Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Wings 1, Caps 4

Manny Legace (left) skates in to replace Curtis Joseph (right) during the first period last night The Wings dropped a 4-1 decision to the Caps last night at the Joe in one of their worst displays this season. They were awful defensively and weak offensively, making it easy for the NHL's worst team to get a confidence building win. Even facing a goalie in his first NHL start, the Wings could only generate one goal of offense after 39 shots. Curtis Joseph was pulled in the first period after allowing three goals on nine shots. However, no blame should be placed on him because the rest of the team gave him zero support. Honestly, the Wings should be ashamed of themselves for their play in front of their former #1 goalie. I would hope they all apologized for their lack of defensive coverage and that they'll get it together next time Joseph plays. It's disturbing to me to see the difference in the Wings when Joseph is in net. It's as though they don't think they have to play hard because he's going to be traded anyway and he's not really their goalie. It's sick. I'm really feeling bad for Curtis because the Wings completely left him out to dry last night. I'm glad the fans at the Joe had enough class to cheer him when he left the ice, knowing it wasn't his fault. It's too bad the Wings don't seem to have that same amount of class. The Wings were weak and unexciting offensively, with many slow and inaccurate passes causing repeated setbacks. Their power play was poorly executed and a total failure. For some reason, their strategy was to all stack on one side of the ice so that any rebounds would go to the opposite side, where there were only Caps players. This went on all night and was not corrected. They did their usual job of making the opposing goalie look good by hardly putting any pressure on the kid the whole night. Everyone looked out of sync and it makes me wonder how seriously Lewis and the Wings took the practices leading up to the game. They obviously took the Caps' problems for granted and expected a roll-over win. That's also disturbing to me because the Wings have usually been smarter than that in the past. Ray Whitney once again did not play, making the game his fourth consecutive missed. He may miss some more, apparently. He participated in pre-game skate but still has soreness that is keeping him out. One of the scariest moments of the season: sometime during the 3rd period, Nick Lidstrom took a high stick to the face. It was completely accidental but scared the crap out of me. I appreciated Kip Miller, the guy responsible, for being a total class act by making sure Nick was okay and sticking around, instead of skating away but I was still frozen for minute or two. Lidstrom was down on his hands and knees for a little while and I very worried that it was his eye. Thankfully, it was not and Nick just skated away, coming back the next shift. The Wings dodged a bullet there, for sure. If the Wings have one guy they cannot lose, it's Nicklas Lidstrom. I kept hearing over and over again on the radio and from people I talked to yesterday that "the Wings have an easy win tonight." I kept telling them that the Wings would probably blow it, as they typically do in games like that. I even mentioned it in my game preview. I was right. I wish I wasn't. Ugh. I cannot think of any bright spots in the game last night. It was just a poor outing overall and a game I'd like to forget. It was completely embarrassing. The Caps played a good game but it was more of a case of the Wings handing them the win than anything else. Every time I start to think the Wings may be getting back on track, something like this happens. They need to figure out who they are and do it fast. Are they a championship team or a mediocre one? There's no middle ground, in the end, here in Detroit. I'd rather see them have these problems now instead of later but I think it's gone on long enough. The Wings are now 11-9-2-0, just one point behind the Blues for first place in the Central Division. They'll have a chance to pull ahead of the Blues on Saturday but they first have to get through the Oilers and Islanders. The Wings have pretty much squandered what should have been a light month of November. Up to this point, they've played the greatest concentration of below-.500 teams they will play all year and have ended up 7-7-1 against them. Scary. Next up: vs. Edmonton, tomorrow, 7:30 EST Freep | News | ESPN | Box Score Lines- Maltby-Draper-Holmstrom Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull Shanahan-Yzerman-Devereaux Rivers-Mowers-Bootland Maltby-Draper-Bootland Maltby-Draper-Mowers Shanahan-Datsyuk-Thomas Yzerman-Datsyuk-Hull Holmstrom-Yzerman-Hull Shanahan-Yzerman-Thomas Lidstrom-Chelios Woolley-Dandenault Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Schneider Lidstrom-Dandenault Woolley-Chelios 4 on 4- Maltby-Draper Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Chelios PP- Shanahan-Yzerman-Holmstrom Thomas-Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Woolley-Chelios PK- Maltby-Draper Shanahan-Yzerman Datsyuk-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Dandenault Lidstrom-Chelios Lidstrom-Dandenault Net- Curtis Joseph (pulled 1st period) Manny Legace


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