Howard doing in the NHL? He had a very nice first period – making some saves that kind of surprised me, but he absolutely 100% fell apart and it’s quite obvious he’s not the guy he needs to be to keep critics off his back. Two goals in 13 seconds is epic.
I dunno… I had a bad feeling heading into these games, and the boys didn’t do anything to assuage those fears. Ugly.