WHAT’S ALL THIS THEN?
The Red Wings and Penguins face off for the first of two regular season meetings on the schedule this year. The first one is in Pittsburgh, Wings Wings Tuesday at 7pm.
WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA?
Having faced off 18 times in the last three seasons, it’s fair to call this one a rivalry. Cross-conference rivalries are rare (thanks NHL!), but no one on either team, in either organization, or within either fanbase pretends to like the other (Except we love @seangentille). This game won’t have all the star-power it should, and that’s sad. The Pens are without Sidney Crosby and Mike “Two Duffs” Comrie; while the Wings are without Jimmy Howard, Pavel Datsyuk, Dan Cleary, Brad Stuart, Mike Modano, and Tomas Holmstrom.
NOW WHERE WERE WE?
The last match-up of these two squads came on March 22nd — just before H2H. It was a 3-1 win for the good guys, with goals from Zetterberg (who had two) and Filppula. Just like last year, we were without Cleary. We were also without Patrick Eaves — who was nursing a head injury following a check from Aaron Johnson in the Edmonton game a few days prior. Not only will Eaves be playing tonight, he’s on the top line.
OH, HI AGAIN
No former Red Wings in Pittsburgh. Chris Conner and Brent Johnson are from Michigan, however.
Both Jamie Johnson and Chris Minard of the Griffins came to us from the Penguins. Only Minard got into any NHL games with the organization, however.
BEST NAME NOMINEE
It’s too bad he’s such a cock, because Brooks Orpik has a pretty sweet name. It has to compete with Zbynek Michalek for the honors in this category, though.
THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit defeated the Blue Jackets, 6-5 in overtime, on Saturday night.
:: Pittsburgh beat the Bruins, 3-2, on Saturday.
By special request, the TPL Glossary is ready to jailsex your eyes.
Mulo — Zetterberg — Eaves
Scuttles — Filppula — Thunderchief
Draper — Helm — Miller
Tatar — Abdelkader — Mursak
Lidstrom — Kronwall
Rafalski — Ericsson
Cirque — Kindl
Mike “Cool. I Mean, For Regular People” EModano [wrist]
Dan “I Don’t Eat Carbs” Cleary [ankle]
Pavel “You Use Scented Soap, Huh?” Datsyuk [hand]
Brad “I May Be an Outfit Repeater” Stuart [jaw]
Chris “Yes Your Blue Robe Looks Cooler Than All the Other Girls'” Osgood [groin]
Tomas “I’m Like…Physical Incapable of Sneaking” Holmstrom [hand]
Jimmy “We Serve At-a Five, The Cookies” Howard [knee]
Todd “Wow. Evil and Smart” Bertuzzi
Jiri “What is He, 5-1… 5-2 Max?” Hudler
Jonathan “Make Up for My Lack of a Slow Curve” Ericsson
Brett “Scuze Me. Gotta Clean Up Some Vomit” Lebda
Bobby “I Shall Win the Academy Award” Ryan
Aaron “You Want a Little Mano a Mano” Downey
*If there are any that you think I missed, throw them in the comments — the best one will be shared for all to enjoy on the TPL Facebook Page*
THE FIVE HOLE
1. Disappointing Matchup: The Penguins are missing some key pieces, but no one is hurting like the Red Wings are hurting. Frankly, the Wings are lucky that Crosby isn’t in the lineup, but I was hoping both teams would be at full-strength so that this came could be like all of the others: two of the best teams in recent hockey who want nothing but to win 82 times and then another 16.
2. Joey Jo Jo Shabadoo Jr.: Jimmy Howard was leading the NHL when he took a puck of the patella, and though his play has been up and down, losing him for a few games is a serious blow particularly with Chris Osgood already shelved until March. In comes Joey MacDonald — career journeyman minor leaguer, for the most part — and he absolutely stands on his head in relief, and his lone start. The Blue Jackets are no Penguins, but if he can carry that confidence into tonight’s game… I like our chances.
3. Balanced Scoring Still Balanced: Despite missing no less than 44% of the team’s top nine forwards, the Wings are still getting scoring from up and down the lineup. On Saturday, the leading goal scorer (Franzen) got one, the so-called secondary scoring threat (Filppula) got one, a true flex player (Miller) got one, a fourth line grinding legend (Draper) got one, a leading defensive threat (Rafalski) got one…and so did a Shitbox.
4. Tots and Sak: I like these kids. I hate that our boys keep getting hurt, but if we’ve got to have two kids from the farm — who better than these two? I’m very impressed with their composure, and — call me an asshole — but I think they’re better than Leino / Helm were when they were doing the Kansas City Shuffle.
5. Just Sayin’: Last year’s big money pledge game was the Penguins game. Sadly, the Wings won’t play the Pens during the twelve-game pledge period, but if you’re so inclined… drop a comment or two with some game-specific pledges and I’ll make sure it makes it onto the spreadsheet for the kids.
WHAT WE LEARNED AGAINST THE BLUE JACKETS
Joseph McGillicutty MacDonald.