Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Monday Odds and Ends

Skimming around the MSM and the blogs this morning. We start with Ted Montgomery of USA Today. If you were a reader of A2Y 1.0, you know I was a harsh critic of Ted's. Now, with Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, and a feeling of goodwill and fellowship enveloping me on this chilly Monday morning, I'm wondering if I was a tad too harsh on the lad. Nope. He is the absolute worst...Teddy The Toolbag.

Since we are about to be firmly ensconced in the holiday season, it's time for my annual column giving thanks to those things hockey-related for which I'm grateful: — The fans in Atlanta, Minnesota, Nashville and Columbus, who seem more than ready to cheer their teams on to greater glories. — Most of all, to hockey fans, far and wide. We've endured tough times and came back even stronger than before. Thanks to all of you who take the time to write to me. I really appreciate how you challenge me every day.
Would those fan letters you speak of include the few I've sent in your direction Ted? You know...the ones where I suggest you, ummm, find another line of work? Oh, and "annual column giving thanks to those things hockey-related for which I'm grateful"? Might want to look up the meaning of "annual." It means yearly. Column indexes are funny things.

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Monday With The Deep Diggers

Two days after the fact and Dwayne Roloson's sprawling second-period save Saturday night is still the topic of conversation around the Wings. Kulfan/Detroit News

...then Cleary was asked about the save. The one Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson's made in the first period, with Cleary all alone beside the net for a one-timer, that will be on every NHL highlight DVD for the next decade. "I didn't think you guys would bring that up," Cleary said. "To be honest with you, I don't know what else I could have done with it. He made a highlight-reel save. My hat's off to him."
Yes he did and so's mine. But...watch the clip. Cleary settles the puck just momentarily before shooting. If he one-times it, Roloson's beat. Something else about that particular sequence. Every time I watch it, I like the way that play was set up more and more. A nice pass from Samuelsson to a moving Datsyuk, who zips it cross-ice to an open Cleary. I like that line.

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Rol’d Again

A note on game recaps: I'm in the process of moving from Bubba to Cap territory. Until I settle in DC, I'll be without Center Ice. So, games I have to listen to six inches away from my computer screen like a pathetic gamer will feature recaps a little skimpier than those I watch on tv (Versus!) or through Yahoo streaming. Bear with me until mid-December when the hockey package is once again the primary ingredient to my successful marriage. ------ Oh, the fond memories Dwayne Roloson provides the Wing faithful. Oiler fans will have to give us some insight on a question I have, and how they respond will make you feel better, worse or both...if that's possible. I think we deserve to know whether Roloson plays this well against everyone or if he saves these kind of performances just for us. Let's just get it out of the way. If you passed out in the fetal position after another sporting event yesterday and perhaps slept through the Wing game, well, here's the game for you right here. Wasn't that fun?

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Powerless And Pounded; Streak Ends In Calgary

Updated at 0822 CST: Bailey's just found its way into my coffee. It's going to be a long 24 hours. We've been saying it here for the last week: the ineptitude on the power play is a funny little anecdote, a footnote to the big story. It was crafty to see how you could work in mention of the league's worst power play, while at the same time discussing the league's hottest team. Sorry. We're not the league's hottest team anymore. That November label is staying where we left it last night. Now? We're just the team with the power play that looks like five puppies learning to walk, and it finally cost us. How did it cost us? Because teams know they can take liberties with the Wings and not pay for it on the scoreboard. Oh, none of the penalties last night were of the abusive kind, so you can argue my point if you want. But, just the attitude with which Calgary manhandled the Wings. The lights were out. The cell block was locked down. The skinny guy was trembling and everyone knew he couldn't stop what was on the way. And he didn't. Every team in the league should be requesting video of last night's game. You know what, they don't even need it. Just a quick note to self: "Hit Detroit. Hell. Pound them. Start the parade to the box if you have to. They can't score on the power play, so hit 'em again." Oh, and here we go into Edmonton tonight. Ok. Deep breath. I've already had this discussion with my wife this morning and I'll make it clear to you now. I'm in a bad frigging mood. She accepted this explanation, so I expect that you can too. The Wings lost badly. Michigan and Ohio State today in the Biggest Game In World History, and then the Wings play Edmonton tonight. It's a high-stress 24 hours. Oh...and I'm also supposed to dis-assemble the bastard trampoline. Frigging GREAT. So, look...a full game recap is just not in the cards. Kiprusoff looked great. Hasek looked great at times, too. And here's some fun for the whole family. In fact, call them over because this is just, well, fun (god, my vocabulary is being affected...I'm losing it. You may get ten more sentences out of me, probably less. It's 0750 and I can see no reason why I shouldn't start drinking). Anyway...fun. Yes...the penalty kill. Hey, it's a hell of a lot easier to type "the special teams suck", rather than "the power play sucks, but the Wings take great solace in the improving penalty kill." Whew, now we can go back to the simple way. Alright. Look. I know. It's one loss in ten and I'm coming down awfully hard on our boys. But Calgary always seems to have a way of exposing this team's weaknesses. We knew one was the power play. We thought another, the kill, was being rectified. And we thought, for sure, that the biggest one of all had been solved altogether. Nope. Now we can go back to wondering if this team has the grit and heart to succeed when it counts. Last night they didn't. Oh, don't worry though. We love Rexall. NHL.com Box NHL.com Super Scoresheet Detroit Free Press: Flames End Wings Win Streak Detroit News: Wings' Win Streak Ends MLive: Flames Snap Wing Streak At Nine Calgary Herald: Flames Scorch Red Wings Calgary Sun: Real Wingding Battle of Alberta Five Hole Fanatics Double D(ion)

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MSM All Over Wings Today

The mainstreamers have been riding some Wing jock today. Stories all over the place on the "rejuvenated" Wings. I think I've found most of them, but here's a consolidation for you...starting with the most current item from NHL.com. John Kreiser/NHL.com

How remarkable is it for a team to allow so few shots on goal? Consider that Edmonton was the stingiest team in shots on goal per game last season with 25.5 shots against per game — the Wings were third at 26.6. In the three previous seasons, when there were far fewer power plays, shots on goal and goals, the league lows were St. Louis in 2001-02 (22.5), New Jersey in 2002-03 (23.6) and Dallas in 2003-04 (23.2).
The rest of the day's activity: Phil Coffey: Wings Success A Surprise Eric Duhatschek: Hasek And The Wings Adam Proteau: Give The Euro's Credit Fox's Robert Picarello: Hasek Getting Better With Age

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Coffey, Duhatschek On The Wings

Phil Coffey of NHL.com breaks down the surprises and disappointments of the young NHL season.

Yep, it sure seemed over for the Wings as the season started. I guess someone forgot to tell the Wings, who are hot, hot, hot and 12-4-1 in their first 17 games. The Wings have outscored the opposition 47-33 thus far and are 6-1-1 at home. Nick Lidstrom is already plus-18 and polishing up the Norris Trophy, and the Red Wings are doing quite nicely considering the fact neither Pavel Datsyuk (12 points in 17 games) and Henrik Zetterberg (eight points in 17 games) have gotten hot yet. As for Hasek, he of the tissue-paper groin, well, he has gone 9-3-1 with a 1.76 goals-against average.
And on the subject of Hasek, he and the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek apparently had an epic chat. "Hat" has a huge story on Dom and the Wings, in general.
"I didn't want to go anywhere else. I was about to retire. When Ken Holland called me, I knew right away this was a great opportunity to play one more time with the Red Wings. I was excited from Day 1. I was excited to get into the locker room before training camp. I was glad I could still see the guys — like Nik [Lidstrom], like Cheli [Chris Chelios], like Drapes [Kris Draper]. Even though there are lots of new players, I knew I was going to face some of the guys I played with. I felt comfortable from Day 1."

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Bring On The Griffs; Holland Calls Up Three For Weekend

Updated 1627 CST: Man, I thought I was all live, local and latebreaking on this one. Nope. On The Wings is drilling it. According to Helene St. James' Wing Blog, Kenny Holland has pillaged the Grand Rapids roster. Reacting to the non-availability of Tomas Holmstrom, Jason Williams, Nik Kronwall and Chris Osgood; three Griffs are in the air as we speak.

Williams (neck) remains on injured reserve. Holmstrom (groin) and Kronwall (groin) have been put on IR, backdated to November 10, which means they can come off Saturday. Chris Osgood (wrist) has been put on IR retroactive to the 12th. The latter three moves were made so the Wings would have roster room to call up goaltender Stefan Liv, plus forwards Evan McGrath and Darryl Bootland. At the time of the morning skate, none of the three were expected to make it to Calgary in time for the game, which isn’t a big deal because it’s not like the Wings are short on players – Dominik Hasek will start tonight and Joey MacDonald will back up, and there are still six healthy defensemen and 12 healthy forwards.
St. James points out that Bootland's call up may not be a coincidence...considering who the Wings face tomorrow night.

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Time To Credit The Euro’s

Adam Proteau of The Hockey News and via ESPN is tired of the Cherry-esque Euro-bashing. And he's using the Wings to make his point.

Sure, Steve Yzerman was instrumental in Detroit's back-to-back Cup wins, but does he get either one without the contributions of Sergei Fedorov, Slava Fetisov, Igor Larionov and Slava Kozlov?
Or without Vladimir Konstantinov, on the ice in '97 and off it in '98. And as far as Fedorov goes, I'll always contend he was jobbed out of the Conn Smythe in '97.

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Stats For The Weekend

Courtesy of Grampa Pinhead, here's a look at how the Wings measure up with our Provincial rivals tonite and tomorrow, plus a glance at the league standings. +/- #1 DET - +25, +9 on the road and +17 home #3 CGY - +20, +7 at home and +8 on the road #19 EDM - -3, +9 at home and (-12) on the road PP% #17 EDM - 15.6%, 18/115 #27 CGY - 11.8%, 11/93 #30 DET - 9.8%, 9/82 PK% #3 EDM 89.9% #21 DET 81.2% #25 CGY 80.4% Short handed goals DET 4, CGY 4, EDM 1 Short handed goals AGAINST CGY 2, EDM 1, DET 1 AVG. GOALS FOR/GAME #15 EDM 2.90 #18 DET 2.76 #20 CGY 2.71 Standings 31 pts, BUF 18 Games 30 pts, ANA 19 Games 28 pts, SJS 20 Games 27 pts, ATL 20 Games 26 pts, TOR 20 Games 25 pts, DET 18 Games Also, check out Five Hole Fanatics for more analysis of tonite's game in Calgary.

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The Timely Return Of The MBOW

Updated 1138 CST: Bo Schembechler, on the eve of the biggest game in the storied UM/OSU rivalry, passes at age 77. Bo collapsed at the taping of his weekly television show this morning. Paul was one of the first outlets anywhere to break the story, and has been updating here. -------- A long time ago, before darkness descended upon A2Y 1.0, we had established a nifty little feature called the Michigan Blog Of The Week (MBOW). I liked it because it prompted me to read sites about something other than hockey, and actually acknowledge the fact that Michigan is home to other pro and college sports teams. Well, today we bring it back and do so with style and definite relevance.

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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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