"That game (game 7) is Thursday night in San Jose, and please tell me where the party is because the Wings will win that game."
"It was a nail-biter Tuesday, but punch anyone in the face who told you San Jose is the better team."
"Now the Sharks are feeling the heat. Their captain Joe Thornton should retire and live in a hut in the middle of the Pacific if he lets another slip away."
"Helm did a little math in his head when told the line's [Grind Line] heyday began in '97, figured out he was "10 or 12" years old back then and so "I must have been in Grade 1 or 2," either an indictment of the Canadian educational system, or possibly Helm."
This is some funny stuff right here.
"Heavy legs, mind too slow," Datsyuk said, adding there were times in his first game back that "I'd like to start fight with myself."
Pavel Datsyuk talking about his first game back after recovering from a broken hand.
How great is it to open up the NHL page on Sports Illustrated.com and see Nick Lidstrom on the front page? Also nice is the "vault" article linked on the bottom. It also pays tribute to Lidstom, as the perfect blueliner.
Not so fast for those who were prepared to anoint the Columbus Blue Jackets this year's dark horse contender a la last year's Phoenix Coyotes. The Blue Jackets have been impressive, no doubt, but the Detroit Red Wings served notice that the old dogs can still hunt by sweeping a home-and-home affair from Columbus on the weekend.
It was an interesting clash given some of the parallels between the two teams.
Two years ago, Columbus netminder Steve Mason jumped from junior hockey to NHL stardom, winning the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year and adding a Vezina Trophy nomination to his youthful resume. Last season, Mason imploded and the Blue Jackets faded back into obscurity.
Last season, Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard emerged from a four-year apprenticeship in the AHL and shocked many by leading the injury-plagued Red Wings from deep in the standings into the playoffs for the 19th straight season. Howard was nominated for the Calder Trophy and received our top vote, although he was bested by Buffalo defenseman Tyler Myers (how's that sophomore season going by the way Tyler?).
Unlike Mason, though, Howard has continued to provide both consistency and quality between the Detroit pipes in his sophomore campaign.
Although peers Carey Price, Michal Neuvirth, Tim Thomas and Sergei Bobrovsky have received most of the goaltending attention through the first quarter of the season, Howard has quietly compiled a sparkling 13-2-2 record and the Wings are considered by most to be the best team in the Western Conference at the quarter pole and among the top two or three teams in the league.
"He's earned the right to feel confident about himself," head coach Mike Babcock said recently.
Now, there is a fine line between confident and cocky, something Mason learned the hard way last year.
Howard, perhaps because he is older at 26, is quick to deflect praise for his play and just as quick to accept responsibility when he doesn't play well.
Babcock said that when he meets with the media after a game, "if he [Howard] hasn't played well he's already told the press he wasn't very good."
"He's accountable," the coach said.
For his part, Howard said it's easy not to become complacent in a dressing room with guys like Nicklas Lidstrom, having a Hart Trophy kind of season at age 40, and hard-working stars like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg.
But here's the dilemma for the Wings: with Chris Osgood trying to rehab a lingering groin issue and not having played well when he was healthy, there are issues about the team's goaltending depth.
"He can't play every night," Babcock said of Howard.
With the Wings hard against the salary cap, it's going to present a dilemma for GM Ken Holland moving forward. That's to say nothing of the fact that Howard can become an unrestricted free agent at season's end. Stay tuned.
Kris Draper sends some hard-hitting anaysis to his buddy Kirk Maltby during his first week of his new job:
Kirk Maltby was in the press box last week beginning his new scouting career.
"I saw him on television," Draper said. "I sent him a text message saying, 'Pavel Datsyuk is a pretty good player.'
"I was pleased with my groin," - Dan Cleary following Sunday's loss to Philadelphia.
Hi Folks. I'm a regular over at Japers Rink and a couple of other SBNation blogs. I''m coming to Detroit for the Frozen Four next month and figured I'd drop by and ask for suggestions for what to do while I'm in town.
Also, I'm thinking about going to the Wings game against CBus as I get into town on Wednesday afternoon. Is it easy to get tickets at the arena? I figure CBus isn't a big draw.