Odd Man Rush
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Odd Man Rush

Game #7: “Wheel the TV Out, The Wings Are On”

My brothers and I didn’t grow up with a TV in our living room. I’ve come to realize how atypical that made us but at the time it seemed pretty normal. Don’t get me wrong, we had a TV, it just lived on a cart in the “toy room.” We’d play video games and watch movies on it and every spring we’d wheel it out for special occasions… the Red Wings playing in the playoffs. Bedtime rules were relaxed, blankets and pillows would be spread on the floor, frozen “snack” foods would be thrown in the oven, and we’d watch the Red Wings as a family while munching on popcorn shrimp, pizza bagels, and little pockets of molten cheese and meat (some kind of mini-Hot Pocket, maybe?).

I don’t know why this memory popped up for me as I sit here and watch the game (on tape delay, because it started at 4:30 PM in my time zone and I have a job), in my rented room in a city where I don’t technically live, but spend the majority of my time, by myself, on my computer. The two situations couldn’t be more different.

Maybe it’s because I hope I can create some of those same memories for my hypothetical children some day? I can’t imagine we’ll have a TV on a cart but I could definitely picture some relaxed bedtime rules and a blanket fort or two. And the frozen snack foods paired with my favorite hockey team. I’ll always be up for that (the hockey and the delicious snack foods).

Good Things

  • This is going to sound weird, considering the Wings lost 6–3, but, we didn’t play that bad. I don’t think the score really reflects what the vast majority of this game was like. Plus, here are some other good things
  • Tatar scoring was huge. Doesn’t matter that it was in a game we ultimately lost. Getting him on the board and getting that monkey off his back is a big deal. Expect 2–3 more goals in the next 3–4 games.
  • Jensen looked very good. Making things happen offensively and defensively. Three apples in an otherwise forgettable game.
  • Zetterberg, as usual, is the best player on the ice for the Wings.
  • I’m still being impressed by Larkin on a regular occasion. He’s much more patient than last year. Looking to change the speed of the game and find ways to move the puck horizontally instead of skating as fast as he can while going wide and shoveling something weak toward the net.

Bad Things

  • Obviously, goaltending was a problem tonight. I’d want Howie to stop the first and third goals. The second one is tough as it was a redirection in the high slot. Mrazek’s goal probably should’ve been stopped, too (although he was incredibly screened). So far, our goaltending has been better than I think most expected, so we were bound to have a rough one at some point.
  • Kronwall’s slashing penalty in the second period is Exhibit A in why he needs to retire, soon. It was the defeated, half-hearted, swat at a guy who was absolutely burning him wide. His body won’t let him keep up any more and it’s becoming more and more obvious every game.
  • If Mantha could finish he’d have four more goals on the year already. He’s getting chances but he’s gonna need to get more consistent with finishing out these opportunities.
  • Fourth line continues to be a complete non-factor. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sheahan goes scoreless on the season, again.

Random Things

  • Here’s the thing about the Wings of 2017–2018… when everything goes their way they’ll look pretty good and have a chance at winning. When the goaltending is solid and we win the special teams battle and we win most of the faceoffs and outshoot the other team (etc.) — we look good. However, if one thing doesn’t really go our way then the wheels can come off pretty quickly. In this case, it was some rough goaltending. Truly great teams don’t need every single thing to go their way in order to win. They’re resilient in that way. That won’t be the Wings this year (and realistically, probably not for a couple years).
  • Remember what I said a couple recaps ago about how the Wings aren’t built to come from behind? Go ahead and file this game away in that category. We came on hard and made a game of it but we don’t have the firepower to play from behind successfully.

Wings lose 6–3 to Toronto and fall to 4–3 on the season.

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Game recaps and commentary from someone who used to be kind of good at hockey.

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Sam Spurlin

Sam Spurlin

Organization design guy at The Ready.

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