Thoughts on Game 37 (Winter Classic)
-- It was odd to see the fans in the lower deck standing throughout to get a better sight line and the upper-deck fans seated.
-- Here's my problem with the NHL's definition of a game-winning goal. There's no way in hell that Datsyuk's goal shouldn't have been the game-winner. It put Detroit up for good at 4-3. The Wings went on to win 6-4. But the NHL calls Brian Rafalski's goal the winner because it put Detroit up 5-3 and it won, 6-4. Rubbish. Duncan Keith scores a meaningless goal with 10 seconds left and that makes Rafalski's goal more meaningful? Garbage. Rafalski's goal was big. But Datsyuk's was the game-winner. The NHL stats won't show that though. There's no way that Rafalski's goal was more clutch -- which is what GWG is supposed to measure -- than Datsyuk's. Sorry for the rant, but people who like old ballparks tend to be stat fans too.
-- On the ice, Chris Chelios has become not a spare part, but a meaningless part on this team. Now that Andreas Lilja has taken over Chelios' penalty-kill duties, Chelios doesn't have much left. Off the ice, Chelios has a ton to offer this team. But playing 1:57 in this game highlights that Chelios isn't going to be used. In a season when the Wings carry one player less than the 23-man limit because they're so close to the salary cap, carrying another player who doesn't have a role strains the roster. That said, I have no way to gauge Chelios' contributions off the ice. It might well be worth the Wings' while to keep him on the roster. Besides, it would be very un-Red Wings-like to not keep Chelios.
-- In the first period, I thought that Zetterberg's line with Hossa and Hudler was under-performing given a favorable matchup against the line of Ladd, Burish and Havlat. That thought left quickly in the second period.