Monday, April 12, 2004

4/12 Comments

... I probably shouldn't have been so hard on Derian Hatcher for his bone-head play yesterday since he really hasn't had a ton of time to get back in the swing of things since returning from his injuries. I'm sure we'll find out when it's all over that he's playing through intense pain or something and that he never really healed from his shoulder injury. It's a lot like how Mathieu Schneider was last year in the playoffs. The Wings had just gotten him at the deadline and he obviously hadn't gelled with the team yet. This year, though, he was one of the best defensemen in the league and pretty much outplayed Nick Lidstrom the whole season. Hopefully that's what's going to happen with Derian. Just have to be patient, I guess. That said, you need to step it up, Hatcher. You're a top-tier player and need to start playing like one, regardless of the pain and regardless of whether or not you have chemistry with your teammates. Get your head in the game and stop putting yourself in position to get burned. I swear, the Wings haven't had such a slow defenseman since Larry Murphy and he didn't put himself out of position and blow coverage all the time. Dave Lewis should probably break up the Chelios/Hatcher pairing because it has not worked so far. They are both too slow and their mental mistakes are too common for them to be on the ice at the same time. ... The Wings are 1-for-15 so far this series on the power play and have that one goal only because Tomas Vokoun accidentally kicked the puck in off the backboards (much like Patrick Roy did in 2002 during that amazing series..... ahhhh, sweet memories of a non-apathetic Wings team). The Wings' power play has been about as non-threatening as my sister's Cocker Spaniel and it's really starting to get old. Yesterday's 6-on-4 effort at the end of the game was pathetic and was just one of many such examples of their anemic power play. Considering the rather high number of man-advantages they have been handed by the generous refs (five in yesterday's game), the Wings should at least have a more dominating power play, if not many more goals. Brett Hull says "We�’re getting chances, we just have to stick together more. We have to get the good shot, and you know Homer is always crashing the net." I'd have to disagree on the "good shot" part, Brett. Part of the problem is the Wings are trying too hard to get that perfect shot by being too cute with the puck. The Wings need to get "any shot" on the net during the power play and follow it up by going to the net. Then maybe they'll see some results. ... The shot total from yesterday's game, 42-21, seems to indicate a pretty high level of dominance by the Wings. However, a high shot total does not automatically translate into dominance and yesterday's game is a good example of this. The Wings were taking routine shots and getting routine saves from Tomas Vokoun. They did not follow up their shots very often by going to the net and took too many from just inside the blue line or nearly as far away. They did not get a lot of traffic in front of the net and allowed Vokoun to see just about every shot he faced, making it easy for the NHL-level (and All Star caliber) goalie he is to stop them. ... Tomas Vokoun is not JS Giguere. I know I believe that and I know most people who are honest with themselves believe it. I just don't know if the Wings believe it. Vokoun seems to be in the Wings' head and though he's playing very well for the Preds, they should be able to crack is armor more often. The goals they have scored on him haven't been the best ones for him to give up which means he can be beaten. He obviously cares a ton about his team's run and every time the Wings score on him, he his visibly upset with himself. If the Wings can play on that by embarrassing him a few times, they may be able crack him. Either that or he'll bounce back even stronger..... ... Game 4 tomorrow night is a must-win game for the Wings. It's the difference between going up 3-1 in the series and seeing the series tied up 2-2. If the Wings can split the first two games in Nashville, they have a huge chance of winning the series. Tomorrow night is when we see what each team is made of. ... I'd like to see Jason Woolley on the ice again for the Wings. Obviously the progress he made earlier last week slowed down or else he would have played this weekend. The Wings could use his jump and hopefully we'll see him back tomorrow night.


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