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Abel to Yzerman

Is Vigneault Right With His Assessment Of The Wings?

New York Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault today after practice via Steve Zipay of Newsday,

“I’m shifting things because we’re .500. So I think at .500,  I’ve got some latitude here. I’m putting in two players that bring more of a physical bite to our team, maybe that will make some other players compete at a higher level.

I look at the Detroit Red Wings---who I know well, because I coached against them for the last seven years---they’ve had no toughness, per se, as far as that type of personality, at no point other than (Jordin) Tootoo the last couple of years, but those guys play hard, they have the puck and they say “Try and get it from me” or if they don’t have it, they battle like hell to get it back.

That’s the team toughness that I’m hoping we get here. Maybe we’ll get there by changing some personnel, adding a little more toughness, we’re at .500, I’m trying.”

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SYF's avatar

Could’ve fooled me in the 6-3 loss to the Flyers.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 12/10/13 at 02:05 PM ET

perfection's avatar

those guys play hard, they have the puck and they say “Try and get it from me” or if they don’t have it, they battle like hell to get it back.

damn straight. that’s an example set by the captain. no one’s tougher than Z… though little Tats is going to give him a run for his money in a few years. Talk about “battling like hell”. Tatar is a joy to watch for this reason. At the beginning of the year he was reminding me of Hudler a bit (in demeanor, attitude, size and scoring acumen), but his ability to battle and grind is like nothing Huds has ever done. Tats is doing all the things Babcock WISHED Hudler did. He’s a gritty little bastard.

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/10/13 at 02:06 PM ET


guys, I mean no offense by this, but this is all and good during the regular season. when the Wings get to the playoffs and the game changes - a more physical, grind it out in the corners and behind the net game, the Wings are at a disadvantage. Teams like the Sharks, Canucks, and Kings, even to some extent the Bruins, are able to slow down fast teams like the Wings with big hits, following through with checks, and taking them to the boards. I’d appreciate your thoughts.

Posted by scooter on 12/10/13 at 02:33 PM ET

dougie's avatar

It seems to me that we have been a fairly easy team to take the puck away from the last few years. Hell, often, we will just GIVE it to ya;-)

Lately, there seems to be a bit more grit down in the corners, and I agree with the sentiments about Z and T being battlers.

Posted by dougie on 12/10/13 at 03:02 PM ET

perfection's avatar

my thoughts are that neither playing style - fast vs. large - are inherently advantageous or disadvantageous. They’re just different. A few years back when the Wings were playing the Pronger led big, mean Ducks every year in the playoffs, sometimes they beat the Wings and sometimes the Wings beat them. Both teams won cups and every series and probably every game was super competitive. There was no stylistic advantage either way. Look at Bruins vs. Hawks last year which was nowhere as competitive as the Wings vs. Hawks series.

The fact is sometimes physical teams do in fact slow down skill teams in the playoffs and sometimes speed and skill dominate and the bruising team ends up taking a parade of penalties and loses. So pick your poison. I find the Wings style much more enjoyable to watch and it clearly appeals to certain players as well (there’s a reason Alfie picked the Wings over the Bruins).

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/10/13 at 03:15 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Quite a compliment to the Wings by Alain Vigneault!

Posted by w2j2 on 12/10/13 at 03:17 PM ET


1) Any style of play can work when you’re good enough at it.
2) It’s easier to build for/play tough hockey than skilled hockey.
3) The ceiling for tough hockey is lower than skilled hockey.
4) The grass is always greener on the other side to fans.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/10/13 at 04:05 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Once again, the Detroit Benchmarks are the Red Wings of hockey.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 12/10/13 at 07:40 PM ET

klank's avatar

Posted by perfection from LaLaLand on 12/10/13 at 02:15 PM ET

love reading your posts.

Posted by klank from the finest hot tub in Marin on 12/10/13 at 07:47 PM ET


1) Anything can be said so long as you’re being an ass about it
2) It’s easier to make generalizations then to actually being analytical
3) Make only conjectures and never offer evidence
4) Always end by saying something alienating to almost everyone

Oh yeah, and make lists for no reason what so ever.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/10/13 at 08:29 PM ET


I don’t know … I thought HiHD’s points also made sense.

Keep in mind, Howe has a bit of a Pavlovian thing with regards to my posts.  It’s like a reverse crush… cute, but mostly creepy.

My fourth point was that to a fanbase if they have a tough team they’ll always complain about how if they were skilled they’d win more, while fans of skilled teams always complain that if they were tougher they’d win more.  It never fails, likely because when what a team is isn’t good enough the automatic assumption is that were they something else they would have won.

Heck, in Detroit from 2003-2006 or 7 fans complained that the team was too soft and lived on the periphery too much and needed more ‘grit’.  Now on a team with a number of gritty forwards fans lament the absence of skill up and down the roster.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 12/10/13 at 08:45 PM ET


Keep in mind, Howe has a bit of a Pavlovian thing with regards to my posts.  It’s like a reverse crush… cute, but mostly creepy.

You could only wish I enjoy being in your pants as much as you enjoy the warm, curly bed of Sammy’s pants.

My fourth point was…. Blah Blah Blah. If you feel the need to explain it then you didn’t do a good job the first time.

...fans complained that the team was too soft…

Ahh, yes, right out of the diaper you had a pulse on the Wing’s fan base.

Posted by howeandhowe from Seattle on 12/10/13 at 08:56 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