Can Holmstrom’s Butt Help The Red Wings?
Over the festive period, I managed to pick up in the sales NHL10 for my Xbox 360.
Now, having learnt my trade in hockey games on the Sega Mega Drive (yes, I was born in the early 80’s, yes, I’m nearly 30, don’t rub it in), and then the PC, this was unchartered territory.
As it turns out, hockey games have become exceptional in terms of capturing the atmosphere of the crowds inside the arenas, the personalities of each player (or the slight insanity in Turco’s case), and of course, the difficulty of controlling a small black puck, on a stick, whilst ice-skating, and attempting to avoid huge Zdeno Chara-types trying to hurl your limbs over the boards. I have no qualms about stating that I am utterly hopeless at this game. However, that doesn’t stop me enjoying it. I can’t skate very well, I can’t score, and I certainly can’t defend (although I have learnt how to do diving poke-checks, but these tend to be with Nick Lidstrom, which is a tad unrealistic), but my only plus point, is that I can fight. And by ever, can I fight! It appears this is my only benefit to the team, and although I do stir up enthusiasm in the team, I don’t actually put any points on the board. This makes me the online gaming equivalent of Brad May.
In reality, the Wings are 3-1-1 in their last 5. This is a fairly good form to be keeping, and the 4-1 win at Phoenix the other night seemed to look like the Detroit of the last couple of seasons. Holmstrom is still causing all sorts of havoc, both in screening, tipping, and generally annoying the living daylights out of goalies and defencemen. I can’t imagine how many goaltender’s have stared at Holmstrom’s butt cheeks for shift after shift. He’s collected 15 so far, and leads the Wings in goals scored. He’s going to be a major part to play in the Detroit push for Playoff qualification this season, especially as Franzen is still out, and with Datsyuk and Zetterberg also suffering injuries already this season, Homer has been pretty much our only consistently well performing player.
Although this all seems a welcome return to form, it is worth remembering that Detroit’s road form is an increasing concern. The Wings managed to win just 2 of their 6 road games in December, and it’s also very telling that Detroit has no players in the top 30 goalscorers, assist leaders, point scorers, and only Lidstrom in the top 30 +/- players (+13). We can’t even claim we’ve taken on a more aggressive style of grinding play, as we’re absent from the list of top 30 penalty minute leaders too.
We’re very much that kid at school, who was never last to be picked for the team, but not first either. The results are OK, and the performances are OK, but simply OK doesn’t get you into the Playoffs.
Our injury list is slowly shrinking, and although we’re still missing key players, the lines should hopefully return to some form of normality in the coming couple of weeks.
It’s not long until the break for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and although everyone takes pride in knowing their team has multiple internationals, injuries are always a worry. The players are obviously going to give their utmost to win for their country, and there is no greater pride than representing your homeland. Let’s just hope it doesn’t spell injury woes for those teams who have to patch their players up again after the February break!