Things to look for tonite

January 6, 2006

With just a few hours to go until Game 1 of the Divisional 8-game series starts tonite, here are a few things I’ll be watching for.

  • The pressure the Nashville forecheckers put on our defensemen.  Lidstrom, Chelios and Schneider don’t worry me.  Wooley, Lilja and Lebda do.
  • Paul Kariya and Chris Chelios are not playground buddies.  They don’t drink together and they simply do not like one another. From the 2003 playoffs:

Kariya: “I’m going through the neutral zone and I’ve got a guy tugging me through the whole way, if I don’t go down, I’m not going to get a call.” Chelios, in response: “Guys like him ruin it for everybody else. It’s just embarrassing. Or maybe he’s not embarrassed because he probably believes he’s not doing it-that’s how liars are.”

  • In case Chelly has forgotten how much he dislikes Kariya, perhaps he and the rest of the Wings should read this.
  • Speaking of dislike, I have a feeling that over the course of these 8 games Tomas Vokoun and Tomas Holmstrom will get to know each other very well.  And in the event, Homer or the rest of the Wings had forgotten about him, let me refresh you.  From Hockey Digest, 2004:

Of course, it wasn’t just his play that got Vokoun noticed against Detroit. Known for his mild manner, Vokoun was unusually vocal toward the Red Wings, so much so that several Detroit players complained about what they called “trash talk.”

What was it that infuriated the Red Wings? Maybe the fact that he called them an “arrogant team,” and accused them of whining about penalties. Detroit coach Dave Lewis used Vokoun’s quotes to motivate his team, hanging them on the locker room wall.

  • The first ten minutes.  In their arena, the Preds will come out flying.  Hopefully the Wings have shaken off the problems of the last two weeks and can stem the tide.
  • Shanny’s scoring slump is now at 5 games.  He and Robert Lang must contribute. In Shanny’s case, if his back allows it, the Wings need someone who won’t shy away from hits.  In that regard, the checking lines must be ferocious tonite.   

One Response to “Things to look for tonite”

  1. Olongapo Joe Says:

    Well, if it’s going to be a playoff-type atmosphere out there, then I look for a tight-checking game with a premium being placed on goaltender support in the defensive zone–blocking shots from the point, positioning in close/tying-up sticks, and clearing rebounds quickly. (Hopefully, the Wings saved a little energy from the rather easy win against the Blues last night, because they are going to need it.

    Datsyuk and Zetterberg are going to get a lot of attention from the Preds, as will Kariya and Sullivan from the Wings. (Tip to Babcock: I’d move Franzen off the Grind Line and replace him with Cleary. We’ll need his extra speed on the backcheck tonight).

    Second-tier guys will probably be the difference-makers tonight (as they often are in playoff games). Holmstrom, Samuelsson and Franzen, et. al are going to have to step-up, while guys like Erat, Hall, Hartnell, even Tootoo/Cheechoo/Choochoo–whatever the heck his name is–possibly factoring in big for Nashville.

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