Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

And Lightfoot Saved Us

Because that’s what Gordon does and then he asks for so precious little in return.  Just a thought now and again for the poor bastards who rode the E. Fitzgerald until her keel split in two like a frigging twig, and maybe a cheap beer if you see him at some non-descript UP watering hole.

And we owe him. Oh yes we frigging do.

But we owe a few other fellas just as much.  What an interesting turn of a stomach last night, eh?  Do you know the exact thing the 19 absolutely did not need last night?  An early soft goal.  Do you know the precise follow-up that would send us careening down a road toward a massive, collective inhalation of vomit?  A second softy.

Well, that’s what you got Motherfu**ers.  Because that’s how we’ve been rolling lately.  And the 19, I’m sorry to say, was on the very cusp of blowing the hell up.  Oh yes.  Yesterday, actually all week, was a day of infighting, sobbing bitchfests and grade-school squabbling.  And I’m proud to say I was right in the middle of it.  Here’s a newsflash, a little bit of insight for you. Ready?

I do not take it well when people pick on my Uncle Mike.  Sometimes, when it’s dark, I let those people irritate me.  And every single time? I like to pretend i’m 11 and get sucked into those conversations like a toolbag.

Well, guess what?  The Babcock Naysayers are at a disadvantage.  While they may be smarter because they watch hockey games other than those featuring my Dynasty?  They don’t have the kind of access my interns do.  And you know the result of that access? 

The Mike Babcock Consolidated Quote of the Day (MBCQOTD)
“Yep I sat Helmer. Love that kid but I sat him because he was playing like a fourth-liner not a third liner and a third liner’s what I need him to be Ansar a third liner with some grit and a sense of humor sometimes because when things get tough I like to flick him on the ear on the bench. Flick. Flick. Flick.  What? Me? Eyes on the ice. I’m an Olympic coach Ansar. O. Lim. Pic. You gonna doubt me? Well you just roll the dice Sally.  Roll ‘em and then pick ‘em up and put them in your pocket next to your Mentos.” 

Good points Mike. All of ‘em.

Interesting. I spend three straight days defending Babcock against the evil hordes.  And then he benches Helm and I literally have no idea why.  I couldn’t figure it out and here’s the thing…I saw Darren Helm doing what Helm typically does.  He was running people, skating hard, being a nuisance.  That, honestly, is all I ever expected out of the kid…at least at this stage.

But Uncle Mike? I guess he saw something else, and I guess he saw it because he knows more about hockey than I do. 


“There’s an opportunity for a young guy to watch, (and) he’ll be fired up to come back,” Babcock said. “Sometimes, a shot over the bow is a good reminder for guys.”

Helm has one point (an assist) and a minus-1 rating in five games since returning from a one-month absence because of a sprained AC joint.

Babcock said Helm’s play has been “fine,” but “not at the level I’m used to having him.”

He then added, “There would be a lot of guys who can be accused of that.”

A few things in there.  Yes, Helm will be fired up to come back.  But Helm seems to be fired up from the minute he wakes up.  Helm jumps out of bed and starts hitting people.  Helm doesn’t walk from the couch to the fridge. He sprints and he hits people in his way.  It struck me as odd that he’d require that kind of motivation.

A shot over the bow is a naval term and I dig that.  But there’s a difference between a bow and a…


“Sometimes just a shot over the bough is a good reminder.”

Watch out. One more shot and that “bough” might break bitches.  That’s alliteration. Sorry.

So Mike made his move and benched the kid.  In favor of Brad May? Sure.  And May did his job. Hopefully he didn’t break his hand in the process. He returned after our initial panic last night so all appears well.  But May is no Aaron Downey.  He’s more of a Darren McCarty type, only much tougher.  May has a bit of offense to him where Downey was inept.  Good guy but no offense. 

I’m digging May Day. 

You’re thinking it today because you’ve been raised to go there.  You’re thinking it but you’re waiting for someone else to actually say it before you comment.  Your hesitation sickens me.  You know who has no problem saying it?  Uncle Mike.  Unprecedented.  Two in one post.

“Yanked his ass.  Yanked. Him.  Said to Todd, ‘GimmeJimmy.’  Rhymed it.  Woops. I mean Brad. Stupid haircut Brad. But I said ‘GimmeJimmy.’  Does that mean there’s a goalie controversy? I don’t know Helene. What’s a controversy? You tell me Helene. Define it for me.  I pulled the starter and put another person in goal and that person played well. Did he play great Ansar? No. But he played well and the other guy sat and stewed in his ballcap with his pen and pretended to do the faceoff chart that nobody ever looks at. Frescas on me bitches.  Frescas alllllll around.”

Jimmy Howard looked like an NHL goalie last night.  Oh, he was scary and a little reckless.  But I’ll be bitch slapped if the kid didn’t make some amazing saves, along with a bunch that just have to be made every time.  And because of the way Babcock reacted after the second soft Osgood goal?  You have to think he’s a little fed up with Regular Season Osgood. 

November is the new May.  Whoever we have in net can’t afford mental lapses and boredom and whatever else ails Chris Osgood during the heretofore meaningless games between early October and April.  Every game, when you decide to bend over for the first month of the season, means a bit more the rest of the way.  It looked to me last night that one goalie understands that.  Another one doesn’t.

Someone I was angry with earlier in the week just made a good point and I’d like to let you see it.  No, it’s not going on the frigging sidebar.

The Live Blog

Besides 4 in the third, something deliciously different was going on last night. Three (3) down low goals, Wings seem to have cut the number of shots from the point.

I can dig that and it looks like the Wings, finally, do too.  And you know who’s leading that charge? Two guys: Wally and the Unibomber.  Frigging Filppula, as many of you hetero-Fil-fawners have pointed out, is becoming a force.  His pass to Williams (yep…I was wrong) was a thing of beauty and a picture of why moving, moving, moving toward the net instead of dancing around the perimeter on the PP is so critical to Detroit’s success.

Bertuzzi is going to earn himself a multi-year deal in Detroit.  He’s lighter, faster and more aggressive than we’ve seen him.  And last night? The elbows were up and that just makes me giggle.  Sooner or later he’s gonna start scoring and then?  Stand by.  Because this guy is comfortable and he’s right there.  That close.

So Jimmah and Wally and Uncle Mike and the Rejuvinoozi all played a part.

But you know what we needed and where we got it from.  Offense was a problem going in, eh?  Third period scoring an issue?  Power play problems?  Lack of production from the guys being paid to score? 

Datsyuk.  Finally.  And if you think there is one other single ingredient as important as him?  There isn’t one.  His offense feeds everything.  Need evidence? Look no further than last June and a loss to a team that never could have contained him if healthy.  There should be a hologram of his ankle x-rays under the names of the Pittsburgh players engraved on the Cup. 

Many things went right last night as the Wings finally took an “elite” goalie to task.  They sucked quick and early then mounted a comeback.  So much went right.  And, really, so little was proven.

Sustained superior performance is all that can right the ten-game open hander.  A little streak of consistent periods (great, now I can’t even use that word without squirming), then a couple wins, and then a five or six gamer.  If last night meant anything, it has to be the beginning of something consistent.

I think it can, but only stupid people believe for certain that a win tomorrow night in Edmonton is guaranteed.

Still…screw it.  I’d start Howard.  You?

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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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