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Abel to Yzerman

Peca’s a Hasek Fan

Game recap from last night to follow soon. For now, Dominik Hasek has an admirer in Michael Peca. Via the Toronto Sun,

"When you think of what you want in a teammate, Dom exemplifies it," Peca said. "Someone who works hard, all he wants to do to win. He is probably the guy who worked the hardest." At 41 and the oldest player in the NHL after teammate Chris Chelios, Hasek's work ethic has not waned.
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Larry Wigge: Cleary Getting His Due

Via NHL.com,

"It’s been a long time. I’m so excited to finally be showing people what I thought I could do after I was a first-round draft choice (by Chicago in 1997)," Cleary said, still shaking his head in amazement at what has happened to him this season. "It’s funny, because I look in the mirror and see the same guy. A big part of my success since I came to Detroit is how you feel when you put this Red Wings jersey on and walk into this room and see such high-end talent."
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Deep Digging On Both Sides Of The Border

Ahh, the Leafs are back in town. For one night, there should be some blood pumping at the Joe. Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press But they're an Original Six team, and for Toronto-area native Kris Draper, it doesn't get much better. "I really enjoy playing Toronto," he said Friday. "I think my dad gets a little bit more excited for this game than I do, taking on all his buddies back home in Toronto. It's fun. I've said it before: It's unfortunate that we don't play these guys more often. I know there's a pretty good buzz going around the Joe with the Leafs coming in."

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Back When Hate Was Good

Today, if just for 24 hours, we should recall the happy era when nothing brought a family together like some unbridled hatred. Oh, you hated Dallas Drake the other night. But only for a moment, and it certainly wasn't the kind of hate that had the whole neighborhood lighting the torches. You hated Claude Lemioux for a year, but after Mac wasted him it was kind of a gleeful dislike. He got what he deserved and we loved to remind him of it. You also hated Patrick Roy. Now, Roy? That was a healthy hate. A prolonged hatred steeped in respect for his talent.

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And The Hits…They Just Keep On Comin’

The Red Wings have two butt kickers on the back end. Unfortunately neither of them can stay healthy. First Nik Kronwall, then Kronwall again, then Danny Markov, then Kronwall again, then Markov...this time for three weeks. And it's not unexpected. Markov's injury problems have followed him all over the league. Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

"He came out for one shift to start the third period but didn't play after that and didn't finish the game," coach Mike Babcock said.

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Creative Journalism 101: Chelios’ Age

I guess since every newspaper within 50 miles of an NHL city is doing a "Chelios is really frigging old" story, the Detroit News decided to jump on board. John Niyo/Detroit News

And in the Wings' last victory, a 2-1 nailbiter over the Dallas Stars a week ago, there was no hesitation from Babcock about which defensemen to put on the ice in the final minute of the game. Over the boards came Nick Lidstrom, the team captain, and Chelios. "The thing I know about Cheli is, when the game's on the line, he knows where to be, he knows what to do and he's gonna make the right decision 99 percent of the time," said Babcock, who is 15 months younger than Chelios.

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Chasing Manny

Big night for Brett Hull, and perhaps the biggest night of the season for a player he mentored in Detroit: Pavel Datsyuk. Statistically? Mediocre by Datsyuk's regular season, career standards. But, placed back on a line with Hank Zetterberg and immediately rewarding Mike Babcock for the move? Oh, that's pretty big. Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

"The bottom line is, they're good players," said Babcock of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. "They were a good line for us (with Mikael Samuelsson), but we had four good lines tonight."

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Hull of a Night

Like that title? Thanks. I thought of it myself. The Blues will honor Brett Hull tonight, retiring his number 16 prior to the game against the Wings. The Deep Diggers are all over it. Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

"We knew he was a little bit lazy, and he was a little bit overweight," goalie Dominik Hasek said Monday. "But we knew he could play. Nobody before him, and nobody after him, had the same type of shot like him."
MLive: Wings Praise Hull Detroit Free Press: Hull's Mouth, Shot Moved at Top Speed St. Louis Post Dispatch: Hull Can Still Draw a Crowd

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Desperation or Common Sense?

Helene St. James mentioned in her Wing blog yesterday that Pavel Datsyuk has been practicing on a line with Hank Zetterberg and Mikael Samuelsson. Many of you read that and said something to the effect of, "Golly, it's about darn time." A smaller number may have raised an eyebrow and thought, "uh oh. That's desperation right there, brother." I'm somewhere in the middle.

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Monday Deep Digging

Our little pals bring you startling insight this morning into a shocking scoring drought, stitches to the face of another forward, and a little goalie discussion to tag on to yesterday's rant. Ted Kulfan had a revelation over the weekend. Apparently, and this one is a shocker, Pavel Datsyuk is having a little trouble putting the puck in the net.

Datsyuk now has gone 15 games without a goal. He hasn't scored since Oct. 27 against Dallas, and has only three assists in the last nine games. But even with more than a quarter of the season gone, coach Mike Babcock isn't concerned. "We don't feel this is a crisis situation," Babcock said last week. "Yet, don't get me wrong, your best players have to be your best players to be successful. We're going to challenge and support (Datsyuk) in making that happen."
Yes, we know. Support the lad. Rub his tummy and hope for the best. I found Ted's lead to this story interesting.
A number of Red Wings are having disappointing seasons offensively. Who would have thought Pavel Datsyuk would be one of them?
Well, umm, I did. You did. Many of us did, Ted. Did we expect this kind of struggle? No. But after three consecutive paltry playoffs, it's not exactly a shock that teams have looked back at those series' and figured out how to defend young Pavel. Kris Draper took a puck to the face Saturday, off the stick of a teammate this time. George Sipple/Detroit Free Press
Chelios attempted to clear the puck out of Detroit's zone during the second period of a 3-2 loss Saturday to the San Jose Sharks. Draper later returned to the game. The gash to his right cheek required 15 stitches. "He was just shooting it out and, of course, my face just happened to be in the wrong place again," Draper said. "Just kind of came right under the visor."
Yesterday I wrote a little piece questioning the logic of playing Hasek against St. Louis and Minnesota, when he could have been in net for the Bubba and San Jose games. A little more on that: yes, I know MacDonald played well. The point remains that the decisions regarding which games to start him leave me baffled. It would seem obvious that when given the choice between two goalies, you play your best guy against the best teams. We didn't do that and it makes no sense. Would Hasek have beaten San Jose, as the Wings gave up 19 shots in the third? Who knows? Maybe MacDonald doesn't defeat Minnesota Friay night either

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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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