14 May 2009

Welcome to Sacrifice The Body!

Thanks to James O'Brien giving me the blogging bug (I hear its contagious), here I am, with my very own blog.  Allow me to introduce myself.

I'm Joe.  I lived in Michigan all my life, until 2008, when I moved to Colorado, in an attempt to find a place where the weather didn't suck and the economy was half-way decent.  For sports, the only ones that count for me are football and hockey.  As a Michigander, I'm obviously a Wings fan, though I do root for other teams, and more than anything, I am a fan of hockey in general (though not necessarily the NHL).  Further, hockey and the NHL in general are far more interesting than just another blog about how great the Red Wings are (or for the rest of you, how much they suck).  

As such, my general intent with this blog is to discuss the NHL in general, though I will certainly be doing certain things that are more Wing-centric.  In fact, one of the series of posts that I'm planning as a Wing-centric thing is actually looking at the performances of renowned Wing-killers like Adam Deadmarsh and Chris Pronger, so I think even you Wings-haters will find something here to read.  

If you looked through my own bookmark folder of hockey blogs, you'd find a lot of sites that do statistical analysis.  I certainly won't be approaching levels of super-advanced statistical analysis like Tyler over at MC79Hockey, but I'd like to think I can do something along the lines of some of the things James Mirtle does, or even some of the stuff the guys at Battle of California do in between cartoons.  That's not to say that everything here will be heavy on the numbers, but I'd definitely like to do some of that.  

We'll see where we go from here.  Hopefully you'll come along for the ride.  


  1. Hi Joe -- I found your blog from your comment in From the Rink saying James is seeing things with his predictions of Pens, Hawks and then Pens for the final 3 series.

    I too am a fan of hockey in general and I can see why so many are fans of the Wings and envious of the Wings ("Wings-haters" just doesn't do it as far as I'm concerned -- how about Wingus Envious?). I don't have any one team as my favourite, I'm just a fan of fast, skilled hockey.

    This year I think Detroit is not going to make the final, even though either a Pen-Wing or Hurricane-Wing series would each have great appeal.

    I've watched the Wings closely all year (NHLCI) but now they just don't seem to be clicking to me. I worry that the Columbus series was just too easy and yet it took a final minute PP goal in that fourth game to beat the poster team for "goal challenged" who dinged them for 5 -- the most goals allowed so far, and that was in the series clincher, leading 3 games to 0.

    Then the Ducks take them to 7 games -- and that last goal so late in the game was iffy to say the least. I just don't think they're going to be able to rely on that last minute break. It's a game of inches, true, but sometimes they're going to be on the wrong side of the ruler, you know? And the Hawks are much much better than the Ducks.

    I saw a lot of very relieved and very tired and a bit surprised Wings in the post seventh game interviews. Didn't you? And now it's the Hawks.

    I totally misjudged the Hawks in the second round. I thought they were a good young team and they had a great future, but they seem to think the future is now. I don't think yesterday was a 4 - 2 game, let alone a 5 - 2 one, and looking at the Hawks at the end I saw a lot of "Oh, OK...well, we'll see you Tuesday." and not any "Damn, we gave it all and they still beat us.". These guys just don't quit, and now that they've taken a playoff measuring of the Wings I can see them turning it up another notch for the next game.

    I saw them buzzing the Wings just like Perry-Getzlaf-Ryan several times and just like vs the Duck's top (only!) line, the Wings had no answer. The thing is though that it was the Hawks 2nd and 3rd lines that did the buzzing!

    And I think Datsyuk must have a left arm/shoulder/hand injury, don't you? He just doesn't whip off that wicked wristshot or snapshot at all. He's still a whiz at D and he still hits a bit, but earlier he would throw a timely solid bodycheck too, and I think that's where he hurt himself earlier, throwing a bodycheck. He doesn't throw them anymore. His passing's still amazing, but not quite as crisp and his laserlike backhand pass has disappeared.

    And do we have to wait for Game 4 for Hossa to appear like in the first two series?

    Franzen and Zetterberg are the saviours so far.

    I just don't see Lidstrom performing like before either. He's solid but he just doesn't seem the same to me. I think he's tired and who can blame him? How many minutes in how many games has he played in the last two regular seasons plus playoffs with so few days off? At the age of 39!

    It's going to be a great series but I really do think the Blackhawks will take it.

    Of course if they don't it certainly won't be the first time I had it wrong, nor will it be the last.

    Either way, though, it'll be at least six or seven excellent games of playoff hockey and I can't complain about that.

    What do you think of the Hawks? Pens? 'Canes?

  2. Whoa! A comment! Two days later, I notice...

    I figured the Wings would take the Hawks in 5 or 6, and now they're up 2-0. The Hawks just aren't equipped to beat the Wings. When was the last time you saw a team just plain outskate and outscore the Wings for an entire series? I don't think I've seen it in nearly 10 years now. The teams that can consistently win against the Wings, at least enough to get 4 out of 7 games, are the teams that physically dominate the Wings in front of both nets.

    ANA in 2003, CAL in 2004, EDM in 2006, ANA in 2007, thats how they all did it. If a red jersey moves toward the middle of the opponent's zone, he got knocked down. In the Wings' end, they used their physicality (and the Wings' lack of it) to consistently take over the offensive slot. In the 2006 quarters, the Wings blew a 2-0 lead to Edmonton in game 6, allowing Edmonton to score 4 goals to win the series. Every single one of them was a product of a Oiler crashing the slot and not being knocked down. On the other end, the Wings never took a shot from less than 30 feet out.

    Quite simply, this is the only way to win 4 out of 7 games against the Wings. And the Blackhawks don't have the personnel to pull it off. The Ducks are one of the teams who are VERY good at this style of play, and thats why they were able to do so well against the Wings. The Ducks were the only team left after the first round that had the personnel to do this. As I said over at the Battle of California and guest-blogging for James O'Brien at Cycle Like Sedins, I think that ANA/DET series was the Stanley Cup Final, for that reason. The Wings were certainly relieved to get out of that series, because it was the biggest challenge they would face in the playoffs.

    Frankly, I was glad the Hawks beat the Canucks. Luongo scares me, and Vancouver might've been able to play the style that it takes to beat the Wings, with a solid physical defense, and the best goalie in the game. I knew VAN/CHI would be a tight series, but if VAN could've beaten CHI (and they certainly had the chance), I would've been worried, especially coming out of the Ducks series.

    I don't think Datsyuk is significantly hurt, I think it has a lot more to do with him just plain being snakebit. There were several shifts he had in the Ducks series where he was making a lot of things happen, and just could not get the puck into the stupid net. At one point, he had a great shift, with a couple of chances, and ended up standing by himself behind the net, and tried lobbing it over the top and off Hiller, because nothing else seemed to work. That happens sometimes when you're a major focus against a great defensive team and a goalie who is playing lights out.

    Even if Lidstrom isn't where he has historically been, he's still one of the very best in the game, and I can hardly blame him for showing some wear, after nearly 20 years as a Wing.

    I think its Wings over Pens again. Carolina keeps having to rely on bounces, and as long as MAF does well, the Canes should eventually lose, even if its a long one. The Penguins just have too many weapons for the Canes to shut down, and while I think the Canes are deeper than a lot of people realize, I have a hard time seeing them overcome the Penguins 4 times out of 7, unless MAF blows it. It'll be a good series, but I just can't see the Canes pulling it off. So of course, that means they're going to win the Cup or something.