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The Ville Leino Curse Strikes

The final score was 4-3 (HI DAD!), but the Kings may as well have lined up each of the Wings — and all of their fans — and kicked us, one by one, in the nuts (or the equally painful lady-parts region). We’ve learned what it feels like to blow a two-goal lead, but a three-goal lead?  Jesus Tap Dancing Christ.

To make matters worse, three forwards left the game, due to injury, and did not return. Tomas Holmstrom’s left knee was bruised in a collision at the boards in the first period. Both Patrick Eaves and Drew Miller blocked shots while shorthanded in the second — and each were rewarded with ankle injuries: Eaves with a sprain, Miller with a bruise. SNP’s X-rays were negative. Which is positive. Strange how that works.

In somewhat related news, Dan Cleary took a SHOT TO THE NECK, but finished his shift and didn’t miss any after, either. Presumably, he spent the entire flight, wedged among Holmstrom, Miller, and Eaves uttering things like “man up, buttercup,” “need another Fresca, princess?” and making tampon jokes. Of course three forwards are injured hours after Ville Leino is jettisoned to Philadelphia. That’s just the way this season has gone. Next week: Brett Lebda is traded and three defensemen are sidelined when a meteor hits their hotel. Oh, they’ll be fine in the long run, but they’ve “tweaked” something.

Back to the game, it was nothing but Detroit in the first twenty minutes, followed by forty minutes of greased-up-deaf-guy chasing. I still think that they will make the playoffs, but if you asked me if I thought they deserved it, the answer would be a resounding, “I hate you.”

We’ve called out Brad Stuart on this blog before, saying things like he’s living in a perpetual Game Seven. A Groundhog Day of shitty turnovers, as it were. More of the same on Saturday: on the first Kings goal, Stuart had approximately six months to make a play, and decided that the best option was to clear directly to the forechecking Kings, who eventually found Frolov and scored. Bye bye, momentum! Here I thought giving a shot of adrenaline to the opponents was uniquely Todd Bertuzzi’s job. Silly me.

You’re going to read a lot of nonsense about Jimmy Howard being tired or burnt out. If a 25-year-old athlete is tired after having a few days off, all of us 28-year-old slobs are screwed for when the aliens come down and start a war. Make no mistake, I’m not defending Howard’s game — he certainly didn’t deliver the goods against Los Angeles. I don’t think fatigue is to blame, but that second Kings goal is 90% on Howard after he violently misplayed the puck. The other 10%, since you asked, belong to Jonathan Ericsson who had a great view from the opposite faceoff circle, where he was standing completely still watching the events unfold in slow motion. It was like a lumbering, Swedish Donnie Darko, with fantastic hair. And even less hockey skill than Jake Gyllenhaal.

Speaking of Ericsson, I’m pretty sure that the Red Wings plan was to sit him for more than the one game he missed, but the Kronwall re-injury necessitated he come back into the lineup. He is just shy of useless. For the record, if you follow my thoughts closely enough, you’ll know that I’m one of the very few people that wasn’t even enamored with him in the playoffs last season when everyone else seemed to think he was excellent. But, alas, he is still a rookie so there’s room for growth. Just color me skeptical. Still.

I hate to say it but the Red Wings don’t seem to be interested in making the post-season this year. I desperately don’t want the streak to come to an end, particularly in the first season of The Production Line’s existence, but their play is so uninspired on so many occasions, that’s it’s no longer an anomaly, it’s the way of the Wings. And that’s discouraging. Is this what it’s like to be a fan of every other team in the league? I’m old enough to remember the last time the Wings were HORRIBLE, and we’re certainly not there yet, but the difference is that expectations were much different. Also, no Petr Klima/Gerard Gallant/John Ogrodnick trifecta.

The Wings couldn’t even muster a point in this shit show. Ridiculous.

8 thoughts on “The Ville Leino Curse Strikes”

  1. I'm totally there with you on Ericsson. He needs to quit filling up his breezers with molasses. His learning curve is way behind. He keeps making the same mistakes over and over again.

  2. "It was like a lumbering, Swedish Donnie Darko, with fantastic hair. And even less hockey skill than Jake Gyllenhaal."

    Hey, now. I am beginning to question your commitment to Sparkle Motion!

  3. This is a slump, they still have more than 20 games and are not so far out of the playoff picture that we're totally screwed. I know it's hardest to see the light when it's the darkest, but trust me on this, they'll get their shit together.

    Also, I'm taking a list of everybody I see online questioning this team's heart (note: this does not apply to questioning their commitment, as I'm ok with that). Those people will not be welcome to my birthday party.

  4. Stabbity, He's certainly behind. Are you with me with the "he wasn't even that good when everyone was in love with him in the playoffs" camp?

    Disch, Word. Word.

    Kron, I would NEVER hate on Sparkle Motion. No-no-no-NOTORIOUS!

    JJ, I'm not sure I'm questioning heart (and I sincerely don't want to miss your birthday party), but something's certainly not there — is it still okay to blame the injuries? I'm not sure. They're definitely less committed to sixty minutes than in years past…

  5. Well at least I can be secure in the knowledge that I will be invited to J.J.'s birthday party (at least I hope so?).

    I don't know if it's as simple as just the injuries as the constant flux of the lineup. Just when they start to look good, either someone else gets hurt and they have to adjust for that, or they get someone back who isn't at full speed or strength yet and they have to adjust to that.

    I don't think this team has been comfortable, really comfortable, with the group of players on the ice at one time for more than a handful of games, and the constant changes probably have them all feeling a little burnt out.

  6. That wasn't a shot at you, Petrella. I just wanted to vent that Red Wings fans who say this team lacks heart are chumps.

    It's definitely the lineup flux, the part that has to do with injuries and other parts. I hate to bring up the whole "if you watch other teams" crap because it sounds so damn smug, but here goes. If you do watch other teams whose lineups have been basically unchanged for the last 20-30 games, you see that their game is more fluid throughout all their lines.

    I also think frustration is a growing part of the problem. You could sure as hell see Zetterberg frustrated in the 3rd period against the Kings. We've seen it out of Datsyuk probably two dozen times this year. The tight schedule makes it even more mentally taxing and harder to clear that frustration.

    My worry that is slowly growing is that the main problem with the team is their focus. All the effort they can muster isn't going to help it it's not focused right. There was a time when you could more clearly see the cosmos through a $120 store-bought telescope than you could through the Hubble; that problem was focus as well. The part that worries me is that focus is a job that falls to a team's leadership; the coach and the players wearing letters. I don't think I'm on the fire Babcock and/or shake up the roster significantly bandwagon yet nor do I plan to be this season, but the last few weeks has brought the Wings closer to desparation.

    Man, I can't wait for the Olympic break…

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