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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.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thoughts on SCF Game 1

-- The Penguins dressed seven defensemen again. That meant that their fourth line was based on Staal or Malkin rotating for a double shift between Satan and Adams. The Wings matched up strictly with the centers and didn't worry about the wingers. No matter who Malkin was out with, Filppula's line and Kronwall-Stuart were there. Zetterberg and Lidstrom-Rafalski were there with Crosby. And Helm's line matched up with Staal. That means that Detroit's fourth line was spotted in and ice time wasn't great.

That said, I'm curious to see how this plays out through the first four games. Can those horses -- both Pittsburgh's and Detroit's -- be ridden the same way on back-to-back nights? Can you do it three times in four nights? How about four in six?

-- Jordan Staal had a poor Game 1. He was obviously looking the wrong way on the Abdelkader goal, but he shouldn't even have been searching the rafters for the puck. He should have been tying up his man that close to the net. Other than that, Staal seemed disinterested.

-- I was very concerned early on about the turnovers. It took Lidstrom just 12 seconds to cough the puck up giving Pittsburgh a shot on goal. On the next shift, Kronwall did the same. Detroit had 10 turnovers in the first periods, but settled that down a little.

That trends seemed to follow Lidstrom's game. I thought Lidstrom had a subpar first period. Call it rust, but Lidstrom was back in form over the final two periods. He had a monster back-to-back PKs in the second, making several clears. I have no concerns about him the rest of the series as far as his injury altering his game.

-- Sign at JLA said "Let the crying begin" with tears drawn over a huge mug of Crosby. That was pretty clever. I can't get this out of my head ... if he's Sid the Kid, then to me, he's Sidney the Kidney. It makes no sense, but it makes me smile.

-- I don't know who's going to be the better goalie through the rest of this series, but Osgood clearly outplayed Fleury in Game 1. And in each of the first three rounds, I thought Detroit had the better goalie.

-- You could spend the entire game watching Zetterberg clamp down on Crosby. Wonderful battles. Z obviously takes this as a personal challenge.

When you watch them, it's obvious that Zetterberg looks to shut down Crosby first, then create any offense when a chance arises. Crosby looks at it the opposite.

-- I'm noticing more and more that the only passes that Ericsson seems to miss are his stretch passes, making mistakes that lead to icing more than turnovers. He's pretty automatic all other passes. I guess Ericsson is in that sense the opposite of Rafalski, who makes sensational stretch passes, but once every while will make a gaffe on a short one.

-- Maybe I've been spoiled by Helm, but how did he not pull away from Todd Gill on that partial breakaway? Helm made Scott Niedermayer look like he was carrying a piano. Hal Gill does carry a piano. Kudos to Gill on that play. Not a knock on Helm at all, who had another great performance. I also get the feeling that if Gill is on the ice with Helm as much tonight as he was last night, Helm is eventually going to pick his pocket.

-- Did anybody ever say what the rule is? Could Zetterberg put his hand over the puck when it was on Osgood's back? I'm not sure if that's officially in the crease. I don't think so.

-- Two shifts that were fun to watch in the third period ... Samuelsson, Helm and Maltby getting multiple chances with four minutes to play, pinning the Pens in deep ... the Wings keeping the puck in the Pens' zone with the empty net for 32 seconds. Yes, I clocked it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

TSN on the crease issue:

Also, Helm should easily pull away from Todd Gill considering Todd Gill is 43 and has been retired for five or six years.

May 31, 2009 at 11:22 AM 
Anonymous TStar said...

Just a little editorial correction for you.....

Hal Gill is the Penguins defenseman. Todd Gill, a former Red Wing during the 1998-99 to 2000-01 seasons, retired in 2004 after playing a season in Germany.

May 31, 2009 at 11:25 AM 
Blogger barbcue said...

Only the Wings would throw the puck around that long in a zone with an empty net. ANYBODY else would have tried to force a shot, which to the Penguins credit, didn't exist. Just another example of the layer above thinking that the Hawks, Penguins and other up and comers need to develop. Either that or the Wings are gonna keep Stanley in town for a few years.

Da Wingman

May 31, 2009 at 11:29 AM 
Anonymous Brian said...

While I do remember who Todd Gill was, don't you mean Hal Gill? Not that it matters a whole lot haha.

May 31, 2009 at 11:31 AM 
Blogger Bruce MacLeod said...

You know, I did this Todd Gill thing last SCF too. I'm sure an analyst could tell me why I have a brain freeze on that one.

Feel free to slap me silly any time I say Todd Gill instead of Hal Gill.

I did make the change in my original post. I have to find out how to do that neat line-through-the-original-post thing.

May 31, 2009 at 11:46 AM 
Blogger dakka said...

Official rule book: 67.4 Penalty Shot - If a player, except a goalkeeper, while play is in progress, falls on the puck, holds the puck, picks up the puck, or gathers the puck into his body or hands from the ice in the goal crease area, the play shall be stopped immediately and a penalty shot shall be awarded to the non-offending team.

Rule clearly states "from the ice" so that was not an illegal play.

May 31, 2009 at 12:02 PM 
Anonymous Ryan said...

My favourite Hal Gill moment from G1 was when Hossa was a couple feet behind Gill and both were chasing a loose puck. Gill looked over his shoulder to see how much time he had, and I swear you could see the panic as Hossa gained on him with every stride. Gill did win that race, though, I think.

Osgood's been phenomenal these playoffs, but really, you think he was better than Hiller in R2? Hiller's was a performance for the ages (except for that one game).

As for doing the strikethrough, you can just use an HTML 's' tag. Like so: <s>Todd Gill</s>

May 31, 2009 at 12:17 PM 
Anonymous perfection said...

my understanding, despite the quoted rule above, is that the NHL head of officiating came out with a statement that said if indeed Zetterberg covered it, it still would have been a penalty shot, but that the call was that Z batted it off of Osgood's back.

May 31, 2009 at 12:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't "strikethrough" (del)word(/del) with the ()'s being <>'s .

May 31, 2009 at 12:28 PM 
Blogger John said...

Hands in the crease: the rule states that no other player but the goalie can FREEZE the puck in the crease.

And since putting your hand on another player does not take the puck out of play it would not be a penalty shot. Had the puck been on the ice, and not "in play" on osgoods back, it would have been effectively frozen by zetterberg's mitt. then, it would be a clear penalty shot.

i have a question for you: did every member of the nbc crew work for Pittsburgh at some point??? I noticed the only carry over form Detroit's side of things is Larry Murhpy.. who they barely let talk.... and well, he played for pittsburgh too.

I now want the wings to win for two reasons: A. because i love detroit and that is our team. B. to spite all the national media who seem to upset that the red wings are winning despite their lopsided coverage.

May 31, 2009 at 11:45 PM 

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