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Abel to Yzerman

Red Wings-Hurricanes live blog: no time for sympathy

The Detroit Red Wings face off against a Carolina Hurricanes team tonight (7 PM EDT start/FSD+/FS Carolinas/WXYT) that is, as Yahoo Sports’ Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggests, still nothing less than convinced that it can win the Stanley Cup…assuming that it can get into the playoffs. Their cause would be aided greatly by a win against the Wings, who are sitting Jiri Hudler.

The Red Wings don’t plan on extinguishing the Carolina Hurricanes’ playoff hopes for any reason, however, other than simply rounding into playoff form while they try to secure the second spot in the Western Conference.

Live blog away, and here’s some pre-game reading/listening for your entertainment as FSD+ isn’t doing a pre-game show:

• The Free Press’s Jamie Samuelssen states the obvious about the fact that the Red Wings don’t have any “easy” or “vulnerable” first-round playoff opponents anymore, and as such, he suggests the following:

f we’ve learned anything about the Wings this season, especially in the bizarre month of March, any success will have less to do with their opponents and more to do with them. How else do you explain losing to the Blues, 10-3, at home and falling behind Nashville on the road three days later, only to respond with four unanswered goals and a 4-3 win? It was the same scenario in February, when the Wings snoozed through a 4-1 home loss to the Predators. Babcock ripped the team after the game. Nicklas Lidstrom called the effort embarrassing. Then the alarm bells led to a five-game winning streak that included back-to-back wins over Boston and a win over Tampa Bay. The Red Wings don’t seem to raise or lower their game based on the level of the opponent. Instead, they seem to raise or lower their game based on their level of interest. And with every game counting just a little bit more next week, focus shouldn’t be a problem.

The problems lie in some of the disturbing trends we’ve seen all season. The two biggies are impossible to ignore:

1.) Home ice: The Joe just isn’t what it used to be. Blame it on the fans if you want, although the crowd noise has been louder in the recent string of sellouts. (The Blackhawks game on March 28 was the closest regular-season game to looking like or sounding like playoff game in years). But for whatever reason, the Wings just haven’t played well at home this season. They have 48 points with just one home game remaining. That’s the third-lowest total of any of the eight teams currently in position for for the playoffs in the West. You play all season for home ice, and home ice just isn’t the advantage for this team that it used to be.

2.) Defense: Jimmy Howard will be in the crosshairs from the opening face-off of Game 1. That’s just how it goes in Detroit—and in hockey, in general. But the Wings and the Ducks have allowed the most goals of any of the playoff teams in the West. That’s an alarming stat that doesn’t rest solely on Howard’s shoulders. Yes, he needs to be much more consistent, but so do the guys in front of him. The defensive corps has dealt with injuries all season (and some of the top defensive forwards have missed significant time as well). They’re all healthy now. That’s good. But they need to be better.

Babcock would never say who he’d hope to face in the first round, other than to say he’d love to stay close to home. The only team that fits that description is the defending Stanley Cup champion ‘Hawks. I’d prefer to pass on that matchup. The most favorable, ironically, is the team that’s farthest away: the Ducks. It may be a three-time-zone trip, but it probably gives the Wings the best chance to advance. Nothing is set in stone yet. Nothing is guaranteed. But in this sport, in these playoffs, in this conference, nothing ever is.

• SI’s Michael Farber penned a list of twenty “things to like about the NHL,” and among them...

10. I like assistant coaches, the conduits of information and insight. Ten minutes with Detroit’s Brad McCrimmon or Buffalo’s Jim Corsi or Nashville’s Brent Peterson are like masters classes in which presuppositions will be challenged or softheaded theories exposed. Because I resolve to stay positive, I won’t even mention how shortsighted it is for teams such as New Jersey, Chicago and others to make their assistants off limits to the media.
...
14. I like watching the Kings’ Ryan Smyth, the Wings’ Tomas Holmstrom and Ryan Kesler of the Canucks set up in front of the crease. The last person to work so effectively in tight quarters was Smokin’ Joe Frazier. They all seem to have had a GPS chip installed in their brains that makes them able to discern the blue paint without looking down. They obscure vision, blot out the sun for unfortunate goalies. They can score a goal even if they are trapped in a virtual broom closet.
...
18. I like watching Detroit’s Nick Lidstrom, who, although he is not as sturdy a one-on-one defender as he was a few years ago, is still a marvel of constancy into his 40s. He remains the right defenseman for the right era, as superb as he is understated.

19. I like GMs Brian Burke, Ken Holland and Ray Shero, who have convictions and are unafraid to speak out—even if they might be wrong.

WDFN’s Sean Baligian spoke to two hockey personalities this afternoon, starting with USA Today’s Kevin Allen…


Download File

And continuing with Chris Osgood, who talks about playoff moments past, mentoring Jimmy Howard, and he says that he’s hoping to be ready to return to action this weekend:


Download File

• Finally, Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch will receive honorary doctorates in humanities at Michigan State University’s spring commencement, where Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will speak. Something tells me that free pizza’s more likely than an iPad giveaway on May 6th (and I’m one of the rare people that isn’t fascinated by the iPad).

Update: from my email inbox:

DETROIT AND CHICAGO SET TO SQUARE OFF ON ‘FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT’ AT JOE LOUIS ARENA

… Entertaining Evening in Store for Hockeytown Faithful on Friday; Red Wings Set to Welcome 800,000th Fan of 2010-11 to The Joe …

Detroit, MI… The NHL Central Division Champion Detroit Red Wings will be looking to wrap up their 2010-11 home schedule in winning fashion on Friday, April 8, when they welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to the MotorCity for a 7:30 p.m. showdown at Joe Louis Arena (FS Detroit & 97.1 The Ticket). This contest will serve as the opening match of a regular season-ending home-and-home series between the regional adversaries.

Designated ‘Fan Appreciation Night’, several exciting giveaway items will be distributed to arena patrons throughout Friday’s game. Free squishy pucks compliments of Antonio’s Cucina Italiana will be given to the first 10,000 fans in attendance, as will Upper Deck ‘Original Six Rivalry’ trading card sets profiling past and present members of the Red Wings and Blackhawks. Cards featuring Detroit’s Mike Modano, Todd Bertuzzi and Steve Yzerman in addition to Chicago’s Duncan Keith, Patrick Kane and Stan Mikita will all be included in Friday’s set.

Meanwhile, every fan attending Friday’s game will receive:

-      A free Red Wings poster compliments of Meijer and Coca-Cola

-      A coupon redeemable for a free hair cut compliments of Great Clips

-      A voucher for a complimentary game of bowling courtesy of SEMBCA

-      A coupon for $5-off selected menu items courtesy of TGI Friday’s Restaurants
                             
Furthermore, multiple lucky seat and row giveaways will be announced throughout the night on Friday, with fans of fortune set to win prizes courtesy of Fathead, Buffalo Wild Wings, Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, AT&T, the University of Toledo, Carhartt, Andiamo’s Restaurants, Olympia Entertainment, Detroit Red Wings Authentics and the Detroit Tigers. The latest Carhartt Hardest Working Player of the Month will also be revealed prior to puck drop on Friday, while Red Wings players and management will acknowledge the NHL’s best fans during a series of pre-taped video segments.

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Comments

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Sullyosis's avatar

Seriously, Z had better fuchin be alright.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 04/06/11 at 09:49 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Hits: Canes 10, Red Wings 3.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/06/11 at 09:50 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Need to stop turning he pun over in the offensive zone to keep up the pressure.  Other than that, a pretty good period

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/06/11 at 09:50 PM ET

Sal's avatar

Kahn is reporting that Z won’t return tonight.  Lower body injury.

Posted by Sal from the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains on 04/06/11 at 09:51 PM ET

SYF's avatar

I’m actually pretty comfortable with Zata sitting out the remainder of this game, Sully.  I wouldn’t want to take a chance on further aggravating his ankle injury.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/06/11 at 09:51 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

Now there was the Franzen we’ve missed the past month

I have a feeling he is going to hit his stride in about 9 days.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/06/11 at 09:52 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Catch y’all on the flipside, 19.

Go Wings!!!

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 04/06/11 at 09:52 PM ET

Neznarf's avatar

“bad news” coming on the injury report, definitely means Z is NOT coming back tonight.  Hopefully it’s JUST tonight.

Posted by Neznarf on 04/06/11 at 09:54 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Bad news? I already know he won’t be back for the rest of the night but it sure as hell better not be worse than that.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 04/06/11 at 09:54 PM ET

Trish's avatar

Uh oh, some bad news upcoming . . .

Posted by Trish from Tampa/Clearwater FL on 04/06/11 at 09:54 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

What a stupid story - about what the Wings keep in their lockers.  Really, did any of those look “messy” at all?

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/06/11 at 09:54 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

0-0 end of First Period

Lets Go Red Wings!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/06/11 at 09:55 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Suppose we won’t know until tomorrow just how bad Z’s injury is…

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/06/11 at 09:56 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

Peace SYF

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/06/11 at 09:57 PM ET

Little Redhead's avatar

praying…...Z will be ok, Praying….Praying….Praying!!!

Posted by Little Redhead from the Engineer's chair on 04/06/11 at 09:58 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Z is NOT coming back tonigh

As long as he’s back and healthy next week, I think I can deal.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/06/11 at 09:58 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

That’s it? That’s all you got! Goddammit Trevor, you lazy sod! How bad…tell us how bad man, we want to know if our Triple Crown thoroughbred has an ankle injury bad enough to warrant shooting him! And, if after, we can eat his flesh, that we may take upon his characteristics and powers. Fucher.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 04/06/11 at 09:58 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I don’t like that “April in the D” song…  lame.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/06/11 at 09:58 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

@Malibu,  is Norman a usual stop-over?  Great town.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/06/11 at 07:42 PM ET

No, it’s totally random based on wherever the tour happens to be booked. We find somewhere in between two destinations so we don’t have to pay the bus driver extra money for driving so far all at one time. Last night we were in Kansas City and Houston tomorrow.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 04/06/11 at 10:00 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Busy getting the Grandson to sleep and watching the game.

What’s that aboot Z?

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 04/06/11 at 10:01 PM ET

CaptainDennisPolonich's avatar

So the Wings are playing decently, but have’t converted their chances,
Z is out for this game and who knows how many more gulp ,
And Malibu is back in the homeland after touring in Siberia.

Did I miss anything else?

Oh yeah, Chief if you read this, there is no score at the end of one.

Welcome (almmst)home, Malibu

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from The Land of Fake Boobs and Real Nuts on 04/06/11 at 10:02 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

there’s something we haven’t seen in a while…the pass to the boards from a player wide open with the puck in the slot.

ugh.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/06/11 at 10:02 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

It’d be nice if this roster could be healthy and play a couple of games together healthy before the playoffs.  They’re still making far too many stupid mistakes playing the puck.  I don’t think that’s entirely because of not playing together enough, but it certainly would help.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/06/11 at 10:03 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Not a smart play abby.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/06/11 at 10:05 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

how are supposedly professional big league refs so gullible?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/06/11 at 10:05 PM ET

Trish's avatar

shite

Posted by Trish from Tampa/Clearwater FL on 04/06/11 at 10:06 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Calling some weak stuff on us, it’d be nice if that went both ways.  I’m pretty sure that the least penalized team in hockey having a negative PP margin over the last couple weeks is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with playing teams desperate to make the playoffs.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/06/11 at 10:06 PM ET

EpeeBill's avatar

Aww Crap! I’m gonna go pour another one, now.

Posted by EpeeBill on 04/06/11 at 10:06 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Welcome (almmst)home, Malibu

Posted by CaptainDennisPolonich from Warm and sunny SoCal on 04/06/11 at 08:02 PM ET

Thanks.

Fuch.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 04/06/11 at 10:06 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

Tomas Holmsyuk hits the crossbar

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 04/06/11 at 10:07 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Clang

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/06/11 at 10:07 PM ET

bobinalaska's avatar

I’d say I was shocked by that outcome, but I don’t want to lie to you all.

Posted by bobinalaska from Fairbanks, Palinistan on 04/06/11 at 10:07 PM ET

Jeff  OKWingnut's avatar

If you ever get back that way, let me know.  I went to school there, so did my oldest boy.  My youngest starts there this fall.  We know all the haunts.

Posted by Jeff OKWingnut from Quest for 12 on 04/06/11 at 10:07 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

oh HOMER!

when did grow hands?

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/06/11 at 10:07 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Tomas Holmsyuk hits the crossbar

Posted by ChrisinA^2 from Michigan, home of the Old Wings on 04/06/11 at 08:07 PM ET

LOL

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 04/06/11 at 10:10 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Anyone know if the new channelsurfing site got shut down as well? Or is there an even newer one?

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 04/06/11 at 10:10 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

jesus, Ovechkin is one ugly MFer.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 04/06/11 at 10:12 PM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Is Modano playing? I think I saw a statue out there with a 90 sweater on but I couldn’t tell.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 04/06/11 at 10:12 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Is Modano playing? I think I saw a statue out there with a 90 sweater on but I couldn’t tell.

I think he’s still stretching after Sunday’s game.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 04/06/11 at 10:13 PM ET

bobinalaska's avatar

On the other hand, STL 1-0 CHI, early in the first.

Posted by bobinalaska from Fairbanks, Palinistan on 04/06/11 at 10:14 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