Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Thursday Deep Digging

Interesting. Discussion regarding Pavel Datsyuk's "stiffness" is escalating. While our erstwhile Deep Diggers have (a) decided not to ask for any further explanation, (2) are satisfied that "stiffness" is all the clarity they need to write their one-sentence descriptions of his condition or (c) can't stop giggling; I'm getting comments here and reading elsewhere that it may be his wrist. Mike Babcock said he'll know for sure at today's morning skate whether Datsyuk can go tonite against Chicago.

At least one Wing’s injury status is encouraging, though.  Johan Franzen will make his return after a nine-game absence.

George Sipple/Detroit Free Press

“The Mule’s one of our biggest, strongest forechecking guys, one of our biggest hitters, one of our strongest guys on the cycle. He can play on the power play, the penalty kill and the regular shift and be a shut-down guy. He can be the guy on an offensive line that does some work for the guys, so he’s a real important part of our team.”

Niklas Kronwall’s chances of playing would appear to be far less certain.  Babcock said yesterday afternoon that he was waiting to hear word back from trainer Piet Van Zant.  I’ll go ahead and say that means, “nope. Not playing.”

The Wings begin a trip tonite that features games with two of the league’s hottest teams, Chicago and Columbus; who also happen to be the backbone of the “Central sucks and that’s why Detroit and Bubba flourish” argument.  The Hawks are 5-2-3 in their last ten, and 5-0-3 since Denis Savard took over.  Columbus has been on fire since Big Boy took over.  An argument that the Central now rivals the Northwest or Pacific in terms of competitiveness? No.  But, an improved division since last year.

On Chicago…

Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

“They’re a different team from the last time we saw them,” said defenseman Mathieu Schneider, noting the coaching change (Denis Savard replaced Trent Yawney on Nov. 27)

Said defenseman Chris Chelios: “Denis was a gambler as a player, and knowing him, he’s letting the forwards over there take some chances and letting them use their skill. They’re winning games and playing good hockey.”

Former Wing Marty LaPointe says his pals are playing a calmer style of hockey.

Bob Foltman/Chicago Tribune

That kind of constant, positive energy is infectious and trickles down the roster. It seems hard to believe, but even professionals lack confidence at times.

Poise. Winger Martin Lapointe said it best.

“The panic button isn’t as sensitive,” he said.

Early in the year, a setback or two would be catastrophic. Now they play “calmer,” as Lapointe said and realize it’s a 60-minute game.

Remember we talked about hate and what fun it can be this time of year?  That was last week in reference to the hapless Leafs.  Do you recall the happier times when hating the Hawks was cool too?  Might be nice to see an improvement in Chicago so we can re-generate some of that quality emotion.


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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