Abel to Yzerman
by George Malik on 02/14/11 at 10:20 AM ET
Of Red Wings-related note on a Monday morning seemingly dominated by talk of concussions, fighting and who’s taking whose puck and going home if they don’t like it:
The Wings did something very, very nice on Sunday afternoon, honoring Chris Osgood for his 400th win before the Red Wings’ 4-2 win over the Boston Bruins (updated recap, yay!), but NBC chose not to air the ceremony. Thankfully, the Red Wings’ website posted clips of both their in-house scoreboard tribute to Osgood and the on-ice ceremony:
Here’s the ceremony itself:
The Wings’ YouTube channel also posted a clip of Mike Emrick, Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist talking about Osgood:
MLive’s Ansar Khan recounts the details thereof…
The Red Wings honored goaltender Chris Osgood for earning his 400th win on Dec. 27 during a pregame ceremony.
Club executive Christopher Ilitch presented Osgood with a gift and Draper handed Osgood’s wife, Jenna, a dozen roses as daughters Mackenzie and Sydney accompanied them on the ice.
Osgood, who had sports hernia surgery on Jan. 11, hopes to put on his equipment this week to gauge his progress.
As does the Detroit Free Press:
Before the Red Wings’ game against Boston at the Joe on Sunday, Kris Draper was part of the ceremony honoring longtime teammate and close friend Chris Osgood for his Dec. 27 victory at Colorado, which made Osgood the 10th goaltender in NHL history to reach 400 wins.
The organization gave Osgood a Rolex watch, while Draper gave Osgood’s wife, Jenna, who is 8 months pregnant, a bouquet of flowers and got a little kiss in return.
“I told Jenna I’m going to need a kiss every game right now,” Draper said, smiling.
And the Detroit News’s David Guralnick posted an image of Osgood and his family posing at center ice in his game gallery:
Photo credit: David Guralnick, Detroit News
The Wings’ players pitched in to give Osgood an all-expenses-paid golfing trip to Scotland and Ireland, and Henrik Zetterberg, Kris Draper and a few of Osgood’s current and former teammates will accompany #30 on the trip. Given that Mike Modano chose to join the Wings while golfing in Scotland, maybe the Wings’ players will do a bit of player recruiting (wink wink) as well.
• Osgood’s friend Kris Draper scored the game-winning goal in the Wings’ 4-2 win on Sunday, and he made some telling comments about his return from what Osgood’s dealing with now—the aftermath of sports hernia surgery—thanks to an injury suffered on the first day of training camp, as noted by MLive’s Ansar Khan...
Draper wasn’t sure how his season would unfold after injuring his groin the first day of training camp and then having surgery on Oct. 21 for a sports hernia. After returning on Dec. 4, he was a healthy scratch every other game for three weeks.
“I wasn’t sure how my body was going to respond,’’ Draper said. “Missing all of training camp and so many games and then coming back and sitting every other game, doubt sets in.’’
But injuries gave him the chance to play every game since Dec. 23, and he has capitalized on the opportunity.
“Physically, I still feel I can go out and play,’’ Draper said. “With the way I take care of myself in the offseason, my legs feel good and hockey’s fun right now. In the big picture, when everyone gets healthy, do I know what my role is? No. But I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing. I feel I can help this team.’’
As well as the Free Press’s Helene St. James, who noted both the praise given to Draper by his teammates and coach…
Draper didn’t play until Dec. 4, sidelined by a groin injury that developed into a sports hernia that required surgery. There were times he doubted that he could play again. Now he has six goals in 28 games.
“It’s fantastic,” Todd Bertuzzi said. “Ever since he came back from his surgery, he’s been playing exceptionally well.”
“I thought Drapes was good,” coach Mike Babcock said. “That line has been a real constant for us—they seem to do things right for us each and every night. That line, over the last while, even when we weren’t playing well, was one of our better lines.”
And the fact that Draper delivered on a birthday promise…erm, demand:
Draper scored the game-winning goal in the Red Wings’ 4-2 victory Sunday at Joe Louis Arena against the Bruins, and afterward made sure his son, Kienan, got the puck to commemorate his ninth birthday. The birthday isn’t until Saturday, but Kienan had eight hockey buddies at Sunday’s matinee, and so Draper delivered.
“That was pretty cool,” Draper said. “He wasn’t asking for a goal, he was more or less telling me to get a goal. I think you could tell by the smile on my face I was pretty pumped when it went in.”
The Detroit News’s John Niyo dealt most directly with the probability that Draper may retire after this season, especially if he finds himself sitting in the press box when Valtteri Filppula and Mike Modano return:
And yes, with most of his old teammates already retired — like Kirk Maltby, who was in a suit in the press box Sunday as a first-year NHL scout for the Wings — Draper says he’s well aware that “the end is coming.” But it’s days like this — scoring the winning goal against an Original Six opponent before a sellout crowd at Joe Louis Arena — that remind him he’s not kidding himself thinking the end hasn’t arrived already.
Earlier, the team had rolled out the red carpet for a pregame ceremony honoring Chris Osgood for his 400th career win back in late December. And it was Draper, fittingly, who represented Osgood’s teammates, skating out with a bouquet of flowers for his wife, Jenna, at center ice. Osgood and Draper are the best of friends and former roommates — their daughters were busy goofing around on the ice after Sunday’s game — and Draper even joked after his game-winning effort, “I told Jenna I’m gonna need a kiss before every game now.”
Still, the irony of that ceremony for Osgood — complete with the career-retrospective video — wasn’t lost on Draper, either. Osgood, the Wings’ backup goalie, is still working his way back from hernia surgery last month, and the 39-year-old admits this could be his last NHL season. Draper also is in the final year of his contract and knows this might be it for him, too.
In the present tense, however, Draper was just happy that the Wings got back to business in defeating the Bruins in back-to-back games, duly noting that the Wings were motivated more by their fans’ comments after the Wings’ 5-1 loss to Nashville than those of Ken Holland, who suggested that he’d bolster the Wings’ ranks by trades if necessary, or their own positive self-talk. Put simply, the Wings didn’t want to be booed off the ice again:
“We deserved it,” Draper said after the fans responded with a loud ovation at the end of Sunday’s win. “Whether it’s your first or second year here or if you’ve been here 20 years, it’s not too often that you hear that. And it bothered a lot of us walking off the ice. Not the boos, but the fact that we gave ‘em a reason to boo us. That’s something that is unacceptable. We take a lot of pride in our work ethic, in how we go out and compete. We weren’t doing it and we knew it. And the fans let us know — rightfully so.”
• Of very significant note in the fan interaction department, from the Free Press’s Kirkland Crawford:
About a week ago, we stumbled across an interesting feature that USA Today was doing, asking fans to vote on the greatest player to where a particular jersey. In the early stages of it (the lowest numbers), Tigers legends Al Kaline and Hank Greenberg were in the running.
After checking back recently, we find one more Detroit sports hero has made the cut. For No. 9, of course, there’s Gordie Howe.
But Mr. Hockey has some tough competition. As of early Monday morning, Howe had only 18% of nearly 7,500 votes, good for second place but 42 percentage points behind Ted Williams.
• Also, per the Sporting News’s Craig Custance:
When one Hall of Famer heard that the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens were named the greatest hockey team in history by Sporting News’ elite panel of voters, he shot back, “There must have been a lot of Canadiens on that panel.”
There were some. The 40-plus voters who selected the top 10 teams in history for our 125th anniversary celebration included Scotty Bowman, Dick Duff, Henri Richard and Steve Shutt. But then again, maybe those Canadiens were No. 1 because of their complete dominance of the NHL in their respective eras.
They weren’t alone. All of the teams ranked by the panel had moments of domination and could make a strong case for a higher spot. Like the 1951-52 Detroit Red Wings—No. 5 on the list—who played their best at home during the playoffs.
“We didn’t let up a goal at Olympia,” former great Ted Lindsay told Sporting News. “That alone should move us to about first or second.”
• In the mutual appreciation society department, ESPN Boston’s James Murphy noted that the Wings are fans of Boston Bruins defenseman defenseman Zdeno Chara and forward Patrice Bergeron:
“I think he’s a very solid all-around defenseman,” [Nicklas] Lidstrom said. “He has the size to his advantage, but he’s very good with the puck. He’s tough to play against. He’s got the good shot and the good reach, but overall he’s very solid both offensively and defensively.”
Lidstrom’s coach, Mike Babcock shares respect for Chara, who won the Norris Trophy in 2009.
“He’s the only guy in the league that can stand on the red line and gap up to your blue line,” Babcock said of the 6-foot-9, 255-pound defenseman. “What I mean by that is he stands on the red line with his feet and his stick’s on your blue line. You have to get it behind him. You’ve got to work him down low. He’s a big man. There’s no sense going body to body on him. For most of our guys, you’ve got to check his stick and his hands and get the puck off him that way.”
Babcock also has immense respect for Bergeron, whom he has coached twice in international competition.
“I had Bergy the first time when I think he was 19 at the World Championships and he is just a great kid and he plays hard,” Babcock said of Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with 45 points. “He can actually be really physical, he can play the wing, he can play center, he can play with the puck and he can play without the puck. He’s a good man. At the Olympics he didn’t end up with as big a role as he would have liked and yet he was a great teammate and important for us. He was part of a gold-medal team that won at home and I’m sure he looks at it fondly and I look at him and that experience fondly as well.”
And the same can be said for Tim Thomas and Nicklas Lidstrom, as noted by NESN’s Douglas Flynn:
Lidstrom, 40, was a plus-3 on Friday when the Red Wings handed Boston a 6-1 loss at the Garden, but Thomas had a more enjoyable time last month when they were on the same side at the NHL All-Star Game. Lidstrom was an even more impressive plus-7 in that game, as the squad he captained edge Eric Staal’s team 11-10 in Raleigh.
“I only played the one period with him, so I didn’t get a very good read,” said Thomas, who turns 37 in April. “I know it was a sneaky plus-7. He’s one of the all-time greats, no doubt about it. I saw the one pass he made to [Matt] Duchene I think it was. That was a beautiful pass. But a lot of the other contributions he makes, he does it so well you don’t even notice he’s the one who made the pass or anything like that,” Thomas added. “It might not be the pass on the goal, it might be the pass that set up the guy who set up the guy who scored, but he gives it to the guy who sets up the goal in such a good way that the guy has time and can look and set up the other guy so good.”
Lidstrom might not have known what Thomas had done in previous All-Star Games, but he was certainly aware of what the Bruins netminder has been doing this season with a league-leading 1.92 GAA and .941 save percentage.
“It’s very impressive the numbers he has,” Lidstrom said. “I had a chance to talk with him a little bit at the All-Star Game. He’s from the Flint area, the Detroit area. He’s been playing tremendous for the team. He’s playing so well. With the team that they have, they’re playing well in front of him, but he’s a tremendous goaltender.”
“He never quits on plays,” Lidstrom said. “There’s a rebound and it looks like the net is open, but he’s not going to quit on it. You have to bear down and bury the chances that you do have. But you also have to create some traffic in front of him, be there for screens and tips and second chances, because he’s so good you’re not often going to score on the first chance on him.”
• I plain old liked Kevin Allen’s write-up of Sunday’s game, but as Todd Bertuzzi’s a bit of a divisive figure I’ll suggest that it’s worth further reading;
• WXYT’s Tom Leyden spoke to WXYT’s Mike Stone on Sunday evening’s Sports Update, talking about the Wings’ turnaround and the fans’ reaction to last Wednesday’s loss, and I found it surprising that the pair led off by talking about the Red Wings. It’s good to hear Wings talk on a local TV or radio station in February, and it’s great to hear talk about Howard, Helm, Bertuzzi and almost two full minutes of lead-off commentary about the Wings in a positive vein:
• In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins dropped a 3-1 decision to the Rochester Americans on Sunday, despite firing 46 shots at Amerks goalie Tyler Plante. Thomas McCollum took the loss and stopped 21 shots in his first full game in the Griffins’ crease since he recovered from a broken index finger. The Griffins’ website, Grand Rapids Press, Amerks’ website and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle’s Kevin Oklobzija provide recaps;
• In the ECHL, Willie Coetzee registered a goal in the Toledo Walleye’s 6-3 loss to the Kalamazoo K-Wings. The Walleye’s website and Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe provide recaps. The Toledo Blade’s Dave Hackburg reveals that Coetzee got into some trouble after a recent road trip:
It’s appropriate that Willie Coetzee provided Toledo with a first-period wake-up call long before a third-period meltdown by the Fish led to a 6-3 win for the K-Wings. After all, Coetzee got a little more sleep than his teammates. This is one of those can-you-top-this sports stories that happens only in the dark of night in the bus leagues. Certainly, it will make the rounds in the ECHL.
Shortly after the Walleye returned in Sunday’s wee hours, defenseman Scott Fletcher realized he had left his cell phone and a travel bag on the bus. He hustled back to the arena parking lot, but the bus was already gone. Walleye equipment manager Dave Aleo had the bus driver’s cell number and reached him headed south on I-75. The bus pulled over, and Fletcher jumped in his car and hustled to catch up.
“He pulled over and met me at exit 198,” Fletcher said. “I got my stuff.”
But something else was waiting too.
“Yeah, I sorta found another player,” Fletcher said.
Well, there was no sorta about it. When Fletcher pulled up, there stood Coetzee.
Coetzee fell asleep on the bus as the Walleye returned to Toledo from Johnston, PA, and he sort of didn’t wake up and was ignored by his teammates and even the bus driver as the bus started on its way down to Dayton. Whoops!
• In Saginaw, current Red Wings forward and Grand Rapids Griffins-bound prospect Jan Mursak appeared at the Saginaw Spirit’s 3-2 win over Kitchener on Saturday, and he talked about his experiences with the Wings in a conversation with the Saginaw News’s Kyle Austin:
Mursak had the weekend off from hockey, after he took a shot off the foot in the Red Wings Feb. 5 game against Nashville. Mursak, 23, said he knows he will likely be assigned to the Grand Rapids Griffins when he’s healthy again, but that he’s enjoyed his 17 games in the NHL this season.
“It’s fun,” Mursak said. “I’ve been in Detroit for a little bit, and I like it, and in Grand Rapids they have a good team. It was a lot of fun, I tried to enjoy the game. I’m just trying to play the best that I can and stay away from injuries.”
After two full seasons with the Griffins in the AHL, Mursak said he thought this would be his year to crack the NHL, but was still surprised with how early he heard his name called.
“I had a pretty good year last year and I had a pretty good camp this year,” Mursak said. “I played like six preseason games out of eight. I thought I could get a call up. I didn’t know I would be the first guy from Grand Rapids to get a call up, but yeah I was happy that they picked me.”
• In Swedish! Tomas Holmstrom gave an audio interview to Visat Hockey’s Facebook page, and, according to Aftonbladet’s Patrik Sjogren, Holmstrom raves about Nicklas Lidstrom, saying, “Without Lidas, we would fall apart like a house of cards. It’s impressive, almost totally sick that he can be that good [at 40]”;
• With frosting: the Red Wings are offering a heart-shaped donut at Tim Horton’s locations in Michigan today, and the donuts’ sales, as WNEM 5 notes, help benefit the Red Wings Foundation. They cost 85 cents.
In conjunction with the promotion, the Wings are offering $30 tickets to the Wings’ home games against San Jose on the 22nd and Dallas on the 24th if purchased by midnight tonight. The tickets usually retail for $48;
• Also in the charity department, the Hartland Patch’s Blake Hasenzahl reports that the Red Wings Alumni Association played in a charity hockey game to benefit a young lady from Hartland High School who passed away due to leukemia recently;
• In the plain old annoying department, the Toronto Star’s Kevin McGran insists that the Wings are interested in Tomas Vokoun, Pascal Leclaire (who’s always injured anyway) or Jean-Sebastien Giguere to shore up Detroit’s goaltending. Horse puckey!
• The Wings head to Florida for their Fathers’ Trip this weekend, and on Thursday they’ll face off against Steve Yzerman’s Tampa Bay Lightning. On Tuesday, the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff will post a conversation with Yzerman;
• In case you missed it, the Wings are interested in retaining Hat Trick Dick Axelsson’s services;
• And, finally, per the Vancouver Province’s Ed Willes:
Given the questions over the Canucks’ toughness, it was interesting to watch the Red Wings handle Boston on Sunday . . . Mike Gillis has modelled his team after the Wings and neither side employs a tough guy, per se,
But here’s the difference between the two lineups : Detroit has size which can play. Johan Franzen, Todd Bertuzzi, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and, when he’s healthy, Brad Stuart, aren’t going to win many fights but they can play big, they can play mean and they can stand up to the meat grinder which is the Stanley Cup playoffs.
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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