Once again Babcock mixed up the lines, putting the youngsters Filppula and Hudler up with Datsyuk against the Habs, and magic happened.....who does this guy think he is?? Scotty Bowman?? After a short stretch of not-so-stellar performances, and a couple of injuries to key checking-line players, Mike Babcock was basically forced to shuffle the forward lines around to get what he wanted, and to make some key (and good) call-ups from the Griffins roster. It's worked.
I believe that it's worked mostly because the entire team realized the importance of Drapes and Malts, and everyone stepped up their game to make it happen. This is one of the essential keys to success down the road for the Red Wings, or any other team for that matter, how they deal with the bumps in the road. Either you navigate your way through them successfully, or they'll break you down. It's a matter of team character, and I think that the Red Wings have displayed that in a convincing manner.
I know that I promised you a game report from Phoenix, and I apologize for not doing that. When I returned home from Phoenix, I found a foreclosure notice on my door....for my landlord, not for me, and I just returned from an unplanned trip to Detroit (no, I didn't get to the Joe, even though there was one home game while I was there) due to a death in the family. What I can say about the Detroit-Phoenix game is that it was well-played, enjoyable, and there are now plenty of amenities (and condos) near the Glendale (Jobing.com) Arena. check out the Yard House while you're there if you like beer...they've got at least 110 or 115 different brews on tap, including some of the best in the world. The Wings won handily, and we enjoyed the fans around us as much as the game. Now that the 'Yotes have Bryzgalov and a bit of a winning streak and attitude, they should improve attendance and the games should be MUCH more fun.
On the latest and greatest....Pavel Datsyuk is just the MOST AMAZING hockey player to watch. He can dance into the zone against three defenders, skate around and through all of them and STILL put the puck on goal. He's just a delight to watch. When paired with Henrick Zetterberg, it's almost silly how easily they can get a scoring chance. With Homer on the top line digging out pucks and standing in the crease, they're almost unstoppable. Amazingly enough, when Babcock shakes things up, they each make the lines they're playing on better.
Just got a call from a good friend that lives in NH, and he's at the LA-Phoenix game even as I type. The Coyotes were up 4-1 with 1 minute left in the third. Bryzgalov has certainly stepped up for Phoenix and given them the confidence they need to continue to win games down the stretch. He also gives high marks to the game experience at the Glendale (Jobing.com) Arena. He coaches Junior "B" kids and has had a couple drafted...and also plays goal in a "beer" league...just got his USA Hockey Level 5 coaching cert.
Well, look forward to more (but sporadic due to the move) posts from me. Hopefully I can drag my girlfriend on a road trip to catch the Wings in another road game somewhere (I've flown to Edmonton from Phoenix to see them) and I'll give you a decent road report. Thanks for reading.