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Why does Henrik Zetterberg refuse to shoot high in the shootout?

Henrik Zetterberg

Henrik Zetterberg had to score. Boone Jenner had just beaten Jimmy Howard to give Columbus a 2-1 lead over the Red Wings in the shootout on Tuesday. Zetterberg was shooter No. 6.

He skated in, faked a slapshot and then tried to slide the puck between Sergei Bobrovsky’s legs. It would’ve been slick if it worked. It didn’t. Bobrovsky calmly pushed the puck away. The Red Wings fell to 1-6 in the shootout this season.

I know why he did it. Once upon a time Zetterberg was good in shootouts (or at least decent). Making a hard fake and sliding it five hole worked. But that was five years ago.

Tuesday was Zetterberg’s 55th career shootout attempt. Only Pavel Datsyuk has more in Red Wings history. But while Datsyuk converts on 43.5 percent of his attempts, Zetterberg is at 23.6 percent. Zetterberg is two for his last 24. He has two shootout goals in the past five years.

As a result he’s sitting out of more shootouts. But not all of them. Mike Babcock still throws Zetterberg out there from time to time and since he does, and since he does, we might as well figure out a way to have Zetteberg score a little more.

Zetterberg has scored 13 times but only 12 have gone in the net. On January 28, 2006, Zetterberg missed an attempt but was awarded automatic goal after Marty Turco threw his stick.

As for the other 12, there’s a clear discrepancy between what works and what doesn’t.

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Breaking down the Detroit Red Wings’ third segment: A tail of two five-game stretches and Pavel Datsyuk’s rare performance

 (Adam Glanzman)

(Adam Glanzman)

(Note: The following doesn’t include Tuesday’s Blue Jackets game. That was game No. 32 and will go into the next segment) 

I stole the segment idea from Red Berenson who stole the idea from Mike Babcock. At the time (I can’t say for sure any more) Berenson utilized 10-game segments to evaluate his team, so I used 10 game segments.

On December 4, Grand Rapids Griffins coach Jeff Blashill explained to MLive.com that he uses five-game segments. That probably would’ve worked better when evaluating the Red Wings this time.

In the Detroit’s first five games of this segment, they went 4-1-0 and averaged 4.6 goals per game. In their final five games they went 2-1-2 and averaged two goals per game.

Together it makes up a 6-2-2 record and 14 points for the segment. Blashill said if his team can gain six points per five-game segment (12 points per 10-game segment) it’ll make the playoffs. That proved true for the Red Wings last year. With a 15-point, a 12-point and now a 14-point segment this year, the Red Wings have some breathing room more than a third of the way through the season.

Here’s how they’re doing it:

2013-14 Averages Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3
GF 27.1 29 30 32
GA 27.6 22 27 25
5-on-5 GF 19.1 19 17 19
5-on-5 GA 18.4 15 18 16
PPG 6.1 5 12 10
OPP PPG 5.9 3 5 6

(*The splits don’t add up to the total because I didn’t include empty-net goals, short-handed goals, 6-on-5 goals, etc. on the chart.)

Look at the goals for. It’s the second highest scoring output the Red Wings have in a segment, one behind their eighth segment from last year which had an extra game. Yet their 5-on-5 goals for is about average. The key is the power play. It has carried the Red Wings for the second straight segment. Combine that with slightly better defense while at even strength and you have a team competing for the top spot in the division.

Here’s the top five players in terms of adjusted GRM.

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Two seconds of panic: A Detroit Lions story

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The kick was high and long and for a moment looked straight down the middle.

It was going in. Of course it was going in.

“Shoot,” Lions defensive end Jason Jones said. “We played the Ravens last year and last year he kicked it straight through.”

That was a 61 yarder with 38 seconds left.

This was a 68 yarder with no seconds left. This was a record. This is would be the defining moment of the Lions season.

Three and a half hours earlier, the Bills beat the Packers. A Detroit win would put them in first place in the NFC North and second in the conference. The Lions don’t put themselves in these positions. Yet here they were, one second from converting the biggest win in at least two years.

Matt Stafford and Ndamukong Suh played while recovering from illness. The Lions had come back from a 14-0 deficit. Jason Jones sacked Teddy Bridgewater and then blocked a 26-yard field goal to give Detroit a chance to win the game with just a field goal. The Lions had stopped the Vikings on fourth down on the previous drive. C.J. Mosley pleaded with Ndamukong Suh on the sideline. Don’t go he said.

Mosley was just messing around, joining a chant the fans behind the bench had started. But I think part of it was serious. Do you see this? We created this. Those 62,000 people screaming are because of us. You, me, Megatron, Stafford, Fairley, everybody. There are nine-year-old kids and 80-year-old men out in those seats. They love us. Especially you. You’re the mutant. They’re wearing your jersey. And we’re moving forward. We can win here. We’re proving it right now. You and me, we can’t leave this.

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Yoenis Cespedes is a Detroit Tiger; This could be the most entertaining team of all time

Everybody say it together: WHO KNOWS?

YO KNOWS!

Yoenis Cespedes is a Tiger. Rick kind-of-handsome-but-boring Porcello is not.

Detroit already added Shane Greene, who can be electric at times but can’t throw a lob to first base. Now they’ve got Cespedes. It doesn’t even matter what or who Alfredo Simon is, or that the Tigers are going to lose Max Scherzer. They have Cespedes.

Normally I’d do a YouTube scouting report, but with Yo it’d take 17 hours. Watch the video at top of this story (provided by the superb@CespedesBBQ). It’s one minute, eight seconds and it’s undoubtedly the most entertaining thing you’ll watch all day.

Then realize there’s at least 100 videos of Cespedes doing Cespedes things floating around YouTube. There’s this:

And this:

And an eight-minute compilation of plays like those. That’s just him in the field.

There are home runs in Oakland, home runs in Boston and montages of every home run he hit in the 2014 Home Run Derby. 

There are Hitler parodies and hour-long documentaries.

There’s him in his new Lemborghini that shoots fire. 

There’s a 20-minute work of art called Yoenis Cespedes: The Showcase.

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Is this really the best Red Wings team since 2009 as Mike Babcock says?

(Photo: Bridget Samuels)

(Photo: Bridget Samuels)

Brady Hoke was in his first year at Michigan when I covered the team. In that new period, before everyone figured out his style, it was amazing to watch him handle the media.

He’d be engaging and interesting — and then when you went back to transcribe what he said you’d realize he said nothing. It was magic. I’d construct stories in my head and have a perfect spot for what he just said would fit in. When the quote went onto the page, I’d put realize it was nothing but cliches and generalities.

Mike Babcock’s mastery of the media is twice as good as Hoke’s was in that first season. Babcock is in his 10th year now. Reporters haven’t gotten tired of him. He’ll say interesting things every now and then. He’ll pick the right time to use the media to call out a player. When he gets bored he’ll say something interesting just for the hell of it.

Take Tuesday.

“This is the best team we’ve had here since probably ’09,” Babcock told reporters. “Not necessarily point-wise, but direction-wise, if that makes any sense. We have more players hungry, going in the right direction than we’ve had in a long time.”

I think Babcock believed what he said. He is aware of the rumors of him leaving Detroit at the end of the season in part because of uncertainty on whether the Red Wings had enough pieces to win. He knew he had a captive audience with a nationally televised game against the Maple Leafs on Wednesday. He knew the media would get some use out of it on a day when not much else went on.

But is it true? Is this team the best since the 2008-09 team that came within a game of winning the Stanley Cup?

Babcock downplayed the points aspect so there couldn’t be a one-to-one comparison. Maybe he shouldn’t have. This team is out performing every other Red Wings team from the past seven years on a points-per-game basis.

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Jim Caldwell’s locker room speech and why is doesn’t signify good things in the future

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Thirteen games into the season there’s not much left to add.

The Lions are an above-average team. They played a bad one and beat them. Ndamukong Suh is good.

Until next week….

Everybody should take the positives away and go home: Things went as planned, other than maybe the feeble comeback attempt the Buccaneers made at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

But I can’t do that.

Usually on sometime on Sunday I head over to the Lions website to watch the press conferences to see if someone either says something interesting or uses their body language to speak for them.

I didn’t make it to the press conferences this time. The first video that popped up was parts of Jim Caldwell’s post-game speech to his team. The two-minute clip captivated me.

It is the most uncomfortable address I’ve ever seen a superior give to his troops.

Usually when you see these clips, the coach jogs in, yells “HOW BOUT THEM COWBOYS!”, and the room goes nuts. Then he calms them down and talks about how proud he is of the team and how they stuck together.

Caldwell shuffled side to side. He stumbled over words. He spent a lot of time fidgeting with the paper he has in hands. Most of it was just reading stats. The rest he conducted like he was in the midst of the press conference.

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A YouTube scouting report of new Detroit Tigers pitcher Shane Greene, who might be a demon

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(Photo: Keith Allison)

The Tigers traded their No. 5 and No. 7 prospects for Shane Greene. You’re reaction was probably similar to mine: Who?

Bless You Boys actually has a post titled: Who is Shane Greene? You can go there to get stats. For a review of how he plays, go find a number of other people who have A.) Seen him play and B.) knew they were watching him play. They can tell you whether it was a good idea for the Tigers to give up two of their best prospects in their shallow farm system in order to acquire a bottom-of-the-rotation starter.

(My two cents: I get why they did it. They’re trying to win now. Greene has a full season in the bigs while Robbie Ray doesn’t. Greene and Ray are both arbitration- and free-agent eligible at the same time. Detroit will gets more major league use out of Greene than they do Ray and they get it starting next year.)

Here, we’re looking for pure entertainment value. Will Greene be worth watching?

For that, we need to go to the one place that provides more entertainment than any other thing in the world: YouTube.

It’s time for another YouTube video scouting report.

Greene was a rookie last year, so that’s not much that we have. The journey starts off with a 2:43 video of him going 7 1/3 innings and striking out nine against the Orioles.

OK, so Greene can get nasty. The strikeout pitch at 0:30 would make a priest blush and the one at 0:38 is even better. I also enjoyed the pitches at 0:55, 1:24, 1:41 and 1:53, especially the one at 1:53.

I’m already on the Shane Greene bandwagon. He’s got the ability to throw a pitch that makes you go, “Oooo” at least once a game. Rod Allen is going to enjoy him. He’ll get his fair share of “I see you” praises. This is a good start. Next video.

Ummmmm.

A quick recap of 0:11 – 0:17: Greene fields a ground ball, runs until he’s 15 feet away from first base, and THROWS AN UNDERHAND LOB INTO THE CROWD.

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