|Nikita Nikitin played a very solid game tonight.|
1. Nikita Nikitin - Nikitin was having a great game. He scored on the power play, and was playing a very solid defensive game. Was, that is, until inexplicably, Henrik Zetterburg pushed him from behind, causing Nikitin to go HARD into the boards. He did not return to the game, and it will not be shocking if he is seriously injured. Zetterburg drew a 5 minute major and a game misconduct. It was not a hard hit, but Zetterburg pushed him from behind, and the push is likely the difference between a hard hit, and being hurt. Wings fans will whine about it, but this isn't PeeWee hockey, so there is no stop sign on Nikitin's jersey to remind Zetterburg not to hit from behind. That said, the notion that supplemental discipline is appropriate is absurd. If Shanny reviews this, I will politely step aside and let the Wings fans rip. The penalty was appropriate, but that's all it needs to be. For the CBJ, another tough injury. Still no word on the severity of the injury.
3. Ryan Russell scored a real nice, crash the net goal, to get the CBJ on the board first. RyRuss has been playing very solidly. It was a very important goal in this game, as the 'Wings would come back and score a real good 'hard working' goal by Niklas Kronwall. Kubalik tried to knock him off the puck, but he gathered it, cut to the high slot, and put it top shelf on the far side. Not a lot Sanford could do about that one. Russell played a strong game in 14:13 of time on ice.
4. A Solid Game - The CBJ actually looked pretty solid tonight, unlike some of their performances earlier in the year. The Redwings will put some pressure on you, and they handled that well. They didn't put huge pressure on the Wings, (no shots for a long time at the end of the second and beginning of the third periods). But they handled the Wings pressure pretty well, even after Nikitin went out. They just fell short. Which is the difference between winning teams and losing teams, they don't seem to find that way to win. Given the folks out of the lineup with injury, this was a good outing. Clitsome had a pretty rough outing, with several giveaways in the first period. He did seem to settle down some as the game went on.
5. John Moore continues to play very solid hockey in an escalating role on this team. If he continues this trajectory into the next year and beyond he looks to be a fine NHL prospect. Last year he seemed lost in the NHL. This year he looks at home. He is a real bright spot in this disaster of a hockey season.
All in all, a pretty good game experience to watch, with the novelty of watching Zetterburg get tossed from the game. Now there's somethin' you don't see every day!