Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Meet Me in St.Louie

Feeling good aboot the win the other night? Yea, me too. Feeling apprehensive aboot tonight? Well, we wouldn't be the 19 if we didn't. We face the Blues tonight and I for one would like to leave St.Louis on a high note. The Blues are riding high on a five game winning streak and it would please all Wing's fans, ( especially 19 of them) to burst that bubble.

The Wings have been dealt a bit of bad luck in the injury department with Howie out, but, Mrazek is looking confident and that really helps the Team.

For now, Razer is our starter, Uncle Mike has managed to find lines that have some chemistry, NyQuill got back on the board the other night, and Pulkkinen is looking good.

So, meet me in St.Louie to get er' done, and close out this road trip with a win.

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Detroit Red Wings vs. St. Louis Blues Preview And Notes

via Louie Korac at NHL.com,

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues, once longtime division rivals, play for the first time. Justin Abdelkader scored twice, Pavel Datsyuk assisted on two goals, and Petr Mrazek made 23 saves when the Red Wings shut out the Blues 3-0 in the 2013-14 regular-season finale.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit is ending a six-game trip; it's 3-2-0 after a 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday. Mrazek made 25 saves, is 6-3-1, and will get the bulk of the work until Jimmy Howard (groin) returns in 2-4 weeks. "We can't be happier with the way [Mrazek's] playing," defenseman Kyle Quincey told reporters. "We're confident going forward he can keep playing well for us." Forward Johan Franzen (upper body), defenseman Jakub Kindl (elbow), backup goalie Jonas Gustavsson (shoulder) and forward Tomas Jurco (back) are injured.

Blues team scope: St. Louis on Wednesday announced goalie Martin Brodeur has been granted a one-week leave of absence, likely to decide what his future holds. The Blues are riding their third win streak of at least five games this season after a 4-2 victory against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. But the Blues trail the Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division. "We've won five in a row and made up no ground," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "That's the shock for me. You win five in a row and you just keep pace with what's above you. It's a tough league." Left wing Steve Ott (flu) is questionable. Goalie Brian Elliott will start.

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Let’s Talk Local Coverage Of The Detroit Red Wings


As many of us know, the Wings do not get much media coverage, especially on radio of TV locally, but we also know many of those talking abou the Wings really do not know much about them.

So with that, do you want to hear about more coverage on the Wings from that standpoint or are you like me and just assume the Wings will never be the main topic of interest unless something big happens?

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It All Depends on Babcock

Expecting words of encouragement? I got nothin'. An upbeat take on a rookie goalie? Nope. As much as I like Razer, he is learning the ropes in the toughest way possible.

Will he shine ala' a Ken Dryden, or Patrick Roy? Well, we are all aboot to find out.

As it has been in the past, the Wings have their backs up against the wall and must figure out how to win and stay competitive in an all too tight conference. We have to ride Mrzaek until Gus or Howie returns so, Babcock had better make a Gold Medal effort, to do the absolute best coaching of his career. He has enough players with the talent and skill to help make this as easy as they can on our new starter. 

It all depends on Babcock to make sure the Wings execute a winning game plan.

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Detroit Red Wings/Buffalo Sabres Preview And Notes

from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,

After all the Vezina and Hart trophies, after No Goal and the killer overtime losses in Games Six and Seven against Pittsburgh that finally ended his Buffalo career in 2001, Dominik Hasek forced a trade to Detroit to pursue his Stanley Cup.

It turned out Hasek got two of them, one as the Red Wings’ key man in goal in 2002 and the other as Chris Osgood’s backup in his 2008 swan song to the NHL.

So it’s more than appropriate the Wings will be on the other side of the ice tonight when the No. 39 made famous by The Dominator gets retired to the rafters of First Niagara Center prior to the Sabres’ game against Detroit.

“It’s outstanding,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after his team practiced here Monday. “Dom was involved in two Cups for us, is one of the greatest players to ever play in the game. He dominated the league there for a six-year run. He was flat-out the best player in the league.

“He gave Buffalo an opportunity to win every night. He was an absolute star and did it his own way. I enjoyed Dom a lot when he played in Detroit. He’s a good man.”


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Make It Count

I am still a bit tired from the late starts this week, but, riding high because of the wins. This is the time of the season when the Wings have no choice but to pile up the points. We will be facing a tough schedule next month, so tonight we have to make it count for two more points.

We face the Capitals tonight, and they are coming off a disappointing loss, looking to get back to their recent winning ways. Trots is an all to familiar face that we need to leave behind, wearing a frown.

A pleasant surprise tonight for all Wing's fans is getting to see one more kid in the the line-up named Pulkkinen. I am hoping he will earn his spot and be more than a replacement.

Whatever happens, Teemu Pulkkinen has his chance to play with the big dogs, use his "holy slapper," and make it count.

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Detroit/Washington Preview And Notes

via Brian Hedger at NHL.com,

Season series: The Detroit Red Wings scored three goals in the third period at Verizon Center to win the first game against the Washington Capitals, two by forward Justin Abdelkader. The three-game series will conclude at Joe Louis Arena in the final week of the regular season.

Red Wings team scope: Detroit won back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday during a six-game road trip, but returned home to spend two off days, including practice Friday. Goalie Jimmy Howard will start. The Red Wings placed forward Johan Franzen on injured reserve Thursday with an upper-body injury and second-year forward Tomas Jurco is out with a disc problem in his back. Rookie forward Teemu Pulkkinen was recalled from the Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on Friday to help out. Pulkkinen, who had the most goals in the AHL (20), skated with center Riley Sheahan and forward Drew Miller during practice. "He just seems to be a player who scores and has scored his whole life," coach Mike Babcock said. "So, is he ready to score in the NHL? We're always looking for goals and if he can score, we're happy to have him … plus, he's a right-hand shot."

Capitals team scope: Goalie Braden Holtby will make his 18th consecutive start and 24th straight appearance. His near total domination of playing time led to a couple transactions Friday. Backup goalie Justin Peters, who's made one start since Nov.15, was loaned to the Hersey Bears of the AHL for a conditioning stint to sharpen his game. Rookie Pheonix Copley was recalled from Hersey to be Holtby's backup against Detroit. Holtby, who took the overtime loss Thursday at the Philadelphia Flyers, isn't wilting with the extensive workload. "I think that's one of the benefits I've had of playing in the [AHL]," he said after the game in Philadelphia. "You play every game up here and it's not nearly as hard as playing every two to three down there. Players play 82 [games], so it shouldn't be an excuse for a goalie. I like to play. I'd play every game if I could. But as long we're being successful, that's all I care about."

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Wings’ At The Midway Point Of the NHL Season

from Keith Gave at FoxSports Detroit,

 At the halfway mark of this NHL season, we know two things for sure: The Red Wings can go ahead and print playoff tickets for the 24th straight season; and their fans should brace themselves for something more than another abbreviated post-season run.

The former is a virtual lock if these Wings play even remotely close to their level of consistent excellence they showed in accumulating 53 points through 41 games. And the latter is based on more than wishful thinking.

Maybe General Manager Ken Holland is right (he usually is) when he tells anyone who will listen that we shouldn't be at all surprised by what this team is doing. After all, with essentially the same roster as last season -- only a lot healthier one -- this team is on pace to improve its point production by 13 points over the 93 it earned in 2013-14. That, by the way, was just three points behind a New York Rangers team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals last spring.

To be sure, the stars aligned nicely for the Wings in the first half, when they played 23 of their 41 games at home. They also stayed relatively free of the kind of debilitating injuries to key players that crippled them at times last season.


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After 41 Games

The Wings hit the mid-point of the season last night after beating Calgary in their 41st game of the season.

With that, how do you feel about the current Detroit Red Wings team?

Other than the OT/shootout losses, I am satisfied with the team at this point of the season.

Sure more goals from the now injured Johan Franzen sure would have helped but as we know, Franzen is either hot or not and mostly not this year.

The defense has improved over the season but a veteran defenseman sure would help the overall group.

So what do think of the Wings at the halfway point?

Below is the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference along with Detroit's schedule through February which includes a brutal western swing later in February.

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One More Time

Last night after the Oil scored first I'm sure many of us were thinking same old, same old. However, I can be quite sure all 19 of us were pleasantly surprised when we finally potted a few goals. It was not for lack of effort, maybe the Wing were trying too hard. Anyway, it's two more points and puts a bit of distance between us and them ( our Eastern Conference rivals).

Tonight we will face a pretty decent Calgary Team in a back to back, so we are trapped, like rats. The Flames are ready and waiting to burn us. I would really like to leave our former team mate "unHappy" as we depart the Western Conference.

A WIN is in order. Whether we are riding high on adrenalin from last night's performance, or play the right way, start on time, or possess the puck. Well, you get my drift.

Two more big fat juicy points. One more time.

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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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