Tag Archives: Hockey

Last Thoughts…

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CCHA/Madness weekend fires up today, and I’m off to San Diego. While I will miss the CCHA tournament this weekend, I do land in Cali at about 3:00 PM Pacific time, and am headed straight to the bar with SleeplessGF and family to enjoy some beers and watch the hoops game.

As is a habit of mine, I always make a checklist before I leave for a trip, so I figured I would carry this idea over to the blog.

  • A good vacation (in terms of Wolverine sports) equals a CCHA Championship and one win in the hoops tournament.
  • I’m not sure either of those will happen, quite frankly.
  • I couldn’t round up a guest blogger in time, so your official introduction to EPeevey will have to wait until a future date.
  • I’m taking my computer with me, but don’t expect any posts. It is a vacation and I’ve promised to try and disconnect
  • That said, I will be tweeting as much as possible this weekend, so follow me @chollis.
  • I’d also like to see the Red Wings win against Atlanta on Friday and Calgary on Monday, coupled with a pair of San Jose losses.

Speaking of the Red Wings: I know this is a general, ‘Detroit/Michigan’ sports blog, but expect the content to shift more heavily to become more Michigan focused over the next few weeks. Why? Well, I am moving most of the hockey content over to PuckScoop, a new hockey blog featuring commentary from all over the NHL. I really encourage you to check it out, as I know Jeff (@jeffler on Twitter) is bringing together some great writers to offer a different, unique take on the game. So, even though I will continue to post some Wings content here, head over to PS for a more in depth breakdown of the Wings and the NHL.

OK, with that, I am out. Talk to everyone on Tuesday.

Oh, GO BLUE!!!

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Prepare Thyself: March 16 – March 22

Since I spent most of yesterday working on the ‘Redemption’ post, this week’s PT is going to be short and to the point.

  • Michigan Hockey: 2-0
  • Michigan Basketball: 1-1
  • Red Wings: 3-1
  • Pistons: 2-2
  • Michigan Baseball: 0-3

Grand total: 8-7

  • Michigan hockey destroyed Western Michigan and is headed back to the CCHA Championship Semi-Finals at Joe Louis Arena this weekend.
  • Michigan basketball did the damn thing against Iowa and then fell to Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament, but punched their ticket to the Big Dance in the process.
  • The Red Wings righted the ship with a nice week, with their only loss coming to Calgary in a shootout.
  • The Pistons split four games, but managed to continue dominating the Orlando Magic (Yes Beau, we still dominate you!)
  • Michigan baseball uh….yea…it was ugly in Tucson.

Team of the Week could go to three of these clubs easily, but none has exorcised the demons quite like Michigan hoops.

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The matchups:

Michigan Hockey

  • Friday, March 20 vs. Alaska (CCHA Tournament) – 8:05 PM (Big Ten Network)
  • Saturday, March 21 vs. Notre Dame or Northern Michigan (CCHA Tournament) – 3:35 or 7:35 PM (FSN Something-or-other)

Michigan Basketball

  • Thursday, March 19 vs. Clemson (NCAA Tournament) – 7:10 PM (CBS)

Red Wings

  • Tuesday, March 17 vs. Philadelphia – 7:30 PM (Versus)
  • Friday, March 20 at Atlanta – 7:30 PM (FSN Detroit)

Pistons

  • Tuesday, March 17 at Dallas – 8:30 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Wednesday, March 18 at Houston – 9:30 PM (ESPN)
  • Friday, March 20 vs. LA Clippers – 8:00 PM (FS+)
  • Sunday, March 22 vs. Miami – 1:00 PM (ABC)

Michigan Baseball

  • Tuesday, March 17 at Eastern Michigan  – 6:00 PM
  • Friday, March 20 vs. IPFW – 3:05 PM
  • Saturday, March 21 vs. IPFW – 1:05 PM
  • Sunday, March 22 vs. IPFW -  1:05 PM

Tigers SPRING TRAINING fun continues with matchups against St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Washington, the Yankees and Florida.

Game of the Week

Michigan Hockey and Basketball

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So normally Michigan hoops’ return to the dance would take the cake all by itself. However, the fact that this is the week of the CCHA Championship means that I would normally be in Michigan watching the Wolverines hit the ice. However, this year will end our 5 year run, as I have had to bow out due to other commitments. I will definitely miss my CCHA crew, but the warm weather of San Diego will be a soothing antidote.

(That said, for those of you who can’t read between the lines, I will be on vacation starting Thursday and returning Monday. Don’t expect alot of content from me, but I may try and get a guest blogger or two.)

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Quick Hits: Day of Reckoning

harrisdunkageFlames Red Wings HockeyBIG haps today, with two important games going down.

Michigan v. Iowa

  • Opening game of the Big Ten Tourney for the Wolverines today, and a win puts a bonafide, stone-cold LOCK on a bid to the dance. Gack it up and you have an increasingly nervous Wolverine nation.
  • If you need stats and ACTUAL analysis of the game, head over to UM Hoops and check out Dylan’s breakdown.
  • Personally, I’m ready for this team to smash down the brick wall that has kept us at bay since the NCAA’s sanctions came down. We’ve pulled ourself out of the grave. It’s time to clean up, put on our Sunday best and go dancin’.
  • GO BLUE

Red Wings vs. Flames

  • So Calgary makes some nice moves at the trade deadline and everyone is ready to crown them the Western Conference Champions. After three straight losses, it might be time to reconsider. Meanwhile, the Wings have gone 3-2 in their last five, but those losses came in a$$ woopin’ fashion from our divisional rivals. Despite recent trends, this one has a genuine playoff feel to it, so look for some big intensity tonight.
  • Check out MLive’s snapshots for some comprehensive news and notes before the game, and mosey on over to the Hockeytown blog for reaction after the game.
  • It would be great to see a highly competitive, intense game and have the Wings win in convincing fashion. See: February 25th vs. Sharks.

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The State of Hockeytown

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Hey, hey Hockeytown! (Pun intended) How goes it?

Confused? Worried? Incessantly smacking that big red button on the side of this page?

I hear you. Right now, things are a bit…confusing. One night it’s a 5-0 win. The next, we’re getting snowmen pasted on the scoreboards by our divisional opponents. Not quite as consistent as you hoped? Me neither.

And then there’s the media. Sports radio in Detroit is leading the campaign of fire, brimstone and kneejerk panic spreading. The papers question GM Ken Holland’s decisions about goaltending at the trade deadline. Don Cherry puts on his ugliest suit and slings insults at the way the Wings play hockey.

It is indeed a grim time to be a Wings fan.

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PUHHHHHLEASE!!!!

Wings fans, get with it. You have exactly ONE thing to be sad about when it comes to this organization, and that is the loss of a great hockey ambassador in Colleen Howe. (God Bless You, Mrs. Hockey).

But when it comes to the guys wearing the Winged Wheel, it’s time to wake up, splash some water on your face and take a good long look at what is really going on.

Immediately, most of you reading this are dismissing me as a homer/idiot/ignorant fan/wishful thinker. Fine. You go on worrying about what MIGHT happen next month because of some inconsistent play this month. While you’re at it, please go ahead and worry about what color shirt you will wear next week too. As for me, I already know what color I’ll be wearing: Red. For the Red Wings. Because I’m not worried.

“Again, you’re just a homer/idiot/ignorant fan/wishful thinker.”

Fair enough. But here’s why I’m right. Take it or leave it.

Media Panic

This might be the most ridiculous reason for worry, EVER. Why, you ask?

Imagine, if you will, that you are a sports writer. If you’re a Wings writer, you write the same thing pretty much every year as the squad plods along methodically to the playoffs. The regular season quickly gets taken for granted and you find yourself grasping for a unique and different story angle (“Babcock wears TAN SUIT!”)

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On the other side of the coin, those NHL writers who aren’t dedicated to Hockeytown greatness have had to listen to how great this team is for the entirety of the season, trying to find something to harp on.

Then, “8” happened. Twice.

Now all of a sudden, you as a local writer have your ammunition to panic (Wings look like s*#t!!!) and the out-of-market writers have spotted the “chink” in the armor. Commence Operation: Impending Doom and Gloom.

The fact is that every writer writes so people will read. In an 82 game regular season, there will be points where sometimes the only thing worth writing about will stir the masses and create doubt. However, all writers will tell you that they  are objective folk just doing their job and writing what they perceive to be the truth. Fair enough. But don’t believe everything you see or hear as all writers (including myself) make mistakes and report a “truth” that doesn’t always come to fruition.

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“That’s great, but it’s not the media’s fault.”

OK, so the media didn’t give up those eight goals. Twice. But two games does not make a season. Let’s dabble in a few facts and even more theories.

FACT: The Wings aren’t immune to lazy play.

  • Hey, my barista does his/her job very well most every day of every week. Some days, though, I have a little extra room in my Americano. Eh, it happens. And sometimes they might get distracted and even make me the wrong drink. Ugly. But while my faith might temporarily waver, I know that on any given morning, my Americano will be hot, overly caffeinated and made the way I want it. The point is that over an 82 game season, it shouldn’t be surprising that lapses will happen. I worry when the Wings lose a string of close games, not when they spew turnovers and give away goals late in the season. Hey, how many times have you been working on a long project and done everything perfectly and without a stupid mistake, especially near the end? That’s what I thought.

FACT: We are right where we need to be.

  • A few weeks ago, I boldly/foolishly predicted the Wings would lose the West by 2.5 games. At last check, we are tied in points with San Jose at 96, with them having two games in hand on us. We are two games back. We aren’t five or seven or nine games back. We are two back. That is not a cause for panic. We also have a 7.5 game lead in our division. This is a good thing. Pretty much every team in the West is battling for a playoff spot, meaning we are going to get everyone’s best shot every single night we hit the ice. It’s difficult to get excited to play every one of those games, especially when we have such a sizable lead with a month to go. Just ask San Jose.

FACT: Inconsistent lineups lead to inconsistent play.

  • Much hulabaloo was made of Chris Osgood’s “10 day mental rest.” I’m not really sure why. I get tired at my job. Sometimes I just need a break to refocus. You know what I do? Take a vacation. Clear my head. That’s all that Osgood did. Yes, I’m aware he isn’t in top shape, but you can’t leverage all of the blame at him when the defense decides to take a couple of nights off.
  • Here’s another thought: long seasons lead to wear and tear. It’s easy to forget that in the midst of a couple of bad games, but Wings leadership has to find places to meet certain obligations to developing players, and we happened to get caught in an unfortunate period of injuries and minor league call-ups. It happens. But here’s the thing: the Wings are still 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and were able to do that without having guys like Hossa, Holmstrom, Hudler and Leino in the lineup on any given night. This is an organization planning for the future, which includes both the playoffs and years to come. Anytime that these guys can get the minor league guys some playing time, they will. I PROMISE that you much prefer it this way, as *knock on wood* we will have a healthy and rested lineup come playoff time.*
  • *This prediction does not cover Andres “Glass Joe” Lilja. He should never fight again.glasslilja

FACT: We aren’t alone.

  • No, I don’t speak of aliens. I seak of the fact that most of the top teams in the league are finding issues with their play too. San Jose is 5-4-1 over their last 10. Boston is a putrid 3-6-1. Heck, even our “hated rival” Nashville has found a way to lose three in a row. Save Pittsburgh’s seven game win streak and Carolina’s four game streak, nobody is playing ‘terrific’ hockey. These are the ups and downs of the season. We should be used to them by now.
  • If you’re worried about goal differential being a major indicator of concern, think again. While Boston is +69 on the season, our Western counterpart San Jose currently sits at +52 while Detroit is +48. Chicago is +45. Columbus is -1. Nashville is -14. Calgary, who currently leads the Northwest division and is everyone trendy ‘dark horse’ all of a sudden, is +16. What does this mean? Nothing. If anything, it means that, despite having mental lapses and giving up some big goal numbers, Detroit consistently scores more than they give up. That usually leads to wins.

OK, I’ve made the best argument I can.Whether or not you want to listen to me is up to you. But I’m kindly asking you to think twice before you beat your panic button into submission. One way or another, we will find our way to the playoffs. Whether that is riding high or limping in remains to be seen. But until then, I would suggest taking a deep breath and letting this run its course. You’ll thank me later (hopefully).

And in case you want one more thought to ease your mind:

Columbus and Nashville hung 8 on us.

8+8 = 16.

16 = Number of playoff wins for the Stanley Cup.

16 = Number of arms on two octopi.

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See? It’s all in the numbers.

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Prepare Thyself: March 9 – March 13

Happy Monday everyone! First, let me apologize for my lack of updates over the the past week. Work has been busy and posts have waned. However, I was able to do quite a bit of thinking, so expect some solid content over the next few days.

OK, with that out of the way, let’s get down to business; it was a busy, busy week, with lots of implications.

  • Michigan Hockey: Bye
  • Michigan Basketball: 1-0
  • Red Wings: 2-1
  • Pistons: 2-1
  • Michigan Baseball: 3-1*

Grand total: 8-3 (Michigan baseball’s loss was in an exhibition against the New York Mets)

Adjusted total: 8-2

HEYYYO! What a week!

  • Michigan hockey hung out, rested and watched to see who they would draw in the CCHA Tournament 2nd Round.
  • Michigan basketball basically took the monkey that has been on their back since 1998 (1995 if you follow the post-infraction records) and rallied from a double digit deficit to beat Minnesota in Minneapolis and all but guarantee their bid to the Dance.
  • The Red Wings blanked the Blues, hung on against the Avs, and then gave up eight goals for the second straight Saturday in a loss to the Blue Jackets. Expect some ravings on this one later this week.
  • The Pistons won a pair at home against Denver and Golden State before dropping a road game at Atlanta.
  • Michigan baseball swept Siena in a three game series on Port St. Lucie, FL before falling 18-7 to the Mets in an exhibition game. At least we avoided pissing off Billy Wagner with a bunt this year. FTR, Wagner is still a complete DB.

Team of the Week honors? Right.

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Hoops got the win they needed, 90% of the teams on the bubble collapsed, and now most experts have said the Wolverines should start shining up those dancing shoes. Me? I’d like to see one more win in the Big Ten tournament before I’m 100% comfortable, but it was really difficult to not get excited when the final buzzer sounded in Minneapolis.

Which brings us to…

The matchups:

Michigan Hockey

  • Friday, March 13 vs. Western Michigan (CCHA Tournament) – 7:35 PM (Comcast)
  • Saturday, March 14 vs. Western Michigan (CCHA Tournament) – 7:05 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Sunday, March 15 vs. Western Michigan (If Needed) – TBA

Michigan Basketball

  • Thursday, March 12 vs. Iowa (Bid Ten Tournament) – 2:30 PM (ESPN2)

Red Wings

  • Tuesday, March 10 vs. Phoenix – 7:30 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Thursday, March 12 vs. Calgary – 7:00 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Saturday, March 14 at St. Louis – 2:00 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Sunday, March 15 at Columbus – 5:00 PM (FSN Detroit)

Pistons

  • Monday, March 9 vs. Orlando – 7:30 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Wednesday, March 11 vs. New York – 7:30 PM (FSN Detroit/NBA TV)
  • Friday, March 13 at Toronto – 7:00 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Sunday, March 15 vs. Memphis – 1:00 PM (FSN Detroit)

Michigan Baseball

  • Friday, March 13 at Arizona  – 9:00 PM
  • Saturday, March 14 at Arizona – 8:00 PM
  • Sunday, March 15 at Arizona – 1:00 PM

Tigers SPRING TRAINING fun continues with matchups against Florida, St. Louis, the Yankees, the Mets, Toronto and Washington.

Game of the Week

Michigan Sports Extravaganza!!!

Hockey, hoops and baseball are all ‘can’t miss’ action this week. Hockey looks to advance to the Joe, Hoops looks to secure a tourney bid, and Baseball looks to make a statement against a solid Arizona squad in Tucson. GO BLUE!

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Non-Michigan/Detroit Game You Shouldn’t Miss

Any conference basketball tournament game. It’s like a free preview to March Madness. Enough said.

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NHL Trade Deadline

Hey kids. NHL trade deadline is nearing, and I KNOW you want to know what’s happening.

I’m liveblogging all the action over at  The Daily Deke, so come check it out.

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Prepare Thyself: March 2 – March 8

What up, gang? February is gone and March is here!!! March Madness is mere weeks away, which can only mean one thing: Joe Lunardi all over TV sets telling us whose bubble is going to burst. Honestly, this guy sucks, as he is TOO smart and pretty much drains all of the fun out of Selection Sunday.

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I swear, ESPN must box up Lunardi and Mel KiperJr. after they are done with their respective coverage, put them into storage, and then haul them out the next year like a fake Christmas tree.

Anyways, to sports. Last week was much more pleasant than anticipated, even though we weren’t without some bumps in the road. Check it:

  • Michigan Hockey: 2-0
  • Michigan Basketball: 1-1
  • Red Wings: 2-1
  • Pistons: 2-2 (!!!!! More later…) 
  • Michigan Baseball: 3-2

Grad total: 10-6

Not mindblowing, but a solid week. Here’s the rundown.

  • Michigan hockey sent the seniors out in style, with a weekend sweep of Ferris State. With a little help from the Bucknuts, we also locked up the number 2 seed in the CCHA playoffs.
  • Michigan basketball knocked off 16th ranked Purdue, thus giving them two opportunities to get that last win they need to be in good shape for the NCAA tounrament. However, Wisconsin had other ideas, and Michigan’s inconsistency continues to show.
  • The Red Wings tamed the Sharks, squeaked by the Kings and got routed by the Preds. Meh.
  • The Pistons opened the week with two losses against Miami and Nawlins, and then surprised everyone (especially me) by knocking off Orlando and Boston on the road.
  • Michigan baseball finally came back down to earth a bit taking a pair of losses to Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Jacksonville. However, the boys in Blue bounced back with wins over North Florida, Akron and a 21-3 drubbing of Jacksonville to split the doubleheader.

Normally, this would go to the team with the best record, but the Team o’ the Week for last week has got to be the Pistons. I was sure this team was going to mail it in for the rest of the season (and potentially miss the playoffs), but they bounced back with a pair of impressive road wins against two of the best in the East. I’m still not sold on this team, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt. Deeetroit Baaaasketball???

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Onward to this week.

Michigan Basketball

  • Saturday, March 7 at Minnesota- Noon (ESPN)

Michigan Hockey

  • First round CCHA tournament bye.

Red Wings

  • Tuesday, March 3 at St. Louis – 8:30 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Wednesday, March 4 at Colorado – 9:00 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Saturday, March 7 vs. Columbus – 7:00 PM (FSN Detroit)

Pistons

  • Tuesday, March 3 vs. Denver – 7:30 PM (FS Plus)
  • Friday, March 6 vs. Golden State – 8:00 PM (FSN Detroit)
  • Saturday, March 7 at Atlanta – 7:00 PM (FS Plus)

Michigan Baseball

  • Friday, March 6 vs. Siena (at Port St. Lucie, FL) – 1:00 PM
  • Saturday, March 7 vs. Siena (at Port St. Lucie, FL) (DH) – 11:00 AM
  • Sunday, March 8 vs. New York Mets (at Port St. Lucie, FL) (EX) – 12:10 PM

Tigers SPRING TRAINING fun continues with exhibitions against Florida Southern, Venezuela and Panama, before returning to normal action against Washington, Philadelphia and a pair of games against the Yankees. Also of note, the World Baseball Classic starts this week and runs through March. Should be entertaining.

Game of the Week

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Michigan Basketball: Saturday, March 7 at Minnesota – Noon (ESPN)

1 regular season game left. 1 win needed to get to .500 in conference. Win this game, and the Wolverines can lock up a tournament birth with an opening round win in the Big Ten tournament. Lose, and they need a healthy run through the conference tournament to give themselves a chance. Just win.

Non-Michigan/Detroit Game You Shouldn’t Miss

CCHA Tournament: First round.

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Michigan’s quest to defend their CCHA tournament championship begins with a bye (as it should). However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be some good action along the way. First round. best-of-three play begins Friday, with your matchups below:

  • 5. Ohio State vs. 12. Bowling Green
  • 6. Northern Michigan vs. 11. Michigan State
  • 7. Western Michigan vs. 10. Lake Superior
  • 8. Nebraska-Omaha vs. 9. Ferris State

Joining Michigan with byes are regular season champion Notre Dame, Miami (OH) and Alaska.

I’m sure there are a bunch of moans and groans about this, but hey, look at the rest of the schedule. This is not the most exciting week for the Wolverines, Pistons or Wings (save Michigan hoops), so this is what I will be watching. Plus, I am still disappointed that I won’t be attending the CCHA in tournament in person this year, so I need to grab as much college hockey action as I can.

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