Friday, October 16, 2009

Lidstrom's Latest Milestone...

I was going to write a post about Lidstrom’s 1,000th point last night, but I’d been up since 5:30 that morning, and I felt like he deserved better than the incoherent ramblings that my brain would’ve created at that point.

The Wings started out slowly in the first period, and I was pretty convinced that it was going to be another ugly game. After the first few minutes, they started to turn things around, though. (I think I’m just going to copy these two sentences and paste them at the beginning of every post that I write this season.) They didn’t look great, but they were much better. Not that it would’ve taken a whole lot to improve from the previous game, but it’s a step in the right direction. There are enough game recaps out there that I’m not going to waste my time writing one of my own. Some notes, though:
  • Mike Babcock kindasorta called out Hank. Hank responded by scoring his first goal of the season. Maybe that was just the kick he needed to get himself going. (I say kindasorta because in the grand scheme of “call-outs,” that one was pretty low key.)
  • For all that talk over the summer about making up for the “lost goals” that the free agents took with them, I bet nobody thought Kirk Maltby would be picking up the slack. He’s currently tied for second on the team with two goals. In fact, he, Lidstrom, Rafalski, and Abdelkader are the only four Wings who have positive +/- ratings at this point. I think the competition for playing time is good for him. I’ve noticed many times that he tends to play better when he’s fighting for a job. Maybe the occasional benching or two will be a good thing for him.
  • Datsyuk sitting out the game worries me. So does the fact that nobody’s saying what the mysterious injury was. I’m used to the playoff mindgames about hiding injuries, but this is much too early in the season to be messing with my head. The last thing the Wings need is to lose him for any measure of time.
  • Todd Bertuzzi continued to not make me gouge my eyes out. To date, he’s only picked up a couple of assists, and he hasn’t displayed the offensive touch he once had (ie. firing a shot clean over the glass on a great scoring chance in close), but he’s been much, much better than I expected defensively. And for now, I’ll take that. As an avid holder of grudges, I don’t know what to make of this.
  • I like Ville Leino more and more each game. He’s been as good as advertised offensively, and way better than I expected defensively. He had a couple of really good plays on the backcheck last night.
And finally, Nick Lidstrom. He recorded points #999 and 1,000 with assists on Homer’s and Hank’s goals respectively. As much as I hoped he’d hit the mark in Sweden, it was nice to see him do it at the Joe. I’ve always felt like he’s been underappreciated, and that’s a shame. I really believe that if he were on a different team with a less renowned offense, he would’ve been recognized for his greatness earlier. For so many years, names like Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanahan, Hull, and now Zetterberg and Datsyuk have been headlining the team, and the media often tends to focus on the scoring stars and their offensive flash. Lidstrom doesn’t deliver bone crushing checks (although he was credited with two hits last night) that attract attention and more often than not makes defensive plays so perfectly that folks don’t even notice that he made an effort to do it. There’s a reason his teammates call him The Perfect Human. Remember how nauseous you felt last year when it was announced that Lidstrom would be missing a playoff game for the first time in his career? That says all you need to know about how much he means to the team. So congrats to #5. He’s been a class act since day one and he’s right up there with the best of all time.

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