Forgoing the obvious "Blues Brothers" or "Varsity Blues", I decided to delve a litter deeper into less popular realm of movies with this one. Controversial director? Yes. Anti-white? Probably. But who cares? I'm going to twist it around to match my needs no matter how much Spike Lee probably hates the sport of hockey....
March 24th: St. Louis Blues @ Detroit Red Wings
Opens with Bertuzzi as a child learning to play hockey, his friends want him to come out and kill people but mother insists he finish his lessons. Bertuzzi grows into adulthood and forms his own hate following - The Production Line. The story of Bertuzzi's and Michael Petrellas's friendly rivalry on the Internet which spills into their professional relationship and threatens to tear apart the harsh feelings Petrella had misplaced all along.
Here's the news from Khan(!)...
Cleary will play on the third line, with Drew Miller and Jason Williams. Derek Meech fills in for Eaves on the fourth line with Darren Helm and Kris Draper. The top two lines remain the same: Johan Franzen-Pavel Datsyuk-Tomas Holmstrom, and Todd Bertuzzi-Henrik Zetterberg-Valtteri Filppula.
The defense stays the same for the fourth consecutive game: Nicklas Lidstrom-Brian Rafalski, Niklas Kronwall-Brad Stuart, Jonathan Ericsson-Andreas Lilja.
Nothing about who is starting in net...hmmm.
So the way I see it, here are the lines:
Damn, I'm good. Well, I suppose we'll see about the goaltending. But Jimmy had a solid game against the Pens, and even gave Rosby a face-wash...how could you possibly sit him? It's been a long time since we've had a Red Wings goalie start this many games in a row. At least two years, if you consider Ozzie and Conklin splitting time last year, with Ozzie and Hasek splitting time the year before that.
One question I have going into tonight: can Meech and Bertuzzi give a follow-up performance to the level that they played Monday? If so, this should be a fun game to watch (for Red Wings fans).
We're still waiting for the lineup from Khan(!), so here's a little injury report (you're welcome, Lauren H) from the Detroit News...
Danny Cleary (groin) practiced Tuesday and said he'd determine today whether he would be able to play.
"It feels good," he said. "Hopefully it feels better tomorrow. It's still not 100 percent."
... Patrick Eaves (neck, back) did not practice Tuesday and won't play tonight.
... Brad Stuart (sore neck) said he's fine. "I just had a quick MRI," he said. "It was fine. It wasn't bothering me that much, just kind of a precautionary measure."
So my lineup prediction from earler could turn out to be accurate. But it looks like we're all heading to lunch still wondering who's playing tonight and with whom...well, I am anyway.
An interesting (for the most part) little bit of action played out last night, in terms of Western Conference teams. Here's what I thought of it...
CBJ/NJD - Well...at least the Devils are making things tough of Pittsburgh
DAL/NSH - Someone finally snapped Nashville's six game winning streak...hooray
SJS/MIN - The Sushi broke out of its five game slide, Pinky wept
PHX/CHI - The Chickenhawks took first place, guess they want us in Round 1
ANA/CGY - Gander and I weren't hoping for a Flames win...irritating
VAN/EDM - You go, "30th of 30 teams in the NHL", you go.
And the standings heading into tonight's action against the Blues looks like this...
Well wouldn't this make for some interesting first round match-ups right now? Everyone except for Nashville and Vancouver would be playing in (nearly) their own time-zone. That's un-heard of in the Western Conference play-offs. Leastern Conference, you don't know how easy you have it.
...that's what STLtoday.com is reporting anyway:
INJURIES — Blues —Roman Polak (upper body), out. Red Wings — RW Patrick Eaves (upper body), day-to-day; RW Dan Cleary (concussion), probable; RW Kirk Maltby (shoulder surgery), out for season.
See, now I thought that Cleary had a tender groin, and that's why he hasn't been playing. But if must be that he suffered a groin concussion, which just sounds painful.
Regardless, Cleary will probably be playing tonight but Patrick Eaves will not be.
So what do we do about Bertuzzi? The Bertuzzi-Zetterberg-Filppula line was by far the best against the Penguins on Monday. So, will Mike Babcock stick with his "if it's not broke, don't fix it" routine?
We'll wait for the official word from Khan(!), but here's how I could see this working out tonight...
If Ozzie doesn't start tonight, he just may day after tomorrow, which by the way is Herm to Hockeytown.
The red hot (9-2-1 in their last 12) Detroit Red Wings may be idle this evening, but there's plenty of action going on around the league this evening. Here's my take on the games including Western Conference teams...
NJD vs CBJ: Columbus is too far down the standings to be a threat and the Devs are in the Eastern Conference. Maybe the little bit of me that remembers the Olympics has me pulling for Parise and the boys. Actually, if they win, they'll pass the Pens in the Atlantic Division. Forget the 'Who Cares?'...go Devils.
NSH vs DAL: Can somebody please beat Nashville? I don't even care if it's you, Dallas. Not afraid of Dallas catching us in 10 games (knock on wood), so let's see if we can't catch those pesky Preds after all.
MIN vs SJS: Pinky? Or Sushi? The comical and inevitable fall of the San Jose Sharks is apparently coming earlier than usual this year. I can't help but feel like this is some sort of master-mind play by Todd McLellan. Well regardless, if the Sushi want to soften Pinky's Wild up for us a little, they'll hear no complaints from me.
CHI vs PHX: A few years ago, these two teams probably played near this same date while both were nowhere NEAR making the play-offs. Now they're battling for first in the conference...weird.
CGY vs ANA: The more breathing room between us and Calgary, the better. As much as it pains me to cheer for the Ducks. Well...I wouldn't call it 'cheering for them', more like 'I'll be less irritated if they win'.
EDM vs VAN: Last place Oilers...go get those 'Nucks.
Updated at 2:54 with Bertuzzi Reactions
A few notes:
- Last night's game against the Pens was the highest rated regular season game ever on Versus. (Per NHL Live.) Pretty cool.
- Jimmy might have entered the hearts of all Michiganders last night, doing something we've all wanted to do, slug the little punk in the face.
“We were battling and then after the whistle, Howie came and rescued me,’’ Zetterberg said. (MLive) Awesome.
- There's already an Facebook page for this. Who's a fan of "Jimmy Howard Punching Sidney Crosby in the Face?" I would say I'm a fan.
- I think this makes Jimmy the clear #1 Calder trophy leader. Noone else in the running is even a clear player you'd want on a Fantasy Hockey team, which obviously is the way the award should be picked. Jimmy is owned in 76% of leagues. Myers is owned in 56% of leagues. That bender on Colorado (ok, he's good...but not Jimmah good) is only 32%. Clearly the Calder goes to Jimmah.
- Dangle Dangle was great last night, but still, he could have had one or two more if he shot the puck once or twice.
- Lil-ja has been awesomely invisible since he came back. Seriously, he's been great. If I had no idea he played in the game, that's a win.
- Meech, well, looked like an NHL forward last nght. It was strange.
- Hey Bertuzzi haters...you've been right for the past month. He's sucked. But give the man credit when it's due. He absolutely was on his game last night (and for part of the game the night before) and when he is, he's really dominate. We want that, remember, he's a Wing and has done everything and said everything right this year. It seems like the team likes him and for 1.5, he's been great. If we can get him for that amount again next year, then no question, that's a go.
UPDATE (2:54) - #1 Bertuzzi hater of all bloggers (maybe tied with Tyler of the TTD),"Todd Bertuzzi played a hell of a hockey game tonight. I'm man enough to admit when he has a good game, it'd be really swell if you can own up to when he has a shitty game (ya know, like 65 of the other ones). He made great defensive plays, he stayed on his feet all night, he went to the net hard, he stuck up for his teammates, he took smart shots, he set up plays. That was a hell of a hockey game for Shetuzz'."Wow, that's quite the compliment to the Tuzzi. It makes me a little woozy. Still, good for some haters to man up and realize that he isn't the devil. Isn't it funny how this is the one thing that divides the fan-base this year?
- Also, Williams has been really underappreciated this year. I'm really liking him. I'd rather have him at 1.5, scoring 15 per year than Sammy scoring 30 at 2 million a year. There is something about Sammy that just kills me, still. Maybe it's his donkey face. I don't know.
- When did the standings get so f'ed up? The Yotes in 2nd? We are one game behind Colorado now? Nashville played like a dozen games this weekend? Still, I like it.
- Hey Kyle from BDS, you royality check is on the way.
So we've seen what Rosby had to say about last night, basically that Zetterberg isn't anything special and he's lucky to have Lidstrom and Rafalski on his team. Hank fires back with...class. As per usual. Zetterberg isn't even our captain (yet) and he's already showing more class and captain-like behavior than #87. This from NHL.com:
"Just a lot of feeling and a lot of emotion after a game, nothing more. If it was reversed, I probably would have done the same thing."--Henrik Zetterberg
...Somehow I doubt Z would cross check a guy four times and then start swinging. But then again, we've never seen anyone dominate Hank the way that he has dominated Crysob (misspelling intentional).
It's not even the first time that Zetterberg has been the target of Pittsburgh's frustrations. Remember back in the closing moments of game 2 of last year's Finals? Hank had shut Rosby down completely for two straight games so Evgeni Malkin decided it was up to him to send a message and he attacked Zetterberg for no reason. Wait...did I say "send a message"? What I meant to say was 'have his frustrations get the better of him'...because one is suspendable and the other is not...according to Collie "no backbone" Campbell.
What a satisfying game to watch...and with eight friggin' defensemen dressed to boot. Meech and Lebda probably combined for about 3 minutes of ice time as forwards, and just look at how well Detroit played.
It's awesome, we've been waiting for this since...well since the last time Pittsburgh was in Joe Louis. We're now only two points behind the boys from Denver and are 8-2-1 in our last eleven.
From the Windsor Star...
"There are lots of guys who play tough."
Sidney Crosby had that to say when he was asked if Zetterberg presents his most challenging head-to-head match-up. Remind you of when Z shut him down on a 5 on 3 in the 2008 Finals and Crosby brushed it aside with "Anyone would have made that play."?
He consistenly refuses to give credit where it is due. And it gets worse...
"There are a lot of guys who don't have Rafalski and Lidstrom on the backend either. He competes hard. We both do. That's why you play the game, for those battles."
What a joke. Admit that you got bested, show some humility, you little baby.
And people wonder why Detroit fans hate this guy.