Saturday, September 19, 2009

Capping Off A Sports-Tastic Day...

I’ve been in sports mode pretty much since I got up this morning. I was at the UM game in the Big House starting at noon, then I went home and caught a few innings of the Tigers game, and then I followed that up by driving down to Detroit for the Wings game. It was by far the most sports-tastic day of my life. Too bad I was only 1 for 3 in terms of victories.

Anyway, it was absolutely fabulous to be at the Joe for some real live hockey. I realize that it’s only been three months since the end of the playoffs, but it feels like forever and a day. I was excited to see the Joe full of energy even though it was just a pre-season game. Right off the bat, there were “Let’s Go, Red Wings!” chants, and they continued throughout the game. There was also a pretty loud round of “Miller sucks” after he tripped Kris Draper in the third period. Yeah, we’re Hockeytown. (Unless, of course, they were just expressing their dislike of that particular variety of beer...)

I posted my pictures over here. I went down to the Wings' end to take some close-ups of their warmups, but unfortunately, as soon as I made it down to the glass, my camera battery died. And, as luck would have it, the spare pair of batteries that I brought with me turned out to be dead as well. Instead, I ended up taking a few videos on my phone. I’ll put those up on Youtube as soon as I’m reunited with my microSD adapter tomorrow. Be sure to check out the “Osogod” jersey that I found, though. It was literally the first thing I saw when I stepped through the curtains. I don't know whether that's a good sign or not. On one hand, it's a fail. But on the other, I'm okay with him attaining deity-like status in Detroit. That can only be a good thing.

I’m not going to bother with a game recap because I’m liable to doze off right at my keyboard if I try to do anything more substantial than point out a few observations.

The top line of Franzen-Datsyuk-Holmstrom was pretty impressive, as you would expect them to be. Pavel Datsyuk does things with the puck that most players can’t even imagine, much less execute. He’s just that good. His setup for Franzen’s goal was spectacular.

The line that really stood out in my mind, though, was Eaves-Draper-Abdelkader. They seemed to be making an impact every time they were on the ice. Draper looked like he was flying, which is a good sign for the coming season, and Abdelkader was all over the place as well. I didn’t notice anything spectacular from Eaves, but he made some solid, hard-working plays, which is about what I expect from him. If the fourth line can find its way back to relevance this season, regardless of who ends up playing on it, that bodes well for the Wings.

Tomas Tatar definitely looks like the real deal. He had several good chances, and it was telling that he was out on the ice in the final minute when the Wings were trying to score with the goalie pulled. I’m even more excited that he’s going to be playing somewhere in North America next season, and I’m expecting good things from him in the future.

I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see Thomas McCollum tonight. I don’t know if the plan was for Jimmy Howard to play the whole game, or if they just left him in because he was pitching a shutout, but I was looking forward to seeing McCollum. Howard certainly didn’t have a whole lot of work, but he actually looked pretty solid. The two goals he let in weren’t particularly bad. In fact, I think the Detroit News’ recap treats him a little harshly (I know. I’m defending Jimmy Howard. Not that I put a whole lot of faith in their reports anyway. How do you not mention how well Draper and Abdelkader played?).

The other guy I was looking forward to seeing was Jakub Kindl. I didn’t notice him very often, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a defenseman.

I hope everyone saw Logan Pyatt tripping out of the penalty box. I had a good laugh. I'm sure he took a good ribbing about it after the game. These are the little things that make my days go by.

During one of the intermissions, we happened to see the new arena hostess lady walk by a couple of times (she and her handler seemed lost for some reason...), and if anyone figures out how she manages to make it up and down the stairs in the stands in those stiletto boots, let me know. Lord knows I have enough trouble sober and in sneakers.

I also discovered that every time the Wings find themselves down 2-1 near the end of the third period, I’m going to have traumatic flashbacks to Game 7. For the rest of my life, probably. I just kept imagining…never mind. I can’t talk about it.

Despite the fact that they lost, I had a great time at the game. Any day I get to wear my Stevie Y jersey down to the Joe is a good day in my book, and just walking around seeing the arena filled with the sounds of “Let’s Go Red Wings” chants and pucks on sticks is enough to bring a smile to my face. There’s absolutely nothing like live hockey. I am SO ready for the season to start. Can it be October 2nd yet?

Interesting Quotes (This will be a semi-regular feature, as I have a long history of collecting random quotes from those around me and compiling them on the internet):

Girl: “Ew, that guy smells like seafood.”
Boyfriend: “Eh, he probably just has an octopus down his pants.”
Girl: *completely confused and disturbed*

(Only at the Joe...)

Guy: “I can’t see because she’s leaning too far forward. I was gonna say something, but then I noticed that she’s got an Yzerman on, and I can’t bring myself to yell at a girl like that.”

(I’m fairly certain he was referring to me. If so, this was cleverly calculated to be just loud enough for me to hear it without being obnoxious. I also apologize for any viewing obstructions that I caused. However, as my dad and I explained to my mom, nobody watches hockey while reclining back in their seats. Also, I’m inappropriately intense when the Wings are on. Deal with it.)

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