Posted 8:31 AM ET | Comments 0
I know it’s a little late for a post-game wrap-up, but better late than never, I guess. The Red Wings dropped a heartbreaker to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday and I have a few theories…
The first is a little convoluted. I think maybe the Red Wings have a little stage fright. I haven’t checked the numbers (and maybe I should), but I think the Wings have a losing record when their games are broadcast to a national audience. This is a little disconcerting since the better part of their remaining games are on Versus or NBC, and of course, the Playoffs aren’t exactly kept a secret. I don’t know if that makes any difference on their gameplay, but if there’s some kind of negative voodoo going on, the Wings need to find a little extra mojo to counter it.
That’s not to say that Detroit did not play well against the League leaders. They looked good. There was hustle, there was physical play, hard hits, and some chippy attitudes after the whistle. A lot of energy in the building and it was fun to watch. I was beginning to think that the officials were letting them play the game, and not calling a lot of frivolous penalties, much to the chagrin of Detroit fans, as Vancouver got away with a few. I’ll bet Mickey Redmond was pleased…
Prior to the game, several players in interviews played down the importance of the game. They were more or less concerned about their own play going onto the ice and getting their game together than trying to grab two points from the Canucks. Maybe that’s what they said, but after that opening faceoff, they looked like they were hungry for it.
Ah yes, the faceoff circle. This is where the game was lost, in my opinion. The Wings spent the better part of the second period losing defensive zone faceoffs. Lose the draw, Vancouver shoots, Howard saves, defensive zone faceoff….lose the draw, Vancouver shoots, Howard saves, defensive zone faceoff…
I’m not going to dither on about how they might have won if Datsyuk, Franzen, and Bertuzzi were in the lineup. Datsyuk is pretty good in the face-off circle, but so are Darren Helm, Kris Draper, and Henrik Zetterberg, who were all on the ice that night. They stole the show again in the third period, but there just wasn’t enough time to recover. Nice goal by Hudler, though. Being heads-up and stick-down is what will save a team in these tight games, but you need to play for 60 minutes.
On a final note, I have to say I was a little disappointed in the coverage of TSN on this one. There were a number of big hits, arguments, scrums, etc. which occurred away from the play. Now, I know the camera has to stay with the puck, but there’s no reason why they can’t go back on a replay, which they didn’t.
Bring on the Leafs!