The Wings and Sabres meet for the first time this season. The Wings are riding a six-game winning streak into Northern New York, where nothing good happens and everyone’s miserable because there’s probably already 38 inches of snow on the ground. Make sure you check out blog Buffalo Wins’ 5-on-5 with our site.
THEIR LAST GAMES
:: Detroit dropped the hammer on Tampa, 4-2, on Wednesday.
:: Buffalo lost 2-1 to the Islanders — no shit: the Islanders — on Tuesday.
:: The last time these two squads met was February 26th last season. The Wings were 3-2 winners (in a shootout) in a game played by Joey MacDonald. Jiri Hudler and Pavel Datsyuk each scored in regulation and the shootout.
I’M SORRY SMARTIN, LET’S GO CRY ABOUT IT
While the easy money is on Paul Szczechura, I’ve got to go with Marc-Andre Gragnani, who manages to be Bohemian, French, and Italian all in one hyphenated name. Class.
THOSE WERE BAD TIMES — I’D RATHER NOT TALK ABOUT IT
Ty Conklin and Doug Janik played for the Sabres in the past, but — really — who haven’t they played for?
I LEFT YOU TWO SLICES IN THE FRIDGE
There are a lot of connections to the Red Wings skating in Buffalo. Matt Ellis, one-time Griffins captain, is a depth player for the Sabres; Ville Leino, one-time alleged point-producer, is a complete and total bust in Buffalo; and Drew MacIntyre, a goalie who never sniffed the NHL within the Wings organization, is a depth netminder for the other other other team in New York. Drew Miller’s brother Ryan plays for the Sabres when he’s not busy being a whiny little bitch.
Only tangentially related to tonight’s game, but yesterday Mike Grier hung up his skates after he didn’t receive any offers from NHL clubs to continue his career. He was a Buffalo Sabre on two separate occasions, playing 241 of his 1,060 career NHL games in various Sabres uniforms. He was a good player, a decent dude, and the game of hockey will miss him.
Just playing the odds, there was no update from morning skate.
Todd Bertuzzi :: Pavel Datsyuk :: Johan Franzen
Jiri Hudler :: Valtteri Filppula :: Henrik Zetterberg
Dan Cleary :: Darren Helm :: Chris Conner
Tomas Holmstrom :: Justin Abdelkader :: Drew Miller
Nicklas Lidstrom :: Ian White
Jonathan Ericsson :: Niklas Kronwall
Jakub Kindl :: Brad Stuart
Jan Mursak [left ankle]
Patrick Eaves [chops]
The TPL Name Game “Three Stars”
Just like last season, submit your nickname suggestions (follow the theme!), and we’ll use our Facebook page to allow people to vote for the best… the winner gets a free TPL t-shirt!
PETRELLA: Jiri “Shut Up Chompers! At Least I Don’t Need a Booster Seat” Hudler
DISCH: PR Flackin’
STEVIE: Johan “Excuse Me, Can We Get Another Order of Fries?” Franzen
I CAN’T BELIEVE WE’RE BREAKING INTO THE SCHOOL. WHO DOES THAT? NOBODY DOES THAT.
:: Jimmy Howard makes his 17th start in a row, and he’s playing lights out hockey. He leads the league in wins (14), sits atop the list of goals against average leaders among goalies that have played more than 12 games (1.87), and is second in shutouts (3). FUCK A ALL-STAR BALLOT!
:: Pavel’s awake: five goals in six games. Filppula’s with him: four goals in four games. Ericsson’s on fire: one goal in one game. But, to be fair, he also has one goal in 23 games.
:: Six wins in a row and twelve in the last fourteen. With a nice streak under their belts, the Red Wings find themselves in 2nd place in the Western Conference with 31 points. The team above them, the Wild, have 33 points but two more games played.
:: Jettisoned former Red Wing Ville Leino signed for big money in the off-season and has been nothing if not completely and totally underwhelming. He has six points in 24 games (that’s how many Drew Miller has in 21 games) and is being paid 4.5 million dollars (that’s more than Johan Franzen) until 2017.
:: Chris Conner was called up from the Griffins after Wednesday’s game. Fair to assume that no one is impressed with Fabian Brunnstrom and Cory Emmerton may be a bit banged up. I don’t know if he’ll be in the lineup tonight, but I can’t imagine they call up a player just to have him fly on the team plane and practice a couple times.