Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Digging On A Saturday Night

Oh my.  Things are getting interesting in Hockeytown.  It would appear there is a hockey team in Detroit after all.  How do I know this?  Because, well, Mitch Albom told me so.

“Was that like playing soccer and outguessing the goalie?” someone asked Datsyuk after today’s 4-1 victory in Game 5.

“Maybe like baseball,” he said, grinning. Datsyuk often grins after games like these, as if his skills are a private joke between him and his native tongue. But make no mistake. That goal inflated the Wings as much as it deflated the Sharks.

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Different Goalies…Eerily Similar Results

Different goalies…same result.  Ouch.

Last year’s Game 4 versus Edmonton.  Looks familiar, eh?

Thanks to Paul in Miami and Peterborough Pete for the pointers.

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Game 5 Highlights

Updated 1803 EST:  Gorilla Crouch analysis below.

I’m not sure if this compares to watching an extreme closeup of Tommy Hammonds on NBC, but here are the images from today at the Joe.

Hammonds, on NBC’s Derby Coverage, literally frightens me.  I’m not real sure who he’s affiliated with, if you catch my drift.

Good stuff from Dave at Gorilla Crouch.

The big concern heading into this series from Detroit’s perspective was Specialty Teams. After five games the Specialty Teams have unquestionably been a positive in the Red Wings’ favor. They have scored 5 power play goals (22.7%), 1 short handed goal, and have held the Sharks to 2 power play goals in 23 power play opportunities for an 8.7% success rate. The Wings have completely shut down the San Jose power play over the past 2 games and have allowed 1 power play goal since Game 2 for a 95.5% kill ratio over that time span. That is simply outstanding.

 

 

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Schneider: Done For Playoffs

Well…if you’re looking for another bit of adversity, another footnote to recall when the Wings raise the Cup in a month or so, this should do nicely.  Mathieu Schneider has played his last game of the 2007 postseason.

MacLeod

Mathieu Schneider suffered a broken wrist in the first period of Saturday’s game and will not play again in the post-season. Either Brett Lebda will return to action or Derek Meech or Jonathan Ericsson—both up from Grand Rapids—will be pressed into duty.
Mike Babcock: “(Lebda) When he’s ready, he’ll play. We have Meech and Ericsson here now. There’s nothing you can do. I kind of expected to have Kronwall, Lebda and Schneider, but that’s just life.”

So…a blueline corps of Lidstrom, Markov, Chelios, Lilja, Quincey and Meech? 

No firm word on the return of Lebda, but the urgency is definitely accelerated.  Naturally, there’s been nothing written lately of Niklas Kronwall.

 

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Skate Firmly On Throat.  Push Down.

Another Game 5 in Detroit.  Another blowout.  Another favorite completely flustered and, eventually, outclassed.  Welcome to your 2007 Red Wings.  Good news is obviously a victory as convincing as any we’ve seen in Detroit since a Game 7 in 2002.  Bad news is, equally obviously, an injury to Mathieu Schneider that no one knows the extent of.  Choose your source and you’ll hear anything from forearm to shoulder, broken to separated. More to follow.

For now?

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Confirmed: Maltby and Wings Reached 3-Year Deal Before Playoffs Started

Updated 1431 CST with quotes from Maltby below

The worst-kept secret in Detroit?  Kirk Maltby’s contract extension, or re-signing, whichever you prefer.

DETROIT The Detroit Red Wings recently re-signed forward Kirk Maltby to a three-year contract. It happened before the playoffs, but both sides decided it was best not to talk publicly about the deal—until now.
Detroit hosts the San Jose Sharks tomorrow in a best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal that is tied at two games apiece.

Maltby has one assist in ten playoff games this season and 28 points in 129 career postseason games, all with the Red Wings since 1996. He helped Detroit win Stanley Cups in 1997, ‘98 and 2002.

 

 

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And Bob Lang Will Lead Us

Look, I’ve done my best to quell the naysayers.  When the rest of you were lighting the torches for B. Lang, demanding his benching, I was the voice of reason.  At no point did a disparaging word about The Enigma grace this blog.  I never once suggested anything but patience, and confidence that Bob would succeed for the good of his team, the state, Hockeytown and freedom.

I don’t know who sabotaged A2Y and posted this heresy on 30 April, but it sure wasn’t me.

 

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Woops: Guerin Doubtful For Game 5

Via the AP,

Forward Bill Guerin is unlikely to play in the San Jose Sharks’ next playoff game against Detroit after a teammate’s deflected shot seriously cut his face in Game 4.

The Sharks said Thursday that Guerin is doubtful for Game 5 in the best-of-seven series Saturday in Detroit.

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Not sure if that’s good or bad news for the Wings.  Guerin’s done exactly nothing this series.

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Ray Ratto:  Strategy?

Via the San Francisco Chronicle,

Schneider’s goal, which came during a delay-of-game penalty to San Jose’s Craig Rivet, came after the defenseman made a brilliant reactive stop of Scott Hannan’s clearing attempt. He gloved the drive, laid it onto the blade of his stick and whistled a shot back at goal which hit the Sharks’ diving Patrick Rissmiller and changed direction enough to beat Nabokov, almost lost in a crowd in front of him, and hit the roof of the net.

The result was chilling, but the overall pattern is more long-term disturbing for the Sharks. As much as they believe in Nabokov, the defensive pairings and their neutral-ice trap when ahead, it might be time for the Sharks to loosen their defensive requirements at least enough to allow for some offense. After all, the rope-a-dope is a strategy that, when employed by anyone other than Muhammad Ali, often leaves you as the dope.

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Up and Coming Newfoundlander

Been meaning to point you guys to this site for a while.  Danny Green’s a high school journalist in Newfoundland.  He’s started his own blog called Danny Green On Hockey.  I’ve added him to the blog roll on the port side. Give him a visit when you can.  Good site.

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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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