Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 05/04/07 at 09:39 AM ET
Look, I’ve done my best to quell the naysayers. When the rest of you were lighting the torches for B. Lang, demanding his benching, I was the voice of reason. At no point did a disparaging word about The Enigma grace this blog. I never once suggested anything but patience, and confidence that Bob would succeed for the good of his team, the state, Hockeytown and freedom.
I don’t know who sabotaged A2Y and posted this heresy on 30 April, but it sure wasn’t me.
And Lang’s performance is absolutely infectious. He’s the guy no one wants to touch. I can’t believe the hands are raised in the room when Uncle Mike seeks volunteers to sink with Lang’s line. Game 2? Hudler: zero shots. Calder: zero shots. Lang: obviously, zero shots.
It’s not even a matter of players performing badly when they’re stuck on his line. It’s the fact that they play well when they’ve disassociated themselves from his lethargy. Samuelsson? God, we killed the guy last round. Killed him. He looks alive again, rescued from the purgatory that is proximity to The Enigma.
The investigation continues. I’ll let you know when I find out who the culprit is, the phantom blogger.
Ok…that was fun. Yeah, I’ve been blasting Lang. Blasting him for about a year now, eh? We’ve taken issue with his “langadaisical” play, his lack of effort, his tendencies to float through games searching out the cameras. We laughed when Brad Stuart played Terry Tate, office linebacker, on him. We pointed to his faceoff percentage as an indicator of his apathy.
But…but. He’s come through again, unbelievably.
Arguably the two biggest goals this playoff year have come from Lang. And I have no explanation for it. He plays poorly, then worse, then so bad that he starts getting Hudler-in-November like minutes. He sulks, his coach steams. We rant.
Then he comes through…again. “The Enigma” is perhaps the greatest invention in the history of my life (Rocky I).
“When you play 10 minutes a game,” Chris Chelios said, “it’s pretty tough to do anything.”
Privately, Lang was seething. But to his credit, he avoided any public tantrums, as did Babcock, who prodded and pushed but didn’t punch.
“Because it’s Robert Lang, you notice it more,” Babcock said after Wednesday night’s victory. “But he won Game 6 for us in the last series. And then things didn’t go well for him, and the coach didn’t treat him probably the way he wanted to be treated. But I’ve said this all along: It’s not personal, even though it becomes personal. It’s about winning. It’s about whoever’s playing the hardest gets to play.”
It’s definitely interesting how the Lang-drama was handled. Babcock skimmed his minutes. Bob continued to coast. Babcock cut more minutes. Bob got angry. Babcock kept him on the fourth line. Bob stopped talking to the media. Babcock said, “You know what, you ask him,” when questioned about The Enigma’s poor performance. And Bob picked it up. We saw his energy increase in Game 3, even mentioned it before the roof caved in. Babcock increased his minutes. Bob began smiling again. Babcock has him on the ice the last thirty seconds of a near-death situation. We revolt. Bob scores. We’re stunned. And the B. Lang circle of confusion spins again.
Here’s the thing with Lang, and I really believe this: as he goes, so will the Wings. You just get the feeling the team wills him to success. His teammates love the guy. He’s no Fedorov, who the diggers could always find someone to privately blast. Schneider, Chelios, Draper, Hasek, Lidstrom…they line up to support him in the press. Every day we see something different, another quote obviously designed to boost his confidence. They want him to succeed because he can help the team, if he hustles and if he creates, but also because they genuinely like the guy.
Lang, a guy so naturally cheerful there are those with the team who refer to him as “Bobby never a bad day Lang,” needed to re-establish himself, and he did.
Not bad. “Bobby never a bad day Lang”. Doesn’t have quite the ring required to get into the glossary, but a valiant effort.
Nope. The Enigma he is and The Enigma he will stay. We have no idea what to expect. Ever.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org