Friday, June 26, 2009

Hittin' the road running

This is the unedited, original version of the first-person story I wrote today for the Gloucester Daily Times. I don't know how heavily it will be edited or if it will be at all, but I wanted to get this up here so you can see it how I wrote it without any changes. I'll add the link for the actual article and some pictures tomorrow. Enjoy!

At first, I thought I had a chance. A chance for glory. A chance to be the first runner, the first intern, the first reporter to cross the finish line of the Fiesta 5K. I peered at last year’s results, saw the winning time of 15:51 and stepped out my apartment for a training run, determined to match it.

I ran flat out. My lungs screamed for me to stop but my legs sped forward. I’d been training for months, when a New Year’s resolution got me running again. This 5K was going to be cake.

I snuck a peek at my watch. The analog letters read 16:12, 2.2 miles. Wait. Five kilometers is 3.1 miles.

I was a mile behind and already, I was toast.

A week later, when I stepped to the starting line behind hundreds of others, I felt relaxed. There was no reason to push forward; I could run comfortably. This was my first St. Peter’s Fiesta, my first summer in Gloucester and the first road race of my life. Why not enjoy it?

The horn sounded; I didn’t move. I couldn’t. Sweating bodies were packed like sardines, slowly filtering down the road like sand crystals in a hourglass. The crawling start gave me time to scan our surroundings. Hey, it’s not everyday you start a race packed at the edge of a carnival.

Finally, after several stalled seconds, my feet started moving. I saw an opening up ahead and went for it, desperate to reinflate my personal space bubble.

I squeezed between runners and cars and spectators and barely saw the upcoming stroller out of the corner of my eye. I twisted left to avoid it, but I felt my heel clip the wheel. An infant’s cry rang out in the background. Bad start. I kept moving.

Nearing the half-way turnaround, I saw the leaders coming at us, only minutes ahead. I picked up the pace. The competition gripped me. Hope entered my mind again.

Then, a few steps after I made the turn, I saw a man jogging along and juggling three tennis balls without the slightest flinch. He couldn’t have been more than a minute behind me, and he was “joggling.” Talk about gaining some perspective. I slowed back down.

The race settled down. I relaxed once more. The track widened and runners dispersed. The fastest group flew out of sight, and I found my niche in the middle of the pack. That was where I found the true spirit of Fiesta.

I saw runners big and small, young and old. There were runners in bare feet and runners in stocking feet. Some ran with tunes and some ran on fumes. The diversity was unlike anything I’d seen at a sporting event.

It wasn’t about winning; I had it wrong from the beginning. The race is only a part of the week-long celebration. Hundreds of runners competed, but an even larger group stood on the sidelines to recognize tradition, heritage and a collective sense of pure happiness on a warm Gloucester evening.

Kids held self-made signs for their relatives and parents, adults in lawn chairs applauded from the grass and groups of helpful volunteers yelled encouraging words as they handed out cups of water.

Locals waved Italian flags from their homes and cars honked their horns as they passed by. From the sidewalk near one of the final turns, a man in a wheelchair yelled, “Come on guys, you can do it!”

None of these people ran the race. But there they were, cheering on strangers and supporting the community. All smiles. They were playing their part in Fiesta.

I didn’t look at my time as I crossed the finish; I passed the clock before I could make out the numbers. I was too busy looking around at all the excited faces packing the closing chute. I found out later that I finished the race in 24:09, 121st out of 454 runners and eight minutes, 26 seconds behind the winner. But it didn’t matter. The importance of winning was lost. I had my own piece of Fiesta to cherish, and I know I’d be welcomed back if I decide to do it again.

Now, if only I could learn how to juggle...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm getting paid for this...

I've come to a work day where I have already finished my stories for the day and have nothing planned for the afternoon. I figure that if I keep typing at my desk instead clicking away at random web sites, I have a better chance of keeping it that way. So, here's an unexpected post.

I said I wouldn't go back to hockey, but I must acknowledge Steve Yzerman and his induction to the Hockey Hall of Fame, as well as his consequent ascension to the newest and best member in the entire place -- Gretzky who? The Triple Deke has a couple awesome videos of Stevie Y's heroics but this is one of my personal favorite Yzerman moments, and he didn't even score the goal.

That video still makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Mmmm...I can only imagine how tasty Patrick Roy's tears must be. I'm guessing a flavor orgasm of bacon, red Starburst and a Dairy Queen Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Blizzard with extra peanut butter sauce.

And then, just as I'm feeling good about hockey again, I decide to watch Zack and Miri Make a Porno.

Why? God knows...I've been on a complete movie-watching binge (about one per night for the past two weeks) to build up an upcoming nostalgic post of movie reviews and last night's choice happened to be Zack and Miri.

Don't get me wrong, the movie wasn't completely awful. It was bad, yes, but there were some great laughs from the Seth-Rogen-led cast. The problem is...I was completely unprepared for the movie's opening scene (the horror starts at about 0:40 and ends right at 1:00 even). View at your own risk.

Ghastly, ghastly stuff. It seems my dear Lord Yzerman is playing tricks on me again. Hopefully that video stays up on YouTube long enough for you all to watch it, but I'm sure it will be taken down at some point.

Okay, okay, enough hockey. I swear I'm done until October. If that's not realistic, I'll try and at least keep it to a minimum.

In other news, I'm finishing up my fifth week at the Gloucester Daily Times for my UNH internship. It's been good so far. Not great, but definitely not bad. I like most of the stories I'm writing, but there are a few occasional ones that just shouldn't be in a newspaper. For better or worse, the whole collection of stories I've written can be found here, or just go to and search for my name.

Here's a quick list of movies off the top of my head that will be reviewed here soon, listed in a manner that would please someone with obsessive compulsive disorder:
  • Fanboys
  • Defiance
  • Sex Drive
  • Body of Lies
  • Gran Torino
  • Seven Pounds
  • The Hangover
  • Death at a Funeral
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • The Taking of Pelham 123
  • Vicky Christina Barcelona
  • He's Just Not That Into You
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno
  • Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
There's a couple more I'm not thinking of, but as you can see...that's a binge. I should probably find a better use of my time.

Hmm...what else is happening in the world today?
  • Farrah Fawcett died, as did the hearts of thousands of still-hopeful middle aged men everywhere.
  • The NBA draft is tonight at 7 pm, but then again CSPAN's coverage of a riveting session of the House of Representatives might be more exciting.
  • Shaq was traded to the Cavs this morning, but the only real intrigue there is what new nickname Shaq will come up with for himself. My money's on "I'm an overhyped NBA player who's past his prime and is really only useful for comic relief." It's long, I know, but I think it'll catch on.
  • That Republican Governor Mark Sanford was in Argentina for a week and not actually hiking the Appalachian Trail with his family, providing a gold mine of material for John Stewart.
  • Jimmy Fallon beat Tiger Woods in golf -- the Nintendo Wii version, that is -- but he still isn't funny. So sad.
  • And finally, I've just received word that the second Megan Fox is hot Transformers movie came out yesterday. Looks like my plans are set for the night.
Alright, only an hour of work left to kill before I go downtown run the St. Peter's Fiesta 5K Road Race. Should be pretty cool, especially since I'll have a first person account of it in Saturday's paper. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Hockey: Postponed.

I'm not over it. I'll never be over it. That was the most painful sporting event experience I've had in my lifetime. No doubt about it. I could feel doubt creeping in at 1-0, and I was fully pessimistic when it was 2-0. Girl's Name Talbot had beaten us again. But Ericsson gave us life, and I stupidly clung to that, thinking we would have our own 34.7. Nope. No Cup, no joy, no more hockey. Just like that. And then, this.

It truly amazes me how accurate that scene is to my reaction. All you have to do is replace the van with my house and make it night time, and that's exactly what happened about 30 seconds after the final horn sounded. I turned off the TV, ripped off my Datsyuk jersey, ran outside without any shoes and screamed my lungs out. Then I fell to the ground and cried hysterically for about 10 full minutes. I'm not proud of it, but that's the truth. I almost threw up, I felt so sick to my stomach.

I've perused my favorite Wings blogs over the past few days, looking to gauge the different reactions. Heartbreak was abound, but I'm sorry to say I'm not nearly as classy as A2Y or anyone else who sent words of kudos to the Penguins and their fans. I'll never do that.

I'm not going to congratulate them for winning the Cup. I'm not going to be gracious in defeat and think about how the Penguins' fanbase is just like ours and they deserve to celebrate a Cup as much as we do. The better team lost, as it happens in sports sometimes. I'll never forget this loss, and I'll never forgive the city of Pittsburgh or Sidney Crosby. I just won't. Call me a sore loser, but that's what I do. I'm not going to give Ohio State credit when they beat Michigan, and I'm sure as hell not going to give anybody in a Penguins uniform credit for somehow upsetting the Wings in seven unholy games.

This loss was so gut-wrenching, such a train wreck of emotions that for a couple days, I thought about giving up everything I owned that was associated with the Red Wings. I swore I'd never watch hockey again. But a weekend with family in town allowed me to collect my thoughts, store this horror deep down inside me and move on, temporarily. I will follow my Wings through thick and thin, but I don't plan on writing about them this summer.

So, this post serves mostly as a notice for my occasional readers. Hockey will not come up again until October, when the Wings start their season in Stockholm against the St. Louis Blues. I don't care who they sign in the offseason, I don't care what they do about Hossa; I'll root for whoever is wearing that winged wheel in October. I'll be following in the shadows, of course, but I'll find other things to write about in the meantime. I just don't want to think about hockey again for a while. This was just too much.

If you read my stuff for any reason (you're obligated to love me as a part of the family, you stumbled upon the site when you were searching for the quote from Ferris Bueller or you genuinely have nothing better to do) I appreciate it. But for the next couple months, this will just be another part of the pointless blogosphere that has no rhyme or reason. It's just writing. I hope you stick around, but I won't feel slighted if you decide to skip it on your usual blog rounds.

I need sleep. It seems to be the only place, other than home, where I'm finding peace right now. Work is a zoo and my apartment is quiet and empty. Sleeping is a comfort.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

It's not okay.

If you say, "It's just a game," you don't understand.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


As I sit here, already tense and stressed about Friday's looming game seven, I've thought about all the superstitions I have kept, broken and considered during these playoffs. There's just so many that it's hard to keep them straight.

In this series, the Wings are 3-1 on NBC, 0-2 on Versus. Good thing game seven's on NBC, but I thought the same before game six. The Wings are 2-0 when I watch the game at my house on my couch (games one and two), 0-2 when I watch the game in Gloucester (games four and six), and 1-1 when I'm watching the game at a bar. I prepared food for myself before game four and they lost, so I ordered pizza from Dominos before game six on Tuesday. Still lost. I couldn't find a clean Red Wings t-shirt to wear underneath my button-down for work on Tuesday so I Febreezed the hell out of my Lidstrom jersey tee and threw that wet mess on. It was gross, but I thought it would help. It only made things worse. Sweat, Febreeze and a game six loss is a dangerous cocktail. Here are some other choices I'm pondering as game seven draws ever nearer...

I wore my unbelievable Christmas present signed Datsyuk sweater for the first game of the Blue Jackets, Ducks and Blackhawks series. I forgot to for the Finals, but I made up for it by wearing it in game five. I thought I had found some luck so I wore it for game six too. Do I wear it for game seven? I think so. Decision: Wearin' it.

I've worn at least one item of Red Wings memorabilia for every single Red Wings playoff game except one. Game six of the Ducks series, I had nothing clean and wore a bright red short sleeve Polo and my bright red Converse Chuck Taylor high tops with 19 SY drawn in black sharpie on the sides. The result was a devastating loss. So I'll definitely keep the memorabilia train going, but what's worthy of a game seven? My Datsyuk sweater, as mentioned above? My Datsyuk t-shirt? My Lidstrom t-shirt? My green St. Patty's day Red Wings logo t-shirt? My 2008 Cup Champions roster t-shirt? My green St. Patty's day Red Wings thermal? My black 2002 Cup Champions t-shirt? Any of the numerous Red Wings hats I own? What in Yzerman's name do I wear for a game of this magnitude? I feel like Tobey Maguire before the MTV Awards. Decision: Datsyuk sweater, as mentioned above. Maybe my red Chucks too. Maybe that's overdoing it. I'll make the decision based on gut feeling Friday morning.

In exact opposition with the Red Wings' beard slogan, I've shaved every single day the Red Wings have had a playoff game, again with one exception -- game two against the Ducks. The result was a triple overtime death wish. Clearly, I'm awesome at this whole superstition thing. I think this superstition will stick around for game seven, since I started it at the beginning of last year's playoffs and look how well that turned out. Decision: I will shave.

I've jumped around singing "My little Pony" after every time Samuelsson has scored in this year's playoffs. Don't ask me why, but it seems to work. Sometimes though, when I hum the melody in my head when he's on the ice, the opposition scores a goal and Sammy is usually the culprit. Do I risk singing if he scores with the chance that it'll get stuck in my head for the rest of the game and whenever he's on the ice from then on the Penguins will score? Decision: This was not true. Like I said, this game seven is turning me into a crazy person where I would concoct such a scenario as this one.

I pick one sitting position at the start of every game and stay there until someone scores. If it's the Wings, I ain't movin' for anything. If it's the other team, I'm switching to a new spot real quick. But how do I pick the right spot? And since the Wings have indeed won later after I'd moved once or twice during a 0-0 game, do I even consider this superstition to be helpful? Decision: I'm going with what's comfortable. But I'll rest my head on a freshly sharpened ice pick if, Yzerman forbid, the Penguins score first.

Black cats are said to be bad. I have a black cat at home. She pees on things. I'm going to my cousin's graduation on Friday afternoon and will be either driving home early to get back in time for the game or staying really late and leaving after the game. Do I stay as far away as possible from Mittens and see if the Wings can win it on my cousin's TV in Portland, Maine or do I venture home, stay away from the cat and watch it on the big screen in HD on my comfy couch? The Wings did win games one and two of the Finals on that couch two weekends ago. Decision: I'd like to get home and watch the game, but we'll see what time allows with the graduation and reception and all. I may need to stay in Portland or drive like the wind. It remains to be seen.

I haven't played a video game in ages, but I've been itching to play NHL 08 during this entire postseason. Do I break the streak now and play my own simulation of a Wings-Pens game seven to boost my morale tomorrow night, or do I keep pretending that the PlayStation's only purpose is to play DVDs? I reeeally want to see somebody in red and white throw a late hit to Crosby or Malkin without any real punishment afterward, but I'm scared of the consequences of such a virtual action. Decision: This is game seven; it's not about fun and games. I can wait it out.

I started posting after Wings' playoff games to check my ego after wins and to keep me sane after losses. I did a few pregame posts, but the last one I did was before game three in Chicago. The result was an overtime loss. In fact, I've kept the posting to a minimum except for game recaps since the middle of that series. I'm breaking that by posting this now but somehow I feel okay about it. Admitting these problems is the first step back to sanity, I'm told by the imaginary bearded Madonna creature behind me. And if anything's clear from this post, it's that I need some professional help already, let alone if the Wings crush my soul on Friday. Decision: It's already been made by writing this. I've posted after one game and before the next. Let's see if it pays off/matters.

I've got nothing left in the tank. There's probably some other superstitions I've got hidden deep down that I can't think of because they've just become human nature by now, but I need rest. Another tough day of work tomorrow with this fried brain of mine before I can become completely enveloped in a fantasy world for crazy people inside a stress bubble on Friday. Storm's a brewin'. Go Wings.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No. Fucking. Way.

Fair warning: foul language is abound. Sorry, Grandma.

I'm completely drenched in sweat from all the stress, I'm beyond insane with anger and disappointment and every crappy emotion in the world and I have to get up for work tomorrow morning.

No. Fucking. Way.

How could they lose this game?! How could they not capitalize on two power plays in the third period?! How the hell can Hossa claim he wants a Cup and play like THAT?! I cannot fathom a game seven. I just can't.

I was dying when the Red Wings played the Ducks in game seven, and I didn't even watch that one. There is nothing in the world that could make me miss a second of this Friday's game seven, but I'm not excited to watch it at all. It will be all of this stress times infinity. Yep, infinity. That mythical number from elementary school has become real and it represents how much my stress will be amplified. If the Red Wings don't win, consider me suicidal. I cannot imagine the depression I would go through if they lost a game seven at home against that whiny little bitch Sidney Crosby, who was, again, a non-factor in tonight's game. I can't deal with it. I should honestly just save myself the possibility of that much pain and just swear off hockey before the week is over. I will definitely do so if they lose Friday.

Then again, I was this pessimistic and pissed and everything after game four last Thursday, only to see the Wings absolutely dominate in game five. I don't see a similar game to that beating unfolding on Friday, but I certainly wouldn't mind. I can only pray that the home team prevails again and the Wings end my ridiculously high blood pressure by hoisting that Cup.


Zetterberg's post. Cleary not scoring on that breakaway. Franzen getting stoned by Scuderi multiple times in the crease with virtually no time left. Osgood played great, but the Red Wings didn't give him even a decent offensive effort. They played well for about 10 minutes out of the 60, and that's unacceptable. They'll need alllll 60 minutes come Friday.

And two days left until that game takes place. How the hell am I supposed to write any coherent articles in the next two days with this on my mind? No. Fucking. Way.

I can't write anymore. The only thing I can do right now is get up and start pacing around the room. And believe me, that's exactly what I'm going to do when this post ends. See you Friday. Go Wings.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I've been sticking with the one word titles recently...not sure why. Just seems to fit my emotions perfectly each time.

Game five. A pivotal marker to see where the Finals will go. No contest.

Five goals to zero. That French-Canadian goalie warmin' the bench before the 40-minute mark. Dangling Datsyuk pulling tricks out of his cap early and often like he hadn't missed a game, let alone seven. The powerplay coming alive. Osgood's pass. Kronwall's presence down low and Datsyukian-like move for number three. Raffy's laser and Z's chin music to send Fleury packing. A meaningless third period. No stress.

The experience was amazing. After a rousing and hilarious viewing of the ridiculously hyped "The Hangover," which I would give a solid 4.5 stars, I managed to find a bar/restaurant with a couple friends to catch the game. It was already 10 minutes in, but I was just in time for the massacre about to take place.

Soon after I arrived, my fresh-legged, hetero-bromantic obsession threw out the rust factor theory and fed the Pride of Newfoundland for the game's first goal that rocked the Joe Louis faithful and gave the Wings the early lift they desperately needed. From then on, they shattered the Penguins' dreams of a road win and frustrated them beyond belief in the process.

The only game that comes to mind in comparison to this beautiful game is the 7-0 romp over the Avs in game seven of the 2002 West Finals. The tension leading up to that game was huge because whoever won that series would certainly be the eventual Cup champion, and it was still one of the most popular rivalries in sports. Then, Patty Roy let in a bunch of goals while the Wings flew towards Cup #10. I see the same happening after tonight, except with Cup #12 in their sights.

I can't help but wonder what Pittsburgh fans are feeling right now because I really don't know. Are they whining about the officiating? Are they embarrassed? Are they angry at the Wings or at their own supporting cast? Are they all of these things? I only ask because the game went completely to pieces after about the third or fourth goal, and numerous cheap shots were being thrown by Penguins players (even notable guys like Crosby and Malkin). Their poise, pride and sense of accomplishment after games three and four were all completely gone.

Amid the continual stream of stupid penalties, I found another comparison unlike the one before to Colorado in '02. How about game four in Chicago a week and a half ago? Those young 'Hawks showed the world that they weren't ready for the big stage against the class of the league by throwing elbows and crosschecks and roughing up every non-teammate in sight. It felt the same way tonight with the Pens. These young guns from Pittsburgh might have fresher legs and arguably more talent (not by my judgment, but by some), but it is shockingly clear that they do not have the maturity level of a champion yet. Not even close. That is probably the largest difference between Gretzky and Crosby, and thus the '80s Oilers and the '00s Penguins. Maturity gets you through periods of adversity. The Red Wings have it; the Penguins don't.

And that's where a lot of the dislike towards Crosby comes from. A true leader rarely whines; he doesn't lose his cool even in the most intense moments of a game. He leads by example and puts all the blame on himself if the team loses, even if he was the only player to show up and play well. Crosby is a phenomenal player; there is no disputing that. His vision is unmatched and he's the clear-cut choice over Ovechkin and Malkin as the most explosive player in hockey. There's a reason why Detroit has concentrated its efforts on him and let Malkin do his thing. Crosby is always dangerous when he's on the ice. He's quick, smart and incredibly skilled, but he needs to learn some leadership skills. His slash on Zetterberg (regardless of how much acting went into it) is exactly the kind of thing that shows why he doesn't always get the respect he deserves. Maybe he was threaded with the "C" too early, but that's not my argument. I think to gain the kind of admiration and respect from other NHL players (like Gretzky had) and not just the fans or the McGuires of the media or the league officials, he needs to start learning how to be a leader and understand that unlike in PeeWees, it's not always the best player on the ice who wears that "C" on their sweater.

Okay, enough about Crosby (or should I say..."Rosby" after that last paragraph! Ha ha!). It's pretty late and I'd like to wake up early enough to catch the French Open final. Tonight, it was all Red Wings and I'm very happy about that. If you couldn't tell from my last post, I was seriously doubting my team's chances at success after their performances Tuesday and Thursday. Luckily, they reassured my hopes tonight. Two days of rest should be helpful, and I can't wait to sport my Datsyuk jersey again on Tuesday. Just one more game stands in the way of a second consecutive championship. Let's do this. Go Wings. See you Tuesday.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Completely and utterly dead. That's how I feel inside.

From right before the game when Datsyuk was announced a no-go, to right at the end when the sea of Penguins fans began celebrating, I felt dead. I absolutely cannot live through this series if the Red Wings are to lose.

I'm starting to have visions. Visions of Sidney Crosby taking the most glorious trophy in sports from the worst commissioner in sports. Visions of a truly happy Pierre McGuire. Visions of NHL commercials that make it look like the Penguins won Cup because they actually won the Cup. Visions of a parade in Pittsburgh. These visions are haunting. They churn the vomit pool in my stomach.

I've come to the conclusion that it would truly be the worst thing in the history of sports to see Sidney Crosby lift the Stanley Cup. I hope it never happens. I hope Sidney gets to grow out his playoff "beard" every year until June and never, ever kiss that silver. The fact that he's only two games away makes me want to drink battery acid. There was a time when I read his biography two years ago and was genuinely interested in finding out what made this "Golden Boy" tick. Now, every part of me that liked him once has died once, come back to life and died again. The NHL can't have this whining non-leader as their poster boy for years to come. It just can't happen.

I can't take these ifs. I want to believe. But immediately after a Cup Finals loss with another game looming only two days away (thanks for the rest, Gary)...I'm losing the faith. By Saturday, I'll be back in my Red Wings gear and rooting as hard as ever for my boys in red, but I can't do it right now.

The Red Wings looked tired. They looked desperate. They played a solid 30 minutes of hockey, but the game lasts for 60 minutes nowadays. They need the home crowd more than ever, and THEY. NEED. DATSYUK. So, man the hell up Dangle and get on the ice. How do you skate in the pregame and then not play? It drives me insane. I'm losing my patience with you.

Game five is a must win. I refuse to go into Pittsburgh down 3-2. I've had a completely pessimistic view during this entire blog post and that scares me.

Let's. Go. Red. Wings. See ya Saturday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I love the Triple Deke who loves Bruce MacLeod

Yep, I steal things and sometimes can't come up with anything to say on my own. But, via the Triple Deke via Red Wings Corner, I found this.

UPDATE: Babcock just said that Datsyuk is a game-time decision. "We have an optional skate tomorrow morning and we'll see how he responds after that and after today. I have to talk to (trainer) Piet (Van Zant) and see how (Datsyuk) looks." Datsyuk also said that he would be a game-time decision tomorrow.

That said, Datsyuk was practicing hard today, doing drills for the first time in a long time. The practice lines were shuffled as though they were preparing for Pavel being back. It sure looks like Datsyuk will be back unless his body takes a step backwards after today's workout.

Also, Babcock just confirmed that Draper is back in the lineup, but said that he doesn't know who's out. Well, it sure looks like Abdelkader is out. Leino and Maltby were Draper's wings in practice. Draper, Maltby and Leino were off the ice for a half-hour while Abdelkader worked out.
I am excited, amazed, hopeful, and ecstatic. Don't even try to tell me Dats "won't be 100 percent" or "he won't be as quick" or any of that. A 60 percent Dangle Dangle is better than anyone on Pittsburgh's team. Yeah, I said it. He's that good. And if he's playing tomorrow? He's at least 80 percent. Look out, Penguins: You may have happy feet, but Datsyuk's about to put on his stompin' feet. Kill some birds, Pav. You better be out there tomorrow night; I've already got my hopes way up.

I'll be taking after my buddy Jake in game two and will be trying my own hand at some live twittering/tweeting/twatting for game four. It'll be here, if you have absolutely nothing to do whatsoever tomorrow night. See ya then. Go Wings.


Bah. So they're going to make it a series huh? Damn.

Despite the 4-2 Penguins victory to cut the Wings' series lead to 2-1, the Wings certainly could have won and had plenty of opportunities to do so.

The Penguins weren't outstanding, and the Wings played what I thought was their best game of the series. But their ugly penalty kill reared its head and eventually killed them in the third. I tend to think that interference call on Jonathan Ericsson was a terrible one, but I'm not going to do any more complaining about it because the Penguins got theirs in the first couple games. I will say, however, that I was not happy about that call last night. Not one bit.

So far, the overall outcomes of the series have been no different than last year. Detroit wins, Detroit wins, Pittsburgh wins. I see game four going the same direction as '08 and Detroit wins another tight one.

One suggestion: put Draper back in. He's superhuman on faceoffs and a force to be reckoned with on the penalty kill. Did I mention the penalty kill is the only weakness Detroit has shown thus far? Hmm...and we can make it better by playing a guy who's healthy but sitting on the bench? Do it Babs. Get 33 back in that lineup somehow.

Speaking of getting back in the up Pavel. I have no idea what your injury is and I have no idea what kind of pain you're going through, but Coach Babs said the injury has healed enough and the decision to play is "up to him." So, I want you back in the lineup Dats. You've had a less-than-stellar postseason (quite invisible actually), but now's the time to shine. So pop an Advil, take a cortisone shot or do whatever you have to do to get up for the Finals. Because in all seriousness, we need ya for game four. I want to end this thing as soon as possible, and if you can lace up those skates for Thursday that goal will be much more likely. And so help me God if you don't feel up for it...ahh I can't stay mad at you. Just do what you can to get back. Please.

Overall, the Wings are still in good position. They are right where they have to be. Twelve is still on the horizon; the hungry hasn't gone away just yet. They'll come out with fire in game four. I'm ready for it. See ya Thursday. Go Wings.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Keep that hate coming, Pens fans

So far, so good.

The Wings are playing well, and the Penguins are playing well. From my standpoint, the series has been very even so far. Oh, except for the fact that the Red Wings have scored more goals.

Last night's 3-1 win to take a 2-0 series lead was almost identical to the opening game. I can't believe Justin Abdelkader has two goals already in the series (when he had 0 NHL goals, playoffs or otherwise, prior to Saturday), but I'm ecstatic that he's played so well. Darren Helm continues to dominate play when he's on the ice and everyone in a Pittsburgh uniform is taking to iron as if it were steel. Ozzie has been solid, but he's had some major contributions from his maroon friends, the posts.

If I were a Penguins fan, I can see myself being pretty pissed in this situation. They played well -- certainly much better than they did in games one and two in last year's Finals -- but they have had poor goaltending and some unlucky bounces that have let Detroit get out to a 2-0 lead. As a Wings fan, I know that those "unlucky bounces" have come at the hands of hard work and Pittsburgh turnovers, but I can see some hatred stemming out of that from the other side of the coin. However, I will completely disspell the notion that the Penguins are being shafted by the officials, since hardly anything has been called on either side. Pissed about the "no-call" on Hossa that led to Filppula's goal? Shut up. How about the lack of a suspension for Malkin after his instigator fighting penalty in the last minute of the game? I don't think it's a good rule, but it's in the NHL rulebook nonetheless (thanks to A2Y for the info). But, the rules don't apply to everyone. Nice work, Gary.
A player who is deemed to be the instigator of an altercation in the final five (5) minutes of regulation time or at any time in overtime, shall be assessed an instigator minor penalty, a major for fighting, a ten minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension. The length of suspension will double for each subsequent offense. In addition, the player's coach shall be fined $10,000 -- a fine that will double for each subsequent incident.
Yep, that's straight from the NHL, rule 56a. I think the Malkin-Zetterberg fight was an awesome way to end the game and neither player did anything wrong, but Malkin was penalized with an instigator minor penalty. Colin Campbell said the suspension was rescinded because Malkin wasn't trying to "send a message" or "seek retribution for a prior incident." Hmm. Alrighty. Well, I don't reeeally care if he is suspended or not, but Penguins fans don't have much ground to stand on when their star should be in the luxury box for game three.

Basically, the Wings are awesome. They can taste it. They can taste the sweetness of Cup #12. Pittsburgh is on their heels, and under some major pressure to win games three and four to stay in this series. Excellent. See ya Tuesday. Go Wings.

Final note: Awesome live twitter updates during the game last night, Jake. I enjoyed them very much. He does some fine work, that new UNH graduate. Find him here or here.