I could write a list as is the trendy thing to do at the end of the year, but really, all I have been focusing on for the last two days is the Wings/Avalanche game. I have no lists for you (except maybe Top Ten Reasons I Hate the Avalanche, which really doesn't fit into a year end deal).
If you've ever read this blog, you know I don't like the Avalanche. I mean, that is stating the obvious. I'm a Wings fan. Really, maybe we should get over it. Some would say that rivalry has been dead for some time. But I'm not going to ever get over this (just watch the very beginning, past Chuck Norris, ignore bad spelling, I did not make this):
I think it's also pretty safe to say that I'll always be geeked out about this (this one's long, it's the full fight, and if you're one of my non hockey readers, please take the seven minutes out of your life to watch it):
So, yeah, tonight's game was big.
We, as Wings fans, have enjoyed watching our team have so much success for so long, that this season has been rough. It's been an adjustment to watch them fight each win out and a disappointment to watch each brutal loss. For awhile, it seemed as if anyone wearing the winged wheel who looked at the ice wrong was destined for a 4-6 week vacation. There have been days of elation and nights of despair. Okay, yeah, that does sound obsessive, but come on, I am, we know this.
Basically, what I am trying to say is this season has been hard to watch until I figured out how to watch it. It's been satisfying, even in the losses, to see the prospects learn how to play at an NHL level. At first it was hugely frustrating, but Uncle Mike is coaching them well. Some of our newbies have been great snags. I knew Eaves was going to be great, and he has not disappointed me. Miller? Another diamond in the rough. Bertuzzi? Whatever. Thanks for scoring, dude, may you find some peace. Now we're to the point where when our injured come back, we're going to miss these guys, and the knowledge that THESE are the guys that are the future, that the team has enough depth to keep them in playoff range, even with multiple starters out - well that is pretty awesome.
So tonight I just felt like it would be a nice end to the year to beat the Avalanche at home before the big road trip. It's sounding like a lot of the guys will be traveling with the team and returning at some point soon. I felt good about this game, but it was New Year's, so we were eating dinner and trying not to be weirdos like we are. The first period was scoreless and I really just was trying to not freak out.
Then in the second period, Datsyuk scored, and I think maybe angels sang. I mean, has he been injured and they're keeping it on the down low? What the hell, Pavel, where have you been? But welcome back, we have missed you. GLORIOUS. I might have pulled something as I jumped over my kitchen table, but I think I'll be okay.
Exactly five minutes later, Darren Helm, the fastest man alive, with his trademark breakaway finally figured out how to finish and scored a shorty. He's only had, what - forty chances or so this season? Unbelievably beautiful, I knew he would be lethal when it finally happened.
Two questionable penalties lead to power play goals by Brandon Yip at the end of the second and midway through the third and I'm stressing again. But Ville Freaking Leino gets a goal assisted by Meech. WHAT? Yeah, I know. If you just read this and didn't watch the game you'd totally think I made it up. Come on though, sitting in the doghouse always leads to results. It was a weird tip but still, you can do it Ville.
Feeling good, right? No, then the stupidest penalty ever called, a total dive, and the Wings are shorthanded for the rest of the game. The Avs pull Anderson but Helm gets an empty netter making it 4-2 and the Wings rock my world on New Year's Eve.
Player of the game - hands down, Darren Helm.
Player who sucks - Claude Lemieux. I realize he is retired. Nope, I'll never get over it.
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