In case you missed it, Jeff broke down the Wings' schedule when it came out on Friday. My top five interesting dates in no particular order and with not as much thought put into it as I maybe could have.
- January 1st: The Winter Classic is coming and this time they shouldn't cancel it. I'm going to have to pony up and pay for an HBO subscription just to watch 24/7. There's so much interest building up to this one that it can't be left off the list, even if it is a meaningless regular season game (which I'm saying in July so I don't look like a bitter asshole saying it on January 2nd of the Red Wings lose this game).
- April 13th: I haven't studied the rest of the league's schedule, but this seems like an unusually clever move by the NHL Drama-creators. In the first season after realignment, when old rivalries are still relatively fresh in our heads and new rivalries are heating up, the Wings finish the season with a tilt against the St. Louis Blues. If things work out the way the league is hoping, this game will have playoff seeding implications for both teams and we'll all get a great pre-playoff reminder what bitter, jealous jerkoffs Blues fans are (those that haven't already switched over to early-season Cardinals mode, at least).
- December 1st: This will be Detroit's third game against Ottawa of the season, but it will be the first played in Ottawa. I'm looking forward to seeing how Senators fans welcome back Daniel Alfredsson. I hope that he's doing exceptionally well by that point and also that he scores in both of the previous two games in Detroit when the Senators come to town.
- Whenever they retire Lidstrom's number: They haven't picked a date yet. I'm guessing it will be somewhat early in the season because it had to wait a full year longer than it should have in the first place, but there's good arguments all around. This could coincide with the Winter Classic and I wouldn't have a problem with it. Since I like watching other fanbases suffer, it could be October 12th when the Flyers come to town. We can relive how Lidstrom helped the Wings win their first cup of the modern era by sweeping Philly.
- November 9th: This one is dumb, but it's going to be Valtteri Filppula's first game back in Detroit with the Lightning (provided he's not hurt again by then). It's not close to the Alfredsson situation, but the potential is great for me to feel embarrassed for people who choose to exercise their fandom-given right to boo the guy. I won't outright tell people not to boo, but I can't say hearing it wouldn't piss me off.
Also getting consideration: Playing the Blackhawks, not playing Montreal until late January, the start of the Olympic break.
In other stories: We revisited our BOLD PREDICTIONS from January and, no surprise there, Graham and I remained the champions. We discussed the nature of our victories and what they meant in a conversation that ended with Graham zinging the hell out of me. Next year should be good.
Did you know that this week's Getting to Know the CBA article went up? Judging by the traffic, you probably did, but didn't feel like blasting through 2,000 words of dry, boring legalese paraphrasing. It's ok; the information is there for when you need it. I might start interspersing fart jokes into those things just to see if anybody notices.
We recorded a new WIIM Radio! Give a listen as we go over all the stuff we should have been talking about for the last five weeks. It's a good episode, even if Tyler's not in it.
We had two great debates thanks to Fanposts this week:
- In the wake of Brendan Smith re-signing before his arbitration hearing to a very cap-friendly deal, AppState poked a little fun at some of the more... emotional reactions to the news of him filing for arbitration. It was maybe a little petty, but it's not exactly like we haven't been accused of that before. The comments were fun and eventually turned into something that might have re-energized my desire to keep doing the Plus/Minus portion of the CSSI.
- Josh Howard kicked off the yearly tradition of debating whether Sergei Fedorov's #91 should go to the rafters, be kept out of circulation, or grace the back of the first player with the balls to wear it and actually try to live up to its meaning. Nobody's mind was changed and some feelings were hurt, but we're not here to change the world. The discussion is fun.
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In non-site news, happy birthday to Pavel Datsyuk (yesterday).
Here's the top-five "Why the Hell Hasn't this Guy Signed" players:
- Mikhail Grabovski (Still on his honeymoon?)
- Ilya Bryzgalov (He's not awful)
- Ron Hainsey (Board of Governors blacklisted for being so active with the NHLPA during the lockout?)
- Damien Brunner (Maybe the best scorer on the market)
- Jaromir Jagr (So old)
- (Bonus!) A whole bunch of defensemen: White, Colaiacovo, Gilbert, Kuba, Whitney, Lydman, Murray, Zanon, Redden, etc.
Finally, with all the bankruptcy stuff going on, I want to make sure to make a point here: I'm not as passionate or as knowledgable as George Malik on this topic. As far as I know, this isn't going to stop the new arena plans because the public portion of the funding is earmarked specifically by charter for things held separate from the overall city budget. If something changes in a Wings-affecting regard, we'll cover it, but this is a much bigger story than hockey.
What I do know is that Detroit is full of strong people and that a bankruptcy isn't the death of the city, but an opportunity to start its rebirth