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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thoughts on Game 3 first round

-- I don't understand Hitchcock's decision to let Nash skate against the same five players who shut him down in Games 1 and 2. The Jackets had last line change, but Hitchcock started the game with Nash against Lidstrom-Rafalski-Zetterberg-Franzen-Cleary and he kept Nash on the ice against those five when Babcock sent them over the boards.

In Games 1 and 2, Nash spent 72 percent of his ice time with Lidstrom on the ice. Zetterberg was at 70 percent and Franzen at 64 percent.

So after two poor game's by Nash's standards, what happens in Game 3? Lidstrom is on the ice for 78 percent of Nash's ice time, Zetterberg for 74 percent and Franzen for 70 percent. It got worse for Nash.

In Game 4, Hitchcock has to figure a way to get Nash in a better circumstance to succeed.

-- Brad Stuart played a remarkable game. Obviously the hit on Umberger was major, but little things like jumping behind Osgood late in the third period to remove a puck that was three inches for going over the line showed how alert Stuart was and how proactive he can be.

-- Speaking of the hit on Umberger, that was a wonderful clean check by Stuart. The funny thing was that Umberger did see Stuart coming, but he didn't avoid him. In fact, Umberger went low, causing his head to be part of the hip check. Good for Umberger to return to score the Jackets' goal.

-- Jan Hejda being hurt is a major blow to the Jackets. Commodore draws more attention, but Hejda is their best defensive defenseman.

-- I could watch any player go over the boards -- as Commodore did when he missed checking Cleary -- over and over. Cracks me up ever time. Cleary going into the bench in the Winter Classic was funny. Three years ago, Robin Big Snake missed a check at the Wings' prospects camp in Traverse City and went head-first into the bench. Very funny. Besides, I've always wanted to say Big Snake in one of these posts.

-- The Red Wings' Perfect Storm line -- Datsyuk, Hossa and Holmstrom -- have played very well, but they're going to dominate some post-season games soon.

-- Chris Osgood has played just as well, if not better, than he did last spring. If Ozzie wins his fourth Stanley Cup -- sorry for the jinx Ozzie -- hopefully the international perception that he was a good goalie on a great franchise will disappear. He's a great goalie at the tail end of a great career. It's wrong that he's held up as the Trent Dilfer of hockey.

4 Comments:

Blogger John said...

Trent Dilfer!!! You made me laugh almost as hard as Commodore did! I have put a few guys off the ice before, but I've never missed and thrown myself out of play. That was great stuff. Straight up Paul Newman writing. I did watch it over and over again on NHL on the Fly!!! It will be running all day today and it will probably be youtubed by tomorrow.

Commodore didn't help the loss of Hejda by losing his cool a couple times. He needs to be the most focused player on the ice for Columbus if they have any chance of not getting broom-balled back to the Horseshoe.

Umberger just misjudged how strong Stuart is. He's used to Eastern Conference guys who hit, but you can match their hit and make it an even Steven punishment. Not so in the west. Pronger, Stuart, Blake, Kronwall, Regehr, Phaneuf are going to really put a hurt on you if you try to play that game. I think Boston is the only team in the east with a punishing defense since that cup winning gang in Jersey.

April 22, 2009 at 12:28 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stuart was not proactive. proactive would be stopping the puck *before* to got even close to osgood. reactive would be reacting after the shot got to the net, and that's what he did.

April 22, 2009 at 7:23 PM 
Blogger Bruce MacLeod said...

I disagree.

It's not proactive for a defenseman to block a shot before it gets to the goalie when he was behind the net. It's bad hockey. Under your definition, it would be proactive for a defenseman to stop the shooter before taking the shot, I guess, and not wait for the shot to be taken. Or even to intercept the pass before it got to the shooter. You can backtrack as far as you want in the sequence of events that led to the puck getting past Osgood, but the first action isn't the only proactive one.

It was proactive because Stuart's job (in this situation) was to stop an opponent from getting to a rebound. Usually the puck kicks in front of a goalie if he doesn't smother it. In this case, it did the unusual and trickled behind Osgood. That's proactive to recognize, jump in before anyone else and tuck the puck back into Osgood.

The point was, Stuart acted quickly in an unusual circumstance. Some defensemen would box out opponents thinking the goalie would handle the puck. Stuart was proactive in taking care of the puck himself.

April 22, 2009 at 7:53 PM 
Blogger John said...

And then, if you watch the replay, when he realized osgood wasn't able to get down on it, he pushed. And when he pushed, he pushed the puck, osgood, another wing, and a bluejacket out of the crease. In terms of replay's that part was almost as funny as Commodore's stage dive.

Nah, Commodore was much funnier.

April 23, 2009 at 1:36 PM 

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