Stanley Cup Finals Game 3 Review – 3-2 Penguins Win

You can measure a team by the way they play when their backs are against a wall. Make no mistake, this was a must win games for the Penguins and they responded. After the Wings went up 9-1 in shots, the Penguins rattled off 13 shots to Detroit’s 2. Talk about a roller coaster kind of game.

The Pens came with a lot of energy and strong work ethic for the first 2 periods. You have to hand it to them, because they would not lay down and die for the Wings.

Now, I don’t mean to get all huffy here, but the attitude from some Wings fans after the game last night is just dumb. People throwing out half assed comments calling the Wings players (yes, the team I love) goats and screwups. It just makes me shake my head in disgust.

Lets break down game 3 shall we?

Detroit played uninspired in the 1st and 2nd periods. The Wings didn’t have the intensity they had the first two games. The Penguins capitalized on their chances in this game unlike the last two. When we missed passes or had turnovers in the defensive zone in games 1 and 2, they didn’t capitalize on the chances. Lilja falling down resulting on that 2 on 0 chance on Ozzie. Rafalski’s errant pass in game 1 that resulted in a wide open chance by Malkin. All these opportunities were wiffed on by the Penguins. In game 3, they didn’t miss. Stuart’s pass that hit Zets skate and comes right out to the Penguins. Then the pinball bounce off of a few people and Crosby’s shot that beat Osgood. Tough luck on that one.

What about the third goal from behind the net? People bitching about Osgood screwing that one up. Blame blame blame being tossed around. I haven’t heard a single person other than me come out and ask, “Where is the defense?” Still, another opportunity they capitalized on.

Meantime, the Wings hit the post a few times. That wide open net that we missed in the 3rd period was crazy. How did we miss that one? It wasn’t like the goalie or a defenseman was there to stop it. The Wings just clutched their sticks a little too tight.

There were a TON of missed shots last night as well that didn’t hit the target. Come on Wings, put the puck on net. Force Fleury to give up some rebounds and scoring chances.

Point is that the Wings had their chances even though they had a bad 2 periods last night.

So, why did the Wings lose? Everyone is being tossed around as to blame. The only players that aren’t mentioned are Dats, Zets, and Lids. Even Babcock is getting grief for his decision to not roll the lines in a certain way. I don’t know what is worse. These fairweather fans that only come in to enjoy the Wings when they are playing well or the supposed “die hard fans” who rip the players and the team they love when they make mistakes or the puck bounces against them.

Instead of concentrating on Game 4, even this morning, the bitching continues. Calls for the heads of all the players except the franchise ones are loud and clear. Frankly, its disgusting.

Lets get past this game guys and gals. I predicted the Wings in 7 games and I am sticking to that prediction.

Stanley Cup Finals Game 2 Review – 3-0 Wings Win!

Another awesome game by the Wings. It was good to see Stuart and Flip both get goals. The Wings continue to get scoring from their 2nd and 3rd lines which is a huge boost. If they were relying on the top line to get all their goals, they would have only won 1-0 both games which would have been very hard to do.

Osgood continues to be solid. If the defense that is playing in front of Osgood played in front of Hasek in the first round, Hasek would still be in net right now. The only thing you can ask from your goalie is to make the first stop. The Wings defense is playing like madmen. They are clearing the second chance opportunities and keeping the shots to the outside. As a goalie, you can’t ask for anything more than that.

With this win, the Penguins looked down and out by the time the horn sounded. They were whipped and will look to change their fortunes for game 3 and 4. The Wings have successfully cut the leg out from under them. Now all they have to do is keep the pressure on them. Eventually they will collapse.

30 of 31 teams that have went up 2-0 in the finals have went on to win the Stanley Cup. Thats a good omen right there.

Stanley Cup Finals Game 1 Review – 4-0 Wings Win!

I am very impressed with what I saw from the Wings tonight. The second and third lines really kicked it into high gear. They accounted for 3 of the 4 goals which is promising to see. Cleary’s play was impressive to see. He looked like a new man without that jaw brace on, and as a hockey player, I can understand why he probably was playing tenative with that device on.

I really didn’t rag on Samuelson too much, but I have to say, “I apologize”. Good to see him come up big in game 1.

Both sides had chances in this game. For as much as the analysts said that this could have been a 8-0 Detroit win, the Pens hit posts and had close calls as well. A few bounces go their way and the game could have been tied late. The Wings capitalized on their chances, the Pens didn’t. Wings win.

Every game is important, but Detroit has a chance to take a leg out from under the Pens if they win the next game.

The refereeing was good as well. As a goalie, I can understand why that goal was waived off. If I was trying to go down in butterfly, and a forward has his stick in my five hole or interfering with me, I would be bent. As a Wings fan, I thought the call was weak, but I can’t fault the refs for making that call.

Great game! Lets hope for another strong effort on Monday night!

Aching

After playing 3 games in a row last night, I am a wreck this morning.

I played a substandard game for Structured Standard in a 6-3 loss. Then I played a super game, and got some lucky bounces for Who Cares in a 7-1 win. The last game, the game that counted the most for me, the Dragons had a 9-8 come from behind victory. I had another substandard game, but all the bounces that worked out for me in the second game didn’t work out for me in this game.

So, my Dragons are sitting at 3-0 so far this season, which speaks volumes for the character of this team. My Tuesday night team is now at 1-2, but I am confident we can finish the season 6-4 and make the playoffs. I didn’t get a chance to see how my ice hockey team did on Wednesday because I was at Monty Python’s Spamalot.

This morning, I am still pretty darn sore from those 3 games in a row last night. I am glad to see the Pistons win at Boston last night as well. I hope that they can come through with 2 wins this weekend.

Changes

A lot can change in a week. After turning in my worst performance in a while last week on Tuesday, I did a complete 180.

My ice hockey team won 8-4 in their debut on Wednesday last week. Then on Thursday the Dragons had a great come from behind victory in OT by a final of 4-3. It was definetly a gut check for that team as we trailed the entire game until about 3 minutes to go.

Then to top it all off, the Fury (aka Steil’s Mom’s Cookies), won last night by a final of 7-3. I came way out to take the shot every time and it paid dividends. I have to continue to play aggressive and come out to take the shot. I feel reinvented after that game and energized to play strong on Thursday.

Just bummed out

After below average showings in both of my Tuesday night games where my Fury team lost, I am struck with a sense of uncertainty. I just feel like I am on the downturn of my short hockey career. I just feel like I am not stopping pucks the way I should. I am not playing the angles as well as I should. I feel like I should be playing a much more solid game than I should.

The only way to fix those problems are to go out there and keep working. I shouldn’t get down on myself thats for sure.

Its going

Hockey has been treating me well, but in spurts. My first game of the season last week with the old Fury team was my worst game in a long time. I then won my next two games in a row. This week, I dropped my second game with the Fury, which concerns me. I didn’t play as badly as I did last week in a 9-8 loss. But I was average in a 9-5 loss. The other team just outplayed and outpassed us. I came up with some huge saves, but I let in a couple soft goals.

My play in net has me concerned in no uncertain terms. I am back on the horse tomorrow with two games in one night. One on ice and one roller game. Its important for me to have a strong pair of games.

RIP Ben Pauls

Something happened to me today that I didn’t expect. Ben Pauls, a good friend of mine from back in my high school days, passed away. He was just a few years older than me, but I still remember the good times we had together when I was just a kid. I also have a feeling of regret that I could never track him down to tell him just how much I appreciated what he did for me back in the day.

I was a scrawny skinny kid back in high school. I wasn’t really popular, but neither was Ben. Ben looked out for me through high school. Got me started in sports like Cross Country and Wrestling. I learned to belong to a team and what it meant to be a team player. Ben wasn’t the best most athletic person either and I think that is why we got along so well.

In Cross Country, he really worked with me to get me to be a better runner. In Wrestling, he worked with me to get better. The wrestling team as a whole were supportive of me because Ben was.

After he graduated, he was still there for me. We spent time outside school and through the summer playing role playing games with some of his other friends like Chris Eddy and Shawn O’Neil. We went to Cedar Point together, went out on weekends, and otherwise just hung out.

I went to college and came back to see him every now and then. He had married and his wife was pregnant with their first kid. He went through EMT school and was riding in an ambulance for a living. I still remember leaving the house he rented back in 1994 and how sad I was to be leaving for Big Rapids.

My brother ran into him back about 8 years ago at a Warhammer tournament and I got his email address. Try as I might to email him, he never responded. I tried to find him and couldn’t get a phone number.

Today, when I found out he passed away, I was hit with a sad feeling. Just remembering the person he was and all the fun we had together. It really puts life in perspective.

Ben, I will not forget you.

Bad start, better finish

I had a bad start to the new hockey season as I dropped a 9-8 decision. I let in a number of bad goals and heard it from my team captain on more than a few occassions. The other goalie didn’t play well either and he knew it. I had a number of shots get deflected into my own net off my own players as well, so really no one should leave without some blame. Still, I didn’t play my best game.

I played a much better game after I got done tubing my team when I subbed for Who Cares and won 4-3. Still, it wasn’t my best game by far and I should have played better.

Now that I have the first two games under my belt, I am going into Thursday ready to make amends to my horrible game.