Tuesday, April 20, 2004

4/20 Notes

... Because the Flames beat the Canucks 3-2 in OT last night in Vancouver, the Wings will face them in Round 2, which will start Thursday night. The Flames are a good team and this coming series will not be an easy one for the Wings. However, I do not worry as much about them as I do about the Avs because they are not as deep. I don't know if the Wings are ready to face Colorado yet with Forsberg playing like he is. I'd rather have them play a team like the Flames which will provide a large enough challenge to prepare the Wings for a possible Conference Final with the Avs but not to beat them in a seven game series. The Flames are as fast and bigger than the Predators and will put up a heck of a fight. They also have a hotter goalie, which has screwed the Wings over in the past, and a red-hot Jarome Iginla. They can overcome both those obstacles though by playing the tight defense they can play combined the with the quick striking offense they have. The Wings should be able to win the series, though, as long as they play like they did in the last two games and not like in the first four of Round 1. Here is the schedule for Round 2: Thu. Apr. 22 vs. Calgary Flames @ 7:30 PM Sat. Apr. 24 vs. Calgary Flames @ 3:00 PM Tue. Apr. 27 at Calgary Flames @ 9:00 PM Thu. Apr. 29 at Calgary Flames @ 10:00 PM Sat. May. 1 vs. Calgary Flames @ 3:00 PM Mon. May. 3 at Calgary Flames @ 10:00 PM Wed. May. 5 vs. Calgary Flames @ 7:00 PM ... Former Wing and member of the Russian Five Igor Larionov has announced his retirement at age 43. Igor played a large part on the Wings for years and won three Cups in Detroit. He was a mentor to Pavel Datsyuk and at least partly responsible for the player Pavel is today. He left the team this summer and signed with New Jersey when the Wings wouldn't give him the pay raise he wanted. He didn't have a very good year there, though, playing just 49 games and earning just 12 points (1 goal). One of the best players in hockey history, Larionov did not rack up huge numbers in the NHL since he came into the league only after playing 12 seasons in the Soviet Elite League. To go with his three Cups, he has two gold medals which he won in 1984 and 1988. It's sad to see Igor finally hang 'em up after so many years of watching him play for the Wings. I have many memories of The Professor, my favorite probably being when he scored the game-winner in triple-overtime in Game 3 of the 2002 Stanley Cup Finals after dancing in and waiting out Arthurs Irbe. Congratulations on a great career, Igor, and may you be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame very soon. Thank you for all you did in your time with the Wings.


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