Stop me if you've heard this about tonight's game: it's a big one. I won't bore you with yet another "rah rah let's win this one" post, but I will say that I have a little more at stake than usual tonight. One of the benefits of my job is that I get to travel and meet people from all over the place. While filming in Vegas last year, I made friends with a guy that's a big time Canucks fan. He likes to keep me updated on Samuelsson's progress and rub Roberto Luongo in my face - and rightfully so. Long story short, if the Wings continue their skid tonight, I'll have to hear about it until AT LEAST November 12th. I'd really like to avoid that. So, pretty please, for me and my Gmail inbox, let's squeak one out...
With that in mind, we'll start with this little ray of sunshine:
The last time the Red Wings were 3-4-2 (or worse) to open a season was 1985, when they began 0-9-1. A nice little silver lining was beating the Pittsburgh Penguins for the first win of the season. The leading scorer from that season was John Ogrodnick, who scored 38 goals and added 32 assists. Steve Yzerman missed much of the year due to injury - but, thankfully, Joe Kocur was there to pick up the slack (9 goals, 6 assists, 377 penalty minutes).
Four players have a positive +/- through nine games: the top defense pairing (Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski) and the two remaining Grind Liners (Kirk Maltby and Kris Draper). Justin Abdelkader and Johan Franzen are Even, and the rest of the roster is in the red.
While we're on the subject of Kirk Maltby, he currently leads the team in +/- (+3), penalty minutes (16), shorthanded goals (1), shooting percentage (50%), and faceoff percentage (100%).
Tomas Holmstrom has scored or had the primary assist on 40% of the team's power play goals.
Defend Chris Osgood all you want, but the fact is he's currently 37th in the league in goals against average. That means that every other team in the league has an average of 1.24 goalies ranked above him.
While we're at it, Osgood is one of only two goaltenders (superstar Jose Theodore is the other) to go 0-for-the-shootout so far this season (only two shots faced).
After nine regular season games, the Wings have 21 man-games lost to injury (roster players only).
Sorry to the 30% of you that voted for either Henrik Zetterberg or Brett Lebda to be the final Red Wing to be penalized this season. We're down to three possibilities: Darren Helm, Patrick Eaves, and the Winging it in Motown poll favorite, Valtteri Filppula.
MIKAEL SAMUELSSON AWARD UPDATE:
1. Jason Williams (12)
T2. Todd Bertuzzi (11)
T2. Brian Rafalski (11)
*Just a reminder: this is the prestigious award given at the year's end to the Red Wing with the most shots to miss the net.*
DEREK MEECH AWARD UPDATE:
*My new award, given to the player with the most games as a healthy scratch*
1. SURPRISE! Derek Meech (6)
2. Patrick Eaves (5)
T3. Brett Lebda (3)
T3. Brad May (3)
GREG STEFAN AWARD UPDATE:
*Another new one, given to the goaltender that makes you question how he's in the NHL and you aren't.*
1. Jimmy Howard. That is all.
CHRIS CHELIOS AWARD UPDATE:
*Given to the defensemen with fewest goals scored in the most games played*
1. Brad Stuart (0 goals, 9 GP)
2. Derek Meech (0 goals, 3 GP)
T3. Niklas Kronwall (1 goal, 9 GP)
T3. Brian Rafalski (1 goal, 9 GP)
T3. Nicklas Lidstrom (1 goal, 9 GP)
6. Brett Lebda (1 goal, 6 GP)
7. Jonathan Ericsson (2 goals, 9 GP)