Sunday, January 25, 2004

Notes and links

The paper says today that the Wings are "frustrated with late breakdowns." Today's edition was put to press before last night's game was decided but if it had been published after the game, that headline could easily have been "Wings are frustrated with late breakdowns and poor special teams play." The Wings allowed four special teams goals last night, three shorthanded and one when they were on a power play of their own. Even the Coyotes' fifth goal wasn't scored even strength, it was an empty net goal scored during the Wings' vain attempt at a comeback. The Wings were 50% on the penalty kill last night (3-for-6) and 0% on the powerplay (0-for-6). That concerns me greatly, especially since the Coyotes have fairly awful special teams (their penalty kill is last in the league at home). Brian Boucher was amazing, especially on that long 5-on-3 where he made eight saves but the Wings mostly did their usual thing of making the opposing goalie look better than he really is. Jiri Fischer served his one-game suspension for head-butting the Kings' Ian Laperriere during a fight in the first period of Thursday's game. I was disappointed in Joseph's performance, four goals on eight shots but everyone has their off-nights, I guess. It wasn't the best night for one of those, that's for sure, since the Wings were inept on defense and offense the entire game. Darren McCarty took part in the Saturday morning skate. Though he had one of his best days, there is, of course, no timetable for his return. Ted Kulfan makes some good points today in talking about the shafting Mathieu Schneider and Canucks defensman Mathias Ohlund got when the final All Star roster was announced on Thursday. Both players have had very strong years, and, in the case of Schneider, Norris Trophy candidate level years. And yet, neither of them was named to the Western Conference roster. Instead, a Minnesota Wild player by the name of Filip Kuba was named. Kuba is ranked 15th among NHL defensemen in ice time, 33rd in points with 17, 43rd in assists with 12 and 22nd in goals with five. He is a minus-9 (ranked 216th). His own general manager has even said "We have hung in there on its ability to play defense and not give up much. We've done that with four players, Marian, Kuba, Zholtok and Pascal not having great starts." That isn't exactly a vote of confidence. He also said that Kuba has not been "as good as he was last year." Apparently, there are some that believe that since the game is in Minnesota, the League felt it necessary to have two players on the roster from the Wild. That's pretty lame if you ask me, though it does make a kind of twisted sense. I still say, however, that if there is a player who is clearly deserving to be on the All Star team, that player should be added to the roster. It's ridiculous how people are voted in purely on their former reputations when they have no business being in the game. It's good that the fans have a part in the process but ignorant fans ruin it for us all by voting for a name, not for how the player is performing in a given year. The League usually does a fairly good job of making up for that but there's always someone who gets screwed. This year it was Schneider, for sure. Jaromir Jagr's debut with the Rangers did not turn out as he and his new team had hoped. In one of the more lopsided games I remember hearing about, the Senators wrecked New York 9-1 in Ottawa. Let's all hope things continue to go that way for that joke of a franchise. Serves 'em right. Here are the relevant links for last night's game: Brian's game summary Detroit News ESPN Box Score


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