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How Bad Was The Winter Classic?

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

Winter? Sure. The NHL’s game of the year was postcard pretty, with the falling snow clashing brilliantly with the bright red and blue sweaters of the Red Wings and the Maple Leafs.

But a classic? Not quite.

Toronto’s 3-2 shootout win over Detroit at the Big House was heavy on the spectacle that draws in the casual viewer — which, of course, is the primary focus of the event — but it was a miserable display of hockey. For most of the contest, this was two middling teams playing to prevent goals rather than score them. Even the Red Wings’ sublimely gifted Pavel Datsyuk was reduced to playing dump-and-chase rather than showcasing his skills in front of the largest crowd in NHL history and a massive TV audience.

Not even a late game-tying goal by Detroit’s Justin Abdelkader — which sent the contest first to overtime, and then to a shootout — could save this from being arguably the worst Winter Classic in history.

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: winter+classic+2014

Comments

OlderThanChelios's avatar

...it was a miserable display of hockey…

That’s not to say that the game was a complete disaster. The shootout has its detractors, but it makes for a dramatic finish…

It’s no surprise that some idiot from Sports Illustrated got the evaluation of this game completely backwards. The game itself was one of the best, if not the best, outdoor games ever. The only “snoozer” part of it was the shootout – but that’s true of all the end-of-game “skills competitions” (inside or outside).

This lunkhead probably missed the true beauty of that game because he spent the entire time looking for the swimsuit competition (something SI actually knows something about). If there’s any “miserable display” associated with this year’s Winter Classic, it’s Muir’s ridiculous article.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/02/14 at 12:18 PM ET

Avatar

Even the Red Wings’ sublimely gifted Pavel Datsyuk was reduced to playing dump-and-chase rather than showcasing his skills in front of the largest crowd in NHL history and a massive TV audience.

Spoken like someone who never played hockey.
What a dope.

Posted by George0211 on 01/02/14 at 12:27 PM ET

SK77's avatar

It’s no surprise that some idiot from Sports Illustrated got the evaluation of this game completely backwards. The game itself was one of the best, if not the best, outdoor games ever. The only “snoozer” part of it was the shootout – but that’s true of all the end-of-game “skills competitions” (inside or outside).

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 01/02/14 at 11:18 AM ET

Perfect analysis.

Posted by SK77 on 01/02/14 at 12:39 PM ET

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It wasn’t a great game and the conditions did reduce the game’s finest magician to almost ordinary.  The intensity and physicality were better than a typical regular season game, the scenery was spectacular, but it was not a shining example of skilled hockey that could win over the masses—if that’s even possible.  It was definitely a spectacle, but it was not a classic hockey game—spectacles aside.

I wouldn’t go so far to say it was a miserable game, due to the intensity level and effort, but it wasn’t that good either.  Grind, grind, grind.  Throw pucks at the net and hope for the best.  I mean, Dan Cleary of all people had several of the game’s best scoring chances.  Think about that, the worst skater for either team had great scoring chances because all he did was stand around the net and wildly swing his stick (occassionally connecting).

It was kind of like last year’s playoffs when any other team played the Bruins—really ugly out there.  That doesn’t, however, mean it wasn’t a lot of fun to watch.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It just wasn’t pretty from a skills showcase sense.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/02/14 at 01:08 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

I wouldn’t say it was the worst Winter Classic ever.  I thought the Flyers/Bruins one was really boring.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 01/02/14 at 01:22 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Grind, grind, grind.  Throw pucks at the net and hope for the best. 

That’s our game now.  The league’s as well as the Wings.  It stinks up the room, too.  This is why I’ve lost interest in the Wings desire to obtain that top two Dman.  I just don’t think it will make that much of a difference, given that Mike wants to dump the puck and go get it, despite the fact that we aren’t really the team to execute that approach.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/02/14 at 01:28 PM ET

Avatar

That’s our game now.  The league’s as well as the Wings.  It stinks up the room, too.  This is why I’ve lost interest in the Wings desire to obtain that top two Dman.  I just don’t think it will make that much of a difference, given that Mike wants to dump the puck and go get it, despite the fact that we aren’t really the team to execute that approach.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/02/14 at 12:28 PM ET

we don’t have the talent to play any other way. It becomes especially evident on the power play when Hank and/or Pav are out. We can’t even enter the zone without dumping and chasing.
And we can’t play a transition game very well either, because most of our D-men are panicy Petes who throw the puck away as soon as they touch it in the defensive zone and can’t make an outlet pass.

Posted by George0211 on 01/02/14 at 01:31 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

D-men are panicy Petes who throw the puck away as soon as they touch it in
the defensive zone and can’t make an outlet pass.

Don’t you think they are coached to do that?  I mean the forwards do it too.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/02/14 at 01:37 PM ET

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Don’t you think they are coached to do that?  I mean the forwards do it too.

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/02/14 at 12:37 PM ET

Maybe, I don’t know, I don’t get to sit in on their meetings and practices. But normally talented players don’t do that. You rarely saw Lidstrom or Rafalski do that, even under Babcock. And even now, Kronner makes that pass under duress same for DeKeyser most of the time.

Posted by George0211 on 01/02/14 at 01:43 PM ET

Nathan's avatar

Much as I hate to, I have to agree with Muir. The spectacle is great and I love the WC as a PR event for the league. As Wings fans, we are lucky to have had our team in two of these games, for sure. The game looks GREAT on TV, especially with a picturesque scene like yesterday’s snow.

But having said all of that, the actually hockey suffered pretty tremendously yesterday as a direct result of the snow.

I still think the WC is a great idea and should be continued. But let’s no kid ourselves… the WC is bait to hook the casual sports fan that’s hanging out on New Year’s Day before the big bowl games start, and the only way those fans stay is if over the long-term, they see good hockey. It’s the same reason the 1995 Devils and the subsequent era of neutral zone trapping, with clutching and grabbing, and dump and chase, took some luster off the game.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 01/02/14 at 02:41 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Much as I hate to, I have to agree with Muir

Except that Muir wasn’t talking about conditions, he was saying the teams sucked.  I’m sure there was an implicit assumption that Crosby or Kane would have been brilliant.  Isn’t Muir based out of Pittsburgh?

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/02/14 at 02:45 PM ET

Avatar

He wasn’t talking about conditions, eh?

The ice ... was compromised by the snow that fell throughout the game, leading to several shoveling breaks that disrupted what little flow the two teams had. When the puck was in play, it was slowed or even obstructed by the snow, making stickhandling difficult and long passes nearly impossible.

So they couldn’t skate, stickhandle, pass or shoot because of the snow, but he wasn’t talking about the conditions. Not even the “sublimely gifted Pavel Datsyuk” could overcome the conditions and display his puck wizardry.  But the writer really wasn’t talking about conditions, he was saying that Crosby’s a better player (gasp!) who would have overcome the conditions, even though there were no conditions to overcome.

Admit it: He offended you by calling the Wings “middling.” So you put your tinfoil hat on and figured it’s all an anti-Wings bias and Pitt lovefest.  BTW, at 45 points in 41 games, these ARE two middling teams.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/02/14 at 03:36 PM ET

MoreShoot's avatar

Admit it: He offended you by calling the Wings “middling.” So you put your tinfoil hat on and figured it’s all an anti-Wings bias and Pitt lovefest.  BTW, at 45 points in 41 games, these ARE two middling teams.

If you’ve read my comments before—even above—you know I have no illusions about the Wings current state.  I even dislike the brand of hockey they play.  I’m offended because it was an excellent hockey game despite the conditions and the poor skill play that resulted.  Have you even liked a big football game less because it’s a snow fest and teams have to slug it out?  Some of those games have been the greatest games of all time.  But Muir’s first observation was that the teams were middling.  He wasn’t watching much, I don’t think. 

 

Posted by MoreShoot on 01/02/14 at 03:51 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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