Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Rivalries, Eastern Movement, 3rd Period Terror, Friction, Etc.

Late start today. Hopefully this one's been worth the wait. There is so much to discuss today that my tummy aches. I tried to fill it with a block of pleasing cheese, but it didn't seem to do the trick. I ate some soup. Chicken dumpling. Ok. Let's begin with last night, then move forward. A few observations. You watched it, read the game stories, formed opinions of your own...so I'll try to give you something a little different.

Dan Cleary.  This is no longer a nice story, a miracle season.  Sure, it’s both of those.  But, now we’re looking at something far more important.  Dan Cleary is carrying the Detroit Red Wings.  And he’s doing it playing Babcock hockey.  This kid battles.  Look at his goals last night.  One with a nice wrister from the slot, a goal-scorer’s goal. But the other two? A war in front and a tip in.  He just goes to the net and lets the chips fall.

Kinda like Brendan Shanahan used to.

Cleary’s playing so well, has become such an integral part of this team that I’ve decided he needs to be immortalized.  Yes, he’ll soon have his own entry in the A2Y Glossary.  You’ll find out what it is in the MBCQD if you keep reading.

Pavel Datsyuk.  Well, well.  Delma Huddle’s turning it on.  Babcock said that last night it was as if Delma decided the Wings weren’t going to lose.  I’d like to think that was the case, but I still have a hard time imagining Pavel Datsyuk with a team on his shoulders, willing a victory like a former captain we’re fond of.

3rd Period Meltdowns.  What the hell is going on?  Let’s not act like this is just an ‘06-‘07 thing.  Not since ‘97 and ‘98 have we been able to sit back and enjoy late leads.  It’s just not something we’re afforded as Wing fans.  I don’t know why it happens. I doubt it’s a result of faulty strategy.  It’s a mindset of arrogance, really.  Red Wing players have come to expect victory as if it were owed to them.  They seem to believe a third-period lead should mean the opposition begin genuflecting and preparing their “they posses the puck so well” quotes. 

The Rivalry.  A2Y reader O-Joe asks a very good question.  Why are we pushing for a rivalry with Columbus?  Well, I’m to blame on this end.  I’ve explained my reasoning and I think it’s sound.  But, he has a good point. You can’t create one just because it would be convenient.  There are some ingredients (geography, smelly Buckeye fans, Fedorov and Foote, Hitchcock), but he’s right in one respect….true hate is spawned over a playoff series.  Blood on the glass, press box brawls, GM’s fighting GM’s, parking lot threats…in the playoffs. That’s where rivalries begin.  Too bad the BJ’s won’t be holding up their end of that bargain this year.  The West is just too tough to expect them to secure that 8 seed.  And they may not even be “western” long.  Which brings me to…

Realignment.  I’m all for it, as long as it includes moving the Wings to the eastern conference.  The Wings trotted out Jimmy D to address the issue.  Anytime Detroit’s pissed with the league, Devellano gets the call.  Little Gary’s intimidated by his pedigree and can shake his head and claim D’s senile.  Either way, I’m behind the guy one hundred percent on this one.


“We were very disappointed when that committee (recommended) that we stay in the West and Columbus go to the East. That is absurd,” Wings vice president Jimmy Devellano said. “If there’s a team that moves to the Eastern Conference, it better be the Detroit Red Wings, not the Columbus Blue Jackets. You’re talking about an Original Six team with 81 years in the league.”

You tell ‘em Jimmy. As much as I’ve disagreed with his babble in the past, he’s on the frigging money.  Why the hell should Columbus get that kind of preferential treatment?  Oh, I see.  To re-establish their long-standing rivalries with Montreal, Toronto, Boston and New York?  I’m sure the Eastern Conference fans are chomping at the bit to get the BJ’s in town six or eight times per year.

And I’ll tell you this, and I’m prepared for the backlash from the blogosphere…the league owes Detroit this move.  This league rode the Wings’ financial coat tails for ten years.  Detroit brought this league the best ratings it ever had every time the Wings were on ESPN, until Little Gary petulantly allowed ESPN to walk away.  Detroit sold, and still sells, the most memorabilia per team per city.  Detroit still brings in fans to every arena, EVERY arena.  It’s time for some damn payback, and that payback needs to be East-ward.  I want Buffalo. I want Ottawa. And I want to own the Canes in Raleigh.  I want Toronto eight times a year. I want border wars and hate fests.  I want Original Six matchups on Hockey Night in Canada.

And I want my damn playoff games starting at 1930. 


And I want Dan Cleary to have a nickname in the A2Y Glossary.  Luckily, in the Mike Babcock Consolidated Quote of the Day, he gave us one.

MBCQD, 12-29-06
“When Danny tipped in that third goal, I thought of Willy Wonka. That’s what that kid is, he’s Charlie with the golden ticket. Charlie Buckets, Danny Buckets.  Danny would have saved Augustus Gloop when he fell in that chocolate river. I like chocolate.  I wonder if Gloop can skate.  Big boy. We need another big body who can skate.  I can see it now, ‘Your third star, from the Red Wings…Augustus Gloop!!’. I’ll bet Budd Lynch would love that.  Danny Buckets. The Wing with the golden ticket.”

So.  Buckets it is. I like it.  He’s truly having that kind of year, the kind where you look down at your feet and find the golden frigging ticket, the ticket to the whole darn chocolate factory.

Fedorov and Yzerman.  Georgie Sipple started a brush fire this morning.  Nothing gets Wing fans going faster than a comparison between 19 and 91.  Friction?  What friction? Georgie apparently asked the question we’ve all wondered about for years.  Was there a problem between the two Wing stars?

Sipple/Free Press

“Rumors, I guess,” Fedorov said. “People don’t want to put that to rest. ... For whatever reason, they want to elaborate. They did all the time. I just basically never really cared about them or paid attention to them. I don’t think two top players can play together for such a long time if they would have a problem.”

Oh, I think they can and I think they did.  I’m betting Steve Yzerman disliked Fedorov immensely. I’m betting Steve Yzerman viewed Fedorov as one of the biggest wastes of talent he’d ever seen.  I’ll bet when Yzerman had to cajole Fedorov off the trainer’s table in ‘97 he did so with an awfully bad taste in his mouth. 

Steve Yzerman was a warrior, a player who persevered through pain few of us could endure.  He loved to win and nothing else. He sacrificed his legacy for three Cups, and his knees for the city of Detroit. 

Sergei Fedorov whined.  He whined consistently.  He bitched when he was put on defense. He bitched when he didn’t get his 23 minutes/game.  He wanted to be “the man” in a place where there could be only one.  And then he left town.  His talent was never fully realized or appreciated in Detroit because he never realized it himself.  Rephrase: he realized it, but he never capitalized on it.

And nothing would have irritated Steve Yzerman more than a player who doesn’t make the most of his ability.  Dan Cleary is much more Yzerman’s type of guy.

And hey…yeah, I’m the one who’s defended Fedorov every time the Homer Simpsons at the Joe boo’d him.  Stupid, ignorant bandwagoners in my opinion. 

But the fact is, Fedorov had a chance to become a legend, an icon, in Detroit and his ego led him away.

So do I think there was friction?  Yep, and a whole lot of it.


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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