Sunday, May 30, 2010

No, I Didn't Die When the Red Wings Lost (aka Who Now?!)

Yeah, I fully intended on writing a wrap-up of some sort. Either about the game 5 loss, or a season review, or at least SOMETHING instead of just letting this website atrophy in neglect.

But things happened.

Personal things happened to me, personal things happened to my best friends, things happened to my computer... A lot of things happened.

So here we are now, a full series after the Wings were eliminated from the playoffs, one game into the Stanley Cup Finals, and Red Wings Nation is in a bit of a pickle. We're not really used to having hockey without the Wings playing, and we just do not know where our loyalties need to lie now. Chicago. Philadelphia. The cons for either team definitely outweigh the pro.

So who should we really pull for now?

Do we root for Chicago, hoping to keep the Cup in the West, keep it in the division, and deal with having to hear from Chicago fans who pull their heads out of their asses long enough to say some smarmy, cocky, stupid comments?
Do we root for Philadelphia, hoping that Chicago gets theirs, knocks them down a peg, shatters their pride, but have to see Ville Leino hoist a Cup after getting it handed to him by Pronger?

Or do we just boycott the whole thing, not pay attention, and look forward to the 2 biggest days coming up, July 1st and opening day?

Well, one of the things that sets us Wings fans apart from half of the other teams' fans is that we're all legitimate hockey fans, too, so I don't think that we'll be able to just block everything out. Judging from what I saw tonight on Twitter, most of us were still watching the game (although not really tweeting as much about it as when, you know, the GOOD team plays...) and still getting our hearts -and our brains- ripped out by everything NBC chose to broadcast.

But we tough it out. Despite watching two teams we all have a solid case for hating play for the trophy that belongs to us. Despite having to put up with some of the most useless, asinine comments and "analysis" the NBC/Versus/non-FSD crews come up with. Despite having come *this* close to swearing off hockey for good about 159 times during the regular season/playoffs. We stick around.

And I'm going to to that here, too. So don't worry.

Friday, May 7, 2010

I'd Hate to Say I Told You So

Last night was probably as good of a Wings game as I've ever experienced. The game was good. The company was good. And then hearing/seeing that Pittsburgh lost, too, was good.

First off, I'd like to post out here in the public domain that my good friend Caitlin's dad called the game a 6-1 win about 30 minutes before puck drop. That man needs to keep making predictions like that.

We arrived a few minutes late due to some miscommunication between some of my friends, and almost as soon as I sat down (in my Franzen jersey, no less), the goals starting coming. So, with all due respect to the Red Wings Commune, I think I'll be sitting out the next few games with you, because I've found my new superstitious hot spot.

I mentioned yesterday that I woke up feeling fine, no worries or anxiety. I BASICALLY guaranteed a win. I called out a few people for their negativity and how quickly they lost hope.

I'd hate to say I told you so, but I told you so. Let's go over my last game post and key in on a few points.

We've seen this Wings club playing at their top level, and we know that they're completely capable of looking unbeatable. 
 It sure looked that way last night, didn't it? I made the quip in the third period that they could give up 5 goals and we'd still win the game. That's a good feeling.
If that happens, we can probably count on the Sharks' penchant for choking to take over.
 They sure seemed to unravel towards the end of that game, didn't they? Of course, the original context of the statement was in regards to winning 2 in a row. But if the Wings come out with 50% of what they came with last night, that's still a 3-2 win.
Jimmy needs to play like he's still earning his place on this team.
28 saves on 29 shots. Some of them big saves. Sounds to me like a good case-making performance in a high pressure situation. Like a bona fide starter.

Our goal scorers need to score. Score goals. This means you, Franzen, Bertuzzi.
Franzen was Franzen. Bertuzzi was... Franzen. 11 points between the 2 of them, with 5 goals. The extra 6 points were just icing on the cake. The entire rest of the team combines for 8 points.
And they need to score with their sticks.
As far as I can tell, the only video review involved in last night's game was to verify that the puck went in off of Bertuzzi, not to tell if it was a good goal or not. That's how these games need to be played.

So that's one. Great job, Wings. Really, spectacular.

Now forget about it.

Come Saturday, this win won't mean anything except another plane ride to and from California. Don't think about how you walked all over them and made them look foolish. Don't think that it's going to be that easy again. Just think about the fact that you did it. You can beat this Sharks team. If you can blow this team out of the water like that, you can definitely scrap together an ugly win if you have to. Then another one. And then another one. Until you're booking flights to Vancouver. Or Chicago.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Defense of Tin Foil, Part I


I'm Robert Masters, writer of Etched In Cold, and apparently tin foil hat whacko nutjob #1.

You might have linked to this site from the article in the Free Press, or the link on Snapshots, and expecting to come across some delusion-driven bring Gary down rebel blog.

You'll be disappointed.

Instead, what you'll find is a blog written by a fun, silly, no-name blogger who's suddenly coming under fire from Bettman's personal Brainwash Army from all corners of the NHL world. (It's a fucking joke. Calm down.)

The Tin Foil Flash Mob was playing on the unrealistic idea that had been floating around from the fans of other NHL teams that we were all whiny conspiracy theorists who sat in basement bunkers wearing tin foil hats to avoid the NHL brainwashing, television reception be damned.
We embraced it. As a joke.
Kind of like how someone who mispronounces a word continues to use the same butchered pronounciation to poke fun at themselves, we all started referencing the need for tin foil hats whenever something suspicious happened in a Red Wings game. And it grew. The same way that internet memes and Justin Beiber have. There's no real rhyme or reason for it to become popular, but it has.

About Tuesday:
The Flash Mob was never intended to be a Mecca for Bettman haters and conspiracy theorists. It was thought up by Sara as a fun, tongue-in-cheek way to create a little buzz for the people going to the game. Hang out a little, make some new friends, and poke a little bit of fun at our selves. Maybe make a few people laugh and get a little more energy heading into the game, and maybe it would translate onto the ice.
We went there with the intent to recruit some people into the dance to Stompin' Tom Connors. Not to drink our Kool-Aid. We did it to get together and have a good time, as the Red Wings Commune often does. We did it to be a part of the pre-game atmosphere and the excitement surrounding a home playoff game.

If it was meant to be a real protest or psuedo-political movement, don't you think we would have made signs and come up with a few better chants other than the "Let's Go Red Wings" chant we started, like, "Brainwashing's scary! Down with Gary!" or something like that?

And maybe made tin foil hats that didn't blow off in the wind.

It was a joke. Simply put. To anyone who's lambasting us for what we did, you're the ones who are taking it too far. And maybe even adding a little fuel to the fire. If there weren't some underground movement to knock the Wings and their fans down a peg, why would you be so adamant to call us out for being off the mark and being nuts? Trying to throw the bloodhounds off the scent, are you? (Again, I'm kidding!)

All we've really said -as a group- is that there have been some questionable calls made in the series and over the course of the season. Yes, we'd like some consistancy, and is that too much to ask for from professionals? I can understand little league refs screwing up a call or two because they have other jobs in their life. When you're being paid to just call hockey games, maybe a little personal pride should come into play when you're working a game.

As far as being spaced out, delusional, crazy, tin foil hat donning, NHL hating Ewoks, we're FAR from that.

We're just silly people who had a silly idea and did some silly things.

The rest of you made it serious.

Check back in tomorrow for more regarding FoilGate

Well, We Won 7 in a Row Earlier This Year...


I've calmed down a little bit. I narrowly avoided doing something hasty regarding my face and a razor. I smoked a few cigarettes. I punched a few walls. I entertained the idea of drinking straight through to game 4.

And I came up with a few conclusions.

I'm not losing all hope. Momentum, she is a fickle mistress. Remember Lidstrom's red line shot in 2002 that turned the series around and eventually led us to a Cup? Things happen in sports. Things no one can foresee. To use the old cliche, that's why they play the games. And there's still a game here on Thursday left to be played. One lucky bounce or, as we saw in game 2, broken stick, and this thing could turn around quick, fast, and in a hurry.

Game 3 is really the only game that the Red Wings were truly beaten. Game 1 was close enough to be a comfortable loss. Game 2 was that horrendous PK fest.

So why should we assume that the Wings CAN'T pull off the improbable comeback?

The general idea going into this series was that the Wings could pull it off in 5 games. Well, that's where we're at now. 5 games. One already in the books. 4 to go.

We've seen this Wings club playing at their top level, and we know that they're completely capable of looking unbeatable. We know that when the game is left to the 6 guys in with sticks in their hands, they can be the best team in the league. (That may or may not have been my obligatory "the officiating sucks" statement.) What remains to be seen is if they can rattle off a string of 2 or 3 of those games and put the Sharks back on their heels.

If that happens, we can probably count on the Sharks' penchant for choking to take over.

But what needs to happen for that to come to fruition?
Jimmy needs to play like he's still earning his place on this team. Because who's to say that he's not? Will the front office give him a get-out-of-jail-free card if he plays like he did tonight? Or will they look for another veteran goaltender to help him on his way to being a bona fide starter? Hell, Nabokov's becoming a free agent this summer...

Our goal scorers need to score. Score goals. This means you, Franzen (I don't have to validate that, do I?), Filppula (no goals since game 3 against Phoenix), Cleary (just 2 points, but they're both goals),  and everyone's favorite washing machine impersonator, Bertuzzi (2 goals in game seven, but only one hit the stat sheet). Get it, washing machine... spin cycle... spin-o-rama... Hey, don't fault me for trying to lighten the mood in Red Wings nation when we clearly need it. Anyway, the point is that 46% of our goals have been scored by 3 forwards. Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Holmstrom.

And they need to score with their sticks. I got into the habit today of not celebrating a goal until the puck had dropped to begin play again. Because you never know what's going to be reviewed and called back these days. I can't remember seeing as many video reviews in my LIFE as I've seen this year alone. We need good, solid, clean, legal, sure goals. Don't leave anything in the hands of an outsider.

 We've seen the way this team bounced back from game 6 against Phoenix. So far, they're undefeated this year in elimination games. So, I guess statistics are on our side. Let's keep that up. Let's come out Thursday with something to prove and nothing to lose. If they do, and pull out the W, they can rebuild a little of the faith that was lost today. And just keep rolling.