Well, if you were one of the holdouts, not ready to admit that we’re looking at a new Red Wings team, please allow this game to be entered as Exhibit C. For the third time this season, the Red Wings were shutout – equaling their total from all of 2008-09. Their third shutout last season came on the final night of the regular season, during a game in which their leading goal scorer and All-Universe defenseman were being rested.
Once again, the Wings played rather uninspired hockey for sixty minutes, floating a ton of shots toward the other team’s backup goaltender, very few of them of the “difficult” variety, and walk away with zero points.
The Blues scored less than two minutes into the game, and that’s all it would take, as St. Louis leaves the Joe with a 1-0 victory. Detroit is now 1-3 against St. Louis on the season, while being outscored 13-10.
1. A few years ago, the league decided that road teams would wear white, so that the home team could wear their stupid-ass third jerseys whenever they wanted, and road teams didn’t have to pack multiple sets of equipment to go on trips. Seems to me that when both teams came out in the home jerseys, the team that is supposed to be wearing white (i.e. the Blues) should be the ones that are put out and forced to change between warmups and the opening faceoff. But instead, the Red Wings had to spend their time changing jerseys and socks – which, as anyone who’s played hockey knows, isn’t as easy as it sounds. But I digress…
2. The first Blues goal looked an awful lot like Red Wings goals of the early ’00s, eh? Beautiful passing, eventually buried by Boyes, as if it was just meant to be. Can’t fault anyone specifically on that play.
3. Justin Abdelkader looks damn good. I feel like he’s playing as if he wants to say, “Hey, keep me on this line, keep giving me this much ice-time, and power play time. Also, I will continue to be the only one to go to the net.” In the end, he didn’t convert and there was just as much offense as there usually is from that line (read: zero), but he never looked out of place.
4. Detroit only won 6 of 26 first period faceoffs. Retch. Justin Abdelkader has been the worst regular faceoff-take for the Wings, and that continued as he was 0-for-5 in the first twenty minutes. Ouch. That doesn’t help his cause in the aforementioned “put me in coach, I’m ready to play” renditions.
5. Yet another “intent to blow” bites Detroit on the ass, although watching the replay, it would seem the whistle should have blown. Ty Conklin had 44’s weak-ass breakaway attempt under his leg, covered for a second or so, before Brian Rafalski came swooping in and shoved in past the goal line. The whistle hadn’t blown, but it probably should have.
6. Dan Cleary had a rather awkward collision in the third period. I didn’t notice him back on the ice at any point after that, but correct me if I’m wrong. Last I heard, he was going to be re-evaluated Thursday. By the way, the last thing the Red Wings need is another injury.
7. During the game, Rob and I were chatting via e-mail and he mentioned that the team we have this year is more “playoff-style” than in years past. Aside from the obvious irony of being in danger of not actually making the playoffs, I think he’s on to something. The kids like Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader, combined with the willingness to grit it up in the corners like Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves is a different style of Red Wing hockey. As Rob put it, “hard workers, guys not looking for the extra pass, just putting pucks on net.” We all know how much I adore Darren Helm, as he just seems to want it so bad. I get the feeling he’s not quite sure what “it” is that he’s searching for, but damnit, he’s going to get it. It reminded me of a particularly creepy Heath Ledger-as-the-Joker quote: “I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know…I just…. do…things.”
8. I love Ty Conklin, but he was certainly having his way with some Wings. First, he tripped Homer as a shot made its way into the corner — then he (albeit accidentally) high-sticked the hell out Brad May. In between, he was jawing with anyone that’d listen – mostly #44 and Gator.
REVISITING THE PRE-GAME QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Howard played well. Can’t fault him for the loss, only allowing one goal and whatnot. But, the fact is this: once again, the guy on the other end stopped 42 shots, and our guy stopped 25. The end.
2. Abdelkader filled in admirably. He’s not an idea second line player, but at least he didn’t Leino out.
3. I couldn’t tell you how many times they called the fourth line “The 3M Line.” I want royalties. To be honest, I didn’t notice Drew Miller ONCE, and the only time I noticed Brad May is when he got sticked in the face.
4. Homer played fairly decent, and almost created a goal in the opening minute. It wasn’t to be.
5. They didn’t continue their better-than-average play after 2+ days rest. They are now 5-4-1 in those games.