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Morning Skate: Pinky and the Brain

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Thought I'd go for a theme based preview for tomorrow. I'm sure you all remember this beautiful bit of back and forth between The Chief and the nicknamed Pinky over at Hockey Wilderness. Why not re-live some of that magic today with this theme. Wild/Pinky points of view in bolded italics, Red Wings/Brain regular boldface.

  • What are we going to tomorrow night, Brain?  The Wings and Wild both play the same team in their next game. Minnesota faces Buffalo on Friday while the Wings get a day off before facing them on Saturday. Insert Buffalo, Wild, Wings joke here.
  • Same thing we do every night, Pinky... The Wings will start Jimmy Howard in net again tonight. Howard will start his 14th consecutive game in net. Howard's GAA have gone up recently but some of it could be attributed to the quality of competition increasing. Wings need him to be solid in net since the Wild don't give up all too many goals to the opposition.
  • Try to take over the world and by world I mean take over the spot for 8th in the West and possibly more down the road. The Wings had been churning things along and getting the proverbial engines running before running into a Calgary team that knocked them off track. A win tonight could help push them back in that direction.
  • NARF!   Minnesota's second in the League in face-off percentage. That's not good news for a Wings team that has struggled at times to find success in the circle. Minny also only gives up 28.4 shots per game, tied for 4th in the League; luckily, they only register 28.7 per (26th).
  • Egad! you astound me, Brain! Guillame Latendresse leads the Wild in goals with 21. He's only been there for 40 of the 65 games played. That's a trade that worked out in their favor for sure.
  • That's a simple task, Pinky.  Pavel Datsyuk's making everything look like a simple task the past couple of games. Datsyuk has racked up 3 goals in the last 3 games and has points in 13 of the last 15 games. In those 15 games, Datsyuk has 19 points--9 by way of goal and 10 by way of assist.
  • You know Brain I've been thinking I don't want to be an elf anymore.   Okay, they have Christmas colors so I had to put that one in. Although, their third jerseys are sweet.
  • What do you want to be, Pinky? That's the question on the minds of a lot of Red Wings in terms of Todd Bertuzzi's drop in performance. Sure he got 2 assists the other night but the Wings are needing him to produce a tad more, especially in the goal department. Bert hasn't scored since January 26 which is a big gap considering he looked at one point like he might explode for a 25-30 goal season.
  • A dentist!  Cal Clutterbuck (take your time Murph, you've messed it up at least once this season) has probably sent a few players to the dentist. Clutterbuck is second in the League in hits with 256; that's a lot of jaws and teeth rattled.
  • Has it ever occurred to you, Pinklet, that your scarf is constricting the bloodflow to your head?   Maybe constricted bloodflow is leading to the third period collapses for the Wings. It's as good as any other explanation out there. The roster is simply too talented to give up goals in the clutch but it keeps on happening.
  • Yes! And it keeps my neck all cozy-warm.  Warm like this Western Conference playoff race. A total of 10 points separates 7th place from 13th place. Minnesota sits 6 points back of Detroit right now for 9th in the West while Detroit is looking to move back in playoff position. A Stars loss keeps Detroit 4 points ahead of them.
  • I feel the need. The need for expeditious velocity.  Darren Helm's got plenty of expeditious velocity and he might be able to use that tonight against Minnesota. Helm's started to really become a factor for the Wings in ways other than just penalty killing and speed. He's creating some great chances for himself and for linemates Patrick Eaves and Kris Draper.
  • My goodness, someone's at the door. Who could it be? It's Valtteri Filppula joining Henrik Zetterberg and Dan Cleary on the second line. Babcock's put Filppula on the second line in an effort to spark the offense and get the second line going. I like getting Fil more ice time but the only problem I have with it is this: you do so at the expense of puck possession on your third line. Filppula is second on the team in face-off percentage among guys normally taking draws and putting him on the second line on Zetterberg's wing forces Drew Miller to likely center some tomorrow. We'll see how it plays out though.