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Abel to Yzerman

Muddled Offerings

Left work at approximately 1830 last night with the intent of settling in for a pleasing Wing victory over Bubba and the 13,000 faithful at The Gay.  Clearly I was disappointed, and not just in the game.

Why the angst?  Here’s why.  A twenty-minute ride home took three hours because drivers in the world’s most powerful city have no concept how to handle a little sleet.  Three hours, driving the Chief Jeep (yes, it’s Khaki), working the clutch.  Much of that time spent behind a stop-and-go tool with a plate that said “Obiwan”.  If I didn’t despise Star Wars before, well now I really do.  Actually, and this should sound familiar to Thhhom and the other 6 Dive fans, it’s not the movie I really hate, it’s the geeks who devote their lives to it.  I’d have to create a whole other blog to get into that.  But it’s a deep, burning dislike that penicillin can’t cure.

Why do I mention that? Because a three-hour drive gives you time to think, and think I did.  I have some views and I’d like to share them.  Most are based on conversations I had with myself on Interstate 395 (not, “the 395”, just “395”...thanks), others stemmed from Game 4 of our most recent distasteful period.

Looking to deal aren’t you?  Yes you are.  You want that trade. You need that trade.  Have you considered the “mortgaging of the future” thing? Yeah.  I know you have.  Have you considered the “upsetting the chemistry” thing?  Probably.  But you’re looking at Cleary’s jaw and Hank’s back and Kronwall’s…everything.  You’re looking at Lilja lumbering and Rafalski getting blasted every other shift and you’re wondering just when Bret Lebda, with all that speed, is going to move to a third line wing.  Well, maybe you weren’t wondering that, but I am.  And you’re thinking, “screw it.  Kenny needs to deal and deal now.”  But is that instinct because you know the deadline’s two weeks away, or is that reality?

Let’s pretend the discussions are valid, that the Wings do need that sniper, one more gunner or a stay-at-home guy.  For what it’s worth, I’m of the opinion they need both.  Secondary scoring does not concern me as much as it does others. I think Franzen, Filppula and even the Oompa will do just fine in the postseason.  What worries me more than anything is Zetterberg’s health.  Want a prediction two weeks out?  Antropov.  There’s your big forward.  If not Antropov, Ladislav Nagy. 

Defensemen?  Screw Blake.  He says he doesn’t want to leave the west coast?  Says he’ll waive his NTC but only for a “western” team.  And, yes, we’re technically “western”, (Thanks Gary. Ass.), that doesn’t fit into Blake’s comfort zone.  Anaheim’s out of the question because they have more than they need on the blue line. San Jose is what the smart guys are saying.  Whatever.  Go to San Jose and waste the next three months of your life and end your run in late April with Big Joe and the rest.  If Blake cared about another Cup he’d be begging to go to Detroit or Ottawa.  He doesn’t though, obviously.

Me? I’d like to see our Wunderkind make a strong pitch for Dan Boyle then lock him up if at all possible.  Oh, and, yeah, Kronwall’s not exactly close to coming back.  Read George Malik’s post this morning and you’ll have no reason for optimism on that front.

Notice I didn’t say anything about Jokinen or Sundin?  Neither are leaving their towns under any concrete circumstances and we can’t afford either one anyway. Either one makes us the favorite, but we just don’t have assets to deal.

So, if Jokinen or Sundin “make us a favorite”, are you saying the Wings aren’t the favorites right now?

Yep. That’s exactly what I’m saying.  Poultry.  I don’t care what the records are or what the odds say.  The Champs are the favorite until they’re knocked out and not just because of their current reign.  The Wings have to play four perfect games to beat Anaheim.  Perfect games, with everything working.  Can it be done? Yes.  Will it? I hope so, and the chance will be there because another playoff war is inevitable.  The rest of the West is so far behind Detroit and Anaheim that it’s impossible to consider any other WCF.  And, yeah, Anaheim will have the #2 seed when the playoffs start.  I’ll tell you this though: the Wings look like a real tired team right now.  Exhausted.  Lidstrom making mental errors.  Zetterberg getting drilled almost every shift.  Both goalies slipping.  Tired.

Speaking of Anaheim, Sunday was the first time I felt any real resentment toward Mathieu Schneider.  When he sent the knuckler past Osgood? No.  Much more so when I read this quote after the game.

NHL.com

“Homer stole a lot of my goals like that too,” Schneider said.

Yeah, he may have Matt.  He also screened the goalie for about thirty of your goals too.  He also took beatings every night in front of the net so you could patrol the blue line unscathed waiting for a lane.  I guess that got me thinking a bit about what kind of player leaves the guys he battled with to join the team that bitterly knocked you out of the playoffs.  40 days later?  Did the scars heal that quickly?  Again, I may not like Forsberg, but I respect that something deep down inside has kept him from seriously considering offers from the Wings over the years. 

Two funny things I heard on radio and tv over the last four days.  Saturday, watching the Caps/Rangers on Comcast here in DC.  Craig Laughlin had this to say, “the Capitals really have to improve their power play if they’re going to beat off the Rangers.”  Thhhom, I see you returned in the comment section last night? Care to expand on that?

Second one on HNIC radio last night.  Jeff Marek had the Dive announcer, McNabb, on.  Just as McNabb was saying his goodbyes after describing the scent of Joe Sakic’s jock for an entire segment, Marek said.  “Great. Keep up the great work on Altiturd.”  Frigging classic.  I laughed like a girl and gave the finger to the Obiwan guy still in front of me.

It’s February and the Wings have had their foot on the gas for almost five straight months.  This is a mentally and physically exhausted team.  Do they need a tweak roster-wise?  Yep.  There are areas that need to be ramped up before the War in May.  But a four-game slide (or even five or six) is not stress train material, not yet. 

Want something to worry about?  How about something completely beyond Holland’s control?  Goaltending.  You want to stress about something, stress about that.  I have a strong suspicion that if the Wings host a parade in June, they’ll do so despite mediocrity in net.  I think we’ve seen the best Osgood and Hasek have to offer us this year.  Will they lose us a playoff game? I doubt it.  But, as usual, the Wing goaltender isn’t going to be stealing any.

 

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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