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Abel to Yzerman

Downriver Puck Bunnies Rejoicing

Well, it took eight months and it featured a humiliating admission from Dominik Hasek, and a two-game collapse that could have organ-I-zational consequences.  But Chris Osgood’s your starter and if there’s one thing I know it’s this:  nothing about this should make you feel anything but really frigging sick.

Does that mean the decision’s wrong? No.  Does it mean the Wings can’t win this series? Nope.

All I’m saying is that switching starting goalies in the middle of a playoff series is a desperate move, one of admission and definitely one of weakness.

But none of that makes it the wrong move. 


“Last 60 minutes, worst hockey I’ve played in my life. ... I feel very bad about myself.’‘

Yep.  That’s Hasek and let me say this: I’ve been wrong about him the entire year. Every time I suspect he’s about to completely lose it and flip out at the idea of riding shotgun to Osgood, he surprises me.

Wojo The Wing Guy

“It’s disappointing, but the coaches believe they made the best decision,” Hasek said. “I feel great. I want to be ready, and if it comes to my time, I’ll be back. But right now, it’s Ozzie’s time.”

Yeah. “Right now” would be the rest of the playoffs, Dom.  “Ozzie’s time”?  Next year too.  Get used to it Wing fans. Chris Osgood’s your starter tonite, for as long as this playoff “run” lasts, and come next October?  Yep. He’s your starter then too.

Does this qualify as a “controversy”?  I’ve been calling for one all year so you’d think I’d be leading that charge.  Now, because it’s kinda what I do, I’m gonna go ahead and say this is pretty much the furthest thing from a goalie controversy we’ve seen in Detroit the last six years.

Because Uncle Mike had no choice. None. 

Three goals on 14 shots? I don’t care if every one was a laser, high to the blocker side, screened by two large Nashville women smoking Camels.  By now we’re all aware that the fuel driving Bubba’s rejuvenation is emotion and that emotion is driven by the knowledge that Dominik Hasek isn’t going to steal anything.  There is no intimidation, no aura, no mystique.  Just an old guy playing mediocre to poor hockey.


“I just told Dom to get on the ice, get some work done, get your game back. We plan on having a long run here, so be ready.”

Ready for what?  A whole lot of nothing. Hasek’s not going to see the ice the rest of this series, that’s for sure. 

The question, of course, is whether any of this matters one frigging bit.  Yes, Hasek’s play has been poor.  But there are other issues that loom a little larger, at least to me.

This two-goal thing, this absolute train wreck of a trend…is that just goaltending?  Do lapses like that fall independently on Hasek’s shoulders?  Or is it something that a little leadership couldn’t solve?  If the Wings choke the rest of this series away, and that’s what it would be—a monumental choke—fingers need to be straightened and pointed at the men who are supposed to lead this team.

Mike Babcock and Nick Lidstrom.  Will Babcock be fired if the Wings lose?  No.  Will Lidstrom’s status as one of the greatest defensemen ever suffer? No.  But accountability’s a funny thing. Ha-ha funny? No.  Weird funny.  Past Red Wing captains have been in similar situations.  I can recall one who made a speech in St. Louis, another who dragged Sergei Fedorov’s ass off the trainer’s table in Denver.  I think there was one more who played through some minor knee issues some year close to the turn of the century.

I’m not in “the room.”  So I have no idea if Lidstrom, or any of the vets, have discussed what a wasted opportunity a series loss would be.  It’s my understanding, though, that captains do that kind of stuff.

Is this a disaster, this two-game unraveling?  No.  Recoverable? Of course.  Now, naturally, tonite’s a must win.  Any kind of win would be kinda cool.  But the preferred method?  Damn, I’d give a nut for a blowout.  A statement-making reminder of who holds the upper hand in this particular relationship.  Give me a game that sees goals from Filppula and Samuelsson, a dirty one from Homer and a blast from Lidstrom.  Give me two power play goals and a Downey brawl with Tootoo.

But I’m getting off the subject, eh?  Osgood’s got a shot here, and it’s a shot that is hard to envision considering our current mental state (when I say “our” I mean you and me).  But there’s a chance Osgood can pick this team up and carry them a few games.  He played well, really well, in Game 4.  The whole team, in fact, played desperately well the last period and a half.  I think their confidence is high based on that.

My confidence?  Oh, we don’t need to talk about that right now.  Let’s just say it’s in a state of flux.  It’s a game-by-game thing at this point. 


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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