DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 23: T.J. Brodie #7 of the Calgary Flames shoots the puck past a defending Niklas Kronwall #55 of the Detroit Red Wings during their NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on November 23, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
The Detroit Red Wings roll into town (hyuk hyuk) on the second night of a back to back, coming off of a loss last night in Vancouver to the surging Canucks. This will be the second time in the past two contests that the Flames will get the benefit of playing a team on a back to back-of course, Minnesota being the first on Tuesday.
Talk today has revolved around Niklas Kronwall's hit on Ryan Kesler. As much as I hate Kesler, that hit was pure garbage. A few of us were watching the game at the bar last night, and after seeing the hit on YouTube as well, it's obvious Kronwall leaves his feet and attempts to turn into Kesler-and his movement dictates that the first point of contact was intended to be the head. A suspension is absolutely justified there. Certianly, Kesler should've "kept his head up"-but the onus is on Kronwall to hit the player safely, not jump into him. This is the type of thing the league needs to eliminate before the sport becomes extinct due to it's injury risk.
Speaking of injuries, I've been hearing some people cite injuries to justify the Flames' poor record thus far this season. I'm of the opinion that injuries are as much a part of the game as scoring or skating and good teams find a way to battle through them. Every team gets injured at some point of the season. There's exactly two players in the league who's impact on the team is so great they can't afford to be injured. Even when injuries build up I can't accept that as a valid excuse-the organization should have players who are NHL capable in the system.
Jimmy Howard's having a whale of a year thus far for the Wings-20 wins, a .940 EVSV% and a OVSV% of .925. It's quite the improvement from last year's .916 EVSV% and OVSV% of .908. I'm not quite ready to proclaim his current stats as his "true talent", but he's close.
Players to Watch
Jarome Iginla-Only 3 Goals away from 500 now. Maybe he catches the backup tonight and makes magic happen?
Pavel Datsyuk-He was recently named the "Most Skilled Player" in the league by TSN. Or maybe it was "Player with Most Skills"? Who knows. I was drunk.
The Flames really need to take advantage of what is probably a tired opponent, since tomorrow likely won't go well.