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Abel to Yzerman

Wings’ At The Midway Point Of the NHL Season

from Keith Gave at FoxSports Detroit,

 At the halfway mark of this NHL season, we know two things for sure: The Red Wings can go ahead and print playoff tickets for the 24th straight season; and their fans should brace themselves for something more than another abbreviated post-season run.

The former is a virtual lock if these Wings play even remotely close to their level of consistent excellence they showed in accumulating 53 points through 41 games. And the latter is based on more than wishful thinking.

Maybe General Manager Ken Holland is right (he usually is) when he tells anyone who will listen that we shouldn't be at all surprised by what this team is doing. After all, with essentially the same roster as last season -- only a lot healthier one -- this team is on pace to improve its point production by 13 points over the 93 it earned in 2013-14. That, by the way, was just three points behind a New York Rangers team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals last spring.

To be sure, the stars aligned nicely for the Wings in the first half, when they played 23 of their 41 games at home. They also stayed relatively free of the kind of debilitating injuries to key players that crippled them at times last season.


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After 41 Games

The Wings hit the mid-point of the season last night after beating Calgary in their 41st game of the season.

With that, how do you feel about the current Detroit Red Wings team?

Other than the OT/shootout losses, I am satisfied with the team at this point of the season.

Sure more goals from the now injured Johan Franzen sure would have helped but as we know, Franzen is either hot or not and mostly not this year.

The defense has improved over the season but a veteran defenseman sure would help the overall group.

So what do think of the Wings at the halfway point?

Below is the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference along with Detroit's schedule through February which includes a brutal western swing later in February.

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One More Time

Last night after the Oil scored first I'm sure many of us were thinking same old, same old. However, I can be quite sure all 19 of us were pleasantly surprised when we finally potted a few goals. It was not for lack of effort, maybe the Wing were trying too hard. Anyway, it's two more points and puts a bit of distance between us and them ( our Eastern Conference rivals).

Tonight we will face a pretty decent Calgary Team in a back to back, so we are trapped, like rats. The Flames are ready and waiting to burn us. I would really like to leave our former team mate "unHappy" as we depart the Western Conference.

A WIN is in order. Whether we are riding high on adrenalin from last night's performance, or play the right way, start on time, or possess the puck. Well, you get my drift.

Two more big fat juicy points. One more time.

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Detroit/Calgary Preview And Notes

from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,

For defencemen, the Detroit Red Wings can be a real headache.

Ask Mark Giordano.

And not just because the Calgary Flames blue-liner, in the 2007 post-season, was dinged by Mathieu Schneider’s one-timer, a rising shot that cracked his helmet and split his scalp.

Typically, the Wings cause pain in less bloody fashion.

They simply hog the puck.

Which presents a nightmare for defenders.

“They’re a scary team,” says Giordano, who, Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome, skates in his 19th regular-season contest against Detroit. “They have a lot of skill, and they’re willing to try to make those plays. They’re a puck-possession team, no doubt about it. They play a fast game. And they’ve always had those great centremen coming through the middle — those guys dictate the way they play.”


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Trapping Across Canada

Starting off the New Year with a loss in Vancouver isn't the Red Wing Way. Playing a series of TRAP games is. Tonight we face Edmonton, and hopefully have shaken off the jet lag.

We all know that the Oilers are laying, lying in wait for a tired group of Wings, while the faithful 19 are tired too. Staying up for the late games is something I do not miss one bit, but it is a necessary evil.

So, avoid the bait, and break that darn TRAP!

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Detroit Red Wings vs. Edmonton Oilers Preview And Notes

via Brian Hunter of NHL.com,

Season series: Tomas Tatar helped the Detroit Red Wings to a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers last season. He scored in a 5-0 win at Rexall Place on Nov. 2, 2013 and assisted on the Red Wings' only goal of regulation before scoring the decisive shootout goal in a 2-1 win at Joe Louis Arena in the most recent game on March 14, 2014. The Oilers have two wins in their past 15 games against the Red Wings, each via the shootout.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit begins the Alberta stretch of its six-game road trip with games on consecutive nights against the Oilers and Calgary Flames. The Red Wings will attempt to rebound from a 4-1 loss Saturday to the Vancouver Canucks to start the trip. "I don't think that there's any panic in here," forward Henrik Zetterberg told the Red Wings website. "I think we know what we can do. We know we are a good team when we do the right stuff, we've just gotta do it." Defenseman Xavier Ouellet will remain with the Red Wings, according to the Detroit Free Press, with Jakub Kindl eligible to come off injured reserve but not yet ready to play. Tatar has four goals in the past five games and 16 on the season, three off his career high established in 73 games last season.

Oilers team scope: Edmonton opened a four-game homestand Sunday with a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders and has points in four straight under interim coach Todd Nelson (2-0-2) for the first time since a four-game winning streak from Oct. 20-27. The Oilers now aim for consecutive wins for the first time since Nov. 7-9. "It's getting better every day," Nelson told the Oilers website in regards to implementing the new systems he wants the players to execute. Nelson has been integrating fresh faces into the mix, with forwards Matt Fraser (two goals in four games), Derek Roy (one goal, one assist in four games) and Rob Klinkhammer (one assist in one game) all contributing since their acquisitions. "They've provided a new look and created some new energy in the room," Nelson said.

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You Are Ken Holland, Do You Want Dion Phaneuf?

via James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

The issue is not only the coach. The issue is the Leafs built their team around Kessel, Phaneuf and not much else because they were the impact players that former GM Brian Burke was able to get without going through the draft or free agency, routes he deemed too slow or too costly.

They were available because they had flaws; unsurprisingly, they still have them.

And you can blame those who have ignored that for too long for part of the Leafs’ downfall.

The tough part is how president Brendan Shanahan should go about fixing this roster. You can’t give away talent for nothing in this league, and freeing up cap space without anything to spend it on hardly makes sense unless it’s a total teardown, something he said last spring he wasn’t interested in.

Even so, getting younger makes sense, as does adding prospects that will mature with players such as Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly.

It’ll take some boldness from the brass to start selling now, but it’ll be long overdue.

Phaneuf will turn 30 on April 10th and his AAV is $7M thru the 2020-21 season.

He shoots left but has played the right side at times during his career.

If a trade is made, you would have to think Toronto would have to keep some of his salary, I don't see any team trading for that contract.

With that in mind, do you want him and who would you trade?

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On The Road

It's a new Year, and as the Wings left 2014 on a positive note, they will start 2015 on the road. A very late start tonight against a pretty decent Vancouver Team is not the easiest way to begin, but, earlier starts against lesser Teams have been tough this season.

Maybe being on the road will help this group develop into a better, more cohesive winning unit. Being on the road means, more time spent together as a Team, no family distractions, no home ice pressure, male bonding, blah, blah, blah, blah.

That's the hope. Well that, and fixing the elusive consistency factor.

2015, here come the Detroit Red Wings!

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Detroit Red Wings/Vancouver Canucks Preview And Notes

via Daniel Fung of VancouverCanucks.com, The Canucks point of view...

The Canucks have played just once so far in the New Year but it's safe to say that game will go down as one of the most disappointing, albeit deserving, losses they suffer all year. Despite holding a 2-1 lead heading into the dying minutes of regulation, Vancouver surrendered a pair of goals just 21 seconds apart to fall 3-2 to the Kings in a game where they were badly outshot and outplayed. The loss snapped a streak of four straight games where they Canucks had earned at least a point. Vancouver will look to rebound from that defeat tonight when they continue their five-game home standing hosting the Red Wings, a team that has been one of the beasts of the East all season long and are coming in on a bit of a roll lately.

Detroit is beginning a season-high six-game road trip tonight and are looking to build on a run that seen them win three of their last four games albeit all three of those wins, including their 3-1 victory over the Devils on New Year's Eve, have come against Eastern Conference teams that currently sit outside the playoff picture. This is the Red Wings’ first venture out to the Pacific Time Zone this season and, remarkably, only the second time they will play outside the Eastern Time Zone. Their first was a 4-3 win back on November 20 in Winnipeg. As far as lineup changes for the Canucks go, look for Zack Kassian to make his long-awaited return. Kassian was cleared to return on Thursday but Coach Willie Desjardins opted to keep him out and go with the lineup that had won the game prior in San Jose. Linden Vey is expected to be the odd-man out. Kevin Bieksa sat out practice yesterday but is expected to play tonight. In the unlikely event he can't go, look for Bobby Sanguinetti to make his Canucks debut.

Keys To The Game

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Get It Right

We have been at this juncture many times over the past few seasons. Riding high and heady one night, only to be crushed the next. Once again the Wings have been embarrassed, and in doing so, they have embarrassed their fans. As the powers that be try to figure out how to get it right, we still continue to show up for every single game.

Tonight we face the Devils at the Joe, and, although they are rife with their own problems, this is the kind of Team we need to have our way with.

To end the year on a positive note, a two point regulation win is in order. It is not a tall order, it is a simple request. Get it right!

My thanks to Paul for his continued support. I am not a writer or a blogger. I am just a fan with an opinion. My thanks to each and every one of you for staying aboard and keeping A2Y up and running. A special thank you to CMC William Houlihan for this marvelous place. We really miss your azz, Chief!

Win or lose, the Detroit Red Wings are darn lucky to have 19 Fans like us.

Happy New Year!

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com


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