Abel to Yzerman
Getting on a plane today to Florida, and I’m not even going to tell you what time my departure flight leaves tomorrow. I’m going to do something today, partly because I’m in a hurry and partly because it’s warranted. Your boy Khan(!) has a must-read blog entry this morning. It’s, as the Brits and a few naval officers tend to say when they’re feeling haughty, “spot on.”
0004: Let's not kid ourselves. There is going to be plenty of talk about 5-3's and hooking calls and generally poor officiating. But here's the bottom line: the Wings got into a wide open game with the Calgary Flames, of all teams, and couldn't capitalize on the opportunity. Kiprusoff was fantastic, but not so good that he stole this game. Hasek, the Wings, the Wings power play and penalty kill gave this game away. Back to Detroit on Saturday and every ounce of pressure, every ghost of the last four seasons, rests on the Wings' shoulders. Playoff stress, what a surprise. I'll be hopping a plane tomorrow so expect postings to be minimal until late tomorrow night. 2344: Just happened to get a look at Zetterberg as he joined the second PK unit, three strides off the bench and pulled up. He's hurting. 2330: You don't spend the entire year in the bottom third of the league in PP and expect it to improve in the playoffs. Pathetic display with the man-up this game, this series. Almost makes you wish Jason Williams was bringing the puck up...almost. 2321: I just got my first opportunity to watch Teamdub's first intermission video tribute. Disturbing, yet classic in a raw, unedited A2Y kind of way. A recap: his girlfriend pretending to like hockey, but not afraid to flash the A2Y readers/viewers if it means distracting us from the antics of her boyfriend. Good on ya. Wing action figures, dogs, a midwestern garage and alcohol. All Abel to Yzerman staples. Check it out in the comment section. Teamdub, you are the man. 2316: Does anyone remember the days when playoff hockey meant the whistles were pulled out conservatively? The Wings have been killed by penalties thus far, butchered. Hasek's call, while he did embelish, was total crap. Lidstrom's and Datsyuk's were worse. But it's not the Wings getting the shaft, it's both teams. Of the 9 penalties called, 6 have been hooking. 2307: I've decided to increase my alcohol intake by 1/3. Statistically, and that's what we're all about here at A2Y...hard facts buttressed by stats, there can be no valid reason that shouldn't work on a variety of levels. Tell me a convicted man slaughterist couldn't kick the ass of anyone named Dion. 2301: For those those of you not reading the comments the prevailing phrase is "FU Dom". Who just went off hurt? Amazing play by Chelios to clear that puck then draw the penalty on Jarmoe. Injured Wing was Lebda, Wing on PP...nifty, disjointed as ever. 2239: Franzen now playing with Malts and Draper. Good, good line. Jimmy D must have come down to the lockerroom at intermission and slurred his way through some sort of motivational lecture. 2214: Taking a break for more beer. I guess we saw all this coming, eh? Fast paced, sloppy Dom...real sloppy. He looks bad. And you can go ahead and admit that you're wondering what the hell he's doing skipping the morning skate/practice if he isn't hurt? Bertuzzi looks, obviously, energized. Win this series and we have ourselves a real factor the rest of the way. 2207: Holy schnikes. Someone's healthy and happy. Welcome to the official Todd Bertuzzi return party. Anyone wanna bet that we see shades of the old violent 44 tonite? 2157: What? I'm sorry..what? Was that Bobby Lang to Don'tsnoozeonme? My, my...what a different dynamic that may have added. Great line Mikey boy. Hasek better have the game of his life tonite, because as Matt said, he owes us one. Make that two. 2152: Well, this is going REAL well. Our goalie's insane, but that was a BS call. Great play by Lilja wasted. I think the best part of this game thus far is that I haven't lost all control of my bodily functions. I truly view that as a moral victory. 2145: Encouraging start from Samuelsson on the point. One blocked shot that led to a rush, then a giveaway in our own end that took some sort of magic bullet route to the net that almost beat Hasek. I said earlier today that I'm lighting the torches if he doesn't come through tonite, and I stand by that one. I guess Hudler's the Wings' Kenny Rogers, only available for home playoff games. 2139: Holy Christ. Versus, you suck. we join 2 minutes in. Why? How does that happen. You rat f&* pieces of trash. Thanks Gary. 2120: I've decided I'm now the empire's pre-eminent Live Blogger. I know AlanaH has held the title for a long time. But change is good, and change has come. I now hold the title. Thank you. Here's what I worry about at the moment: Hasek's health, Teamdub's threat of a video tribute from his garage, Bertuzzi's mildness, Samuelsson's ineptitude, Babcock's state of mind, Lilja's streak of luck. More to follow. 2115: it would appear the aforementioned issues with Versus!!!!!!!!! won't be a significant problem. Roughly 9 left in Ottawa and approximately 20 left until faceoff in Cattletown. And it would appear I've lost a Stanley Cup finalist...Pittsburgh's done. The MSM bloggers are silent, so there is no clue as to whether the lines published by anyone with a Commodore 64 earlier today are going to be used or not. We can most likely expect the breathtaking continued presence of one M. Samuelsson though, and that makes me sad.
1853 and Sportscenter makes their first NHL playoff mention. Barry Melrose: it’s a good thing that Pittsburgh loses. Everyone lost before they won.
Then it’s on to NASCAR.
Updated 2055 EST: Big test for Versus!!!!!!!. What are they gonna do when we’re halfway through the third of a blowout in Ottawa when the puck drops in Calgary? I know what I’m gonna do if we join that game late.
Updated 1954 EST: Just got an email from AlanaH. She said she may drop by, but the few times she’s conversed with Wing fans she’s been left adjusting to the fact that they are wittier than she is. It’s tough for her. Be gentle.
[Alanah Note: Yes, IwoCPO, you are correct—frequently, when I think about your team, I laugh. Hasek’s fashion clothing line probably has a lot to do with that…]
[Iwo Note: Oh AlanaH. Don’t be bitter. I’ve corresponded with all the regulars and they promise not to mention Cloutier if you hang out tonite.]
Updated 1953 EST: Alright, alright. You’ve spoken. I will attempt a live blog. But if bad things happen…well, if bad things happen I make no guarantees. I’ll start it out at 2115 and we’ll go from there. And if Ottawa and Pittsburgh go into OT, I’m gonna be tough to deal with.
I’ll leave it up to you rat bastards. If you’re in, I’ll make it happen. I make no guarantees though. If the stress gets the better of me and I go all fetal, it may be short-lived.
Has there ever been a time we needed a Mike Babcock Consolidated Quote of the Day more than today? No? You agree? Yes? Ok. Overheard after the morning skate today.... "We've decided to go ahead and start Hudsyhudshuds. Every time I think of him up in that press box, eating those nachos and grabbing ass with Jimmy D I get pissed. I think why's that little bastard get nachos? So, we're going to change it up, get him out there, give him a shot, more minutes..definitely more than last game, eh Ansar? Ha. What? How much? 3 years, eh? Like I said, Sammy's our guy. We're going to stick by him skinny and thick. No matter what."
Updated 1520 EST: Khan (!) spoke with Babcock who commented on the fact that Hasek chose not to practice today after participating in yesterday's optional fun-fest.
Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek never misses a gameday skate when he’s starting. So when Hasek didn’t take the ice Thursday morning in the Saddledome, it raised some questions about his health. But, coach Mike Babcock said everything’s fine. Hasek is starting tonight in Game 4, he just didn’t feel like facing shots in the morning. “He chose not to (practice),’’ Babcock said. “Dom wanted to (practice) yesterday, (when) we felt we needed an optional for our guys, we felt we had a lot of guys who shouldn’t skate.’’Oh...neat. If the morning skate is a true indicator, you've been ignored. Helene St. James blogs that the faces will remain, the lines could very well change.
Based on the morning skate, it looks like the Red Wings will field two new lines tonight when they will attempt to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series against Calgary. Robert Lang will have two new wingers in Todd Bertuzzi and Johan Franzen. Valtteri Filppula will be out with Kyle Calder and Mikael Samuelsson. Lang had been playing with Calder and Samuelsson the first three games of the series, but while the line was responsible defensively, it didn’t generate much offense.So, here we are: Hank/Datsyuk/Homer Franzen/Lang/Bertuzzi Maltby/Draper/Cleary Samuelsson/Filpulla/Calder No Hudler. No sack for Babcock. Another pointless night for Samuelsson and a loss? Light the torches.
Hard charging John Niyo blogs this afternoon that Regehr's riding press box pine again tonite.
Didn't skate again this morning and won't play tonight in Game 4. Expect the same lineup from the Flames. As for the Wings, stay tuned.Staying tuned...aye. And, like our friends said in the comment section here, if Calder sits tonite...and he's healthy? Speechless. I guess all I can say is that would be really frigging stupid.
Yep, that's a Skynyrd reference to start your day. And one line from one tune off the "Second Helping" album seems to fit nicely. "People said he was useless, them people all were fools." Now who would we be referring to, and is our claim foolish? Your call, Lang or Samuelsson. Something's gotta be done about the second line and it needs to happen tonite. All the diggers are scratching their heads, and we'll bring you their riveting game-day stories, followed by a little IwoAnalysis. Oh...and name the song.
The honeymoon is, not surprisingly, over; and we have returned to our regularly scheduled playoff programming: stress. And you know when it started? Not yesterday morning, or afternoon, or early evening. Nope. That kind of stress is a pleasant nervousness, a sense of anticipation. You like it because you like to look back on it and think, "What was I worried about?" The real stress started on the first shift when every one of us saw a different type of game, even though we expected it. Did the Flames look that good? No. But they looked...different, right off the hop.
Update 0044: If there’s anyone here who doubted Lang would lose that faceoff, please raise your hand so we can all point at you and laugh. Tough loss, but not a huge surprise. Split was the goal going in and it remains that now.
Update 0014 EST: I posted this earlier, but it definitely bears repeating. Battle of Alberta’s assessment of Mark Giordano.
Giordano can be a defensive liability, relatively speaking, but he can also launch a counterattack. And, he’s shown a decent knack for getting his point shot through to the net, which is clearly a skill the Flames could use right now. Calgary could quite conceivably win the next two games while still allowing 7 GA, but scoring only 2, they cannot and will not.
Update 0008 EST: If the Wings win this game, that play by Cleary will be looked back on for some time. Amazing.
I can’t handle that live blogging stuff during the game…it’s just not possible. But, I’ll open it up for you guys to comment here if you have the fortitude. First period: nervous, nervous. Agreed with Paul below (was it you Paul?) who said inserting Bertuzzi looks like a bad decision. He looks terrible and he’s a target. Each time he hits the ice, at least three times now, it’s an energy boost for the Flames. Lots of pressure from Calgary, little offense from Detroit.
In other words, pretty much what we expected in the Saddledome. Wings survived the first period unscathed, and that’s not a negative.
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