Congrats, we made it through another preseason game! This time, the Wings were in Chicago to take on a pretty NHL-heavy roster for the Hawks playing their last home game of the preseason. The Wings went about half-and-half with NHL/AHL guys and... listen to me making excuses already. Let’s just get to it.
The first two shifts go pretty well, with AA showing off his speed and Ericsson not falling down against Panarin, but the first real scoring chance comes two minutes in with a Pratt In-a-Speedo setup for a Tyler Bertuzzi shot from the slot that Crawford stops.
Not long after, Ericsson gets walked leading to a short 2-on-1 that the Hawks player puts into the ankle of the young ref standing in the far corner. TJ Luxmore is the ref’s name.
Alexey Marchenko switched numbers, I am suddenly reminded as I panic trying to figure out who the shit this guy on the ice with DeKeyser is.
The Hawks score on a rebound that Keith puts into traffic, leaving Sproul to wrestle with two players. Sproul loses this battle while every other Wings player looks longingly at Ryan Hartman wishing they were closer to him. Ericsson is the D partner and Lorito the center, if you’re looking for blown coverages.
AA and Helm work together to create a wonderful scoring chance for Mantha, who unfortunately bings the post right back into a sprawled-out Crawford. Not enough puck-luck, kid.
I promise you I’m not just looking for this pairing, but Ericsson and Sproul work together like Internet Explorer and Chrome.
First power play of the game goes to he Hawks on an interference call for Ericsson. Abby and Larkin are your top pair PK forwards to start this game, followed by AA and Helm. I expect a shorthanded goal in this game. This feeling is helped by Larking ending the CHI PP early thanks to drawing a tripping call on what could have been a breakaway.
The Wings’ PP sets up a couple big point shots before deciding they’d rather practice cycling in their own zone to set up a rush that doesn’t work. Mantha looked strong at least.
16 minutes in, the Hawks get it into the Wings’ zone and Aubry/Lashoff can’t get half a good idea between them and make three real dumb passes in a row, leading to a loose puck coming to Desjardins for a turnaround shot that bounces between the legs of a surprised Jimmy Howard after hitting Vincent Hinostroza’s foot and changing direction.
The Wings respond by playing 40 seconds of grab-ass and taking another penalty. Things are going great and I’m real happy about signing up for this recap.
The period mercifully ends with the Wings finishing a successful PK and limping off down 2-0. The good news is that the two goalscorers for the Hawks are relative nobodies, so the NHL guys the Wings are rolling against the Hawks’ top guys are at least holding their own.
Ok I took a 17 minute break and I feel good again. Let’s do this.
It takes a couple minutes for stuff to get going, but we get rapid-fire chances from the Wings (thanks to a good Abdelkader shift), then the Hawks, and then another penalty to Jonathan Ericsson.
Right as I’m getting hopeful about that shorthanded goal prediction, Dick Panik scores a power play goal. Gross.
Pat Foley still pronounces Ryan Sproul’s name like it rhymes with “prowl.”
Mantha and Athanasiou have another pretty decent shift where it looks like they’re continuing to work on their chemistry. I take a moment to realize that Marchenko is having a quietly solid game. My mind wanders through shifts featuring guys like Tangradi.
Larkin turns a puck over inside his own blue line and Jordin Tootoo gets a scoring chance. Him scoring in the same game as Richard Panik likely would have killed us all, so consider Jimmy Howard’s save here world-saving.
On a tactical note, the Wings’ defense is doing a generally good job when they have their neutral zone defense set up of stepping up on guys as they try to connect on passes. They’re consistently forcing the Hawks to double back looking for a lane of entry.
Scott Darling comes into the game. Sister Wendy Moira Angela watches from across the pond.
Two Hawks players check each other in the corner to Jimmy Howard’s right and the next shot on goal still has to be saved by Howard.
Right as I’m starting to lose hope, the Wings break out with a 3-on-2 rush. Tangradi feeds Callahan as Aubry crashes the net. Cally feathers the puck tot he net front and Aubry ever-so-gently tips it between Darling’s knees to make it 3-1. Good work by Aubry and Renouf to create the breakout.
This kind of wakes the Wings up, as the next few minutes feature a few good scoring opportunities by Larkin, Bertuzzi, and Abdelkader.
Chicago makes it 4-1 as Panarin gets a one-timer from distance that Nick Schmaltz tips in. Sometimes shit happens. This one happens because Lashoff tries to make a ten-foot pass to Tangradi at the faceoff dot that just misses. Keith keeps it in at the point and sets up Panarin for the shot. This is the second goal that looks like an absolute howler by Jimmy Howard before replay shows the tip-in.
Just 20 more minutes and we’re done here. Let’s spend it rooting for good system plays and fun stuff from the fast kids. I haven’t mentioned Pulkkinen yet. I’d like to do that a couple times in this period.
Helm starts between Abby and Pulk, and that line immediately creates a scoring chance before Larkin comes on with AA and Mantha.
Richard Panik takes a nice cross-ice feed and gets delusions of grandeur thanks to his earlier goal. While fucking around with an unnecessary dangle, Eric Tangradi disrupts his glory and nothing comes of the play.
Martin Frk is playing in this game. I’m like 95% sure.
6:27 in it’s 5-1 as there’s a bit of give-up by the Wings in the defensive zone (and a bit of a line change). Fortin gets to a rebound and puts it in on a short angle as a bunch of guys skate like they’d rather somebody else get the puck out.
Tyler Bertuzzi walks Forsling with a beauty stick-move to create a scoring chance. Darling stops him, but Detroit earns a power play in the scrum. Time to see more Marty Frk!
Nope, nevermind. The first shift lasts about 30 seconds before Larkin takes a tripping call to end the advantage. Trying to hook the stick, but not paying enough attention, he ends up hooking the legs instead.
Darren Helm is having a bad third period. Just not watching the right angles, isn’t keeping his stick on the ice when he needs to be, and can’t complete passes. I mean, I gave up on this game 30 minutes ago too, but me taking a few shifts off probably isn’t going to get me hurt sitting on my couch.
Eric Tangradi hits Patrick Kane who goes down like Bane dropped him onto his knee. Tangradi goes to the box to give the Wings their last chance at that shorty I promised. Aubry gets a good chance, but he’s trying to make me look like an asshole at this point, so it doesn’t go in off the post.
Faceoff win to the point to the middle carried to the top of the circle to a shot-pass at the back door that Anisimov tips in to make it 6-1. Callahan over-pursued, but the clean faceoff loss is a bigger problem.
Two more whistles and we’re done here. 6-1 is your final. Wings fail to register 20 shots.
Joel Quenneville wears the face of a father who has just been told that his son is dropping out of med school to study mime.
I’m trying not to overreact to a preseason loss that was basically foretold by the rosters, so I’ll hold off on saying that Sproul should probably be behind Russo and Hicketts on the depth chart, but I’m also trying not to underreact to evidence so I will say that Ericsson should probably be behind Russo and Hicketts on the depth chart.
Positives from this game included Justin Abdelkader, Danny DeKeyser, and Alexey Marchenko. AA started strong and Mantha played very well, using the body and setting up plays.
I joked about Frk above and how he wasn’t noticeable, but he only got 12:26 and I have to say I think I noticed him more than Pulkkinen in 14:50. Big spoonful of context is a reminder that this is Pulk’s first hockey game in a very long time.
This is all Jacob Trouba’s fault.
_ _ _
Wings are back at it tomorrow visiting Pittsburgh. 7:00 pm ET