Oct 2, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings right wing Mikael Samuelsson (37) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In the Afterglow of the First Red Wings' Victory


Last night’s season (and home!) opener against the Buffalo Sabres was a vision to behold. Maybe it was because things actually happened for the Red Wings in the off-season or maybe it’s because we only saw 48 regular season games of action in the start of 2013…

Finally watching the Red Wings in action last night felt amazing.

It was the pre-season hype. Yes, their record was not the best in pre-season games (when is our pre-season ever the best, honestly?), but the games we won that fans could watch on television or a crappy internet stream showed a dominance that got our veins pumping.

Everyone seemed to mesh together well. Sure, Gustav Nyquist should be in the lineup and Tomas Tatar should not be a healthy scratch, there were far too many penalties called (how many lengthy five-on-threes did the Sabres have?!), and Jimmy Howard mishandling the puck behind the net to result in the Sabres’ only goal was heartbreaking, but none of those facts seemed to get this team down. Their dominance remained.

So what can we take away from last night’s game? It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves.

Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are already in mid-season form. I mean, did you see the passes they were making last night? Of course it was all very showy and at times made fans probably curse at the screen for being too pretty and not just shooting. Cut them some slack–Datsyuk had a goal last night, a glorious-looking backhander he didn’t even realize went in because it got stuck behind the back bar.

Daniel Alfredsson, while not having any points to show, showed a serious work ethic. He had quite a few shots on goal, one open net chance where the puck just bounced over his stick, and he seemed to feed off Stephen Weiss, who brought some energy to the second line. On several different occasions, I commented that he was doing a good job jumping into the scrum at the front of the net, especially at one point in the second period when he threw the puck up the middle of the ice and created a nice scoring chance.

Mikael Samuelsson…actually looked quite good last night. He got the first goal of the Red Wings’ season and confused the heck out of fans. Likewise, he was passing quite well, though the comment was made that it’s not shooting, so he should be okay at it. In all honesty, if Samuelsson had a good year, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would actually be quite nice.

We as hockey fans know that judging a team by one game is not the brightest thing to do. This season will have its ups and downs, its surprises (both awesome and horrifying), its triumphs, its shortcomings. And we will love every second of it, whether we admit it or not.

Random Thoughts:

-8:00pm start times in the Eastern Conference–for any Eastern Conference match-up–are pointless and stupid.

-Learning the new numbers of players is going to be a challenge. One one play last night, people in my household exclaimed, “Go Cleary! Pass it to Modano!” Which meant, “Go Alfredsson! Pass it to Weiss!”

-Not related to the Red Wings game, but is anyone really surprised by Patrick Roy‘s outrage on the bench?

-Penalty shot!! I didn’t even wait for the Versus announcers to say it, I just listened to the crowd reaction when the ref pointed to center ice. Even though we didn’t score, you still have to love penalty shots.

-One game in…this is going to be a fun season.

Tags: NHL