Abel to Yzerman
Sometimes things confuse me. My head swims and I get scared and clammy. Right now is one of those times. I’m used to a situation where we have to convince our writers that hockey exists. In LA? Exactly the opposite. The media is trying to explain to the public that the Poultry aren’t some sort of urban legend.
The Ducks barely register as a blip on the SoCal sports radar, hidden as they are in the National Hockey League and marooned as the only major tenant in Anaheim’s arena.
Then there are the name changes. From Mighty Ducks of Anaheim to Anaheim Ducks, and the place-name changes. From the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim to The Pond to the Anaheim Arena and the Honda Center. It’s enough to confuse less-than-casual hockey fan, which is most of us.
I know. I know. Hockey’s a niche sport. The Duck fan base may be small, but they’re loyal. But, c’mon. 3 out of 4 years in the Conference Finals and the media still has to beg the lefties for their interest in that team? Did I say “lefties?” Woops.
Oh…and check out this quote from Mike Babcock today on Leaf’s Lunch.
On the holes the Ducks may see in the Wings defense, “They plan to run the crap out of our D, we plan to do the same.”
I’m starting to feel an anti-Pronger post coming on. It’s in its infant stages, but I think that’s what I’m sensing.
With approximately 30 hours until the WCF kick off tomorrow night in Hockeytown, you’re bored and restless. I can’t offer you anything to combat those ailments, but I can provide you a few links because I like you all so very much.
Dan Wood of the OC Register writes about the life and times of Duck legend Travis Moen.
The LA Times explores one of life’s amazing coincidences; the tie three of the four Conference Finals coaches have to the historic Anaheim Duck franchise.
Pierre McGuire offers four defensemen who will impact the Conference Finals.
And here’s a friendly little quote J.S Giguere spit out yesterday about his friend Teemu.
“He’s just a very elegant player. He’s got a very nice stride to his skating, he plays with a lot of energy, a lot of enthusiasm. You can tell he’s having fun, and it’s always fun to see him around. He just loves interacting. He makes everybody in a better mood because he’s such a goodhearted person. He’s just a great teammate.”—Ducks goaltender J.S. Giguere on Teemu Selanne.
I’m glad he’s having fun. Hopefully that fun will continue after Todd Bertuzzi plows him through the end boards at the Joe tomorrow night.
Little administravia for you. I’ve added several new Poultry blogs to the port side under, oddly, “2007 Western Conference Finals.” Also, I haven’t pointed you to Quo Vadimus nearly enough. Scott Warheit’s a Tiger blogger for MLive and a Wing fan. He’s posted a quality WCF preview.
And just as they did with Miikka Kiprusoff in the Flames series, the Wings will have to overcome a familiar foe when they face Ducks goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere. It was in 2003 when Guguere became a household name (or as much of one as you can become in hockey) when his standout goaltending helped the Ducks, the 7th seed in the Western Conference, sweep the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the playoffs.
A quick word on Giguere. His save percentage for the playoffs is a sick .952. If he can keep that up facing an average of 30 pucks/game against the Wings…well, that’s the series in a nutshell. I’ll have a preview of my own tomorrow or the next day or sometime before faceoff. Don’t push me.
Updated below with riveting IwoCPO commentary. Don’t miss it!
Their performance this playoff season, the entire season, probably made this decision about as easy as they come for Boy Wonder Kenny Holland.
Ken Holland said today he wants to bring back both Chelios and Dominik Hasek. Hasek has declined to show his hand when asked about his future, but Chris Osgood told me last week he thought Hasek would be back. Holland is hoping the same.
“Dom has been a big factor for us,” Holland said. “Chelios, we play him 18-19 minutes, but he wants to play more. He’s bugging our coaching staff all winter long and bugging me all winter long to play more hockey. We’re holding him back because we want to have him fresh for the long haul.”
Mike Brophy at The Hockey News has a story up referring to our boy Homer’s status as a big-time bargain.
So when the veteran GM of the Detroit Red Wings had the opportunity to lock up gritty right winger Tomas Holmstrom for three years at $6.75 million, he jumped at it.
And why not? The 10-year veteran appears to be getting better with age. While some 30-goal scorers command significantly more money, Holmstrom is one of the NHL’s biggest bargains at an average of $2.25 million a season.
In his past two seasons, the 34-year-old from Pieta, Sweden has enjoyed career-high years of 29 and then 30 goals, making it hard to believe he didn’t test the free agent waters.
So, we’ve seen a glimpse of the MSM today and I’ll bring you more because I know you demand it. But, we’ll also make time for my peers. This is going to shock and hurt you, but I have to say it.
Yes, there are people out there—fans and bloggers—who don’t want the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup. Shhhh, it’s ok. I know. Please…don’t. It’s ok.
Whew. I mean it. I’m frigging relieved. Almost as relieved as JB after KG passed the friendship test with an F+ (Look…I like my Tenacious D references, but I’m not tied to them. They’re kind of a staple here, but I can evolve if necessary. Let me know).
Why am I relieved? Because Ted Montgomery, likely the worst mainstream hockey writer in the history of mainstreamedness, has made his conference finals predictions.
Khan(!) had this story ready for a few days, it would appear. Plenty of reaction from Kenny The Boy Wonder.
The 5-foot-10, 209-pound left wing is no longer the Wings’ top prospect, but he still has an intriguing set of skills. Next season, the Wings will see if he’s ready to play in the NHL. The club has signed Grigorenko to a one-year entry level contract worth $858,800. He’ll be competing for a job in training camp in Traverse City this fall.
“He was a real top prospect for us a number of years ago but unfortunately had that accident,’’ Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He’s had a couple of years where he’s been able to play and get healthy. We feel it’s time to come over and see where he’s at.’‘
Holland says the timing was right, that Grigorenko’s as healthy as he’s going to get and that the opportunity is his to take advantage of.
What he doesn’t say is this: We’re going to need another dependable forward when Bobby says goodbye.
We start our Mainstream Media Prediction Series with this nifty piece of literature from the Orange County Register.
They might be seeded No. 1 in the West this season, one notch ahead of the Ducks, but that is a result of Detroit playing in a much weaker division and having a softer schedule than the Ducks. For my money, the Ducks are the superior team, especially with the Red Wings having lost defenseman Mathieu Schneider to a broken wrist.
You know, the patsy Central references don’t even bother me anymore. And I’m sure they’ve never bothered the Wings themselves.
So I’m tooling around, looking for a few links to give you for the port side WCF section…and I’m having a bit of trouble locating any Duck blogs other than B.O.C. Earl Sleek, who runs the Anaheim portion of that little ditty, has been around a while so we know what he’s about. But finding other SoCal assets has proved to be frustrating…thus far. Earl…suggestions? I promise not to start my personal attacks on you until tomorrow at the earliest if you can provide us a few recommendations.
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