Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

24 Hours Later

Updated 0508 EST on 24 May:  This post is going to stay on top today because I’ll be adding to it as I have time and the inclination to do so.  However, there are a few good stories from the Diggers today you may want to peruse.

Wojo:  Wings’ Future Is Bright
Rosenberg: Wings Fans Are Spoiled
Kulfan: Biggest Question is Hasek
Little Mitch the Delicate Genius: Should Hasek Return?

Almost a full day after the conclusion of what I would consider to be a pretty damned good season, and I’m finally in a state of mind to discuss it.  So I gave myself a day’s sabbatical to deal with this thing and I’m reminded once again how pleasant it is to be a fan-blogger instead of a Deep Digger.  As much as I pick on Teddy and Helene and Khan(!), George, Young John and the rest…I wouldn’t have enjoyed their jobs last evening.  Because you can’t follow this team without developing an affection for what they accomplished this year, or how they did it.

So they had to do their jobs, and I’ll bet those jobs weren’t fun.  Oh, I’m not naive enough to believe that a loss didn’t make for interesting writing and reporting. I’m just saying that I’m betting the diggers wanted to see a bit more success.  Like 5 games of it.

Me? I didn’t have to write squat today.  I didn’t have to read the papers, the boxes, other blogs.  So I didn’t.  The only thing I read were the comments that kept coming.  I get them via email whenever someone responds to an A2Y post, or another comment.  They started out pissed, then a little depressed, and by tonite?  Encouraged, as we all should be, by the performance of this team this year. 

So, at a time where I’d typically be looking around for some MSM fodder to rag on, I’m going comment on your comments…because they ran the gamut today.  This post is going to take a while so I’m going to be updating as I go.  Stay with me and add your own if you’d like.

Ryan from Syracuse was the courageous first poster after the loss last night. 

In a year when we weren’t supposed to be any good at all, having lost Yzerman and Shanahan; a year where we were predicted to go out in the first round, and again in the second, I’ve been consistently impressed by a team everyone said was “too old, too slow, and not willing to get their hands dirty.”

That’s one hell of a “rebuilding year.”

We all talked about the underdog syndrome all through this playoffs, how the Wings were the first 1 seed to go into three straight series’ predicted to lose.  Calgary, the team we wanted to play second to least, would certainly run over the Wings, blast them in the corners, shut down the neutral zone.  Down they went in 6.  San Jose, the Iwo-proclaimed “Team We Don’t Speak Of” followed suit and it was apparent this year’s Wings weren’t the Wings of old.  Mike Babcock’s influence on this team finally reared its head through their hitting, their hustle and their refusal to give up after consistently finding themselves in holes that frustrated us, but seemed to calm the Wings.

Hockeychic from Hockey Hell chimed in next with what we all probably realize by now…The Kick was too tough to kick.

I knew it was over after Game 5.  I’m sorry, but I did.  We beat SJ in a win like that and they never recovered.  So for the Wings.  Game 5 at the Joe.  The Kick to the Groin, indeed.

I wouldn’t say I knew it was over after Game 5.  My hope was that an angry, determined Wing team would show up in Anaheim and put the wood to the Poultry the first ten minutes of Game 6.  But, it was apparent early on that the hangover was just too severe.  The Kick In The Groin was emotionally destructive, I believe.  So close and then…gone. 

SRT was the first poster to recover from The Groin, and start looking toward the future.

Given some small changes, I think this is a championship team. Dom—I don’t know if he wants to come back and what kind of money he would demand. Bertuzzi: a one year contract with incentives, unless another team offers him multiple years which I don’t see happening. Our defensive core will be great: Lid, Kronwall, Lebda, Cheli. I thought Markov and Lilja played very solid games. Does anyone know if Schnieder is a UFA?

Yes, Schneider can hit the open market this year.  But he won’t.  I don’t think he wants to leave and I believe that if he hadn’t been injured, this series would have been over in 5.  Samuelsson on the point, occasionally Chelios…both were admirable.  But Schneider’s presence would have opened up Lidstrom a bit more.  His offense was missed.  And, yep, the defense next year has the potential to be the league’s best wth Lidstrom, Chelios, Lilja, Kronwall, Schneider and either Markov or Lebda.  Markov? I’ll bet I haven’t written more than two complete paragraphs this year about him.  I think he was very good these three rounds.  I don’t know that Holland will elect to keep him at the price he’ll most likely demand, but he did well for us.

Pete K. debuted his new blog, Yzerman Is God, this week.  I don’t know what kind of wack-job of a Wing fan starts a Detroit blog the day after elimination…sounds like some sort of self-abuse (not the Costanza/Dique-fan kind, you sick bastards), but the guy can write and his farewell to Never a Bad Day (To Leave) Bobbie is classic.  In between setting up YIG, he commented a few times here.

I’m looking forward to seeing Dats and Hank build off of this disappointment. This is the first the Wings have lost as *their* team, not Stevie’s. For the first time, the Eurotwins were the leaders, and for the first time (won’t be the last) they failed to bring it home. I think this is more their team now than ever.

Also, look on the bright side: goodbye Lang.

I questioned Boy Wonder Kenny when he signed Datsyuk just before the playoffs began.  He shelled out huge money for a guy who hadn’t produced in the postseason yet and I wondered how long he’d been hitting the pipe.  I couldn’t understand that kind of monetary commitment, felt it was “rash”.  Ok, now I’ll admit it.  Ken Holland is a better GM than I am.  God, that hurt.  It hurt me so badly, so very badly.  But I can admit that now.

16 points (8 goals) through 18 playoff games, and a performance in the 3rd period of G6 against Anaheim that will be referenced and mentioned here many times to come, proved me wrong.  Hank was Hank.  The best our team had to offer, for the second year in a row, probably hurt and definitely an emerging Leader.

And yeah…see ya Bob.  Listless, lethargic, lackadaisical Lang.  Later.

Rougly 90 minutes after the last desperate puck bounced off that French dude’s pads Baroque brought up The Miracle.

Ozzie and Jimmy Howard (or some other Griffin)?  They have to develop a new goaltender sometime.  May as well be in another rebuilding year.

Even if he does come back, I can’t see more than one more year for Hasek, no matter what the outcome.  I think his son has one more year in high school, and after that there won’t be any reason for him to stick around for family.

And off we ride into another offseason with a goaltending dilemma staring us in the face, and once again that crazy sick bastard is at the heart of it.  “This may have been my last game,” he said.  “I may retire, again, and I may not but I feel as if I think I may consider the idea of how retirement should be the option because left with too much time on my hands I may get even crazier than I already am,” is what he meant.

Torn is what I am.  Torn, conflicted.  Hasek was unbelievable this playoff year.  Ken Holland, desperate at the time, signed him and now looks like a genius for doing so.  We scoffed and were proven wrong.  I have no idea what Dom’s going to do.  Here’s what I do believe: Osgood is a backup, nothing more.  Jimmy Howard is unproven at best and here we are again:  Is a rookie goalie the guy to backstop a team with so much talent and potential?  Same storyline, different year.  It should be the frigging chamber of commerce slogan for Detroit.

 

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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