17W, no. 9; newsletter by b.n.)
You know, it's pretty hard writing a newsletter for a game that was played almost two weeks ago, but, here's my best shot. This was supposed to be a playoff game well, come to think of it, it was a playoff game. Russ, Jimmy and Craig started out on O and really took it to the Wings in this Semifinals game. Russ picked-up the first goal on the first shift and afterwards their D crosschecked him to the ground; then the goalie pounced on him: The table was set so to speak. The next O line to hit the floor was the dreaded MNM line (that's Miller-67-Miller for those paying attention). How did it go? Not well by most accounts. Not one, but two goals were scored on the MNM line before their shift was over (the second goal involved an unfortunate incident where #67 managed to get his stick tangled around Harris' stick and in the process of trying to kick away a centering pass managed instead to kick the goalie stick into the corner). Unfortunately, the first MNM shift set the tone for the evening as they were on-ice for a staggering six goals against (ouch). It wasn't all #67's fault, though, as even when he won face-offs the pucks somehow managed (i.e. Dave) to get poked away for the score.
Despite goals by Jimmy and Russ (on a great feed from Mike) in the 2nd, the Pirates entered the 3rd trailing by a score of 6-3. Russ finally thought he would put an end to the suffering when he removed #67 from between the Miller Bros. and slotted himself in-between. The move paid dividends with Scott taking a great pass from Russ to bring the game within two, 6-4. You would think that with #67 playing at an unbelievable -6 the Wings would pretty much ignore him in front of the net. However, with the game in definite crunch mode, and the Pirates with the control of the puck in the corner, one of the Wings felt the only way he could clear the front of the crease was to take #67 out with a high crosscheck; before #67 could even get to his knees, there was a major melee as players from both sides jumped-in to cap what had been an extremely chippy night (Mike was heard complaining from the bottom of the pile, Why do I always get the big ones?). Before the night was over, one wondered whether #67 should change his number to -7 when he won another face-off, but the puck was misfired from the point (i.e. Mike) and the Wings buried the emptynetter. Say it ain't so.
(editor's note: in correspondence before gametime, #67 emailed in Mark Messier-like fashion that he'd guarantee a victory. After the loss, #67 was queried about his prediction. His reply? Hey, I guaranteed a victory and there was a victory just not for us.)
1) RUSS NICOLOSI
For his 3-point outing, including a gritty goal in his opening shift.
2) JIMMY FERRARO
For his goal.
2) MIKE FARRELL
For great action at the blueline and bailing the puck out of the crease more than once.