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Morning Skate: True Grit

As of writing this post (2:36 AM), I've just sat down at my computer after a trip to the local theater for the midnight showing of True Grit. The movie was great and if you're on the fence with this one, go see it. But as I sit down to write another game preview, I think to myself "where's the true grit on this team?" or, more specifically, who is our Marshall Cogburn?

In years past we've had that guy. Bob Probert. Darren McCarty. Joe Kocur. Hell, Kirk Maltby even. Those guys were the law and order on the ice for the Wings but who takes that responsibility now? The obvious choice, based on past events, for player most likely to go bat-shit crazy is of course Todd Bertuzzi. I think that's behind him though and it's a last resort only type thing for him.

I couldn't really come up with one player on the team so it came down to Justin Abdelkader and Brad Stuart. Both players will hit the hell out of you and can get that little mean streak when necessary and drop the gloves. They're tonesetters some nights with their hitting and they seem to do their talking without their fists. I've never been a fan of the $6.6 million contract roster spot for a goon type of concept so I suppose simply what I'm asking is whether or not these two guys are the Detroit enforcers?

What does all this have to do with tonight's game? Not a damn thing really, just something I've wondered a bit lately. I don't think physicality has been a problem at all for the Wings this year as everyone seems to be hitting (points to who can guess the top three in hitting on the team), simply a random thought going through my head after that movie.

Anywho...Nucks Misconduct for Canucks info.

Form and notes after the jump.

  • Jimmy Howard is starting in net tonight. Last time Howard faced the Canucks, he was shelled for six goals. Part of me fears this happening again as the Canucks have a highly skilled offense and Howard has given up 4 or more goals 8 times this year (10 times all season last year). The other part of me thinks he will come out and absolutely kick some ass and get this ship back on course. What say you?
  • The Sedin twins are racking up the points this season; Daniel with 38 (16-22) and Henrik with 37 (6-31). Ryan Kesler has 16 goals (tied-2nd on the team) but other than that, the goal scoring is pretty well distributed. Which Canuck is the most frightening offensively?
  • Sidenote: why in hell do the Sedin twins have IMDb pages? Daniel Sedin. Henrik Sedin.
  • Sound the alarm, Mikael Samuelsson does NOT lead the Canucks in missed shots--that belongs to Christian Ehrhoff.
  • Vancouver has a high success rate on both the PP and PK as they are top five in both. As usual in every hockey game ever played, the Wings need to stay out of the box. Giving the Sedins even more room to work is like using a flamethrower to light a candle.
  • Vancouver is 8-1-1 in their last 10 while the Red Wings have slipped to 4-4-2. The Canucks have knocked off some middle of the road competition in that time though so it may be a sign of a favorable schedule instead of their dominance.
  • Which aspect of the Dallas game carries over into this game: "we almost won" or "we blew that game"?
  • Score prediction: 4-2 Vancouver. I don't like it either.
  • Player of the game prediction: Justin Abdelkader. Why the hell not after my rant above?
  • Around the league: After me questioning Bruce Boudreau's grip on the team, the Caps have now won two straight, including a 5-1 win over the Devils last night. Dallas topped Montrealy 5-2 to take over the lead in the Western Conference while the Kings blanked the Avs 5-0.
  • Other games on the schedule: Nashville at Chicago should be interesting tonight as Chicago is one point behind Nashville for second in the Central Division.