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Abel to Yzerman

12 Hours Out Of Mackinaw City The Gales of November Came Slashin

Watching the Wings come back from an 0-3 deficit last year was one of the most exciting weeks of our lives.  It was stunning and it was incredible.  Those three games reminded us of just how good this team can be when everything is going right.  Health, chemistry, goaltending, strong pharmaceutical work.  For a week they were brilliant. 

Do I think that could happen again? 3 straight wins against a team not quite as good as the one Detroit roared back against last year? 

No, I don’t think it will.

I believe what I said back when we wondered where the Wings would finish. This is the matchup we didn’t want because it’s the kind of team that has traditionally given the Wings problems in the playoffs.  A great goaltender and a slow-down style bound to frustrate every one of us.  We knew we’d outshoot them, probably outskate them and in the dark places we all knew there was dangerous potential for the kind of sadness only we know.  Anaheim, Edmonton, Calgary, LA, San Jose, New Fuching Jersey. All ugly, tragic losses from our past that proved that it takes so much more than just talent to do this.  There are variables in the years we win.  Dallas Drake or Larry Murphy, vengeance and redemption.  Grind lines and aging goalies that remind us of Nicklas in ‘86.

It’s not our year, folks. The intangibles aren’t there. The variables are missing.  Would Darren Helm have made a big difference? I believe so. I think his speed and his tenacity and his godlike playoff touch would have made a big difference.  And I believe that when he went down the Wings deflated more than a little.

And here’s where it gets weird.  I’m ok with it. I’m ok because my expectations, for the first time in forever, were not high. 

We’re going to Live Blog this bitch and it’s going to be fine.  We’ll bid farewell to our boys and look to the summer when Tick Tock will remind us all why he’s our savior.  Nick will stay and Helm will heal.  Parise will join because he knows this is the system and the franchise that was made for his talents.  And there will be others. Oh yes there will.  The Wings will not re-build. They will re-stock and re-load.

But that’s later. Today we will not bitch about Franzen loafing.  We’ll laugh about it because it’s defined us for the last sixty days.  We’ll remember that Jiri Hudler’s a karoake artist with a weakness for back-biting hookers.  We’ll think back to 2008 when Big Jonny Ericsson was on everyone’s list, including my wife’s.  We’ll watch Pavel Datsyuk even closer tonite because we know it could very well be the last time we’ll see that kind of brilliance for the next six months.  And I’m not even going to get into why we’ll be watching The Perfect Human just as closely.

And, once again, as one we’ll look at the Nashville crowd with wonder and remark just how incredible it is that so many stupid people can fit into one building for one purpose and still have absolutely no idea what it is they’re watching. 

It’s over tonite, folks.  I’m pretty sure we all know it. And if it’s not?  Well, shit.  Wouldn’t that be good.  Because if tonite doesn’t signal the end, well, we’ve got ourselves a chance.

Here’s your Live Blog, bitches.  Make it a keeper.

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Rumbear's avatar

Jeebus, jumping, Mickey Redmond on a pogo stick, on ice…..

I am a Wings fan. If they draft the Northern Michigan Wimmens Curling team and make them the starters…..I am STILL a Wings fan. It’s what I am.  It’s who I am. My bicycle was RED, my car has been RED, my boat has been RED, hell, I fly a plane that is RED. Fricking legends play here. TPH? IF the Wings will have you back for another year, lace em up olde sport.  Anything else is just blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah…

Check out my swagger, bitches.  RED WINGS. Two words…........

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, Czech out my recliner..... on 04/22/12 at 04:15 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Ken Holland believes they can be a playoff team.  Well that’s nice.
“I believe we can be a playoff team, and any playoff team has a chance.’‘
The Red Wings have 16 players under one-way contracts for 2012-13 at the salary-cap figure of $42.3 million (figure listed is the cap hit, not necessarily the actual salary):

Assuming they resign Helm and Abdelkader, there’s your 4 lines.  They could jettison one/any of Miller, Mursak, and Emmerton.  Need to replace Hudler’s high goal count. And much more.

Forwards (10)
Pavel Datsyuk $6.7 million
Henrik Zetterberg $6.083 million
Johan Franzen $3.95 million
Valtteri Filppula $3.0 million
Danny Cleary $2.8 million
Todd Bertuzzi $2.075 million
Patrick Eaves $1.2 million
Drew Miller $837,000
Jan Mursak $550,000
Cory Emmerton $533,000

Defensemen (4)
Niklas Kronwall $4.75 million
Jonathan Ericsson $3.25 million
Ian White $2.875 million
Jakub Kindl $883,000

Jimmy Howard $2.25 million
Joey MacDonald $550,000

Restricted free agents
(with 2011-12 salary)
Kyle Quincey ($3.125 million)
Darren Helm ($912,500)
Justin Abdelkader ($787,500)

Unrestricted free agents
Nicklas Lidstrom
Brad Stuart
Jiri Hudler
Tomas Holmstrom
Ty Conklin

Posted by RWBill on 04/22/12 at 11:07 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

Bob Loblaw Law Blog

Posted by RWBill on 04/22/12 at 11:30 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

What would be a good exercise is to go back to last May and see the remarks by a few about how the Wings need to emulate the Sharks, who were the better organization, who were heading in the right direction and leaving Detroit behind, who had the better coach, a team we couldn’t compete with, bobloblaw.

Be careful of similar, inaccurate knee-jerk reactions this year.

Posted by RWBill from the Land of 12 in 12. on 04/21/12 at 10:25 PM ET

I can’t speak for anyone else, but the frustrating thing about that is, as poor as the Sharks were for most of the season and in the playoffs, Detroit still doesn’t match up well against them at all.  The problem remains that their top six forwards are simply bigger and more skilled than ours.  Let’s put it this way, Bertuzzi and Hudler don’t even get a sniff of top six minutes on that team, and Filppula would be borderline.  Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen are all talented enough to compete with them, but Pavel and Hank are both significantly smaller than any of the San Jose forwards, and Moose who has both size and skill, also apparently has some deeper issues of his own that have already been pretty much beaten to death by now.

Beyond that I’ve never for a second believed that the Shark’s organization was in any way on par with the Wings and frankly wouldn’t want Doug Wilson anywhere near our front office.  My frustration lies in the fact that the need to improve up front was obvious three seasons ago and still hasn’t been addressed.  Unlike KH, I’m pretty sure Doug Wilson would have done something about it by now, I just don’t see anything in his history that says it necessarily would have been the right thing.

I’ve said all along that what the Wings need isn’t a major overhaul and I think all the “fire the coach” and “fire the GM” bullshit is way over the top.  While I think they failed in a major way this season, and I think a lot of the criticism about failing to address certain roster needs is totally valid, I still think, as I’ve said all along, this team is only realistically only two or three key players away from being a serious cup contender.  Given the salary cap room they stand to have this summer, that’s not exactly out of reach.

If they can bring in a key free agent or two (hell let’s dream big and say they do get both and Suter—I also think they already have a top-six forward in Nyquist who’s primed and ready to break out next year) then how could you possibly not rank this team among the favorites next year?  To me, the yardstick will be when I see guys like Cleary and Bert permanently relegated to third or fourth line duties.  A bottom six consisting of Helm, Miller, Eaves, Abdelkader, Cleary and Bertuzzi with guys like Emmerton, Mursak and possibly Tatar pushing them hard for ice time, would mean that the Wings are once again a deep, dangerous team.

All of that is of course assuming that Nick Lidstrom comes back for one last shot at the big prize, so I guess until that part of the puzzle is resolved, we just sit and wait.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/22/12 at 01:22 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Follow up to my previous comments:

One of the comments being heard from Shark fans today in the wake of their being eliminated last night just 24 hours after Detroit is that Doug Wilson has finally succeded in his goal of becoming just like the Red Wings.

That’s hysterical and all, but for some reason I just can’t seem to picture those eleven Stanley Cup championship banners and that impressive group of Hall of Famer’s jersey numbers hanging from the rafters of the Shart Tank. 

Dream on Shart fans.  Try as you might, even in our lowest moments, you’ll never have it this good.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 04/22/12 at 01:37 PM ET

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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