This was a different week for the Wings. Only two games with two days off before each game. Also, each game was against a far inferior team. No offense to any fans of Columbus or Minnesota, but those teams are not exactly the most talented teams in the league. But the Wings still had to show up and play, and they did just that. They dominated the week, especially the game against Minnesota, and still have a good chance of finishing ahead of St. Louis in the Central Division, and hopefully Vancouver in the West. Let’s get to the recaps…and more!
February 28 at Columbus – This one was a little tighter through two periods than the score indicated. The third period showed how good the Wings can be. Even without Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Ericsson, and Quincey, the Wings had a good road performance. As we all know by my post earlier this week, Brendan Smith played his first game with the Wings since a road trip to California in November. Please read my thoughts on how he did here. Joey MacDonald got the start and performed rather well. Good to give Jimmy some time off. I know he just had a couple of weeks off, but I’d like to see MacDonald play at least one game a week to keep sharp and to make sure Jimmy isn’t overworked. 5-2 Wings win.
March 2 vs Minnesota – So….did the Wings play really, really well or did the Wild just play really, really bad? Or…both? After Valtteri Filppula’s awesome goal in the first minute, you knew it had potential to be a slaughter. The highlight of this game was Brendan Smith’s first goal. I absolutely love seeing any NHL player scored his first goal. I’ve been lucky enough to be at the Joe in person to see two recent ones, Tomas “THE SOUSE” Tatar and now Brendan Smith (I’m hoping like hell that I’ll be able to see Gustav Nyquist (!!!) score his first NHL goal…though the people I’m sitting around probably won’t.). Hank and Fil had an amazing game, and Jimmy only had to make a few saves. Good all around game; I don’t think anyone played worse than average. 6-0 Wings win.
Goal Of The Week: So many choices. But, as mentioned earlier, I’m a sucker for a player’s first NHL goal. So, here is Brendan Smith!
Hit Of The Week: None. As you may recall, the Wings were outhit 33-2 against Columbus. I feel this disgusting lack of physical effort by the Wings means there is no Hit Of The Week…and am not making a point at all about the homer stat keepers for Columbus. Not at all.
The Injury Updates: I wish I didn’t have to write this section, but let’s do a quick rundown of the injuries:
Datsyuk – Slowly getting better after minor knee surgery, should be back by the California trip in mid-March.
Lidstrom – The Wings should be updating his status on Monday. Hopefully will be back soon.
Ericsson – Hopefully will be back before playoffs with a broken wrist.
Bertuzzi – Might sit out today against Chicago, but shouldn’t be a long-term injury.
Eaves – Probably out for the season with a concussion. Sad.
Random Comment: Can Babcock please, please, please, please STOP PUTTING HUDLER ON THE POINT ON POWER PLAYS??!? It…doesn’t….work. I know the Wings have numerous players that should be on the power play: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filppula, Holmstrom, Hudler, and Bertuzzi are all players capable of playing with the man advantage. I get wanting to have your best players play in this situation, but there are issues with Hudler on the point – mostly he’s not the fastest skater and he can get burned. Please let it be known that I am not blaming Hudler. It’s not his fault he’s put in that situation; this is on Babcock. Now, words can only do so much – numbers are where it’s at. The Wings are 25th in the NHL in goals against with the man advantage with 7 goals allowed (also, I love how the internet has these kinds of stats – it makes the nerd in me very happy). After giving up two breakaways against Columbus, Babcock put Quincey on the power play against Minnesota. Granted, Quincey was hurt and didn’t play against Columbus, but this is when Brendan Smith should have been used. Oh well. I’m just hoping Babcock reads this (hahahaha) and changes his mind.
You Can Play Project – I don’t want to get all political on this blog, but this is something that I feel is very important. Visit the You Can Play Project and read this piece by Greg Wyshynski on Puck Daddy. I’ll stop preaching now and let you all make your own decisions on this topic.
This Week: Sunday against Chicago, Tuesday at Philly, Friday against Los Angeles, Saturday at Nashville. Hoping for a minimum of 4 points, 5 would be good, and 6 or more would be fantastic.
Classic Video Of The Week: Since the Wings play Nashville on Saturday, I feel this is very relevant: