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It’s Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. I’ve generated a list of my top ten dates in Red Wings history over the past twenty years to be thankful for. The first four are fairly obvious.
June 7, 1997 – The Red Wings Win Their First Stanley Cup in 42 years. A day many Red Wings fans thought would never come. The Red Wings beat the Flyers with a 2-1 win in Detroit and sweep the series 4-0. Darren McCarty scores the game-winning goal with a sweet move, undressing Flyers defenseman Janne Niinimaa. Captain Steve Yzerman raises the Stanley Cup to an adoring Joe Louis crowd. This stopped the talk that Yzerman was not a good leader and captain. Mike Vernon was awarded the Conn Symthe trophy as the playoff MVP.
June 16, 1998 – For the second year in a row, the Red Wings are the Stanley Cup Champs. In game four, the Red Wings won 4-1 and swept the Washington Capitals in Washington. Steve Yzerman won the Conn Symthe trophy. A memory in etched forever in hockey fans memory, as Yzerman hands the Stanley Cup to Vladimir Konstantinov, who is on the ice in a wheelchair. Konstantinov was suffering from serious injuries from a limousine accident the previous summer. The accident ended his playing career.
it seems like philly is pretty desperate for a goalie…. I’m wondering what they’d give for Osgood right now?
Seems like a crazy move and the Wings would probably never do it, but the fact is it’s a transitional year anyway and there’s some outstanding talent in the Wings minor system. Daniel Larsson is chomping at the bit. He was the best goalie in the entire Swedish Elite League a few years back and was an AHL All Star last year… with Jimmy Howard as the other goalie on his team! He’s been as good if not consistently better than Howard his whole time with the Griffins. It just happened that it was Howard’s turn… he could no longer be sent down to the minors. It was time to see what he could do in the NHL. And we’ve seen it. Could Larsson be even better?
What’s more, the kid playing behind Larsson in Grand Rapids is Thomas McCollum a 20 year old first round draft pick who is supposed to end up the best of them all!
And what’s more, is the kid wasting away on the Toledo Walleye in the ECHL, waiting to get called back up to Grand Rapids, is Jordan Pearce… the best goalie in all of college hockey last year. Pearce had a 1.68GA and a .931SV% for Notre Dame.
So with the return of Johan Franzen, barring any other injuries, the Wings are going to have to trim salary to stay under the cap. As was pointed out yesterday in this MLive Article , there are only a few ways out of the financial thicket and it’s starting to seem obvious what Ken Holland is going to do… waive (or trade, but I’m not sure what other GM would want to bale out the Wings) Ville Leino.
Well, I am here to say that I think it would be a mistake. (did I just dare question the greatest GM in professional sports?!). It’s true that his options are very limited. I think it’s clear that Drew Miller and Patrick Eaves are off the table. They have more than earned roster spots on this squad and will both likely be resigned. And if only waiving Brad May were enough, because he is not likely to be picked up and we will not really need him in the playoffs (I realize how controversial this last statement is to the “protect our stars at all costs” crowd. But the thing is, when’s the last time Brad May was on the same line as a star anyway? How do you protect Datsyuk when you aren’t on the ice with him? Staging a fight with the other team’s goon in your 6 minutes of playing time?). Regardless, if he were to clear waivers, we could recall him for the playoffs anyway (or next injury, which we all know is right around the corner). But as most of us are aware by now, waiving Brad May still leaves the Wings around $100k over the cap. Enter Ville Leino…
I was ready for the loss. I was ready to even come up with a phrase that the Chief might find useful for the next few years describing our defeat: “The Bullshit.” It made sense at the time; a team that played really, really hard. That arguably bent the rules as far as a team can in order to win. A team that backed that up with equally solid play. A team that played that strong forecheck and aggressive play that makes us chip and chase, which is so foreign to our system, along with the strong goalie; the formula that beats the wings every damn year that we lose a series.
However it is not so, for our man who bleeds Wings Red came through along with the rest of the team when it counted.
Props to Anaheim. Damn, you played so well I wouldn’t have felt THAT bad that we lost to you. Well played. Handshakes all around. I believe neither side would have had a pimply faced preteen crying in their pillows on YouTube.
Now comes the challenge, Chicago. Wrigley field ain’t got nothing on this.
Sat Oct 25, 2008 6 - 5 SO Win Wings
Sat Dec 6, 2008 4 - 5 SO Win Wings
Tue Dec 30, 2008 0 - 4 Win Wings
Thu Jan 1, 2009 6 - 4 Win Wings
Sat Apr 11, 2009 4 - 2 Loss to the Blackhawks
Sun Apr 12, 2009 0 - 3 Loss to the Blackhawks
This record may look like a winning one. But we eeked out those first two games. Rack the middle to up to hangover. The latter two were downright scary. I watched all those games, but the last two rattled me.
All season I knew, in my gut, or maybe lower, than it would come to this. And let me tell you, if I were a betting man (which I am outside of hockey, insomuch as my heart gets in the way), I’d put money on the Hawks. I hate to say it. But they’re going to work us over harder than Anaheim. Can we do it? I hope so. Can they do it? I hope not. The truth is, we both can. And that scares the sh*t out of me. These scrappy little youngsters care more about winning than we do right now, and we have to wake up and smell the…. well.. whatever the hell Chicago smells like.
OK, so that’s not an option like firing the head coach is. I just wanted to feel like I belonged here, since the previous two blog posts were about firing someone.
However, there definitely is a problem in net for the Red Wings, as yesterday’s miserable performance showed once and for all. And it’s not going away. While the Red Wings have now finally stopped giving up quite so many shots a game, the Goal Against have stayed steady. And that points the finger then squarely at the goalies.
So what is Osgood’s problem? (I’m focusing on Osgood because Conklin, while not stellar, hasn’t been so terrible either).
#1, Osgood is not controlling rebounds.
We’ve seen some goals scored on him lately that involve crazy bounces, including a terrible one yesterday against Colorado. Ozzy is not playing it as safe as he needs to and is still trying to force things, that’s clear. He still needs to simplify his game some more and control those rebounds. He not a Hasek-twitch-reflex goalie and never has been, and it almost looks like that’s what he’s playing like as of late.
#2, Osgood is not 100% square on shots.
I’m not sure why this hasn’t been mentioned more, but he’s not getting good positioning on some of the shots. This is sometimes leading to the rebounds mentioned above, if not the puck just blowing by him outright. Again, simplicity… just get square. Going back to some fundamentals would help him immensely.
#3, Osgood, despite everything he says, is NOT relaxed out there.
Osgood’s best trait is his relaxed demeanor. Last season during the Cup run he never panicked, never looked frantic in net. This year, he looks both, and the rest of the team is feeding off it negatively. If he can get back to basics, the calmness will likely follow. But until then, he’s going to play and look like a wounded duck out there.
So what to do?
I’m not sure. Conklin is not the answer, that much is still clear. He’s a good backup… but not going to take the starting load and not consistent enough himself. Howard and Larsson aren’t ready for Cup runs either. With that in mind, as well as DET’s lack of cap space, I think at this point it’s safe to say that the Wings are going to ride Osgood, for better or worse, and hope that he can straighten himself out.
In the meantime, if you’re a Wings fan reach for the Pepto. You’re going to need it for at least a while yet….
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