I posed the question in a previous article whether it was possible for the Detroit Red Wings to win in November. After a four game winning streak and outscoring their opponents 18-4, the Wings have answered with a resounding YES.
Now the question is: How long can they win?
The St. Louis Blues are the very definition of mediocrity. They’re not good or bad, but semi-competent in winning games. The record is 8-7-1 and are ranked 11th in the conference (which means nothing at this point. Another win could catapult them into the 6th or 7th spot).
The Wings face the division rival tonight for the first time this year. And they face their new but familiar coach, Ken Hitchcock.
Payne in the A**
Pardon the ignorance, but why exactly was Davis Payne fired? True, the Blues weren’t exactly setting the Western Conference ablaze, but their 6-7 record wasn’t horrid either. Considering the lack of talent on the roster (T.J Oshie, Jason Arnott and David Backes excluded) the goaltender inconsistency (Jaroslav Halak is only won two out of nine contests and a 2.77 GAA) and the majority of the games played were outside of St Louis, the team hasn’t performed all that badly.
If I may put on my Conspiracy Theory Cap (it’s actually an X-Files beanie, but it’ll do), the only explanation I have is that GM Doug Armstrong saw an opportunity to snatch up Ken Hitchcock and acted on it before any other team had the chance; namely, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
It is only a matter of time before Scott Arnie is canned and Scott Howson starts scouring the market for a replacement. Hitchcock was the most viable and appropriate option. Knowing that an experienced replacement was about to be re-employed by his former team, Armstrong made a proactive move that not only gave St. Louis a qualified leader but also screwed over a division rival in the process. More than likely, he planned this move once he caught wind of Hitchcock’s interest and was just looking for an opportunity to dump Payne.
You may also remember how in previous articles I criticized Johan Franzen’s lack of production. He responded to my criticism with 5 goals (including a hat trick) and 4 assists. In fact, the Wings are 8-0-0 in games where he scores a point.
If my disparaging remarks motivate his game, then let me state that Johan Franzen is the biggest d-bag loser in all of Detroit.
Jimmy Howard was recognized as the second star of the week by the NHL for his two shutouts and only four goals allowed in the last four games. With a 1.66 GAA and a .934 SV%, he’s playing stellar hockey and the recognition is well deserved.
It’s surprising, then, that Howard’s name wasn’t included on the All Star ballot; especially when you consider that Halak is among the nominated. Perhaps tonight will be the deciding factor on which goalie actually deserves to be in Ottawa this February.
Fabian Brunnstrom is a healthy scratch. Todd Bertuzzi is out on IR with a sinus infection (can someone please just buy him a bottle of Nyquil and a Z-pack?). Ian White will be out for the next couple of weeks due to a fractured orbital bone sustained from face diving in front of a puck against Dallas. (I appreciate the effort, Ian, but save it for the playoffs. We need you, buddy).