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Abel to Yzerman

Ides Of March Upon Us

Yep.  As if the occasional three-syllable word doesn’t confuse Bubba enough, we decided to throw a Shakespeare reference in there to really spin their heads a bit.  Who was it, Cassius, Caeser or Brutus that actually warned of 15 March? I don’t remember, and I certainly don’t have the initiative to look it up.  But it is relevant this year, because come Thursday, any hopes the Wings have of securing the #1 seed could be all but done.

According to Uncle Mikey, the Wings aren’t exactly in the best shape to play their two most important games of the year.

Freep/Sipple

“This has been coming,” Babcock said. “This can’t surprise anybody that’s been watching us. This is how we’ve been playing. We haven’t put in a 60-minute effort, whether it has been our preparation from the start or whether falling asleep during the game. Full marks to them. They found a way to win.

“It’s not just one day. It’s been coming. So we better fix it.”

Not real fond of the “full marks” cliche. Never liked it, but hey…full marks to myself for putting it out there.

Check out Sipple’s story, plenty of blame to go around. Plenty of introspection and self-analysis.  Khan(!)‘s write-up carried a headline, “One Of Those Games”. That pissed me off just reading it.  Oh, shrug, yeah…whatever. 

Hasek was honest when he said it was the Wings’ worst game at home this year.  Maybe.  Or maybe second worst game at home on a Sunday in the last 8 days.  Definitely, no maybes about it, it was Hasek’s worst game as a Wing, whether you’re talking ‘02, ‘03, or ‘07.  He sucked and it’s a concern. 

Got a few predictions for you.  Ready?  Here we go.

1.  If the Wings lose in the first round this year, pull out the articles from last May because we’re going to be talking goaltending.  Does Detroit play more confidently with Hasek in net?  Yes, but not to the extent of ‘02.  And really, ‘02 isn’t a sound reference point because this team is hugely different.  And here’s the thing, when teams feel Hasek is beatable a lot of the advantage of having him in the first place is gone.  Here’s the question: Can Dominik Hasek win a series, steal a series, if he has to?  We’ll see.

2.  And he’ll have to, but he won’t if the Wings play San Jose in the first round.  Flat out: Detroit will lose to the Sharks if that’s the way the playoffs start.  I believe a second-round matchup, or third, would give them a better chance because I think the confidence they’ll gain in getting past the initial round would be big.  But they’ve been pounded, exposed, by San Jose twice, narrowly beaten at home once and won another at the Joe. Unless…

3.  Unless…ah, yes.  That should be Todd Bertuzzi’s entry in the glossary.  “Unless.”  If Bertuzzi comes back healthy and hungry with an appetite for contact and forechecking and violence and infliction and rebounds and punishment; then those bets are off. 

4.  And the Wings will get San Jose.  They’re tied with Dallas right now and I don’t see Bubba Sr. holding them off.  Get ready for a war because Jr’s taking the Central.  Oh, and good for them because they’re losing to Calgary in the first round.

5.  So, healthy Bertuzzi, healthy Cleary, healthy Zetterberg and Franzen and Markov and Hasek:  Wings have a shot.  Less than healthy: one and done.  But if the Wings do get past The Team We Don’t Speak Of, here’s how I see the second round matchups:

Detroit v. Vancouver
Anaheim v. Calgary

We may need to start thinking of designs for AlanaH’s right arm.

 

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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