Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 11/26/06 at 10:12 AM ET
NASHVILLE - Let’s not dwell on this game by the Red Wings. There’s absolutely no reason anyone should.I'm sorry. What? Oh, I've got some dwelling to do. A dwelling we will go. Dwell I shall and dwell I will. "Let's not dwell on this...". Jesus, you wonder why Kulfan's no longer DD Captain.
A few dwell-worthy items before we chronologically break down last night’s breakdown.
Shea Weber with an elbow to Pavel Datsyuk. Only one of about 20 similar images from last night.
* Why wasn’t Dominik Hasek in net? You want to avoid starting him twice in two nights? Understandable. But you start him against Bubba rather than Friday against St. Louis. You give yourself every chance in a 4-point situation. Nashville had just put up 6 on Vancouver’s backup. You knew they were hot. Vokoun’s out so you put your foot on their throat.
* Chris Chelios. Perhaps the worst game I’ve seen him play. Beaten in every conceivable way and beaten against a team he traditionally gets up for. If Chelios hates losing to one player in particular, it’s Paul Kariya. Balboa’s little sister was just one guy who turned Chelios inside out last night.
* Pavel Datsyuk. Bring your agent back to town Pavel. Kenny’s got that 6mil/year deal all ready to go. 3 goals in 22 games. Cornerstone of the franchise.
* Heart. The Wings had just lost 4 in a row, the last three in gut wrenching fashion. They’re facing the only real rival they have left, a team the Wings have to consider a true threat to the division crown; and they bring that to the table.
* Bubba’s one of the fastest teams in the league, so let’s go ahead and scratch Lebda and play Lilja.
So, Ted says we shouldn’t dwell. I prefer to go in a different direction.
The Red Wings need a little shake-up right now.
More on that in a bit.
After a few days of rumors that Hasek might get back-to-back starts, Joey MacDonald gets the start. Vokoun’s out two-to-six weeks with a torn thumb ligament. Two-to-six weeks? Is that the kind of exact science medicine has become in Nashville? Arnott’s also out three-to-six (oh…much better) with a knee. Bubba’s wearing his baby-poop colored third jersey.
Cleary, Maltby and Draper start out for the Wings. Good call. Better put a quick end to that pesky scoring streak. How? Put Cleary between Drapes and Maltby. That’ll finish it. A nice grind line? Yes. Expecting any points? Nope.
We can and do expect points from Hank Zetterberg, though. On a rush with Lang, Zetterberg goes top shelf from between the circles, beating Mason for his 8th. And with that goal, at 11:25 of the first, the Wing highlight package for the evening comes to a tidy close.
Six minutes later Draper goes for tripping. 45 seconds after that, Maltby joins him. Two men down with your two best penalty-killing forwards in the box. Encouraging. The Zen-like Pete Weber tells us Bubba hasn’t scored with a 5-3 all year. As Terry Crisp explains to the 6-person Nashville tv audience what a 5-on-3 is, Timonen goes 5-hole and we’re tied.
Tomas Vokoun joins Pete and Terry in the box to start the second. Struggling through broken english, Vokoun is still the best broadcaster of the three. Zetterberg goes for hooking, Hartnall for holding the stick, then Suter for cross checking. Wings end up with two straight power plays and sleep through both.
And now the fun starts. Let me try to put this as succinctly as possible: Dumont, Radulov, Zidlicky, Hartnall. Odd man rush, deflection, back door, deflection: 4 goals on 5 shots. 5-1.
“That’s a real tough effort for our team, we’re real disappointed with that,’’ Babcock said.
Us too. But no dwelling.
After Radulov’s punt made it by MacDonald (the backup who shouldn’t have been starting), we may have expected to see a goalie change, if there was a goalie on the bench who the Wings could bring in without first undergoing three hours of stretching and six groin massages. Not a chance. Not last night. Not ever. Hasek’s a figurehead when he’s not starting, and we all know it.
Let me tell you something else about Radulov’s goal and why that was the game right there. It was Bubba’s 3rd goal. And 3 goals against Detroit in 2006 equals certain victory. The Wings have given up 3+ goals in 9 games this year and lost 8. The Wings have scored 3+ goals three frigging times. If you’re scoring at home the rest of the year, put a little asterisk next to the opposition’s third goal, or just go to bed. Because, unless the Wings find some offense soon, comebacks are going to be a rarity.
Woops. I got so excited typing there for a second that I almost missed Bubba’s sixpack. There goes Erat by a flailing Chelios. Kariya one-times it past MacDonald. The Enigma netted his 200th career goal a few minutes into the third, but even Tammy Fae Bakker sitting behind the Wings’ bench (anybody see her? Striking resemblance) knows it’s over.
Detroit Free Press/George Sipple
“Tonight, you can’t leave here as a coach or as a player and not be disappointed,” Babcock said.
What the Hell was that? I have no idea how a team comes out that flat, against that team.
Daily Tennessean/John Glennon
“I know that me and (Steve Sullivan) were saying on the way to the rink that this just might be the first time we were ever leading Detroit in the division when we played,’’ Predators captain Kimmo Timonen said. “Everybody knew it was an important game — a four-point game — and I think it showed on the ice.’‘
Back to Khan(!)‘s blog entry from last night. He’s of the opinion changes need to be made and made immediately. Correctly, he points out offense is a definite concern, but recommends sending Filpulla down, MacDonald down, calling Norton or Bootland up, rolling three lines instead of four.
Temporary measures. All of them. Look. Were the Wings as good as the 9-gamer made them out to be? Maybe not. Are they as inept as they showed us last night, or the previous three games? Let’s hope not. But the reality is this: We’re at the quarter pole and cannot score. Datsyuk has apparently been found out. Shea Weber violated him all night. In fact, the Wings were generally beat down again.
More reality: Detroit sits in 6th, but behind them are Minnesota, Colorado, Vancouver and Calgary. Any or all of whom are playing better, and could easily slide up.
Last night was the exception as far as goals allowed. We won’t see too much more of that. But it was the rule where production is concerned. A six-game downward trend is one thing. The first quarter of a season is another. Three games with 3 or more goals. One game with multiple power play goals. 8 goals from your leading scorer. 3 from Datsyuk. 3 from Williams. 3 from Samuelsson. This isn’t a slump. It’s not going to be solved by line changes or fine-tuning.
Two choices: stand pat, hope and wait for July and the Second Summer of Ken. Or deal now. And you know who.
3 goals after 22 games. No progress in recent negotiations. UFA on July 1st. No indication that he can score when it counts. The last clutch Wing to wear #13 was Slava Kozlov. I’m betting Datsyuk’s on the block.
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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: email@example.com