When I was the broadcaster in Grand Rapids our coach, Guy Charron, once confided in me prior to a New Years Eve game that he didn't like having our team play on New Years Eve because he felt that all the women being dressed up for the holiday constituted an unnecessary distraction for the boys--that all in all it was yet another obstacle for his team to overcome. So, way to go, girls. Your slinky cocktail dresses, your long nylon-clad legs and your high heels, your luscious ruby-red lips and all the rest of your feminine wares are, as it turns out, all it takes to make the players lose focu....what is it we were talking about? I forgot.
I mention this by way of addressing the larger, overriding issue and it is of course, this: all coaches in all sports ARE IDIOTS. Thank you.
At the risk of being accused of stealing material (and perhaps rightly so now that I think of it), I have lifted the following word-for-word and verbatim from an ESPN.com article summarizing the Isles 2-1 shooutout win last night over the Pittsburgh Penguins--the team which began the night last night with the best record in the NHL. Sidney Crosby brought a 25-game scoring streak into the game but Islanders goalie Rick Dipietro took care of that as part of a 37-save performance:
Thanks, ESPN! I'm sure we found all of that very interesting.
Detroit is even more shorthanded than they were when the week began and when the week began they were without Pavel Datsyuk, one of the best offensive players in the whole NHL, Dan Cleary, their leading goal scorer and Mike Modano, who happens to be pretty good. Add Patrick Eaves to the list. He got hurt the night before last en route to scoring his first career hat trick. He has six goals in his last seven games, but he's out tonight.
And now a little surprise. DiPietro will not start tonight in spite of his stellar performance last night. Dwayne Roloson starts in goal for the Isles. It is about time to begin...
7:15pm The Wings begin this one as they so often do here at home--they are all over the Islanders and now they go on the power play. Detroit has scored a PP goal in 6 straight games and are 6-8 (.750) in their last 2 games. Roloson's had all the answers so far though: the Wings get a second power play moments after the first expires but cannot score. Detroit has outshot the Islanders 7-0 in the first half of the first period. New York is coached by Jack Capuano--hired on an interim basis six weeks ago on account of the previous coach not being very good. In an oddity, we have a connection, Capuano and I. The very first game I ever broadcast was a game in which Capuano played. He was a Muskegon Lumberjack and I was the voice of the Flint Spirits in the International Hockey League. We were at the L.C. Walker Arena in Muskegon. It was a lot of years and a lot of miles ago. MID-1ST: DETROIT 0, ISLANDERS 0.
7:25pm: Detroit scores on their 9th shot on Roloson when Johan Franzen beats him from low in the circle to the goalie's left off a nice behind-the-net feed from Henrik Zetterberg. It his Franzen's team-leading 17th goal of the year. It comes at 11:52. Shots on goal: Detroit 10, Islanders 0. LATER IN THE 1ST: DETROIT 1, ISLANDERS 0.
7:31pm: Todd Bertuzzi goes for Goaltender Interference at 13:17 and at 13:22 (0:05 into the Power Play in other words) the Islanders get their first shot on goal and their first goal. Andrew MacDonald fires it from the line, Jimmy Howard stops it, and Nicklas Lidstrom bats the rebound out of mid-air into his own net. I think maybe he was distracted by a girl sitting behind the Detroit net who was wearing a shiny top--the kind a girl would wear, I don't know, because it's NEW YEARS EVE? The goal is credited to John Tavares but I will not be surprised if they wind up giving the goal to MacDonald. 5:23 left in the 1ST: DETROIT 1, ISLANDERS 1.
7:45pm: The Wings ends up outshooting the Islanders 12-3 in the first AND THEY TRAIL 2-1. New York gets a goal with 2.7 seconds left in the period to take the lead. It was a backhander from out in front of the stick of Tavares who thus gets his second of the game and his 12th of the season. Both New York goals come as a direct result of Islanders offensive zone faceoff wins. END OF THE FIRST: DETROIT 1, ISLANDERS 2.
8:07pm: We're about 5 minutes into the second and the Islanders still have that one-goal lead. They did change the scoring on that first New York goal, by the way. It was pretty clear from the replay that they would. Matt Moulson (no relation to the popular Canadian beer) has been credited with the goal. This makes my job tougher. I'm selecting the 3 Stars tonight and it would have been an easy call had Tavares had 2 goals. Which, for a while, he did. But now he does not. What to do, what to do... 12:00 TO PLAY IN 2ND PERIOD: DETROIT 1, ISLANDERS 2.
8:19pm: The Wings fall to 0-3 on the PP as Niklas Kronwall surveys the banners in the rafters after he's denied by Roloson following as pretty a give-and-go with Franzen as you are likely every to see. Kronwall was all alone between the hashmarks but Roloson came across to stop him. It was the best chance the Wings had during their most recent chance with the extra man. 8:00 left in 2nd: DETROIT 1, ISLANDERS 2.
8:28pm: Another face off lost in the Detroit zone winds up in the Detroit net and now the Wings--in spite of a 22-11 advantage in shots--trail 3-1. Jesse Joensuu (I'm not going to lie to you, I've never heard of Jesse Joensuu) tips a wrist shot from the line out of midair past Howard. The goal, his 3rd of the year, comes at 15:13. LATE IN THE 2ND PERIOD: DETROIT 1, ISLANDERS 3.
8:36pm: It's the Wings turn to get one late in a period as Valtteri Filppula bangs a rebound into an all but vacant New York net with 8.4 seconds left in the 2nd. The sequence begins with a Lidstrom shot from the line. Filppula comes up with the puck after it caroms right to him off the post to the right of Roloson. Rollie the Goalie wants a do-over, citing interference in the crease by Bertuzzi. Roloson may have a case, but there is no call forthcoming and the Wings, outshooting the Islanders 13-11 in the period and 25-15 through 40 minutes are back in the game. It is Filppula's 9th goal of the year. AFTER 2 PERIODS: DETROIT 2, ISLANDERS 3.
9:05pm: Seven minutes gone in the 3rd and the Wings have held the Islanders to a single shot on goal in the period (they have 8 on the NY net) but still trail by one. Detroit sees another power play go by without a goal. They are 0-4 on the PP. Bertuzzi had the best chance as he tried to slam one by from the top of the crease but Roloson was in position...again. 3RD PERIOD: DETROIT 2, ISLANDERS 3.
9:12pm: Tomas Tatar--making his NHL debut tonight--tips a shot past Roloson and the Wings have tied the game. It's pronounced TAH-tar (his nickname has to be sauce, right?) and the Game Notes say he enjoys going to the gym. Who enjoys going to the gym? Anyway, what a thrill for the second-year pro. His first NHL goal at 10:18. (Spoiler alert: I have to turn in my 3 Star selections in a couple of minutes. We're going to give the #1 star to the kid because, hey, why not? He's got the biggest goal of the game, right? We may as well make the night extra memorable for him. Helm is #2, Tavares #3.) 3RD PERIOD: DETROIT 3, ISLANDERS 3.
9:29pm OVERTIME. Bertuzzi was all alone in front with about half a minute left but the pass went right through him and that was the last chance in regulation. So, on the last night of the year, we play extra time...
9:38pm: Ah, the Islanders score a power play goal with 1:03 left in overtime and the Wings will have to settle for a point tonight. Franzen was called for holding while Detroit was on the power play in the OT and when the Isles went a man to the good, Tavares found P.A. Parenteau (speaking of NHLers I haven't heard of) open in the circle to the right of Howard and he slammed it home. It's his 9th of the year. So, the Wings lose in overtime--no doubt a case of too many beautiful women here in the building on a New Years Eve night. Thanks for everything in 2010! It was a big year for me what with the getting back in the press box and all (I don't see my colleagues doing cartwheels over it, but it was big for me) and I thank you all. We'll next file from Lions game Sunday afternoon and then will head straight from Ford Field to here for the Wings-Flyers game Sunday evening. Right now, I've got a couple pretty girls waiting for me at home. Happy New Year, everybody! FINAL: DETROIT 3, ISLANDERS 4 (OT).