Hey, it's Graham. Remember me? I was the kid wearing that had the bowl cut and the buck teeth and cried uncontrollably because I didn't want to sit on your lap. What do you mean you don't remember? It was 4 years ago!
Anyway, I thought I'd write you this letter on short notice because I've been a good boy this year and I'd like something for Christmas. Actually, I'd like to request a few things for some friends of mine. You see, they're too shy to ask themselves, so I thought I'd do it.
First, can you give Johan Franzen a new scoring touch? He seems to have misplaced his old one, and he really needs it. Yes, I know that sometimes he can't let go of it while other times he wants nothing to do with it, but he seemed to have found a good thing with the one he had this year and now, well, I think he lost it and just doesn't want to tell anyone. Oh, if you've got a spare one lying around, can Valtteri Filppula get one, too?
Jimmy Howard told me that he could really use a set of brass knuckles, but since he knows that's not something that elves typically make, a quality back-up goaltender would be his second choice. I will admit it was hard to understand him; he fell asleep 3 times during our conversation. He must be really tired.
Niklas Kronwall clearly needs a new pair of skates, because the ones he has now seem to be too light; he's constantly jumping up in the play and when he's hitting people, his skates aren't keeping him on the ground like they normally should. Ian White says he likes his pads, but I think he could use a full suit of armour, because I'm pretty sure that otherwise he'll be dead by the end of the year.
Let's see, who else. Henrik Zetterberg could use a 2008 calendar; yes, I know it's old, but I'm trying to make him remember something. Pavel Datsyuk needs a thesaurus so that he can come up with new words for "dangle". What's that? Nicklas Lidstrom? No, he doesn't need anything.
As for me, there's only one thing I want: a Red Wing team that can win on the road. That's it. Pretty simple request if you ask me. I know you're capable of doing this because I've gotten one for Christmas before. So make it happen.
Oh, you want me to break down the game? Fine. TO THE BULLETS:
- Ryan Kesler, take note: it is indeed possible to take a big hit from Niklas Kronwall and not only not look like a giant dickbag after the fact, but actually contribute to your team scoring a goal.
- I love the fact that Drew Miller got some time on the second line with Z and Flip, but I don't see what demoting Hudler to the 3s did for anyone. If you've got a line like the third that was clicking, why break it up? I guess since no lines did anything, it's not like it mattered.
- Nice to see you, special teams. Another 1-3 performance on the kill (although they shouldn't have had to kill one in the second except for the fact that Tomas Holmstrom went dumb dumb on us all), and another limpdick performance on the power play.
- Jiri Hudler scored the Wings' first goal with an assist from Jonathan Ericsson after THAT effort through the first 2 periods. I'm calling this the greatest trolling by anyone in the history of the universe.
- You know what? Ty Conklin deserved better tonight. He was hung out to dry, and while I thought he should have had the 3rd goal, the team in front of him stunk for 2 periods and gave him absolutely no help. How bad was it? The Wings had 16 shots through 2 periods; they had 15 in the third.
- The effort put forth by the entire team through the first 2 periods was probably the worst we've seen this year save for the first meeting with the Blues, and they made life so easy for the Flames that if the Flames were an actual good team, they would have been up about 7-0 by the end of the second. So instead of sucking for the rest of the game so we can all be mad and rail about their performance, they give us the ultimate cock-tease by playing like they're capable of in the third, leading to 487 instances of someone saying "where was this team through the first 2 periods?" before succumbing to their invevitable and deserved fate of a loss. And you know what? That makes me even madder, because they robbed me of my right to be mad by thinking that their great finish would make up for their shitty start. It's like we had a fight and had the make up sex before the fight was actually over. That won't fly. Not at Christmas time.
Well, a 1-2 road trip through Western Canada seems like things are back to normal in that department, but thankfully we'll have Christmas to distract us from this performance. The Wings will be back in action on Boxing Day (that's December 26th to you Americans) when they take on the Predators in Nashville. That will be followed up with 3 games in 5 nights, 2 against the Blues sandwiched around the Wings' first meeting with the Blackhawks before we kiss 2011 goodbye. It's going to be a very hate-filled finish to the year.