Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 09/19/07 at 10:01 AM ET
I’ve been delinquent in bringing you Wing previews courtesy of my fellow bloggers. To make up for it, I’ll give you a conversation piece on this fine Wednesday. A short story to set the stage. I was at my local healthfood restaurant last week, ordering a sausage and cheese biscuit. The guy taking my order had a Penguin necklace kind of thing on, holding an id badge or whatever. Always willing to engage a fellow hockey fan in conversation, I said. “How are your Pens looking this year?”
“Great,” he said. “Who’s your team?”
Now, we must pause for a moment. Understand something. That question anywhere but Michigan is always tricky and here’s why. If I automatically say “the Red Wings” to a fellow hockey fan, I’m immediately paranoid that he thinks I’m some sort of bandwagoner, new to hockey, who decided I was a Wing fan in
‘97. So, I’m always quick to reply with something like, “I’m a Wing fan, grew up in Saginaw.”
His response, as other health-conscious patrons waited to order their breakfast burritos, was: “Oh, the Yankees of hockey aren’t doing quite so well with the salary cap are they?”
And, as the kids would say, it was on.
That argument is so stale, so flawed that it offends me. The reference is so ignorant that I couldn’t let it pass.
So I asked him, with fat people in line tapping and huffing, to back it up. “How are we like the Yankees?”
“Well, the free agents…”
Like who? Which ones. Hasek for 850 or whatever he’s making? Drake for 250? Osgood for 2.0? Rafalski? There’s one. One big name on the market and at least every team has one of them, or at least every team who wants to be competitive. So, I got on him a bit. Threw names like Datsyuk and Zetterberg and Holmstrom and Kronwall and Filppula and Howard at him. Asked him how scouting them, then growing them through the system made us “the Yankees.” Asked him how picking up good players like Draper, Maltby, Cleary for essentially nothing made us “the Yankees.”
It’s a stupid, ridiculous statement. Especially now that the Cap has brought with it all sorts of fiscal parity. He deserved what he got, even if it meant the herd behind me had to wait their turn at the trough.
I’d always considered Penguin fans a knowledgable bunch. I like their passion for their team and the fact that they’ve supported them through rough times. In my opinion, they deserve the success that’s ahead of them.
At first I blew it off as an idiotic, teenaged play on words. I scoffed because you all know I never make fun of alternative lifestyles here at A2Y, unless we’re discussing Transvestite Dive Fans.
But I read on because the preview itself was written by Christy Hammond of Behind the Jersey. Good stuff.
Do I think the Wings have drastically improved from last season? No, but they did lose deadweights Lang and Calder. Admittedly, Lang had an incredibly critical goal against San Jose in the playoffs, but the rest of the time he spent on the ice gave Wings fans ulcers and a reason to yell at the TV.
While the Wings have only picked up a veteran forward who will spend most of his time on the fourth line, he is another physical body to make the Wings an even more physical team.
Nothing like a little Enigma bashing to start my day, so by the time I finished it I’d forgotten the 6th grader’s “homotown” remark. Ahhh, but after Christy’s analysis I was reminded that the headline author had more to say.
The Yankees of the NHL have adapted beautifully to the salary-cap era.
Yes they have. But even if you’re referring to the Wings as “the Yankees of the NHL” in some sort of past tense, it still doesn’t apply as there’s never been a time that the Wings went hog-wild with free agents. And if you’re going to reference ‘02, check your math and look at the players who took a pay cut to bring in Hull and Robitaille. The Wings are a team that, despite idiotic statements like that, have built from within consistently. Those of you who take issue with that statement, check your facts.
To cement his brilliance the blogger concludes with this gem:
And Detroit will still be there, somehow, at the top of the Central, waiting for another team to knock them off in the second round of the playoffs.
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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