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Abel to Yzerman

Line ‘Em Up

Update 1125 EST:  A2Y Graphics Coordinator, TeamDub, has provided us with riveting photo evidence that The Enigma is, indeed, missing in action.  Keep reading and you’ll see. 

The snappy title to this post should serve as a nifty preview for an in-depth, statistically-based, void-of-sarcasm analysis of Wing line combinations for this evening, the coming weeks and into the future.  And we’ll get to that. Oh yes we will.

But first:  Bob Lang.

Ineffective (12 shots in 8 playoff games. 41 percent at the faceoff dot.  Switching partners like a Pred fan at a family reunion).  Irritated (“Lang declined to talk.”  We know).  And grating on Uncle Jack Adams Mike (Asked Sunday what’s going on with Lang, Babcock replied, “You know what, you ask him.”).

Bobbie’s been a hot topic amongst the message boarders and “readership” here, to the point where contributors have been subtly attempting to force my hand at adjusting Lang’s glossary entry.  I’ve staved them off, but “Langadaisical” might be too appropriate to ignore any longer.  Most likely, I’ll wait a little while in hopes that when I do make the switch from The Enigma it will appear to be my own idea.

Frankly, I’m a little weary of the comment section of recent posts containing more wit than the posts themselves.  I’m considering banning a few of you until you dumb it down a bit.  We’ll see. 

Line adjustments, radical adjustments, shouldn’t be a topic on April 30th.  Admittedly, it’s a much more pleasant prospect than last year’s subject on this date (“Don’t talk about it Manny…just do it”), but still…uncertain combinations at this point is enough to, yes, make the baby Jesus cry.

Oh, I know.  It’s the reality of the playoffs. Injuries, trends, matchups.  But, the only constant throughout has been the Draper/Cleary/Maltby line…and they’ve been unbelievable. 

Tonite? We have no idea.  We think the lines will look something like this:

Zetterberg/Datsyuk/Bertuzzi
Franzen/Filpulla/Samuelsson
Draper/Cleary/Maltby
Hudler/Lang/Calder

Bertuzzi’s presence on the top line is a bad idea only if you consider it robbing production from elsewhere.  And here is where we bring our boy Bob back into the conversation.  Taking Bert off his line doesn’t affect Lang because Lang hasn’t done jack squat to this point.  Why not get Bertuzzi out of there, lessen the possibility of exposing him to Bob’s infectious apathy, and put him where he’ll thrive? 

And Lang’s performance is absolutely infectious.  He’s the guy no one wants to touch.  I can’t believe the hands are raised in the room when Uncle Mike seeks volunteers to sink with Lang’s line. Game 2? Hudler: zero shots.  Calder: zero shots.  Lang: obviously, zero shots. 


image


It’s not even a matter of players performing badly when they’re stuck on his line.  It’s the fact that they play well when they’ve disassociated themselves from his lethargy.  Samuelsson?  God, we killed the guy last round. Killed him.  He looks alive again, rescued from the purgatory that is proximity to The Enigma.

But again, you can’t sit Lang.  And it’s not about damn potential anymore, because there is none.  It’s a numbers game now and filling 7 minutes/night.  But, the numbers will look better soon….maybe Wednesday.  There’s a distinct possibility that, unless a miracle occurs and Lang actually puts forth an effort, tonite could be the last time Bob Lang skates with the Wings.  When Homer’s ready, someone’s sitting. 

We saw this quote again this morning.  As usual, you have to read it six times before you understand it, but Babcock stressed again: if you suck, you sit.

“When you’re going (good), and help us win, you’re going (to play), if not you’re not going, you don’t get to go,” Babcock said. “It’s that simple.”

“You’ll get to play (if you’re playing well). We’re just trying to win. It’s not about anything else. Just find a way to win.”

Liar.  You’re a liar Mike.  But you’re lying through circumstance and we understand it.  All he can do is demote, demote, demote until there’s no where left to put Bobby but the 4th line and 7 minutes per night.

Until Homer’s ready, or Kopecky.  And then?  And then it’s the highway, the end of The Enigma.

Sit him Mike.  As soon as possible.

 

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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