Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

The Summer of Ken Starts Now

Interesting that Nashville and Philadelphia both lost in five games, to teams they were favored to beat, after defeating their “rivals” in Round 1.  I can’t speak for Philly too much because I really don’t care about them.  But I can say this for Bubba. They wanted to beat the Wings so bad, and dedicated so much energy toward that perverse once-in-a-generation event, that winning the next round was almost impossible. 

No team from Nashville, or St. Louis for that matter, has the institutional or organizational focus required to win four rounds.  They just don’t. Beat the Wings: moral victory, breathe easy. Win the Central: amazing accomplishment that should satisfy Blues fans for decades to come.

There is no “next step”.  Like legendary coach Norman Dale (a retired Chief Petty Officer, by the way) said in “Hoosiers”, going that “next step” is beyond their wildest dreams. So let’s just leave it right there.  Ken Hitchcock is no Norman Dale.  David Perron is no Jimmy Chitwood and Hickory convenience stores don’t sell Pall Malls and Swank magazine to minors so Blues fans wouldn’t even consider a visit. 

St. Louis and Nashville management never realistically established the Stanley Cup as their ultimate goal.  Sure, a Cup would have been amazing. But in the dark rooms where real men talk about things that don’t sound stupid? The only goal each team had was to somehow beat the Wings: to take their division crown and/or beat them in a series.  That would satisfy a Blues fan base that has never experienced anything close to an edge over Detroit and a Nashville contingent that has never been shy about pointing to Detroit as not only a benchmark but a nearly unreachable standard.

And now everyone’s surprised that these two teams are gone?  Really?  These weren’t Cup winners.  They were Wing beaters for a year, a year that saw the most inconsistent play from a Detroit team in decades. The planets aligned and fans in Nashville and St. Louis saw their fantasies realized.  But a Cup?  Too tall an order. Way too tall.

40 years to build a winner and they still can’t do it.  While the Wings have a legacy of excellence, St. Louis falls back on a history of chokes and disappointment.  That’s just reality. Sorry.

Nashville doesn’t have the cash or the commitment to build a Cup winner.  15 players are restricted or UFA and they’ll be leaving in droves because as the cap raises (until Gary locks them out again), the likelihood of a Predator making top dollar is wacked.  Suter’s gone because he knows the money will be there in Detroit (or Pittsburgh…they’ll make a bid, too) along with an annual chance at a Cup. Not just a chance to make the playoffs, or even win a round.  A chance to lift the Cup every year and make about 8 million per season to do it.

It’s not just me.  There are blogs out there, writers who do it to write, not for clicks and search engine ads, who agree. 

On Frozen Blog

I think of the exceptionally well managed Devils and Red Wings as regal serial killers in our sport. They are seldom associated as undisciplined trappers. As such, they serially win Stanley Cups.

The Devils, we thought about six months ago, were in some manner of rebuild. Turns out, that rebuild lasted about a year. Soon the Red Wings will have to endure Nick Lidstrom’s retirement, and not long after, the departures of other key contributors to their numerous championship caliber teams. And yet I haven’t the slightest doubt that they’ll reload in short order.

That record 23-game home winning streak the Wings carried off this season, it struck me as a bit of an odd pursuit while it was happening. Don’t the seriously aging Wings realize it does them little good to go gangbusters in the regular season, I remember wondering? Then I recalled a reflection from Ken Dryden in his classic book The Game, of his iconic ’76-’77 Montreal Canadiens club, Cup winners that year who played 80 regular season games and lost a grand total of 8 of them. Dryden said that beginning with that season’s very first exhibition game in September that Canadiens team simply desperately wanted to win every game they played. Desperately. That’s the Red Wings of the past 15 or so years to me. You watch them play in Columbus on a Tuesday night in February and they skate like their lives are at stake.

It’s a cultural thing. And it breeds a serial killer mentality, I think.

Great post, even minus the ironic serial killer reference—which I obviously dig. Read the whole thing and you’ll see that what we’ve been discussing for years has legs.  It’s an institutional mindset to relentlessly hunt the Cup.  February 28th was supposed to re-affirm that hunger. We were supposed to go to bed that day reminded that Tick Tock would do anything possible.  Instead he did so little that you have to now believe that it was the summer he had his eye on. This summer.  The real Summer of Ken.  Parise and Suter.  Did you read last week that Mark Howe had been to 61 Devils the past two years?

61 games.  To scout one player. To scout a player everyone already knew was really good.  The Wings want this guy, maybe worse than any free agent they’ve ever chased.  Hossa was easy. He came to Kenny.  Hull, Robitaille?  They were accents on an already amazing team.  Who else? Krupp?  Joseph?  Neither panned out but they were huge pickups at the time.  But none of them rival the need we have for a player of Parise’s skill, leadership, fire, youth…it’s all there and we damn well want it.  Holland’s been hunting this kid for, literally, years.  You think St. Louis was thinking of Parise two years ago?  Shit. 

Money to burn and spots to fill, Kenny.  And there is no limit.  What are we looking at, 26 million?  Spend it.  Spend eighteen of it on these two guys: Parise and Suter.  Jesus, we’re talking about a foundation on any other team.  Maybe even on this one.  Spend twenty if you have to. This summer cannot carry with it a trade-deadline attitude.  There is no “the demands were too high” or “we like our team” bullshit.  There has never been, nor will there be again, a better opportunity to make this team that much better for that much longer.

Start now.  Start the back-channel chit chat.  Keep it all informal. Nothing over email. No letters or telegraphs, texts or faxes.  Phone calls. In person, coincidental meanderings and meetings.  Find out where their agents are going to be and go all Roger Sterling on their asses.  This isn’t Creative we’re talking about. This is Accounts.  Get ‘em in the door and then spring Don Draper on them.

It’s summers like these that separate the Wings from mostly everyone else, Kenny.  The Blues go after the Jamie Langenbrunners.  The Predators rely on a Bettman hand-job to let them dive into the KHL long after the established deal deadline and bring back a guy who, in the end, hurt them much more than helped. 

Detroit sees what they want and spends years establishing the ground work for the kill.  This summer, Kenny.  No vacations.  No golf with Ozzie.  Dual focus on both prey.  Equal attention. Equal money.

Bubba beat the Wings in Round 1 and don’t think for a second that all 25 Predator fans aren’t saying to themselves, “well, at least…”.  St. Louis got swept in the second round.  We’d still be fetal. They’re practically giddy.  That’s practically the best they’ve ever done.  Strong work.  Great summer.

Ken Holland hasn’t won a Cup in four years and the walls are closing in.  That’s the truth.  It’s the truth for him and Mike Babcock.  They understand it and so do we. Four years is too long and this summer’s gonna solve it.

 

 

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Comments

 1 2 >       Next »

SolidTG7's avatar

Good article as always by the Chief, however I have a hard time believing KH makes a run at Weber since he is still a RFA.  He isn’t worth the multitude of picks and money when you can get Suter for just the money.

Posted by SolidTG7 on 05/09/12 at 09:33 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Suter told the Nashville press tonight that wherever he signs this summer, he wants to be there for a very long time.

Tick Tock, Kenny…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/09/12 at 09:34 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

have a hard time believing KH makes a run at Weber since he is still a RFA.

Me either, Solid. Brain fart.  Rectified. Thanks for the assist.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 05/09/12 at 09:38 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Kenny has gotta do something, of course I thought that at the trade deadline too.

Suter would be nice, especially if he can play a season or two with TPH.

Parise is the bigger catch in my mind.  DET forwards were damn near invisible against NSH.  Need more depth - - of course is some of those asses actually showed up . . .

Smooth seas, Sailor,

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 05/09/12 at 11:39 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

I agree, Chief, back up the truck and get those two signed. Show Nick that if he’s going to go out, that he’s going out on top and that we’ll be just fine once he skates off into the sunniset. Tick Tock.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 05/10/12 at 12:35 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Parise has a drive we need badly on the team.  Specifically for the forwards.  Suter has a calmness I think the younger d-players on the team need.  The thought of Suter and Smith pairing send tingles up my leg.

Being able to throw out a PP with Pav, Z and Parise..  Marian who?

I think these two personalities are ones we need in this locker room.  All the pieces fit.  They’re BFF’s, want to be lifelong fixtures, not merceneries, play the game “right”

Anxiously waiting draft day.  I assume that’s when we’ll make a play for one of their rights.. I’d hope at least.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 05/10/12 at 12:36 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

You watch them play in Columbus on a Tuesday night in February and they skate like their lives are at stake.

That’s because the Wings usually find themselves down 3-1 after two periods. smile

I wasn’t sold on Parise before the playoffs began. He just seemed too “small.” And don’t we already have a team full of guys who are 5’11” and 195lbs? But after watching him play full-out every game – plus the way he plays the net-front spot – I can see how he’d be a perfect fit on either Pav or Z’s line.

Get ‘er done, Kenny.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/10/12 at 12:46 AM ET

shanetx's avatar

But after watching him play full-out every game – plus the way he plays the net-front spot – I can see how he’d be a perfect fit on either Pav or Z’s line.

He’s one of those guys that seems to hunger for winning and will throw himself at the net to get it done.

I’m a huge fan.

Plays considerably bigger than he is.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 05/10/12 at 01:46 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Here is one for ya: Get Parise. Now you could possibly have a rolling 4 line sustained forecheck(add helm, eaves, gus) and you get the picture. This will mess with so many teams it’ll be a spectacle to watch.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 05/10/12 at 03:17 AM ET

pgoody's avatar

I think we’re good as is…

Posted by pgoody on 05/10/12 at 03:28 AM ET

pgoody's avatar

Just to throw this out there if we ever get another head coach I want it to be John Tortorella based on his post game pressers alone…

Posted by pgoody on 05/10/12 at 03:49 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

ole Travolta certainly has a way with words….......or lack thereof smile)

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 05/10/12 at 03:56 AM ET

dougie's avatar

I watched the new Blues owner talk about “protecting the traditions”, and honoring the past accomplishments of the franchise, during his speechification today.

To hear him talk, you would think they had just returned from a Stanley Cup parade, as opposed to having been swept in the second round.

Oh, wait. They DID finish ahead of the Wings in the regular season this year. Hang a banner in the rafters!

Posted by dougie on 05/10/12 at 03:12 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

I wasn’t sold on Parise before the playoffs began. He just seemed too “small.” And don’t we already have a team full of guys who are 5’11” and 195lbs? But after watching him play full-out every game – plus the way he plays
Posted by OlderThanChelios

I like Parise, but the Wings sure don’t need another lightweight up front.
Generously listed at 5’11”, but probably would just reach 5’10” if you ignore the lifts in his shoes.
Sure, he played big in the playoffs so far, but he wasn’t playing against the size of some of the WC teams that toss our forwards around like rag dolls.  Also, his great defensive game in the postseason was not his regular season style.  A good defensive forward,  but his postseason play has been outstanding so far.

Kinda bummed, I thought all Philly had to do to win the Cup was replace Pronger with Lilja….

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 05/10/12 at 06:43 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I like Parise, but the Wings sure don’t need another lightweight up front.

I didn’t have a chance to see Parise play during the regular season. But everything I’ve seen in the playoffs would indicate he’s anything but a “lightweight.” He’s aggressive. He’s strong on the puck. And he’s stands his ground in front of the net.

In other words, he’s everything we wanted from Franzen – and didn’t get. So I’m 100% in favor of offering him a cap hit of $6M to $7M. And if his signing encourages his buddy Suter to sign for the same amount, so much the better.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 05/11/12 at 12:45 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Dustin Brown isn’t much bigger, but I know Parise doesn’t hit with freight train power like Brown does.

That said, Parise is a proven performer when it counts.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 05/11/12 at 01:05 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Zach Parise is Darren Helm with finish. It’s incredibly difficult to body somebody off the puck while he’s moving at top speed.

Also, I’m fairly confident that there’s going to be another obstruction crackdown next season, which should really benefit guys like Parise.

Don’t let his size fool you, that rabbit is dynamite.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/11/12 at 01:11 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Further things to ponder re: NAS:

NAS’s greatest accomplishment at the moment is beating a #5 seed in a first round series.

Think about it.  Really think about it.

Posted by Primis on 05/11/12 at 12:49 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/05/10/kane-allegedly-choked-a-girl-uttered-anti-semitic-comments-in-madison/

Totally off topic. Does 20-cent gotta choke a bitch?

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! in ’13

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 05/11/12 at 07:46 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

“See that guy over there?  His name is Ed.  He’s with Dow Corning.  They make expensive glassware, and dishes.  And napalm.” - Roger Sterling.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/11/12 at 08:11 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

In spite of Jimmy D’s statements, which all ring true, about needing to get bigger and tougher, I believe they could really use Parise.  True, HTT, about the size, but if they are going to let Hudler sign somewhere else by default (not offering him market value), then you replace Hudler with another small guy with great legs, hustle, and a real scorer.  In an overused term, he has a great motor.

I said a similar thing a couple of days ago Chief, it may stun us to see the numbers the Wings may sign one or two of these guys with, but that’s what it will take to match what other teams will.

We must break right now the standing rule that no new player will make more than Lidstrom, even if he does come back.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/11/12 at 08:33 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

True, HTT, about the size, but if they are going to let Hudler sign somewhere else by default (not offering him market value), then you replace Hudler with another small guy with great legs, hustle, and a real scorer.
Posted by RWBill

That would be a sideways move and a lot like replacing a Ford tractor with a Ford tractor and expecting it to do the work of a combine.

I just looked over his stats.  If I was NJ (2nd best GM in the NHL) there is no way you could pry him away from me.  He might not last as long a Brodeur, but I would give him the opportunity.
4 pts, and 2 goals every 5 games.  1/4 of them PP and roughly 18% GW’ers,  I think Parise as a Wing may be a wet dream.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 05/11/12 at 09:58 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Hope Kenny does it.  I somehow believe he will.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/12/12 at 09:56 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

HTT, replacing Hudler with Parise is no sideways move.  It’s more like replacing Hudler with a guy who works hard like Helm but can score like Yzerman.  He’s a Captain who leads by example with his work ethic. That’s why it may indeed be a wet dream.

If, like Suter, he’d like to finish his career with the team that he signs his next contract with, we’d like to think that the Red Wings and Southeast Michigan are a great fit for a great NHL hockey family.  Parise can’t comment as he’s still playing.

Suter will sit down with Nashville next week and discuss possibilities.  I still think there are slightly higher odds that Suter and Parise sign with their existing teams.

It’s entirely likely that if Hudler goes to another team we’ll see Brandon Inge type results against the Wings, but if we land a great top 6 forward we could live with that…. 2 games, 2 home runs, 7 RBIs.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/12/12 at 11:54 AM ET

monkey's avatar

Totally off topic. Does 20-cent gotta choke a bitch?

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! in ’13

Off topic?  The son of a bitch should be representing his country at the World Championships, but instead he prefers to get “blackout drunk” and choke girls who are far too smart for him.  Ass.  Hard to believe, but I hate him even more now.

This is what Blackhawks do while their Red Wing colleagues represent their countries in international competition.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 05/12/12 at 11:17 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Wait, I think we have this wrong, that is Kane’s off season training regimen.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 05/12/12 at 11:31 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I just looked over his stats.  If I was NJ (2nd best GM in the NHL) there is no way you could pry him away from me.  He might not last as long a Brodeur, but I would give him the opportunity.
4 pts, and 2 goals every 5 games.  1/4 of them PP and roughly 18% GW’ers,  I think Parise as a Wing may be a wet dream.

We’ll know by July.  Then we’ll criticize after the fact.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 05/12/12 at 11:33 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

This is pretty funny too. Bitches.

http://www.secondcityhockey.com/2012/5/10/3012401/dear-patrick-kane-please-stop-drinking-because-you-suck-at-it

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! in ’13

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 05/12/12 at 11:55 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

The son of a bitch should be representing his country at the World Championships, but instead he prefers to get “blackout drunk” and choke girls who are far too smart for him.  Ass.  Hard to believe, but I hate him even more now.

This is what Blackhawks do while their Red Wing colleagues represent their countries in international competition.

Posted by monkey from lighting my nuts on fire on 05/12/12 at 10:17 PM ET

I don’t even know what I’m looking at there.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 05/13/12 at 02:15 PM ET

Primis's avatar

The best part of this whole Kane thing is that there are Hawk fans who are still trying to defend him.

Still.

Keep in mind though, 2 of the Hawks primary team sponsors IIRC are self-described “liquor superstores” (no joke, watch a Hawks telecast sometime).  So yeah, I don’t know that Hawk fans have any inkling whatsoever what “normal” drinking is.

Posted by Primis on 05/13/12 at 02:29 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Keep in mind though, 2 of the Hawks primary team sponsors IIRC are self-described “liquor superstores” (no joke, watch a Hawks telecast sometime).  So yeah, I don’t know that Hawk fans have any inkling whatsoever what “normal” drinking is.

The Wirtz family made their fortune thanks in large part to liquor distribution.

It would be like if Jakub Kindl made himself overweight on Little Caesars this offseason.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 05/13/12 at 03:31 PM ET

monkey's avatar

It’s entirely likely that if Hudler goes to another team we’ll see Brandon Inge type results against the Wings,

Billy Beane has done it again!  He’s like Ken Holland, but in baseball, with no money, and no rings.

I don’t even know what I’m looking at there.

Be thankful.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 05/13/12 at 06:38 PM ET

monkey's avatar

The best part of this whole Kane thing is that there are Hawk fans who are still trying to defend him.

Still.

I don’t have a problem with him partying.  If that’s what he’s into, that’s what he’s into.  I did some stupid shit when I was his age.  He’ll grow up one way or another.

What bothers me is that he turned down playing in the World Championships because he’s healthy, and that is how he is spending his time.  Absolute douchebaggery.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 05/13/12 at 06:41 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Kane is a punk.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/14/12 at 07:30 PM ET

SYF's avatar

As someone already posted (and friggin’ beat me to it!  Damn…), $0.20 can choke a bitch.  And I’ve seen an older gentleman at the Wranglers games wearing a black $0.20 sweater with pride.  I don’t know if I’ll see him tonight when the Wranglers take on the Florida Everblades in the ECHL Kelly Cup Finals but I can’t wait to get his opinion on $0.20’s latest fratboy antics.

It really is possible to hate $0.20 ever more…

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 05/14/12 at 08:02 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Welcome Home, Master Chief! That’s a great pic of you and your little chief-ette on FB

http://homepost.kpbs.org/news/2012/may/22/uss-vinson-arrives-san-diego-wednesday/

I have a couple of cigars from cigarnurse via calquake for you.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 05/22/12 at 04:35 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Totally off topic. Does 20-cent gotta choke a bitch?

You can take the boy out of Buffalo…

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 05/24/12 at 09:58 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Welcome home Sailor! I love good news.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! In ’13

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 05/24/12 at 05:20 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Posted by SYF from the bottom of my, what, 11teenth pint of Guinness? on 05/14/12 at 07:02 PM ET

Belated Congrats on the Kelly Cup Final appearance.  Taking down the Aces dragon was no small task.  That Everblades team was a really, really good one.

And welcome back home, Chief!

Posted by Primis on 05/25/12 at 10:44 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Welcome home sailor.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 05/25/12 at 04:44 PM ET

 1 2 >       Next »

Add a Comment

Please limit embedded image or media size to 575 pixels wide.

Add your own avatar by joining Kukla's Korner, or logging in and uploading one in your member control panel.

Captchas bug you? Join KK or log in and you won't have to bother.

Smileys

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Feed

Most Recent Blog Posts

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