Ten Observations From Last Night's Game
As some of you might know, thanks to Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater (Thanks Peter Fish!), I was able to attend last night's game against Dallas. It was an exciting game to watch in person and Michelle (Slapshotgoal) got to come as well. Whoabot Josh was in the house and Kevin showed up. It was like a proverbial who's who of the hockey blog universe.
I'm sure all of us had a different take on last night's game, but let me give you mine. Getting to watch a game like this live really puts things into perspective because you aren't just watching the puck... but also everyone else. There were specific players I wanted to watch in situations to see how they reacted.
Because of the loss, and some of the reaction that is going to come today, I decided it's a great idea to point out 10 basic things I spotted last night. Some are good and some are not... but the sky isn't falling in Hockeytown.
- Todd Bertuzzi has darn near returned to the Todd Bertuzzi of old. I know he had a goal and an assist (at least they said he had an assist during the game), but Bert did so much more than scoring in this game. He pushed and shoved and got physical even at times where it wasn't totally required to move Stars players around and put them off their game. He easily looked like a top line player. However.... look to #10 for the down side.
- Datsyuk and Zetterberg are good at hockey. No... really.... I don't think you understand how good they are. (I know you really do, but let's giggle like school girls and talk about them anyway.) Both of these guys were EXTREMELY dominant on the ice. They easily handled Dallas's top line and were making things happen. Combine this with what Todd Bertuzzi was doing and SWOON. It was amazing. I'm very greatful for Peter inviting me to see this display of awesome.
- Weiss was on the ice a ton for a guy who is supposedly struggling. Sure, he didn't put up any points. But, he was doing the little things that I think we all complain about Johan Franzen not doing. He sticks with the puck, does the dirty work in corners, and seems to be improving in the faceoff circle. I cannot stress enough how difficult it is for someone like him to come back from a wrist injury. If you remember back to that time when Samuelsson accidentally broke Datsyuk's wrist, that took a really long time for Datsyuk to look like Datsyuk again. Now combine that with being off the ice for long stretches of time because the season was already over when you're healed. It isn't easy, and I think Weiss is doing the little things that he needs to do very well. My only complaint about him is that he still seems to have issues knowing where his linemates are in this new system. He has to think about it... and that split second decision almost always leads to a bad pass or losing the puck.
- Alfredsson may be old, but his AARP membership papers must not have shown up yet at his house in metro Detroit because boy oh boy is he playing like a youngster. I was especially impressed with his positioning. On more than one occasion, I felt he saved us from what could have been an easy goal. I know that isn't translating to a ton of points on nights like last night... but I still appreciate the hard work regardless of the stat sheet.
- Dan Cleary is still great for the money, but Tomas Tatar is better. Tatar, as explained in the post game analysis, drove possession at a nice clip. I hate that the line with Andersson and Abdelkader didn't seem to work out for them. There were some nice things happening.
- Oh Abdelkader.... Of all the penalties that you choose to take, why oh why do you make that one your SECOND OF THE SEASON? It was bad in person, it was bad in replays, and it was bad to Mike Babcock. You ever notice when Abby tries to do too much that he takes a penalty? Yeah... that's what happened. (despite the penalty, I thought he played okay the majority of the game)
- ATOM BOMBQUIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No, I don't think this kid is the second coming of... I dunno who... but he was much more impressive offensively than Smith has been. With that said, rookie mistakes were easy to find in his game. I'm still impressed so far with his poise and skating. He seems to be learning quite a bit.
- For not having a PP in the game, we sure did a decent job of staying with it. I felt that we easily controlled play the majority of this game.... except for the last 3 minutes of each period.
- Samuelsson, I won't be making fun of you anymore. Despite some bad plays, I thought Samuelsson was much better. He was skating harder, seeing the puck much better, and actually shot the puck somewhere besides the 10th row seats behind the net. Unfortunately, I would have liked to have seen you shoot the puck somewhere other than the goalie's glove. We dog Sammy because his contract is terrible and he's been terrible. I'm not going to do that anymore. Watching live, he visibly looked as if he was trying hard to make something happen and gain more ice time. That's the kind of player I want.
- Bert, you're supposed to screen THEIR goalie and not your own. Michelle can confirm, I said "move him out of the way" right as that goal in OT happened. Unfortunately, Bert managed to move him across to the front of the net instead of off to the side. It sucks... majorly... but that was a simple mistake that was the end of many other mistakes the team committed. Where were the dmen? Why wasn't someone preventing the shot? I haven't watched a highlight of this goal again, but it definitely looked to me like the Wings as a whole were laying back far too much when this happened.
Bonus: It is rare that I EVER boo a ref at a game. I booed the refs 3 times in this game. 1. Bert CLEARLY tipped the puck into the Dallas end from almost the blue line ON Dallas's end... and it was somehow and icing? 2. Danny DeKeyser was NOT offsides that anyone around me could tell. And, we were sitting right above the glass in section 123 ON the blue line itself. 3. Dan Cleary killed a guy with a trident... I mean tripped a guy who fell over... I mean.... this is ridiculous.
Bonus of a bonus: We miss Ericsson... a lot. Get well soon Big Rig!
Anyway, I'm sure there are things that I DID indeed miss. But, I thought I'd share because I felt the Wings played a pretty good game. It was entertaining to watch. What isn't entertaining is dreading that last minute of play in each period. If the Wings want to win against the Lightning on Saturday, they're going to need to finish periods off and NOT take a bad penalty. Also, just get the puck out of the freaking zone... stop laying back and waiting for them to come to you. Jeeze. There's something to be said for working hard. Everyone talks about how Franzen doesn't work hard. I think this game was a classic case of guys working hard and coming up with nothing. Franzen was missed, and I hope he gets back soon so we can have some sort of threat on a second line to score. Okay... now I'm just rambling... happy Friday everyone!