Here it is!! The loveliest time of the year; the start of the hockey season!! Unfortunately, (though not really!!), this year the Red Wings are sharing the spotlight with the Tigers and the Lions, so maybe for some the year is starting “quietly,” but for me, I’ve been waiting impatiently!
While I like baseball, and have actually been paying attention to football for the first time in my life, no other sport compares to the tempo of hockey, even if Gary Bettman is trying to slow the game down. And there is nothing more exciting than watching the Wings (well, watching the final outs of a baseball game sending the Yankees to the batting cages is also quite exciting).
And this year especially, the Wings will be even more exciting to watch. We have some “younger blood” in us now, but we still have our “old blood.” And I wouldn’t want it any other way
As Brett Hull said: “...I’d rather be old and smart, than young and dumb any day.” Sure having youth is important, but too much youth can be a negative. A team needs those players who have been there and done that, to teach the younger guys how to overcome a series sweep, a game 7 loss, a Stanley Cup loss, as well as the wins. If I did my math right, the average age is 29.2 years old; with Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak, 23, and Nicklas Lidstrom, 41. Frankly, I’m comfortable with that average; it’s still youthful, but means experience.
I recall all of the “the Wings are old, slow, boring to watch, etc...” coming from fans of other teams. But those other teams don’t have what the Wings have: the patience, the teamwork, the respect for one another. On any other team, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg would have higher goal totals, because any other team would be in complete reliance on them to score, to “be the team” as it were (like a handful of other teams I could rattle off right now, but won’t).
And while I am sure there are times when the “me” mentality shows itself in the locker room or the ice, I would dare to say that it happens once in a blue moon or when a player is feeling “snake bit”, it doesn’t happen often and the TEAM mentality is stronger. Datsyuk, for example, has more assists than goals because he passes back, he knows there is a better opportunity to give it to someone else than to take it himself. Of course, there are times I want him to shoot it more, but hey, he’s the humble player.
But I’ve always challenged the “too old” thought. I mean, is the average of 29.2 “too old?” I think what shocks people is those outlier young players keep their mouth shut and don’t make waves, like other players the same age would do on any other team. They leave their egos outside the building, they watch, they learn, they mature. It would be more correct to say, “Young in years, but old in mind.”
Now, to focus on the changes for the NHL as a whole: bigger crack down of head hits. I can’t help but wonder, does this change have anything to do with the “golden boy” and his concussion, or/and the death of Bob Probert back in 2010, who had evidence of major brain trauma due to concussions?
Before anyone jumps on me, I will say that it is about time that the NHL do something to reduce the number of concussions, but hockey players have been getting them for years, even before the use of helmets, and it just so happens Sidney Crosby gets “the big one” and *boom* new rule on head hits (fishy fishy especially since players like Eric Lindros suffered concussions like every year).
While we have had a player suspended in the pre-season for a head hit, I don’t think the Wings will be hit with this punishment very often, though I bet this will change the playing style of Niklas Kronwall, which makes me sad because boy, do I love those hits! So, while I do find it fishy in the timing this new rule has come about, I’m not too worried about it for the Wings.
I’m excited to write that the Wings have won the home opener 5-3, I’m happy to know that they held a ceremony for Brad McCrimmon, and I’m happy to know they are wearing a special patch honoring McCrimmon, Salei and Liv–though I figured they would.
I liked what I saw for this game, but a little disappointed with the small fall-out that occurred in the third. I know we can’t get shut-outs every game, but I just hope this isn’t a sign that Howard will be giving up 3 or 4 goals per game like what seemed to happen a lot last season, because I already know we won’t be scoring 5 goals each game either. I also hope it isn’t a sign that the team as a whole will “fall asleep” in the third, games are won and lost in the third period. I’m hoping it’s just the first game jitters.
Goal Scorers: Bertuzzi (Helm and Kindl) , Lidstrom (Unassisted), Emmerton (Miller), Hudler (Datsyuk and Ericsson), and White (Miller and Emmerton).
Three Stars: 3. Milan Michalek (Ottawa): 2. Lidstrom: 1. Emmerton.
Next Three Games: Oct. 8, 9:00 PM (at Avalanche);
Oct. 13, 7:30 PM (vs. Canucks); Oct. 15, 8:00 PM (at Wild).
As always, GO Wings!!