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Abel to Yzerman

Friday With The Deep Diggers; Analyzing the PP

All the Deep Diggers have been heard from in the Province, and all three are focusing on the Wing injury situation; where we have one worse (Holmstrom), one better (Kronwall), another status quo (Osgood) and one biding his time (Williams). As befitting his glorious title as Deep Digger Captain, we start with Khan(!), who writes that despite recent reports that Tomas Holmstrom could play as early as tonite in Calgary, that won't be the case. Khan(!)/MLive
Tomas Holmstrom left practice early Thursday and will sit out both games because of his groin injury, which happened before practice last Sunday. "There was a warm-up drill at the start and he was holding (his groin area) like he was shot,'' Babcock said. "They thought it was going to be nothing, but obviously, it's more than that.''

As for Williams, he apparently still has stiffness in the neck, the makings of a wicked scar on the forehead and the organizational realization that it’s November (meaning no good reason to rush him back).

Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

“Every day I feel lot better,” Williams said. “I’ve been on the ice three or four times now and there’s been no headaches. We’ll see after the morning skate (today) how I feel. I hope I can get in.”

Williams was knocked out Nov. 8 by Edmonton’s Raffi Torres on a clean hit as Williams was attempting to wrap around the net.

Williams had a cut that needed 30 stitches across his forehead where his face hit the ice.

“I want to make sure when I go back that I play the same style I always have,” Williams said. “Getting hit is part of the game.”

And naturally, all three DD’s are touching on the streak and the fact that a win tonite would set a franchise mark for consecutive victories at ten.

Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press

“I don’t think anyone in here really thinks a whole lot about the streak we’re in right now,” captain Nicklas Lidstrom said. “We’re just going out there and trying to play well.”

The streak is more remarkable considering it has been accomplished without a decent power play—the Wings’ ranks 30th (last) in the NHL.

Oh yeah…that.  I hadn’t realized we’d slipped to 30th.  Nifty.  Just for fun, let’s see where we were last year on this date.

November 17th
2005-‘06:  15-4-2, 31 PP goals/125 PP opportunities (24.8%)
2006-‘07:  12-4-1,  9 PP goals/91 PP opportunities (9.8%)

Feel like some analysis? Ok.  First of all, the Wings have had 34 fewer opportunities, but in four fewer games.  So don’t let that glaring disparity fool you.  Secondly, of those 31 power play goals through Nov. 17th last year, 5 belonged to Brendan Shanahan (7 PP goals thus far this season).  But five of them also came off the stick of Mikael Samuelsson (0 PP goals thus far this season). Last time I checked Samuelsson is not playing in New York.

Something else to consider.  Of those 31 goals through 17 November last season?  15 of them came against St. Louis, Columbus, Chicago and Phoenix.  By this date last year the Wings had played those four teams 9 times.  This year? 4 times.  The only game in which the Wings have scored multiple times on the power play was October 11th against Phoenix.

Ahhh, but we know there are positives.  You don’t win 9 straight with that kind of power play without leading the league in some other categories.  We know they’re playing better 5-on-5. How much better? Tons.  The Wings own a goals-for/goals-against ratio at even strength of 2.67.  That leads the league by a huge margin, nearly a full goal over Buffalo (1.93).

We also know the shots against is by far the best at 20.7 (Van. at 26.4 is second).

Weird frigging season.  I remember when A2Y 1.0 started last year around Christmas.  The Wings were struggling, I mean STRUGGLING, to score at even strength.  They’d gone something like a decade without a goal five-on-five.  It was a slump, nothing more…despite the apocalypse I made it out to be at the time.

We have to assume, for the sake of all of our sanity, that the power play will come around….eventually.  But if it doesn’t by, say, Christmas; the Summer of Ken turns to Ken’s Christmas Shopping Spree, because he’s going to have to find us a sniper.

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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