Abel to Yzerman
Expecting words of encouragement? I got nothin'. An upbeat take on a rookie goalie? Nope. As much as I like Razer, he is learning the ropes in the toughest way possible.
Will he shine ala' a Ken Dryden, or Patrick Roy? Well, we are all aboot to find out.
As it has been in the past, the Wings have their backs up against the wall and must figure out how to win and stay competitive in an all too tight conference. We have to ride Mrzaek until Gus or Howie returns so, Babcock had better make a Gold Medal effort, to do the absolute best coaching of his career. He has enough players with the talent and skill to help make this as easy as they can on our new starter.
It all depends on Babcock to make sure the Wings execute a winning game plan.
from Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News,
After all the Vezina and Hart trophies, after No Goal and the killer overtime losses in Games Six and Seven against Pittsburgh that finally ended his Buffalo career in 2001, Dominik Hasek forced a trade to Detroit to pursue his Stanley Cup.
It turned out Hasek got two of them, one as the Red Wings’ key man in goal in 2002 and the other as Chris Osgood’s backup in his 2008 swan song to the NHL.
So it’s more than appropriate the Wings will be on the other side of the ice tonight when the No. 39 made famous by The Dominator gets retired to the rafters of First Niagara Center prior to the Sabres’ game against Detroit.
“It’s outstanding,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after his team practiced here Monday. “Dom was involved in two Cups for us, is one of the greatest players to ever play in the game. He dominated the league there for a six-year run. He was flat-out the best player in the league.
“He gave Buffalo an opportunity to win every night. He was an absolute star and did it his own way. I enjoyed Dom a lot when he played in Detroit. He’s a good man.”
I am still a bit tired from the late starts this week, but, riding high because of the wins. This is the time of the season when the Wings have no choice but to pile up the points. We will be facing a tough schedule next month, so tonight we have to make it count for two more points.
We face the Capitals tonight, and they are coming off a disappointing loss, looking to get back to their recent winning ways. Trots is an all to familiar face that we need to leave behind, wearing a frown.
A pleasant surprise tonight for all Wing's fans is getting to see one more kid in the the line-up named Pulkkinen. I am hoping he will earn his spot and be more than a replacement.
Whatever happens, Teemu Pulkkinen has his chance to play with the big dogs, use his "holy slapper," and make it count.
via Brian Hedger at NHL.com,
Season series: The Detroit Red Wings scored three goals in the third period at Verizon Center to win the first game against the Washington Capitals, two by forward Justin Abdelkader. The three-game series will conclude at Joe Louis Arena in the final week of the regular season.
Red Wings team scope: Detroit won back-to-back games Tuesday and Wednesday during a six-game road trip, but returned home to spend two off days, including practice Friday. Goalie Jimmy Howard will start. The Red Wings placed forward Johan Franzen on injured reserve Thursday with an upper-body injury and second-year forward Tomas Jurco is out with a disc problem in his back. Rookie forward Teemu Pulkkinen was recalled from the Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League on Friday to help out. Pulkkinen, who had the most goals in the AHL (20), skated with center Riley Sheahan and forward Drew Miller during practice. "He just seems to be a player who scores and has scored his whole life," coach Mike Babcock said. "So, is he ready to score in the NHL? We're always looking for goals and if he can score, we're happy to have him … plus, he's a right-hand shot."
Capitals team scope: Goalie Braden Holtby will make his 18th consecutive start and 24th straight appearance. His near total domination of playing time led to a couple transactions Friday. Backup goalie Justin Peters, who's made one start since Nov.15, was loaned to the Hersey Bears of the AHL for a conditioning stint to sharpen his game. Rookie Pheonix Copley was recalled from Hersey to be Holtby's backup against Detroit. Holtby, who took the overtime loss Thursday at the Philadelphia Flyers, isn't wilting with the extensive workload. "I think that's one of the benefits I've had of playing in the [AHL]," he said after the game in Philadelphia. "You play every game up here and it's not nearly as hard as playing every two to three down there. Players play 82 [games], so it shouldn't be an excuse for a goalie. I like to play. I'd play every game if I could. But as long we're being successful, that's all I care about."
from Keith Gave at FoxSports Detroit,
At the halfway mark of this NHL season, we know two things for sure: The Red Wings can go ahead and print playoff tickets for the 24th straight season; and their fans should brace themselves for something more than another abbreviated post-season run.
The former is a virtual lock if these Wings play even remotely close to their level of consistent excellence they showed in accumulating 53 points through 41 games. And the latter is based on more than wishful thinking.
Maybe General Manager Ken Holland is right (he usually is) when he tells anyone who will listen that we shouldn't be at all surprised by what this team is doing. After all, with essentially the same roster as last season -- only a lot healthier one -- this team is on pace to improve its point production by 13 points over the 93 it earned in 2013-14. That, by the way, was just three points behind a New York Rangers team that advanced to the Stanley Cup Finals last spring.
To be sure, the stars aligned nicely for the Wings in the first half, when they played 23 of their 41 games at home. They also stayed relatively free of the kind of debilitating injuries to key players that crippled them at times last season.
The Wings hit the mid-point of the season last night after beating Calgary in their 41st game of the season.
With that, how do you feel about the current Detroit Red Wings team?
Other than the OT/shootout losses, I am satisfied with the team at this point of the season.
Sure more goals from the now injured Johan Franzen sure would have helped but as we know, Franzen is either hot or not and mostly not this year.
The defense has improved over the season but a veteran defenseman sure would help the overall group.
So what do think of the Wings at the halfway point?
Below is the playoff picture for the Eastern Conference along with Detroit's schedule through February which includes a brutal western swing later in February.
Last night after the Oil scored first I'm sure many of us were thinking same old, same old. However, I can be quite sure all 19 of us were pleasantly surprised when we finally potted a few goals. It was not for lack of effort, maybe the Wing were trying too hard. Anyway, it's two more points and puts a bit of distance between us and them ( our Eastern Conference rivals).
Tonight we will face a pretty decent Calgary Team in a back to back, so we are trapped, like rats. The Flames are ready and waiting to burn us. I would really like to leave our former team mate "unHappy" as we depart the Western Conference.
A WIN is in order. Whether we are riding high on adrenalin from last night's performance, or play the right way, start on time, or possess the puck. Well, you get my drift.
Two more big fat juicy points. One more time.
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
For defencemen, the Detroit Red Wings can be a real headache.
Ask Mark Giordano.
And not just because the Calgary Flames blue-liner, in the 2007 post-season, was dinged by Mathieu Schneider’s one-timer, a rising shot that cracked his helmet and split his scalp.
Typically, the Wings cause pain in less bloody fashion.
They simply hog the puck.
Which presents a nightmare for defenders.
“They’re a scary team,” says Giordano, who, Wednesday at the Scotiabank Saddledome, skates in his 19th regular-season contest against Detroit. “They have a lot of skill, and they’re willing to try to make those plays. They’re a puck-possession team, no doubt about it. They play a fast game. And they’ve always had those great centremen coming through the middle — those guys dictate the way they play.”
Starting off the New Year with a loss in Vancouver isn't the Red Wing Way. Playing a series of TRAP games is. Tonight we face Edmonton, and hopefully have shaken off the jet lag.
We all know that the Oilers are laying, lying in wait for a tired group of Wings, while the faithful 19 are tired too. Staying up for the late games is something I do not miss one bit, but it is a necessary evil.
So, avoid the bait, and break that darn TRAP!
via Brian Hunter of NHL.com,
Season series: Tomas Tatar helped the Detroit Red Wings to a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers last season. He scored in a 5-0 win at Rexall Place on Nov. 2, 2013 and assisted on the Red Wings' only goal of regulation before scoring the decisive shootout goal in a 2-1 win at Joe Louis Arena in the most recent game on March 14, 2014. The Oilers have two wins in their past 15 games against the Red Wings, each via the shootout.
Red Wings team scope: Detroit begins the Alberta stretch of its six-game road trip with games on consecutive nights against the Oilers and Calgary Flames. The Red Wings will attempt to rebound from a 4-1 loss Saturday to the Vancouver Canucks to start the trip. "I don't think that there's any panic in here," forward Henrik Zetterberg told the Red Wings website. "I think we know what we can do. We know we are a good team when we do the right stuff, we've just gotta do it." Defenseman Xavier Ouellet will remain with the Red Wings, according to the Detroit Free Press, with Jakub Kindl eligible to come off injured reserve but not yet ready to play. Tatar has four goals in the past five games and 16 on the season, three off his career high established in 73 games last season.
Oilers team scope: Edmonton opened a four-game homestand Sunday with a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders and has points in four straight under interim coach Todd Nelson (2-0-2) for the first time since a four-game winning streak from Oct. 20-27. The Oilers now aim for consecutive wins for the first time since Nov. 7-9. "It's getting better every day," Nelson told the Oilers website in regards to implementing the new systems he wants the players to execute. Nelson has been integrating fresh faces into the mix, with forwards Matt Fraser (two goals in four games), Derek Roy (one goal, one assist in four games) and Rob Klinkhammer (one assist in one game) all contributing since their acquisitions. "They've provided a new look and created some new energy in the room," Nelson said.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org