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Abel to Yzerman

Confusion Abounds:  Franzen MRI May Have Been Incorrect, MacDonald To Face Bubba

Weird afternoon in the Town of Hockey. First we hear that the original MRI done on Johan Franzen's knee may not have revealed the true extent of the damage...

The concern with Johan Franzen isn't so much about his concussion, it's about his banged up left knee. Mike Babcock said Friday that an examination of Franzen's knee did not match up with the MRI, which revealed no damage. "Now we have to wait for our people to come in and redo (the MRI),'' Babcock said. "It’s real unfortunate. He’s a big part of our team.’’
...then we come to find the Wings have decided to start Hasek tonite against St. Louis and MacDonald tomorrow against Bubba.
Dominik Hasek will start in goal tonight and Joey MacDonald will start Saturday in Nashville. Why? Because the Wings badly want to end this three-game winless streak tonight and, obviously, Hasek gives them the best opportunity. They'll take their chances with MacDonald in Nashville because they don't want to play Hasek on consecutive nights until the second half of the season, if at all.
Both items came from Khan(!)'s weblog at MLive. I understand wanting to halt a three-game skid. Great. But, at some point you have to think Babcock would have enough confidence that his team would do so against the Blues, no matter the goaltender. I'd consider tomorrow's game at The Gay a natural scenario for a rested Hasek. Hasek vs the Blues, MacDonald vs Bubba. Makes no sense to me.

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Around The ‘sphere

Up first: Kudos to Ken Holland. Local Detroit news stations are showing footage of the Wing GM serving meals at a Salvation Army Soup Kitchen yesterday morning. Not sure how much pub that will get. I'd actually be even more impressed if it doesn't receive any, which would give an idea of the motivation behind the act. Either way: good on ya Kenny. Having been pre-occupied with domestimerica the last two days, I offer you nuggets from my fellow hockey bloggers. I really wish Columbus was better. For if Columbus was better, they'd be our rivals. If they were our rivals I'd dislike them intensely, and maybe even generate a glossary entry; undoubtedly tied to the acronym that they claim. Oh, that would be witty. If I disliked them intensely, I'd be happy, happy, happy today. Why? Because I really detest their new large coach.

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Black Friday Shopping

I'm going out on a limb and saying right now I was the only U.S. hockey blogger out of bed at 4:30 this morning, on the road by 4:45 and knee deep in the trenches by 5. Yes, I did. I waded into Black Friday battle. Am I proud? No. I'm humilitated and, frankly, more than a little shaken. Nothing in my military career prepared me for the violence, the viciousness and game-day intensity brought to the table by the housewives today. They elbowed me, glowered, cursed me and intimidated me. It was horrifying. But I wasn't the only Wing fan shopping today. Ken Holland was too, and he was much better prepared than I.

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Oh Well…That’s Not Good

The only good thing to come out of last night, for me, is that I didn't have to witness it. I've read the game reports this morning, considered the irony of my consistent defense of "old school" hockey and the hit on Jason Williams of two weeks ago, and decided to devote my efforts today to eating as much as possible. In other words, I'll have some thoughts on last night's game, the hit on Franzen and the effects of both on the team, later tonite or tomorrow. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and please keep in mind those who have volunteered to spend theirs in dangerous places.

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Homer Back Where He Belongs

And that would be planted in front of (and often in) the crease. He'll return tonite, according to Helene St. James' Wing blog.

The Red Wings will have their best net-front guy back in the lineup tonight when they play the Canucks. Tomas Holmstrom has been out since Nov. 10 because of a groin injury, but he had a good morning skate and is ready to return. Given his penchant for parking in front of an opponent's net during power plays, the Wings are hoping Holmstrom can help boost a power play that's the absolute worst in the NHL - the Wings' success rate stands at 10.1%; the next worst is Phoenix at 12.4.
Side note: St. James is gaining grass-roots support from A2Y staffers who feel she should supplant Ansar Khan(!) as Deep Digger Captain. Her advocates point to the consistent blog updates as ammunition for a fleet up to the C. On the other hand, twice removed captain Ted Kulfan hasn't updated in three days. Khan(!), while largely consistent this year, hasn't updated since yesterday afternoon.

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A Bowman Tale

Caught a glimpse of an article on Paul Maurice this evening, and found this Bowman anecdote.

Scotty Bowman once had an inventive way of catching players breaking curfew. Realizing some of his Detroit Red Wings players might break his midnight curfew, he ventured down to the hotel lobby five minutes before the deadline and handed a goalie stick to an attendant. Get some autographs, Bowman said, knowing those who signed would be doing so after curfew. The next morning, the attendant thanked Bowman and showed him all the autographs. At practice, several players couldn't figure out how the coach caught them in the act without actually witnessing it.
Too bad Jacques Demers never thought of that, eh?

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Holiday Travel

Updates will be sparse today as the IwoCPO family leaves the Midsouth, trekking steadily toward the badlands of Oklahoma. I'm not sure if Oklahoma is technically the "badlands." I just happen to enjoy the term "badlands." So, off we go and leave you to fend for yourselves. You may do so by using the various hockey and Wing-specific references I've been kind enough to provide for you on the port side of this page.

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Game Day Preview: Canucks at Wings

You can't blame Canuck fans if they're still smarting from last week's loss. Six million dollar baby Bobby let in a softy to the Mule and that was all she wrote. Tonite Vancouver, bubbly from a two-game winning streak against the Central JV squads, tries to gain a measure of revenge. We, the impartial scribes here at A2Y, suggest caution though. If you are a Canuck fan, heady with the success of your recent victories against Chicago and Columbus errrr, St. Louis (thanks Andrew), you may want to reminisce for a moment, and recall previous episodes of overconfidence and their unfortunate consequences.

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Protecting The Jewels

I guess when you're the Holland/Babcock brain trust and you sign a quirky 41-year old groin injury waiting to happen, you do so with the expectation that the coming season could very well turn into something of a three-ring circus. You anticipate seven months of shielding your eyes every time he goes post-to-post, and hope for approximately two months, 9 days of reaping the rewards of your brilliant foresight. But when the backup you signed to back-up the last psycho goalie you eventually, and thankfully, let walk gets hurt and can't back-up the current brittle goalie...well, it's time to get creative. And creativity this week means that when Hasek gets a rest, he rests on the bench instead of in the press box. And creativity means that if Joey MacDonald lets in 6 goals in 6 minutes Friday against the Blues (I know, I know...bear with me), the backup signed to bring the Cup back up to Detroit won't be budging.

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Last Season In Hockeytown For Datsyuk?

Clearly, I have no ability to multi-task. I was so focused this morning on the fact that the Detroit papers are ignoring the Fischer story that I skipped over an item that deserves significant discussion. Thankfully, I read the Detroit News message board this afternoon. A post from Attica reminded me of this little issue. It would appear that Pavel Datsyuk's days in Detroit could very well be numbered. If he's not dealt by the summer, it's looking like re-signing with the Wins may not be a possibility when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next July. Khan(!)/MLive

The Wings made center Pavel Datsyuk a contract offer. He rejected it, and his agent, Gary Greenstin, made a counter-offer. The Wings rejected that. "We had quite a difference of opinion and we agreed we'll table (talks) for now,'' Holland told Booth Newspapers. "We're far enough apart that there's no negotiations going on.'' The Wings have had difficult negotiations with Greenstin the last two times Datsyuk's contract was up. Two Russian clubs started a bidding war for Datsyuk prior to the 2005-06 season. He eventually signed a two-year deal with the Wings for $3.9 million a season. Datsyuk is eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer. Holland has been trying to get him signed to a long-term deal. "I never moved from my offer,'' Holland said. "After a long period of time, they countered. They have no interest in my offer, I have no interest in their offer. Let's let the season unfold.''
Pavel Datsyuk wanted to cash in last summer. The 3.9 he signed for was based largely on regular season flash and potential to carry this team in a postseason in the future. His performance in that arena, as we know, has been one of the bigger disappointments to affect this organization in the last decade. Any discussions Ken Holland has with Datsyuk's camp are out of curiosity, courtesy or both. If he expects to be paid significant dollars, he'd better earn them in May and June.

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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: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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