Monday, May 21, 2012

Early exit

updated: 7/3/12
Detroit Red Wings MVP 2012 - Henrik Zetterberg

I chose z as the mvp for detroit this year. He didnt have his best year stat wise, slight drop in production but he was the most consistant player all year and his line of filppula and hudler stayed together most of the year. At times he carried our team when we had half of our top talent out due to injury.

It was a season filled with promise that was cut very short in the playoffs this year after being eliminated in 5 games by the Nashville Predators. Injuries up until the final day of the regular season really seemed to hamper the Wings players after a season which saw them win an NHL record 23 consecutive home games. We saw the breakout year that everyone has been anticipating, of Valtteri Filppula (23G, 66 pts), Hudler had himself a bounce back year and likely earned himself a pay increase albeit as a UFA. Bertuzzi played solid and earned himself a contract extension as teams grandpa for the next 2 years, the emergence of Gustav Nyquist late in the season was exciting to see. A full season of Nyquist, Helm, Eaves together could be explosive. For the most part it was a good regular season and we fell short in the playoffs but I don't think anyone feels that far off from another long playoff run and maybe another cup so that Lidstrom can go out on top.

There are a number of interesting free agents about to hit the market that Detroit could really use to bolster their depth and we have the money to do it. The Wings are going to make a strong push for Zach Parise and Ryan Sutter, as I'm sure any contending team with the money to shell out will be doing so. I have faith that we could land one of these super stars and this will hopefully make up for the loss of Brad Stuart when we lose him to his family and some lucky California team, and of course the incomprehensible retirement of Nick Lidstrom. We should be letting Hudler go and getting an upgrade along the wing. Our Top line collection of wingers has begun to show their age and some of them are looking like good 3rd liners. But inserting even one new top winger and move maybe Bertuzzi down to 3rd line and we have an entire new look. And of course for all of this to work Nick Lidstrom needs to come back for one more year! How could he pass up a Detroit Winter Classic?

This will probably be my last post until the next season so take care everyone. Go Wings!


Monday, April 9, 2012

1st round predictions

With the first round of play-offs starting for our wings on Wednesday the 11th, I have a pretty good feeling about this series. It is going to be painfully boring, but with a hard fought series I am saying the wings in 6, all of the games are going to be close one goal games and franzen just getting heated up in time for play-offs I expect him and flip to be doing some decent amount of post season production as well as hudler. I'm hoping we will see a bit of nyquist with dastyuk but not too much, want to be cautious of rookie mistakes against other first lines. Round one is about to start for hopefully the wings will come out on top!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Playoffs Are Coming

Here is an interesting video about the final stretch into the playoffs for the west.

And here's a video to get you excited for the Red Wings making the playoffs for 21 consecutive seasons! The playoffs begin April 11th.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Trade Deadline

The trade deadline has come and gone. Not nearly as much movement as many would have liked but with the salary cap there are just so many teams on the bubble of a playoff birth that just arent willing to sell.

I don't think that many people are surprised Rick Nash wasn't released from Columbus due to the simple fact that no contender could possibly part with what Scott Howson wanted for Nash 2 months away from the playoffs. That's not to say that he was wrong for asking so much, I'm sure Nash on the right team could possibly be a 80 point player. Another issue is the length of his contract but I think GM's see the risk is worth the reward. An unhealthy amount of media attention is swarming Nash at the moment because he asked for a trade out of Columbus but you can't blame the guy. He's a top player in the league stuck on a team going right back in rebuild mode after 10 years of being in rebuild mode. Here is Rick Nash's press conference following the trade deadline.

One team that made a number of moves was the Nashville Predators. I believe they went from a team that was going to make the playoffs to a team that could go deep in the playoffs, as long as all the pieces fit. They went out and picked up Andrei Kostitsyn and Hal Gill from Montreal and Paul Gaustad from Buffalo. They picked up Andrei's younger brother Sergei from Montreal before and he has come over and played much better than he did with the Habs so they are hoping Andrei can have some of the same success with the team. He will be LW on the 2nd line and will be given every opportunity to start turning his career around. Hall Gill is another big shut down type defenseman who gives Nashville some depth on defense and added a lot of size. And they just kept getting bigger when they aquired Gaustad to center their 3rd line. This team looks to continue its gritty defensive ways and will be a similar team to St Louis's style. I think both these teams have a chance to go far this year and would make for a great matchup.

I'm still not sure what to think of the Cody Hodgson/ Zach Kassian trade between Vancouver and Buffalo, as I'm sure most people feel the same. Hodgson is a rookie of the year candidate and was having a great breakout year but many thought he deserved more ice time. Which of course as a Center on the Canucks, it's going to be pretty difficult for a kid to beat out Ryan Kessler or Henrik Sedin for the top 2 lines. So they traded their young center for a RW power forward who likes to throw his body around and can is expected to be a top 6 forward. So time will tell for the Canucks if this trade was better for them or not however I think Hodgson will have an immediate impact on the Buffalo roster.

The Wings weren't too active around the deadline as many expected them to be but sometimes less is better and we have one of the top teams in the league with everyone performing at a high level so why blow that up? We did go out and get a defenseman we knew very well in Kyle Quincey and didn't have to give up a roster player to do it. I see Quincey as an insurance if Stuart decides to head to the west coast after the seasons end. The Wings have a solid 8 defensemen going into the playoffs this year and it's looking like we could do some damage this year.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5 Second Half Predictions

After 50 games, the Red Wings are sitting where they have sat for the vast majority of the past 20 years, above 29 other teams. Many competitors have risen and fallen within this time and it was believed the Wings would start to fall as soon as other teams in the Central began to rise.

Fast forward to 2012 and those pundits were only half right. Chicago, Nashville, and St.Louis have all stepped up to the plate and want a piece of the Central Division Title. Unfortunately for them, the Detroit Red Wings have continued there excellence in staying amongst the Elite teams in the NHL once again.

5 Second Half Predictions:

1Pavel Datsyuk will contend for the Hart Trophy (Top 3). He will also win the Selke and if the Wings go deep, win the Conn Smythe.

2 Zetterberg, after a slow start, will notch 60 points and reach 20 goals. (His Shooting % is currently 5.9%, you have to believe that isn't going to stick.)

3 • Ty Conklin will get 7 starts, nearly doubling his 10 in the first 50.

4 • Despite only getting 25 starts, Jimmy Howard will tie Martin Brodeurs Wins Record at 48. He currently sits at 30 Wins and needs an 18-7 record to achieve this.

5 • Ken Holland will pull the trigger and bring in a top-six forward at the deadline. Rumors have the Red Wings poking around the Oilers and Ales Hemsky. We'll see.

Looking back at my predictions for the team at the start of the season:

101 Points
1st in Central
3rd in Conference
(I wish I took a stab at the Wins column at the beginning of the year...)

Currently the Wings are on pace for 110 points on the season. I may have over estimated individual points, but, I underestimated the teams overall points.

The Red Wings have, to some extent, surprised me a bit. I believed they would be a challenger but I didn't expect them to be sitting at the top of the standings at the All-Star break. It's a pleasant surprise.

The biggest challenge for the Wings to stay on the top is the competition within the Central. I don't think Chicago will continue there success based on there defensive and goaltending struggles but it's always possible there offense keeps them chugging. I see them finishing in the 4-6 spot. Nashville is Nashville, always good, never great. St.Louis is my biggest fear. They are good up and down the lineup and with the help of Ken Hitchcock, look to push us to the limits for the Central crown. I feel a new rivalry brewing.

Oh, and then there is Columbus...

I don't believe we will win the Presidents Trophy with Vancouver picking on the youngin's in the Northeast and Boston and New York dominating the entire Eastern Conference. I do, however, see us sitting in a 1-4 spot at seasons end and having first round home ice advantage.

Let's get this second half over with and be ready for the real season to begin!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Power Rankings

NHL Power Rankings

Here are the Power Rankings going into the All Star break.

1. Detroit - It looks to be breakout years for both Valterri Filppula and Johan Franzen. They are red hot with 17 consecutive home victories and are in the middle of a 7 game win streak. Howard will get some votes for the Vezina at this point...who predicted that?

2. New York Rangers - Here is another goaltender who could take home the Vezina this year, Henrik Lundqvist has been phenomenal. A really solid young defensive core in front of him and are getting offense from all over. Gaborik leads the team with 39 points.

3. St.Louis - Since Hitchcock took over the Blues have gone from a bubble team to a serious contender, 23-6-7. I would think he is first in line for the Jack Adams Award this year. They are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and making the Central Division a pretty tight race. Elliott just signed a 2 year extension with the Blues after being picked up on waivers for $600,000. He has been a big surprise and Halak has really turned his game around as well.

4. Boston - They just keep on rolling. It seems their entire team is the +- leaders in the league. Tyler Seguin has developed into a very dynamic player and he's tied for first in points on the team at 43. (t. with Patrice Bergeron). They have 7 players above the 30 point mark.

5. San Jose - The Sharks had a rough start but have gotten things on track as of late with more production coming from Dan Boyle, their powerplay quarterback. Thomas Greiss has been a stellar backup to Niemi and Thornton leads the team with 38 points.

6. Vancouver - Once again both Sedins are near the top of the league in points. Cody Hodgson has made great strides in his first full year with the canucks. They also sport a really nice home and away record.

7. Ottawa - What a surprise this year. Complete turn around under Wings former ast coach Paul Mclean as the new coach. Spezza with 50 points and Karlsson with 47 leads the team.

8. Pittsburgh - Malkin continues to carry Pittsburgh on his back in these dark days of injury, seemingly putting up multiple points every game. Letang has returned which should provide a lot of relief on Geno. Fleury has done his part and Neal has been a nice fit in a contract year.

9. Chicago - With Toews and Sharp out of the lineup for an extended period of time could be difficult to overcome. However Chicago has the firepower to remain near the top until their stars return.

10. Nashville - They've gone 9-1-0 into the break and once again are being led by Weber, Suter and Rinne. It will be very interesting to see if Nashville can secure all 3 players. Craig Smith has been a nice addition to the lineup.

11. Philadelphia - Giroux is 2nd in scoring behind Malkin with 55 points. Pronger is a big loss heading into the playoffs, Van Riemsdyk is missing time with a concussion. 7 players on Philadelphia's roster this year have been diagnosed with concussions.

12. Anaheim - Bruce Boudreau has finally lit a fire under this team. We'll see if Corey Perry can hit a home run again and send this team into the playoffs. I doubt it. Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan are available for trades.

13. Colorado - Duchene out has been tough on Colorado but Giguere has taken over for a struggling Varlamov. O'Reilly leads the team in scoring and they remain in the playoff picture.

14. Florida - The Panthers seem to be drying up. Their record the past 10 games is at 3-3-4 and Fleischmann hasnt put up more than a handful of points in a month. They just got Theodore back, hopefully that helps them keep their playoff hopes alive.

15. Calgary - The Flames have to make a push here in the last half of the season in order to make the playoffs. We'll see if Mike Camalleri can live up to that hefty contract. He should do well playing alongside Jarome Iginla. Iginla leads the team with 39 points.

16. New Jersey - Brodeur has been a bit shakey in what could be his final season but New Jersey has been competitive with a healthy Parise in the lineup, along with some solid seasons by Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias and a great rookie campaign for Adam Henrique. He will get some nods for the Calder while Nugent-Hopkins remains out.

17. Washington - Ovechkin has not been very Ovechkin like, often being caught making lazy mistakes and hasn't really shown up offensively as we are used to, however he is 2nd on the team in scoring behind Nicklas Backstrom. Semin has underperformed once again and I expect a trade involving him in the works.

18. New York Islanders - The top line of Moulson-Tavares-Parenteau has been dynamite and contributed 50% of the Islanders goals this season. Nabakov has done well for them as of late as they seem to be catching fire to make a playoff push.

19. Los Angeles - Since Daryl Suter took over LA has been playing better hockey but it is still going to need to be better in order to make the playoffs. Many expected LA to be not just a playoff lock but a contender which certainly has not panned out so far. Mike Richards has underproduced to this point and they will need a big turn around from him and for Quick to continue playing stellar hockey in order to get this team into the playoffs.

20. Toronto - This team has a pretty decent record so far and has a shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2004. What a year by Kessel and Lupul with 51 and 52 points respectively. Look for Toronto to spend at the trade deadline.

21. Montreal - A lot of turmoil in Montreal lately as Mike Camalleri is traded to the Calgary Flames for Rene Bourque because he described the Canadiens to the media as a team with a losing mentality. He was traded the next day. With just about every player underperforming you have to think Montreal is in some trouble this year. Off season pickup Erik Cole currently leads the team in points with 39.

22. Minnesota - The Wild had a great start to the season and gave Minnesota a lot of hope and excitement for the season and are still hanging in there but with a 3-6-1 record in their last 10 they will need to turn that around quick in a tight western conference. They have had a solid goaltending tandem of Backstrom and Harding fighting for the number 1 job.

23. Winnipeg - The Jets are performing to about what we expected and are beginning to fall out of the playoff race. Enstrom's return has helped them as they await the return of Byfuglien. They are receiving scoring throughout the lineup with 14 players in double digits however they lack a real point producer as Blake Wheeler leads the team with 33 points. Ouch.

24. Dallas - Dallas (like Minnesota) had a really great start to the season and has sense been spiraling down the western confrence. Injuries to Lehtonen, Goligoski and surgery to Jamie Benn has certainly been hurting them. After the All Star break they should have a rested roster and try to make a push at making the playoffs for the first time in 3 years.

25. Tampa Bay - Tampa was the surprise team last year but they weren't able to keep it up this year mostly for the lack of a goaltender. Roloson has really fallen off the map and Garon has not been able to take over the number 1 job so Yzerman will be shopping for a goaltender very soon. Stamkos, St Louis and Lecavalier are all having great years once again.

26. Phoenix - With the loss of Bryzgalov in the off season many expected this team to completely drop out of the playoff picture however once again Phoenix has shown its resiliency and remains in the hunt for that 8th and final slot in the west. Smith has been a spectacular addition, Yandle continues to progress and Vrbata is having a great season on the top line.

27. Carolina - The Hurricanes sit last in the east and have just been atrocious on the road going 5-13-6. They will be hard pressed to make the playoffs and many expect C Tuomo Ruutu to be on the trading block.

28. Buffalo - A lot of disappointment this year with the Sabres. New Owner Peggula did a lot of spending in the offseason and seemed to make a few upgrades to push a team that was a playoff bubble to at least a lock for the playoffs and they have certainly misfired on that one. Leino's contract is going to just continue to be a tough one to swallow for years to come.

29. Edmonton - The youngsters are starting to show some dangerous potential out there but still are not quite there. Injuries have slowed them a bit this year. Jordan Eberle leads the team with 45 points in his 2nd full season and has been selected for the All Star game.

30. Columbus - So much promise after all the big additions during the offseason and it has really gone wrong for Columbus once again. They have already announced Steve Mason will not be brought back next year, that should tell you just how bad he has been this year. Expect big big changes to Columbus come trade deadline and off season, this franchise is in a lot of trouble at this point in time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

15 Consecutive Home Victories

Hello world, it's been awhile. This octopus is in honor of the 15 consecutive home victories (passing the Red Wings previous record of 14, back in 1965) the Red Wings achieved on Jan 16th 2012 against the Buffalo Sabres. I was lucky enough to be at the Joe when they chased Ryan Miller in his hometown putting up 5 goals before the 30 minute mark. I didn't have an octopus to throw on the ice but I hoped this would make up for it. And today I can say that yours, mine and our Detroit Red Wings currently are sitting NUMBER 1 in the entire league after defeating Phoenix last night. Let's keep it up!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Justin Abdelkader. I'll keep this short and sweet.

Abby has shown flashes of offensive potential in his college and AHL career. He also has a track record for being clutch when his team needs him most. This can be seen most prominently during the 2007 NCAA Championship game in which Abby scores the game winner late in the game.

As for his NHL game? He has grown to become an agitating, defensive, bottom liner. Justin Abdelkader seems to be doing less agitating this season which may be a result of his untimely penalties during the San Jose series last season. I'm okay with this as it was incredibly frustrating to watch him take bad penalties at bad times during the most important time of the season.

Current Stats:

GP • 45
G • 5
A • 6
P • 11


GP • 82
G • 9
A • 12

P •21

I might end up hitting this prediction dead on. #winning

There may be some untapped "Franzen-like" potential in there somewhere. I'm not completely convinced as I really haven't seen anything offensively to write home about. What I do believe, is there may be a Maltby equal in time. Someone that can play strong 3rd line minutes, shut-down the top lines of other teams, and get inside there heads. Maltby was incredible at drawing penalties, something I haven't seen a whole lot of from Abdelkader and hopefully comes with time.

Here's to another Maltby.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's Miller Time

Drew Miller came to the Red Wings via Waivers from Tampa Bay during the 09' season. He was averaging around 13-14 minutes and eating up PK time for the Lightning but there was interest in bringing up a Right-Handed shot from within there own prospect pool which forced Miller to be placed on Waivers. It was thought Miller wouldn't last too long as a full-time NHLer at this point.

Fast forward to the 2011-12 season, Drew Miller has become a mainstay on one of the top rosters in the league.

Playing on the top line, and some nights carrying it, Miller has shown the hands of Pavel Datsyuk and the speed of Darren Helm. His smarts almost rival that of Nick Lidstroms. He has developed into a bona fide superstar. Miller has truly become one of our many "diamonds in the rough" and fits the bill of "Project player turned Red Wings star".

Okay that's not exactly how things turned out for Miller, but wouldn't it be wonderful?

Here are Drew Miller's 2011-12 stats:

GP • 42
G • 7
A • 7
P • 14

My Predictions:

GP • 50
G • 8
A • 10
P • 18

I truly didn't think Miller would solidify a spot in the lineup like he has. Moving above Eaves and sometimes, although rarely, getting ice time in the Top 6. My pace was relatively close, in terms of points to games ratio but it looks like Miller will see 75+ games barring some sort of injury.

I wasn't exactly happy with the re-signing of Miller during the off-season. Hoping the Wings Brass would give some youngsters a chance or sign a Vet who hasn't won the cup and wants to leave everything out on the ice. When I found out we signed him I started thinking the Wings would expose Miller to Waivers at some point with high number of NHL quality forwards the Wings had.

Now, more than half way through the season, I've been wrong on both fronts. Not only was I wrong, but I've been extremely happy with the game Miller has brought night in and night out.

Are there better options on the market? Sure. Are there better options in our own system? Definitely. But Miller brings something not many do, and that's a relatively mistake free defensive game. He's a bottom liner you don't have to be afraid to put out on the ice. When the playoffs roll around, that is exactly what you want and what you need.

Past Predictions&Portraits:
Player Predictions (No portraits, yet!)
Red Wings Season Prediction

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Dan Cleary has almost single-handily planted a label within the Detroit Red Wings organization that is thrown around quite often. A label that has ground to stand on with former Wings like Kris Draper and Mikael Samuelsson. The "Always able to get the most out of a Project-Player" label.

Cleary was the 13th Overall pick in the 1997 Draft and was highly regarded upon entering the league. Unfortunetely, for teams like the Oilers and Blackhawks, they were never able to get the most out of the quickly slipping Newfoundlander. Then Ken Holland came calling. After a quiet first season Cleary broke out, potting 20 Goals and 40 Points and making his doubters pay close attention.

Dan Cleary's 2011-12 Stats:

GP • 42
 G • 10
 A • 9
 P • 19

My Pre-Season Predictions:

GP • 70
G • 25
A • 20
P • 45

I think it's fair to say I was a bit optimistic after Cleary had a career year last season. He started off the year extremely slow which may have been due to the always mysterious "Upper-Body Injury" (Correct me if I'm wrong, I believe it was Broken Ribs.) and even though he played through the pain, he looked like he was playing through the pain. Cleary started as a top 6 forward and quickly slipped down the ranks to his current but not cemented 3rd line role. 

I believe Cleary is more fitted for this role and, outside of injuries, I hope he sticks to the grinding and defensive game he is known for. He does have a knack for the net and scores the occasional timely goal, but outside of good puck protection on the boards, he doesn't have the puck-possession and offensive smarts that a true top 6 forward should have at this stage in his career.

I love his "Give it All, Leave Nothing on the Ice" game and Cleary elevates himself during the playoffs. He has become an "All-Situations" player and can fill roles in the PK and the PP if needed. Dan Cleary is our swiss army knife and we are glad to have him in the Red and White.

I missed this game due to my graduation date conveniently landing on the same night. Fortunately I was able to sneak away with my Dad and listen to it in his Michigan-made Van while everyone else was enjoying there graduation and families. Listening to Cleary score over the radio was something else, and as much as I would have enjoyed seeing this happen, visualizing this as it broke out as well as the evening in general left this as one of my top memories as a Red Wing fan.

Here is a list of past Predictions&Portraits:
Player Predictions (No portraits, yet!)
Red Wings Season Prediction