Blog Entry

Wings show what they're made of

Posted on: April 28, 2010 1:05 am
Edited on: April 28, 2010 1:12 am

The best example of what really separates the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes came in the moments after the home team appeared to get back into the seventh and deciding game of their series.

Vernon Fiddler scored with a shot directly off a faceoff midway through the second period to cut the Phoenix deficit in half, a goal that provided the first sign of life for a Coyotes team that had been outplayed badly to that point. It had the potential to shift the momentum, getting the crowd back into the game and giving everyone in the building a reason to believe that the Coyotes fairy tale season might have another feel good chapter in it.

The Red Wings, though, had other ideas.  Teams with their kind of experience don’t get rattled, and Detroit didn’t, roaring back on the next shift and the ones that followed. They kept control of the play with the same kind of relentless pressure they had been producing all night, outshooting Phoenix 10-3 for the rest of the period and picking up two more goals before it was over. Effectively that put the game away.

“It was like a hurricane more than a storm,” Phoenix coach Dave TIppett said. “We had no answer for them.”

Detroit added another pair in the third period to end up with a 6-1 win that was even more lopsided than the score would suggest and sent the Red Wings flying high into a semifinal meeting with Western Conference champion San Jose. And that can’t be a pleasant thought for the Sharks, who have been known to come up small at playoff time and had their hands full with the eighth-seeded Colorado Avalanche in their opening round.

Not that the Red Wings had a walk in the park with the upstart Coyotes, at least until the final game of the series.  Phoenix made it as far as it did this season with smart, disciplined play and great goaltending from Ilya Byrzgalov, elements that disappeared simultaneously when their season was on the line in this finale.

It might be tempting to blame that on Phoenix’s lack of experience in these kinds of situations, particularly when compared to Detroit’s. No doubt that was a factor because the Coyotes were unsettled from the opening faceoff. But the real difference is that the Red Wings are simply a better team than the Coyotes, deeper, more talented and with the kind of star power the upstarts from the desert do not have.

More important they came with their game faces, while the Coyotes did not. Phoenix got this far by defying odds and refusing to give in, and looked like it might again by escaping an early onslaught. The Red Wings came out flying and in waves for the first 20 minutes, outshooting the home team 17-6, but were continually frustrated by Bryzgalov.

Ultimately though, he wilted wilted under the pressure as Detroit's marquee players took over, their task aided by poor decision making, bad turnovers and too many trips to the penalty box on the Coyotes part.  Pavel Datsyuk scored twice within the first four minutes of the second period – one on a power play, the other when he caught the Phoenix defense flat-footed and broke in alone on Bryzgalov – Nicklas Lidstrom added the first of his two after Fiddler scored, and then Brad Stuart twisted the knife by grabbing a loose puck as he came out of the penalty and scoring with five seconds remaining in the middle frame.

Adding insult to injury, Stuart's goal  came after Phoenix had 72 seconds with a two-man advantage, but could not find a way to beat Red Wings rookie goalie Jimmy Howard

 “Their top players came out and dictated the pace, they were relentless,” Tippett said. “When their top players play like that, the whole group jumps right in.

“They played an unbelievable game. They just turned it up to another level that we just couldn’t get to. Hats off to them.”


Category: NHL

Since: Jun 10, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2010 3:18 pm

Wings show what they're made of

Hey Wes, what happened to all your comments about the Wings being too old?  Mighty quick quick jump from the nay-sayers to the bandwagon, if you ask me...

Since: Aug 5, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2010 12:03 pm

Make up your mind

Are the Red Wings old or experienced? Over the hill or savy veterans? Your last post said they were all but done, you brought up the time-honored cliche' presented by every NHL writter since 1998 when the Wings lose. "They are showing their age, they are too old, time to regroup."

Conrats, your the latest prognosticator to 'break' this revalation to the hockey community only to have it blow up in your face. At least have the self-confidence to mention in the article that the rumors you tried to spread about Detroit's age may have been greatly exaggerated..... yet again.

It takes a big man to admit a mistake....and you sir, are NOT a big man.

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 28, 2010 11:11 am

Wings show what they're made of

With the way San Jose is known to choke… I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Wings in six games myself… especially is the Sharks big three can’t step it up. Pavelski can’t do everything… so who you got?

This should be interesting to say the least.  The Sharks as a team have had a tremendous time doing anything in the playoffs for years now and so far this playoff season haven't done a thing to change that.   Everybody focused on a couple of games where they outshot the most inexperienced and least talented team in the playoffs, the Avalanche.  Sure, they deserved to win those games but unfortunately for them they aren't going to outshoot the Wings 50 to 20 in any games....  there were at least 3 games in that series where the Sharks didn't look good to me in one way or another....

Then you have Thornton and Marleau, 2 star players that have no idea how to produce in the playoffs.  The stats they produce in most playoff series are similar to what good 3rd line and checking line players do on good playoff teams.... they are awful in the postseason.

If that doesn't change.. if Thornton especially doesn't come up big San Jose can't win 4 games in this series.   If he plays as he plays in the regular season, then yes the Sharks can win....

They had trouble beating us ( actually I think we were 3-0-1 in the regular season) when we had handfulls of players out of the lineup.... the Wings are now healthy and ready to roll coming off their best game...

Can't wait....

Since: Oct 19, 2007
Posted on: April 28, 2010 11:02 am

Wings show what they're made of

Great post on your blog Tim!

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: April 28, 2010 10:29 am

Wings show what they're made of

I'm actually a huge Wes fan and normally respect what he writes.. but I have to admit Wes your previous story didn't make any sense... the Wings are far from old.... older then almost all other teams by a couple years on average yes, but far from washed up. 

The way they played last night NOBODY would ever beat them....

Lets see if they can play like that consistently though because one thing I've learned about the Wings is they only play like that with their backs up against the wall....  we need consistency...

Since: Sep 24, 2006
Posted on: April 28, 2010 9:59 am

Wings show what they're made of

Hey wes, I am actually embarrased for you. I wish I could be this terrible at my job and keep it. Its like CBS said "you're from Canada.  Why don't you cover the hockey for us". Wes was probably like. "yeah, but I never played hockey and don't really understand it very well, especially not enough to cover it for a big company like CBS." CBS executives "Its ok give it your best shot and just make up a bunch of crap, at least it will generate discussion on your incompitance". Wes "I'll just call the Wings old, others have said it, it must be true". Instead Wes why don't you watch the game and report on what happens, then look at the WIngs roster and see 80% of their top players are in the prime of their careers, with the old ones Rafalski, Draper, Holmstrom and Lidstrom providing the experience and still great play that all Stanley Cup winners need. There is not 1 team left in the playoffs that wouldn't sit 4 of their current players to insert the 4 veteran Wings into their lineups. Wake up and take a little pride in your job to give us a little bit of Professional journalism.

Since: Apr 6, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2010 9:17 am

Wings show what they're made of

Hey Wes sounds like you just got a second helping of cornbread. The Wings are playing there typical brand of playoff hockey. One minute they are old and slow, the next world beaters. Which team shows up against San Jose? Stay tuned.

Since: Oct 28, 2008
Posted on: April 28, 2010 8:01 am

Wings show what they're made of

Make up your mind, Wes. They were too old a couple days ago, now "Teams with their kind of experience don’t get rattled." Wow, you flip-flop more than a congressman. Do you actually get paid for this? You must have naked pictures of the boss.

Since: Apr 3, 2009
Posted on: April 28, 2010 3:53 am

Wings show what they're made of

Your last article said Wings show how old they are, now its Wings show what they're made of. Interesting to see what the next one will be, and the one after, and the one after...

Since: Apr 5, 2010
Posted on: April 28, 2010 1:38 am
This comment has been removed.

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