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Abel to Yzerman

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It’s January, and that means you’ve tired of the Diggers.  Sorry.  I shouldn’t narrow the months down like that.  It’s winter, and you’ve tired of the Diggers.  So, we turn to some other sources to re-affirm our suspicions that the Wings are, well, the Wings.

Lew Serviss from the New York Times asks the inevitably irritating, “can they replicate their regular season success in the playoffs?” question, then touches on why it’s not an unlikely scenario that the Wings do just that.

Detroit is also a more experienced team this season. Its talented rookies of a year ago are now second-year players with valuable playoff experience. Valterri Filppula and Jiri Hudler are highly skilled forwards who need only more playing time to make an impact in the scoring race. Reclamation projects like Mikael Samuelsson, Dan Cleary and Andreas Lilja have been transformed by whatever secret elixir they serve on the Wings’ bench. Nicklas Lidstrom, the steady captain who has eclipsed the other defensemen in the league since Ray Bourque retired, and Rafalski are 1-2 in defense scoring and Niklas Kronwall, healthy after an injury-plagued start to his NHL career, could anchor most other teams’ D.

Aha.  Kronwall as most team’s top defenseman?  An interesting, and slightly controversial, statement.  He’s got, as Jack Black would say, all the tools.  And he’s been healthy for six straight months, a personal best.  His violent tendencies are becoming more frequent and his offensive skills are a bit more prominent.  6 points over the season’s first 20 games.  15 over the last 20.  Good enough to “anchor most other teams’ D”?  Nah.  But he’s getting there.

Jim Matheson from the Edmonton Journal fulfilled his union obligations this morning by publishing his mid-season awards column.  Consider the seats on the Babcock-for-Adams bandwagon almost completely full.

Best coaching jobs

1. Mike Babcock. It’s not like he’s behind the bench saying, “Next five.” He pushes all the right buttons in Detroit, and he changed the way they play. They’re now hard on the puck, not circling all night long.

Prediction: If Phoenix finishes above .500, Gretzky gets the Adams.  Would that be a bend-Babcock-over deal? Yep.  But that’s the way it will go.

How’s your Sundin meter? Pegged?  Want just a bit more from a truly legitimate source?

Too bad.  But here’s what the wedding singer has to say.

Klessel

After a morning of calls, the following teams will likely get into this:

San Jose, Colorado, Detroit, Montreal, Dallas, Buffalo, Vancouver, Calgary, and gulp…Ottawa (although I wonder if JFJ could survive handing the Sens or Habs a Cup. In the end it would depend on who was coming back)

I will of course stay on this story for the next 50 days…

Man…a full morning of calls.  A full morning to tell you that the top eight favorites for the Cup (minus Anaheim and plus the Dive) all would like to see Sundin on their roster?  Outstanding. Send your thirty dollars here.

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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