Pucking Wings

Hockey is the best.


This is my last post as an internet hockey blogger.  Have been writing less and less lately, and I just haven’t been into it recently. This is for a few reasons.

I got into blogging to help people understand the X’s and O’s of the game, but I’d get 10-20 times the page views on one of my “OFFICIAL LIST OF REASONS….” posts over a Goal Analysis post. I’ve never cared about page views for the most part, but when no one reads actual analysis posts, it gets frustrating. If that’s what the marketplace wants, that’s fine, I just won’t participate.

In addition, as many of you know, I’ve recently come to grips with my stupid brain being all stupid-like (aka admitting to myself that I’ve been depressed and am now dealing with it instead of being an asshole and blaming/attacking others). I’ve decided to delete my twitter since I think that was contributing to my mental issues. I created a new twitter just to follow people for hockey news. I’m learning to communicate better to the people in my life, and it helps much better than just tweeting out a cryptic depressing thing and hoping people respond. I may get back on twitter at some point (in a public way), but for now, it’s best that I stay away.

I’d like to continue the relationships I’ve developed while being on the hockey interwebs. I’ll contact those people privately. I’m open to any and all questions about anything. Contact me at the twitter above (or right here) and I’ll get back to you. Seriously. If there’s a hockey question or you need someone to talk to about mental things, I will help. I’ve learned that helping people actually helps me out a ton, so everybody wins.

That’s all I’ve got.  Lastly, and most importantly….


GOAL ANALYSIS: Xavier Ouellet Scores His First NHL Goal

WOOOOOuellet! Photo credit: Me, bitches!

Photo credit: Me, bitches!

Haven’t done one of these in a while, but let’s focus on the positives here. Xavier Ouellet scored his first NHL goal on Friday against New Jersey! He was promptly awarded two days later by…well…

We all knew it was coming, but it still sucks. Whatever, let’s breakdown the goal in all its awesomeness!

Here’s the goal, courtesy of AWood40:


The play starts with the Wings gaining control in the D Zone.



Pav collects the puck and starts to head up the ice. There are two NJ players behind him. The one by Ouellet doesn’t recognize this and goes to pressure Pav. This is a mistake, since it will leave three NJ players in their offensive zone if the puck gets past him, and with Helm not in the screen, could be a 3 on 2. Those are bad.


Textbook 3 on 2.  The most frequent 3 on 2 play is The Mid Lane Drive. This means the player in the middle drives to the net and takes one of the D with him. The puck should go to one of the players on the outside early. The other winger should go to the high slot, usually around the top of the circles. Example:


The puck carrier can now shoot or pass to either of his teammates. Gives him options based on what the D does. Typically, one D goes to the front of the net and the other stays with the puck carrier, so the guy in high slot is open. Even though the goal didn’t happen based off of this, the Wings do attempt it:


This 3 on 2 doesn’t fully develop. NJ gets a player back to cover the high slot. Just consider that some bonus knowledge. So what happened is Weiss chipped the puck to XO, who gets a shot off. Schneider made the save, and after some battling by the side of the net, the puck ends up behind the net. Weiss, Helm, and XO are all near the net, and this is when XO has a choice to make.


If there was a puck battle behind the net, Ouellet probably goes back to the point and Pav can play his usual position instead of covering D, but with the Wings being down 4-1, makes sense to pinch a bit longer to try to create some offense. Also, take a quick look at the NJ players. All five are back in the play, and all five are looking at the puck. Oops.


Weiss gets hit but manages to bank the puck  to Helm. Now, all the NJ players are looking at Helm. XO is right in front of the net and has nobody really on him. NJ players 2 and 8 are going towards Helm, leaving Ouellet wide open. Boom.




Excellent. Let’s recap:

  • The Wings get a 3 on 2 after a NJ forward pressures Pav
  • Wings can’t execute the 3 on 2, but maintain possession after doing everything right on said 3 on 2
  • Weiss didn’t have an exploding groin during the play
  • XO stayed in front slightly longer than usual because of the score and WOO!!



Jeff Blashill: Red Wings Coach Next Season?


Yell at me on the Twitter here.

Goalie Interference This Season: My Thoughts On All Three Calls

Abdelkader on Price

Abdelkader went to the net as he is supposed to do. His toe was in the crease. Price saw this and initiated contact/dove to draw the call. Even though the puck was on the other side of him Price, has the right to move freely in the crease according to the rules. This is one that comes down to how the refs interpret the rule, which comes to them from the NHL and the GMs. I blame the rule on this one. Price had no clue where the puck was, so he touched Abby and acted like he got shot. And it worked. Blame the rule and interpretation for this one.

Glendening on Holtby

hahahahahaha. This was just an awful call. And he got a penalty! I mean, the ref just plain fucked up here. Moving on.

Franzen on Neuvirth

Franzen was in the crease (see pic below). I don’t think there was any contact, but when the ref sees that and the puck goes through Franzen, easy to see why he called it. I don’t think Franzen had any impact on the goal, but again, the ref ruled that Neuvirth didn’t have the ability to move in the crease.

B1eo49GCAAIjYziHow do we fix these calls?

Easy – MAKE GOALIE INTERFERENCE REVIEWABLE! The refs don’t want to screw things up. And the fact that the play happens so quick, it’s very hard to tel what exactly happened, especially if you don’t have the best angle or are partially screened by another player. Make it happen!


Stephen Weiss – What’s Next?

There’s no point in lamenting over the Stephen Weiss contract. I was pumped when the Wings signed him, so what the hell do I know?  Anyway, let’s take a look at his career stats, courtesy of www.hockeydb.com:

                                            --- Regular Season ---  ---- Playoffs ----
Season   Team                        Lge    GP    G    A  Pts  PIM  GP   G   A Pts PIM
1998-99  North York Rangers          OPJHL  35   15   22   37   10
1999-00  Plymouth Whalers            OHL    64   24   42   66   35  23   8  18  26  18
2000-01  Plymouth Whalers            OHL    62   40   47   87   45  18   7  16  23  10
2001-02  Florida Panthers            NHL     7    1    1    2    0  --  --  --  --  --
2001-02  Plymouth Whalers            OHL    46   25   45   70   69   6   2   7   9  13
2002-03  Florida Panthers            NHL    77    6   15   21   17  --  --  --  --  --
2003-04  San Antonio Rampage         AHL    10    6    3    9   14  --  --  --  --  --
2003-04  Florida Panthers            NHL    50   12   17   29   10  --  --  --  --  --
2004-05  San Antonio Rampage         AHL    62   15   23   38   38  --  --  --  --  --
2004-05  Chicago Wolves              AHL    18    7    9   16   12  18   2   7   9  17
2005-06  Florida Panthers            NHL    41    9   12   21   22  --  --  --  --  --
2006-07  Florida Panthers            NHL    74   20   28   48   28  --  --  --  --  --
2007-08  Florida Panthers            NHL    74   13   29   42   40  --  --  --  --  --
2008-09  Florida Panthers            NHL    78   14   47   61   22  --  --  --  --  --
2009-10  Florida Panthers            NHL    80   28   32   60   40  --  --  --  --  --
2010-11  Florida Panthers            NHL    76   21   28   49   49  --  --  --  --  --
2011-12  Florida Panthers            NHL    80   20   37   57   60   7   3   2   5   6
2012-13  Florida Panthers            NHL    17    1    3    4   25  --  --  --  --  --
2013-14  Detroit Red Wings           NHL    26    2    2    4   12  --  --  --  --  --
2014-15  Grand Rapids Griffins*      AHL     1    0    0    0    0
2014-15  Detroit Red Wings           NHL     1    0    0    0    0
         NHL Totals                        681  147  251  398  325   7   3   2   5   6

He’s only played 7 career NHL playoff games? Holy shit Florida was bad. ANYWAY.

Let’s look at his recent history. In 2013, the lockout year, he played 17 games because he had a bad wrist. He was 30 years old, so missing most of a year isn’t easy, but not horribly difficult for an NHL player to recover and get back to full speed. The Wings signed him and we all know happened next.

He screwed up his groin in training camp and tried to play through it. Oops. He played 26 games, but I’d guess he was hurt for most/all of those. So, in two years, Weiss played a total of 43 games, which is ironic, because Helm used to always be broken.  Being a year older and missing most of another year is not good.

Enter this season. Weiss seemed healthy and played in quite a few exhibition games…and looked like shit. He was a healthy scratch in 8 of the first 9 games, only playing about 8:00 minutes against Toronto. A couple of weeks later, Weiss was sent to Grand Rapids to play two games on a conditioning stint. I thought this was a great move. Let him play in a couple of games then have him play for the Wings, which was the plan. Two periods in the AHL and a sore groin later…

So here we are. We have no clue how bad the injury is or how long he’ll be out for, He’s not making the three game road trip and will be seeing multiple specialists about said injury. I’m guessing one of the following three things will happen:

1) It’s a minor pull, he’ll take a week or two off and be fine and can get back into the lineup soon.

2) It’s a little more serious, and he’s out or a month or two. He’d have a difficult time appearing the rest of the year due to inactivity.

3) It’s really fucked up and he’s done for the year. If it’s this one, I have serious doubts about the rest of his career.

I know I escalated that a bit quickly, but think about it. Playing 43 games in two years, then one game in each of the NHL/AHL.  Three years of almost no hockey. Captain obvious, I know, but still. I’ve seen people compare Helm and how he came back. This is true. But Helm is a lot younger and his game hasn’t relied much on having hands. Weiss is more of a skill player, and being older, I have a hard time seeing him be anything nearing a top 6 forward.

Let’s hope it’s one of the first two and he can still have a productive career. But man, missing the rest of the year? Not good. Hopefully he would be healthy enough to buy out, which would cost the Wings this much per year in cap space:

Stephen Weiss buyout from CapGeek.com

  • 2015-16: $1,066,667
  • 2016-17: $1,066,667
  • 2017-18: $2,566,667
  • 2018-19: $1,666,667
  • 2019-20: $1,666,667
  • 2020-21: $1,666,667

That’s not too bad, especially if the cap keeps going up. So there it is. What are your thoughts on Stephen Weiss?

Red Wings Pledge Update

In case you forgot, I made a pledge to the Michigan Humane Society and challenged all of you out there as well. Thought I’d give you an update while my new furnace gets installed.


Click for larger view


1) haha Cleary (even though I think that’s a mistake…)

2) Needs more Mrazek

3) Seriously people, do this to whatever charity you want. It’s fun.

4) The Kid Line has been doing okay for the most part, but they’re not making me give up enough money. Hope that changes soon.

The Dan Cleary Conundrum

Let’s talk about the current state of Dan Cleary on the Red Wings. No, we’re not going to bring up the signing and contract and all that. It was terrible and curse the Flyers for making Holland “keep his word” or whatever. We’re going to talk about today, October 23rd, and the fact that Dan Cleary hasn’t played a game yet this season and why this might actually be a BAD thing.

Based on Cleary’s performance last season (traditional stats, advanced stats, or just people who watched the damn games), it was clear he lost a step. He did not play in a game after January due to being a healthy scratch for a few then getting injured during the Olympic break. He played in a few exhibition games this year, which are hard to judge because they are played at half speed and they’re not all on TV.  And then the regular season began.

And as of this writing, we have all played as many NHL games as Dan Cleary this season.

Yes, this is for the best in the short-term. Cleary is the 15th best forward on the roster right now, so why play him? The Wings are 3-1-2 (and could(should?) be 4-0-2 at the worst based on odd circumstances) and are obviously a much faster and harder team to play against. That’s all good, but what happens when the inevitable sore groins and other random injuries happen?

Dan Cleary is going to be 10 times worse than we remember, and that’s before we include all of our biases against him. If he doesn’t play until November 7th against the Devils (the day before my birthday weeeeeeee!), it will have been over a month since he appeared in an exhibition game. That’s the Wings 14th game, well past the times that players are “getting in to game shape”. Cleary will have three things going against him:

  1. He’s Dan Cleary and he’s old and not very good at hockey anymore
  2. He will have not played in a meaningful game since January
  3. Both his teammates and the Devils will be in “game shape” and won’t have the early season rust we sometimes see

With roster limitations, it’s only a matter of time before Dan Cleary plays in an actual game. The Wings do have some options to get him in a few games:

Play him on the 4th in place of Andersson. Even though Andersson has been better this year, he’s still a 4th liner who would not be missed a bunch. If Cleary only played 7 or 8 minutes, it really shouldn’t have much effect on the game. Could always put Helm back on the PK if Cleary proves he is not able to successfully keep up at all.

Send him to Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint. Cleary could go down to the AHL, if he consents, and play for no more than two weeks to get his legs back. This may be the best move. If it’s obvious after a couple of games that he’s done, or he doesn’t agree to do this, then there’s another option.

Place Cleary on waivers and see what happens. Okay, yeah, not a single NHL GM is dumb enough to claim Cleary. This would give Cleary no choice but to go to Grand Rapids if he wanted to get paid. This would also give the Wings $925,000 in additional cap space, even though we’re not currently struggling in that regard. It would also get Cleary some games, and if he’s total garbage and it’s clear his career is done, he could get healthy scratched and just be done, even though I doubt the Wings would do this to DAN CLEARY.

Personally, I would have him go on a conditioning stint for a couple of games. If he still has enough to be a 14th forward occasional 4th liner, great.  If he hasn’t improved, put him on waivers and just be done with him. Hopefully, this will be done sooner rather than later. If the Wings wait until December or so without playing him, I don’t think there’s any chance at all he can ever get back. If they start now or soon, Cleary could maybe not totally kill the 4th line if he has to play a handful of games this season.


If The Red Wings Don’t Trade One Of Their Top 7 D…

The Griffins D will look like this:

Ouellet – Marchenko

Backman – Sproul

Paetsch – Jensen


I don’t know if they’ll go with 7 D, like they did at times last year, or if they’ll sit Paetsch or Evans, who have AHL only deals. Something to look forward to, I guess. I’d rather look forward to seeing Kindl traded and having one of the kids fight for the 6th spot. Lashoff is the perfect number 7.

That is all.


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