Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Why Tonite Matters

If you think tonite isn't big, you're an idiot.  It is.  For three reasons. 

1. We need the points, because we want to finish ahead of Columbus, because if we do...

2. ...we get the team we want to play and that team is the team we're playing tonite.  We want Pittsburgh. Badly.

3. I still hate the Pens

Why, you ask, why is number 2 beyond debate?

I've got answers.

The Wings can beat Pittsburgh without Hank Zetterberg.  The Wings will not beat Boston in a 7-gamer without Hank Zetterberg.

Boston is better than the Pens. Better by a long shot and better by a blue line.  Are they as explosive as the Pens? Maybe not. But they're deeper and tougher to match up against, I believe.

This, thanks to George, is the lineup they're going with tonite:

Kunitz-Crosby-Bennett
Gibbons-Jokinen-Neal
Glass-Sutter-Stempniak
Pyatt-Adams-Payerl

Scuderi-Letang
Orpik-Martin
Maatta-Niskanen

Frightened, yet?  You shouldn't be. 

Put Malkin in there for the playoffs.  He's hurt, but skating.  The Pens say they won't waste him the rest of the regular season, won't bring him back too early, but he'll go for Round 1. That's fact.

Still, even with Malkin, I like the Wings' chances much better than I would against Boston.  That game last week?  Yes, the Wings won. I know. But you watched it and you saw James F. Howard steal one. You saw Boston dominate for most of it.  I do not want that team in Round 1, minus Zetterberg.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand?

We'll see tonite, but I'm telling you now what the Wings have got to be thinking...that's the team we want in Round 1.  That's the team that's nearly as banged up as we are (technically, even moreso).  That's the team that would have the most problem dealing with the Wings' team speed. 

And Marc Andre Fleury is not a goaltender who is going to steal a period, much less a game.  The Wings want Fleury in Round 1. Brittle, stumbling, tripping over carpet, French, soft, prone to mistakes.  We. Want. Fleury.

We want the Pens.  There can be no mistake, 3-1 record against Boston or not.  Pittsburgh is the team the Wings want and, really, must have to start the post season.

Defeating Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, tonite accomplishes two very obvious things: it sets the Wings up for that matchup, mathematically.  And it sets the Wings up, emotionally (and for a young team, I have to think it matters) for a series against them.

So we all agree.  We all agree that tonite is big.  Well, if that's the case?

Why the hell isn't Jimmy Howard starting this game?  Mike, you are my spiritual beacon, but I have to wonder just what the fuch you're thinking on this one.

Gustafsson looked like fresh baby shit against Montreal.  I know that Howard played last night. I get the supposed logic in holding him out tonite. But, if there was ever a time to go with your starter two consecutive nights, this would seem to be it.

There was a time back in '88 that I was wrong about something. I can't remember exactly what, just that I was wrong.  So, it wouldn't be unprecedented to think that I could be wrong this time too. Maybe the "Monster" comes out and stifles the Pens, who have nothing to play for except trying to prevent a matchup they don't want.  And, don't think for a second they don't have that in mind.  As much as we want Pittsburgh, that's how much they DON'T want the Wings.

This is not the Live Blog. That comes later.  But, seriously, there is no reason not to start drinking now.  You should be nervous about this.  You should understand that Boston is not Anaheim.  Boston is a season-ender, if we see them in Round 1 without Zetterberg.

We want Pittsburgh and tonite, in Pittsburgh, is key to getting what we want. 

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Comments

MsRedWinger's avatar

I don’t know who the Wings want in the first round, Chief. ‘Cuz I can’t think about playoffs yet. For me, tonight is huge because another point or two means the Wings are in - against all odds, in spite of GaryAss and his zebra henchmen, and Olsuck’s whining. 23 in a row is on the line tonight and I want the Wings to do it tonight.

Just. Win.

LGRW!!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/09/14 at 02:35 PM ET

Avatar

There was a time back in ‘88 that I was wrong about something.

I remember it.  That was when you insisted that the Wings were re-signing Marian Hossa.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/14 at 02:37 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

I remember it.  That was when you insisted that the Wings were re-signing Marian Hossa.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/14 at 03:37 PM ET

I was wrong when I said they would, but I was really, really right when I said they should.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 04/09/14 at 02:39 PM ET

perfection's avatar

I’m with you Boston is a far superior team to Pitt.  But even if you were to give Pitt the benefit of the doubt and say that the two teams would present the Wings with an equal challenge, we are likely to come out of a Boston series much more beat up and would have a much tougher second round.  Ill take NY or Philly all day over TB or Montreal.  It really is beyond debate.

But I also think Pitt would much rather face Columbus and because of that are going to bring their A game tonight. I don’t love our chances after playing last night. I think starting monster is the right move for sure.  The dude is 16-5 so it’s far from conceding. It’s not worth risking Jimmy and what’s more, why let Pitt have the chance to get in his head only a week before a potential long series? This way Jimmy starts with a clean slate against them in round one. Seems like the right call to me

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/09/14 at 02:46 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

We want the Pens in the first round also because of the new playoff format.

They’re not going to call it this because only loser teams give themselves banners for stuff like this and because they realized how much they fuched it up as soon as they finalized the playoff setup, but if Detroit takes Pittsburgh in round 1, then in round 2, they’re playing for what is essentially the Metropolitan Division Championship.

Think about that for a minute.

The Red Wings move to the East, the NHL comes up with new dumb names that puts them in the Atlantic Division while moving the old Atlantic to a new name.  What happens in the VERY FIRST YEAR of Gary’s realignment plan is that Detroit comes in and takes the playoff title for a Division they’re not even a part of in a conference they JUST joined.

It’s a long way to go to get there but holy shit that would be hilarious.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/09/14 at 02:47 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

why let Pitt have the chance to get in his head only a week before a potential long series? This way Jimmy starts with a clean slate against them in round one. Seems like the right call to me

Please don’t ruin my mood with sound logic. And that is sound logic.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 04/09/14 at 02:48 PM ET

Greg's avatar

ahhh, i missed this site.  here’s hoping for a rubber match first round!

Posted by Greg on 04/09/14 at 02:49 PM ET

dougie's avatar

But, seriously, there is no reason not to start drinking now.

Concur.

Talk aboot sound logic. Now THERE is some sound logic

Posted by dougie on 04/09/14 at 02:51 PM ET

Tony's avatar

Can’t argue many points with you Master Chief, some are quite valid…..

The Pens will get an emotional lift with the return of Letang, although frankly someone coming off a stroke to resume playing pro hockey scares the living shit out of me, just as a young man with a wife and young baby….

Saw Babcock’s comments earlier in George’s post, dude is a class act…..

And there is no doubt in my mind, would MUCH rather play CBJ (5-0 in regular season) than the Wings…. Some want the matchup to “shut you guys up”, but I do not like the forward matchups…..

Anyway, looking forward to what should be a great game…..

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 04/09/14 at 02:52 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

I came for the GD post and got the Chief!

.....French, soft, prone to mistakes.  We. Want. Fleury.

  I chuckled ...no pun intended.

“There was a time back in ‘88 that I was wrong about something. I can’t remember exactly what, just that I was wrong.”

As I recall you were mistaken. Certainly not wrong. That was before the dishwasher was installed in the Hasek and you had that intestinal thing. Just saying.

One more point needed in the Quest for 23. I have rubbed the belly bare on my Red Wing Gnome.  I’m starting to feel like Judge Smails with his Billy Baroo putter.  (Ohhhhh Billy, Billy, Billy…)  One point.

LGRW !!!!!

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, with 3 fingers of rum & a cigar.. on 04/09/14 at 02:55 PM ET

Avatar

pens will beat the wings in 6 games, max.

let’s be real here.

Posted by THRILLHO on 04/09/14 at 02:56 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

But, seriously, there is no reason not to start drinking now.

Well, orders are orders…

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 04/09/14 at 02:59 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 04/09/14 at 03:47 PM ET

That’s just funny. The boys need to make this happen.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 04/09/14 at 03:24 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I’m still at work, but OK, let’s slide open that special drawer in the storage area.

You can also expect the Wings to suffer another season ending injury tonight at the goonish hands of Brooks Orpik, who will not receive a suspension because of the team that he plays for.  Same as it ever was.  Same as it ever was.

Posted by RWBill from Brush Street cruising with Super Creepy Rob Lowe. on 04/09/14 at 03:25 PM ET

Avatar

I was really, really right when I said they should.

No argument there.

Posted by Garth on 04/09/14 at 03:27 PM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

let’s be real here.

You must be new here.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 04/09/14 at 03:31 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Already drunk.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 04/09/14 at 03:34 PM ET

Avatar

I want the Wings to play Pitt in the first round because I would like to know if Mr Wonderful of NHL Channel will avoid shaking hands with our Captain after we beat them, like he did in 08.  I still do not like him because of that.  Funny how the simplest things can change a perception of somebody.

Posted by guy on 04/09/14 at 03:51 PM ET

perfection's avatar

Please don’t ruin my mood with sound logic. And that is sound logic.

Definitely wasn’t trying to ruin your mood Chief. This just also seems like Babcockian logic to me. If anyone does him some mind games, it’s Babs.

while he will say he’s not thinking about the playoffs until they happen, that is simply so his players are focused on each game. but lets not think for a second Babs and the coaches aren’t already prescouting every potential foe and are not looking at tonight’s game through the prism of a potential series starting next week. I think it’s fair to say both coaches are. Tonight is bound to feel like a playoff game. It’s a good test for Monster. He’s put together a real solid season when he’s been healthy and I think if a game or series gets out of hand (or if Jimmy gets James Nealed in the head), Babs would use him in the playoffs. Tonight will show a glimpse of what he’s got when it’s serious.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 04/09/14 at 03:55 PM ET

bigfrog's avatar

I don’t know who the Wings want in the first round, Chief. ‘Cuz I can’t think about playoffs yet. For me, tonight is huge because another point or two means the Wings are in - against all odds, in spite of GaryAss and his zebra henchmen, and Olsuck’s whining. 23 in a row is on the line tonight and I want the Wings to do it tonight.

Just. Win.

LGRW!!!!!

If Olsuck’s is broadcasting the game tonight, then I will turn my TV volume off and put the radio on. As far as playing Pittsburgh strange things happen when the Red Wings play them in the playoffs (circa 2009), meaning Gary helps the Pengoons any way he can. Maybe playing Boston in the first round wouldn’t be a difficult as thought, and might be a better match up for the Red Wings. A tough road for the Red wings no matter what.

Posted by bigfrog on 04/09/14 at 04:27 PM ET

aerodude's avatar

Getting 23 tonight would be awesome.

Getting 23 tonight if Olchyk is doing his Crayola commentary would be fuching delicious.

Posted by aerodude on 04/09/14 at 04:45 PM ET

Alan's avatar

Just. Win. Fuch the Pens, we want our two points, and we want tonight to be our playoff clincher.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 04/09/14 at 05:03 PM ET

NHLJeff's avatar

And Marc Andre Fleury is not a goaltender who is going to steal a period, much less a game.  The Wings want Fleury in Round 1. Brittle, stumbling, tripping over carpet, French, soft, prone to mistakes.  We. Want. Fleury.

Did you forget 2009 that quickly? Yes Fleury has had terrible playoffs the last few years, but he has had playoff success before and can have it again. He’s at least capable of stealing a game or two.

Posted by NHLJeff from Pens fan in Chicago, IL on 04/09/14 at 05:20 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Just. Win. Fuch the Pens, we want our two points, and we want tonight to be our playoff clincher.

Posted by Alan from Atlanta on 04/09/14 at 06:03 PM ET

Yup.

Personally, I don’t give a crap who we will play in the playoffs so long as we make it to the playoffs.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 04/09/14 at 05:20 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Personally, I don’t give a crap who we will play in the playoffs so long as we make it to the playoffs.

Posted by SYF from the Swedish Ice Mafia on 04/09/14 at 06:20 PM ET

Exactly. One more big fat juicy point. Hell, I’ll even take two.

Whatever it takes to make the Playoffs.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 04/09/14 at 05:56 PM ET

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