Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Bearing Down On Bubba

Oh, we'll get to the happiness that is Kyle Calder and Jiri Hudler and Robert Lang and, yes, Chris Osgood. We'll touch on the type of joy only brought on by frolicking puppies and wins at The Gay. We'll discuss the novelty of a division race in mid-March and the Toastmaster-like communication skills of one Michael Babcock. But first: suckage. No one knows when Hank Zetterberg's coming back.

We’ve wondered about it here for at least a week.  There’d been no concrete mention of a return date, and little mention at all about his rehab, if there is one at all.

Well, Khan(!) addresses it this morning and it’s not looking good.

It’s been 16 days since Detroit Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg left the ice in practice complaining of back pain. He hasn’t skated since, but the club remains optimistic the star center will return before the end of the regular season.

“Anytime one of your best players is injured it’s a concern,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said Tuesday, before his team’s 5-2 victory in Nashville. “Our hope is to get him healthy and in our lineup for regular season games.”

Those of you who have followed the Holland-led Wings the last few years know exactly what Holland’s really saying there.  “Hope to get him healthy for regular season games” actually means “I have no idea what the hell’s going on with Hank’s back. Our doctors don’t know.  We don’t know when he’s coming back, if he needs surgery, if he’ll be available for the playoffs.”

And, yeah, that makes me want to throw up in my mouth a little bit.

But hey, we closed the gap on little Bubba…so that’s good.  More than a few of you commented the last two days that Sunday’s humiliation at the hands of Dave Lewis and the Bruins would serve as motivation to improve.  I, of course, took another tact and saw fit to make disastrous predictions.  So, I guess that makes you smarter than me?


Detroit News/Kulfan

After playing so poorly Sunday in a loss to the Bruins, Babcock wanted his Wings to come out ready Tuesday in a playoff-type game against the Predators.

The Wings did, very much so, in an impressive victory.

“We weren’t happy with our effort Sunday, we played sloppy,” Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We had lots of turnovers and we wanted to cut down on that and play better in the neutral zone, and we did that.”

And, yeah, Kyle Calder’s going to be here a while.  Any Williams apologists still around? Anyone? Anyone?  Dammit, Kenny. That was a smart move.  The only question I have is why he didn’t make that deal last summer.  Did Calder’s 9 goals over the course of the season finally convince him he was a more valuable asset than Williams?  Whatever. He’s here now and making up for a certain absence of a certain Swede.


“Some people maybe didn’t realize how gritty Kyle is,” Wings forward Kirk Maltby said. “He’s kind of like (Wings forward Tomas Holmstrom), he goes into those dirty spots and he’ll take the hits to try to deflect the pucks and get the garbage goals.”

Calder has at least one point in six of the seven games he’s played for Detroit (two goals, seven assists).

“He’s doing what we expected him to do, go in front of the net, go to the tough areas and get some rebounds and get some goals like he did tonight,” Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “He’s always where the puck’s coming or where the puck’s going. He’s been a great addition.”

Mike Babcock, in his consolidated quote of the day, said he likes Calder’s nickname. He thinks it kinda rolls right off the tongue.

“Greaaasssssyyyyyy.  Grease.  Greasy. I like it. I like to say it. I like the way it makes me feel.  He’s a greasy kid with greasy, greasy gritty gumption and gogetitedness.  Sometimes, when I’m eating, I’ll stop. My fork will be right there.  Right there, close to my mouth, potato salad probably. And I’ll just stop and I’ll say to Toddy that I’m liking this whole Calder thing.  Then I’ll take that bite, and then another.”

So, as we kinda predicted…but not specifically, really only very generally, okay we didn’t predict it at all…the Wings stormed the Gay, shut up the relatives, and pissed off Tommy Vokoun. And you know what happens when Tommy gets irked right?  Oh yes.  He turns on his boys.


Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun, on his team’s defense Tuesday: “Our coverage needs to be a lot better. It’s that simple.”

We’ve seen that before, Vokoun throwing his D under the bus after a loss to the Wings, but you won’t see it tonite because it looks like Bubba’s going with Chris Mason in net.  The Wings?  Hasek.  And that’s the way it should be, right? The division on the line, “the most important game of the year”, 39’s the guy to backbone a victory, right?

We hope so. We hope the Hasek of old, or less old, or not so old, is there.  We hope he’s there tonite and we definitely hope he’s there in a month.  But, let’s table that discussion for a few days.  Let’s pretend, for once, that goaltending isn’t going to be the Wing’s main concern this Spring. 

We can do that because if we’re listing concerns, Zetterberg’s right up at the top of that glorious list.  We better hope that kid gets healthy and healthy fast.  “Our hope is to get him healthy and in our lineup for regular season games.”

Yeah.  That’s our hope alright.


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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