Abel to Yzerman
by George Malik on 03/17/11 at 08:34 PM ET
The Detroit Red Wings face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in short order (7 PM EDT, FSD/FS Ohio/WXYT) with Joey MacDonald in the net and no Jiri Hudler in the lineup as the former is substituting for Chris Osgood (who says he’ll be back after this weekend) and the latter has the H2H2 flu.
As it turns out, MacDonald will have started in half of the Wings’ games against Columbus, and “Joey Mac” told Ansar Khan that he has no problems stepping into action against a familiar team:
MacDonald is 1-0-1 vs. Columbus this season, losing 3-2 in a shootout here on Jan. 14 and winning 6-5 in overtime the next night in Detroit.
“I played these guys a couple of times this year, I’m kind of familiar with them,’’ MacDonald said. “We just got to play like we did last night (in a 3-2 win over Washington).’‘
Patrick Eaves returns to the lineup after missing 10 games with a groin injury. Drew Miller also is back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past two games.
Coach Mike Babcock said Jiri Hudler is sick and didn’t make the trip. Hudler was shaken up on a hit by D.J. King early in Wednesday’s game but returned to finish the game. Babcock said he hadn’t decided on the other forward to scratch.
Defenseman Ruslan Salei’s wife gave birth to the couple’s third child, a girl they named Ava Ruslanovna. Babcock said he’s not sure if Salei will be joining the team for Saturday’s game in Nashville.
Chris Mason will oppose Osgood for the Blue Jackets, who essentially have to win out to make the playoffs, and if you’ve digested all the stories in the game-day update post, here are a few more links and stories for your pre-game perusal:
• The Blue Jackets’ website posted a slate of game-day interviews with Columbus players and coach Scott Arniel;
• If we can have green beer today we can have power rankings, and Craig Custance suggests that the Wings are the second-best team in the NHL right now;
Chalk this up — for now — into the juicy rumor category: The Ilitches have floated the idea of putting a greenspace-walkway “roof” over I-75 at Woodward Avenue.
Why? If they build their long-proposed hockey arena for their Detroit Red Wings on land they own just north of the highway along Woodward, then having what amounts to a massive pedestrian bridge linking the venue to their properties south of I75 (the Foxtown area) makes sense.
The Ilitch-owned Hockeytown Café, Fox Theatre and Comerica Park would be more easily accessible if there were more than just Woodward Avenue and other road-bridge sidewalks (and future light rail line) connecting those properties to the land north of the I75.
It’s also could satisfy safety considerations: “Overserved” Red Wings fans stumbling out of a new arena wouldn’t drunkenly toss items onto the highway (or fall onto it themselves) if it’s covered by a green space and paths.
The cost I heard was in the $160 million to $170 million range, and the Ilitches would seek to tap into federal and/or state funding to pay for it. Whether there’s any realistic chance of public funding paying for this is unclear (pots of money for green transportation projects exist in different places). It sounds like the Ilitches wouldn’t pay for this themselves. They’ll be on the hook for a large portion of the arena, which is expected to cost around $400 million.
• And the CCHA playoffs semifinals and finals take place on Friday at Joe Louis Arena, with the University of Notre Dame tangling with Miami of Ohio at 4:30 PM and Western Michigan University facing off against the University of Michigan at 8 PM. Both games will air on Fox Sports Detroit, and DetroitRedWings.com’s Michael Caples caught up with Wings prospect and Notre Dame forward Riley Sheahan about returning to the Joe for the first time since the Wings’ summer strength and conditioning camp:
“It’s kind of weird, actually,” said Sheahan of his return to JLA. “The guys are giving me some grief about it, but it’s awesome. It’s a great place, a lot of atmosphere, and just looking up at the names on the wall, there’s some great players who have played here, and it’s kind of cool to be in the same spot as they were.”
The Wings’ prospect has helped the No. 8 ranked Irish reach Friday’s CCHA semifinals, where they will take on the No. 6 Miami (Ohio). Sheahan has posted four goals and 14 assists in 35 games this season. As a freshman, he recorded six goals and 11 assists in 37 games, despite starting the season as a 17-year-old. Sheahan said that while he’s considered an NHL prospect by others, he knows he has a long way to go before making it to the Big Show.
“It’s cool being back here,” the native of St. Catharine’s, Ontario. “In the summer, it was a lot of fun being at rookie camp, and this is bringing back some memories of that. But right now I have more of a see-what’s-ahead-in-the-future feeling.”
However, that doesn’t mean Sheahan hasn’t been keeping an eye on the Wings this season.
“Oh definitely,” he said. “We have a couple big Wings’ fans on the team, so they can help me keep up to date with them, but yeah, I’m paying attention to what’s going on with them, definitely.”
Finally, as it’s St. Patrick’s Day and I am a quarter Irish, here’s some lovely historical misinformation for you (because there are no snakes in Ireland anyway and St. Patrick wasn’t Irish):
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org