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Abel to Yzerman

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,

I was watching a lot of hockey back in those days. I can tell you I never saw a unit move together the way the Russian Five did. Maybe a line. Maybe two guys who knew each other well. But never all five players at once. The defensemen melded with the forwards. The center and wings blurred together. The “Ov’s,” as they were known, skated a version of the Harlem Globetrotters’ weave that would leave basketball fans cheering.

In their hands, the puck was as safe as a cub under the belly of the biggest lion in the jungle. As Ken Holland told the media many times, most nights with the Russian Five, it wasn’t whether the Wings were going to win or not, but by how much. They held onto the puck forever. Sometimes you’d wonder if they were ever going to move forward, so meticulous were they in establishing the perfect path up the ice.


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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