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Abel to Yzerman

We Complain, But We Love It

It’s been a full day.  One full of many choices.

The first choice, how to act.  I told Paul I didn’t want to go as a journalist.  I’m a fan.  That is key.  I also told him that I wouldn’t do anything to take food off his table.  I’m given a long leash here, but I know better than to bite the hand that feeds.

The second choice, what I was going to do.  My initial plans didn’t work out.  I’ve engineered hundreds of press conferences, and have access to some pretty interesting toys.  Initially, I was going to bring a friend with a broadcast HD video camera.  I would have had better video and sound gear than most of the media had, and bingo-bango “A2Y in HD” is born.

Fortunately, my videographer buddy made a run for the Mexican border yesterday, a long story, and I realized it was an omen.

I am not a journalist, I’m a fan.  Fans don’t bring professional cameras or recorders to games.  We’re fans, we bring passion.  And a lot of noise.

So I decided to ditch the gear and ride dirty.  I brought what I normally carry in my pant and blazer pockets:  an iPhone, a pen, and a small notepad.  And no research in advance.

I don’t need any fancy toys to show the Deep Diggers how it’s done.

Below the jump, summary of the second session of rule changes, more from Jim Nill, and Bettman talks about A2Y.

Let me start by briefly describing the rule changes for session #2:
1)  Bigger crease.  crease 3” larger in all directions
Tough to notice this one.  I’d interview Holmstrom about it, but no one would understand what he’s saying anyways, so why bother?  Jim Nill commented that goalies will often act like they get shot when touched no matter what goaltender interference rules are.  If they can exploit the advantage, they will.

2) Wider blue lines.  24” vs 12” wide. on entering the zone, the line is the same, once you are in the zone, you get an extra foot before being offside.
This works, but looks goofy painted on the ice.  Bettman pointed out to Mike Murphy the first instance of this happening quickly.  Say what you want about Gary, he pays attention to almost everything.  Except the spelling of Lidstrom/Lindstrom.

3) Line change zone in front of bench.  a painted area 5’ out from the bench to assist official’s in making too-many men violations
Looks really ugly reminding me of Darren Garcia’s makeup.  Officials should be able to visualize 5’ well enough and make good judgement calls.  Unless it’s the Penguins in the SCF against Detroit, then fuch it.

4) 1 face-off circle in the middle of each zone - defensive / neutral / offensive - 3 overall.  Imagine a stoplight arrangement of faceoff dots down the ice.
Garbage.  Moving on…

5) Face-off variation: penalty line 1’ back from dot for faceoff violation where face-off offender would have to stand instead of being thrown out.
The problem with faceoffs doesn’t need more lines and stupid rules to solve.  The solution requires consistent delivery of both the puck and calls for faceoff violations.

6) Overtime variation: benches like in 2nd period where long change necessary
There is a lot of merit to this idea.  Ken Hitchcock, in between scarfing down dozens of TimBits, commented that this was the only fix he thought necessary to O/T.

7) Shoot-out variation: something, something this fan didn’t care about.
Instead I was lecturing Terry Mercury from XM Radio’s Ice Chips on why his opinion about Chris Osgood is deeply flawed.  Stay tuned for the rest of this.  Terry is a good guy, but way wrong on many things, including why Lidstrom shouldn’t have been a Norris candidate.  A debate is brewing.

8) Nets: Red mesh and white posts.  Idea is it’s easier for shooter to see mesh when shooting.
Guess what, fashion reports ARE in, bitches.  The reverse colour scheme totally does not suit the goal’s looks.  And guess what, girlfriends, the guys still shot wide of the target, like my date last night.  Oh snap, I didn’t just go there.

I’m not going to get too deep into my interviews, yet, as there is more to come tomorrow.  Unlike a Deep Digger, I don’t get giddy over quotes and access.

Today I kept my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut, for the most part.  Learned that from Yogi Berra.  I listened for the things that others may not notice.  I looked for details that others might miss.  RWBill taught me reconnaissance well outside of Karen Newman’s window.

I did have a chance to talk to Li’l Gary, as I alluded to earlier in the comments section here.  6 minutes on tape, and hopefully more tomorrow.  I didn’t mince words, but I knew I was in for a large challenge interviewing Gary.

I have experience in extremely sensitive media training through working events I can’t talk about.  I’ve studied the media most of my life, and Bettman’s interviews are no different.  Gary is a brilliant man who makes horrible decisions.  A big mistake is to underestimate him.  He has never been effectively backed into a corner as he can find even the tiniest bit of wiggle room in a question to redirect his answer from the crux of the question.

Bettman is a lawyer and a radio host.  He knows how to spin and waltz around questions.  Be too insulting or aggressive and he will walk away as his handler swoops in.  Give him a softball or two, which I did, and he will take up your short time with long, prepared, answers, which he did.  So we danced, but I led while he tried to waltz around me.  And I started out our conversation laying my dance card on the table:

VooX: So I write for a blog called “Abel to Yzerman”, you may or may not know about us.  I will say this, I respect you coming and talking to me, because we have said some pretty mean things about you in the past.

Gary:  I hadn’t noticed.

VooX:  That’s okay.  We’re not looking for any extra viewers, we’re okay with 19.

And that’s all you get tonight from Li’l Gary, 19, there’s some great stuff about the KHL, Vers.Ass, Shanahan, and if Gary ever bought an NHL ticket before he was commissioner.  But that will have to wait until another post.

I will leave you with the first thing I heard Jim Nill say today to a reporter asking about how things were going:

We complain, but we love it.

Much, much more from Jim later.  A completely classy guy, like so many in the Wings organ-I-zation, he spent a lot of time answering my, and our, questions about the team.  A quick teaser: Nill actually reads A2Y and is a huge Malik fan like the rest of us.  But more later.  I Pinky swear like the faux journalist I am.

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Andy from FightNight's avatar

Tick tock is the man, Gary has people read for him. Bill Daly does it.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 08/19/10 at 05:05 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