Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 05/26/08 at 10:15 AM ET
Update 1150 EST: Since I highly doubt any of the 19 are going to predict a Pen as the first goal scorer, I’m opening up the contest to Pittsburgh fans as well. Remember, your predictions have to be made on the Live Blog, which starts at 1930 EST.
Back to normal. I will not be in Hockeytown tonite. Won’t be jetsetting all over the country. Just a simple guy, waiting for the puck to drop, saddled up in the Hasek.
And here’s a deal for you. During the live blog tonite, first person to correctly identify the first goal scorer gets a Game 1 program. Re-phrase: you have to guess the goal scorer before it happens.
On to our Diggers.
Osgood considers himself the one out of the six who has changed the most.
“I used to be 150 pounds; now I’m 180, ripped,” he said. “I didn’t say a word for a year, and now I can’t stop talking. I remember my first year, Drapes sat right next to me, and I didn’t talk to him for two weeks when he first came up. Didn’t say a word. Then all of a sudden, we decided one night we’d go out and then I asked him, ‘Do you want to live with me?’ and ever since then, we’ve been friends.”
Helene St. James has shown, from time to time, a flair for humor. Her feature today on the Wings’ six veterans from the first Cup and beyond is good.
Wings win three more and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion Chris Osgood’s your Conn Smythe winner. The story is just too good. If computers were doing the choosing, the result would probably be different. But they’re not. Wojo, despite the fact that he hasn’t covered the Wings all year, probably has a vote.
All the while he was gone, all those times he’d golf with Holland, Osgood tried to avoid mentioning how badly he wanted to return. Holland said the sentiment was expressed once, that was it, because hockey business rarely was discussed on the greens of Western Canada.
Rarely discussed, but never far from Osgood’s mind.
“I’ve played in other places and I know what it’s like,” Osgood said. “The grass isn’t greener on the other side. When a young player here asks me about being on the team, I always tell him the same thing—don’t leave.”
Admit it. You were surprised when you saw the stat, too. Pavel Datsyuk leading the team in hits. 37 before Game 1. 43 now. It makes Don Cherry stifle a sob, but it’s a fact. The kid can hit. In fact, Don, they all can. And do.
As a team, the Red Wings were much more abrasive than Pittsburgh, which knows it must raise its competition level in Game 2 tonight at Joe Louis Arena. That was apparent to Chris Chelios, who watched the game as a healthy scratch.
“That shows that everybody has bought into that system, whether it’s Hank, Pav or Kronner or anyone else,” Chelios said. “Everybody is doing the same thing. Pav and Hank have that little extra with their skill, but they found a way to do a little of both.”
Drew Sharp’s found a new angle, one no one’s mentioned. Apparently, Sidney Crosby is going to win a Cup. It’s inevitable, because Drew and everyone else says it is. But, first, according to Drew, Gary’s Baby Boy needs to deal with adversity. Drew says Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas had to, so it’s like a law now.
Crosby has lived the competitive charmed life. In just three years, he already has a Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. He has gotten to his first Stanley Cup finals much faster than Yzerman and his current boss in Pittsburgh, Mario Lemieux, and faster than Wayne Gretzky.
Lived the competitive charmed life. That’s what Drew said. He makes it sound as if the Hart was a gift, as if Crosby came by his talents and success through some sort of carnival-like luck. Yeah, if Pittsburgh loses Crosby’s gonna learn something from it. But this whole theory of having to lose before you win? I don’t buy it. It’s too easy. Too easy to assume that the results of this thing are pre-ordained and too easy to assume Crosby’s going to have a team as talented as this one surrounding him.
Teddy Kulfan was actually at Joe Louis arena Saturday. I didn’t see him, but I wasn’t exactly looking. I think it’s cool when Detroit writers actually attend events they write about. It’s a nice thing to do. Mitch Albom hasn’t always done that, but he’s a star and not required to. I’m sure he’ll be at the Palace tonite, because that’s where his boys Lupica and John Saunders told him to be.
Anyway, Kulfan was there Saturday. And he says it was scary loud.
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals were electric.
“I thought we were in Canada,” Babcock said. “It was fantastic. It was the loudest the building has been since I’ve been here by far. Probably with the exception of when they introduced Stevie (Yzerman).”
Many Wings players said they were energized by the crowd.
“It was unreal,” Mikael Samuelsson said.
By now you know Pittsburgh’s changing things up. Shifting lines around. Dealing with the issues they’ve been forced to confront since Saturday. Over at PensBlog, this move was inevitable and reason for hope.
It’s hard to say which of Therrien’s moves could have the greatest impact, but the most intriguing one was his decision to get Roberts back in uniform. Roberts, who has not played since Game 2 of the third round, bumped Georges Laraque out of the lineup.
Most of Roberts’ absence was due to a mild case of pneumonia, and after a season rife with injuries and illness, he said his health “is as good as it’s been all year.”
Roberts’ style—forechecking hard, hitting harder—dovetails perfectly with a tactical adjustment the Penguins plan to make for Game 2.
What will Roberts bring? Oh, he’ll hit a few people. He’s got good hands around the net and I’m sure the team will find some sort of emotional lift. But there’s a reason he’s been out. He’s 42 and slow. The Wings have one slow forward: Holmstrom. Well, two. McCarty. Roberts’ shortcomings won’t come in the Wing zone. He’ll be a presence. We’ll see what happens when he’s forced to keep up with Darren Helm.
Saw this one coming. A Pittsburgh writer’s claiming the Wings aren’t threatened by the Pens, that they’re saying all the right things, but still aren’t convinced of a menace.
The Red Wings’ players and coaches have been nothing if not respectful and complimentary when discussing the Penguins.
Still, one gets the vibe that deep down inside these Red Wings aren’t threatened, that they’re convinced it’s still their time and not yet the Penguins’ time.
One answer. Two words. Nah, three. Uncle Mike Babcock.
Enjoy your pre-Game 2 Memorial Day. At some point, forget about hockey or how much Dale’s seasoning you’re going to marinate the burgers with, and take a minute to think of guys like Mike Monsoor. If you haven’t heard of him, let Google introduce you.
He’s the reason we’ve got the day off. More than that, guys like him are the reason we’ve got a hell of a lot more than a holiday.
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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: email@example.com