Hockey

It’s not getting any better, folks.

The Hawks have now lost 6 games in the fledgling 2021-22 season (Motto: Good Seats Still Available) and have set an NHL record for shame and futility having now gone 360 straight minutes to open a season without having a lead in a game. In addition to that heaping pile of pathetic, the Hawks sellout streak ended in acrimony on Sunday night with an announced attendance of 19,042 but in reality looked a lot more like this (courtesy of Ben Pope on the Tweet Machine):

The end of the sellout streak resulted in this unintentionally hilarious statement from front office bobblehead Danny Wirtz, which basically implied that yes, good seats ARE INDEED STILL AVAILABLE:

With a slate of games upcoming against higher tier opponents like St. Louis and Carolina, its very possible that this Hawks team will start the season 0-8-1. While everyone assumes the team is going to HAVE to launch Jeremy Colliton into the sun if that were to happen, I’m not entirely convinced Stan will put him out of his misery. The two are irrevocably tied together, and Old Yeller-ing one would require the same of the other.

I personally have no evidence of this, but I’m wondering if the Wirtz Clan is keeping Stan around to take the fall for the sex abuse scandal when the discovery phase of the trial hits. Either way, this shit has become nigh unwatchable and based on ticket prices on Stubhub I don’t know if Danny Boy will be able to wait that long, or if there will be anyone left to care when he does.

TO THE BULLETS:

NUMBERS DON’T LIE

 

October 19th, 2021

Islanders 4 – Hawks 1 

Box Score | Natural Stat Trick 

 

One period into this game, it kinda sorta seemed like the Hawks were going to make an effort of it. They kept the Isles pinned in their zone to the tune of a 60% CORSI for (their highest number for a period thus far in the season), and had a couple of dangerous chances against Ilya Sorokin that should’ve had the Hawks feeling pretty good about themselves heading into the locker room after 1.

The reality of it all was, however, that the Isles were simply playing the perfect road game there on Madison and they merely waited for the Hawks to (inevitably) make a stupid mistake and then capitalized on it. That mistake came in the form of Henrik Borgstrom, Riley Stillman and Erik Gustafsson (of course) chasing Oliver Whalstrom below the fucking goal line, leaving Anthony Beauvillier all alone to slip one past a sprawling Marc Andre Fleury, making it 1-0 and giving the Isles a lead that they’d never relinquish.

The Isles made it 4-0 on two goals by Whalstrom and one by Cal Clusterfuck before MacKenzie Entwhistle was able to end Sorokin’s shutout bid with 26 seconds left in the game. As we’ve been saying all along, any coach worth his salt will eventually pants Jeremy Colliton right out of the building and Barry Trotz is worth mountains of it. This outcome was preordained and shouldn’t have been a shock to anyone with a functional parietal lobe.

 

October 21st, 2021

Canucks 4 – Hawks 1

Box Score | Natural Stat Trick 

 

Once again, it seemed like the Hawks might have a chance in this one as the first really wasn’t the dumpster fire the other first periods were during week one of the season. The Canucks did score first, and predictably it came from Erik Gustafsson being out of position chasing a hit below the goal line again and leaving the slot wide open for a Jason Dickinson one timer. The Hawks were able to answer not 2 minutes later however when Kyle Burroughs was sent to the sin bin for tripping up DeBrincat. The Hawks power play (which has been the only fucking decent thing so far this year) went right to work, with Kane winning a board battle against Dickinson and Tucker Poolman (porn name) and sent the puck up to Seth Jones who set up DeBrincat with a nifty one timer that beat Thatcher Demko far side.

Looking at the CORSI for the game, you’d have to assume that the Hawks got goalied as they held a 52 and 61% share of the possession in the 2nd and the 3rd, and had a majority of the high danger chances the rest of the way, but it never really felt like Demko had to work much to keep the Nucks on top. Meanwhile at the other end, every time Vancouver crossed into the Hawks zone you pretty much expected the puck to end up behind Lankinen and that’s pretty much what happened. Demko made some choice saves and Lankinen didn’t. 0-4-1.

 

October 24th, 2021

Red Wings 6 – Blackhawks 3

Box Score | Natural Stat Trick

 

Honestly, there’s not much to say here. The Hawks got absolutely domed in all facets of the game by a team that had played the night before (and been scorched to a crisp by what had been a winless Montreal team up to that point) and was on it’s 3rd game in 4 days in 3 time zones. Marc Andre Fleury looked completely disintristed, and really who can blame him when most of his “defenders” avoid the area in front of his crease like Tyler Bertuzzi and scientific evidence.

With Patrick Kane out as a close contact exposure to BERTUZZI-19, the power play was pretty lifeless, pissing away two 5 on 3 opportunities. Tyler Johnson made a nice play in the 1st powering his way to the net, but then wiped it all away by taking 2 dumb stick penalties immediately after the Hawks had score, killing any momentum generated. The UC was half empty, and the half that was filled was at lest 50% Detroit fans. The sellout streak ended, but it’s been replaced by a much worse one with the Hawks now owning the dubious distinction of going the longest to start a season without a lead. Then the cherry on top of the shit sundae happened in the 3rd:

Un-fucking-real.

There’s no end in sight for any of this, as much as we all want to get off this poorly maintained carnival ride. The roller coaster is out of tracks, and Stan Bowman is the carnie asshole who forgot to finish building it. There’s no coaching going on, there’s no fun being had by anyone, and there’s little hope that anything could possibly be turned around before the coaster flies into a brick wall, but at least there are still good seats available.

Eat At Arby’s

 

Hockey

Game 1 Box Score / Game 2 Box Score

Game 1 Natural Stat Trick / Game 2 Natural Stat Trick

 

 

I want to get all sarcastic about the results of this series and say that, duh, the Red Wings are a subway car filled with dead clowns and every team should pummel them into submission. The reality, however, is that in hockey even teams like the Wings win sometimes (just ask Carolina, if you can break into their quarantine), and nothing is guaranteed. So to see the Hawks come out and slap 10 goals down on the Scum is pretty nice, and since we aren’t gonna get a lot of nice shit this year I’m just gonna crack several cases of beer and enjoy it while it lasts.

 

TO THE BULLETS:

-First off, let us all celebrate the hat trick of Pius Suter today. Playing with Patrick Kane can make anyone look better, but he was positionally where he needed to be, and finished the dishes that he should’ve finished and for that he should be congratulated. That 3rd goal was a thing of beauty and if he can keep burying shots like that, The Pope may move from “A Guy” status all the way to “A Piece Of The Puzzle.”

-In other rookie news, Lankinen (while not facing the type of shot quality that he did in the COVID Coliseum) looked much more comfortable these last two games. He kept his net, cut down on the angles and was not nearly as itchy overall as he was in Florida. The goal he gave up in game 1 was due to what was essentially a breakaway after the entire Hawks team lost a board battle by the penalty box and Marc Staal sprung Dylan Larkin. Game 2 one of the goals was on a 5 on 3, so that’s no fault of his either. Good progress thus far.

-The Hawks powerplay is now officially A Thing. The goal they scored with some sick tic tac toe passing that resulted in a wide open cage even Andrew Shaw couldn’t miss was pretty as hell. The Hawks PP has collected 8 of the 19 goals the team has score thus far. While it’s completely unsustainable, it’s nice to watch a competent power play for once in the last 5 years.

-Minus Captain Rockhead, the Hawks D had a great couple of games offensively with both Conor Murphy and Calvin deHaan notching goals. Ian Mitchell continues to impress in his time on the ice, with only the lost board battle and subsequent Larkin goal in the 1st game as a blight. More please.

-All is not rosy in HawkWorld, however. Neither Kubalik, Kurashev or Hagel broke 14 minutes in either game. Disregarding Kurashev and Hagel’s inexperience, you have one of the best players on the team in Dominik Kubalik not breaking 15 minutes of ice time in either game. That’s just flat out fucking stupid, and there’s no excuse you could sell me to believe that Coach Smoothbrain even realizes it. Le Sigh.

-All that being said, 4 points is 4 points and now the Hawks get to head to Music City to take on the Preds after they just had 7 goals dropped on their collective heads by Dallas last night. A repeat performance by the Hawks would just about make my month, so let’s see that happen.

Onward!

Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Hawks 31-28-8   Red Wings 15-48-5

PUCK DROP: 6:30pm

TV: NBCSN Chicago, NHL Network

THE TRULY LOST: Winging It In Motown

They can’t fuck this up, right?

Whether or not you believe the Hawks have a shot at making the playoffs, they believe it. They kind of have to, but hey, they’ve won four in a row here and have a great chance to make it five. There’s a ton of home games. So you can see where if it’s your job, you psych yourself into it.

And even if it’s on the second of a back-to-back, you can’t get more of a layup than this. It sucks for a lot of reasons that the Wings moved to the East, but one is that we never got the reverse of when they were the all=conquering model of the league and the Hawks were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked and we essentially begged for mercy. The Wings were still a playoff team when they fucked off–or were ordered off in the most glorious way possible–and now that their a post-modern interpretation of sadness, the Hawks kind of are too.

Except not nearly as bad. The Hawks have twice as many points as this team. That’s hard to fathom. There’s 23 points to the next worst team, the Kings. 23! You can’t be more adrift than this. Their goal-difference is -121. They average getting beat by two goals per game. It’s the worst goal-differential this century, and they still have some games to play. Alex Biega is playing top pairing minutes here. They’re playing seven d-men and five of them assuredly suck ass. Their special teams both rank 30th. There’s literally nothing this team does well.

They’re paying Justin Abdelkader $4.2M for his three assists. Frans Nielsen lives in a mortuary and is taking home over $5M. Darren Helm and Valttieri Fillpula apparently still exist. I could keep going, but my lungs are turning into mush just reading this shit.

So yeah, you can’t lose this. Somehow the Wings have found an opponent that was breathing chloroform at intermission 15 times this year, and an additional five where they came to soon enough to at least win in OT. There’s no point in breaking this down or saying what the Hawks have to do. They have to show up and not completely stub their toes, fingers, nose, and frontal lobes. They spotted this team a two-goal lead at the UC and then blew them away after they came to. Dylan Sikura scored against them. Need we say more?

This is the game in hand the Hawks have on some teams, and you can’t ask for a better one. Some other results go their way and they could be within two points of the last wild card spot, though with a pile of invalids to hop over to get there. Whatever. Just do it.

Hockey

You have to hand it to Steve Yzerman and the Wings. This is how you tank. It’s rare to see this hardcore of a tank in the NHL, outside of Ottawa at least, but the Wings have managed it. As flawed and infuriating as the Hawks are, they have twice as many points as the Wings. Twice. You might clamor for something like this in Chicago, but take a good look at the Wings and decide if that’s what you really want. And remember that the Wings haven’t had players the quality of Kane, Toews, Keith, or Crawford to jettison in years. It takes a while just to get here.

Part of this rebuild is identifying what is going to be on the team when it matters again, no matter how far off that is. The foundation must be ground in something, as General Zod told you. Filip Hronek seems to be something the Wings are banking on, and with cause. Tyler Bertuzzi is another, though probably farther down the lineup in the years to come. Anthony Mantha is already 25, so that’s questionable.

The biggest pillar the Wings are selling is that Dylan Larkin will be the #1 center when they’re ready to not be a reminder of how life can go horribly wrong. What this post presupposes is…maybe he isn’t?

It is hard to judge fully what Larkin is, simply because he’s played on dogshit teams for so long. Last year he put up a 73-point campaign which pretty much nothing on his wings. And yet that very well might be his ceiling, as he won’t approach that this season and again he’s getting top center minutes at evens and on the power play. At some point, if you’re truly a diamond you’ll shine through the muck, as it were.

Our argument falls flat though when you see what kind of relative numbers Larkin is putting up, at least metrically. He six points above the team’s Corsi-percentage rate this year, after being nearly 10 above it last year. His relative xG% is 8.65 above this campaign after 9.62 last year. So even if he’s still in the red overall, he’s doing far better than the wayward and destitute that comprise his teammates.

Larkin’s individual shots, chances, and attempts this year are all down from last year, but that again could be from playing with no one who can create things for him instead of the other way around. We won’t know until he gets some actual talent around him, which might come in the form of Elmer Soderblom, Moritz Seider, Filip Zadina, or Alex Lafreniere if the Wings end up with the 1st pick in June. That’s the hope around there.

And it still kind of has to be Larkin. Lafreniere is a wing, and the rest of the system is much stronger on wingers or d-men than it is on centers.  Joe Veleno is the just about the only center in the system that’s going to make it to Detroit soon, and he doesn’t project to displace Larkin. There isn’t anyone coming to take Larkin’s job anytime soon.

Still, Larkin doesn’t really look like a premier scorer. He’s got one 30+ goal season, but has broken 20 only one other time in five seasons. His career SH% or chances he gets don’t suggest anything more than a 20-25 goal guy. Is he a great playmaker? Doesn’t appear to be, though full judgement will come when his wingers aren’t consistently dizzy or looking for directions. He might just be a #2 center.

Depends on what projection Yzerman has here, but the ballsy call might be to at least see what’s out there for Larkin. He’ll be 24 next year and on a very reasonable $6.1M hit for the next two seasons. There are a lot of teams that could use him as a #2 center (Bruins as Krejci ages? Sharks for when Thornton retires? Stars?), and the Wings might need more than they’ve already got. They’re years from competing anyway. It wouldn’t be the biggest shock, is all we’re saying. Though with this draft as weak as it’s considered at the moment, adding more picks in it doesn’t have quite the appeal.

That would take some brass balls. This isn’t just the only player who’s been worth watching on the team for years. This is a kid who grew up in Michigan, wanting to play for the Wings his whole life and then became captain. You can see why the Wings want to build everything around him. It’s just a question of if they really can.

Hockey

Who The Fuck Are These People? – It was one thing when the Wings fucked off to the Eastern Conference because their precious fans couldn’t stay up past 10pm so they could be up early for the jobs they don’t have, which essentially ruined this rivalry. Also it helped them keep their stupid little playoff streak alive a couple more years so they could get labeled by the Bruins or Lightning a couple times, and they must be so proud. But now that they’re in a full rebuild, we don’t have any idea who any of these jokers they’re running out there are. Or if we do we know enough to not care. Alex Biega? Fabbri Robbie? Patrik Nemeth? These guys have go a far ways north just to get a shoulder shrug. We’d try and build up bile for Dylan Larkin…but really who cares? He’s never played game that mattered and probably won’t for another three years.

Trevor Daley – Dumbest player in the league who plays with chew in his lip. How fucking gross is that? Could it be any more Canadian?

Anthony Mantha – Apparently the Wings always have to have some mule that scores goals for no reason. So here’s Mantha, who skates like a building but yet piles up goals no one will remember. On pace for an prime “Yeah, but who gives a shit?” career.

Hockey

vs.

RECORDS: Red Wings 10-29-3   Hawks 18-18-6

PUCK DROP: 6:30pm

TV: NBCSN

GOTTA LOSE YOUR MIND: Winging It In Motown

As we comment every time these two meet, it used to mean so much. This was one of the NHL’s deadliest rivalries, at least among the fanbases. On the ice…well, it wasn’t a rivalry for much of the last 30 years. The Wings rose above where the Hawks could ever dream of getting in the early 90s, and only at the very end of their reign did the Hawks stare them in the eye. And that was almost 20 years later. And quickly the Wings faded away, and ran off to the Eastern Conference so Mike Ilitch wouldn’t have to stay up so late and risk shitting himself. Much of the heat has gone, and what’s left is basically from memory. The younger section of the fanbase will never know the vitriol and bile this used to have. And maybe that’s a good thing.

If it was still there, this would resemble their tangles in the 80s, when both teams were either terrible or just good enough to be chum for the Oilers. It all goes in cycles, I suppose.

If it does, the Wings are certainly at the bottom of theirs. In truth, Detroit probably needed to do this a few years ago, but kept trying to desperately crawl and cling to the very bottom rung of the playoffs, with signings like Trevor Daley or Frans Nielsen or some others in the past. But it didn’t work, and now this is the full tear-down. They’re still committed to Justin Abdelkader and Frans Nielsen, love letters from Ken Holland, but every other vet is on his way out no later than this summer. Steve Yzerman will hope to flog a couple of them at least for any pick or prospect he can get.

Of course, that means what’s on the ice is truly awful. The Wings trail everyone by at least 13 points in the NHL. They have yet to crack double-digits in regulation wins. They’re last in goals for, and last in goals against. That’s how you bottom out, folks! And they can’t even argue they’re somewhat unlucky to be this bad. They’re second last in Corsi, and second-last in expected goals. They’re last in shooting-percentage, and third-last in save-percentage. What the Wings do well you can put in your pipe and smoke it and not have nearly enough to pass around. This is a truly wretched outfit. And it should be.

Did I mention they’ve lost seven of eight? Or 17 of 20, all in regulation? Try to contain your sorrow, I’m sure you’re just dying inside. Also, though +/- is a bullshit stat, it’s hard not to gawk at Andreas Anathasiou’s -35 in half a season and wonder just how the gods could allow such a calamity.

All of this means the Hawks can’t fuck this one up. The Wings have no defense and they have an attack that even the Hawks should be able to repel. Even if the Hawks aren’t all there mentally, even they could get a win in second gear here. This is the free spot on the Bingo card. If you don’t let Dylan Larkin go off the leash, this team can’t score. The corpses of Valtteri Filppula and Nielsen are still around. Luke Glendening is like 49 years old now. They’re even beat up, as Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou are both hurt and are two of the few who don’t come with mittens pinned to their jackets.

For the Hawks, Robin Lehner and Zack Smith missed practice yesterday, as that nasty fall Lehner took against Vancouver came home to roost. So Corey Crawford finds his way back into the lineup. Everything else wikk remain as it was.

The Hawks have a nice row of home games here, though they’ve been mediocre at home all season. The Wings blow more than anyone has blown in a long while, they just outplayed the Flames, the Predators are seriously trying to get Peter Laviolette to the unemployment office, and the Ducks aren’t any good either. It’s all set up, but first you have to hit the hanging curveball. Don’t foul it off your foot.

Hockey

It was almost a decade now that Steve Yzerman left the Wings front office. While it seemed a bit off, and there was a section of Red Wings fans that thought it was on the level of a crime that Yzerman wasn’t allowed to replace Ken Holland then, it didn’t rise to the level of controversy as the Wings were still on top and Holland not yet discovered to be one of the luckier morons around. Since Yzerman left of course, the Wings haven’t seen anything past the second round in 10 seasons, haven’t won a playoff round in six, and will have missed the playoffs the last four when this one’s over. It may be far too late to have saved that era of Detroit hockey, but according to Wings fans everyone is where they should be now.

The first thing Yzerman will have to do is identify or find pieces that the team will be built upon. Is that Dylan Larkin? Jury is still very much out on that, though he is very good. Is he a franchise turner? When Yzerman landed in Tampa, Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman were already there. You can’t get much better than that. Dylan Larkin is now Steven Stamkos. There isn’t anyone here to be a homeless man’s Hedman yet.

However, to discredit what Yzerman built down there would be completely unfair. Yzerman’s second draft saw him nab Vladimir Namestnikov, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat. The latter two would form two-thirds of the Triplets that were major parts of the Lightning’s continued runs to the conference final and beyond. His third draft netted Andrei Vasilevskiy and Cedric Pacquette. Brayden Point, Anthony Cirelli, and Mathieu Joseph would follow in the next few years, who are the backbone of this Lightning team.

Yzerman also went outside the draft in signing Tyler Johnson and stealing Ben Bishop for Cory Conacher. Anton Stralman ended up being the analytic darling of free agent signings. The Zobrist of hockey, if you will (you won’t). It’s an impressive list of team-building.

There were missteps, of course. The Bolts blue line was always a bit plodding beyond Hedman. Ryan Callahan sucked up a ton of cap space for what became a pretty shitty Brandon Dubinsky impression. Dan Girardi did the same. Ryan McDonagh aged a ton upon arrival. No one bats 1.000.

But Yzerman did earn a rep for moving on pretty quickly when he could. His first team went to the conference final under Guy Boucher and his overrated, boring-ass ways that were just riding Dwayne Roloson‘s second nuclear streak. Boucher was fired just over a season later and that entire team moved out for what would come next and what you saw here in 2015. Jonathan Drouin at #3 overall in the draft never earned a spot and never stopped bitching about it. He was chucked for Mikhail Sergachev, who has contributed heavily to the Lightning of late. Stevie Y rarely falls in love with something that isn’t worth it.

Maybe it’s better to arrive at the Wings now. In 2010-2011, he would have had the same problems that Holland refused to see, the aging stars that were no longer up for carrying a team deep into the spring. The cap problems. And the desperation to keep bolstering that up.

That doesn’t mean it’s a total blank slate in Motor City. Yzerman will lose the contracts of Mike Green, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, and Trevor Daley after the season. That’s some $16M in space. Only Andreas Anathasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi will require big raises. And splashing cash in the free agent market in the summer shouldn’t be a priority, as this team is a long way from anything.

Still, the major part is finding the foundation. Larkin has done the best he can, but he’s never had an 80-point season. Then again, he hasn’t had much talent around him either. Is Filip Hronek the new anchor on the blue line? Filip Zadina (Larry Horse say too Filip-y) hasn’t flashed yet to signal why he was taken 6th overall.

What Yzerman buys everyone is a ton of time. Wings fans aren’t going to get seriously impatient with him for seasons, which is good because he’s going to need it. His time in Tampa buys a lot of additional trust. A possible #1 pick overall will as well, though there’s no generational player in this draft as there have been in previous.

The only complaint is that Yzerman’s Lightning only won one Prince Of Wales trophy. Of course, if Duncan Keith hadn’t gone supernova in ’15 and the Penguins not around in ’16, that might be different. Three of four years they lost to the eventual champions in the third round or later, and all of them to the definitive teams of the era.

Wings fans won’t accept that when it’s all said and done. But it’s a long road to even there for them.

Hockey

All The Wings We Thought Were Dead – Seriously, there are far too many players here that shouldn’t be. And we’re saying that as Hawks fans. Has Justin Abdelkader done anything since 2013? Jonathan Ericsson is somehow 35 and we don’t remember him making one play. He only got into the NHL because he was Swedish, played defense, and was in the Wings system. Frans Nielsen? The Hawks wanted him via trade like 10 years ago. Did you know Darren Helm was fast once? He sure was, and that’s all he was! Danny DeKeyser is actually dead, seeing his back turn into confetti. Good god did Ken Holland leave some trash around here. Even Trevor Daley, perhaps singularly the dumbest player in the NHL the past 20 years.

Tyler Bertuzzi – He’s only the nephew of the jackal that tried to ruin the sport, but look at this punk’s face. That dude owns roofies.

Mike Illitch – Yeah, he’s actually dead. Like real dead. But his screwing over of Detroit will live on for decades for his shiny new arena. And Detroiters will never accept that he fucked them over. It’s almost adorable in a way.

Hockey

I’m a firm believer that preseasons in basically any sport are not worth getting stressed out about. They’re an extended audition for those on the fringes of the team, ostensibly they shake off some rust (debatable), and you’re just happy if the important players don’t get hurt.

With all that being the case, don’t take anything I say too seriously (like I normally demand serious consideration around here), because the Hawks looked pretty shitty tonight but I am not—I repeat NOT—letting it get to me, and neither should you.

Box Score

Natural Stat Trick

Robin Lehner looked less than comfortable tonight. He played half the game, gave up two goals and finished with an .882 SV%, which again shouldn’t give anyone ulcers but my bigger problem was that he was all over the place, and not in a good way. He was flopping around and losing his net; the second goal was a direct result of him using the crease as a slip-and-slide and the puck dribbled away from him and into the net. I get athleticism and all that, but flailing shouldn’t be the result.

–Kevin Lankinen did just fine, on the other hand, and the goals he gave up weren’t really on him—the defense got mesmerized (shocking, right?) on the first one, and the second was off Dahlstrom’s leg on a PK that looked characteristically chaotic. He finished with a .905.

–None of the core looked particularly impressive. Alex DeBrincat and Dylan Strome were quiet, Andrew Shaw whiffed on at least three or four shots and was pretty useless, Brendan Perlini did nothing, Slater Koekkoek was Slater Koekkoek, etc. Great seats still available.

–So Connor Murphy and Carl Dahlstrom are going to be our shutdown pairing, huh? At one point in the second period they had, respectively, 11 and 10 CF%. You did not mis-read that. But I know, I know, it’s a dumb preseason game, who cares. They ended with a 45 and 40 CF% so whatever, and Dahlstrom did get an assist, so yay?

–Who the hell is Philip Holm? I swear I was paying attention this offseason and during training camp, and I’m telling you I’ve never heard of this guy. But he scored a goal, he had a great keep on the power play that resulted in the third goal (he got the assist), and at 44.4 CF% he was behind only Murphy in possession for d-men. Sign him to a 7-year deal right now.

–The organ-I-zation is REALLY excited about Andrew Shaw being back and they want you to know it. During both intermissions they played an interview with him (hello, mute lounge), and I know my personal animosity towards him is clouding my judgement but I am already exhausted with this dummy. He nearly dropped the gloves in the third period—this is a PRESEASON game, lest you forgot. But there was plenty of stupidity to go around. De la Rose and some other oafs went after noted tough guy Alex DeBrincat late in the third after the Wings had re-taken the lead. So that shows you the level of play we’re dealing with here.

Two games, two losses, not freaking out yet. Onward and upward.

 

 

Hockey

Schadenfeude: noun, 1. Pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. 2. When your rival team is even worse than your team. See: 2019-20 Detroit Red Wings.

2018-2019

32-40-10 74 Pts. (7th in Atlantic Division)

2.73 GF/G (21st) – 3.32 GA/G (27th)

47.1 CF% (28th) – 44.5 xGF% (31st)

18.1 PP% (19th) – 77.1 PK% (28th)

Goalies: In my mind Jimmy Howard is at least 65 years old, but turns out he’s only 34. Only. It’s safe to say his best years are behind him, and while he wasn’t a trainwreck or anything last year, his .907 SV%/3.07GAA at evens isn’t exactly going to save this shitshow of a team. Jonathan Bernier isn’t going to do it either. He’s certainly a serviceable back-up, and let’s be honest neither of these goalies are going to be what sinks the Red Wings’ season, but neither of them are good enough to bail out this team either.

Defense: Why is Mike Green still playing? I guess plenty of Wings fans could yell that right back at me but with the words “Brent Seabrook” in the middle of that sentence. But that doesn’t change the fact that if Mike Green is on your top pairing, you’ve got issues. Last season the Wings were 28th in the league in terms of shots against per game, placing them in the esteemed company of the Rangers, Hawks, and Senators. Only one defenseman (Filip Hronek) was above water in possession last year, and just barely—he had a 50.3 CF%. We know a few things about shitty defenses around here, and that’s what the Red Wings have.

Green will probably pair with Danny DeKeyser, Hronek and Dennis Cholowski maybe, and Patrik Nemeth and Jonathan Ericsson will round out to the main six. Will Trevor Daley stink up the joint for a while? Probably! But who cares? Fuck this team.

Forwards: A lot of teams are stuck with one top line and nothing else, but the Red Wings are really taking this situation to a new level. Bertuzzi-Larkin-Mantha is a decent top line—really, Dylan Larkin is probably the only good thing on this team. But all three are young and could be good pieces to build around. Or maybe they can gtfo to better teams, I don’t know.

Frans Nielsen and Valtteri Filppula are your centers behind Larkin, with Luke Glendening probably centering the fourth line. Andreas Athanasiou isn’t horrible, but I swear I hate that fucker so that’s literally the nicest thing I’m going to say. Justin Abdelkader is still playing on this team, for God’s sake.

Now, they have young guys like Filip Zadina, Taro Hirose, and Michael Rasmussen, who may develop into something, but that’s by no means certain and they weren’t lighting up the scorer’s sheet in the playing time they had last year. This team was dead-ass last in expected goals for. And so it goes with a rebuild—it’s going to be a lot of trial and error.

Prediction: Yes, Steve Yzerman is back and people will try to find the upsides, but let’s not kid ourselves—the Red Wings are going to suck this year. It’s entirely possible they’re at the bottom of the division, and I couldn’t be happier about it. If they’re not, it’s simply because the Senators are proving yet again why relegation is a viable strategy the NHL should adopt. The Wings will end up with somewhere between 75-80 points, and Larkin will be like a poor man’s Connor McDavid—not, he’s not anywhere near as good as McDavid so please do not misunderstand me, but he’s young, talented, and wasting it on a terrible team. But too bad. Fuck this team.

Stats from NHL.com, Hockey Reference and Natural Stat Trick

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