Injury was the story of Thursday night’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Perhaps the scariest moment of the season so far came when Detroit’s Kyle Quincey fell directly onto the face of Columbus’s Artem Anisimov in the midst of a puck battle behind the Detroit net. Anismov lay on the ice for several minutes, barely moving; after the Blue Jackets’ trainer and the Red Wings’ medical examiner took a look at him, he was placed on a stretcher, wheeled off the ice, and taken to Detroit Medical Center to receive treatment. The latest news is that Anisimov never lost consciousness, and remained alert and responsive throughout the ordeal. Hopefully his injury is not dire, and he can get healthy and back on the ice as soon as possible. We here at Octopus Thrower all wish him a quick and full recovery. Injuries are always sad, no matter who they come to.
Oh, Kyle Quincey also injured himself on the play. Something with a leg, or something. Honestly, it did look pretty bad for him too, just not compared to the absolute horror of Anisimov’s injury. Hopefully he’s not hurt too badly either, as Detroit’s blueline is thin enough as it is with both Carlo Colaiocovo and Brendan Smith out for at least the next week or two.
Alright. Now that all that ugliness is out of the way, here are the non-grisly, non-bloodied parts of the game:
Detroit opened the scoring a mere eighteen seconds into the opening period, when Damien Brunner took advantage of a bad Columbus giveaway and jammed the puck under Sergei Bobrovsky. Valtteri Filppula added to the Wings’ lead a minute and twenty-two seconds later, deflecting a shot taken by Brian Lashoff. Hardly a minute passed before the Blue Jackets answered, taking advantage of an instigator penalty given to Jordin Tootoo for a fight against Derek Dorsett. Bad coverage by the penalty kill led to Columbus’s RJ Umberger being almost wide open in front of the net, where he banged in a rebound to make the score 2-1 just twenty-six seconds into the powerplay.
The game remained scoreless from that point until 5:03 into the third period, where Derek Dorsett knocked in a rebound from Derrick Brassard’s shot. The whole play came from a very ugly giveaway by Henrik Zetterberg, who basically passed the puck right to Brassard. Yes, I get that he was under pressure, but those kind of plays are unacceptable, especially from a veteran, and ESPECIALLY from a player of Zetterberg’s caliber.
The Wings proceeded to waste two consecutive powerplays generated by a great shift from Jordin Tootoo. However, despite its obvious (0 for 3) lack of production, the man-advantage looked much better than it has in recent games. It seems that Babcock traded in the previous free-wheeling, cross-ice style for an overload-style play, where the play is centered on one side of the ice and cycled between 2-3 players until someone becomes open for a shot on net. Justin Abdelkader did a remarkable job in front of the net when he replaced a temporarily-injured Daniel Cleary, and should (hopefully) be a mainstay on the first powerplay unit until Franzen returns.
The game remained tied at two until Prospal netted a goal off a slick spin-o-rama move with twenty-four seconds remaining in the game. This marks the fourth time in five games that Detroit gave up a 2-0 lead and went on to lose the game. If this funk isn’t broken soon, the Wings will find themselves hard pressed to find their way into the playoffs come April (or May? When does the season actually end this year?).
A few random notes:
– Tomas Tatar is awesome. Great speed, great vision, and slick hands. Daniel Cleary is awful. Skates slow, makes stupid plays, and has hands worse than Justin Abdelkader (sorry bud, it’s not that you’re playing bad, you just can’t stickhandle). Yet Tatar plays on the third line, and Cleary on the fourth? I can’t wait until Cleary leaves Detroit.
– Lashoff looks like he’ll develop into a legitimate top four defenseman in this league. He’s solid and quiet defensively, and continues to chip in a surprising amount of offense. I hope Colaiacovo doesn’t take his spot when he comes back.
– Jonathan Ericsson is awesome. Last year, I would have thought that sentence was impossible to put together non-ironically.
– Zetterberg seems to have hit his first slump of the season. Two awful giveaways that caused a goal and ruined a powerplay. I gotta cut the guy some slack though; he pretty much carried the team to each and every one of their victories, so he’s allowed a few sub-par games. A few. As in, no more.
For the record, Detroit now has seven injured full-time roster players, including three defensemen, and two-thirds of last year’s first line. Things can only get better as people come back. Especially Helm. God, how I miss Darren Helm.
Thanks for reading! Follow me on twitter: @dzkefalas