12/11 :: Game 31’s a good time for a turnaround, no?

Growing up, I was convinced I was going to marry Julie Gaffney.



WHATS ALL THIS THEN?
Friday, December 11th, 7:30pm, The Red Wings and Ducks meet for the second time this season. Both games have been hosted by Detroit.

WHATS THE BIG IDEA?
1. Jimmy Howard starts for the third game in a row.
2. The Red Wings are dealing with more injuries than is fathomable.
3. The Ducks are in last place in the Western Conference

NOW WHERE WERE WE?
On November 14th, the Wings beat the Ducks 7-4 on the strength of goals from Cleary, Datsyuk, Helm, Rafalski and an Arby’s Curly Fries Trick from Henrik Zetterberg. Jimmy Howard was starting his third game in a row (sound familiar?), except Osgood wasn’t in the building – recovering from a virus.

WHAT’S HAPPENED SINCE THEN
Niklas Kronwall and Dan Cleary have become injured and aren’t available for the game, jumping the number of inactive players to six. Ville Leino was starting to make a fort in the press box, but he’ll be needed now that EVERYONE is hurt.

OH, HI AGAIN / MEMBA ME?!
Since the last time these teams met, Kyle Calder has been called up to Anaheim, but he’s on IR. Todd Bertuzzi, Brad May, and Drew Miller are Detroit’s former Ducks. May and Miller each won a Cup with the Ducks, and Todd Bertuzzi, to the surprise of absolutely no one, coasted his way through that organization before they dumped him on his ass.

BEST NAME NOMINEE
Dan Sexton, whose nickname, as I just learned today, is Big Sexy.

THEIR LAST GAMES
–Detroit was shut out for the third time this season, losing 1-0 to St. Louis on Wednesday.
–Anaheim defeated Dallas 4-3 on Tuesday.

RECORDS
–Detroit Red Wings :: 14-11-5 (4th in Central, 10th in West) :: 8-6-2 at home.
–District Five :: 11-13-6 (5th in Pacific, 15th in West) :: 2-5-4 on the road.

DUCKS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Ryan Getzlaf :: Bobby Ryan :: Corey Perry :: Teemu Selanne :: Joffrey Lupul :: Saku Koivu :: Jonas Hiller :: Adam Banks

EXPECTED LINEUP
Datsyuk — Zetterberg — Holmstrom [Flying Circus]
Bertuzzi — Abdelkader — Leino [R.S.V.]
Draper — Helm — Eaves
Maltby — Miller — May [The Post-It Line]

Lidstrom — Rafalski
Stuart — Ericsson
Lebda — Meech

Howard (starts)
Osgood

Scratch
The Red Wings LITERALLY don’t have enough bodies to scratch one.
Injury
Andreas “Remember the Time” Lilja
Johan “Wanna Be Starting Something” Franzen
Valtteri “P.Y.T.” Filppula
Jason “The Way You Make Me Feel” Williams
Niklas “You Are Not Alone” Kronwall
Dan “Heal the World” Cleary

QUICK THOUGHTS
1. Ville Leino’s back. He should do his best to make a difference on this first shift. He needs a point worse than any other NHLer has ever needed a point.
2. Jimmy Howard is playing really well: one-goal performances should equal win. Sadly, lately, it doesn’t. If he plays the way he has been, I feel very strongly that the Red Wings can win this one.
3. Can Abdelkader make like he belongs on the second line again? Because someone on that line has to. In theory. For more on my thoughts about Justin Abdelkader and the difficulties he’s faced with, see my article at Winging it in Motown this morning…
4. Nick Lidstrom has gone 27 games without scoring a goal. TWENTY SEVEN. It’d be really swell if he could get off that schneid. Really swell, indeed, major.
5. Someone is going to step up in light of all these injuries and carry this team on his back. One would think it’d be Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk. If they don’t produce a goal in this game, it’d be really discouraging considering that’s the core of the team — for a long time to come.

WHAT WE LEARNED vs. the Blues
No one on the Red Wings can score worth a damn.

DUCK WE COVET (JJ Special)
It’s still Getzlaf. I despise just about everyone else on that team (and also despise Getzlaf, but feel like I’d love him on our team…).

4 thoughts on “12/11 :: Game 31’s a good time for a turnaround, no?”

  1. I think the Bert-Abby-Ville line should be called the S.O.S. line, because it's clearly a cry for help.

    And I actually like Abby, but he's 22 and needs a bunch of years under his belt before he's ready (if he ever is) for 2nd line on the Wings.

  2. You're absolutely right. I wrote an article for Winging it in Motown about the downside to giving Abdelkader the opportunity, you should check it out.

    He's definitely EARNED the right to give an expanded role a shot, but he's the worst faceoff taker on the team, which doesn't bode well for a puck-possession team.

  3. I thought Abby getting the second line shot was a bit weird too. We've seen a lot of Datsyuk double-shifting in recent games, I wonder why Babs won't do that with Helm and Draper too. If you're going to start the second line, especially in a defensive zone faceoff, put a better faceoff guy out there, then change him after he wins the draw. If he loses and is forced to play in his own zone for an entire shift with the second line, then the worst case scenario (not involving a goal for the opposition) is that Abdelkader now has to take a shift on the third line, where either Draper or Helm (whichever didn't take that 2nd line faceoff) can start on the dot and then move over to Wing.

    I know Abby needs to take faceoffs to improve on them, but less than 42% is unacceptable. He needs more practics.

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