Sunday, May 31, 2009

And so it begins (or does it continue?)

The Stanley Cup finals have finally started, and with that the world has jumped on the hockey bandwagon. Every other feed on my Facebook homepage says “Go Wings!” Newspapers are posting hockey news on the front page. Even is jumping on for the ride. I’d ask where these people are the other 351 days a year, but I know the answer.

They’re watching football.

As tonight’s game came to a close, I started racking my brain for a word to describe it. Unfortunately, no such word exists, so a long string of adjectives will have to do. It was stressful, gross, fast, amazing, ridiculous, exciting, and above all, (what else?) pukey. But the Wings came out with the win, and that’s all that matters in the end. It was great having Nick and Fabio back on the blueline, and it will be even better when Pavel finally gets healthy.

How long has it been now? Maybe in my brain three minutes without Pavel Datsyuk just feels like ten years, but I’m almost ready to call complete bs on the “bruised foot” thing. Whatever it is, it needs to go away soon; I want the Russian-on-Russian deke-battles I’ve been dreaming of.

Now, onto things that make me irrationally angry. DENNIS-FREAKING-LARUE. Who let him into the Stanley Cup finals? Wasn’t it enough fun last year when O’Halloran ref-ed every other game? It’s a miracle that the Red Wings didn’t end the first period with two game misconducts, five fighting majors for standing too close to Sidney Crosby, and down by nine goals.

But the Wings deserved that win. They killed off two back-to-back penalties, had the better goaltender, and just all out played a better game. I’ve been hearing that all three of the goals they scored were lucky bounces, but clearly these people didn’t see the goal from Justin Abdelkader. He knocked it out of the air and then put it in the net. That doesn’t sound like a lucky bounce to me.

At the rate they’re going, Crosby and Zetterberg are going to end up scheduling a full on cage match for the off-season. The last thing I want to see is those two trying to hurt each other as the series goes on, because as much as I’ve got my money on the Viking, Hank has a history of back spasms that I’d like to keep as history.

And I don’t know. I sort of expected more violence against Hossa. I know there was some, but I was sort of hoping that their retribution-anger would have distracted them from the game, like it did Chicago. Like taking stupid penalties and going WHAAAAREVENGE!! instead of I am going to force him toward the boards and pass the puck across ice to the neutral zone. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

No guesses from us

Now's about the last chance any of us have to make our finals predictions. Maybe you were waiting for ours.
You're not getting any. At our house, you don't even say the word "prediction" out loud. Just typing it in the same blog post twice is getting me sideways glances from Lindsay. We have hung the phone up on our own father before because he sounded like he might have been just about to tell us what he thought the final score was going to be.

Besides, all my internet predictions this season have ended disasterously. There's enough for us to worry about right now without me dooming the team. Injuries. Malkin not having the flu again. Scheduling that makes it look like Gary's not taking any chances this year.

Seriously, the man has to be wetting himself over the chance to do last year over again, with his ending.

But even with all that potential pukeyness hanging in the air, it's been like Christmas in our household over the last few days thanks to a wonderful and mysterious benefactor named Karen.

We don't know what she looks like, so here's an artist's rendition:

If you can take your eyes off the legs, you'll notice the halo. We don't break out Paint Shop Pro for just anyone, people.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Deja vu all over again

Ha. Take that, you punk kids. The Wings finished them off, and they finished them off without Pavel Datsyuk, without Babcock's giant man-crush Ericsson, and without Nick Lidstrom. They can call the team old, they can call the team European, they can call the team whatever they want, but no one can say the Wings don't have depth. Darren Helm for the win.

I think he still doesn't have any regular season goals.

But now the Wings are playing the Penguins in the finals again and I feel like we just went through this.

That's probably because we did.

I'm not going to lie to you - I am sick of looking at the Penguins. I am sick of commentators fawning over Sidney Crosby, I am sick of yelling at my television for Marc-Andre Fleury to stop being a whore, and I am sick of yinzers in 'Free Candy' t-shirts sitting in lawn chairs burning their Hossa jerseys just to see how high the flames go. I know that this is going to be a different series than it was last year - the teams are different, the bounces won't all go the same way - but for some reason it still feels like I'm about to watch a dead horse being kicked. A dead horse with the overlying threat of the Penguins potentially having their revenge. Maybe I'm the only person who feels this way, but I'm sort of worried that the whole series is going to run like some sort of bizzaro dream-world alternate reality where you're forced to relive your past only you do it wrong and you mess up the future.

The finals haven't even started yet, and I'm already imagining them as being a bad weekend movie on Sci-Fi, or the kind of nightmare you tell your therapist about.

Whatever though. In the end, I don't much care who the Wings play in the finals provided they beat them.

Game 5 crazyness

Today I got woken up early by my cell phone. It was a twitter update from Scott Oake telling me that Pavel and Nick didn't skate this morning. Not quite what I wanted to wake up to.

Game five was ridiculousness embodied. I was being drug around the Royal Ontario Museum instead of watching it, and I still haven't quite worked out all of what was going on, but in the aftermath, only two things really matter - the Red Wings won, and Johan Franzen is the most amazing person in the world:

Trisha and I have been wanting someone to do this for two years. Because seriously. Just keep the damn thing in your mouth.

The Wings are now one win away from meeting the Penguins again in another springtime battle to the death. Get ready for every other word from the announcers mouths to be "Marian Hossa".

I actually really liked him and Tyfus last year, and had a great time getting to watch them be Red Wings, even if both of them are elsewhere by July.

Damn is it gonna suck for them if the Wings make the finals but don't repeat.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Blogging from Toronto

Realistically, I never expected the Wings to sweep. They had to lose a game to the Blackhawks eventually. But then, I didn't expect them to come back from a 3-goal deficit either, so by the time they lost, my emotions had been seriously played with. Still, I feel cheated every time the Wings lose in overtime.

I guess I was lucky, in that I got to see all three Wings goals, but missed all four Blackhawks (three while we were en route to Toronto, the overtime winner while I was trying to buy chocolate glazed timbits from a real shady Tim Hortons (insult to injury - they were out)), so my actual memories of the game itself were all covered and dripping with awesomeness.

Unfortunately, the fact that I spent most of Friday evening in a car with my family, travelling through lower-Ontario under cover of night also meant that we all missed Kronwall's epic hit on Havlat. From what I've heard the consensus is that if it was a bad hit, it was only because Havlat sort of missed the puck, and other than there being no puck-touching and leaving him looking pretty dead on the ice was perfectly fine, but then, most of what I heard I heard on a sports show we don't get on Livonia Brighthouse cable where one of the in-studio guest ball-hockey players spent the entire time pretending to lick the side of Ray Scapinello's head.

But now I guess Brian Campbell is tying threatening notes to bricks and hurling them through Kronner's window. Spectacular. There are so many potential issues at hand here - Was it a clean hit? Will Havlat be ok? Will some nutbag on Chicago try anything stupid in retaliation tomorrow? Will the Hawks be bastards and tie the series? What's going on with Pavel's foot? Is Pavel's new, more relaxed Dr. Rahmani Eye Institute commerical totally better than Campbell's Sweat Centers one? (Hell yes is it.) The only thing I can think to do is look at the positive side of things.

So, the Wings losing sucks, but on the bright side, they're still up one game, and can get within one win of the Stanley Cup finals tomorrow night.

I'd tell you to go out and be happy like me based on this information alone, but that's not really fair - I kissed the Stanley Cup at the HHoF today, and am bound to have a better baseline mood than I would have otherwise. It was a day of being constantly reminded of how freaking awesome the Red Wings are - it pretty much just fixed everything.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Chicago…still blegh

That game was a thriller, but Chicago still gives me headaches. I was getting whiplash watching the puck move so fast with all the turnovers and honestly think that the western conference finals are going to end with someone sustaining a serious injury of some sort. It almost happened in Game One with that Burish neck-slice scare. This series is getting really scrappy.

And with scrappiness comes penalties. Horrible, unnecessary, stupid penalties from the whistles of Dennis LaRue and Greg Devorski. I hate Dennis LaRue. Every time I see a tiny man skate onto the ice wearing a striped jersey with a number 14 on the back, my stomach drops because I know I’m about to sit through at least sixty minutes of ridiculousness. I hate it. There are some refs in this league I give second chances to, allow occasional mistakes from, try to forgive a little even if I can’t forget (because we’re all human) – but Dennis LaRue is not one of those refs. I want to get him alone in an elevator so I can kick him in the shins more than I do Jarome Iginla.

On a less bitter note…that game was, in my opinion, Chris Osgood’s best performance in this year’s playoffs, and… probably all year. He was consistent and pretty much the main reason why the Red Wings came out with a win. Justin Abdelkader had a pretty solid night, too. He made some plays that showed he is ready to play in this league. I’m a little worried about who we’ll have to drop to get him and Darren Helm in Detroit next year (even though I’m guessing that ready or not, Abdelkader’s spending some quality time in Grand Rapids again), but that’s Ken Holland’s problem – not mine.

Game three is Friday in Chicago. I want to be excited, because it’s the playoffs, and Wings are up two games to none, but I find it really hard to get excited about watching a hockey game in an arena full of Blackhawks fans.

I saw one today, at 1:30 in the morning, outside of the MGM Grand parking garage, still in his jersey, staring out despondently at the passing traffic. If I hadn’t been sure my friend, who was driving, would backhand me for making a scene, I would have reached over, laid on the horn, leaned out my window, and yelled something about his team having cooties.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chicago... blegh

Tonight, on a very special episode of Hockeytown Static, we talk about a disease which has affected the lives of billions of innocent children worldwide – cooties.

Because today, the Wings begin a series with a team that has two of the most cooties-positive players in the entire NHL – Chris Versteeg and Patrick Kane.

Kane at least seems to have gotten his under control enough that at least they don’t show up on his face anymore. He may beat the disease yet. Versteeg sings Fergie songs on camera.

I’d run from either of them on the playground.

The Wings had a hard enough time not catching anything from Corey Perry and Rob Neidermayer the last seven games. (I know how old Rob Neidermayer is. I don’t care. I know cooties, and the man has them. He probably caught them from Corey.) Their immune systems are tired. Pavel hasn’t scored in a thousand years. Abdelkader is busy fighting off the last of his own cooties. I don’t know how long they can keep this up.

No, seriously though, I’m not looking forward to having to watch 4 to 7 Blackhawks games.
- Their team is gross
- Joel Quenville is a major tool
- I’m actually not kidding about Kane and Versteeg having cooties.
- Scottie Bowman told them all our secrets
- My mom thinks Nikolai Khabibulin is cute (THAT CONVERSATION WAS AWKWARD)
- Did I mention the cooties?

There hasn’t been a single game against them this season that didn’t make me want to throw up a little, even the ones the Wings won. I hope this series goes fast. And in the Wings’ favor.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oh thank god.

Looking back on it, that was an exceptional game. Watching it was occasionally painful. Like when the score was tied. Or when the Wings were killing off ten-minute 2-on-8s. Or when Chris Pronger went out of his way to get out of position so he could start jobbing Homer.

But the Red Wings won! And we've been waiting all year for Helm to pull off something like that breakaway goal. Everybody talks about how fast he is, but you don't really realize it until you watch him take off like that. Good lord. That was nothing short of spectacular.

Of course, the giddy jubilation I'm feeling is somewhat tempered by the thought of having to play four to seven games against the Chicago Blackhawks making me throw up a little in my mouth.

Now for some reason we're watching Boston and Carolina go into overtime, prompting the following conversation:

"I totally didn't even know Rod Brind'Amor was still in the NHL."
"Rod the Bod?"
"That's what they called him."
"Him? Ew. Why? He's..."
"No one ever called him 'Rod the Face', Lindsay."

Well. They didn't.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lucky number seven?

The word pukey just came out of retirement. I don't know what the hell that was, because I'm asleep right now, but I know that it wasn't anything good.

I've heard a lot people talk about how much they love game 7s in the playoffs, because I guess they're intense or something, but I don't know - the prospect of watching creepy old-man Neidermayer try to take on Datsyuk is maybe kind of funny, as an abstract thought, but it's not exactly my idea of an awesome Thursday night, especially not during what might be the last Wings game of the year.

Maybe that makes me a bad hockey fan, but I don't care. I'm a Wings fan before I'm a hockey fan; one of those terrible people who doesn't care how boring the games are so long as the team wins. But anyway, we're not out of it just yet. Both of these teams can remember the taste of going all the way, and I guess we're about to see who wants to taste it again the most.

Apparently Justin Abdelkader's new nickname is "Abby". Am I a terrible person for giggling at that? We had a kitten named Abby once. She was fluffy and adorable and we said things to her like "Abby can has nummy chicken? Om nom nom nom".

But who am I to judge what they call the kid - since mom couldn't actually say Abdelkader, we just called him Waffles.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Still no coherant thoughts

I waited for something to come, but by now I'm thinking that I just lack the ability to say anything intelligent about last night's game. It's like my whole range of communication has been reduced to a series of grunting noises and expressive faces.

I guess it's for the best. That way if I met Chris Pronger in the street, he would understand what I had to say about him.

Of course, reading this didn't really help with my non-coherent English problem. I'd say something snarky about it, but when Scotty Bowman says he thinks Patrick Roy coaching the Avs is a good idea, my response can only be "What?"

"He's done a good job in junior," Scotty? Really? Didn't he order his son to go to the other end of the ice and beat down the other goalie? I... what?

Game 6 is tomorrow at the ungodly hour of 10pm again. I'd love to be able to make promises to everyone about how the team isn't going to go and lose two straight, but my predictions usually end badly, and anyway, the only promise this blog has been able to keep so far is that the posts would drop in quantity and quality once Grand Valley let out for the summer. I'll believe we've got this series in the bag when the Wings are smiling their way down the handshake line.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I have never been happier to see JS Giguere in my life

That game was... less pukey. And I think after this series, I'm retiring the word pukey. I may have invented it, but that doesn't mean I can't change my mind about liking it.

In case you missed the end of this one because you were asleep, jacked up on caffeine, or piss drunk from the first period, Hockeytown West showed up. They should be proud. The cheering at the final buzzer sounded almost as loud as it does at the Joe.

But I do have a problem with that game - Why do the Red Wings keep baiting me with the unfulfilled promise of free roast beef? Hossa's the worst at this. Today it was him and Franzen each one goal away from the hat trick, and subsequent free Arby's. Seriously, you guys. I'm giving you both the Larry Murphy award.

That's ok. He can get a hat trick on Sunday. Please?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Are you pissed? You should be.

I understand that the referees are in the game for a purpose, and that they're important or something.


I don't just mean that goal that was a goal that somehow wasn't counted as a goal because I guess the ref just didn't feel like calling it a goal because he had indigestion or a bird was in the arena rafters and pooped in his eye or he was staring at Neidermayer's ass or something, I mean the fact that half the goals that were counted as goals this series were powerplay goals too. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I remember some idyllic time long ago when hockey was played without penalties being called, because I don’t, actually. Refs have been making mistakes since before I was born, and the world keeps turning. But in this series it feels like the officiating is making an extra effort to impact the final outcomes of these games. Now, I’m not saying that if these two teams had been allowed to play 5-on-5 grab-and-grapple hockey for three games that the Wings would be on their way to a sweep or anything. I’m just saying that I want to be able to someday look my children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them, whatever the outcome, that yes, during the 2009 western conference semi-finals, the better-playing team won.

And since that was so ridiculous and it’s already Wednesday in Michigan, you know, when normal people would be sleeping, and not watching hockey games that end like that, unable to yell at the television for fear of waking the rest of their family, who have to get up and work in the morning, you know, like normal people, that call was hockeytownstatic’s WTF Wednesday moment. That and Nick Lidstrom holding back Pronger at the end of the game. Which we laughed at. Really hard. Harder when we figured they weren’t going to hurt each other.

Is that a total cop-out? Maybe. After those two games, I’m not going anywhere near our crappy dial-up internet again for at least a week. I’m stressed enough, and I don’t think my family would understand if I put my fist through the screen screaming I HATE CHRIS PRONGER.

Part of me is almost thankful that it was just over quickly though. I’m a nightowl, but I don’t want to be up until 3 in the morning watching the Ducks wear us down again in overtime.

Dammit, this is so fricking ridiculous. I’m so struck by the ridiculousity of the whole thing that I can’t even tell how angry I am.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The internet finally worked...after a day and a half...

So there's not much going on with the Red Wings, in terms of breaking news at least. Rafalski and Draper are still out with what I'm guessing is exploding chicken pox, and Andreas Lilja still isn't close to playing yet.

Game three is tonight in Anaheim, and judging from the last two, it's going to be gross, but entertaining. Personally in the playoffs, I'd prefer boring games that lead to shutouts for Ozzie and don't make me want to pull out my hair. But in reality, that will never happen.

So here's hoping that the Wings can get a win tonight an pull ahead in the series. Really, really, hoping. The less we have to hear their horrible goal horn, the better (I swear it's the most annoying noise in hockey other than the Dallas Star's "One Minute" announcer). I'm thinking a ten'o'clock coffee run may be in order for the next two games. Who came up with the idea of different time zones, anyway?

Friday, May 1, 2009

That game was pukey

It was one of those games where the refs influenced the score, and while I'm happy with the overall outcome, a few of those penalties made me want to vomit bricks on Kelly Sutherland.

And instead of being outraged at the bogusest goaltender interference penalty called in the history of man (although paradoxically maybe not the most bogus goaltender interference penalty called against Tomas Holmstrom), CBC spent the whole game going back to how Jiri Hudler should have kept his head up on that questionable hit.

Because everyone knows Europeans only get hurt because they don't know how to play hockey. Ugh, whatever.

I spent the last 54 seconds of that game refusing to look at the television. Game 5 is still a bleeding, throbbing wound in my heart, and I have a minor post-traumatic meltdown every time the opposing team pulls their goalie to this day.

I did catch most of CBC's post-game interviews. It looks like Ryan Getzlaf manscapes. Those eyebrows are spectacular. Very shapely.