$624.21 earned tonight.
$1951.81 earned to-date.
FINAL SCORE (Hi Dad!)
6 – 1 Red Wings.
:: We’ve all been hoping for a quick start — something that the Red Wings haven’t had in a long, long time. So long, in fact, that there have been pledges made for first period goals scored. Looks like it worked, Hockeytown. The Wings started on time and had one of the best opening frames in recent memory. Todd Bertuzzi scored a minute into the frame (proving that, yes even for pros, the Shirtuzzi works), followed a few shifts later by a Dan Cleary snapper.
:: Mike Babcock hasn’t been pleased with the effort in the last few games, and he skated the boys pretty hard in practice (as hard as you can with this beast of a schedule), and it appears as though the message was received. Jimmy Howard played well, making saves he hasn’t been making in the last few games; guys were getting into the right spots quickly; Patrick Eaves beat out an icing, which is precisely the kind of thing that hasn’t been happening for the Wings, but happening quite often against them.
:: One thing about the first period I didn’t like: with 5.6 seconds left, and the score 2-1, there was a whistle and the puck floated deep in the Wings zone. I didn’t see who it was, but a Bruin tapped it into the net that Howard kind of stopped paying attention to. That shit doesn’t fly at any level of hockey, but it didn’t seem to affect the Red Wings — who are clearly bigger men than I am.
:: That Scuttles goal to start the second period was NASTY. Unbelievable back-hand pass through traffic to a (very deep) wide open Hudler, who Hull-dropped to a knee and roofed that sumbitch. When I was in Nashville at morning skate, Sergei Kostitsyn practice that shot over and over and over again with a coach tossing him pucks as he stood just off the goal line. He hit the net pretty often, and then burned the Wings with it on Saturday night. I wonder if Hudler’s been practicing from that spot. Because that’d be swell.
:: I think Darren Helm listened to The Pipeline with Landon Ferraro this morning, because that breakaway further proved that it’s going to be tough for Parm Jr. to catch him. Even in year three. Darren Helm’s a special kid.
:: The backhand goal that Z pulled off the back doorstep was pretty fancy, too. For whatever reason, things were clicking and the Wings took advantage of an off-night for a L’Eastern Conference team that’s supposed to be good. Problems were compounded for the Northeast leading team, as Todd Bertuzzi (you heard me) got his second of the game off of a Z’burger Special — firing one off Tuukka Rask’s tuchus. I thought for sure that Rask would get the yank after that one, having allowed two different goal flurries, but Claude Julien did the classy thing and waited until the intermission to make the swap so that Tuukka didn’t have to endure anymore Bronx Cheers.
:: On the Homer goal, I’m not sure enough credit will be given to Jiri Hudler (or that enough blame will be given to Patrice Bergeron — who I love as a player). With Scuttles waiting patiently behind the net, Bergeron decided to play the odds, backed off of Holmstrom by about two feet and cheated toward the circle. Hudler saw it, and snapped a fierce pass onto the blade of #96, and he won’t miss from there. That’s reading the play, and it was beautiful.
:: Boston has been getting chippy lately — a lot of fighting and brawling, to the point where Mike Babcock was asked how his team would react if the Bruins wanted to throw hands. His classic Babcock answer was “who are they going to brawl on this team?” and added that the Wings’ punches would be delivered on the ensuing power plays (which is the hockey equivalent of a cocky high schooler thinking everyone hates them because they’re jealous). Just because the mitts don’t hit the ice doesn’t mean this team is soft — I believe they’re one of the toughest in the league because of how difficult it is to separate them from the puck, etc. That wasn’t enough for Brad Marchand, who dropped his gloves and grabbed Patrick Eaves, who looked as confused as the rest of us as to what the hell the young buck was doing. Way to go, clown.
:: Speaking of clowns and toughness, I don’t want people to actually stop with their “MOAR GRIT! TUFFNESS!!11!!” stuff because then I’ll have a harder time recognizing the Neanderthal rejects from the folks who know things about hockey.
:: Long story short, with wins over the Rags and Bears, the Wings are showing up for the Original 6 teams, which bodes well for Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, there are 24 other teams in the league and Detroit needs to play like this against those teams, too.
Photo Credit: Charles Krupa, AP