What a game

December 29, 2005

Halfway through the first period of the Leafs/Sabres game tonite, it became strikingly clear that the “new” NHL is very capable of attracting a whole new generation of hockey fans.

After a long rebound off the blocker of Belfour, the Leafs were flying, rushing up ice, four skaters crossing the Buffalo blue line in perfect sync.  It was then, seeing a wash of royal blue flying toward Martin Biron, that I was reminded again just how great our game is to watch.

Tie Domi–of all people–deked and left a drop pass for McCabe, who blasted a slap shot by Biron. 

From there on, this game was amazing.  Everything you look for. Shorthanded goals for both teams, rare stoppages (I can’t recall a single whistle for icing or even offsides), great hits.

Midway throught the third with Toronto up 3-2, you could sense Eddie losing it.  We, as Wings fans, know that site very well.  Bobbling rebounds, losing his temper, slashing anyone within a few feet of him.  Inevitably he let in a softie with about 11 minutes left. 

At that point, I switched to the Pistons/Heat game on TNT.  From the chaos of the Air Canada Centre, every fan on his feet, the building shaking–to the Palace, a rivalry game built up by media from both cities; and you could hear the echo of the ball bouncing as Rip Hamilton dribbled around the perimeter.  Polite clapping as Rasheed hit a fall away.

I like the Pistons, but there is just no comparison between these two sports.

Back to Toronto and you knew it was going OT.  Great scoring chances from both sides as regulation drew to a close.  Odd man rushes, tenacious battles and the refs swallowed their whistles in the final minutes. 

As Mats Sundin beared down on Biron in the shootout, my wife said, “oh, cute leggings.”  He must have heard as he rifled one upstairs.   Buffalo couldn’t get past Belfour and the Leafs fans erupted.

Amazing game and testament to the NHL–new and old.

Who said this?

December 29, 2005

“If I don’t stay in the newspapers, how else am I going to get all the pretty girls?”
Visit Vancouver Canucks OpEd to find out.  Great blog.

Spector’s back to his

December 29, 2005

prolific old self after the trading freeze.  Trade rumors today are filled with interesting possibilities.  None specifically mention the Wings, but this comment did stand out:

—–

I’m sure Keenan has probably fielded some inquiries about Luongo but let’s face it, he’s not going to move him if he can’t get a strong return, which includes a comparable goaltender.

——

“Comparable” is a pretty broad term.  So, let’s take a look at one of our goalies,  perhaps the one with the big mouth and cranky knees.

Luongo: 3.12 GAA and a .914 save percentage.

Legace: 2.21 and .914

Seems comparable enough.  So much so that we’ve all been making similar “comparisons” for weeks now, months even. From MLive forum poster, Ilovewings last week:

“Babcock coached Luongo so he knows his abilities but alot of teams will be knocking at florida’s door.” 

The thought that Mike Keenan doesn’t have Luongo on the market is only reasonable if you add “yet” to that idea.  When the market is right, he’ll deal him, as long as the deal is right for him.  Luongo is a commodity that can shape the future of a franchise, and would command much  more than just Legace–or Osgood, for the sake of discussion. 

I would guess that if Luongo’s the asking price there are only two Wings Holland wouldn’t send to Miami–Zetterberg and Lidstrom, and the latter would be an admittedly tough choice to make.

Luongo’s going somewhere.  My guess would be Colorado only because LaCroissant has the track record.  Throw in the fact that he must sense his reputation as a master dealer has lost a little luster and he must be starving–so to speak–to make that deal. 

 

Chuck Carlton still the best

December 29, 2005

beat writer as far as the Wings are concerned.  Prior to taking the job with the Dallas Morning News, he held the same job with MLive.  He left in ’98 and took an immense amount of knowledge and ability with him.  In today’s game story, he was blunt in his assessment that the Stars may be an elite team, but still lagging behind the Wings.

“To be Stanley Cup contenders again, the Stars are going to have to learn to beat Detroit – again.

The visiting Red Wings’ 4-1 victory Tuesday night illustrated plainly the difference between the teams, the winningest regular-season clubs since 1996. ”

Great quote from Modano, that re-affirms what we’ve known for ten years–that the Wings are NOT the Yankees of the NHL, but rather a team benefiting from astute scouting and foresight.

“I don’t know,” he said. “They keep on breeding younger guys. They come up and fill in for guys who left. They have guys who you never heard of until they get to Detroit and then play well.”

Motormouth at it again

December 28, 2005

…and this time it appears to be irritating his coach.  Manny Legace, the NHL player of the month for October–and informal mouth that wouldn’t stop roaring during the lockout–is claiming he’s ready for action. 

“Really close,” Legace said. “After a good week of practice with the guys, I should get it going for (Saturday).”

Naturally, that’s news to his coach.   Mike Babcock, proving to be more of a Bowman disciple every day: 

“Manny hasn’t broke that news to me. I’m glad he let you guys (media) know first,” Babcock said. “So when he lets me know, then I can talk about it.”

IWO:  Legace had already earned a prominent place in Babcock’s doghouse by running his mouth about lying to the trainer and coaching staff about the condition of his original injury.  He’s probably found a home there after this one.  Babcock pulls no punches, apparently.  Babcock, already the longest tenured current coach in Detroit, has no problem pointing fingers through the media if he sees fit.  He’s also quick with the praise.