Monday, October 31, 2005

10/31 Notes

Osgood: Wings "better defensively"

With the Wings' fast start, the best in franchise history and second best in NHL history, some people are starting to look at them in the light of the record-setting '95-'96 Wings team. That team went 62-13-7, breaking the single season wins record, and ended up with 131 points.

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News talked to goalie Chris Osgood about it. Osgood was on the 62-win team and while he won't equate the two teams, he has been impressed with what he's seen so far.

He said one thing that surprised me, given the Wings' reputation around the league for the last few years: "We're a lot better defensively than in years past." Better? I guess that's true but it's not like the team hasn't been very good on defense recently.

I guess it ties in to Helene St. James' Wings Corner piece today in the Freep. She points out that the Wings are 7-0 when ahead going into the third period. The Wings have been able to, as a team, defend late leads that other teams have given up around the league. I think that's where Ozzie's "better defense" comes in because that hasn't always been the case for the Wings in the past.

They only led for about a period and a half in their loss to Vancouver before the Canucks tied it up and took then took the lead permanently in the second. Other than that, they've pulled off the win, either by coming back from behind or by leading the whole game.

Yzerman and the Olympics

Team Canada is letting Steve Yzerman decided whether or not he will play for them in the 2006 Olympics. They want the Wings' captain's experience but understand that his age (41) and injury considerations (groin) may cause him to pass on the opportunity.

I'd personally like The Captain to save himself for the NHL playoffs, where he'll be needed by the Wings. Still, he answered the call of his country in 2002 and it didn't adversely affect his play (quite the contrary, he was amazing in those playoffs, playing on a bum knee). He's going to have to balance his country with his pro team based on his potential contribution to both. He'll make the right decision.

(Ottawa Sun)

Former-backup not used to sitting

Manny Legace has been a backup all of his career until this season. Even so, when he was given a break by Mike Babcock for Saturday's game, he didn't know what to do with himself.

Pretty unusual, for a guy who's been forced to sit behind Curtis Joseph, Dominik Hasek and Chris Osgood at different points in his career, to have that kind of attitude. He's earned it, though, by playing great in every game except Saturday's and winning all but one. He's finally getting the recognition he's deserved, both from the Wings and from the rest of the league. He's no backup.

He's slated to start again tomorrow, though, so his rest will soon be over.

(Toronto Sun)

"Sammy has a way he shoots it in the net, I don't why, but he does."
-- Wings head coach Mike Babcock on Mikael Samuelsson's fast start. The Swede has 7 goals so far this season, which ties him for the team lead with another Swede, Henrik Zetterberg. He has been a great acquisition for the Wings and continues to pay off just about every game.


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