Antti Niemi is one more name to add to the list of unheralded goalies that seem to catch the Red Wings on a bad night. This night though, happened to be a special night for Detroit that went south and drew more concerns than praise.
In Windsor, Gordie Howe was holding the Olympic torch aloft as he went about town. In Detroit, the Joe was celebrating its 30th anniversary. Marian Hossa’s presence on the ice drew boos from the crowd, but it was Hossa and the Blackhawks that ended up celebrating a 3-0 victory.
We’ve touched on how the Red Wings are banged up and unheralded players have been asked to play on some challenging lines. With nearly one-third of the lineup out with injuries or illness, Detroit faces the dilemma that they may dig themselves a hole that could be too challenging come playoff time. The Wings have also started to lose the physical and mental edge that they were holding over a younger Blackhawks squad.
While CBC or NBC may not like it, the league deserves a Penguins-Wings v3.0. The style of hockey exhibited the past two Cup finals has been everything that the league could have hoped for and more. Much like Chicago, Pittsburgh has been blessed with some pretty decent health this season which has translated into a fast start during the 2009 portion of the season. In order for the Red Wings to keep up their end of the bargain, they will have to solidify their choice in net while providing their players with as much rest as possible leading up to the Olympic break.