Final (Hi Mr. P!)
Red Wings 4, Coyotes 2
I just got back from New York City yesterday. When NYC presents itself as larger than life and having something to do whenever you want to do it, it’s not lying. Up for meetings, around the block for lunch, back for more meetings, off to a bar for drinks, out to a fancy dinner, hurrying back to the hotel, answering e-mails, hailing a cab, beers and shots at a dive bar in SoHo, a crazy spicy gyro, another cab back to the hotel, face washed and in bed at 4 AM. A grind? Absolutely. But when that wake up call comes at 8 AM, the thought of getting up and doing work hurts almost as much as the hangover headache that greets you at the shower door. You struggle to operate the knobs, drop the shampoo, accidentally wash yourself with the conditioner, forget to wash your face and stumble through the fancy glass door with soap still covering you from head to toe. It’s awkward and it’s tough, but you get through it and get to your next meeting, where someone has a steaming hot cup of coffee to wash down the four Advil in your pocket. The day has officially started, you’re a complete mess, but you’re surviving. Slowly, the caffeine and Advil start doing their job and you feel yourself locking in to the task at hand. An hour later, the fog has cleared and despite being tired, you’re clicking on all cylinders.
Of course, expending all of that effort eventually takes it’s toll on you. After checking your bags at JFK and finally boarding the plane, you’re wiped out and finally succumb to a sleep that has no benefit to your health whatsoever. It’s fitful and uneasy and you wake up feeling just as tired as when you closed your eyes 2,500 miles away. After dragging yourself to the baggage claim and securing your luggage, you stumble through the parking garage aimlessly clicking your key fob until finally – mercifully – you find your car. A sketchy 30 minute car ride later, you’re home and undressed and climbing into bed. Sleep comes quickly but it’s effects are limited and the next day at work is still sluggish and unproductive. You regret that last car bomb you took 48 hours prior and swear up and down that you will head to bed early and get the rest that you need. The next day is one of the most productive in recent memory and you walk out the door feeling productive and appreciated, ready to keep it going when the alarm clock rings the following morning.
The Red Wings need to stop getting drunk.
Not literally, of course. But watching this team stumble through the first period tonight was like watching myself try and give a device demonstration through the cloudy haze of Jameson and cheap beer. Despite all of the talk of being ready for the playoffs and ramping up the intensity, the Wings slogged through the first period like it was a Wednesday night outing with the boys after a hard day of work. No need to hold back on the boozing because your smartphone tells you that your 9 AM meeting just got cancelled and you have nothing but eight hours of staring at a computer screen in front of you the next day. Too often the Wings look just like that guy at the bar with his tie wrapped around his forehead, while you wonder how he’s going to function in the morning. You know it’s going to be a mess, and the Wings were that mess in the first period tonight. You could hear the groans all the way in Seattle when the ‘Yotes tallied first, and the worry about the proverbial hangover was in full effect after the first period.
Somewhere during the intermission, however, the Wings found their coffee and Advil and got themselves in a position to start executing. After feeling their way through the first few minutes of the second frame, Datsyuk was the hair of the dog before Franzen cleared the fog. Rafalski was the lunch that you are finally hungry for and Hudler was the 3 mile run that sweats out the last of the booze. Peak performance? Absolutely not. Effective enough to feel useful? Sure.
But this is where we enter the dangerous territory. The Wings will rest and get back to work this weekend, but who knows how much tonight’s effort will impact Saturday’s play. One can only hope that the Wings will practice tomorrow and shake off the lingering effects of having to work extra hard to be successful tonight. Hopefully they’ll get the rest they need to be productive and effective for an entire 60 minutes this weekend. There’s no more easy days on this calendar for the Red Wings. Every day has a meeting that demands full mental awareness and flawless execution, and the Wings need to spend every single moment up to that point in intense mental and physical preparation. They can’t afford to have a beer with the boys and let their guard down. It’s time to earn every inch and make the extra effort to get the job done.
There’s plenty of booze waiting at the finish line to celebrate a job well done. It’s time to get sober for a few weeks.
Bullets of Actual Commentary
- Give it up for Todd Bertuzzi. Sure, Rotislav Klesla is a dumbass for running Bert and then dropping the gloves, allowing the tide to be turned, but Bert deserves full marks for stepping up and making a statement to his teammates. It was one of those “Made for the Playoffs” moments, and Bert turned the tide at a critical time.
- Time to put a big fat line through one of Disch’s predictions as Johan Franzen returned to the world of productivity with a big goal tonight. I’m not sold that Franzen is fully back to relevancy quite yet, but another tally on Saturday may put me over the edge.
- For all the criticism he received this week leading up to the game, Jimmy Howard stepped up and got the job done. He had a number of big saves to keep the listless Wings in the game during the first, which leads me to believe that someone should pay the MSM to question his ability before each and every game.
- Pavel Datsyuk was Pavel Datsyuk. What more needs to be said?
- Jiri Hudler’s GWG was a thing of beauty and one can only hope that he finds a way to keep the productivity up as the playoffs move forward. Second and third line scoring will be the difference in an early exit and a sustained run, so cross your fingers and hope the hookers don’t take too much energy out of lil’ Jiri.
- Babcock said after the game that Bertuzzi’s tilt was the first postseason fight he remembers in his six years of coaching the Wings. Total embellishment on Babcock’s part, as I can clearly remember Abdelkader dropping the gloves last year. That said, tell me your first thought after Babcock’s comment wasn’t Francois Beauchemin’s fist caving in Tomas Kopecky’s face two years ago.
It’s been quite some time since we’ve all sat down and recorded an episode of TP:60, but that’s about to change. The work schedules have cleared and the technology is working again, so Petrella, Disch and myself will be sitting down for a chat with Sean Gentille this week. Expect the episode to go live on Saturday morning, just in time to get you ready for Game 2. We can’t make any promises, but we’ll do our best to make sure we don’t have another drought of this magnitude on the TP:60 airwaves.