Abel to Yzerman
Handshakes and grades and free agents and insanity. All hot topics as we peruse the Diggers today, five days after the elimination and a full week since the Kick To The Groin.
The Wings spent the weekend cleaning out their lockers, while Sasquatch makes final preps to play Game 1 of the SCF. Neat, eh? Needless to say, I’ll be pulling for Ottawa. The thought of Corey Perry lifting the Cup is just not pleasant. And that’s mild compared to how I feel about Pronger doing the same.
But I’m past that. It’s time to move from the crushed to the hopeful, the soul-wrenched to the analytical. And I’ve got a plan. Oh yes.
Updated 0508 EST on 24 May: This post is going to stay on top today because I’ll be adding to it as I have time and the inclination to do so. However, there are a few good stories from the Diggers today you may want to peruse.
Almost a full day after the conclusion of what I would consider to be a pretty damned good season, and I’m finally in a state of mind to discuss it. So I gave myself a day’s sabbatical to deal with this thing and I’m reminded once again how pleasant it is to be a fan-blogger instead of a Deep Digger. As much as I pick on Teddy and Helene and Khan(!), George, Young John and the rest…I wouldn’t have enjoyed their jobs last evening. Because you can’t follow this team without developing an affection for what they accomplished this year, or how they did it.
So they had to do their jobs, and I’ll bet those jobs weren’t fun. Oh, I’m not naive enough to believe that a loss didn’t make for interesting writing and reporting. I’m just saying that I’m betting the diggers wanted to see a bit more success. Like 5 games of it.
We read the stories, and made our safe assumptions. We figured that the pain of Game 5 would spur an effort that would leave that disaster where it belonged, in the past. But, apparently, the hangover was too much.
If you don’t realize that The Kick To The Groin had everything to do with the listless first two periods of Game 6, then you’re misguided.
It stuck with them and they couldn’t shake it until it was too late. And it wasn’t Lilja’s mistake that will be the wretched memory of this series. It wasn’t Lilja’s lapse in judgment or the steal from Selanne and that eventual goal.
Update 2157: Faithful readers of A2Y know that there is only one available option when the Wings are down 1-0 after 1 in an elimination game. That’s right, a block of pleasing cheddar.
I’ve taken that step and I fully intend to eat the entire thing by the ten minute mark of the second. I expect a positive second because of that personal sacrifice.
Update 1916: According to Boy Wonder John Niyo, it’s looking bleak for Bert.
But I’d call him doubtful for Game 6 at this point, based on his body language, among other things. He spent 15 minutes in the training room and conferred with team doctors and trainer Piet Van Zant after practice, then left the arena without speaking to the media.
Oh good God. If you’re looking to board, you must hurry. I can’t say that strongly enough. The Stress Train is full and I can’t guarantee you a spot.
Keys to victory tonite: I have no idea. Bertuzzi’s apparently a game-time deal and Uncle Mike can’t form a sentence worth reading.
It’s basically can a guy go, can a guy not go.
But, look below…that bad boy is filling up and if you’re not on it’s your own damn fault.
I’m liking the kid John Niyo at the News. I like stuff like this: “There is no handbook. No instructional video. Not even one of those bracelets with the inscription “W.W.S.D.”
What Would Stevie Do?”
I like it because it’s what we’re all thinking today. What’s Nick going to do? This is a little more dire than ‘97 against a Blues team that was, well, not really that good. It’s a little different than a visit to Sergei in the trainer’s room. And no matter how hard he tries, he can’t fake a wrecked knee.
I’ll let young John tell you the rest.
I’d like to apologize up front for interrupting the self-pity train many Wing fans have decided to step in front of. I guaranteed a Game 7 last night didn’t I? Isn’t that enough? What else can I do for the naysayers, the pessimists who commented with “it was a great run but now it’s over and I’m sad but not so sad that I won’t watch the Pistons what time do they start anyway?”
I don’t know. I just don’t.
Hey. Scott Burnside says Hank’s the man.
Zetterberg, 26, has quietly become one of those players around whom you could build not only an offense, but a winner.
“He would be a guy to build around, he makes others better. That is a rare trait that gives a team glue,” one Western Conference scout told ESPN.com this week. “His Red Wings pedigree is going to stick with him no matter where he plays later. So, he goes up high on the list [of top players].”
Mike Babcock faced the NHL media today. One of the issues was the status of Todd Bertuzzi.
Q. What’s the status of Todd Bertuzzi?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: He’s got spasms, I don’t know how you describe it. He’s got something wrong with his back. He couldn’t - he played until I think about partway through the third last night, if I’m not mistaken. About ten minutes left and then he couldn’t go. So he was feeling a little better here this morning. Piet chose to keep him out, but I think he’ll be ready tomorrow.
Q. If he can’t, will you go with Hudler?
COACH MIKE BABCOCK: Yes.
Read more for the entire transcript.
Updated 1755 EST: More on Bertuzzi from Helene St. James.
General manager Ken Holland said Monday Bertuzzi is injured, and that there’ll be more information available this afternoon.
Bertuzzi had just seemed to turn the corner in Game 4, finally getting his legs going after a season that saw him miss five months recovering from back surgery and then another week recovering from a concussion/whiplash. He has, ever since Game 3 of the Ducks series, been on a line with Robert Lang and Dan Cleary. Bertuzzi scored back-to-back goals in Games 3 and 4.
Look, I know gut reactions after an OT loss…especially a loss like today’s…are going to be pretty extreme. And I can tell you that this particular defeat was tougher for me to handle than any I can remember.
But I also know this: this team is not going to lay down. These Red Wings, unlike the team we expected to lose last year’s Game 6 in Edmonton, are not going to go quietly in Southern California; of all places.
In fact, I’ll say right now there will be a Game 7 in Hockeytown. And Game 6 is not going to be close…statistically.
1818 EST: Ahhh…Andreas. Man.
1747 EST: Just watched the Franzen attempted clear several times. Hard to tell for sure, it’s obscured, but it sure looks like that puck cleared the zone. Real tough to tell though.
1735 EST: Bertuzzi has played one normal and one short shift in the third. Could be due to the nature of the third, and the Wings obvious defensive emphasis. Draper on the PP now instead of Bertuzzi.
1542 EST: For Paul who’s on a plane somewhere. Teams look fairly even, although Ducks are cycling and grinding better. As Kukla pointed out in a comment below, the Getzlaf line is dangerous, mainly due to the defensive deficiencies of R. Lang and his mates. Wings seems to be picking up steam with 5+ minutes left.
1515 EST and the Stress Train was delayed by NBC execs. Here now. Board if you must. Warm beer on the house.
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