Coach for a Day

The Red Wings have some real obvious problems on defense– but a lesser mentioned problem seems to be that the Wings have scored just 4 goals in three games.


The Top line is doing most of the damage; Pavel Datsyuk has three points in as many games, and Brunner and Zetterberg have combined for 28 shots thus far.

After that it really starts to tail off in productivity (Franzen and Cleary combine for 22 PIMS for whatever that’s worth).


Not that the lines have been fluid in these first few games anyway, but I think there is a real obvious way to make your first two lines truly potent.


Everybody’s heard about the magic Brunner and Zetterberg created over in Europe during the lockout, but if you can harken back to last spring there was another budding bromance on this team:

Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist.


The two should be sewn together at the hip for the remainder of Datsyuk’s career here in Detroit. 


Remember Nyquist’s first NHL goal?


Nyquist started the season out in Grand Rapids, and as I’ve mentioned before, excelled in the “Super AHL.” He has speed that many potential line mates of Datsyuk sorely lack and an apparent “click” with Pavel to boot. The Red Wings of old would let him get over ripe, but this team lacks speed so much it hurts. Adding a guy like him brings a skill set consistent with the NHL in 2013, and not what the game was in 2008. Keep him up in the NHL and these could be your top two lines:


 Franzen,Datsyuk, Nyquist


This line would be a tough combo to go into corners with and come out with the puck. When confidence is up, Franzen would have plenty of open ice to take over a game. Not the strongest as a whole defensively, but Datsyuk’s faceoff ability and general puck magnitism should keep them out of trouble.


Zetterberg,Filppula, Brunner


Filppula and Zetterberg are obviously two very gifted two way forwards. I don’t know a ton a bout Brunner’s defensive prowess, but I have seen him shoot the puck (and skate to the penalty box). This combo screams versatility.   depending on how opponents are matching up this line could be counted on as a shut down line or be leaned on for goal scoring.


As for the bottom six forwards, they’ve all pretty much been a lump of useless aside from Tootoo. Whether you liked the addition or not, he has played his energy role effectively and most importantly hasn’t turned his zealous into any major PK time.


I’ve been picking on Dan/Danny/Daniel Cleary for his constant name changes and lack of production for a while now, but one thing is clear early on this season: Cleary is a step slow and it is causing him to take penalties. I am not a doctor, so I can’t really say if he’s still feeling the effects from his offseaon surgery, just rusty because of the lock out, or bottoming out from the slide he’s been on since his 26 goal season. I’m not sure how the line-up shakes out when everybody is healthy, but if I had to pick one person to sit for sure (granted, three games in) it would be Daniel Cleary.


Nobody asked me, but here is how I’d go with the bottom-six based on three games (That seems fair, right?)


Eaves/Samuelsson, Helm, Bertuzzi


If you’ve ever played “Ice Hockey” on the NES, this is the classic “Medium, Skinny, Fat” combo. Eaves has looked OK in his return, and of the Drew Miller clones has shown the best hands of the bunch. This skews more toward a checking line, but still has an explosive play element to it.  Rotate in Samuelsson for Eaves and you have a pretty formidable third tier scoring line, but you’ve suddenly lost a lot on defense. I am not convinced Samuelsson will be healthy enough to stay put here.


 Eaves/ Cleary/Miller/,Abdelkader, Tootoo


Abdelkader and Tootoo hit things and provide energy. The other emphasis here should be defensive liability and for that I prefer Drew Miller here. Miller isn’t a dazzler, but is typically pretty safe with the puck. If Dan Cleary gets his legs he could be pretty effective on this line as well. Just make a couple hits, ramp up the energy and get off the ice.


End of the Year Top 10 List of Doom

What am I counting down? WHAT EVER I WANT TO COUNTDOWN!

10. The Lions Madden Controller was cute, but I couldn’t laugh at it because it misspelled “Weird” as w-i-e-r-d. I understand the “I” before “E” except after “C” should have come into play with this one, but it didn’t.

9. Tim Tebow and the New York Jets… Read: Back-up/3rd string QB and the second fiddle major market team or Publicity Stunt and the Guy who has a foot fetish.

8.Clear Channel is to Radio what Hostess is to the Twinkie.

7.Tomas Holmstrom still hasn’t announced his retirement.

6. Calvin Johnson’s record (Formerly Jerry Rice’s) should be no less respected than Barry’s. Hearing Detroit sports radio callers say it was easier made me wish Clear Channel owned both sports stations in town.

5.When the NHL returns it will be without Nick Lidstrom and you’re still mad he won’t take a hometown discount. Think we can convince him to be motivated play 50 some odd games?

4. Maybe I’ll just take a knee here.

3. Will the NHL or Fiscal Cliff get solved? Which do you think happens first?

2. The Ilitches are still filthy rich. Detroit and its government are just lousy at running a city. (duh)

1. The USA and Canada play Sunday Morning at 4:30am EST on NHL Network and, and I plan to wake up/ stay up to watch. Your move lock-out.

0. That’s how many more Piston games I am going to watch this year.

NFL and HGH Testing: The NFL’s next scandal?

Through all the Lions hoopla this weekend, I just came across this tweet by the Lions’ Lawrence Jackson:
Lawrence Jackson ‏@LoJackson94: I’ve read a lot about the HGH testing issue with the NFL right now and…they need to go ahead and get started with that…like yesterday.
I don’t think it would be ANY surprise if the NFL was found to be deeply rooted with HGH use. Would it change the way you look at the league?
Should they start testing? and is this a matter of players being TOO strong?

Reasons I want the NHL back (I Tried a Lions Blog)

I started a Lions blog.

It turned into incoherent babbling.

So instead here is a list of reasons I need the NHL back.

I’ve lost interest in the NFL and the Lions…

The NFL is king, and being a hardcore puck-head I am reminded of this constantly. I gotta admit, in the fall months it has held me over….but now that we’re in December with the Lions making football painful to watch again and my fantasy team out of the running I am pretty much over the NFL.

Sure, I’ll watch the playoffs.

But what else is on?

Please, Bring back the NHL!

I like college bowl games…

BUT unless it’s a prime match-up or I have a rooting interest, I like to have options.  Please forgive me, San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl for not being able to sit through the entire game not wishing  the Blues and Wild were on NBC-SN/VS/OLN.

My Grandma is a HUGE Wings fan!

As much as I hate seeing the NHL locked out, my grandma hates it 10x more. Sure, she has other hobbies: crosswords, word searches, Sudoku, watching Charlie Sheen movies, Two and a Half Men ,or Anger Management on FX..But she REALLY loves her some NHL, and most particularly the Red Wings.

It’s always been our thing. Since I was little I would go over (I used to live next door to her) to my grandma’s and watch the Red Wings… I don’t make it over there as much anymore, but I do make an effort to  watch with her as often as I can. She’s just as feisty as ever and boy does she get into the games. Old lady swearing is always funny… so please- Bring back the NHL!

I have a new LED TV to watch on…

In my opinion no game has benefited more from HD from a broadcast standpoint than hockey. The audio they pick up now is amazing and in crystal clear HD, it’s hard to believe we ever needed a glow puck. Now, I have my own place and a new 39″ LED screen of my own to watch it on…the only thing missing is the NHL.

Other Hockey is good…

but it’s just not the NHL. On Saturday, in the absence of the NHL I visited Yost for the first time since 2005 (the last lockout and when it was still made of wood). The atmosphere there makes it a fantastic place to take in a hockey game. Unfortunately, the game on the ice (while it has dramatically improved through the years) just isn’t at the level of some of the other leagues out there. Luckily I have the OHL in my backyard as well, and though the upper talent level there is high…it’s still not the NHL.

I co-host an NHL Podcast..

I really love the NHL and talking about the NHL… So last season with two members of the Detroit media’s underbelly, we formed the “End-to-End” Podcast ( a spin off of Doug Todd’s hockey blog “End-t0-End,” hosted on…and talked everything from trade deadline, to draft, and playoffs…and while we’re all very in tune with what is going on in the lock-out, it just doesn’t make for very good chatter… Especially since we all seem to agree on what has to happen for it to end.

Asking a Different Question

It feels so insignificant to say thoughts and prayers are with the families in Newtown, CT.

I can’t physically do much for them now, so they’ll have to do.

I feel sick today.

While work is busy buzzing around me, I am stuck in thought.

In high school my class was forced to attend an assembly where the basic theme of it was “Smiling at somebody could go a long way.” You can call it common sense. You can call it some hippy dippy new-age feel-goodary crap.

Fact of the matter, I think it stuck with a lot of us. I won’t say the class of 2007 at John Glenn was bully free and that everybody got along, but what we did seem to have was a general respect for one another.

Smiling at somebody can go along way.

We probably don’t smile enough, but I think as important as the the smile is, the gesture behind it has more meaning.

It says “I know you exist.”

It also kind of says “I am watching you.”

It’s at least 5 years later now, and I still think about that assembly on occasion, and especially after tragic events like today’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, CT, When a man my age opened fire on teachers and children alike.

Or two days ago when a man my age opened fire in a mall in Oregon.

Or six-months ago when a man age opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora.

Slowly, despite our rising Facebook friendship numbers, we’re becoming a nation of shut-ins. Especially after events like today, we all have that natural reaction to “take care of our own” and tell the rest of the world to piss-off.

I’ve read over and over today people asking “what is wrong with society?”

Guns? Violent movies? Eminem?

Far be it from me to claim I have THE answer, but maybe I can help echo  better questions than the ones we’ve been asking.

What happened to our communities?  What happened to being neighborly? and why don’t we look out for one-another anymore?

It sounds cheesy, but we are not a community any more. We’re a house-divided. We’re a bunch of “hey, I’m just one guys” who don’t know how to be a group and work together despite our differences. We aren’t nosy neighbors, We don’t ask questions of anybody, and often times we over-look suspicious behavior because we don’t want to get involved. Why are we more connected than ever, and yet, not as connected as we used to be?

I am  guilty of this. I moved into a new apartment building recently and the very first night I saw every neighbor on my floor come home.  Of course I wanted to see them, check out who is living around me.

I smiled. I said “hi.”

That was it. I’m living in very close proximity to these people, and I had the chance to learn a little bit about them, and all I did was say “hi” and move on with my day? How are you supposed to know if your neighbor is acting unusually, if you don’t know how your neighbor usually acts? Acting unusually?  How am I suppose to know anything about them, when I am too closed off to take time to learn their names?

It’s delusional to think these crimes are 100% preventable, but I suspect if we were all a little more aware of who and what is around us we might fare a little better in preventing such tragedies.

So at the risk of being over-bearing, nosy, or a good neighbor, I am telling you that I am going to make a better effort to be a neighbor and pay attention in my community, and I hope that you can too.

A smile can go a long way.

And don’t always mind your own business.

Is it too soon after the tragedy to suggest that we need to look out for one-another?

You can go back to your gun debate now.

Expanding the NFL Playoffs; Not a Bad Thing.

Oh Puh-leez!

The NFL is talking about expanding it’s playoffs and people are pooh-poohing the idea!?

I can understand being against 18 regular season games…but the whole argument about this 14-16 teams watering down the NFL  post-season is a crock.

Yes, PLEASE remind me one more time of the 7-9 Seahawks making the playoffs. You know what nobody seems to bring up after they make that point?  The part where they knocked New Orleans OUT of the playoffs after just getting in.

What about that 11-5 2008 New England Patriots team that missed the playoffs?

You’re telling me the Playoffs might not have been different had they gotten in?

I’m not asking you to feel bad for these teams… and I won’t feel bad if the NFL doesn’t decide to expand it’s playoff perimeters. Just remember that the Seahawks were the exception not the rule, and I am perfectly OK with the Seahawks being in at 7-9 as a division winner. That’s how the NFL was set up. Win your division and you’re in. In fact, unless you win a very bad division, it would be nearly impossible to get in under .500 as a wild card.

If you fear that expanding the playoffs will allow more under .500 teams to get in, let me remind you the very fabric of the NFL is set up to where you’re going to have some very good teams jammed up in the middle of the pack.

In 2011, there were 8 teams that finished 8-8.

In 2010 the Giants and the Buccaneers both went 10-6 and MISSED the playoffs. Meanwhile the Packers DID get in at 10-6 and ended up winning the Superbowl.  In the AFC, the Chargers (9-7),  Raiders (8-8), and Jags (8-8) all missed the playoffs and were at or above .500.

In 2009 The Steelers, Falcons and Texans missed the playoffs at 9-7, and five other teams were 8-8.

The NFL is a pretty even footed league. Year-to-year there might be a couple teams at the top of the heap, but the section in the middle can often include some very talented teams… Teams that often miss the playoffs by a petty tie-breaker.

Adding a couple more middle of the pack teams won’t hurt the top of the heap’s achievements if you format the playoffs correctly, and you’ll have more fan bases tuned into their teams later in the season.

And just making the playoffs shouldn’t be considered an achievement anyhow, and you sure as heck shouldn’t hang a banner for it… (Looking at you Ford Field).

Karlsson suspended one game for very gently throwing his stick at the refs


Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson, currently plying his trade with Jokerit in Finland, has been suspended one game for throwing (sliding?) his stick at the referees following Wednesday’s game at TPS Turku.

Via The 6th Sens, here’s the footage:

[nbcsports_video src= service=youtube width=443 height=249]

And since we’re so bored these days, here’s a screenshot of the incident:


Nice form?

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