Abel to Yzerman
Back to a semi-regular rate of posting tomorrow. For now, I'm mystified. I get it. I know the Wings are taking it slowly, that keeping Hasek out of back-to-back games was the plan and they're sticking to it. I know that, and I see it. But playing Hasek against St. Louis last Friday, sitting him against Bubba; then playing him against Minnesota, and sitting against the Sharks? Am I the only one who can't wrap his head around this? I guess I'm slow, or overly critical. The difference between the Wild and Sharks isn't as great as that between St. Louis and Bubba, but a little advance scouting would have told us Minnesota was more likely to get off only 20 shots, while San Jose has an offense a bit tougher to contain. Also, playing the second game in two nights...doesn't it make sense to have your number 1 going to offset tired legs from the rest of the team? Yes, the Hasek situation is a touchy one; best approached with caution. I'm not going to argue with Mike Babcock's refusal, at this point, to use him relatively sparingly. But, it seems to me that in a span of one week the Wings played arguably the two best teams in the West hamstrung from the opening faceoffs.
As you probably know, Gordie Howe's wife Colleen suffers from Pick's Disease, or dementia. The last several months have been hard on him and the entire Howe family. But, he's slowly coming to grips with her condition. Via Slam,
"It's hard at times like this, at Christmas, because I don't know what to do. I was always thinking she would do this. We're going out later with Mark to go through the stores and come up with something." Through all of this, Howe remains a class act and wants nothing more than to remain in touch with the game and the fans who still flock to see him. "That's been my life," Howe said. "I try to be respectful to the game of hockey and its followers. That's because some wise old man told me if someone is interested enough in you to ask for your autograph, you should be interested enough to sign it."More
Despite traffic you wouldn't believe, Bubba's attempts to sabotage me several times across Tennessee, evil speed traps in Virginia and an amazing display of navigational ineptitude, I can happily report my safe arrival in Washington, DC. Having been here a little over 24 hours, you'd think that my presence in the seat of government would automatically give me some sort of insight into Andres Lilja's claims that he's being "politically" blackballed by the Wings. Alas, no. More on that in a moment.
Alright troopers. I'm headed east. I'll be traveling for much of the next two days and hope to update again prior to Friday's game. At the very pessimistically least I expect to be fully back up and blogerational no later than Monday. As you can see, the Chief-Jeep will be traveling directly through the heart of Bubbaville. No, I won't be stopping at the Gay.
Warning: This one's going to be all over the place. Domestic metaphors, movie references, mind wandering. Crazy, disjointed stuff. Stick with it. A point will be made. The common theme amongst our DD's today? Ted Kulfan/Detroit News "Whether the Wings need one, an enforcer, that is, is the growing question." Khan(!)/MLive "Holland doesn't believe the Wings need to bring in a player for the sole purpose of being their enforcer." Bruce MacLeod/Macomb Daily Tribune "So do the Red Wings need to add an enforcer to keep opponents from taking liberties?" Would we be having this conversation if the Wings were scoring? Nope. But, as we know, this is a chicken-egg-Kocur question. Oh, you need me to explain that? Well, I can't. It is a chicken and egg thing, but I just threw Joey's name in there because we're talking toughness. Confused? I understand.
NBC's "Bellowing Moose", which I've successfully avoided reading until today, has selected your Wings as his target of opportunity this week. Here are some highlights. * A season removed from capturing a second straight President’s Trophy as the top regular season team, Detroit entered this week in the midst of a five-game losing streak (although thanks to the NHL’s new math, it managed to pick up points in three overtime losses along the way), and was suddenly in danger of dropping out of the top eight in the West." At last glance the Wings were 7 points up on Vancouver (currently in the 9 spot) and 8 up on Calgary. Minnesota, Colorado and Edmonton would be in today which means in order for the Wings to miss, at least 4 teams from the Northwest make the playoffs. Ummm...I don't think so. But, hey, that kind of forward thinking obviously isn't the "moose's" style. *In the parlance of the auto industry, the NHL is a league full of sleek sports cars, while the Red Wings are a ’76 Monte Carlo running on leaded gas. Consider Detroit’s 6-2 loss in Nashville Saturday night, where the Predators' oldest player was 32-year-old Steve Sullivan. Detroit had nine players older than him in the lineup. Original. Look at it this way, though, Moose. Nashville has 16 players under thirty. The Wings have 13. The "aging Wing" monikor of years past, while still popular among the truly creative, is less and less accurate. * The Red Wings are playing a new, defensive style of game, trying to limit opposition scoring chances and depend on the goaltending of Dominik Hasek, along with the blueline work of Lidstrom. But more and more often, the once mighty Wings look beatable, and like a lot of other acts from Motown, they look old. Fickle, fickle. Just two weeks ago the Wings were the toast of the league. Now, they're just plain toast. Which is true? Find the middle if you can, then wait for the playoffs.
A few days off may be all that's required to get Jason Williams back on the ice for the Wings' next game. Helene St. James Wing Blog
Don’t yet rule out Jason Williams playing Friday night when the Red Wings are at Minnesota. Williams left Monday’s 2-1 victory over Dallas in the second period after suffering a charley horse when he was hit by Niklas Hagman. After the game Wings teammates said Williams was in a lot of pain; but general manager Ken Holland had good news when I spoke to him Tuesday afternoon. “Williams felt pretty good today, much better than we or he thought he would,” Holland said. “He’s come along way since the way he felt last night.”
No. That's a lie. But my wife did. And the fact that I'm even bringing this up underscores just how seriously I took this most recent five-game skid. Minutes before faceoff she broke the news. The Bachelor would take precedence. All of a sudden, it hit me. She hadn't watched any of the previous five games. She was the reason. My wife was the cause of significant Wing fan sorrow. I told her if the Wings lost to Dallas....well, I'd have to let the world know of her disloyalty. She said, "Ok. You go ahead and tell the six people who read your blog that I'm the reason Detroit can't score on the power play." Ouch.
Anyone find anything unusual about this shot chart of Detroit's first period against Dallas? More analysis of shot opportunities and selection tomorrow morning.
The latest rounds of tests on Johan Franzen's left knee have revealed damage that will keep him out indefinitely, according to Helene St. James' blog.
"They didn't do another MRI; I guess they had someone different look at it, and there was a little bit of fluid," coach Mike Babcock said Monday after the morning skate. "I guess what that tells you is that there might be a one-plus or a two-minus MCL sprain. That means he's not playing and not available for a while. I don't see him for the weekend for sure."Babcock said Franzen is showing no ill effects of the concussion. Anyone have any objections to Helene St. James fleeting up to Deep Digger captain? Her blog is updated more consistently. Her writing is generally better. Khan(!) may be getting a little too comfortable in his captaincy. It's a tough decision. I'm struggling with it.
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