Two things happened tonight that scared me. Two thoughts that have no business being in my head at any point during a Wings game. The first was when I legitimately hoped Helm would score. That happened sometime during the second period on a rather optimistic looking play when all scoring hope looked lost. The second was when I…just for a second…looked at the way our defense was playing, Brad Stuart included (and especially) and I missed Jonathan Ericsson.
These are signs of the apocalypse. They’re signs of panic and a clear indicator that the universe has tilted off its access. The long and short of it is that we were the inferior team tonight. We used to be able to shed a few guys…lose a Nick to a random groin pull or a Hank to a sore back and shrug it off. We’re not that team any more. Our standouts need to be healthy. Our margin or error right now is low, and the more games we spend with noable drinking buddy Jug Danik on the ice and not in Grand Rapids where he belongs, the deeper this chasm between teams shaping into playoff monsters and whatever we are gets.
I have gone apocalyptic. This happens about 6 times every season and tonight is one of them. I’m typically pessimistic, but even with that baseline of impossibly low confidence, this mood…this shift in the spirits is difficult to miss.
If you missed tonight’s game, consider yourself lucky. Maybe you were painting the shed…or getting a root canal…or trying to dig out of your prison cell with a dull spoon. I’m actually having a hard time conjuring up a replacement activity for tonight’s game that wouldn’t supplant this game.
The big storylines:
- Despite giving up 5 goals (one being the empty netter) Jimmy had a pretty damn respectable night. He coughed up a few bad rebounds, one of them that got cashed in by Voynov in the third to put the Kings up by three, but he also had some absolutely dazzling saves, two of them coming in the first period. It’s impossible to not think back to last year’s game against LA when Jimmy went for a Flip-like 51 saves en route to a Wings victory. That was a major turning point for a solid chunk of the fanbase when we realized, with no hesitation, that this was a real-deal goaltender.
- I don’t know how to sugar coat this…and I’m not in the business of doing that anyway…so I’ll just come out and say that our power play looks worse than the back set of molars on a meth freak. It’s one thing to suck on the PP and get goose-egg’d for the night. It’s another to actually neutral-reverse our way into the car behind us at the hilly stoplight when we’re trying to engage the manual transmission that is our man-up unit. Not only did we fail to do anything on the PP, including a 5-on-3, we managed to cough up a shortie to Ahn-Zay Kopitar who victimized Quincey coming down the right boards and blew it past Jimmy. That was rough.
- …but it wasn’t entirely unpredictable. Because we sucked. All game. And hard. We spent the entire night icing the puck and praying that the non-Will Smith men in black would let us go peacefully into that good night. They would not and, by consequence, we would not.
On the novelty front, I got to have beers IN PERSON with one Christopher J Hollis on Friday when he was in town for SXSW. We were supposed to watch the tilt tonight together, but his raucous partying cadence and general work responsibilities…which all seem to be the same this week at “South-By” for those of us in the business…kept us from meeting up. He did have the good nature to spoil just about every bad thing that happened tonight via text, knowing full-well that I was watching on delay. Insult to injury. His counsel, at about a dozen points, most of them in the second, was “turn it off.” I don’t know if he was referring to my television, the guy handing out the party favors, or the King’s first line, but it appeared that none of those offenders relented this evening.
In response to all this, I offer two gorgeous Swedes, Victoria Silvstedt, who still comes up when you google “Swedish Bikini Team” (don’t ask) and Fredrik Ljungberg of the soccer and Calvin Klein variety.