12/11 – Quick Links

Apparently, Versus believes the Wings are taking on the St. Louis Blue Jackets in our annual New Year’s Eve game. Thanks to Abel to Yzerman for the heads up.

Former Detroit Red Wings player Igor Larionov was in town promoting his wine collection and also attended Sunday’s game.

Red Wings legend Ted Lindsay believes that Gary Bettman is to be blamed for the attendance problems in Detroit. While I do agree that the NHL uses the Wings’ success to help strengthen other weaker teams (in terms of popularity), I can’t say that it’s a good reason for the attendance issues.

“We had it for a couple of years there with Colorado and Detroit, but Bettman has taken advantage of Detroit because of it being a great hockey city and it being a well managed hockey team,” Lindsay said. “These people, they don’t want to see Columbus. I understand what he’s trying to do, he’s trying to use the strength of Detroit to carry on some of these weaker teams.”

Lindsay says the hockey purists in Detroit who have followed the team since the days the Red Wings played at the Olympia want to see traditional rivals like the Canadiens and Maple Leafs more often.

“We have wonderful hockey fans that have been season ticket holders for 40 or 45 years,” Lindsay said. “Now they’re talking about how (the Red Wings) aren’t sold out, but they’re not sold out because these people aren’t renewing their season tickets. It’s not that the interest in hockey isn’t there, it’s that these people hate to be thought of as being taken advantage of.”

Game recaps from the other viewpoint from Sunday’s 5-2 victory over Carolina…

Canes Country:

Getting back to the topic of “dumb”, it wasn’t Carolina’s most cerebral game of the year. They had 2 “delay of game” penalties for shooting the puck directly out of the rink. They also had a bench minor for abuse of the officials. These types of penalties are avoidable and not only does it put extra pressure on the lowest rated penalty killers in the league, it also takes away from any offensive continuity when they repeatedly spend so much time in the box. Chad LaRose apparently was trying too hard to impress on his home turf as he took 4 minutes of penalties himself, one for a hook and one for a needless shove to the back of a Wing during a line change that was called interference. Again, in my opinion that’s just not smart hockey. That’s also 10 minutes of minor penalties for LaRose in just the last 2 games.

Red and Black Hockey:

After playing a very solid sixty minutes in Montréal on Saturday night, Carolina had very little time to rest and prepare for the best team in the NHL. Against Detroit on Sunday, they looked good. “Good” wouldn’t be enough, though. Detroit won 5-2, which looks like a blowout. It was, however, very much in question until the final moments. Although they were badly outshot, Carolina held in there and they should be happy with the amount of effort.

11/05 – Quick Links

My recap of last night’s victory over Montreal is up @ Winging It In Motown. It’s a lengthier one than some of my most recent ones and I also mention the hour long tribute held before the game to honor the 81-year-old rivalry (boy, I wish Versus would have shown it all!).

Other fun and interesting links…
Wings’ goaltender Chris Osgood discusses the Tigers’ blockbuster trade that went down yesterday saying there may be an opening for him now as backup catcher.

“I love the trade because that pitcher is awesome,” Osgood told me after the game. “A left-handed starter; a left-handed ace. It’ll be great; it’s a great trade. The third baseman is really good, too. I see this as an opening for me. I need a little practice but I could definitely adjust to the job. I’m fired up.”

IwoCPO, who made a recent appearance on a HNIC piece about bloggers, @ Abel to Yzerman was impressed by the Wings’ play last night in Montreal.

First of all. What in the name of sweet baby jesus was Mathieu Dandenault thinking? A guy who never showed even the slightest sign of sociopathic behavior in Detroit, and only 14 penalty minutes this season, jumps Mikael Samuelsson from behind? Now, considering what we know about Samuelsson–that he’s got a bit of an agitator’s quality to him–he’d probably earned some special attention. But like that, from Dandenault? Interesting.

As for the rest of the game? Read the title: Dominant, definitely the Wings’ best game of the year, maybe their best regular season effort in the last few years.

Here are a few other game recaps for you at On the Wings, HockeyTownTodd, Red Wings Corner, and Theory of Ice.

11/28 – Quick Links

New posts on my other blogs: Steve Yzerman comes in first at No. 19 (BTJ19), Wings defeat Flames, 5-3 (Winging It In Motown), and Wings controlling the All Star vote in the West (WIM).

Bob Duff at the Windsor Star has an interesting article about the importance of pro scouts to NHL teams especially after the implementation of the salary cap.

High above the ice, Nick Polano busied himself feverishly filling a notebook with pertinent data.

A pro scout for the Ottawa Senators, Polano, the former Wings coach, was among 14 of his brethren who populated the end seats of the Joe Louis Arena press box for Tuesday’s contest.

“When I first started as a pro scout, the first season (1985-86) after coaching in Detroit, there were only two or three of us (in the entire league),” Polano said. “Now, every team has at least two or three pro scouts.”

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is considering more international NHL games, but no decisions about locations for next year have been made. In addition, the NHL may prevent its players from participating in the 2014 Olympics when the games are held in Russia.

“Our experience in London was terrific,” Bettman told Reuters on Tuesday about the NHL’s season-opening games this year between the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks.

“There are rumors rampant that we might go to Prague or Stockholm next,” Bettman said at the Reuters Media Summit. “We’re looking at the options. …I could envision at a point in time in the future to maybe go to a dozen different cities over time. There are lots of hockey markets with tremendously avid fans throughout Europe.”

Bettman mentioned Moscow, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and various German cities among the possibilities.

James Mirtle takes a look at the instigator rule and why Bettman may not mind that the NHLPA is pushing for a change in the rule.

But I disagree with Tom when he says this is “the last thing Gary Bettman wants to see.” My guess is that, after two and a half years with a completely dysfunctional — and for all intents and purposes useless — players’ association, the commish is just fine with the fact the very first order of business for Paul Kelly and Eric Lindros is wading into this old, essentially unwinnable instigator tiff.

In the grand scheme of things, there are far more prickly subjects the union could be broaching — player safety, the definition of hockey-related revenues, marketing the stars, improving television coverage and media attention — instead of chasing down a relatively minor rule change. (The board of governors isn’t going to be all that concerned, relatively speaking, if there’s a sudden push for their employees to punch each other in the head more often.)

Damien Cox writes in a special to ESPN.com about the rise of the Original Six and lists the playoff chances for each six franchises. The Wings were given a 5 out of 5 rating or basically a lock to make the playoffs. Why? The longevity of their success and despite being in the “best” division (the only one where each team has a winning record), the Wings are number one in the West. My second favorite team, the New York Rangers (a distant second, but second nonetheless), was given a 3 out of 5 saying that things may be looking good there are still some trouble spots up ahead.

Alanah at Canucks and Beyond interviewed author Gare Joyce about his new book, Future Greats and Heartbreaks.

The Blue Seats discusses the difference between the Wings and Rangers’ use of European players and that style of play.

What this all has to do with the Rangers is this: we complain about the Jagr-ization of the power play, decrying it as European hockey when it’s not exactly that simple.

Yes, the style played in Europe differs from that in North America, but players can be molded and directed by effective coaches and management into playing the system that benefits the club. Detroit is an example of how European talent has been married to North American grit and determination to reap great success. It’s also proof that it’s possible … even in New York.

11/27 Quick Links

The Detroit sports blog Out of Bounds writes about how the Wings are a team without anyone to hate.

I seriously doubt whether the average Red Wings fan could name more than three players off today’s Avalanche roster, when that same fan could have rattled off 12, easily, during the height of the two teams’ struggle for supremacy in the West.

And it’s not as if the teams sunk in terms of success. The Avs are still a solid playoff contender, and this morning are in first place in their division. Just like the Red Wings.

Yet things are nowhere near the same.

Looking around the NHL the other day, I couldn’t come up with a single team that elicits anything close to the hostility that the Red Wings mustered up against the Colorado Avalanche a decade ago.

Aaron Downey is really making a name for himself and his teammates and Wings’ fans alike are taking notice.

Downey’s getting even with Jody Shelley and Jared Boll (a former Plymouth Whaler) of the Blue Jackets are examples things are different this season. There’s protection for skilled Wings, where there might not have been in the past.

“He’s done a great job for this hockey team,” Kris Draper said. “He’s one of those guys; he’ll do anything to pick up his teammates. Just a great guy. He never has a bad day; he’s glad every day he’s a Red Wing, and just a great guy to have in this dressing room.”

Downey’s fight with Boll in last Saturday’s game against Columbus:

The Toronto rumor mill is running rampant with media speculating that either Scotty Bowman or Steve Yzerman would make their way to the Maple Leafs organization. It ain’t gonna happen. But IwoCPO at Abel to Yzerman has some personnel/players that Toronto can have from the Red Wings. Consider it our gift to a fellow Original Six team.

So we, the Wing fans, aren’t angry with Toronto for trying to steal away everyone from the janitors on up. In fact, because the staffers here at A2Y appreciate the O6 and TO’s place within that legendary group, we’d like to help. You can’t have Kenny, and you can’t have the Captain. And, no, you can’t have Scotty either…even though you feel you’re owed a stop on the Bowman tour of hockey towns.

But there are plenty of other Wing icons to choose from.

New defenseman Brian Rafalski was asked to describe Newark, where his former team’s new arena is. Chris Chelios tried to make sure Rafalski said the right things.

“It’s, uh, it’s, uh . . . ,” Rafalski says after the Detroit Red Wings practice Monday morning at Joe Louis Arena. “Newark is . . .

“Careful what you say,” lectures Chris Chelios. “Just say you’re not familiar with it.”

Responds a chuckling Rafalski: “But I can’t say that.”

A pause.

“It’s definitely not the safest neighbourhood,” re-starts Rafalski.

Orders Chelios: “Don’t say it.”

Replies Rafalski: “But it’s not safe. Look at the statistics. And hey, Detroit just got rated the most dangerous city (in the U.S.).”

Chides Chelios: “Well, don’t say that, either. Block and bridge, block and bridge. Just do what the league told us — just lie.”

11/19 – Quick Links

I would like to apologize for the lack of frequent posts (outside of the quick links). Last Saturday, my knee flared up and I have been in an incredible amount of pain resulting in missing some classes and even work. I was getting a little better and then attending the OSU-UM football game and then working the Wings’ game that night put me back even further. Hopefully, the pain will go down to its normal level when I get back from South Carolina, where I will be going for Thanksgiving weekend, and thus I will be unable to catch Saturday’s game against Columbus. I’ll try to get some solid posts written in the next couple of days before I leave, but only if my knee permits.

Now onto the links…

My game recap of yesterday’s 5-4 victory over Columbus in the shootout @ Winging It In Motown.

The UM-OSU football game drew in big ratings for ABC despite a 12pm start.

The battle for the Big Ten title drew a 6.4 overnight on ABC, especially impressive when one considers the game began at Noon ET. The 6.4 makes Ohio State/Michigan the highest rated college football game so far this season. Versus last year, the 6.4 is a 52% drop from the 13.4 overnight the same match-up drew in a later timeslot. Keep in mind that last year’s Michigan/Ohio State game was a battle between the #1 and #2 teams in the nation.

Michigan’s head coach Lloyd Carr announced his retirement this morning. Sean at Michigan Sports Center has a great recap of what was said during the press conference.

The Wings have hit the 20 game mark and beat reporter Bruce MacLeod has passed out his grades for each player.

The Edmonton Journal did a nice article on the Oilgosphere, which really came to life during the 2006 playoffs. While I’m still slightly bitter about the Wings loss to the Oilers in the first round, I started reading those entertaining Oilers blogs and continue to today.

11/18 – Quick Links

My UM-OSU football game recap @ Big House Football.

My brief Wings-Blackhawks game recap @ Winging It In Motown.

Christy Finn @ Girl with a Puck takes an in depth look at blogging about hockey including quotes from Anaheim’s Brian Burke and top hockey bloggers James Mirtle and Eric McErlain.

Wings GM Ken Holland likes where the Wings stand at the 20 game mark.

More than 2600 Detroit Free Press sports fans voted on the best Detroit athlete and Henrik Zetterberg came in first with 54.4% of the vote.

Bruce MacLeod, the Wings beat reporter for the Macomb Daily, is an admitted blogaholic.

11/15 – Quick Links

The 2 Man Advantage just released their latest episode, as seen below, and they test two defensemen (Chris and Bruno) to see how well they know their partner. Unfortunately, they don’t know each other very well, but it’s an entertaining watch!

The BlueLine: Hockey Talk Radio also has their newest episode up for you to listen to.

Easton Hockey has now added helmets to its production. The all-new Stealth helmet line features Stealth S17 and Stealth S9 models.

“The helmet category is one of the only areas Easton didn’t participate in and the new helmets truly round out our entire product line. We didn’t want to come to market with just any helmet. We wanted a superior design, style, comfort, durability and of course protection. We wouldn’t settle for anything less,” Goldsmith said. “The S17 and S9 are going to make an immediate impact. Our long list of NHLers and our dedicated R&D team contributed to the extensive research that was done in the creation of these helmets. The result is stellar and players will notice right away. The new technologies and design will make for the best comfort, fit, protection, and style on the market.”

11/07 – Quick Links

A couple new posts are up at my other blogs…
- Game Preview at Winging It In Motown
- Yzerman enjoying management role

Other links…
Blue Line Talk Radio has it’s newest show available for you to listen. One of the topics discussed is the frequently asked question, “Is Detroit still Hockeytown, USA?”

The 2 Man Advantage talk fantasy hockey in their first segment called Fantasy Focus

JP @ Japers’ Rink has compiled an incredibly thorough list of blogs (over 1500 hockey links!) and has divided them by teams so definitely go check out that great resource for hockey fans.

Small market teams are already complaining about the revenue sharing, which frustrates me because they had a say in determining how the CBA played out.

11/03 – Quick Links

Some quick links to recent blog posts by myself on blogs other than BTJ:

BTJ: No. 19
Yzerman talks in first Wings’ podcast
Conroy likes playing against Yzerman
Yzerman talks to skier about osteotomy procedure

Winging It In Motown: Wings owning the personal stats page

Lions Den: Kitna dresses as Cullen for Halloween

10/23 – Quick Links

A few new posts I’ve written for other blogs…

No Yzerman retirement DVD in near future

Detroit calls up Grigorenko

SI & ESPN rank Lions in top 15

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