Following a tradition started at the Winter Classic on New Year's Day 2009, the NHL schedulemakers again made the mistake of trying to prop the Red Wings up for a loss in what would be a memorable night for the city of Chicago and their hockey team, which was founded sometime around 2004. Once again, the Wings played spoiler and reminded Chicago that they're still Detroit's little brother, no matter what their fancy new piece of cloth says, with a 3-2 win at the United Center.
Setting the standard last night with pure domination over the Ducks, there was no way the Wings would live up to that, but what they gave was a bend-don't-break attitude against a very fired up and better-rested Chicago squad. The Wings got badly outplayed at stretches, but otherwise played a solid road game. Chris Osgood recorded what seems like his first win since 2009 (hey, I like the guy, but gimme a break), outplaying favorite Detroit whipping-goalie Marty Turco. All three of the Red Wings goals came from guys on their 2nd line, with Valtteri Filppula potting two himself.
Follow through the jump for the bullets:
- Like I said, the 2nd line was impressive. Bertuzzi, Franzen, and Filppula played well together and took advantage of Chicago's new lack of depth. Franzen threw the body around a ton and Bert once again played a simple game of skating to the net and being a pain in the ass.
Duncan Keith elbowed Ruslan Salei in the head. In fact, there were three head-hunting plays by the Hawks tonight and, surprisingly, only one of them was by Nick Boynton. Looks like little brother replaced their depth skill with grit. Hell, if I were running that team, I'd have done the same thing. Still, I'd just ONCE like to see supplemental discipline handed out for this kind of crap. The Keith elbow was particularly frustrating because not two beats after that, Rafalski took an extremely chintzy tripping penalty. Congrats to the NHL for eliminating a splinter in their finger while ignoring a 2x4 in their brain. At least all of these concussed athletes won't have to worry about bumped knees from the tripping penalties that get handed out like condoms at freshman orientation week.
- The banner raising ceremony was a ridiculously overlong circle-jerk of epic proportions. When you have cellos playing U2, you've moved off the reservation and into self-parody. I did think the song choice of "with or without you" was a nice ode to half of their Stanley Cup-winning roster though. On a serious note, that ceremony was long enough for Kris Draper to take a nap, wake up, drive to Denny's for dinner, complain about his Moons Over My Hammy, get seven refills of coffee, and drive back home going 10 miles per hour under the speed limit. TWICE!
- Man, The Red Wings sucked out loud in the 2nd period. The stat sheet says Detroit was outshot 8-6. I guess that means they weren't as bad as I thought they were? I don't know.. that sucked though.
- The secret might be out in Chicago right now, but Tomas Kopecky is freakin' horrible at hockey. I swear, if he doesn't have hands like the Venus de Milo, Chicago might win this game 17-3. I am so thankful he followed Marian Hossa's coattails to the Windy City. You know that old saying "you make a better door than a window"? Yeah, well he even sucks at being a door.
- Chris Osgood earned the win tonight. Feels weird saying that, but the Red Wings didn't win despite him, they won because he was solid. Sure, my blood pressure would be better now without the soft goal he gave up, but it's baby steps back to respect for him among some Wings fans.
Jakub Kindl looked a bit jittery, but played a decent game. He played the least minutes of all defenseman. 2nd-to-least was Ruslan Salei, who played 14:57 (about 3 1/2 more minutes than Kindl); the difference is that Salei was positively noticeable and Kindl was thankfully invisible. Kronwall had another strong game, as did Brad Stuart.
- Quenneville did everything he could to run his big guns away from the Circus line. The gambit almost worked, because it made Detroit's third line almost invisible. It did lead to a lot of good scoring opportunities for the CIrcus line, but they were unable to capitalize on many of their chances. I have no idea what kind of fire-sale crap he'll be pulling out of his moustache when the Hawks come to the Joe.
- The power play has to be better. Too many guys standing around waiting for passes. It's hard to get PKers out of the lanes when you don't make the angles change. They'll work it out, but until then I'll keep yelling expletives at my television screen, thank you very much.
That's it for tonight. Glad to see we got to wreck the home opener. Next game is Tuesday against Colorado.