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Abel to Yzerman

Deep Diggers Unite:  All Agree Zetterberg Ready

Despite blog entries yesterday that looked like the three diggers spoke to Mike Babcock from three different continents, they met over latte last night and conspired to conform.  Their stories are heartwarming in their similarity this morning.

Kulfan/Detroit News

There was no doubt in Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s voice.

When asked about Henrik Zetterberg’s status for Thursday night’s playoff opener against Calgary, Babcock didn’t waffle.

“I know he’s playing,” Babcock said.

Sipple/Detroit Free Press

Monday’s practice at Joe Louis Arena was an important one for Zetterberg, who centered his old line with Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom. Zetterberg’s linemates have confidence he’ll be able to pick up where he left off.

“He’s skating good,” Holmstrom said. “Haven’t really asked (him) how he felt.

“A player like Hank has so much talent. I think it’s going to take a little bit (of time). He’s been one of our best players through the whole year. No doubt he’ll be one of our best players in the playoffs.”


Zetterberg has been skating hard for about two weeks but said Monday’s practice was the first time he’s done everything his teammates did, including stops and starts and battling for pucks. He believes he’ll be ready to play in Game 1 of the playoffs Thursday against Calgary at Joe Louis Arena. His coach is even more confident.

“He’s going to play, he’s ready to go,’’ Mike Babcock said. “He’s been (skating) for two weeks, it’s about time he plays.’‘

Whew.  Thanks Ansar.  If Babcock says it, it’s gotta be true.

Meanwhile, in Calgary they’re licking their chops at the idea of getting a piece of Hank.

Veteran Calgary centre Stephane Yelle says the Flames are a confident bunch headed into Thursday night’s opening game at Joe Louis Arena against the top-seeded Detroit Red Wings.

“We know their style and we know how we need to play against them to be successful as we have been this year,’ Yelle said.

Gee, I wonder what style that might be?

“I showed it last year in the first game we played Detroit (in the regular season),” McCarty says. “I ran (Chris Chelios) through the end boards and he’s a good friend of mine. That’s the way we do it. If you’re not dishing it out . . . (Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby), they’re not going to let up, either. That’s the competitiveness.”

Ah, Mac. We like you.  But I have a sneaking suspicion you’re just not going to be a factor. 

The Calgary Sun has a pretty fair piece this morning, discussing keys for the Flames

The arrival of Kyle Calder and Todd Bertuzzi adds muscle and meanness to a Detroit club long devoid of such character. Combined with the feistiness of Kirk Maltby, Kris Draper and Tomas Holmstrom, the Wings are no longer a team afraid to get dirty like the Flames used to. Unless the work ethic Sutter instilled returns, the Flames could find themselves losing the bulk of the board wars.

Woops. No mention of the Mule there, who is playing “feistier” than all of the above.  Add him to that mix of players and things could get nastier than Calgary recalls from ‘04. 



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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