I’ve seen enough exhibition games over the years to know that the pre-season, means next to nothing. If you don’t believe me, then this fact should persuade you: Keith Primeau is among the “scoring champions” of the practice season.
Having said that, next to nothing is not the same as completely nothing, and if all goes well, the potency of Zetterberg, Filppula, and Franzen as a line will carry into the regular season. The same goes for Ian White as a defense partner for the legendary Nicklas Lidstrom. So in the tiny gulf between meaningless and almost meaningless, we as fans can find much to be pleased about.
The Hank, Fil, and Mule line was in on all three regulation goals scored by Detroit. The soft spoken Finn, took a page out of Pavel Datsyuk’s book when he opened the scoring, firing a wrist shot into the top corner on a set play with our timeless captain. This play usually involves #13 in the sniper role, but the Teen Beat cover boy look-alike Valtteri, showed that he is getting more comfortable with becoming more a trigger man than in previous seasons.
I’d like to take a brief digression and discuss Filppula for a moment. Many thought that Val would be perfect trade bait. Some are flat out unimpressed with him. I’ll argue for keeping #51 in red and white, and remaining patient. Fil strikes me as a player who will have a journey similar to that of Markus Naslund, and the Sedin twins. More Specifically, a player who showed tremendous promise, but just took longer to deliver on it than we would have liked. Playing on a line with Zetterberg and Franzen surely will only help move the process along. This line simply clicked all night. They should remain together.
This was my first chance to see Ian White not only as a Red Wing, but as Lidstrom’s defense partner in place of the intuitive Brian Rafalski. White was most impressive. He had multiple scoring chances during the game, and while his shot placement may not be at the level of Rafalski’s, the velocity of the shot itself is frightening. White will fit in very well in Detroit. He and Nick will become more and more commanding as they get used to one another over the course of the 82 game haul.
As far as the shootout is concerned, I’ll let the video below do the talking. It was stylish in a way that only the Red Wings could make it. Bertuzzi has the hands of the most skilled artisan. Enjoy.
An afterthought: Due to the injury to Mursak, I now expect Brunnstrom to make the team. Nyquist is not far behind.