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More Grades

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Here are the final grades, based on performance vs. expectations.

Justin Abdelkader

GP: 75, G: 13, A: 22, PT: 35

Contract: Five years remaining at a $4.25 million cap hit.

He improved from a year ago but didn’t reach the level from the previous two seasons due to a lack of consistency. The club was hoping for 20 goals. He led the team in hits, though a fractured cheek bone that forced him to wear a face shield earlier in the season might have limited some of his abrasiveness and physicality.

Grade: C+

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Right Move To Retain Holland And Blashill?

from Jamie Samuelsen at the Detroit Free Press,

I’m not going to convince you that the decision to retain Ken Holland and Jeff Blashill is the right one or the wrong one. The gathering storm to oust Holland started years ago. Two straight years of missing the playoffs only makes that storm louder and stronger. I’ve long argued that Holland doesn’t get nearly enough credit for revamping the payroll on the fly after the 2005 lockout and rebuilding the team around Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg to win the Stanley Cup in 2008. But I also agree that his draft picks, free agent signings, and perhaps worst of all, contract extensions have been mostly disasters in the last six years.

The most common complaint that you hear about Holland is that he’s too loyal to his players, he has stunted the development of his younger players and that he waited far too long to end the Red Wings quest for the playoffs when it was clear that they were no longer contenders for the Stanley Cup even though they were still contenders for a low playoff seed.

The final argument is 100 percent valid. The thought of “just getting in and seeing what happens” stayed around longer than it should have. It was bolstered by the 25-season playoff streak, the seven-game loss to the Blackhawks in 2013 and the seven-game loss to the Lightning 2015.


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Dominic Turgeon Out While Undergoing Treatment For Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday announced that center Dominic Turgeon will be out of the lineup indefinitely while undergoing treatment for thoracic outlet syndrome, which caused a blood clot affecting his right arm that was diagnosed yesterday prior to the team’s road game against the Texas Stars.

Dr. Ryan Turley performed a procedure to alleviate the clot Wednesday evening at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center in Round Rock, Texas. Turgeon is scheduled for another procedure today before a consultation next week in Tampa, Fla., with Dr. Karl Illig, who successfully treated Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos for a similar condition two years ago.

It is expected that Turgeon will resume his playing career after making a full recovery. Further updates on his condition and prognosis will be provided as warranted.

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‘A’ Grade Players

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

Here are the final grades for 2017-18: 

Tyler Bertuzzi A

Key stats: 7 goals, 17 assists in 48 games.

The buzz: What a delight to watch. Hardnosed, smart, goes to the net and scores. Does little things to keep plays alive. Worked his way into the top-six mix and power-play time. Imagine what a big summer in the gym will do for him next season.

Jimmy Howard A-

Key stats: 22-27-9 with a 2.85 GAA, .910 save percentage in 60 games.

The buzz: Gave teammates a chance to win most games. Ended up starting 57 games because of Petr Mrazek’s first-half struggles and Coreau’s second-half struggles. Howard did what he could to make team successful.

Dylan Larkin A

Key stats: 16 goals, 47 assists in 82 games.

The buzz: Led the team in scoring most of the season. Made linemates better, developed his all-around game, showed a shiftiness to his skating, and played both special teams. High-character guy with strong sense of self-motivation. Future captain material. Showed tremendous growth overall.


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You Have To Do It Every Game Andreas

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

Asked if his compete level has been where it should be, Athanasiou said, "I think I can compete at a high level. I think I can compete in playoffs. I kind of showed that the last time we were in the playoffs (2016) when I got in that Tampa series. I think competing at a high level is very important. There's a lot of times where the stage is big here and you have to compete on that level, and I think I do a really good job of competing on the big stage and at the highest level."

Not consistently enough to suit the team.

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Fixing The Front Office

from Craig Custance of The Athletic,

“Could we use another person that’s got that experience to join us?” Holland said. “Certainly that’s something I’m considering and thinking about.”

Holland didn’t specify in which area, outside of experience, he’s looking. And it’s a bit of a tricky situation. It’s fairly easy to take your former players and move them into the front office. It’s a bit of a gray area as to whether the Red Wings can try to poach talent from other organizations through a promotion in title....

“You have to bring in somebody you like and trust,” said the Western Conference executive. “You have to be a little bit careful there. Most guys won’t do it, but if you have a guy who has any inkling they can take the job, you can get in trouble in a hurry.”

more (paid subscription)

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Video- See You Next Season Hockeytown

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Blashill And Mantha Talk It Out

from Will Burchfield of 97.1 TheTicket,

In Blashill's quest to turn Mantha into a star, the kind of star the Red Wings can build around up front, the coach pushed the young forward away. He alienated him.

For Mantha, a supremely-skilled 23-year-old still finding his way in the NHL, the seemingly constant rebukes were difficult to swallow. At times, his mom would call, wondering why her son was a favorite target of the head coach. It's part of hockey, Mantha would tell her. Not wanting to create any drama, either in the locker room or in the media, Mantha kept his head down and continued to work.

But Blashill's dissatisfaction nagged at him. It wasn't so much dispiriting as it was perplexing. Oftentimes, Mantha didn't understand the root of his coach's frustration. He didn't understand where he had gone wrong.

Finally, midway through this season, Mantha sought answers.

"The one thing he said to me was, 'Can you show me? Can you show me what you’re talking about?'" Blashill recalled. "And I said, 'Absolutely.'"

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In The Middle Of A Rebuild Plus The Russian Five

from John Niyo of the Detroit News,

Nobody in the Red Wings dressing room wanted to be there Tuesday. Not like this, anyway. Not like last year, when the tradition-rich franchise’s 25-year playoff streak ended and a new reality finally started to dawn.

But better now than later, they agree. And better late than never, right?

“Eventually, there’s no other way than to start to rebuild,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “And we’re right in the middle of it.”

Well, that’s the hope, at least, one that his eventual successor, Dylan Larkin, one of the few bright spots in a dreary, 73-point hockey season in Detroit, echoed as he stood in front of his locker, taking note of his surroundings inside Little Caesars Arena.

“You look all around this building, and there’s reminders of the past and the Stanley Cups and the great players,” Larkin said. “And as a young player in this organization, I want that.”


from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press on the Russian Five,

Continue Reading »

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What Direction Are The Wings Headed?

from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,

Standing amid the tatters of a misused season and asked to consider the Red Wings’ final game, which included yet another multiple-goal lead blown in yet another one-goal loss, Henrik Zetterberg said, “Well, we’ve seen this before.”

Then, Zetterberg apologized for the performance of the team this season. An owner, Christopher Ilitch, pleaded for patience Saturday, and extended GM Ken Holland’s contract two years. Holland announced Tuesday coach Jeff Blashill will be back for the fourth year of his contract.

And the defensemen are likely, still, to have trouble next season getting the puck out of the Wings’ zone. It is a problem daunting them since the start of the “rebuild on the fly” after Nicklas Lidstrom retired in 2012.

The Red Wings are stuck, mired in inconsistency between a successful past and whatever the future holds.


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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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