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Abel to Yzerman

Finally….Datsyuk’s Found His Niche

Draper. Gilchrist. Dallas Drake and hell, how about Darryl LaPlante?  Checking forwards, or at least forwards we expected little offense out of, right?

Now you can add Pavel Datsyuk to that list. Finally, after a decade, the Wings have finally figured out how to use this man.  It's been frustrating, hasn't it? We've watched him for years, constantly wondering..."who is going to get the most out of this little manchild with so much talent but so little to show for it?" So much skill unrealized, eh?

Well...Mike Babcock has cracked that nut and it's time we all bought in.

Pavel Datsyuk is a checking line center, by god, and he's going to be the best checking line center he can be because that's what our Uncle Mike demands. 

That's got to be it, right?  Babcock's decided that with this young defense and with all the injuries, it's up to Pavel by God Datsyuk to provide the kind of grit we used to see out of the Drapers and the Kocurs, the Maltbys, even the Verbeeks.

"It's been so damn...frustrating," Babcock said Monday night via text message to Helene St. James. "We've tried for years to just place him in positions to succeed, but we've failed. It's been our fault. We've never known how to use Datsyuk.  Now we do. It's such a relief. It's liberating, really...I feel like I'm floating in this cloud, this puffy cloud of smartness and velvety warm gentle smartness.  We've made him a checking line center."

For the record, I made that quote up.

Justin Abdelkader has not registered a single point since February 7th.  That's 12 games ago.  That's when his point streak stopped.  A point streak that lasted one game. He has one point this season.  And that's ok because we've always expected that out of Abdelkader...zero points. An average of like 1.2 shots per game.  It's precisely what we expected when he was re-signed for 1.8 million dollars per year.  That comes out to like .0007 goals per one hundred thousand dollars per every two seasons when you pro-rate that to include this year's circus brought to you by the dwarf with the whip and the leather chaps.

But don't worry about the points because he's not expected to score when he's playing alongside the best checking center in hockey.  Pavel Datsyuk is the new Sami Pahlsson, except he scores a little less if you use The Babcock Solution as a sample size.

Look. Don't argue with Uncle Mike. Don't.  He knows what he's doing.  You take the most talented player in the world and you stash him on a line with a guy who's making 2.8 in a contract year who's shown glimpses of scoring ability back in, like, '79.  And you put Justin Abdelkader on the other side of him because he's making 1.8 for THE NEXT FOUR YEARS and then, because it's getting fun now, eh?...THEN you take these two frigging dynamos--Tatar and Andersson--and you just know, because you're a hockey coach, that they were fuching BORN to put the puck in the net and what do you do with them?  By all means you AVOID PLACING THEM IN POSITIONS TO SUCCEED...Yes. That's it.

It's just basic leadership is what it is.

And it all works because the plan has finally, you know, come together. And we all love it when that happens.  Finally, a spot for the true Enigma...Pavel Datsyuk.  Just when it looked like all hope was lost, Mike Babcock has put 13 in a place where he can just be who he was born to be....a checker. A mucker.  Pavel the Grinder.

It has such a ring to it. 

End the experiment, Mike. You look like a dumbass.

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Comments

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MsRedWinger's avatar

When I posted Brunner’s salary, I was thinking of his skill and effort compared to:

Gator at $1,800,000 for 4 years

Cleary at $2,800,000 (UFA after this season, thank goodness)

Ass (formerly known as Mule) at $4,000,000 forever.

Geez.

Some of the forwards who get paid the least - Brunner, Tatar, Andersson, Miller, Eaves, Emmerton - play circles around those three - night after night.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/05/13 at 03:34 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

Maybe Uncle Mike and the brain trust don’t want to make the playoffs.

Lil Gary announced this week that the draft lottery will include all teams that do not make the playoffs. So all non-playoff teams will have a shot at the number one pick.

I’m still hoping we suck for Seth.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/05/13 at 04:03 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Seth would be a great catch.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/05/13 at 04:05 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

Maybe Uncle Mike and the brain trust don’t want to make the playoffs.

Lil Gary announced this week that the draft lottery will include all teams that do not make the playoffs. So all non-playoff teams will have a shot at the number one pick.

I’m still hoping we suck for Seth.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 03/05/13 at 03:03 PM ET

Hahahahahahaha.  Like we’re gonna have a first round pick.  That’s already pegged for Derek Meech.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 03/05/13 at 04:53 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Franzen has done the opposite,  He has regressed into Robert Lang with a giant contract.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 03/05/13 at 02:28 PM ET

An evil Enigma.

I don’t ever recall having such contempt and such cursing for a player in the Winged Wheel in a long ass time.

One of the other bitches said it best.  50 goal hands, 20 goal desire.  I hate him for that.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 03/05/13 at 05:00 PM ET

Colquhoun's avatar

Franzen has done the opposite,  He has regressed into Robert Lang with a giant contract.

Let’s not forget Franzen also lacks Bobby Lang’s beautiful flowing locks.

Sigh…..

Posted by Colquhoun on 03/05/13 at 05:19 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

I don’t ever recall having such contempt and such cursing for a player in the Winged Wheel in a long ass time.
One of the other bitches said it best.  50 goal hands, 2 0 goal desire.  I hate him for that.
Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Looking for a “D” man on 03/05/13 at 04:00 PM ET

Fixed.

I can’t remember hating a Wing like this either. Maybe Klima; same half-assed effort as Ass and he took Probie out drinking well past curfew the night before a playoff game. They lost that conference finals game and were eliminated by Edmonton. What a dick.

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 03/05/13 at 05:29 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Let’s not forget Franzen also lacks Bobby Lang’s beautiful flowing locks.

Sigh…..

Posted by Colquhoun on 03/05/13 at 04:19 PM ET

His hair was perfect.-Warren Zevon

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 03/05/13 at 05:29 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Eaves-Abdelkader-Miller would be a great line at 12 min/game also…

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/05/13 at 01:37 PM ET

Eaves-Helm-Miller.  The joy I feel in my pants with that line.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 03/05/13 at 05:39 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

GREAT points there MsRedWinger.

I’ve said it before and that just adds weight to my argument that even though Babs says you “earn” your ice-time, I think contracts do.  KH has shown an incredibly rigid adherence to contract pyramid in the locker room.  Coincidence Babs plays the next two biggest contract players instead of players moving their legs and putting pucks in net?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 03/05/13 at 05:51 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

Franzen isn’t what would make a Datsyuk Tatar Franzen line dynamic.  He’s just a guy with a quick trigger and an accurate shot who would benefit from Datsyuk’s Datsyukiness as convert it into goals in ways that Cleary and Abdelkader cannot.  Tatar is one of those guys who seems to be a puck magnet or at least has a puck magnet imbedded in his brain. 

I don’t know the answer to the Mule riddle though I don’t think it’s purely effort (although it seems to be largely effort); this is a guy who got to the league as a third line center with size, drive, physical gifts and physicality.  He no longer has the physicality because he’s changed his game- and he should because the brain issue makes it potentially life threatening to be a typical power forward type.  He still has his size and he uses his reach still, if not really his strength.  What is most frustrating is that the drive appears completely gone.  But, yet, he seems genuinely frustrated at times. 

That leaves the physical gifts he once possessed.  He was never a hugely fast skater but he was good at cutting to the net and he had pretty remarkable change of direction ability for his size.  That part of his game is almost completely gone.  I can’t help but think the injuries took way more of a toll on him than we thought.  He can’t bounce back the same way Holmstrom could because he relied more on his athleticism than Homer ever did.  I like Mule a lot.  I’ve been one of the very few to continue to support signing him over Hossa and still think it was the right call at the time.  I just don’t know that he’ll ever be able to be what he used to be and I think the combination of having to find a new play style he can do at his limited physical ability in addition to not really being able to keep his spirits up through injury after injury (see comments during world championship) really hurt his compete level.

I can’t help but wonder if a different coach could reach him better, or if a different role would allow him to be a better player.  If Franzen was playing 12 minutes a night he’d be overpaid, sure, but if it was 12 minutes where he competed hard and his effort was there, wouldn’t we all overlook the contract a bit more?  Babcock repeatedly asked for another top six forward and never got it.  He, perhaps, feels like since Mule is one of the few he has, he can’t bump him down even if he should.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 03/05/13 at 06:10 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

He has regressed into Robert Lang with a giant contract.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 03/05/13 at 02:28 PM ET

Dude played the Bobby Lang card!  Holy Enigma…..is getting vicious!

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the pre-season shuffle.... on 03/05/13 at 06:14 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

8-13-11 is my locker combination near the bar at the bowling alley. It rarely gets used, and when it does there isnt anything worth a damn in it. My friends locker combo is 21-13-63 and hes the captain of our league team. He has all kinds of trophies and stuff in there.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 03/05/13 at 06:37 PM ET

Colquhoun's avatar

Franzen:  I wonder if it was more the face-plant into the boards by Shane Doan than the big contract.  He tended to show up for the playoffs up to that point.

Posted by Colquhoun on 03/05/13 at 06:58 PM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

8-13-11 is my locker combination near the bar at the bowling alley. It rarely gets used, and when it does there isnt anything worth a damn in it. My friends locker combo is 21-13-63 and hes the captain of our league team. He has all kinds of trophies and stuff in there.

I’m going to steal that.  You’ll receive no credit NIVO.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 03/05/13 at 07:10 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

lol chief. we are all on the same page, but when is that certain someone gonna smell what we’re cookin?

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 03/05/13 at 07:25 PM ET

Hootinani's avatar

I’m going to steal that.  You’ll receive no credit NIVO.

Dont feel bad NIVO, I’m still waiting for my residuals from pulling Sami Pahlsson out of my ass.

Posted by Hootinani on 03/05/13 at 08:14 PM ET

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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