Happy Hockey Day.
Let’s Start with an email:
Hi Bob, with you guys doing the great game Thursday, will there still be
a stars post game show?
Good question. Given that we are bound by laws bigger than me that state when the Ticket has a promotional event such as this I am obligated to that before even the Western Conference Finals, I will not be hosting the Playoff Post Game Show Tonight.
However, there will be one, hosted by the capable tandem of Tommy Daniels and Stew Cedar. Cedar may be a Detroit apologist, but they are both able to provide you with fine hockey talk. To make matters worse, we have a Dallas Desperados game to work around on Saturday night (post game show will not begin until Arena Football is over), and I will be in Salt Lake City for FC Dallas v. Real Salt Lake Saturday Night.
The Fact is, none of us expected this run to happen – we made other plans back in February. So, I will be watching Games 1 and 2 in Detroit via tape delay on Thursday and Saturday night. If we didn’t have the Great Game, we would be in Detroit for these two games, but we do, so we aren’t.
Now, what do we expect to happen in the series?
First, realize that I believed Anaheim would beat the Stars. So, what does it matter what I think?
The fact is this: Everyone thinks the Red Wings are the favorites here, but many are picking against the Stars for the 3rd straight series. If somehow, the Stars advance to the 4th and final round, everyone will pick the Penguins, I am sure.
I did find some interesting numbers in looking back at all of the Red Wings battles against Dallas in the Tippett/Turco era.
The two teams have played 20 times in the 5 seasons since Tippett/Turco took over from Hitchcock/Belfour. They have a record of 4-11-5. Turco’s record is 2-10-5. That is surely very poor. But, the idea that he has been horrendous might be overstated. His save percentage is 89.7% which is fairly average. His GAA is 2.88 which is certainly not good enough. But as is the case in all of the Stars bad trends, it is interesting to note that much of the blame is directed at the Stars inability to score a goal.
In those 20 games, The Stars’ Power Play has outscored Detroit’s Power Play 15-13. So how do you outscore their special teams and only win 4 games out of 20?
Even Strength. In 20 games, at 5 on 5, the Stars have scored a grand total of 21 goals. Ouch. Detroit? 46. There you have it. With relative ease, the Wings have been flat better by a shocking tally of 46-21.
And haven’t we also learned that history doesn’t matter in the present?
I love that they have Detroit. I love it. I love that nobody expects them to win. I love how this all sets up. Sure, I think Detroit is the better team, but that hasn’t mattered yet. This team looks like they have a determination, and as long as they stay greedy and determined, I would not bet against the Dallas Stars.
But, I won’t pick them. That would jinx them. Detroit in 3.
Goals Per Game in the 08 Playoffs
Goals Against Per Game in ’08 Playoffs
Red Berenson (Marty’s College Coach) rates the goalies …
Now, here is how Berenson rates the Wings-Stars series:
• Chris Osgood: "He's probably playing the best hockey of his career. He has experience, confidence and momentum. He's in a good place. He renewed the team's confidence during the first half of the year. His numbers were as good, or better, than anyone in the league at the All-Star break, then had a lull before playing like he did earlier."
• Marty Turco: "In the past, he had been targeted as a goalie who wasn't as good as he needed to be in the playoffs. He had his best playoffs last year (three shutouts, 1.30 GAA) against Vancouver, but they fell short when his team couldn't score goals. He's now playing the best hockey of his career with playoff (series) wins against Anaheim and San Jose. The last game (Game 6, a 2-1 quadruple-overtime win with a franchise-record 61 saves) was huge for Marty and his teammates. He's a good athlete and a great competitor."
Mitch Albom on the crazy career of Chris Osgood …Truly amazing if you consider it.
But you can't duck the spotlight in Osgood's current classroom -- the Red Wings' net -- although if he could, he might. Years ago, when he still was painfully shy, Osgood would scurry to shed his goalie equipment before the media entered the locker room, but there was always so much stuff -- gloves, mask, leg pads, skates -- that it took too long.
So he kept his head down and he mumbled short answers and at times it was almost agonizing, as if the words were yanked by pliers. Today, there is still a shyness to Osgood, even at 35, even after winning the Cup, even after starting the All-Star Game, even after sitting behind Dominik Hasek despite better numbers, even after winning his last six playoff games and entering tonight's Western Conference finals as secure in his job as the CEO of a family business.
His words are still, at times, halting. He is easy to embarrass. But what you may not know about Chris Osgood is that his shyness is matched only by his doggedness. He is tough and stubborn about the important things. And for every sentence he doesn't speak, there may be a thought that howls inside his brain.
This, after all, is a guy who never developed a backup plan to hockey -- even though his father was an educator. Chris told his folks from grade school on that he was going to the NHL. He said it so often, that instead of warning him, "You need something to fall back on," they eventually said, "You better make it in hockey."
This is a guy who, during the lockout, began to reinvent himself, because he saw younger goalies with more efficient styles. So he worked and reworked and he taught his old dog new tricks, and he is arguably now at the highest level in his career.
This is a guy, who, even when they told him they didn't want him in Detroit anymore, refused to accept a departure. Instead, he kept a home here, never sold it, and viewed his time in New York and St. Louis as an exile. Eventually, Detroit signed him on as a free agent for less than a million bucks, and he now has the longest-term deal (three more years, $4.5 million) of any of the Red Wings' goalies.
"I always knew I'd be back," he says.
Even if he was the only one.
Another backdrop to this series? Thursday is supposed to be the day that Fabian Brunnstrom decides Between the Stars, Wings, or Habs …and he appears to be a stud….
The Toronto Star is reporting coveted unrestricted free agent Fabian Brunnstrom is to make a decision on an NHL team by tomorrow.
General manager Ken Holland, speaking just a few minutes ago, said he had been told by Brunnstrom's North American agent, J.P. Barry, that the group would debate their finalists this week.
"All I was told by J.P. Barry was (Brunnstrom) travelled home Monday and he was going to give him Tuesday and Wednesday to kind of get their sorts, and then ... they were going to go through the process to make their decision," Holland said. "I said 7-10 days, but maybe they make the decision tomorrow."
Brunnstrom visited Detroit last Friday, part of a three-city tour that began in Dallas and ended in Montreal, the three cities believed to be the finalists for Brunnstrom's services. Brunnstrom, though, can sign with any team, and apparently the Maple Leafs believe they have the advantage.
"From an opportunity perspective, he's decided the Leafs would be the best team," Barry told the Toronto Star. "If he's going to chose for other reasons, he's going to focus on a couple of different teams. He narrowed that side down to Detroit, Dallas and Montreal."
I missed getting on during Ranger talk. I'd like to see someone hold Jon Daniels to the fire when he's on the station. I get all the player development improvement talk, however the fact is the rotation could and should look something like this if he had done his job.
1. Josh Beckett (just couldn't give up big blalock could we)
2. Kevin Millwood
3. Chris Young
4. Vincent Padilla
5. Danks or Volquez
Last I checked that would be a top 3 rotation in the majors. Instead all we have is more of the same old same old
Red Wings Suck
Belfour Robs Federov