5 : Detroit Red Wings @ San Jose Sharks : 3
There was some power loss to the HP Pavilion on the morning of the game, which canceled the morning skate. According to Uncle Mike, "Pavel is convinced that just like in 'Bull Durham' Nick got into the building and got the skate canceled and he couldn't be happier. So every once in a while you get lucky as a player. You win the lottery, you don't have to get out there.''
Sorry, I couldn't resist... Photoshop is a beautiful thing.
Fortunately power was restored in time for the game.
Some Notes From The Game:
The First Period:
We get things started with Cleary rocking the first line with Pav and Hank.
Lidstrom keeps things slow the first shift. The Wings don't come out with a lot of zip and play carefully.
Pucks are bouncing everywhere and players are falling left and right, leading me to believe the ice sucks.
The first time Nick gets mentioned they make sure we know he's going to turn 41 this season. From now on I will be sure to appendage Nick's age to his name, as that seems to be the cool thing to do now. I have, quite literally, never heard any announcer mention Nick without squeezing an age in there this season.
We get things started when a Shark heads to the penalty box for high-sticking Franzen in the mouth.
|Not the face!|
Filppula has it along the left boards, passes it all the way across to Zetterberg on the right boards, who shoots it at Cleary, who tips it in. Yup.
|I've seen this move somewhere before...|
Play continues for a few minutes. Jimmah makes a nice save, prompting the announcers to let us know that Jimmah had 9 wins in November - that's first in the NHL. If he wins tonight, he's tied with Carey Price for most wins in the NHL.
More careful hockey.
This was sickening to watch. Datsyuk gets a lead pass from Rafalski and decides he's just going to take it straight up the middle through three Shark pylons.
He dekes and strong-arms his way to the front of the net, but doesn't have a good shot. When Datsyuk can't quite get a handle on it in front of the crease, Nitty comes out to try and either glove it or slap it away with his stick - Datsyuk avoids, skates to the left, and banks it into the wide open net.
|Shark pylons and Puck Magician|
The announcers can't manage to say anything about the goal, other than. ".... wow."
Next, Homer goes off for interference.
For the curious, Datsyuk leads the league in takeaways with 32. Tied with him is Alex Semin.
On the team, Nick (age 40) is the next closest, with 17. Which is good for tied at 14th in the league.
During the ensuing power play, Thorton manages to bank a puck into the net. I feel bile rise in my throat, as every time I see someone wearing a 19, in conjunction with the C no less, the urge to either vomit or defile said player's face in photoshop is neigh overwhelming. Lucky for him, I got my fill of photo-shopping when I put Nick's face over Kevin Costner, leaving Thorton to live another day.
They credit the goal to Heatley, as it seems the puck bounced off of him on its way in. Whatever.
They've got the shots sitting at 15-4 Sharks at this point in the game.
Aside from a single icing, the game continues along at a steady pace. We make good opportunities, especially the first and fourth lines, but no scoring for the remainder of the period.
The only interesting thing of note is an apparently fantastic collision in the neutral zone involving Holmstrom, Heatley, Vlasic, and a linesman. No replay, for some retarded reason. But the crowd seemed to love it. I know I did.
|This is all I could get. I tried.|
Heatley twice tries to chip in the puck past Lidstrom (age 40) on the left, but Nick (age 40) just bats the puck out of the air with his stick, because he's Nicklas Fucking Lidstrom (age 40).
This produces a giggle from the announcers, and if you think I'm joking about the giggling... you're wrong. They throw some props at Nick (age 40) for his disgusting talent.
The period closes.
The Second Period:
We're treated to a Subway (eat fresh.) Ask Randy & Drew.
Mitch in Union City wants to know, 'Is plus/minus a flawed statistic for judging a player's performance?'
Mitch in Union City wants to know, 'Is plus/minus a flawed statistic for judging a player's performance?'
They give the typical answer, which is yes and no. It can be useful at times, but should be taken with a grain of salt.
Of course, no question of plus/minus can avoid a mention of Nick (age 40)'s career plus/minus, which sits at +435.
He's +137 in the last 5 years. and leads the NHL in that department. He leads the NHL in all other plus/minus departments as well, as he is the active leader for career plus/minus.
Here's a snippet of conversation, for your reading pleasure.
"But at the age of 40 years, he's fading away in the NHL this year, Nicklas Lidstrom... it looks like he's on his last legs, Drew. "
"He certainly is. In 21 games, he's only got 20 points, Randy..."
"He'll probably win the Norris Trophy, but looks like it's the end of the line."
Haw haw....you'll notice how they were sure to mention his age again.
They also mention how everyone was prediction the downfall of Nick (age 40) last year, and how oh so wrong they are.
Back to the game, a Shark goes off for tripping Zetterberg. Good stuff.
Both the Sharks and the Wings have given up 3 shorthanded goals this season. God, we suck. We do have one shorti in the bank, however, thanks to Eaves and that match against the Avalanche back in October.
Happens about a second after the power play expires, so even strength. Datsyuk has it on the right, dishes it across ice to Raffi on the left boards, who slaps it towards the net. And I'm not sure how to really describe this, other than to say Zetterberg just wields his stick like a baseball bat and smacks a mid-air rebound at the net. The puck hits the post, bounces off Nitty, and in.
Nitty can't fucking believe it.
Zetterberg looks rightly pleased with himself.
|You can't teach that stuff|
Afterward, Hank makes sure to give a play-by-play of his awesomeness to BFF Pavel.
|Don't tell anyone, Pavel, but that was a complete accident.|
They manage to mention that Stuart is a former Shark at least 27 times.
The Sharks score about a minute later. Red Wing fans everywhere cry goaltender interference, as we're all positive that had that been a Holmstrom goal it would have been recalled, but the goal stands.
|It's not like he's in the crease or anything|
We play some really solid hockey for a few minutes before Holmstrom goes to the box for holding Heatley, who does his fair share to sell it.
20-17 Sharks for the shots at this point.
Clinical penalty kill. Nothing really noteworthy.
Some mention is given to the power outage at the HP Pavilion this morning, and they've put together a list of all the times they failed at hosting a sporting event.
They spend some time on the Sharkie getting stuck in the rafters bit. They reminisce about how they put gym mats beneath him, like that was somehow going to prevent the death that usually follows a 90 foot plummet onto a hard flat surface, and how Scotty was there and didn't seem to be enjoying the whole process. 'Winning-est' is a word, apparently, because these announcers used it to describe Scotty. I think the grammatically correct phrase would be 'most victorious'.
|I left this one intentionally blurry, as this makes it look like Sharkie has been hung from a noose and his dead body dangles from the rafters for the National Anthem.|
Also, fun note from the announcers: Sean Avery has more votes than Thorton for the All-Star game. Hah. The announcers lament the lack of a sucker-punch competition in the Super Skills.
We then proceed to completely dominate the period. There are several looks-like-a-power-play-but-isn't moments. A lot of tripping going on, but no calls by the refs. The fans at the arena boo a lot, as every contact between a Wing and a Shark deserves a penalty on behalf of the home team, apparently.
In the last 10 seconds of the period, the Wings score. SWEET JUSTICE.
Kronner has it along the left boards, passes to Cleary on the point, who one-times it towards the net. Eaves tips it in en-route.
Again with the shit replay. They never show Eaves tipping it in, so here's a lame shot of Cleary at the line. Hi Danny.
The Third Period
The Wings are rocking a +10 in the 3rd period, which leads the NHL. Not that we should be proud of starting it slow and picking it up at the end, but still. Leading the NHL.
Props to Zetterberg from the announcers on using his body to protect the puck. They gush a little, which is totally cool by me.
Boyle, who has both the Shark goals, goes for the hat trick, but hits the post.
Sharks have 23 fighting majors so far.
As soon as they drop that stat, I know there's a fight brewing.
Almost halfway through the period, which saw more intense back and forth hockey with nothing of note really jumping out, Zetterberg scores:
Zetterberg toys around with some Shark who's trying to maintain possession of the puck along the left boards. The puck is eventually knocked loose by Hank, where it's picked up by Datsyuk. Datsyuk dekes around in front of the crease, not finding a shot he really likes, but waiting long enough to draw everyone in the zone to him in panic, because oh my fucking god Pavel Datsyuk has the puck in front of the crease. He backhands it to Zetterberg, who's waiting alone on the left. Their usual Eurotwin One-Two Punch, finely executed.
Salei gets a nice shot on goal, and follows that up by hitting the side of the net.
Zetterberg really chases that hat trick.
Next, Kronwall gives Nichol a little bump. Nichol takes offense, grabs Kronner by the jersey, and pops him one in the face.
|Eat fist, Swede!|
Now, under ordinary circumstances I don't think anyone would blame Kronwall for finding that disagreeable, and probably wouldn't fault him for dropping the gloves to engage in some fisticuffs.
Kronner, however, says a big fat NO THANK YOU to that, and Nichol goes to the box with 2 for roughing and 2 for slashing.
Wings get a four minute power play. That's extremely... classy.
Zetteberg toys around with the thought of the hat trick, but the Wings play it slow and safe here. A couple decent shots by the first line, and Hudler fans on a good purposely wide shot from Lidstrom (age 40) that was perfect for a deflection, but other than that we're content to sit on our three goal lead.
After the power play, the Sharks tally another goal when Jimmah gives up a rebound and a Shark reaches it first. Shmuck.
Two minutes left in the period and we get a timeout.
|The Red Wings peruse a menu for after-game dining|
It's all for naught, however, as we deny the Sharks any chance at miraculous redemption.
There's an enticing empty net at the other end that just screams HAT TRICK for the final minute thirty, but alas...
Don't Think We Didn't Notice:
While this game was classy as shit, nothing caught our notice, and no one Served With Pride.
Stay classy, Red Wings.