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Winging it in the Mail Room: Twitter, Miss Sonia, and Popsicles

Inside the Joe Louis Arena mail room (courtesy of Josh Howard)
Inside the Joe Louis Arena mail room (courtesy of Josh Howard)

It's Friday (Hi Casey!) and that means it's time to get down in the mail room on Friday!

If you'd like your question answered, please email it to us at

Question #1 from Kyle:

Do you guys have suggestions for new tweeters on who to follow for updates about the Red Wings, NHL and anything else hockey related?

Jeff: Well, Kyle, we're glad you asked. There are tons of people to follow on Twitter to get regular updates on the Red Wings and other NHL news. The go-to for Red Wings news is easily @RedWingsFeed. It's operated by friends of the blog @mserven and @Lolabythebay. The twitter account updates all day long with Red Wings articles, blog posts, photos, videos, and more. If there is something on the internet about the Wings...that feed will have it.

There are a ton of other great news outlets, writers, bloggers and Red Wings players and prospects on Twitter too. Check out our post from August and Michael Petrella's post over at The Production Line for even more people to follow.

More of your questions after the jump.

Question #2 from Miss Sonia:


My name is Miss Sonia i saw your profile today ([redacted]) and became interested in
you, l will also like to know you the more,and l want you to send an
email to my email address so l can give you my picture for you to know whom l am.
Here is my e mail address ([redacted])
I believe we can move from here!
I am waiting for your mail to my email address above.

Miss Sonia

(Remember the distance or color does not matter but love matters alot in life)

JJ: Well hey there, Miss Sonia! I'm not sure why I have to send you an email so you can send me a picture. Do you need my email address for that? How in the hell did you send me this message without that? My experiences with girls named Sonia is that they're all either Russian spies or Mortal Kombatants. I don't like the odds my boy-bits face in that situation. I'm going to have to respectfully decline your offer.


Question #3 from Joel:

My questions to you are....

Is there a schedule of when you post your blogs?

How much longer do you think we'll have Ken Holland around, and do you believe the conspiracy theories about Stevie Y. just screwing around in Tampa until he can take over the Wings?


JJ: Hi Joel! I trust that name much more than I trust the name "Sonia". Joel has always been a more neighborly-sounding name (you hear that, Graham? "NEIGHBORLY" without a U).

In general, we try to get Quick Hits out first thing in the morning, game previews out later in the morning, Game threads up half an hour before puck drop, recaps within an hour of a game's end, and CSSI up the following morning. If something other than one of those is going up, we usually have discussed it completely before then so we're not stepping on each other's toes with posts.

As far as Ken Holland, everything I'm going off of right now is that he's still enjoying his job. I don't know what one more cup will do to the drive to stay at the top of the game, but I do think that he's in the last five years of working with the organization. Honestly, about Stevie Y, I think the longer Holland stays, the more likely it is Stevie comes home when he retires. Yzerman isn't the kind of guy who's going to jump ship back off the Tampa Bay team before he's completely finished making that a true Yzerman-built team. I'd say he's going to be there at least anther three years, regardless of what happens in the Wings' front office before then.


Question #4 from Karen:

Since I’m assuming that none of you get paid for this gig, how do you squeeze in all that you do on WIIM with your “real” lives? I’m also assuming that you all have full-time paying jobs. For as much work as it seems to put the amount of information and fun stuff out there, do you actually have time to sleep, eat and actually see your families? However you do what you do, keep on doing it because you’re doing a great job.

JJ: Thank you for the compliment! Admittedly, time does become an issue every now and again. Family will always come first for me; I just happen to have an incredibly supportive and wonderful one, especially my beautiful, loving (and patient) wife. We spend a lot of time together, despite my hockey obsession thanks to a good mix of exclusive and inclusive interests. She's more aware of hockey than she wants to be, but me watching games gives her time for the hobbies of hers about which I don't particularly care. When the Wings aren't playing, we get a chance to spend time together dedicated to our mutual interests (building replica models of truckasauruses out of matchsticks). As for work? It's a full-time job and it keeps me very busy, but no man truly dedicates all of his working hours to doing actual work, at least no sane man I know. ;)

Graham: Thanks for the kind words. Personally, I do this because I love the Red Wings and found an outlet for my pent-up aggression, both towards the Wings when they play terribly and to the opposition because they are all doody-heads. Like J.J., I have a very understanding wife who allows me to stay connected to the Wings and watch the games, although I think she just enjoys me leaving her alone every few days. I have two daughters who I am trying to brainwash educate about the Wings, but since there are no Disney Princesses who play hockey, I'm fighting a losing battle. As for work, I do have a full-time job that requires all of my attention, but I've been able to find a nice balance that allows me to be online and get my work done.

Jeff: Like J.J. and Graham said, thank you for the compliment. It takes a lot to carry J.J. and Graham on my back and keep the blog up and running, so it's nice to know the hard work is appreciated. Unlike the old guys, I am not married and I do not have any kids, so I have less distractions and a little more free time on my hands to write. I eat while I write and sleep during the intermissions. I live out in Boston and my family is entirely in Michigan so I don't really have to worry about seeing them outside of major holidays and/or once a year. As far as the job goes, I am fortunate to work in sports television and, right now, the hockey side of production. So I really do eat, drink, and sleep sports all the time. My life revolves around it and writing here at WIIM keeps me connected with other Wings fans and gives me a little piece of home.


Question #5 from a Red Wings blogger in Brazil, Herm

Hey dudes,

The Wings have Darren Helm, arguably the best penalty killer in the league (not playing favorites, people In The Know also say it), yet Detroit's PK sucks like a popsicle on a summer day in Indaiatuba. What's going on here, is He overrated, being dragged down by weaker links, or just being misused on the unit?

Also, what's your favorite popsicle flavor?


Graham: Grape.

JJ: Grape sucks. Orange rules.

Graham: The only kids I knew that likes orange were the ones that had class in the one portable that was bright yellow so that the students could find it. And are we talking just straight popsicles? What about fudgesicles? Or creamsicles? And can we count what the ice cream man sells? We need clarification.

JJ: Creamsicles are fucking nasty. If you like creamsicles, you are a bad person. If we have to get specific, Flintstones push-up posicles. Again, orange, because it's the only exciting flavor that doesn't get tiring by the time you're done with it. Grape gets boring halfway through. Fudgesicles are off the table. It's cheating to make fruit compete with chocolate.

Graham: I don't like creamsicles. I like "rockets" that are red, white, and blue. I realize that as a Canadian this seems a little contradictory, but I would make up for it by hating myself while eating the blue part.

Jeff: Popsicle-wise...I like the Great White Sharks that the ice cream truck sold. None popsicle-wise but still ice cream on a stick...the old WWF ice cream bars are without question the best. Creamsicles suck. Rockets are good. Push-ups are okay. Grape sucks. Orange sucks. J.J. and Graham are wrong. Someone answer the PK stuff.

JJ: Well, OK, first off, I have no idea what an India Tuba is, but it doesn't sound very hot to me, at least not as hot as a Papua New Guinea Horn. No, YOU shut up.

First off, on the PK issue, let's throw all the stats out there so we're working from the correct context. Detroit sits 22nd in the league with a PK effectiveness of 80.2%. Of 21 PP goals against the Wings so far this season, Darren Helm has been on the ice for 2/3rds of those. Helm plays just under 3 minutes of PK time per game, the most among any Red Wings forward by far. He's played 25 more PK minutes than his next closest competitor at the forward position. The Wings average 6:38 of PK time per game (which fits in nicely with the idea that they take four penalties per game and allow goals 20% of the time). It looks a lot like Darren Helm deserves a ton of blame for the PK problems, but that's why we keep CSSI stats.

Looking at the Stats, Darren Helm has been responsible for making either a coverage or a turnover error leading to a PP goal for the opposition three times. He's also drawn two penalties while shorthanded (drawn by CSSI standards, not be bullshit even-up call standards). Compared to the other top-PK-minutes guys on the team (the defensemen) Helm is getting blamed at a slightly higher rate, but he's also ending more PKs than anybody.

Based on the numbers and the eye test, I can't say that he's either overrated or being dragged down by terrible teammates.

What I don't like about the Red Wings' penalty kill so far, and especially in the last few games, is how passive they've become. The secret to scoring on the power play consistently is to truly utilize your man advantage to set up plays where one guy is responsible for covering two people who are both in a very good scoring area. In most plays where this works, it's not exactly the fault of a player, because he's playing within his constraints and the guys outmanning his team are constantly moving and changing angles. Perfection is unattainable there. Teams have been taking advantage of passes high-to-low to create odd-man chances on the defensemen lately.

I think a big reason this happens is because Detroit plays a passive style of PK at the forward position. They are content to try to prevent the point shots in the middle, but only really pressure the puck opportunistically. I feel this gives the opposition time to pick apart the killers' box and take advantage of high-quality scoring chances. Detroit doesn't have the size to play a passive collapsing box like this. The forwards get outmuscled and the defensemen get exposed. I would much rather Detroit start playing an aggressive attack with the purpose of creating more turnover and short-handed break chances. When you have speedsters like Helm and Conner, they up the ante on point-men and are more likely to draw even-up calls from the refs because of their speed.

The downside to this style is that when a team escapes the pressure, they can get some goals that make the PKers look like absolute idiots. Missing your mark on puck-pressure always turns a 5-on-4 into a 4-on-3 (which is more dangerous) and can even regularly turn it into what amounts to a very short 5-on-3 while the aggressive puck-chaser gets back into position. A style like that must rely on an acrobatic goaltender to bail them out of some egregious mistakes from time-to-time. Fortunately, I think Detroit has that goaltender and I'd like to see them try this out.


Another edition of the mail bag is in the books. Thanks to those who sent in questions. Remember, if you've got something to ask, please send it to us at

[once again, big thanks to Photochop Guru Josh Howard for the mail room picture]

Let's Go Red Wings.