Monday, May 15, 2006

Checking in

Well, it's two weeks ago today that the Wings were eliminated and maybe you're all wondering where we are. The week following that Monday consisted of exams and checking out of my apartment (a ridiculous process that kept me there three hours past my appointed checkout time), then coming home and re-ordering my life on the other side of the state. Then it was back to GR on Saturday to see a couple of my best friends graduate and by then it was nearly a week since the elimination. Last Tuesday, I had ankle surgery in which the metal plate put in when I broke my ankle in 1999 was removed. Since then I've hobbled around the house in a walking cast and read 870 pages of a nearly 1300-page book (Once an Eagle by Anton Myrer), killed innumerable Stormtroopers/Rebel Alliance soldiers on my laptop, watched King Kong, Poseidon, Supertroopers, Master and Commander, flipped through the TV over and over again, and been generally bored out of my mind. I have avoided reading Red Wings news beyond what IwoCPO posts over at Abel to Yzerman and read a couple roundups of the previous night's games every morning. Really, life has gone on. A2Y calls the elimination the "Punch in the Face," but to me it's more like what we used to call a "Cup Check" in football, if know what I mean. I still haven't really dealt with it and I probably won't until The Captain announces his retirement and it'll finally sink in that I won't see him play again. As for the team I'd like to see make it all the way now, it's the Oilers. Not because of the usual reason: "I'm rooting for [insert eliminating/hope-crushing team here] because then the Wings lost to the Cup winner and losing to them won't be such a bad thing." I'd like to see Edmonton go all the way because they convinced me that they wanted it during that series. Losing to them sucked because I could see it coming and I didn't know how the Wings would stop them. When they tied it on that freak goal, I knew they would score before regulation ran out, that it was inevitable. Now, seeing that they've had a little trouble with San Jose but are overcoming it with just as much grit and heart as they showed against the Wings, I would love to see the Cup go back to Edmonton again. I'm still a Wings fan through and through but Edmonton has moved up to the #2 spot in my fanship pantheon. The only game I've watched all the way through since the "Cup Check" was Saturday night's Buffalo/Ottawa game. All I'll say is an Edmonton/Buffalo final would be pretty exciting, but it wouldn't be for the faint-hearted fan! Random comment: you know, after watching all these young goalies tear it up these playoffs, the idea of a Jimmy Howard/Stefan Liv net doesn't sound so bad. Other teams are going with youth, why can't we? Home-grown talent is the way to go now and going after a veteran goalie seems outmoded. Thanks to our readers for posting comments and generating community during the first round. It was great to have comments to respond to and know that you guys were out there. Your insights and jokes were great and made the effort this site takes worth it. I'm sorry the playoff run didn't go any longer because now we've got the long, quiet summer ahead of us. Anyway, we'll start posting again once things start to happen in the off-season. We should be pretty busy with all that, once it starts. For now, I'm just trying not to dwell on it.


At 5/15/2006 11:03:00 AM, Anonymous megan said...

I hope for an Edmonton/Buffalo final as well. But I'm going for Buffalo.

At 5/15/2006 04:12:00 PM, Anonymous Gabriel P said...

Well, I'll admit that I haven't had a chance to catch any of the Sharks/Oilers games, so I haven't really checked out Edmonton's defensive strategy. Having said that though, if they're employing anything like the "non-trap" trap system they used against the Wings, I'm going to be horribly disappointed to see them advance into the Conference finals. Don't get me wrong, the Oilers displayed the hunger and the skill needed to conquer the Wings, but do we really want to admit that in the "New NHL", the primary key to success is still clogging up the neutral zone?

Between that, and the fact that I live in Southern California, I'm really hoping for a Ducks/Sabres matchup in the end.

At 5/15/2006 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Christy Hammond said...

Hey Matt - I didn't realize you also had surgery! I hope it went well. I'm so bored and I'm tired of sitting in my bed/couch all day...

At 5/18/2006 03:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Edmonton finally beat San Jose (also a fairly stacked team with Cheechoo and Thornton.) It was a pretty good series and the Oilers showed that all too familar grit that we dreaded to watch against the Wings.

I've noticed something wierd though about Edmonton. Look at their team. Does it seem like the New Jersey Devils in 2003? I may have said this before, but they remind me of that team...

The 2003 Devils didn't really have stellar players (except Brodeur and Stevens). But they did have the semi-stars and underrated players that really come to life in the playoffs. Add this parellelism (sp?) and the grit that Edmonton has and you could very well be looking at the team that could take Lord Stanley's Cup back to Canada.

Personally, I over estimated their skill (as stated in the past), but Edmonton has the well-rounded(ness) that coaches can use for solid lines and solid playing. I finally saw this when they beat San Jose (as I was hoping that the win against the Wings was some sort of fluke...or nightmare). But it wasn't. They'll take on the Ducks and we'll see if they can stop the veteran Selanne. Interesting match up there, Selanne and Pronger (However, I'm getting SICK of the attention Pronger is recieving. He isn't a god and he can't stop trains. He's not a black hole that sucks the skill from the players and absorbs that skill to better the team. And he can't fly either. I don't remember this type of media uprising went Lidstrom won the Conn Smyth in 2001.)

Anyway, I've said enough now. Buffalo is good, but I don't think they'll beat Carolina. Carolina's offense is better than Buffalo's defense personally. But we'll see, you never in these playoffs.

Have a great summer everyone, and I hope you enjoy the final runs of the playoffs!


At 5/21/2006 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Hey, this is my first time visiting your blog, and I've been searching for a Red Wings blog. I'm so happy to have found it. On the goal-tending issue, I couldn't agree with you more. I think the worst thought for a potential prospective goal-tender is being drafted by the Wings and stifled in their minor league system until they're either too old to play in the NHL or used as trade fodder. I think the Wings have given away so many good goalie prospects in their quest for the ultimate veteran all-star goalie. But, they should see by now that that doesn't always work, ala Joseph and Khabibulin. It's about time we, as you said, follow the lead of some of the teams still hot in the playoffs depending on rookie goal-tenders. You only get experience by playing. Look at Patrick Roy. Jimmy Howard has shown he has the stuff to be a solid starter in the NHL, and I've heard amazing stuff about Liv.

The Wings have always been touted as a club who have founded diamonds in the rough in the later rounds, ala Zetterberg and Datsyuk. Well, it's about time they apply the philosophy to between the pipes. I feel that they should go after a good veteran goalie like Luongo, and I think that with his record of 26 playoff games without a goal, that they Wings should consider trading Datsyuk for him. He's a highlight reel player, but if he can't step it up to perform in the playoffs, those goals are worthless. However, I think they should let both Manny and Ozzie go. If they get a goalie like Gerber or Giguere, they should definitely bring up Howard to back them up. The only way this shouldn't happen is if they decide they want Howard to play more being that he's only 21 and still developing. In that case, Liv should be brought in. He's already 25 and should be in the prime position in his career to either make the next step up to the NHL or fail.

Finally, it's time to get players who are hungry and gritty to win. I'm saying the same syndrome develop in these Wings that I saw in the early '90s. We have old players who aren't as fast or hungry for the Cup as they once were. They can slug it out for 82 games but not longer have the ability or hunger to crank it up that extra notch to get through the playoffs. Of course, we need the mix of veteran leadership with youthful enthusiasm, but we also need that veteran leadership that is still ripe with hunger and grit to win. I don't think Shanny has it anymore, and it hurts me so much to say it. I don't see the same hunger in his eyes that I did when he toppled Roy on that fateful evening in March 26th, 1997. Draper isn't as fast or as gritty as he once was. He's a grind line player, and he doesn't seem to be able to really grind that much anymore. They need to bring in those younger guys who hunger to muck it up in the corners and fight for every last inch for one chance to win it all. Right now, they don't have it, and they won't sip from that Cup again until they do.

At 5/23/2006 01:32:00 PM, Anonymous bd said...

My quick prediction: Edmonton and Buffalo win their series and Buffalo wins the finals for the Cup. Buffalo's offense is far better than Carolina's, and the Edmonton/Anaheim series speaks for itself.

I don't like the trap game at all. Hockey wasn't created with the intention of 5 players clogging up the middle. Play real hockey. Maybe get some offensive skill? I don't care how much a team wants to win if they play trash puck. It's painful to watch.


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