Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Wings 1, Lightning 1 and notes

The Wings skated to a 1-1 tie last night with the league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a game they didn't really deserve to win since they were out-shot 38-29, out-chanced and out-played for much of the game. A summary The first two periods were fairly quiet, with the Lightning getting more chances but getting stuffed by Manny Legace. The Wings out-shot Tampa Bay 9-6 in the first but were out-shot 16-8 in the second. Things heated up after Tomas Holmstrom scored an exciting goal off what seemed like a broken play at 15:19 of the second. He took the puck between the two Lightning defenseman and waited until the last second to flick it over Khabibulin's shoulder into the net. Assistant coach Joey Kocur said in his interview between the periods that Holmstrom was supposed to have changed on that rush because Tampa Bay's best line had just come out but he still told Homer "Good job." After that, the game began to open up as Lightning began to apply some more pressure in an effort to come back. They out-shot the Wings 14-8 in the third period and got their goal, a result of a lucky bounce. Fredrik Modin stuffed it in and all scoring ended, though both teams came extremely close before regulation ended and during overtime. Making a case There is no doubt in my mind that Manny Legace saved the game last night with his absolutely brilliant play. He was flat out amazing. The only goal he allowed was because of a strange bounce and he almost made the save anyway. He was completely in the "zone" and made some really jaw-dropping saves. Curtis Joseph will be under enormous pressure to perform like Manny has recently when he comes back and I'm not sure he can do it. I'm starting to think Manny should be the #1 guy for the Wings. His case is very strong, though that playoff thing continues to hold me back from complete agreement with the idea. And another one down.... The biggest (and worst) news of the night was that Robert Lang will be out three weeks with some kind of rib injury. He was hit in the first period, played in the second and left with about 2 minutes remaining in the period. He did not return to the ice and had X-rays taken today. I could not believe it when I heard it. I am so sick of this constant rash of injuries. It's really gotten to be ridiculous. As long as he's back for the playoffs, it will be fine but the Wings could really use his help in locking up the #1 spot in the Conference, if not the League. Now he'll have even less playing time with his teammates than he already would have had. The Wings were one of the deepest teams up the middle last week and now they have just Steve Yzerman, Marc Mowers, and Henrik Zetterberg. Obviously not the worst set of centers but they should have all six! UGH! The Return Derian Hatcher looked fairly steady in his first game back. There were a couple scary moments where he fell awkwardly but he came away fine. His timing was obviously off but he played a conservative game and didn't take any huge risks. It was good to see him out there again and I hope he'll be knocking people around soon. He started the game which was a nice touch by Dave Lewis, I thought. Big Picture The Wings stay one point behind the Lightning in their race for first place overall with 90 points. They lead Colorado by five for first place in the Conference and are two points ahead of Philly and Ottawa who are tied for third with 88. They will play in Columbus on Thursday at 7:00 EST. Ken Daniels quote/paraphrase of the night Break out the drum set for this one:
"Oooo, Jamie Rivers really hammered Tim Taylor there."
-When Jamie River laid a big open ice hit on the man with the same name as Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor from Home Improvement. Yeah, Ken Daniels is pretty darn hilarious, eh? Elsewhere in the League The Avs blew out the Canucks last night 9-2 and when they had only scored 8, Todd Bertuzzi realized he wasn't man enough to take it any longer. So he decided it was time to exact some retribution and go after the man who gave his captain Markus Naslund a concussion a few weeks back, Steve Moore. He hounded Moore for the whole shift and when Moore wouldn't respond, he sucker punched him from behind and then rode him down while Moore's head smacked the ice. Every player in the area immediately swarmed to the two men but Moore was already unconscious and laying in a pool of blood. He was taken off the ice in a stretcher. Bertuzzi was given a match penalty for intend to injure and suspended indefinitely. It came out today that Moore suffered a concussion and a broken neck on the play, though he apparently will not have any paralysis. The Canadian authorities are looking into the play and Todd Bertuzzi may have to face criminal charges for aggravated assault. I only saw the replay a couple hours ago but I heard descriptions of it all day. Those descriptions weren't far off. It was one of the worst incidents I've ever seen in hockey and it is made worse by the fact that it was pre-meditated. I really hope the NHL has the guts to do something serious about it because if Bertuzzi gets away with it, who knows what will start happening in the league. It's sickening and scary. Click here for the replay (ESPN Motion). It was good to see these reactions to the whole thing: Tom Benjamin's from CC NHL Weblog and J&A's from VanCanOpEd though I hear their fellow fans were not so reasonable, something I find absolutely appalling. Also see Eric McErlain and Joe Tasca's takes on it. If I had my way, Bertuzzi would never play in the NHL again but that is just my emotional reaction to it. He at the very least should not play any more this season, at all. Including all the playoffs. Trade deadline Colorado acquired Tommy Salo from the Oilers and Chris Gratton from the Coyotes today. They sent unsigned defenseman Tom Gilbert to Edmonton for Salo after giving Phoenix Derek Morris and prospect Keith Ballard. They also got defenseman Ossi Vaananen and a second round pick in 2005 from the Coyotes. I am not worried at all about Salo but Gratton concerns me. He's a big boy and would cause some problems if the Wings were to face Colorado in the playoffs. The Wings can beat Salo just as they can beat Aebischer so that's not too big a deal to me. I'm actually glad the Avs traded away Derek Morris because he is a very good young defenseman with a bright future. I don't know anything about Vaananen but I have a hard time believing he's better than Morris. Overall, nothing too scary for Wings fans, hopefully. The Wings made no deals today, something I'm kind of disappointed with. Lines(courtesy GWB) Devereaux-Mowers-Holmstrom Whitney-Yzerman-Hull Thomas-Lang-Shanahan Maltby-Zetterberg-McCarty Whitney-Mowers-McCarty Thomas-Mowers-Shanahan Shanahan-Mowers-Holmstrom Whitney-Yzerman-Thomas Lidstrom-Hatcher Fischer-Chelios Lidstrom-Schneider Rivers-Hatcher Lidstrom-Chelios 4 on 4 Zetterberg-Hull Lidstrom-Schneider Fischer-Chelios PP Shanahan-Zetterberg-Hull Whitney-Lang-Holmstrom Thomas-Schneider Lidstrom-Yzerman PK Lang-Zetterberg Shanahan-Yzerman Maltby-Zetterberg Whitney-Zetterberg Mowers-McCarty Lidstrom-Chelios Fischer-Schneider O.T. Zetterberg-Hull Whitney-Maltby Shanahan-Yzerman Thomas-Mowers Fischer-Chelios Lidstrom-Schneider Lidstrom-Hatcher Net Manny Legace


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