As you know, it’s been a pretty slow weekend in terms of updating here at TPL. Petrella’s been hanging out in the Big Easy for work, Disch is lost somewhere in Texas and we haven’t heard from him in days, and I just got back from another trip to California to party with celebrities all in the name of work. Yes, sometimes it’s tough being a TPL’er, but that’s just the way things are.
That said, we have a blog to uphold here and we know you are clamoring for our philosophical musings on everything that is the Detroit Red Wings and their first Western road trip of the season.
First, let’s get the loss candy out of the way so that we can all move on together.
Gents (in honor of all of the Swede-on-Swede action yesterday):
And for the ladies, here’s a Swedish man:
Everyone feeling better? Good.
Because honestly, there is nothing to be upset about after this weekend. Yes, it woulda been hella cool to sweep an entire Western road trip, but c’mon now folks, that’s just getting greedy, especially when the tail end of the trip is against the red hot Vancouver Canucks. Could the Wings have beat them? Sure. Minimizing turnovers and more surehanded play in their own zone could have easily flipped this loss into the win column, but when the legs are tired and the mind is exhausted, those are the first things to go and go they did for the Wings last night. Yet despite ending the trip on a bit of a sour note, their are still plenty of positives to take from this trip, including:
- Justin Abdelkader: Look, I admit that Justin and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye when it comes to his viability as an NHL player, but man if he keeps this shit up, I’m happy to play the part of the fool. Abdelkader was red hot, scoring a pair of goals (including a game winner), pestering the living crap out of folks, dropping the gloves and looking damn good rocking the HNIC towel during the second intermission of the Vancouver tilt. If Abdelkader can keep the pace up, he’ll cement his spot in this lineup for a long time to come, especially because he was the catalyst who jump-started…
- The Third Line: Not to toot my own horn here, but I do recall saying something about the third line just needing more time to get some chemistry together before everyone completely wrote them off. Yes, the removal of Jiri Hudler for Abdelkader may have been the spark that got this line going, but if you focus on Abby-Doo, then you are missing the bigger picture. Both Dan Cleary and Mike Modano had excellent games during the Western swing, which is only a by-product of having Abdelkader out there with them. They bought into it, they started making plays and the team started reaping the rewards. Tip your hat to Abdelkader, sure, but don’t forget that Cleary and Modano bought into this and elevated their games as well.
- Jimmah: Yes, giving up six isn’t usually grounds for praise, but Howard deserves his due after backstopping the Wings to a pair of wins in Alberta before the car finally sputtered to a halt in the third period in BC. Lest we forget, Howard was just returning to the lineup after a week of back spasms, so to see the kid bounce back and deliver 4 points on the first big road trip is something to smile at.
- Riggy Shitbox scored a goal. He also didn’t look all that bad in terms of defensive play, so I guess we can chalk that up as a win(?).
Other plusses? Let’s see: Kronwall netted some goals, which is always a nice thing. The Wings stayed relatively healthy throughout the trip, which is a definite win. And Nick Lidstrom rocked a sweet hoodie on HNIC after the game, while also giving a pretty lengthy interview about himself and the Red Wings even after a loss. Something about watching Nick talk about….well, whatever…just makes you feel good inside, even when the Wings just came out on the wrong side of a decision.
So yea, I’m cool with how things turned out this weekend. The guys look like they banded together well, even in the face of adversity in three tough arenas and they worked hard to earn their four points. Like I said before, I firmly believe it could have been five or six points, but sometimes the tank just hits “E” and there’s nothing you can do about it except coast into the pits and get ready for the next race. Here’s hoping the Wings fuel up quick before the Coyotes hit town tomorrow.
(Ed. note: Production charts will be updated tomorrow to reflect the last three games, and will then be updated on a game-by-game basis. Thanks to those of you who flagged for us over the weekend. Yes, we know we are lazy and we do sincerely apologize.)