Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Monday Evening Odds and Ends

Josh Langfeld has been recalled by the Wings as the team waits out Jason Williams' recovery. Also, according to Helene St. James' Wing blog, Niklas Kronwall has been ruled out of tomorrow's game at Vancouver; along with, surprise, Chris Osgood.

Langfeld will replace Tomas Holmstrom, who is sidelined by a groin injury. Holmstrom, Chris Osgood (hand) and Niklas Kronwall (groin) didn’t practice Monday, and coach Mike Babcock said the three would not play Tuesday. Babcock said none of the injuries are serious.
Ummm, Kronwall's injury "wasn't serious" after the Nashville game. Three days later, he's still nursing the groin, and it's still not serious. Considering our boy's injury history, it sounds mildly serious to me. And check this out. Just before Patrick Roy headed to the land of happiness and light in '95, guess who almost nabbed him? Pierre LeBrun/CP
Former Detroit coach Scotty Bowman confirmed the Wings were contacted by then-Montreal GM Rejean Houle. "Yes, he called us, I was handling trades at the time for Detroit," said Bowman, in town Monday for the Hall of Fame festivities. "But we had just got (goalie) Mike Vernon a year or two before from Calgary. I didn't think I could make a trade with them. But I figured maybe I could get the price up. We didn't do it. They moved him pretty quick. "I knew he'd be going somewhere but I was just hoping it wouldn't be Colorado."
Finally, according to NBC's Eric McErlain there are lessons to be learned from Darren McCarty's troubles.
The story of a veteran player like McCarty, who won three Stanley Cups in Detroit and is now closer to the end of his career than the beginning, ought to serve as a cautionary tale. Fortunately, there is help, and it can be found on the campus of Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. It's there that you'll find the Professional Athlete Transition Institute (PATI), the home of a cooperative venture between the NHL, NHLPA and the NHL Alumni -- Life After Hockey.
Noble effort on the part of the league, but man...c'mon. You're making millions. Hire a financial advisor.

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Deep Breath Wing Fans: NHL Announces New Leadership Award

Oh...well, this is interesting. I was so excited about Hasek's recognition as one of the coveted Three Stars of the Week, that I missed this little tidbit. The NHL will now name a Leader of the Month. Cool. And they're naming the award after, according to the league press release, the man "many consider to be the greatest captain in hockey history." Excellent. The Yzerman Award for Leadership. Woops. Not quite.

The six-time Stanley Cup winner wore the C for Edmonton and the New York Rangers to become the only player in history to captain two teams to an NHL championship. He is also a former captain of the Vancouver Canucks. Messier will be at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday to present the first winner with the award.
I'm curious how much weight the league gave Messier's glorious years in Vancouver and his second run in New York (when he allowed the lockerroom to become a haven for malcontents and underachievers) when they decided to name this award after him. Update 1653 CST: Not surprisingly, this has caused a little chatter on the Wings message boards. Relevant threads are below. Let's Go Wings Red Wing Central

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Hasek Named An NHL Star Of Week

We told you over the weekend that Dominik Hasek isn't worthy enough to appear on the NHL's All Star ballot this year. But, and this must sit well with the HQ, he's been named one the league's three Stars of The Week. NHL.com via Kukla's

Hasek recorded a shutout in each of his two appearances as the Red Wings (11-4-1) extended their winning streak to eight games and moved into first place in the Central Division. Hasek made 16 saves in a 3-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers Nov. 8 and turned aside 21 shots in a 3-0 victory over Nashville Nov. 10, snapping the Predators' streak of points in 10 consecutive games (9-0-1). The consecutive shutouts increased Hasek's season total to three, tied for the League lead with New Jersey's Martin Brodeur, and career total to 71, tied for 11th on the all-time list with former Red Wing and Hockey Hall of Fame member Harry Lumley.
We all know who the 3rd star really belongs to (the entire team, as the defense has been the backbone behind Hasek's consecutive shutouts and the 8-game winning streak), but it's a nice bit or irony that Hasek is honored just days after being left off the ballot. Slava Kozlov took the first star (also not on the all-star ballot), Mikkia Kiprusoff the second.

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Powerful Enough For You?

I, like you, don't give much credence to the various power rankings you can find out there. But I, like you, do search them out every week to see where the "pundits" believe the Wings fall out. ESPN's hasn't been updated since last Monday, so I'd expect a refresh sometime today. And it should be interesting to see if they live up to their word. Here's what they had to say last week when the Wings ended up 11th on their highly scientific poll.

Before you start bombarding us with e-mails ("How can the Wings not be in the Top 10, you loser!?"), look at Detroit's wins since our last offering: Calgary, Chicago, Columbus. And those wins came despite going 1-for-19 on the PP. Let's see how the Wings do against Edmonton and Nashville before we talk Top 10.
I'd guess, just out on a limb here, that it'll be okay to "talk Top 10" now.

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BTJ goes BTB with Gloveside

One great addition to the Wing blogosphere popped up during The Absence. If you haven't read Gloveside, I suggest you do. Christy Hammonds introduces you this morning to the beer drinkers behind it.

Q.9 – If you had to pick two teams to be in the Stanley Cup finals right now, which two teams would they be? Johnny: Buffalo and…er…ahem….Detroit. Brennan: I’m hoping the Sabres represent the Eastern Conference, I think they deserve it. If by some horrible awful twist of fate, the Wings don’t wind up in the rink for the West, then I’d love to see the Wild in there.

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Just Get This Day Over Quickly

Oh, you're feeling conflicted today. You're torn between being a Wing fan and a hockey fan. For me, it harkens back memories of last spring after The Punch In The Face when Grampa Pinhead used to pose that question to me, to all of us. Gramps, as you may recall, was referring to whether or not the hockey loyalists among us would continue to watch the playoffs after another first-round heartbreak. But, you're suffering similar inner turmoil today. Do you celebrate Patrick Roy's career and acknowledge his rightful entrance in the hockey's Hall of Fame?

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Williams Skates; Kronwall Sits

We'll get to Jason Williams' status in a minute. Niklas Kronwall, as you may recall, didn't play a 3rd period-shift Friday against Bubba. Apparently, a wonky groin tabled him as a precaution. Well, it may be a bit more serious than we originally thought. Because, depending on who you read, he's out for Tuesday's game against Vancouver. Khan(!)/MLive Weblog

Also, defenseman Niklas Kronwall's groin injury is a little more serious than originally thought. He won't play Tuesday against the Canucks.
Danny Knobler/ MLive
Babcock said he would wait until today's practice in Vancouver to assess Kronwall's status for Tuesday night.
Joanne Gerstner/Detroit News
Niklas Kronwall (strained groin) did not practice Sunday. Babcock said he would be re-evaluated during today's practice in Vancouver to see if he was ready to play Tuesday against the Canucks.
Erin Chan/Detroit Free Press
Because for the first time in 20 years, WrestleMania is coming back to metro Detroit. Tickets officially go on sale Saturday.

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Fan Post Of The Day: Babcock Deserves Credit

image If the months following the Wing ouster at the hands of Edmonton was The Summer of Ken, then it's only fair that a similar microscope hover over the performance of Mike Babcock. By most accounts, he has the team he wants. And, this team is playing the style that suits him. The next 6 months will show whether this grit and hustle we've seen the last two weeks is a brief trend or a makeover that will translate into playoff success. But for now...credit is due. Our Fan Post of the Day comes from the Detroit News message board and belongs to CBlackburn from Grosse Pointe.

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Sunday Odds and Ends

Couple of interesting quotes from Chris Chelios on WDFN regarding the Williams/Torres situation. Among them were , "it's not over yet;" a reference to the fact that the Wings have two more games (regular season) with Edmonton and this situation has yet to be resolved by the players. Chelios also tells a story of Williams showing up at the rink the next morning, in scrubs, with dried blood in his hair. Listen to the entire interview here. Bruce MacLeod, a quality deep digger with the Macomb Daily Tribune, has some views on the Torres hit. Pretty strong views.

Raffi Torres was not finishing his check. Not this past Wednesday night, not when he knocked Jason Williams unconscious, not when he expressed afterwards that it was part of the physical nature of hockey. Not a chance.
MacLeod believes Torres had Danny Markov's hit on Jared Stoll (from two weeks prior) in mind when he drilled Williams. Dan Cleary is on fire. Well, for a Red Wing he is. The empty netter he scored Friday against Bubba was his fourth of the year and leaves him just behind Zetterberg and Lang for the team lead. According to the Detroit Free Press, the logical explanation is that his mom's in town.
"She always brought good luck," Cleary said of his mother. "I said it before she got here, I would score when she got here." Babcock apparently has a plan to keep Cleary going when his mother leaves town. "I told Drapes to make sure he gives him a big hug every day from now on," Babcock joked.
Oh yes, an implosion is on the way. That lockerroom is in utter disarray. Dave Lewis is having a tough go of it in Boston. It's tough to see because he's a nice guy. But it's not exactly surprising because, well, he's a nice guy. Milford Daily News
Lewis knows a thing or two about winning teams, and about turning around a moribund franchise. He served as an assistant and later head coach in Detroit, where the Red Wings rose from basement dweller to champion. "I came to Detroit when they were called the Dead Wings and I left when they were finished winning three Cups," said Lewis.
Yes, they did Dave. I'm thinking Scotty Bowman may have had something to do with that. Terry Frei writes this morning about Patrick Roy, and the swagger he brought with him. According to Frei two of the most memorable press conferences he ever covered featured Roy. He mentions Roy's reply to Jeremy Roenick when he said his ears were plugged with Stanley Cups as one, and Roy's open challenge to the Red Wings in '97 as the other.
I'll never forget that news conference on an off day when they were down, and they were struggling. He walked into a room in a hotel there and basically challenged the Red Wings to beat him by himself. He sounded like he should have been in 'Animal House,' giving the speech John Belushi made.
Yep, we fondly recall that too. A blog we like, The Puck Stops Here, believes there is one clear pick for MVP of this young season.
Nicklas Lidstrom leads the NHL in +/- with a +17 rating. He has 14 points in 16 games and has been a power on the Red Wings blueline for almost 26 minutes a game. That is why I pick Nicklas Lidstrom as the MVP of the season to date.

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“He’s got an office and everything.”

Steve Yzerman is making the transition from player to executive. And those around him, his former teammates and his newly-found peers, are watching the adjustment with some amusement.

"Yeah, he's got an office and everything," said Wings winger Kirk Maltby. Yzerman is a vice-president with the club after spending more than two decades as captain in Detroit. "I think he's getting the idea what being a general manager is all about, the time commitment ... I think I may have talked him out of it," laughed current Wings GM Ken Holland, who welcomed the retired Detroit captain into the management club a few months ago to mentor him along with longtime Wings vice-president Jim Devellano.
More from the Edmonton Journal.

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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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