Monday, April 16, 2007

Red Wings: For Real Or An Illusion?

The Red Wings have been very impressive in their first two playoff games. Yet, I have to be honest, I don’t know if I yet trust whether what I am seeing is for real. Have they been that good or Calgary that bad? The Flames have tinkered with their team since going to the finals in 2004 and Sutter isn’t their coach anymore. Maybe they are just different. I know Kiprusoff is a great goalie, but to ring up that many shots on goal and score just three times Sunday is bizarre. When it was 2-1 - and I wrote my column about this in Monday’s Oakland Press - the Wings were tested. They passed that test, but can they on the road? What I really like about the Wings, though, is the way they develop players. Filppula, Franzen, Hudler - those are good finds. Lidstrom is still terrific and I have come around to the notion Hasek is the answer in goal. It’s just that it would be much more comforting if they win Tuesday night and quell any thought the Flames might have about getting back into the series.

Random Thoughts

- It can only ultimately help the Tigers that the Yankees pitching staff is so injury-prone and mediocre. Can you imagine the mistake it would have been if the Tigers had signed Carl Pavano.

- I spent about six hours Saturday pretty much doing nothing but watching baseball (I have the extra innings package). What amazed me as I flipped through the channels is just how hard the Tigers’ pitchers throw in comparison to other staffs. It was seldom anybody hit 93 mph. It seems like 70 percent of the Tigers’ staff does that routinely.

- Sidney Crosby gets most of the ink, but the best player in the National Hockey League right now is Vincent Lecavalier. He is just as skilled as Crosby, but has more size and experience.

- The most underrated player in the NBA right now is Jason Richardson. What he is doing for the Warriors right now is incredible.

- I wonder if the Lions will fly out the day of the game for their season opener against Oakland? Talk about two bad teams to start the season. Matt Millen often talked about doing things the Raiders’ way. Well, he is. Unfortunately.

- I don’t blame Josh McCown if he wants out of Detroit. Rod Marinelli and Mike Martz have this strange obsession with Jon Kitna when, more than anything else, the Lions need to develop a viable QB for the future. I would have liked to have seen McCown get a chance. I wonder what he can do. With Kitna, what you see is what you get - the consummate journeyman.


Anonymous Tony said...

Book - yes, this is not the same Calgary team from '04 but at the same time, this is NOT the same Wings team of '04 or even last year. To be honest, I havent seen the Wings play this physical in about a decade. Its only 2 games and they have yet to win a game in Calgary, so we'll see. I AM, however, very excited about the Wings chances this year.

9:12 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

I like Orlovski better than McCown anyway. He has a much better work ethic. That isn't to say that McCown isn't a good player, it is just that he doesn't put in the work away from the field that the coaches are looking for. He is a real gamer though, but he doesn't fit what this team is trying to be. That being said, I like him, and he seems to have changed for the better since he came to Detroit, so maybe the Lions will give him a chance.

I do have a question for you about the draft. (sorry for getting off topic) I finally took some time into looking at what was written about the top prospects that the Lions may draft a few days ago. Patrick Willis and Joe Thomas seem to have the skills and attitude that the Lions are looking for, but Gaines Adams does not. Don't get me wrong, he has the skills, but what I read about his attitude mirrored the same things I read about Charles Rogers, Shaun Rogers and Mike Williams before they were drafted. He has all the skills needed to excel at the position, but doesn't have the drive to use it unless he is pushed. I know that Marinelli has taken a guy like that before and pushed him into a pro-bowler (Simien Rice), but I still don't like it. I am only going off of published scouting reports since I haven't seen him play, so I am asking what you think of him.


10:47 AM 
Anonymous Nick P said...

Hey Book,
I'll make a very rare hockey comment to start.
Went to the game Thursday, Wings looked good, they actually resembled tough, what a shock. Now they are in Calgary against a team that plays outstanding at home, we'll see what happens.

Now for baseball!
I dont have the extra innings package but I have the MLB TV one, so I can watch everything online. I also spent a lot of time watching baseball over the weekend. Couple things in the NL jumped out at me. First, Atlanta looks really good. I knew they were supposed to be alright, but they look a lot better than I expected. Exact opposite for San Fran, I didn't expect much from them, but they look horrible. I dread when it comes time for the Tigers starting pitchers to get the big contracts after seeing Zito (0-2 8.18) perform this year and the money he got.
Shaping up to be a great year to watch in the AL. Everyone has a chance, actually I just looked, every team except KC is with 2 games of the division. I know they've only played 10-12 games, but with NY and Bos both with big question marks, and Min/Cle/Det/CWS in the same division, we should have some fantastic playoff races. How about maybe Toronto sneaking into the East playoff race? Maybe... For the Tigs, expected a lot out of granderson and nate, and wow, they look fantastic so far. Have to do something with that 5th spot in the rotation though. What do you think of Cleveland? I totally felt they were overrated preseason, but they are coming out strong...

11:14 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...


Good to read someone who knows both the diamond and the ice. I'm with ya about this game three on Tuesday agin Calgary. I'm too gray to forget, and my morning Freep reminded me, of that series versus the L. A. freaking Kings. Up 2-0 with Scotty behind the bench and a healthy roster, go figure.

I'm of the belief that no team is ready for burial until there are four screws installed in the coffin. One for each corner of the rink. Win the battles in the corner, everything falls in line from there.

My questions for you Pat are: will Bertuzzi dress for game three in Calgary and who will Babcock sit to get big Todd in the line-up?

After watching the first two games I cannot think of one the twelve forwards who has been hesitant to go into the corners. Even little Jiri shows spunk in the hard areas.

I saw Lecavalier's game winning goal against the Devils over the weekend. That was a smart and tough minded tally. Crosby does get all the ink and he won the Art Ross fair and square. But Lecavalier and Joe Thorton should be the Hart Trophy candidates. Happy to say that my son Christian has Vincent's poster hanging in his room for the last few years. Even if he wasn't sure why his hockey school was handing out posters of this guy.

12:01 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The Wings are playing a lot more physical and the Flames did seem less than inspired in the first two games of the series. The Red Wings organization has a knack for finding players. They have found a couple who should really help them in this Stanley Cup run.

1:16 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

You might be right about the kid from UConn (I can't spell his name without looking it up, either LOL). Based on what I have seen in practice - and they let us watch a lot less than they used to - both the kid from UConn and McCown have more raw talent than Kitna and have a chance. But when will they get the chance? When will any young QB? Seems foolish to put all your eggs in Kitna's basket to the point where you are running off potentially good young QBs.

1:19 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
You're right about the Braves. That is a hungry team with a solid starting staff, an improved bullpen and stars like both the Jones and McCann. I picked them reach the post season. I don't like the Giants at all. They are just taped together in every way. I was impressed with Arizona. That's a darkhorse. I didn't think so at the start, but Toronto has a shot. I know Towers pitched well, but I don't really like their rotation that much after Halladay. Burnett is all about potential and less about actual results.

1:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
The series isn't over. Winning Game Three would be huge. We'll see how motivated the Wings really are by the effort on Tuesday. The Wings were 2-0 on Colorado in one of those series and lost it, too. It is no given, that's for sure.

1:26 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...

I think this is Kitna's last year. If he is injured and McCown or Orlovski steps in and plays well, I think it will be their show next year. That being said, I don't expect the Lions to come out and say what their plans are for their next quarterback for many reasons. First, you need one of the young guys to step up and earn the right to play, and second they still have to put out the illusion that they might take a QB with the second pick. Marinelli won't discuss the future at the position, in my mind, because Kitna showed that he performed at the level that they expect out a player, and he will not disparage a person in public who has not shown bad play, or poor accountability. I still doubt that Kitna will be the Lions starting QB in 2008 though.

On another note, thanks for responding. I find your responses here are thoughtful and I enjoy writing when I have something to say (although I stopped writing anything here for 6 months or so.) It is nice to be able to express your oppinion in an internet forum without worrying about someone trying to blast you unrelentingly if they disagree.

3:49 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I don't see Kitna being the QB in 2008, either. The only way I see that happening is they surprisingly have a good season. And I just don't see that. The idea is to win a championship someday. In order to do that, the Lions chances are a lot better if they develop a top-notch young QB. It doesn't seem like they have a plan in place to do so. I find that disturbing. And thanks for the compliment. I appreciate it.

6:29 PM 

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