Abel to Yzerman
John Buccigross has a couple Wing references in his mailbag today. * I hope a new Red Wings' rink is better than the Tigers' Comerica Park. Of all the "new" old ballparks built since Camden Yards opened in 1992, Comerica is a second-tier park. I wouldn't expect a new Red Wings' arena for some time. Municipalities are not building millionaires arenas and stadiums any more. Plus, Ilitch probably has a lot of debt from Comerica since he financed half of it himself and the Tigers didn't really draw until this season. * Who are your top five best hockey commentators (both play-by-play and color) around the NHL? I base this on the strength, listen-ability, and likeability of the play-by-play man and the color man. 1) Dallas Stars 2) Detroit 3) Buffalo 4) Vancouver 5) 26 tied for fifth. Hmmm...no mention of Abbott and Costello in Nashville. And, over at On The Wings Megan Hirdes breaks down the freefall in Grand Rapids.
So what’s going wrong? Well, everything, apparently. While Howard hasn’t been horrible, he’s not playing like we know he can-like he did last season. Jimmy was outstanding during the playoffs, but he doesn’t have the same confidence. Liv has been terrible. He lets in weak goal after weak goal, and when he does that, it seems like the team gets frustrated and self-destructs. The offense is not scoring and the defense is not helping the goaltenders.
It's something we've been discussing here for weeks. The paltry number of shots the Wings are giving up, and the small number of those that are of quality, is raising eyebrows. SI's Darren Eliot looks at Detroit's success in that area so far, and how it translates to overall success.
The Wings, tied with Nashville for the top spot in the Central Division with 26 points, have allowed a league-low 20.9 shots-against per game while firing an average of 32.7. That nearly plus-12 disparity is far and away the best ratio in the NHL (see chart below) and, correspondingly, the Red Wings have only been outshot twice thus far.More
I whined like a little girl. I stomped my feet and pouted and fretted. Free agents were being gobbled up like possum steak at Bubba's. Ken Holland was asleep at the switch!! I invented a cynical term and used it again and again. It's the Summer of Ken. The Summer of Ken is sucking. The Summer of Ken is passing us by. I wrote things like, "tick tock Kenny". Because sitting here in Memphis, with the internet at my disposal and KNOWLEDGE OF MY TEAM, I knew exactly what should be done, who should be signed and, by god, how they should be used. Well, let's take a look at some of the players that would have made my Summer of Ken a bit more palatable, and how they're faring with the teams who--in some cases--got suckered.
Both practiced hard today, according to Helene St. James; and the Wings expect them to play Wednesday against Vancouver.
The two, both recovering from groin injuries, practiced Monday and both said afterwards they felt pretty good about being able to play in two days. The only one not so happy was Chris Osgood. He was out for part of practice but said his left wrist bothered him and he was going to get it checked out during the afternoon. X-rays last week were inconclusive because they were taken while his wrist was too swollen. With a full house back on the ice, the Wings returned Josh Langfeld to Grand Rapids.Khan(!) goes into more depth on the Osgood wrist issue.
Goaltender Chris Osgood practiced Monday for the first time in eight days but said his sore left wrist didn't feel good. He will have it looked at by doctors on Tuesday and said he doesn't know when he'll return to the lineup. Osgood said he doesn't think the wrist is broken, but X-rays in Vancouver were inconclusive because of the swelling. He hurt it in practice last Sunday, getting hit by a shot.
Buried in the comments of this post are these words from W2J2:
Kopecky is consistently pounding the boards. Hudler is good on the puck, knows where to be on the ice, gives a hit, and can take one, too. Filpulla is a natural. Cleary is amazing. He was a star scorer in the minor leagues, and now look at him score after years playing checking forward in the big show. One other thing: Lilja was kicking butt Saturday night. Listen guys, a lot of this player development is happening because of Mike Babcock.A homer, you say. A typical A2Y reader so biased for the Wings that he's blinded to the pitfalls that lay ahead, like...the implosion perhaps?. Not quite.
Skimming around the MSM and the blogs this morning. We start with Ted Montgomery of USA Today. If you were a reader of A2Y 1.0, you know I was a harsh critic of Ted's. Now, with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, and a feeling of goodwill and fellowship enveloping me on this chilly Monday morning, I'm wondering if I was a tad too harsh on the lad. Nope. He is the absolute worst...Teddy The Toolbag.
Since we are about to be firmly ensconced in the holiday season, it's time for my annual column giving thanks to those things hockey-related for which I'm grateful: — The fans in Atlanta, Minnesota, Nashville and Columbus, who seem more than ready to cheer their teams on to greater glories. — Most of all, to hockey fans, far and wide. We've endured tough times and came back even stronger than before. Thanks to all of you who take the time to write to me. I really appreciate how you challenge me every day.Would those fan letters you speak of include the few I've sent in your direction Ted? You know...the ones where I suggest you, ummm, find another line of work? Oh, and "annual column giving thanks to those things hockey-related for which I'm grateful"? Might want to look up the meaning of "annual." It means yearly. Column indexes are funny things.
...then Cleary was asked about the save. The one Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson's made in the first period, with Cleary all alone beside the net for a one-timer, that will be on every NHL highlight DVD for the next decade. "I didn't think you guys would bring that up," Cleary said. "To be honest with you, I don't know what else I could have done with it. He made a highlight-reel save. My hat's off to him."Yes he did and so's mine. But...watch the clip. Cleary settles the puck just momentarily before shooting. If he one-times it, Roloson's beat. Something else about that particular sequence. Every time I watch it, I like the way that play was set up more and more. A nice pass from Samuelsson to a moving Datsyuk, who zips it cross-ice to an open Cleary. I like that line.
A note on game recaps: I'm in the process of moving from Bubba to Cap territory. Until I settle in DC, I'll be without Center Ice. So, games I have to listen to six inches away from my computer screen like a pathetic gamer will feature recaps a little skimpier than those I watch on tv (Versus!) or through Yahoo streaming. Bear with me until mid-December when the hockey package is once again the primary ingredient to my successful marriage. ------ Oh, the fond memories Dwayne Roloson provides the Wing faithful. Oiler fans will have to give us some insight on a question I have, and how they respond will make you feel better, worse or both...if that's possible. I think we deserve to know whether Roloson plays this well against everyone or if he saves these kind of performances just for us. Let's just get it out of the way. If you passed out in the fetal position after another sporting event yesterday and perhaps slept through the Wing game, well, here's the game for you right here. Wasn't that fun?
Updated at 0822 CST: Bailey's just found its way into my coffee. It's going to be a long 24 hours. We've been saying it here for the last week: the ineptitude on the power play is a funny little anecdote, a footnote to the big story. It was crafty to see how you could work in mention of the league's worst power play, while at the same time discussing the league's hottest team. Sorry. We're not the league's hottest team anymore. That November label is staying where we left it last night. Now? We're just the team with the power play that looks like five puppies learning to walk, and it finally cost us. How did it cost us? Because teams know they can take liberties with the Wings and not pay for it on the scoreboard. Oh, none of the penalties last night were of the abusive kind, so you can argue my point if you want. But, just the attitude with which Calgary manhandled the Wings. The lights were out. The cell block was locked down. The skinny guy was trembling and everyone knew he couldn't stop what was on the way. And he didn't. Every team in the league should be requesting video of last night's game. You know what, they don't even need it. Just a quick note to self: "Hit Detroit. Hell. Pound them. Start the parade to the box if you have to. They can't score on the power play, so hit 'em again." Oh, and here we go into Edmonton tonight. Ok. Deep breath. I've already had this discussion with my wife this morning and I'll make it clear to you now. I'm in a bad frigging mood. She accepted this explanation, so I expect that you can too. The Wings lost badly. Michigan and Ohio State today in the Biggest Game In World History, and then the Wings play Edmonton tonight. It's a high-stress 24 hours. Oh...and I'm also supposed to dis-assemble the bastard trampoline. Frigging GREAT. So, look...a full game recap is just not in the cards. Kiprusoff looked great. Hasek looked great at times, too. And here's some fun for the whole family. In fact, call them over because this is just, well, fun (god, my vocabulary is being affected...I'm losing it. You may get ten more sentences out of me, probably less. It's 0750 and I can see no reason why I shouldn't start drinking). Anyway...fun. Yes...the penalty kill. Hey, it's a hell of a lot easier to type "the special teams suck", rather than "the power play sucks, but the Wings take great solace in the improving penalty kill." Whew, now we can go back to the simple way. Alright. Look. I know. It's one loss in ten and I'm coming down awfully hard on our boys. But Calgary always seems to have a way of exposing this team's weaknesses. We knew one was the power play. We thought another, the kill, was being rectified. And we thought, for sure, that the biggest one of all had been solved altogether. Nope. Now we can go back to wondering if this team has the grit and heart to succeed when it counts. Last night they didn't. Oh, don't worry though. We love Rexall. NHL.com Box NHL.com Super Scoresheet Detroit Free Press: Flames End Wings Win Streak Detroit News: Wings' Win Streak Ends MLive: Flames Snap Wing Streak At Nine Calgary Herald: Flames Scorch Red Wings Calgary Sun: Real Wingding Battle of Alberta Five Hole Fanatics Double D(ion)
The mainstreamers have been riding some Wing jock today. Stories all over the place on the "rejuvenated" Wings. I think I've found most of them, but here's a consolidation for you...starting with the most current item from NHL.com. John Kreiser/NHL.com
How remarkable is it for a team to allow so few shots on goal? Consider that Edmonton was the stingiest team in shots on goal per game last season with 25.5 shots against per game — the Wings were third at 26.6. In the three previous seasons, when there were far fewer power plays, shots on goal and goals, the league lows were St. Louis in 2001-02 (22.5), New Jersey in 2002-03 (23.6) and Dallas in 2003-04 (23.2).The rest of the day's activity: Phil Coffey: Wings Success A Surprise Eric Duhatschek: Hasek And The Wings Adam Proteau: Give The Euro's Credit Fox's Robert Picarello: Hasek Getting Better With Age
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