Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Homer Back Where He Belongs

And that would be planted in front of (and often in) the crease. He'll return tonite, according to Helene St. James' Wing blog.

The Red Wings will have their best net-front guy back in the lineup tonight when they play the Canucks. Tomas Holmstrom has been out since Nov. 10 because of a groin injury, but he had a good morning skate and is ready to return. Given his penchant for parking in front of an opponent's net during power plays, the Wings are hoping Holmstrom can help boost a power play that's the absolute worst in the NHL - the Wings' success rate stands at 10.1%; the next worst is Phoenix at 12.4.
Side note: St. James is gaining grass-roots support from A2Y staffers who feel she should supplant Ansar Khan(!) as Deep Digger Captain. Her advocates point to the consistent blog updates as ammunition for a fleet up to the C. On the other hand, twice removed captain Ted Kulfan hasn't updated in three days. Khan(!), while largely consistent this year, hasn't updated since yesterday afternoon.

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A Bowman Tale

Caught a glimpse of an article on Paul Maurice this evening, and found this Bowman anecdote.

Scotty Bowman once had an inventive way of catching players breaking curfew. Realizing some of his Detroit Red Wings players might break his midnight curfew, he ventured down to the hotel lobby five minutes before the deadline and handed a goalie stick to an attendant. Get some autographs, Bowman said, knowing those who signed would be doing so after curfew. The next morning, the attendant thanked Bowman and showed him all the autographs. At practice, several players couldn't figure out how the coach caught them in the act without actually witnessing it.
Too bad Jacques Demers never thought of that, eh?

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Holiday Travel

Updates will be sparse today as the IwoCPO family leaves the Midsouth, trekking steadily toward the badlands of Oklahoma. I'm not sure if Oklahoma is technically the "badlands." I just happen to enjoy the term "badlands." So, off we go and leave you to fend for yourselves. You may do so by using the various hockey and Wing-specific references I've been kind enough to provide for you on the port side of this page.

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Game Day Preview: Canucks at Wings

You can't blame Canuck fans if they're still smarting from last week's loss. Six million dollar baby Bobby let in a softy to the Mule and that was all she wrote. Tonite Vancouver, bubbly from a two-game winning streak against the Central JV squads, tries to gain a measure of revenge. We, the impartial scribes here at A2Y, suggest caution though. If you are a Canuck fan, heady with the success of your recent victories against Chicago and Columbus errrr, St. Louis (thanks Andrew), you may want to reminisce for a moment, and recall previous episodes of overconfidence and their unfortunate consequences.

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Protecting The Jewels

I guess when you're the Holland/Babcock brain trust and you sign a quirky 41-year old groin injury waiting to happen, you do so with the expectation that the coming season could very well turn into something of a three-ring circus. You anticipate seven months of shielding your eyes every time he goes post-to-post, and hope for approximately two months, 9 days of reaping the rewards of your brilliant foresight. But when the backup you signed to back-up the last psycho goalie you eventually, and thankfully, let walk gets hurt and can't back-up the current brittle goalie...well, it's time to get creative. And creativity this week means that when Hasek gets a rest, he rests on the bench instead of in the press box. And creativity means that if Joey MacDonald lets in 6 goals in 6 minutes Friday against the Blues (I know, I know...bear with me), the backup signed to bring the Cup back up to Detroit won't be budging.

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Last Season In Hockeytown For Datsyuk?

Clearly, I have no ability to multi-task. I was so focused this morning on the fact that the Detroit papers are ignoring the Fischer story that I skipped over an item that deserves significant discussion. Thankfully, I read the Detroit News message board this afternoon. A post from Attica reminded me of this little issue. It would appear that Pavel Datsyuk's days in Detroit could very well be numbered. If he's not dealt by the summer, it's looking like re-signing with the Wins may not be a possibility when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. Khan(!)/MLive

The Wings made center Pavel Datsyuk a contract offer. He rejected it, and his agent, Gary Greenstin, made a counter-offer. The Wings rejected that. "We had quite a difference of opinion and we agreed we'll table (talks) for now,'' Holland told Booth Newspapers. "We're far enough apart that there's no negotiations going on.'' The Wings have had difficult negotiations with Greenstin the last two times Datsyuk's contract was up. Two Russian clubs started a bidding war for Datsyuk prior to the 2005-06 season. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Wings for $3.9 million a season. Datsyuk is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Holland has been trying to get him signed to a long-term deal. "I never moved from my offer,'' Holland said. "After a long period of time, they countered. They have no interest in my offer, I have no interest in their offer. Let's let the season unfold.''
Pavel Datsyuk wanted to cash in last summer. The 3.9 he signed for was based largely on regular season flash and potential to carry this team in a postseason in the future. His performance in that arena, as we know, has been one of the bigger disappointments to affect this organization in the last decade. Any discussions Ken Holland has with Datsyuk's camp are out of curiosity, courtesy or both. If he expects to be paid significant dollars, he'd better earn them in May and June.

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Setback For Kronwall

It's beginning to look like expecting a full season out of Nik Kronwall just may be too much to ask. According to both the Freep and MLive Wings blogs, he's taken a step back in his recovery from a strained groin. He won't play tomorrow night against Vancouver. Khan(!)/MLive

Kronwall still practiced and hopes to return Friday against St. Louis. But, the Wings aren’t going to take any chances. Tomas Holmstrom will return vs. the Canucks, unless he has a setback during the morning skate.
Also, according to Khan(!), the Wings intend to use Dominik Hasek in a backup capacity on the nights he doesn't start, risking the dreaded "cold entry groin pull."

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Osgood Shelved Up To A Month

I happen to believe that if Chris Osgood had been healthy last Spring there would be no "Punch In The Face" entry in the A2Y Glossary. Yes, that means I think that if Osgood had relieved The Martyr, the Wings would have defeated Edmonton. I think that Manny Legace was despised in the Detroit locker room and that a goalie change after Game 5 would have energized the Wings. Energized them to the point that they would have moved on to the second round. Having said that, and caused the COPBA (Chris Osgood Puck Bunny Association) significant joy, I'm a little concerned that another Ozzie injury may bring more trouble with it. Ken Holland said yesterday that Osgood's wrist is fractured and he's out three to four weeks. Khan(!)/MLive

Holland said he doesn't anticipate calling up another goalie, that the team will use Joey MacDonald as Hasek's backup. But, that would force Hasek to dress as the backup in some games, putting him at risk for an injury if forced to enter the game cold. "My feeling is we'll go with the two goalies and Dom will be on the bench when he doesn't start,'' Holland said. "But, that could change between now and (today).''
I'm not particularly worried about the "cold" entry into games. Yes, that's a concern. But everything about Hasek's health is a concern. I worry about Hasek pulling a groin while he pours a bowl of cereal. But I don't stress about it because I think Osgood's a quality back-up. Now I'm going to stress, for three to four weeks.

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Bubba’s On The Hunt

USA Today's Kevin Allen ran an interview with the Big Bubba today. Naturally, the Central Division title came up.

How much emphasis are you putting on winning the Central Division? Trotz: I think it's very important to us. We have been chasing Detroit for eight years now. That's the first step we have to take — to win the division. The division guarantees you at least the third spot. If you don't win your division, you aren't guaranteed anything. You might end up ninth or 10th. I think there are 10 really quality teams.
Let me translate that for you. Here's what Trotz really said: "We realize winning the division means nothing. We know we're making the playoffs regardless. However, my team has a mental hurdle we can't seem to leap over and that hurdle is Detroit. We think we're better but we can't prove it on the ice, or in the standings. Until we do, we can't expect to do jack squat in the playoffs."

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One Year Later?  Huh?

Maybe the Deep Diggers got together in Edmonton, or on the plane back, and made a conscious decision. There had to be some sort of consensus, because while they've been generally apathetic and lazy before...this would be monumental, even for them. It's November 21st, 2006: exactly one year after Jiri Fischer collapsed, died for thirty seconds, and was brought back to life at Joe Louis Arena. And there is not a single mention of it in the Detroit News, Detroit Free Press or MLive.

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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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