Deep breaths. Deeeeep breaths. I’m alive. I can’t feel my face but I’m alive. Wow, playoff hockey returns, and with a vengeance. I’m not one for in depth analyses, so I’ll just get to what this game means. First of all, now that we all know we’re not too concerned thinking about it or celebrating it too much, let’s just take a moment to reflect on how amazing it is that this team is in the playoffs for the 20th consecutive year. Since I was five. Since before this post apocalyptic portion of the Southwestern United States was wiped out by the flame deluge.
20 years is a long time. Decades. And to speak of its accomplishment, I’d like to reference 3 facts: that it is the longest current streak of postseason appearances in professional sports; that teams like Phoenix dream of a second round elimination because their captain, a 15 year NHL veteran has only been in the playoffs a handful of times and never advanced; and that the defending champs from Chicago barely made it in, only qualifying due to a freak loss by Dallas to the undermanned, underskilled and underdog Wild in the last game of the regular season.
Now where was I? Oh yeah, Red Wings Playoff Hockey. Through all our greatness, did you know this is the first time we’ve won a Game 1 at home in 2 years? Scary, but we persist and soldier on despite our negative-biased critics, despite the team’s age, despite the league’s attempt to restrain us, and despite our wild expectations and often unfair overreactions.
This game means a lot to us, as does each and every win. Well, we’ve got one down. And as the greatest Captain who ever played the game once said – after the first goal of the first home game in the first successful Stanley Cup Championship Campaign in 42 years in Detroit which he netted – “That’s one.”
In terms of analysis, which I said I wouldn’t do, I’d like to offer up the same spiel I offered a fellow blogger:
- That our officiating left much to be desired, and if you’re reading this and say “Well it goes both ways, buddy, because that hook Homer drew from Jovo was totally…” Just shut the f*** up right now. Because Homer is owed more from the officials than just one powerplay call. For all the goals he’s been involved in that were disallowed because his skates were six inches outside the crease and the goalie couldn’t challenge enough (not against the rules, by the way), we are owed more than just that one. So suck it.
- That our defense was poor, yes, and the turnovers significant, yes, to begin this game. But that our defense is largely and far too dependent upon our offense. In the sense that our defensive passing is way too affected by our offensive zone passing, which creates offensive zone pressure, which loosens up our neutral zone passing, which removes most of the pressure from our D to D passing by fending off aggressive forechecks.
- That our physical play helps us dictate the flow of the game.
- That our composure and ability to stay away from being drawn into the box due to chippy, gritty play is not what it used to be, and that may be because we have some younger players (younger North American players, no less) than in previous postseasons.
- And lastly, that Jimmy Howard was absolutely ridiculous with his saves in the first and early going of the second. Way to find the ole’ STFU switch and flip it, amidst total darkness, in this year’s playoffs, kid.
“They’re here,” the girl says, and if you have a sickening feeling in your stomach and trouble controlling the anxiety, there’s a place for you onboard the Hasek at A2Y.
Have to like Jimmy in this one...as much as I wince when I say it, he kept us in the game. Kudos to Helm, Bert, and yes, Hudler as well. It looked like a playoff team tonight --one of the few times this year.
Helm was awesome in killing those penalties.
He's getting a hell of a lot more attention from the commentators this year. They mentioned his bio and how he says Bert and Drapes have helped him to "slow his game down and use his speed more effectively"