Abel to Yzerman
Your boy Ansar has high marks for most of the Wings this morning in his mid-season report card (space filler).
Dominik Hasek -- Even after allowing eight goals in his last game he leads the league in goals-against average, benefiting from a strong team defense. Obviously, the Wings made the right call choosing to sign him in the off-season over Ed Belfour. His health is the key to a successful playoff run. Grade: A Coach Mike Babcock -- He has the team that was written off by many competing for the top spot in the Western Conference. About the only negative has been his inability to correct the poor power play and penalty-killing. Grade: A- Jiri Hudler -- He doesn't skate well, he has defensive deficiencies and he's chained to the fourth line by a coach who's not particularly high on him. Sounds like a trade candidate. Grade: CMore
You really can't beat that for wholesome family fun. I mean, giving up 9 straight to San Jose was neat, don't get me wrong. But, allowing arguably the league's worst team to storm back and kick your tail in front of hockey expert and King "fan" Sandra Bullock? That's fuzzy and it's warm and it may even purr, so go ahead and pet it because it's domesticated and expects you to. The staunch defense that was allowing 22 shots/game? 33 from the Kings last night, and that average is up to 24.5. A two-goal lead that would appear insurmountable? If teams ever felt intimidated when down to the Wings (and I don't believe that's been the case for a few years now), that's certainly a non-factor after the last two.
As much as I enjoy bringing you the Mike Babcock Consolidated Quotes of the Day, I can't compete with the real thing. This, from today's Free Press. Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press
"We've got to flush that and get back at it," Mike Babcock said. "But, you never forget that, believe me, you never forget that. That's long and that's ugly and ... I mean, it just goes to show you how this sport is. You just get humbled. I always tell people that's why I married my wife: Because every time I get out of line, she just cuts me right down in size, and it's the same with this sport. As soon as you think you've got something working, you don't got it working."4 scoops for a twelve-cup pot, Mike. Not 10.
60 degrees in your nation's capitol (capital) this morning. All meteorological indications point to a sunny, joy-filled weekend. I'm rested after a long week, energized and all is right with the world. That is if you can forget giving up a three-goal lead, allowing six power play goals, nine goals overall, leaving your goalie in for eight of them, and sprinting to the penalty box like it was a phone booth with free porn and you were a Pred fan. The only saving grace many of us can claim is that we didn't stay up to watch the carnage. Me? I learned of it driving to work. The display on my Sirius radio tuner flashed "Detroit 4, San Jose 9" and I thought it most certainly was a typo. Some drunken shift worker hit the "9" instead of the "0". Nope. Got to work, opened up the Freep's flashy new website, hunted and pecked to find the Wing coverage buried two-third of the way down the page (the print equivalent of placement adjacent to the classifieds) and threw up in my mouth a little bit.
The plight of a Red Wing blogger. While most of you sat back with lukewarm, reasonably-priced, yet still satisfying beverages of pilsneric heritage and enjoyed one of the most memorable nights of your hockey-loving lives, I suffered.
You watched The Inevitable occur last night and you enjoyed it. You’ll nitpick it, because that’s what we do here…but you found it satisfying, appropriate and just. Me? I stressed.
Why? Because I’m a hockey blogger and all I could think about was how bad Christy at Behind the Jersey was going to kick my ass on this one. Oh, and she did. No one covers Yzerman like Christy. And you just knew she’d pull out all the stops on this one. Premium seats at the Joe. Video coverage. Minute-by-minute description of events. Don Cherry chance meetings. Still coverage. It’s almost unfair, and I’m more than a little bitter today.
With Steve Yzerman it was never a matter of if, but when.
Not if he’d win a Cup, but when would it finally happen…and how many.
Not if he’d come back from whatever injury was ailing him, but when.
Obviously not if he’d retire, but under what conditions and when. After an eye injury in Calgary, after a lockout, after another devastating early-round loss, after introspection, or just after he’d decided the body couldn’t go another year.
And most certainly not if 19 would head to the JLA rafters, but when. Has there ever been a more natural ceremony in Detroit than the one that will occur this evening? When did the certainty first start to seep in, that Yzerman would be the legend he became?
Was it the OT goal, the hyperbaric chamber, the grimaces in ‘02, the gap-toothed celebration in ‘97, the handoff to Vladdie in ‘98?
My favorite moment? Yzerman huffing up the right wing last year in a road loss against Carolina
Woops. Look out. The mainstreamers are taking notice of our boy Buckets (Dan Cleary…A2Y glossary update this weekend).
Yet, lo and behold, GM Ken Holland and his staff have done another masterful job of keeping the Wings in the upper echelon of the Western Conference, doing so by signing guys like Cleary—a free-agent castoff by the Coyotes coming out of the lockout—and getting surprising returns.
Also, a nice article from The Hockey News. It would appear Cleary’s partying days are behind him, which has led to the success he’s enjoying now.
“To be honest, I don’t think I was any different than the majority of kids who play junior hockey.
“Let’s not beat around the bush, there were nights when we partied. But I don’t think I went overboard. I think the rumors got blown way out of proportion. And when you don’t play up to your potential, that just magnifies it.”
Late start today. Hopefully this one's been worth the wait. There is so much to discuss today that my tummy aches. I tried to fill it with a block of pleasing cheese, but it didn't seem to do the trick. I ate some soup. Chicken dumpling. Ok. Let's begin with last night, then move forward. A few observations. You watched it, read the game stories, formed opinions of your own...so I'll try to give you something a little different.
Who’s to blame for the sudden drop-off in votes….stubby-fingered Wing fans, or a stubby commish?
Jes Golbez/Hockey Rants
The momentum picked up by the Vote for Rory campaign in the recent weeks has stalled as evil Nicklas Lidstrom has leapfrogged Rory into 2nd place in the All-Star voting race for Western Conference defenseman.
Doesn’t it seem a little fishy that Rory Fitzpatrick (Like a glove) is suddenly in 3rd place? Are Wings fans smartly stuffing the on-line ballot boxes or is the NHL manipulating numbers?
I’m torn. While I don’t doubt the possibility of a frantic league official ordering janitorial staffers to “click…ok, click again…AGAIN”, I kinda think Wing fans taking this whole thing WAY too personally are the true culprits, if you want to label them that.
In the end though…as I’ve said, we have only ourselves to blame. Fan voting in any sport is a farce.
Both Paul Kukla and Eric McErlain have changed the face of hockey blogging, turning entertaining Web sites into fully-staffed, must-read daily visits. They’ve also landed some pretty plum gigs — Paul with NHL.com, Eric with NBCSports.com — and have championed the rights of the alternative media to become credentialed members of the press box. Kudos to both on an outstanding, and eventful, year.
What Greg doesn’t say, but I will, is that both Eric and Paul have blazed a path for hockey bloggers. Their efforts, along with others, have established this medium’s credibility in ways we never would have predicted a year ago.
Congrats to both.
added by Paul at 3:06pm, Thanks Greg for the props and IwoCPO for pointing this out, it is much appreciated.
Adding both Alanah and IwoCPO to the Korner was one of the smarter moves that I have made, we all look forward to a great 2007.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org