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Abel to Yzerman

Off Day Digging

Still trying to figure out what Little Gary’s logic is in employing a three-day layoff between Games 4 and 5.  I guess the idea of shafting Canada by denying them their HNIC Saturday fix was just too tempting to resist.  A conference final doubleheader?  Ottawa/Buffalo at 5 followed by Wings/Poultry at 8?  Six consecutive stress-filled hours?  Nah.  Split it up and stick the Sens and Sabres with a 2pm Saturday start, then Detroit and the duckies with a Sunday afternoon game all of America will opt out of in favor of edging and spreading mulch.


And so, with nothing to do but wait for The Most Important Game 5 In Red Wing History, Or At Least The Most Important Game 5 In The Last Two Weeks, all we can do is dig and present to you the brilliance we uncover.  Let’s begin with our boy Ted Kulfan, former Deep Digger captain and the emotional spark plug for all Wing beat writers.

Pronger didn’t want to speak specifically about the suspension or penalty but echoed the sentiments of Ducks general manger Brian Burke, who reportedly said earlier in the week that Pronger was “sour” about being disciplined for the hit.

“I think (Burke) was the one that spoke for the both of us about the issue, and I’ll leave it at that,” Pronger said.

Sasquatch not commenting on a controversial situation he instigated?  Say it isn’t so.  Speaking of Burke, however, I did find an interesting quote on ESPN from his hairness that was downright un-Burke like.

“The Red Wings did the honorable thing [Tuesday],” Burke said. “They put him back in the game. Same thing we would have done. There are teams in this league that would have put him in an ambulance and sent him somewhere for the night. Detroit did the right thing and Mike Babcock said the right things.

I hesitate to give you the link to that story because Burke’s comments were in a sidebar accompanying a Scott Burnside story pointing to the departures of Yzerman and Shanahan as significant reasons for the Wings’ success.  I’ve been warned that if I post my “Yzerman Manifesto” bad things will follow.  Well, I waited and Burnside beat me to the punch.  I’ll say this: he’s on a similar track.

Helene St. James writes of the opportunity the Wings let slip through their fingers on Thursday night, and the device they must use to combat the return of Sasquatch.

“We’ve got to get a little bit dirtier, get in to those rebounds and put those ones in, too,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “We’ve got to get in there for those second and third opportunities, and I don’t think we did enough of that. That’s up to guys like myself and Homer and Franzen and Samuelsson, guys like that, get in the paint and get those second and third chances.”

While the Wings seem to have an advantage with two home games remaining, both teams have beaten the other at home. Both teams have relied on their special teams to win games; both teams have gotten scoring from unlikely sources; both have gotten solid goaltending. The Wings and Ducks are, it’s worth remembering, the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds in the Western Conference—and they’re playing like it.

Here’s the thing with Thursday, and we hinted at it a bit Wednesday night…the Ducks were without their best player and good teams respond to that with more urgency and energy.  That’s what they did and it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to us or the Wings.  Is it a coincidence that the Finnish failure finally flourished?  No.  He responded to a need. 

Advantage for Sunday?  Goaltending.  Hasek has firmly established himself as the better goalie in this series.  Giguere is playing no where close to the level he did in ‘03 and our sociopath is, until Thursday, in a zone.  Fortunately, we can rely on the Czech fashion czar’s temper.  How pissed do you think he’s been for the last two days? 

Khan(!) says the Wings are confident, but tentatively so.

The Wings believe they’ve gotten better as the series has progressed. Momentum, however, has been unsustainable as the clubs have alternated victories. The desperate Ducks faced a virtual must-win situation in Game 4, but now the pressure shifts to the Wings. This is the sixth straight series in which the Wings have been tied 2-2 going back home for the fifth game. They’ve responded brilliantly thus far in the playoffs, defeating Calgary and San Jose by a combined score of 9-2 in Game 5 of their previous two series.

Woops. Getting pressure from the homefront.  Apparently, my team building efforts have extended into the domestic realm.  Back later with the lefty CA diggers.



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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