Sunday, April 17, 2011

Will Red Wings Sweep Coyotes?

Th Detroit Red Wings have a 2-0 series lead over the Phoenix Coyotes in round one.

The Red Wings are without Henrik Zetterberg, who still has a knee injury. I watched some video of him in practice Friday. It does not look promising. He could not stop and it looked like he was having trouble putting any pressure on it.

To answer my title's question; No, the Wings will not sweep this team. Saturday's game showed how inconsistent Detroit still can be within 60 minutes. Penalties and turnovers will ensure that this series is going to 5 games at least.

Which is good for a friend of mine who bought tickets to game 5.

The reason the Wings won games 1 and 2 is Pavel Datsyuk. He is this team right now. The guy is unbelievable. He is making everyone around him that much better.

I want to see Z come back as much as the next fan, but without him right now, Datsyuk seems to be putting this team on his back. It looks like Pavel is responding to the extra pressure to produce.

The defense is still suspect. Jimmy Howard is bailing them out.

But, the No. 1 problem I see continues to be turnovers at both blue lines. The Red Wings need to go back to school or at least the video room. They need to dump the puck when there is no play. It's simple. There is no shame in it.

But Mike Babcock wants his guys to be a puck-possession team, and I understand that. He has a talented lineup. Yet, teams have figured out Detroit's weakness: The stubborn will to make a play rather than dump and chase. Now, teams -- such as Phoenix -- are forcing Detroit to turn it over in the neutral zone because they know as long as they keep a guy back and take away passes, they can force a turnover.

Just watch, it's not the "trap" or "oval" exactly. It's just "sit back and don't get caught in the Wings' zone -- make Detroit make a mistake and then capitalize."

Phoenix started doing this in the 3rd period Saturday. Detroit started making mistakes, turning the puck over and taking penalties. It was the Coyote's patience in the neutral zone that got them back into that game.

Red Wings players are groomed to look for a pass. When there is no outlet to make a pretty play or cross-ice pass, turnovers are bound to happen. Goals follow.

I feel like I have been saying the same thing for two years.

Go Wings.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wings Take Game 1; Coyotes Suck On Power Play

The Detroit Red Wings win game one against Phoenix 4-2.

It was a strange game. Phoenix went 0-6 (I think) on the power play. That was really fortunate for Detroit. The Red Wings should have been down 3-0 in the first, if only the Coyotes could put something together on the man advantage.

Pavel Datsyuk took control in the second, as I expected he would. The team rallied behind him and in front of Jimmy Howard, and that was that.

I expect more of the same in game two.

Yesterday, my friend changed his Facebook profile picture to one of Gordie Howe -- a very old-school shot of Gordie on the ice in like the 60s.

It dawned on me -- not for the first time -- that I have very dedicated Red Wings fans for friends, and that made me very happy.

Go Wings.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wings Face Those Desert Dogs, Again

I hate that nickname, "desert dogs."

But it's what the team's three fans call them. Hopefully the Phoenix Coyotes -- I still can't understand how this team exists -- will just lose and go away.

I am in no mood to watch 11,000 Coyotes fans cheer this bankrupt organization into the second round of our beloved Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Detroit Red Wings -- yeah, THE Detroit Red Wings -- should fear this team. Once again, as always, Phoenix has nothing to lose, Detroit has everything to lose.

It's a scary scenario. Shane Doan enjoys living in a fantasy world where hockey matters west of Chicago and south of Denver, but he is wrong to think his Coyotes have any reason to win.

I am fearful of the injury-riddled Red Wings -- all Wings fans should be. The first two games of this series will dictate Detroit's short-term future. They MUST win both. This team does not have the health to climb back into a series or go seven games. It won't bode well. We're not talking about spring chickens here. The roster is old-goatish, no way around it.

Cheers to playoff hockey. Cheers to the Wings.

Here we go, again.