Friday, May 9, 2008

NHL Blogging: What Rust?

Red Wings, baby! Last night's game was awesome. Thanks to my mother and an early birthday present, I managed to score a pair of tickets to last night's game and the next for the low, low price of $70. Not for each game, mind. Total. 35 bucks to see a Wings playoff game, I never thought I'd see the day but I'm not exactly complaining.

The Wings won 4-1, losing the shutout on a late goal. But looks like they're picking up where they left off with the Avalanche - and rolling towards a title. Of course, now they're going to go out and drop four straight but, hey, I'm excited.

Some random thoughts about the game:

It really was as half-empty in the Joe as everyone's been saying. True story: My family had season tickets - back when my father's firm worked out of the RenCen - but this was back in the days of the Dead Wings. We gave them up about a season or two before they became really, really good. But along with the GLI, I remember the smells and the sights and signs of that rink - the bright, the lights, and the smell of crisp, chilled air - about as well as anything when it comes to hockey. And while it wasn't quite as empty as it was back then it was a far cry from the standing room only days of only a few years ago.

Franzen needs seven more goals to tie the record for the most in the playoffs, ever. And the way he's playing he might just get it.

Kronwall gets paired with Stewart, Lidstrom gets matched with Rafalski, it's just struck me how impressive that really is. Kronwall and Stewart are nasty, big hitting defensemen. While Saint Nick and Rafalski are two of the best puck-moving, goal scoring blueliners around. Instead of shoring up their weaknesses by pairing, say, Lidstrom with Kronwall, those duos accentuate what makes each one of them so good.

Osgood made 20 of 21 saves, including a few key heartstoppers. Turco was his usual "something goes wrong against Detroit" sieve letting in 4 goals on 31 shots. But the most important stat? 7-0. Osgood hasn't been Osgreat but he has been the Wizard, winning every single game since replacing Hasek. You can't ask for more than that. And the Wings don't need anything more than a goalie who's going to be solid, if unspectacular. The kind who can come up with the kind of momentum swinging stops but isn't going to get bored waiting for the shots to come. It'd be great if they had a stud between the pipes, of course, but they're studded with talent every other place on the ice, so it doesn't really matter.

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