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Abel to Yzerman

Digging On A Saturday Night

Oh my.  Things are getting interesting in Hockeytown.  It would appear there is a hockey team in Detroit after all.  How do I know this?  Because, well, Mitch Albom told me so.

“Was that like playing soccer and outguessing the goalie?” someone asked Datsyuk after today’s 4-1 victory in Game 5.

“Maybe like baseball,” he said, grinning. Datsyuk often grins after games like these, as if his skills are a private joke between him and his native tongue. But make no mistake. That goal inflated the Wings as much as it deflated the Sharks.

I love to pick on the Delicate Genius, you know I do.  I think Mitch Albom has forgotten the value of writing about Detroit sports in the style that made us look forward to every one of his columns, no matter the subject. And, more personally, I think he’s largely forgotten the Wings.  But, man…this is a great line:  “...as if his skills are a private joke between him and his native tongue.”

Ross McKeon of the San Francisco Chronicle looks at the Shark power play.

San Jose is 2-for-23 against Detroit in the series and 0-for-11 in the last two games when converting even once could be the difference in leading the series instead of facing possible elimination Monday night.

“Unfortunately we just haven’t had poise, especially on the point,” Sharks coach Ron Wilson said. “We haven’t gotten shots through or even attempted shots. It’s something we’re going to have to discuss and find a way.”

If the Wings close this thing out Monday, or Wednesday, they’re going to be faced with a shot at redemption on two counts.  Anaheim and Chris Pronger.  Sasquatch killed us last year.  Killed us and I didn’t see it coming.  When I thought his temper would get the best of him he avoided the box like Bubba and a shower.  When I thought his shot would veer hard to starboard it found the back of the net, behind our boy.  Pronger was the true culprit in the Punch In The Face.  But…but, the PK looks better, different.  It looks like there’s more pressure on the point, and there has been since Calgary.  Point shots aren’t getting through.  When San Jose’s dangerous it’s from the half board or wherever the hell else Thornton is with the puck when he stays out there the whole two minutes, which he does every time.

Pronger’s on a much better team than the Edmonton squad that beat us, but if the Wings were to finish this thing off with San Jose?  Something tells me Pronger may not have the room he did last year.

Bruce MacLeod reports that Ken Holland stated in postgame remarks that Brett Lebda would, coincidentally I’m sure, be ready for Game 6 on Monday.  Khan(!) said Holland used the words “should be”.

If he’s not, the Wings will be forced to insert another rookie, Derek Meech, into the lineup.

“Schneids has been playing great hockey for us, he’s been solid in every situation, he’s been huge on the power play and certainly playing a lot of minutes,’’ Wings center Kris Draper said. “That’s a big loss.’’

When the team learned early in the first period that Schneider, injured in a collision with Sharks forward Patrick Marleau, would be lost, captain Nicklas Lidstrom delivered a message to the forwards.

“We’re telling the forwards that they got to get the puck in (deep) so we can go for a change,’’ Lidstrom said. “When you’re only three (defensemen) sitting on the bench, you have to rotate the D and try to stay fresh and take short shifts.’‘

Khan(!) also gets nuts and actually mentions Niklas Kronwall, saying he’s still about two weeks away.

Bob Duff, another guy I somehow forget to read, has a good look at the Sharks’ crumbling psyche.

With each game, the Sharks grow less steady, more uncertain.

You can sense the grips getting tighter on the sticks as frustration sets in. You can see the passes going astray, the poor decisions being made, the defensive assignments being missed.

For the fourth time in five games, the Sharks took the lead. Then they took the rest of the game off.

“We’re playing an experienced team that isn’t going to give up,” Sharks defenceman Craig Rivet said. “We’re going to have to play a 60-minute game and we’re not doing that.”

ESPN’s Scott Burnside has a column up already using the Rivet/Zetterberg/Holmstrom scrum as an example of this year’s Wings having a bit more sack than previous iterations. We agree.  In fact, I liked the whole column.  And, woops, when you’re right near the end?

Asked whether he thought this team had more character or grit than last year’s squad, Zetterberg suggested it was too early to make such pronouncements.

“That’s a question that is better to ask after the season,” Zetterberg said.

I did tell you guys there’s an Yzerman post on the horizon…right?

And finally…Don Cherry’s a Wing fan.



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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