Trying out a new segment on the blog: 15 Drops in the Bucket. 15 thoughts from a game every week. Here we go!
- Good to see Big E get physical and then drop the gloves. MacKinnon was a surprising combatant (1st career fight according to hockeyfights), but I was quite happy with the fight.
- Marchenko looked a little passive, but that is to be expected as a 23 year old playing in his 3rd ever NHL game. Pretty amazing to realize that he was a 7th round pick back in 2011. Being a right-handed shot may have sped up his call up to the NHL, but if he can get comfortable in the next 10 games, there is a slight chance that he stays with the team for the rest of the season; especially if the Wings can’t trade for a right handed shot.
- It should be noted as well, that Marchenko is a plus 15 this season in Grand Rapids with 17 points. The way he holds his stick isn’t the only reason he got the call to the big league.
- I don’t mind the diamond set up that the Wings use on the penalty kill. The F1 and F2 are mobile enough to put pressure on the defencemen that have the puck, but it does expose some passing lanes. So far, so good.
- The Avalanche do a really good job of clogging the neutral zone, while still transitioning to offence well.
- Sheahan continues to impress me. His hands are above average, and he has pretty great vision as well. He had a hand in a few different scoring chances during the game, and from the third line no less.; he’s only 23 years old.
- How great is it that Mrazek is starting in his ninth straight game? As unfortunate as it was that Howard went down for so long, Mrazek has been doing well. While his .907 SV% and 2.66 GAA coming into this game may not scream “starter”, he is 11-4-1 this season. He is getting the job done and he’s one of the reasons that the Red Wings sit where they do in the standings.
- As many veteran goalies do, Mrazek reads the ice very well. With 7 minutes to go in the 2nd period, the Avs broke in on a partial 2-on-0. When Mrazek realized that the Detroit defender was indeed going to get back in time, he came out to challenge the shooter because he knew the pass wasn’t going to get through, and he made a big save to keep it scoreless. Mrazek had 21 saves through two periods, and stopped all 28 that he saw for the shutout.
- Mrazek may only be 22, but he has played 129 pro games in the last 3 seasons. He’s got some solid grounding beneath him.
- You gotta wonder if Patrick Roy is a contributing factor to Varlamov’s resurgence over the last season and a half. I see a lot of the same confidence in Varlamov that Roy had when he played, and you know that Roy feeds into Varlamov’s ego. While a big ego may be a bad thing, it’s elevating Varlamov’s confidence – and his game.
- On that point, NBC pointed out that Varlamov is tied for 2nd in save percentage since the start of last season. Semyon is boasting a .926 in that time period, behind only Montreal’s Carey Price.
- Justin Abdelkader is having his best season. Some people think that he’s thrown on the powerplay because he’s not afraid to stand in front of the net and get hit by the puck, and while that’s partially true, there’s so much more to it than that. Abdelkader is very good at moving in and out of coverage depending on where the puck is. Once the puck gets to him, he gets it to the net as fast as possible so that the defencemen can’t make a play on him. He matched his career high in points tonight, with 28.
- Even though at the beginning of the season I was in favour of breaking up Datsyuk and Zetterberg, I couldn’t have predicted the chemistry that would form between Zetterberg, Abdelkader and Nyquist. That line has an incredible sequence in the 3rd period that resulted in three quality scoring chances.
- One thing that I think the Red Wings are missing is a true grinder. Abdelkader is more focused on offence now that he’s on the 1st line, and the 4th line are all so good defensively that they don’t go out of their way to make a big hit. Someone like Cody MacLeod on the Avalanche, or Lucic from the Bruins; someone that you know will hit you every time they see you with the puck. Abdelkader leads the team with 99 hits coming into tonight’s game, which ties him for 50th among NHL forwards.
- After all the hate that Quincey got in the last calendar year from fans (myself included), Babcock chooses to have Q on the ice for the last minute of play. Shows a lot of confidence in Quincey, who has improved his play a lot this season.