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What Has 40 Thumbs and Sucks? Red Wings Lose

Nah... I don't need it.
Nah... I don't need it.

Detroit welcomed the Calgary Flames into the Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night with a five-game losing streak on the line. Fortunately, the Wings have been consistently good at finding novel ways to lose games and chose some fun tactics in a 4-1 loss to the sad-sack one-line Calgary Flames.

Calgary got on the board first in what could be called a tentative first period for both teams as Lee Stempniak threw a puck from a bad angle that snuck through Howard and in. The Flames extended their lead early in the 2nd as Iginla fired a laser one-timer past the goalie on a Flames power play created by another dumb penalty for the Wings. By this point, Detroit remembered their "score only one goal" mantra during their streak and woke up just enough to get a power play marker created by Danny Cleary crashing the net.

The one-goal lead would last 8:39 into the third when the Wings are putting on good pressure until a case of nobody wanting to play the puck ended up behind Howard on a brutal turnover. The Flames put the icing on the cake with a late empty net power play goal that Olli Jokinen scored instead of trying to let Iginla get the hat trick. This is because Olli Jokinen is a terrible person.

Bullets after the jump

  • No confidence, just not getting lucky, gripping their sticks too hard, whatever. Call it what you want but this group of players is not behaving at all like a team right now. Passes go to nowhere and coverages get completely missed. There is absolutely no on-ice communication. Every once in a while, the Wings will get a really great shift with some fantastic cycling and maybe even some scoring chances, but I'm starting to think that those are just happening as a result of random chance.
  • I know it's early and I know they'll pull out of it and play better, but looking at the Wings' payroll and realizing that there's more than $57 million being paid to a bunch of guys who aren't consistently doing their jobs just pisses me off.
  • Let me get this out of the way: I don't think it's a matter of effort. I think Franzen is actually trying to score and Filppula is trying to help and that Jonathan Ericsson wants to be a real boy someday. I think they care about losing and are pretty mad at themselves too. It's then that I go back to that irritating quote by Babcock:

    "I don't meet with the guys after a game. I never do. I shake their hands when we win. So that gives me an opportunity to never say anything stupid or to be emotional."

    Well are you meeting with them tonight, Babs, or are you still more worried about being stupid and emotional than about trying to focus the team's stupid emotions into something that's going to help them? You worried you're going to hurt Franzen's feelings if you say he played like garbage tonight? Are you worried that Bertuzzi is going to think less of you as a coach if you tell him that you'd rather give him the Old Yeller treatment than give him a shift in the third period? They're professionals, Babcock, but they're also people. The Red Wings fanbase is really starting to worry about whether or not you still have their ears in the dressing room and this kinder, gentler you isn't doing a lot to assuage things.
  • The good news is that it's not even close to being the refs' fault that the Wings lost this game. Still, Hannan throws Hudler face first into the boards and gets two minutes for holding? It's fortunate that Hudler was able to return to the game. He was one of the bright spots in a third period that had very few. He, along with Helm, Abdelkader, Lidstrom, and White had an absolutely incredible shift while the Wings were only down by one. In the end, it was a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, but it was a shift in the right direction and gave the next shift something to build off.
  • To the Flames' credit, they played a very solid game. Not to rehash an already-made point, but I just want to say that I think Mike Babcock got outcoached by Brent Sutter. Let that sink in.
  • Player of the game voting below: Good luck.