Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Time To Change The Narrative

I can't believe I wrote that.  "Changing the narrative" is one of the worst, elitist, BS phrases in the history of our esteemed language.  But I'm using it, because it fits.

And here's why...

I think a lot of people would be happy to see us miss the playoffs, so we've got to go out there and play with the same sense of urgency when we get to Calgary.

That's James Tiberius Howard, via Helene St. James.

Since the Ingalls sisters took their feel-good story to Walnut Grove, this blog has been--almost exclusively--a bitching, bitter, blast at Kenny Holland.  I take nothing back.  It's been a legitimate disappointment.  But I'm admitting today that I could have gone in different directions many times and taken the easy road.  

Howard's quote struck a chord with me this morning and it reminded me of what we used to be here: a fawning, biased ode to the greatest franchise in hockey.

Look at that quote.  That's Howard speaking on behalf of this team and he's telling us all that they acknowledge the pure fact that there are legions of hockey "fans" whose season, and lives, would be a success if Detroit missed the playoffs.  It's nothing we didn't know but, man, I dig that it's out there. I dig that Howard and his pals are actually aware of it and even using it as a means of motivation.  

I've scoffed at Holland (and, of course, his advisors) when it became apparent that just getting in was good enough, that extending this streak would suffice.  What I've ignored is how remarkable it really is.  21 straight seasons we've begun the playoffs with real hope of a Cup.  No one, not a single fan of any franchise, can say that.  We can.  

I'm exhausted with the angst.  I miss the optimism, the swagger.  I've set it aside because my brain isn't big enough to compartmentalize like that.  I couldn't consistently wail away at Tick Tock, then switch gears to remind all the haters just how awesome this organ-I-zation has been, and will be.  I chose the easy, obvious road and I'm tired of it.

The Wings have six games left.  All of them winnable. Calgary. Vancouver. LA, Nashville, Phoenix and Dallas.  Holland's unspoken goal of just getting in is so very reachable.  It's time to, even temporarily, set aside what ails us and concentrate on what could be.  The only truly dangerous seed is the 8th.  And even that, even playing the invincible Hawks with their faux fans and ridiculous child of a leading scorer, doesn't equal automatic sadness...because the Wings have played them tough, despite losing.  

The "ifs" are so huge.  If Franzen...if Filppula...if Datsyuk and Zetterberg (and Kronwall) aren't completely spent.  If Howard can steal this or that. If the young defense...if Babcock's genius.  If we stay healthy.  If Bertuzzi. If, by god, Helm.  

If the playoffs started today, we'd get Chicago.  Imagine the tone of this place if the Wings were to steal game 1 or 2 in that stupid building with that ridiculous song.  What if the Wings get ten points out of a possible twelve and slip into 7th, or even 6th?  Do any of you really believe Detroit couldn't take down Anaheim or Vancouver in the first round?  

We have an entire summer to light the torches.  If the Wings don't get in, if the streak stops, we can start anew with our bellows and bitterness toward Tick Tock, the guy we used to love so blindly.  

But not yet.  It's time to bathe in the stress the next two weeks promises us.  22's an amazing number, a remarkable feat.  Reaching it would crush so many.  It's time to remind ourselves, just like the Donger did above, just how great it will be to throw in the faces of so many that excellence in Detroit is the norm.  

Just get in, bitches.  I do like this team.  It's just taken a year to remember that. 

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Comments

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WingsFanInBeanLand's avatar

Here, here.

Posted by WingsFanInBeanLand from where free agents no longer dare. on 04/15/13 at 04:06 PM ET

dougie's avatar

It’s great to have you back, master chief. Now, let’s have some fun.

Posted by dougie on 04/15/13 at 04:07 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Great Post. Let’s get this Hasek rolling. Bring on Chicago.

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 04/15/13 at 04:13 PM ET

edillac's avatar

we could beat Anaheim,
Hawks or Nucks,no

Posted by edillac from isolation on 04/15/13 at 04:15 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Slainte, you big Irish bastard.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/15/13 at 04:24 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

what sucks even more is having to root for sheecago tonight. This is opportunity, this is the chance we can bump to 7th on Wednesday.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 04/15/13 at 04:31 PM ET

perfection's avatar

refreshing post for sure man. I had honestly stopped coming in here of late because it’s just not as fun as it used to be. I still am having fun watching hockey and talking hockey. There’s still tons of thrills and dangles. The Wings can be a bit frustrating, but after setting realistic expectations at the beginning of the season, I’ve really enjoyed this year for the most part. There’s been far more pleasant surprises than expected (who knew Andersson would look so friggin incredible?). But the endless doom and gloom around here amongst the most passionate fans has been tough to read. It’s made some of my responses on KK much crabbier than they used to be which sucks. 

The Wings are “rebuilding on the fly” and we have been watching phase one of that process which we might as well call “test the kids”. But for us to be in a rebuild mode and still manage to “just get in” (which is obviously huge for the team’s bottom line) should be considered a success by any standard. It’s just extremely rare for teams to pull this off in any sport and the Wings have done it once already in the last decade.

I realize the Chief and many posters around here (who I respect as knowledgeable and passionate fans) have disliked many of Holland’s individual moves (or lack there of) the last couple seasons. But he is obviously looking at a bigger picture. I think in three seasons we will have an accurate gauge on whether the team’s current approach is ultimately a success or failure. If any of these prospects he’s taking so much slack for not trading away or for “over-ripening” end up over-achieving the way so many others have in this organization, perhaps these recent decisions will be thought of differently in hindsight.

but for now, let’s just extend that friggin streak. expecting to make the playoffs every year is a huge part of the ‘culture of winning’ that still makes the Wings a free agent destination. Yeah, we lost Suter and Parise to their hometown, but we were still a close runner-up out of SEVERAL teams trying to sign them. And losing them hurt us this year, no doubt, but it’s important we keep up the veneer of a perpetually winning squad so that we can pursue whoever the next big UFA’s are. We still are a top destination despite clinging to the 8th seed. Making these playoffs is huge, regardless of what we do in them.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/15/13 at 04:40 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

And just because I can’t seem to do any real work, the larger picture should tell us to keep things in perspective, that what we consider sucking mightily is even with all but 2 teams who consider this a watershed season of epic greatness, and by God our suckage leaves still others in a wake of unimaginable stank.

What a lovely journey the Hawks are having in this pretend season, an actual Fairy Tale written by the midget commissioner.  If they don’t win the 16 games that matter all will be quickly and bitterly forgotten.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/15/13 at 04:40 PM ET

Surfer Ken's avatar

But I’m admitting today that I could have gone in different directions many times and taken the easy road.

F**k the easy road.  Keep spinning it the way it is.  Im feeling we will dance with the Quacks in the first round.

Posted by Surfer Ken from San Clemente on 04/15/13 at 04:42 PM ET

Avatar

But he is obviously looking at a bigger picture.

You make a lot of good points, but I can’t agree with this one.  I don’t see how signing Colaiacovo or Samuelsson were bigger picture moves, and I don’t see how keeping White and Filppula for today (ie. this season) while ignoring the likelihood that they will both be gone for nothing tomorrow (ie. this summer) is looking at the bigger picture.

Posted by Garth on 04/15/13 at 05:00 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Refreshing post from our Master Chief.

We’re experiencing now what all the ‘experts’ told us we would be experiencing in 1999. That, in itself, calls for perspective.

The reason the last twenty years have provided us with such jaw-dropping moments is because it was not normal, which we knew, if only subconsciously. Four Cups in sixteen years. I suck at math, but that averages out to a Cup every four years. Name one, just one, team that can claim that.

Let’s face it: we’re a spoiled bunch; we can’t help but be, because we’re fans of the greatest organization and franchise in modern sports.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 04/15/13 at 05:23 PM ET

Zqto's avatar

we could beat Anaheim,
Hawks or Nucks,no

Posted by edillac

Heresy!
Get out of here, you non-believer!

Posted by Zqto on 04/15/13 at 05:29 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Posted by Garth on 04/15/13 at 05:00 PM ET

Colo and Sammy are not big pic. They were emergency signings (aka “plan b”) when we lost the two big targets we were holding out for. Obviously I think Kenny would agree with you they were not what the team was hoping to end up with this season.

re. White and Filps, I’m mostly with you on this, but I also think there’s a logical explanation. While Kenny IS focusing on the big pic, he also HAS to make the playoffs (probably for the team to make any profit whatsoever). So while he likely took offers for those two guys, the offers weren’t just weighed against the players value, but were also weighed against how losing those players affects our chances this season. Filps has been less than stellar, I agree, but there’s no doubt we have a better chance of making the playoffs or even winning a round or two with him than we do without him. If the potential payoff for him wasn’t good enough (or Kenny thinks he can re-sign him for a fair price - something I know we also disagree on) then perhaps it just wasn’t worth it. White as a rental would have gotten us like a 7th rounder or something (like Huskins). Having an extra veteran body on D seems more important at this point, especially with our injuries this season.

But like I said, I’m not sure I agree with it - especially with Filps because people WERE vastly overpaying.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/15/13 at 05:34 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Hawks or Nucks,no

Posted by edillac from isolation on 04/15/13 at 04:15 PM ET

We can’t beat Vancouver in a playoff series?  We’ve absolutely dismantled them when we’ve played them this year, so why are they unbeatable in your mind?

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/15/13 at 05:35 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

“Changing the narrative”

Okay, at least you didn’t call it a New Paradigm.  That would have been cause for some serious bitch slapping.

I’m with SurferKen, got a feeling aboot the DuhUcks as a first round match up.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the pre-season shuffle.... on 04/15/13 at 05:40 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Hey Houlihan, thought I read in one of your last posts you were in New England.  If you’re still there keep your head down, boss.

Finding it hard to focus on hockey today.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/15/13 at 05:47 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by
     
    perfection
     
    from LaLaLand on 04/15/13 at 05:34 PM ET

I don’t think you can “absolutely” say that, look at Dallas without Jagr who actually contributed.  Look at SJ with Clowe.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/15/13 at 05:48 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Hey Houlihan, thought I read in one of your last posts you were in New England.  If you’re still there keep your head down, boss.

Thanks man. Back in San Diego, thankfully.  Another tough day.  Hunting season is open.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 04/15/13 at 05:58 PM ET

Avatar

Refreshing post from our Master Chief.

We’re experiencing now what all the ‘experts’ told us we would be experiencing in 1999. That, in itself, calls for perspective.

The reason the last twenty years have provided us with such jaw-dropping moments is because it was not normal, which we knew, if only subconsciously. Four Cups in sixteen years. I suck at math, but that averages out to a Cup every four years. Name one, just one, team that can claim that.

Let’s face it: we’re a spoiled bunch; we can’t help but be, because we’re fans of the greatest organization and franchise in modern sports.

That pretty much nails it, top to bottom. Strong post.

It’s going to be a moderately lean 2-3 years, just like the past two have been moderately lean.  That is, of course, exceptionally relative.  Detroit’s scarcity of success would be cause for joyous celebration in 15+ cities, and their record over the past 20 cause for bronze statues to be cast and hosannas to be composed.

It’s all relative.

The refreshing thing is that it at least looks like the Chief has turned the corner on the wild, irresponsible, hatchet-wielding fury that served as the hallmark of his recent posts.  That’s good.  It’s a question of getting used to the temperature of the pool, really.  The water’s a lot colder now than we’re used to.  Makes the jewels retract a bit.

It’s germane to note that the 4 conference finals teams of last year are the 8th and 11th seeds in the East and 4th/11th in the West. 

This is how it’s going to be for quite a while.  Up, then down, up, then down in quick succession.  Part of this is the idiotically shortened season, but a part of it is just how things are going to be from now on… or at least until some of the underpinnings of the NHL’s financial structure change in some significant way.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 04/15/13 at 06:08 PM ET

edillac's avatar

We can’t beat Vancouver in a playoff series?  We’ve absolutely dismantled them when we’ve played them this year, so why are they unbeatable in your mind?

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 04/15/13 at 05:35 PM ET

their 3rd and 4th line are better suited for playoffs, tougher than our guys.

Ducks are beatable because they lose their nerves quickly,and we have better goaltending,well one goaile

Posted by edillac from isolation on 04/15/13 at 06:18 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Hunting season is open.
   
Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 04/15/13 at 05:58 PM ET

Preach, brother.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/15/13 at 07:03 PM ET

Avatar

Colo and Sammy are not big pic. They were emergency signings

I agree on Colo, he was definitely an emergency, but even as a stop gap, signing him for more than one year is foolish.  You grab a guy for one year and either try to trade for a better player or sign a better player in the off-season.  Hell, the Colo signing is just head-scratching all the way.  Holland seemed to have stepped back and said “OK, I’m going to wait to see how the lockout shakes out, see if there are buyouts” and then, two days before the lockout he panics and signs Colaiacovo for not apparent reason.  Obviously there weren’t any huge buyouts, but anyone who was unsigned before the lockout probably could’ve been had for less or, alternatively, would Wade Redden and the 5/6/7 guys for $700k for one year be worse than Carlo “29 games missed to injury” Colaiacovo’s contract?

As for Samuelsson, he wasn’t an emergency at all.  He was signed on July 1st when Detroit still had every reason in the world to believe they could get Suter AND possibly Parise.  Holland was out promising the earth, the stars and the moon to Samuelsson when he should’ve been showing up real, not-made-of-glass alternatives (or complements) to Ryan Suter.

But I’ll be honest, this is nitpicking, and these are two easily corrected mistakes (assuming Sammy gets back to health before buyout season) that likely won’t hurt the Wings in the long term.

Posted by Garth on 04/15/13 at 07:04 PM ET

perfection's avatar

agree completely. probably two easy buyouts at this point. I was totally against the Sammy signing. He was already pretty terrible when he left the first time.

but I was also not very high on the Tootoo signing and I think he’s been incredible. Waaaay better than I expected. He hasn’t come close to crossing the line. He’s played with grit, class, thrown down when he needed to, and hasn’t hurt the team at all. He’s drawn FAR more penalties than he’s taken. He brings insane energy every time he’s on the ice and is always noticeable. I think he’s been a fantastic addition, even with the small minutes he’s playing. I think that’s less about his play and more about our lack of scoring though.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/15/13 at 07:40 PM ET

Primis's avatar

LOL Nashville again/still on RWBill’s Peleton.  Flaaaatttt-lining.  Let’s all wait for the Weber offseason trade demand and ensuing fireworks.  You know the best part?  Next season NAS becomes FLA or the NYI to us… the sorry, sad-sack franchise in the other conference.  Irrelevant.

I know people want the Ducks but… wouldn’t bouncing CHI in the 1st round be a lot more fun of a way to close out life in the West?  You know, stick it to them one last time?...

Posted by Primis on 04/15/13 at 07:42 PM ET

Avatar

It would be very ironic if Det’s buyouts were used on Sammy and Colo.

I can’t help but feel Det will use one on Howard in 2-3 years when every time runs up the score on him because the league discovers that in order to beat him all you have to do is get a breakaway…

Posted by neffernin on 04/15/13 at 07:47 PM ET

Avatar

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/15/13 at 07:40 PM ET

I hated the Sammy signing too.  Especially the NTC.  What the hell was going on there?  I didn’t dislike the Tootoo signing, but I also thought that it meant they would be trading Abdelkader’s rights because really, what is the point in having both?

It would be very ironic if Det’s buyouts were used on Sammy and Colo.

I’m not sure ‘ironic’ is the word you’re looking for.

I can’t help but feel Det will use one on Howard in 2-3 years

They won’t have any in 2-3 years.  After next summer there won’t be any amnesty buyouts until/unless they are negotiated into the next CBA.  And by “2-3 years” hopefully the defense will be good enough that they’re not giving away so many breakaways.

Posted by Garth on 04/15/13 at 08:08 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

YES.  I second this a thousand times.  It’s time to lay the infighting aside and circle the wagons.  It’s time to remind all the fans of lesser franchises who they are: fans of lesser franchises.

LGRW!

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/15/13 at 08:38 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Hunting season is open.
 
Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 04/15/13 at 05:58 PM ET

Preach, brother.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 04/15/13 at 07:03 PM ET

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/15/13 at 09:33 PM ET

Surfer Ken's avatar

the Tootoo signing and I think he’s been incredible. Waaaay better than I expected. He hasn’t come close to crossing the line. He’s played with grit, class, thrown down when he needed to, and hasn’t hurt the team at all. He’s drawn FAR more penalties than he’s taken. He brings insane energy every time he’s on the ice and is always noticeable. I think he’s been a fantastic addition, even with the small minutes he’s playing. I think that’s less about his play and more about our lack of scoring though.

Couldn’t agree more.

Call me crazy but I’d like to see him move up a line…..or two.
He would have done better than Cleary when he was playing on Dats line.

Hated him with The Preds but love him as a Wing.

Posted by Surfer Ken from San Clemente on 04/15/13 at 10:04 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Call me crazy but I’d like to see him move up a line…..or two.
He would have done better than Cleary when he was playing on Dats line.

Hated him with The Preds but love him as a Wing.

Posted by Surfer Ken from San Clemente on 04/15/13 at 10:04 PM ET

YUP

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/15/13 at 10:09 PM ET

42jeff's avatar

It just dawned on me that Wings have made the playoffs every year I’ve been in the Air Force.  I retire this summer bitches.  22 years.

They make it this year.

Posted by 42jeff from The greater Howard City, MI metroplex on 04/15/13 at 10:57 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

I can’t help but feel Det will use one on Howard in 2-3 years when every time runs up the score on him because the league discovers that in order to beat him all you have to do is get a breakaway…

Posted by neffernin on 04/15/13 at 07:47 PM ET

Wow, that’s a great point. “Guys, the game plan is: just get a breakaway.” “Sounds good coach.” That’s like saying “Now the game plan is to score more goals than the other team. If we can do that, I like our chances to win.” Don’t you think every team would just “get a breakaway” all the time if it was as easy as just deciding to do it?

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 04/16/13 at 03:06 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

the league discovers that in order to beat him all you have to do is get a breakaway…

Posted by neffernin on 04/15/13 at 07:47 PM ET


OMFG.

Don’t you think that is the “goal” of every team on every possession of every game ever played in the history of hockey?

If that’s all there was to it don’t you think we’d see it all the time?

“Damn, Look what Ottawa did!  Could we try that, you know, instead of trying to pass around 5 guys set up in front of their goalie with sticks?”

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/16/13 at 11:30 AM ET

RWBill's avatar

The middle of the pack.  The Peloton of Suck.  Meanwhile Chicago claims 17 of 18 points, quite literally off the chart.  That goes out the window on April 28.

CBJ is 7-2, plays the next 4 on the road but all POS members, then finishes at home against Nashville.

You like to sit at home Halloween weekend and watch horror movies?  Me too.  Make a date for next Saturday night when 26 teams will be playing for their playoff lives.

Saturday, April 27, 2013, The Night of the Living Dead.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/16/13 at 12:34 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Saturday, April 27, 2013, The Night of the Living Dead.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/16/13 at 12:34 PM ET

Popcorn, hot dogs, and Guinness at the ready, Bill.

Thanks for the POS, man,  Really, really helpful.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/16/13 at 12:36 PM ET

Primis's avatar

It’s too bad Bill’s not charting the east too.  That Devils flat-line would also be hilarious.


So a convo was struck up on another site re: Adam Foote’s number being retired by the Avs and it turned then to if there was anyone else left they could consider and we got this gem from an Avs fan posted this morning:

“What about Hejduk? All 14 seasons with Avs so far, recording 375+430 points and another 76 in playoffs   I know he’s not felling good now when he lost captaincy and so on… But overall, he can be compared to Forsberg!

Avs fans, ladies and gentlemen… we won’t miss em’.

Posted by Primis on 04/16/13 at 01:36 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Wings just signed Howard. 6 years,  $5.3 million. Bitches

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 04/16/13 at 02:17 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

It’s too bad Bill’s not charting the east too.  That Devils flat-line would also be hilarious.
Posted by Primis on 04/16/13 at 01:36 PM ET

I actually heard that this morning.  I had been unaware of it.  Charted out, those streaks cannot be hidden!

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 04/16/13 at 02:24 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

This is a fascinating 1:30 video of Uncle Mike today after practice, pay attention to the last 20 seconds or so.  A subtle (interference) jab to his roster.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/16/13 at 05:14 PM ET

BC's avatar

Adam Foote’s number being retired by the Avs

Ha.  What happens, I guess when you are light on championship banners.  I think they retired Bourque’s as well, after a little more than a season on the team.  Genius.

Posted by BC on 04/16/13 at 06:28 PM ET

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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