Sunday, November 28, 2010

Modano Could Be Done, Forever

Mike Modano's wrist was victim to a skate blade recently. He apparently cut a tendon or something worse.

I have him on my fantasy team. It was a last-second pickup. I was hoping he would have some kind of final push in his last year. I guess it won't happen now.

Here is how Yahoo Fantasy hockey put it to me:

"Recommendation: He's out indefinitely and reports on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast hinted that his season may be over. This would be a sad, sad way for an icon to end his career."

Thanks. A simple "he is hurt" would have been sufficient.

So, other than the purely selfish reason I have, this sucks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zetterberg Pushes Overtime With Seconds Left; Win 5-4

The Detroit Red Wings pushed overtime against the Calgary Flames with just seconds left.

Pavel Datsyuk walked through a few Calgary players to develop a two-on-one with Henrik Zetterberg who directed Datsyuk's pass into a gaping net.

The Wings topped the Flames in overtime with a goal from Nicklas Lidstrom.

If you missed this one, I am truly sorry. This game was up and down. The Wings willed a win in the closing minute. The momentum was their's in overtime.

The Wings continue to struggle on the powerplay. However, the team is finding ways to score regardless.

Imagine what they could do if they started scoring with the man advantage.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Injuries: Tough Reminders We're All Human

I recently decided I would start running again. By no means have I ever been a serious runner. However, I did spend a few years on the lacrosse team in high school. I played some soccer as a kid, and then again in college. I have some experience with the concept of running.

However, I hurt myself after a couple easy miles last week. I pulled a muscle in my foot. Yeah, the most ridiculous injury I have ever suffered. In all my years playing hockey, I have never experienced a more annoying injury. It was inexplicable and became progressively uncomfortable in the first few days after I gleefully, ignorantly and tragically jogged around the neighborhood. Fortunately, this injury has been healing and the nagging pain is subsiding. I hope to get back in stride soon.

Injuries are often as inexplicable for professional athletes. It's easy to sit back as a fan and scoff at a "bruised rib" or "sore shoulder" that a player might be sidelined for. I often do this. Maybe because I assume these guys are in some awesome, supernatural shape and that they should have a higher pain tolerance. Yet, when it became my turn to try and walk around with just a sore foot, I began to remember what a real handicap a small injury is.

When Brian Rafalski sat in the press box Wednesday and talked with Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond in Calgary, I was reminded how these guys handle injuries - with professionalism. Rafalski sounded optimistic, calm yet eager to play. I don't think I would have the patience. It would be like someone taking my computer away for a couple weeks and telling me to continue to do my job - frustrating, yet I would have to handle it with a certain optimistic level of professionalism. Even the interview with Jonathan Ericsson before the game grabbed my attention. Professional hockey players are probably more injured most games than anyone will ever know.

So, naturally I feel like a little whiny jerk about my hurt foot.

Rafalski said he would return next week, possibly Monday at the earliest. Ericsson looked decent in Calgary. He was a strong force. He did not make any horrendous mistakes, at least none that I saw.

Red Wing Of The Week: Pat Verbeek

Pat Verbeek was drafted by the New Jersey Devils 1982. He soon became a venerable two-way forward and eventually a high points producer. He spent seven seasons in New Jersey, another five and a half in Hartford before being traded to the New York Rangers where he spent the remainder of the 1994-1995 season. He won his first and only Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999. The next year he was wearing a Red Wing sweater.

By the time he landed in Detroit, Verbeek had already earned 478 career goals. He joined a Red Wings roster stacked with talent. Brendan Shanahan, Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios were among his new teammates. Although he will not be remembered for impacting the Wings in any particularly special way, Verbeek will definitely be remembered for just being on the roster. He was a big name, but not a big man - standing just 5 feet 9 inches, 190 lbs.

The Wings struggled to fulfill their championship roster potential during the two seasons Verbeek was on the roster. Yet, he was a bright spot among the disappointment - scoring 37 goals in 135 games. Not bad for a guy in his late 30s. If the Wings can get 22 goals, as Verbeek did, out of Mike Modano in his first - maybe only - year in Detroit, the acquisition could be considered a success.

Pat Verbeek returned to Dallas for his last season in 2001-2002. However, when he retired as a player, he stuck around as a color analyst back in Detroit. He then became a scout with Detroit, and is currently a scout with Tampa Bay - working with former teammate Yzerman.

He is a member of the 500-goal club. Not bad for guy who almost lost his thumb in a farming accident.

Modano Scores, Babcock Has Decision To Make

I am breathing a sigh of relief for Mike Modano. It took a few games, but Modano finally netted his second goal of the season. I am not expecting more than 25 goals from the guy. However, he needs to produce some points - especially with all the power play minutes he is getting.

Modano's two goals have been what some would call "goal-scorers" goals. Sure, seems like a pretty damn rhetorical thing to say. Yet, if you're around the game a lot, you know the difference.

Coach Mike Babcock said Jiri Hudler will be returning to the lineup before the western Canada trip is done. Justin Abdelkader scored an important game-winning goal Wednesday and played a strong game. Modano and Abdelkader will probably make Babcock's decision a bit more difficult, especially since Hudler is not producing a whole lot of offense.

I personally would keep Abdelkader in there and Hudler out. However, Hudler is a contract liability. I fear this will become more of an issue as the season unfolds.

Modano will have to sit a lot of games, which is expected and understandable.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Red Wings Beat Flames 2-1 In Calgary

The Detroit Red Wings got off to a slow start Wednesday, falling behind 1-0 to the Calgary Flames in the first period.

However, the Red Wings bounced back with two goals in the second period. Mike Modano notched his first goal since his first shift of the season. Modano beat Calgary goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff glove-side high. Justin Abdelkader, who recently returned to the lineup, also beat Kiprusoff glove side after receiving a crafty pass from Pavel Datsyuk which left Abdelkader all alone with the goaltender.

Jimmy Howard was able to hold the Red Wings in the game early with a few acrobatic saves. Howard returned Wednesday after suffering a back injury. He closed the door on Calgary after the first-period power-play goal.

Detroit continues their western Canada road trip this weekend with back-to-back games in Edmonton, then Vancouver. Saturday's game in Vancouver will be the late game on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.