Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Red Wings Ugly Third Jersey Contest

Last week, I posed a question to my followers on Twitter, asking what 28 other teams in the league had that the Red Wings didn’t. I got various responses, saying cheerleaders, mascots, and Canadian captains.

The answer that I was looking for was an official 3rd jersey.

Ever since the league okayed teams to submit 3rd jerseys for approval back in 1995, every team in the league but 2 has had an officially sanctioned 3rd jersey.

Who are those two holdout teams?
Oddly enough, we'll see them both in action, sharing the ice tomorrow night.

The most important? The Detroit Red Wings. The most ironic? New Jersey.


Seriously, how funny is it that New Jersey hasn’t really had a new jersey to market?
But that’s me getting distracted.

The point is, most of the 3rd jerseys the league has allowed have been absolutely hideous. Just look at the ones in use this season.

Okay, truth be told, I really like the Los Angeles one...

On the 14th of this month, during a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets and their very own atrocious 3rd jerseys, @sigsegfalt called for a contest to see who could, in keeping with the NHL’s long standing tradition of allowing teams to abandon color schemes and common sense, come up with the world’s worst possible Detroit Red Wings 3rd Jersey. 

Well, Red Wings Nation, ask and you shall receive.
I’m very proud to announce a partnership with the guys over at The Production Line in bringing you the 
Red Wings Ugly Third Jersey Photoshop Contest.

The rules? There are no rules. Just Photoshop/MS Paint/Gimp what you think would be the worst possible Red Wings 3rd jersey and send your creation to either EtchedInCold@Gmail.com or contact@theproductionline.us by February 10th. At the end of the weeks leading up to the announcement of the winner, you’ll see some of the best (or is it worst?) submissions on this site and over on TPL.

What’s your motivation?

  • The second runner up will receive what’s known in some circles as the ultimate vintage card prize pack, featuring, among others, an autographed Tim Cheveldae card.
  • First runner up will receive a shirt from The Production Line store.
  • Grand prize will be a chance to see your design on an actual shirt, handmade/screen printed by me.

So, remember, turn in your ideas before February 10th, and keep checking in here and over at The Production Line to see some of the worst Red Wing jersey ideas you’ve ever seen in your life.

Bad is good, and good is bad. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Yes-bokov or No-bakov?

Okay, I'll admit. This probably isn't the most clever title, and it's a clear rip off of the Prodano/Nodano saga of the summer. But I'm standing by it.

Since about 10 am yesterday, Twitter, the blogosphere, and the entirety of Red Wings Nation has been absolutely on fire with the news of the Red Wings starting talks with, then signing, and lastly putting Nabokov on the waiver wire.

This has made people go absolutely insane, on one side, hoping he comes and does well to hoping he comes and fails, and on the other side, hoping he gets claimed by another team, prompting some of the worst trade propositions I've ever seen.

My take on this whole situation is about as clear as Nabokov's future.

If he clears waivers, and lands in Detroit, I think it's a great pick up. Just another clear cut reason why Ken Holland is the best GM in the league. It's funny how we can go half of a season without anyone even looking to pick Nabby up, to now that Ken's inked the deal, we have to worry about 27 or so teams thinking, "You know what, he's right!"
Ozzie's out. This is for sure. That cannot be changed.
And, as always with goalies, and especially with Osgood, when he comes back, we can't know for sure how he's going to play. With him not even slated to come back until March, that doesn't leave very much time for him to get his shit in gear for a playoff run. If we get Nabokov, I'm looking at two options.

Best case scenario: we'll have a (somewhat) proven goaltender who's got something to prove and could come and light the league on fire.
Worst case scenario: we get a cheap goalie who can possibly give Jimmy a few games' rest at a time to keep him fresher for a deep postseason run.

I don't see a bad side to this.

My problem with this deal comes if he gets snagged up off waivers. There are any number of teams looking at this signing and licking their chops to get a hold of him for the same reasons I listed before.

But what if we're dead set on getting Nabokov in Detroit? Who would we give up to get him here? WILL we give someone up to get him here?
I'm reminded of the Hasek for Kozlov trade. Can Ken pull out a little more magic to get our goalie for dirt cheap like he did then?

Or if he gets taken by some other team, do we pack it in and start looking elsewhere for a back up goalie? Do we try to snipe another veteran goalie? Do we just rely on our AHL goalies to back up Jimmy until Ozzie comes back and then roll the dice with him or ride Jimmy until his winged wheels fall off?

Everyone and their brother is speculating who would take Nabokov, and coming up with a crazy goaltender musical chairs game. I'm going to hold off on all that, because my crystal ball is in the shop. As of right now, I've heard 2 teams taking themselves out of the running:

Washington - via Matthew Barnaby's tweet--
Washington guaranteed will not be the one picking up nabokov! They are happy with their goaltending.

 New Jersey - via Rich Chere's tweet--
GM Lou Lamoriello says Devils will not put in a claim for goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

That leaves 25 teams. We have about 21 and a half hours before waiver claims close. We'll see what happens right around the game against Chicago.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Half-Season...ish Review...ish

Well, it’s been a sort of down week across Red Wings Nation, with the Wings not playing a game until tomorrow.
Yes, they were in Denver on Monday, but I wouldn’t exactly classify that as a game. They managed to pop in for a few minutes, but a GAME? No

And with the calendar changing over to 2011, and the season just about over, I’m going to go through and do a quick half-year player review. It’s easy and should be somewhat quick, and I need to post SOMETHING. (How many times have I said that?) So here we go.

Lidstrom (11-30-41): Lidstrom is apparently hoarding the fountain of youth somewhere, because he’s returned to early millennium form. Remember last year, when he had that terrible goal drought? Not so much this year. He is having a great year, both defensively and offensively, and will be punished for that by going to the All Star game.

Bertuzzi (7-20-27): Bert’s an enigma this year. Remember the heyday of the BFF line, and when our favorite kitty killer was leading the league in +/-? Something has happened that needs to be remedied soon. He’s still a solid player, but he’s gone quiet lately. Maybe he’s holding back for a late/post season run? Maybe he’s just burnt out a little after blazing out of the gates early. I don’t know, but I won’t count him out yet.

Holmstrom (11-11-22): Homer has been confusing me. He’s been quiet nearly all season long. He hasn’t been out there as much as I remember him being in the past. Usually, if he’s not putting up goals, he’s still making noise out on the ice, screening and agitating opposing goalies and defensemen. Right now, however, he’s making most of his noise in the form of referee’s whistles, leading Red Wings forwards in PIM, and second on the team.

Zetterberg (16-33-49): Is there any player in the league having a better, quieter year? He’s hardly been a take-over-a-game player, and yet he’s still among the best players in the league. Much like Lidstrom of years prior, he’s so good because he’s going to beat you quietly and you’re not going to notice until it’s too late. I have no problems with his play at all this year. Except that he burned my fantasy team a few weeks back.

Kronwall (8-13-21): Is anyone else as shocked as me that Kronner has played in every game so far this 
year? Here’s hoping that I’m not a curse. Having played in every game so far, I’d like to see him being better than he has been so far. Maybe he needs a rest or something but he’s not as sound as he’s been in the past. With Stuart’s injury, we’ll need him to step up and lock it down better from here on out.

Helm (4-13-17): The last of the Wings to play in every game so far this season, he’s looking better as the season rolls on. Maybe he’s meshing better with his newest grouping of line mates, or maybe he’s been lurking on Twitter and reading EVERYONE’S comments about how that man needs new hands, because he’s been putting points on the board lately, and has been one of the best players on the Wings on a nightly basis for the past few weeks.

Salei (0-6-6): Forget those stats I just threw up next to his name, because he was never brought in to bolster the offense. The more telling stat is his +2. That, given Babs’ tendency to pair him with a lackluster D-man, is pretty good. He’s been solid. Both as a defenseman and as a brick wall, being one of the Wings’ more physical forces on the back end.

Franzen (18-15-33): Don’t look now, but Frickin’ Franzen has put more pucks in the net this season than notable goal-scorers Zetterberg, Toews, Malkin and Ovechkin. I don’t know how many votes he got for the All Star game, but personally, I think he deserves to be in more than probably 73% of the players that did get in. He’s the power forward the Wings have never had. He’s more Bertuzzi than Bertuzzi. And that’s not only a good thing for the team, but also NOT surprising to me.

Stuart (3-9-12): Our best non-Lidstrom defensemen and third string goaltender is out for 6-8 weeks. Before the bullshittery that was the entire debacle behind the hit that took him out, he was out there, banging bodies, breaking up passes and backing up our goalies when they were down and out. He is a presence that will be dearly missed in the upcoming months, and I’ve got all my fingers crossed that he’ll be back on or before March 11. But no later.

Filppula (10-15-25): Maybe it’s just me; maybe I’m just absolutely stupid when it comes to hockey, but has the play of Flip left something more to be desired to anyone else out there? I know he’s having, for all intents and purposes, a good year, but there’s something deep down inside of me that says there’s another level of play that we haven’t seen out of him yet. I like the kid, I like his game, but I’m not convinced that he’s reached his whole potential. With the injuries going around (like the one to his very own groin) I’m hoping he has that “11” on his dial that we can see when he comes back to playing at 100%.

Hudler (3-9-12): There is, to me, a problem when you’re supposed to be one of the premiere goal scorers on the team and you’re mirroring Brad Stuart’s offense exactly. I get the whole gunshy thing, returning from the KHL, but I have to think that when you’re being catered to by the coach to get you going, you’re going to have maybe, possibly, hopefully double digit assists. At least.  The extra talent on this team should be added to by a player like Hudler, not Hudler’s play being added to by the extra talent on the team.

Miller (1-6-7): There are 2 things that Miller BARELY has more of than me this season. Grey hairs and NHL goals. Sure, he’s been a victim of the Leino Lounge/Klub Kindl (™ TPL) Shuffle, so I’m not going to rag on him as much as he would have gotten. Since the injury rash has hit the Wings, he’s become more reliable, with a point every 1.5 games or so. I alluded to it when the Wings resigned him over the summer, but he needs consistency to play consistently. So far, he hasn’t gotten it, so we’re not getting it. But I’m not going to complain, because he’s doing the best he can.

Cleary (16-10-26): This will come as a shock to no one who has ever read my blog, but I will not complain about Cleary at all. Not here, nor ever. He has played well over the level he needed to, and with my help, took over the team’s goal scoring lead until being taken out by an unfortunate Stuart slapper off the foot. Just like Franzen, Cleary has also netted more goals than Malkin and Ovechkin. Pretty damn good for a ‘3rd liner’, eh?

Ericsson (2-8-10): HOLY SHIT JONATHON ERICSSON HAS THE 4TH HIGHEST +/- RATING ON THE RED WINGS! But he also has the highest PIM. He’s more Bertuzzi than Bertuzzi, and not in the Franzen sense. Enough said?

Abdelkader (3-7-10): Abs is the other Red Wing that jumps out at me for hiding something. Maybe I’m just hopeful, or -as I offered earlier- maybe I am just absolutely hockey-dumb, but I think there’s a higher level of hockey in him that has yet to be unleashed. He’s in no way playing poorly, sharing the top +/- on the team, but I think this kid has something in him that can put up points at a higher rate. Maybe, in a year or so, as his role on the team changes, his play will change to include that. Or perhaps his play needs to change to change his role. Either way, I’m fairly certain there’s more to him that we should be seeing soon.

Datsyuk (12-17-39): Surprise, surprise, surprise, I’m going to draw a parallel between Datsyuk and Zetterberg right now. He’s so good, doing it so quietly, that you really only notice just how much he does for the team when it’s gone. His return to the team will instantly improve it. And it can’t come soon enough.

Rafalski (3-27-30): I don’t think Raf gets enough credit for what he does for this team. For as much as he’s been called out by other blogs lately for spotty, poor play, he’s still #1 on the team with a +12 rating, and he’s putting up JUST UNDER a point per game. I don’t think there’s much to complain about when looking at the big picture, but we can all certainly ask for a little more out of him while Stuart’s on the shelf.

Modano (2-6-8): Not exactly the way Mikey Mo wanted to make his homecoming season with Wings notable for, but once he puts down the Hawthorne Heights cds and comes back to the team, I hope his time on the injury list equates to a red hot close to the regular season and a long, productive appearance in the playoffs.

Draper (3-1-4): I have a love-hate relationship with the Wings’ donut goalie pioneer. I used to think he was past his prime and that he should have called it a career right next to Maltby, but I am more than happy to get the old “STFU” treatment from him as much as I have been getting lately. He’s playing much, much better than the 4 points may say, and I don’t care how much crow he makes me eat.

Kindl (0-0-0): One of 2 pointless Red Wings, he’s currently in the highest pressure situation of his career. Forced into the lineup by Stuart’s broken jaw, he’s 100% in a put up or shut up position right now. He needs to show that he deserves a spot on future Red Wings rosters, or quietly go away. I have no personal feeling for him as a player, I wouldn’t rather see him stay more than see him leave and vice versa. He’s just an entity on the Wings right now, but I’d love for him to make my mind up for me.

Mursak (1-0-1): One of the up and comers for the Wings from Grand Rapids, I really like what I’ve seen from him in the few games I’ve seen him in so far. He helps put my mind at ease knowing that if or when we get another injury string, he’s what we have coming up the pipeline. He’ll be a solid player on the big club sometime, and he doesn’t worry me at all right now as a call-up.

Janik (0-0-0): Another pointless Wing, and that goes both ways in this case. He was so completely underwhelming in his time with the Wings, his name became synonymous with “FAIL”. Coincidentally, he’s also number one on my Red Wings 2010-2011 shitlist not for playing pitiful, but for the pitiful display of pugilism he exhibited against Colorado.

Tatar (1-0-1): Just like Mursak, he was another player that wasn’t intended to be a Red Wing, but when he became one, he played like one. During his time up (sent back to Grand Rapids recently with the return of Filppula), he was more of an impact for the team than Hudler had been. Easily makes it to the list of Griffins I won’t have any problems seeing wearing the Winged Wheel.

The Goalies
This is an interesting part of the break down because while both are sitting behind 2.7 GAAs, one is having a renaissance year, while the other is having an “is-he/isn’t-he?” sophomore season.

Howard (22-7-3): Leading the league in wins and single-digit losses seems a little strange for a player allegedly in the throes of a sophomore slump, but the fact of the matter is that this somewhat qualifies for the old/young goaltender. We know he has better play in him, and while we haven’t seen it at all times, he’s still playing well enough to put up statistics that rival the majority of All Star goalie selections.

Osgood (5-3-2): Winning 50% of his starts, and putting up an absolute gem of a game to positively steal win number 400 in his career against none other than Colorado, he had been a pleasant surprise to the 2009-2010 Ozzie naysayers and a pleasant return to form to the 2009-2010 Ozzie backers. How will he play when he returns from his groin surgery? Is this going to be the last we see of him? Is this going to be the last we see him playing at this level? I hope this isn’t the way he closes his career, in the middle of a ‘is he even good enough’ controversy, on top of his ever-present HOF controversy.

Think I hit the nail on the head? Think I should just delete this post and quit blogging forever? As always, comments are appreciated.

Actually, comments are kind of desperately wanted.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

NYI = New Years Idiocy

This post is going to be short, unstructured, and random.

So, in other words, just like the rest of this blog.

The first period of this game started just like it should have, with the Wings running around making the Islanders look silly. The first line was pressuring. The second line was pressuring. The third line was pressuring. And the 5th line was pressuring.
Yep. The 5th line.

Usually, when a team has so many injuries that you have to call up AHLers, it never bodes well for a team. However, with the Wings' roster being managed by Ken Holland and coached by Mike Babcock, the Griffins playing for us right now have looked good. Sometimes, it's an invisible kind of look. Like Mursak. He's been good enough to not look like an AHL player called up out of necessity. He has been better so far in his first few games with the Wings than certain players named Hudler looked in their first few games with the Wings this year. He hasn't been flashy or great by any means, but he's played well enough to not be a liability. And that's an extremely good thing for someone in his position.

And then there's Tatar. He, to me at least, looked downright GOOD tonight. He looked like he belonged on the big club. He was speedy, he was meshing with his linemates, and he ended up tying the game with an intentional/unintentional redirect when the team really needed it.

Where was this last year when half of the team with the Winged Wheel on their chests were fresh out of Grand Rapids and perhaps the nearest roller hockey rink? Where was the solidly quiet defensive responsibility and slightly above average offensive upside?

Has that extra year of development (you know, the kind of development the Wings have long believed in) made that much more of a difference?

Either way, I'm cool with it.

As for the rest of the game...
fuck the rest of the game.

Welcome to the NHL, where the only consistency in the officiating is the inconsistency.

First things first, before we go into OT territory... I have a hard time believing that LOLoson didn't do anything warranting some sort of penalty after Flip's goal. Running his mouth to the ref, throwing the net off it's moorings, then yapping a bit more at the refs after getting pulled for the extra skater right afterwards. Nothing exhibited there is unsportsmanlike? Bull. Fucking. Shit. He threw a huge bitch fit because his own player pushed Bertuzzi into him, resulting in a goal, and somehow got away with all of it. That's something that's going to bother me about this game for a while because I've seen players get called for more for doing less.

Maybe we don't even go to overtime if something gets called there. But since nothing was called and we did go to overtime, we were treated to extra hockey, where the best aspects of Gary's NHL were put on display...

I know we Red Wings fans are often given shit for crying foul when the refs don't call things the way we want. The main difference between us Red Wing fans and fans of nearly every other NHL team is that we know what the hell we're talking about, so the way we want things is the way things SHOULD be done.

I have no doubt that if the tables were turned in overtime, with an Islander in front of Yimmy on a power play getting his stick intentionally slashed and incidentally broken by a Wing who got away with it, we'd still call it a bullshit non-call. But with things as they are now, we're going to look like whiners because we got hosed and the refs took the extra OT point from us and basically gave it right to the Islanders.

There is no way in Hell you can tell me that the Wings don't score against the ISLANDERS in a 5-3 situation. Not with the way momentum had been swinging. Assuming it even gets that far.

How do we even know that Franzen doesn't score or in some other way contribute to a goal if he has a legal, whole stick in his hand during the last exchange? Who's to say that Z takes his "penalty" if Franzen is able to go into the corner and fight for the puck?

And can I just say that this has got the be the first time I've ever seen a professional hockey team direct their professional hockey player to hide behind the net for 16 seconds because they're that afraid of getting burned in a 3-on-3 situation. Going from their 1-1-3 defensive scheme to that 'cowering puppy' ploy in overtime, the Islanders have got to be the biggest pussy team in the NHL.

The Red Wings were the only ones on the ice all night with any sort of pride, professionalism, or class.