Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 03/05/13 at 11:55 AM ET
Draper. Gilchrist. Dallas Drake and hell, how about Darryl LaPlante? Checking forwards, or at least forwards we expected little offense out of, right?
Now you can add Pavel Datsyuk to that list. Finally, after a decade, the Wings have finally figured out how to use this man. It's been frustrating, hasn't it? We've watched him for years, constantly wondering..."who is going to get the most out of this little manchild with so much talent but so little to show for it?" So much skill unrealized, eh?
Well...Mike Babcock has cracked that nut and it's time we all bought in.
Pavel Datsyuk is a checking line center, by god, and he's going to be the best checking line center he can be because that's what our Uncle Mike demands.
That's got to be it, right? Babcock's decided that with this young defense and with all the injuries, it's up to Pavel by God Datsyuk to provide the kind of grit we used to see out of the Drapers and the Kocurs, the Maltbys, even the Verbeeks.
"It's been so damn...frustrating," Babcock said Monday night via text message to Helene St. James. "We've tried for years to just place him in positions to succeed, but we've failed. It's been our fault. We've never known how to use Datsyuk. Now we do. It's such a relief. It's liberating, really...I feel like I'm floating in this cloud, this puffy cloud of smartness and velvety warm gentle smartness. We've made him a checking line center."
For the record, I made that quote up.
Justin Abdelkader has not registered a single point since February 7th. That's 12 games ago. That's when his point streak stopped. A point streak that lasted one game. He has one point this season. And that's ok because we've always expected that out of Abdelkader...zero points. An average of like 1.2 shots per game. It's precisely what we expected when he was re-signed for 1.8 million dollars per year. That comes out to like .0007 goals per one hundred thousand dollars per every two seasons when you pro-rate that to include this year's circus brought to you by the dwarf with the whip and the leather chaps.
But don't worry about the points because he's not expected to score when he's playing alongside the best checking center in hockey. Pavel Datsyuk is the new Sami Pahlsson, except he scores a little less if you use The Babcock Solution as a sample size.
Look. Don't argue with Uncle Mike. Don't. He knows what he's doing. You take the most talented player in the world and you stash him on a line with a guy who's making 2.8 in a contract year who's shown glimpses of scoring ability back in, like, '79. And you put Justin Abdelkader on the other side of him because he's making 1.8 for THE NEXT FOUR YEARS and then, because it's getting fun now, eh?...THEN you take these two frigging dynamos--Tatar and Andersson--and you just know, because you're a hockey coach, that they were fuching BORN to put the puck in the net and what do you do with them? By all means you AVOID PLACING THEM IN POSITIONS TO SUCCEED...Yes. That's it.
It's just basic leadership is what it is.
And it all works because the plan has finally, you know, come together. And we all love it when that happens. Finally, a spot for the true Enigma...Pavel Datsyuk. Just when it looked like all hope was lost, Mike Babcock has put 13 in a place where he can just be who he was born to be....a checker. A mucker. Pavel the Grinder.
It has such a ring to it.
End the experiment, Mike. You look like a dumbass.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org