Thursday, September 22, 2011

Red Wings' Preseason Opens with Loss

Preseason hockey is never something to get terribly worked up about, but let me tell you one thing: after the horror that was--and forevermore shall be known as--The Summer of Sadness, watching some actual hockey being played was a welcome sight.

The Detroit Red Wings played their first preseason game on the road against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Tied at a goal apiece after 20 minutes, Detroit dropped into a 3-1 hole during the second period and the Wings were never able to dig their way back out, coming up short with a 3-2 defeat.  Niklas Kronwall and Jiri Hudler (WHAAAAAT??) provided the offense for Detroit, while Jimmy Howard minded the net during the first two frames before Joey MacDonald closed out the game.

Again, since this is preseason hockey, there's nothing to really be drawn from as far as season projections, but one player stood out to me in particular for parts of the game.  Danny Cleary looked like a man possessed, and though he did get slightly careless with a boarding call that sat him for 5 minutes, the tenacity was much appreciated.

Another standout was Pavel Datsyuk, but not for reasons one would normally expect.  As you'll notice in the photo above, Dats did not wear his usual #13.  After the events surrounding the tragic Lokomotiv plane crash, Pavel decided to don the #24 in honor of his fallen former teammate, Ruslan Salei, for the duration of the preseason.  It is a touching tribute, and one not unexpected from the humble magician.

Tonight, the Wings continue their battle against Pennsylvania with a meeting with the Flyers.  I'll likely be on Twitter so, as always, don't be shy to chat me up if you see me around!

Till next time, Wingnuts!  Let's Go Red Wings!!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Returning in the Midst of Tragedy...

It's been a long summer and, to be honest, I was looking forward to coming back and posting the return of The Geek for this upcoming season. I've had tons of things on the go to keep me distracted in the offseason: getting another stage production off the ground and planning my upcoming wedding, to name just a pair. So with my mind refreshed from last year's disappointment and the tumult of the summer news stories, I thought today was going to be the time to bring it all back for another run.

Then I checked the sports headlines on the work computer, and everything turned upside down.

If you have somehow not heard the news, reports have been confirmed throughout the day that an aircraft carrying the KHL team Lokomotiv crashed directly after takeoff from an airport near Yaroslavl. All but 2 passengers, one player and one crew member, were killed in the accident. Even more sadly for Wings fans, among the casualties were former defenceman and assistant head coach Brad McCrimmon, recently departed defenceman Ruslan Salei, and Wings goaltending prospect Stephan Liv. All are believed confirmed to have died in the crash.

In one fell swoop, Red Wings Nation lost a piece of its past, [almost] present, and future. My deepest condolences go out to the families and friends of all those whose lives were lost in this terrible tragedy, and my thoughts are with them as they try to move forward in this trying time. Although it is with a heavy heart that I return, yet return I must, and thus I do. I will be prepping for the season in the coming weeks, perhaps posting some player profiles and analyses, and general banter and the usual asinine lamentings of some of the decisions made in the offseason.

For now, though, it is still Brad, Stephan and Rusty's time, and I give them now their due. You will be missed, boys.

~~In loving memory of:~~
Brad Byron McCrimmon (March 29, 1959 - September 7, 2011)
Ruslan "Rusty" Salei (November 2, 1974 - September 7, 2011)
Stephan Patryk Liv (December 20, 1980 - September 7, 2011)