Sunday, May 31, 2009

Game 2 Starts in 10 Minutes!

The Hat Trick is eagerly ready for Game 2 after the strong finish by the Wings last night in a Game 1 win. Pittsburgh needs to win tonight if they have any significant hope of winning the almost always have to win at least one game on enemy ice to have a legitimate shot at the title. We'll see what happens...the Penguins have some young players which helps them in a back to back game situation but the Wings showed last night that they are up to that challenge.

Let's just hope the Zebras don't try and call this one like last night...some bad officiating all the way around!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Wings Win Game 1!!!

Great win by the Wings, 3 - 1 final against the Pens at the JLA. It could have been 4 - 1 if not for some stellar defense by the Pens in the final minutes of the game with an empty net. The Wings really turned it on in the third period and Chris Osgood continued to be strong in goal. Great win after a very short rest period (compared with what the Penguins got) after putting the Blackhawks away in the Western Conference Finals.

While the Hat Trick is not going to get involved in the controversy over the back-to-back games being schedule in the Stanley Cup Finals, I am concerned that Game 2 tomorrow night is going to be tiring for the Wings and a real challenge. However, if the Penguins are going to be a serious team in this series they need to leave Detroit with a win, otherwise it is generally over. The Pens have showed they are a better team compared with last year so tomorrow should be interesting...improved experience and youth from the Penguins with the experience of the Red Wings.

A few more thoughts...
  • Once again it's nice that both teams in the Stanley Cup Finals are from the Eastern Time Zone. The Hat Trick is so tired of the Detroit Red Wings (and Columbus for that matter) being considered a Western Conference team given both teams play in the Eastern Time Zone. More on this in a later post...
  • How about that stand by Ozzie against Malkin? Amazing...
  • It's always nice when your fourth line can deliver a goal. Congratulations to Justin Abdelkader for scoring his first NHL playoff goal. Nice to see a Michigan State players and Muskegon native do well for the Wings!
  • Wouldn't it be nice for the Red Wings fans outside of the Detroit metropolitan area (like the Hat Trick!) if we could tune into CBC for the games? The quality of the announcing is superior and you get Don Cherry! How the Hat Trick hates listening to the NBC crew...
  • Why does everyone say the Wings don't play physical? They looked pretty physical to the Hat Trick tonight.

Final Thought:

The win tonight also provides a poignant moment for Red Wings fans and residents of Detroit, as well as the State of Michigan. With the Chrysler Corporation in bankruptcy and the Chapter 11 filing of General Motors imminent it is nice to see some joy in Michigan this late May night. The Hat Trick wishes all affected by this situation the best as we move through these difficult times.

Game 1 - Second Intermission

As predicted, we have a close game on our hands with a 2 - 1 Red Wing lead. The Hat Trick has a few observations:

  • Osgood has been excellent in goal - some of his teammates need to buy him a bottle of his favorite for pulling them out of the abyss.
  • How come is took the Zebras until 6:16 in the Second Intermission to actually call a penalty on the Pens? I don't want to be that guy that always complains about the officiating but there were plenty of calls the Zebras could have made and didn't...yet the Wings went on the defense twice before the Zebras called a Pens penalty...and Matt Cooke got away with what should have been another Pens penalty.

Third period starting now...we'll see how it goes.

Game 1 Begins

The Red Wings begin the defense of their Stanley Cup tonight at 8:00pm in a remtch against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins bring an entirely different team to the finals this year compared with last year. They have that Stanley Cup playoff experience that they didn't have last year plus they have been very succesful going through the Eastern Conference to get to the Finals. The Red Wings bring what they do best...confidence, skill and teamwork in defending the Cup, their first opportunity to defend their champtionships since the '97 - '98 season.

The Hat Trick feels confident that the Wings will do well and win again but this isn't going to be like last year. Prediction: Wings in Seven, all very close, challenging games.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Red Wings Are Stanley Cup Finals Bound!

The re-match is on as the Red Wings will face the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second straight year after beating the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime. It was a tight game and the Wings definitley looked a little slow and tired at times but did pull it off. The loss of several key players including Captain Nick Lidstrom didn't help. The Wings go on to face a Penguins team that, unlike last year, now has that vital playoff experience that is needed to win the Cup. Add in a relatively easy Eastern Conference series against the Hartford Carolina Hurricanes...and this is going to be nothing like last year when the Wings essentailly ran over the Penguinis to win their 11th Stanley Cup.

The Wings have until Saturday to get rested, get ready and get the mental focus needed to beat the Penguins. It's liekly going to be a though series and they need to take it seriously if they want to repeat like they did in '97 and '98.

Getting Ready For Game 5!

The Hat Trick is's 3 - 1 against the Blackhawks and the Wings can win it all and head to a back-to-back match-up with the Pittsburgh Penguins. As far as the Hat Trick is concerned, the Wings have dominated this series even if they did lose a game. Here's the recap...

Game 2 - Wings win a close game that goes into overtime...good, solid win, go 2 - 0.

Game 3 - Appeared to be a major Wings loss, down 3 - 0 in the second period only to come back, tie it 3 - 3 and go to overtime. Lose in overtime on a bad puck bounce. A win for the Blackhawks but a token victory at can you expect to compete for the Stanley Cup when you let a team come back like that?

Game 4 - Wings destroy the Blackhawks 6 -1 without Captain Nick Lidstrom. Enough said.

Game 5 - We'll see what happens...hopefully the Wings can be like the Penguins and put the desperate 'Hawks away and move on to the Stanly Cup Finals.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Game 1 - Good Win For Wings

The Wings fared well in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals with a 5 - 2 win over the Blackhawks. The game was pretty tight throughout the first and second periods until the Wings pulled away with a 4 -2 lead in the third period and an empty-netter to finish the 'Hawks off with a 5 - 2 final score.

While this is a good start, the Hat Trick definitely disagrees with many of the pundits who are already willing to crown the Wings as the Western Conference Champions. There is still a lot of hockey to play and the Blackhawks didn't get to the Finals by accident. Game 2 tonight should be interesting to say the least.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wings - Blackhawks Drop the Puck

The Wings and Blackhawks just dropped the puck on Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals at the JLA. Should be a great series...memories of the Western Conference Finals between these two teams back in 1995!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Red Wings Advance to Western Conference Finals

The Red Wings were victorious Thursday night in Game Seven against the Anaheim Ducks, winning 3 -4. Unfortunately the Hat Trick missed a good part of the game, including the end, due to a thunderstorm and the vagaries of Direct TV…of which the Hat Trick is very disappointed but that is another rant. The Wings will face fellow Original Six team, the Chicago Blackhawks, for the right to go to the Stanley Cup finals. Game One of that series begins tomorrow at 3:00pm EDT.

Needless to say the Hat Trick is pleased that the Wings seem to not experiencing a major case of “Stanley Cup Hangover” and managed to hang on playing a tough Anaheim team that had knocked off the number one seed (and President’s Cup winner) San Jose Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. I’m also happy about the Chicago series because it means there is only a 45 minute flight between the two cities…no need to haul out to the West Coast. Hopefully the Wings can continue to hang on when playing a young and inexperienced, yet hungry, Blackhawk team. Finally, it was important that the Wings persevere after getting hosed by the Zebras in Game Three (see previous post).

The Hat Trick was also sad to see the Washington Capitals destroyed in their Game Seven appearance, 6 – 2. Finally, the Hat Trick was dismayed that the Boston Bruins fell to the Hartford Whalers…err…I mean Carolina Hurricanes…in Game Seven of that series. Apparently being the number one seed did not work out well for either the Sharks or the Bruins in 2009. The Hat Trick was really hoping for an Original Six match-up in the Finals but it is not to be this year.

Final 2009 Playoffs Trivia note: Five of the Original Six teams made the playoffs this year! The only team to miss the playoffs was the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wings Are Down and the Hat Trick=Not Pleased

After dropping Game 2 in triple overtime on Sunday, the Wings dropped Game 3 in Anaheim in a pathetic game featuring some of the worst officiating the Hat Trick has ever seen and it very well could have cost the Wings the game. With less than a minute left in the third period, Marian Hossa scored the game-tying goal only to have it called back because referee Brad Watson blew is whistle and called the play dead because he was out of position and lost site of the puck. Unfortunatley for Watson, video of the play clearly shows the puck crossing the goal line before the whistle blew. Check out the video from the Puck Daddy blog on Yahoo.

Word to the NHL...this is the playoffs and you need to have competent offials out on the ice. Call it sour grapes from a Red Wings fan...and maybe we woudln't have won the game...but we definitely didn't get the chance to even try due to the massive screw-up (the video doesn't lie) by the Zebras.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Duck's Brown Escapes Suspension

The NHL opted to not suspend Ducks Forward Mike Brown for his hit on Jiri Hudler in Game 1 of the Ducks-Red Wings series. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle has maintained that it was a clean hit and it looks like the league agrees with him even if several Wing's players have been vocal on it not being a clean hit. Expect lots of boos for Brown today (Sunday) when Game 2 starts at 2:00pm at the JLA.

Congratulations to Wings Defenseman Chris Chelios who appeared in his 261st postseason game and his 24th year in the playoffs. Chelios continues to defy his own age with positive contributions even if he has had less ice time in recent years. Chelios was picked up by the Red Wings at the trade deadline of the 1999 season and was expected to only spend a year or two in Detroit. Ten years later he is still going strong and the big question from the Hat Trick is: Will this guy ever retire? Hopefully not soon...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Wings Take Game 1 Against Ducks

The Wings took Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Semifinals last night, beating the Anaheim Ducks 3 – 2 at home in the JLA. It was a tough and close game from the start but the Wings managed to pull off the victory with a goal by Wings Captain Nick Lidstrom (his second of the night) with 49.1 seconds left in the third period, avoiding a sudden death overtime situation. The Anaheim Ducks just came off of a brutal seven game series against the President’s Cup champions San Jose Sharks…and the Hat Trick has been real concerned about having to play the Ducks after they splayed the best team in the NHL regular season in the first round of the playoffs. While this first victory is important it’s going to be a long series in my opinion and won’t be a sweep like what happened against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Game 2 is set for Sunday, May 3 at 2:00pm EDT.

In other exciting news from the game Ducks forward Mike Brown was ejected for a hit on Jiri Hudler, causing Hudler to leave the game but eventually return. Brown was ejected from the game and could face a suspension although Duck’s head coach Randy Carlyle claims it wasn’t a dirty hit. During the post game press conference he was a little chippy when asked about the ejection. We’ll see what the league says, likely later today.