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Abel to Yzerman

Saturday Morning Odds and Ends

Despite traffic you wouldn't believe, Bubba's attempts to sabotage me several times across Tennessee, evil speed traps in Virginia and an amazing display of navigational ineptitude, I can happily report my safe arrival in Washington, DC. Having been here a little over 24 hours, you'd think that my presence in the seat of government would automatically give me some sort of insight into Andres Lilja's claims that he's being "politically" blackballed by the Wings. Alas, no. More on that in a moment.

Communications shortfalls prevented me from watching last night’s game, and will most likely keep me from seeing tonite’s.  So, I won’t even pretend to do recaps for either.  But, based on what I’ve read…

* Another game, another forward blasted.  Dan Cleary seemed more than happy with the sacrifice.

Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press

San Jose tonight. Pascal Dupuis tomahawked Cleary so hard on the scoring play Cleary had pieces of fiberglass stuck in his mouth guard.

“I just remember choking on a piece of tooth,” Cleary said. “But I’d do it all over again.”

If that’s not a hockey player’s quote, I don’t know what is.

* Skimming the box score this morning, I came across an odd acronym.  Next to Nicklas Lidstrom’s name, after his second period goal, the letters P, P, and G appear in succession.  It looks like this: PPG.  Could someone please tell me what that means? 

Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

The Wings looked like a much more confident team with the man-advantage. Cleary’s goal came only two seconds after a Wings’ power play expired.

“Our power play hadn’t been scoring, so it was great to see,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We need our special teams to get better and better.”

Up to 10.9 percent.  Glorious.  Oh, I know.  Give them a break.  Yes, I should. 

* Ahh, yes.  Andres Lilja is irritated.  He wants a trade. He feels his talents aren’t being exploited the way they should be. And, yes, Andres sees something sinister going on.  Andres believes the decision to relegate his blinding speed and heavy shot to the press box is “political”...

Helene St. James/Freep

Asked by the paper what this means, Lilja replied, “I know it sounds strange, but that’s how it is.” Lilja went on to say that if things remain the same, he may consider asking for a trade in January.

Andres, you’re a nice kid.  We like you.  But, let’s consider something.  You played with Nick Lidstrom last year.  I could play with Nick Lidstrom and end up +15 as you did.  You accrued 98 penalty minutes.  Without making the effort to break that down by infraction, I’d guess most of those were a result of you clutching, grabbing, holding and hooking ot make up for your, umm, speed.

Political?  Well, that would indicate he’s not playing as a result of some sort of vendetta or ulterior motive.  Perhaps he feels Brett Lebda should sit because he can’t be sent back to Grand Rapids?  I’d bet that’s where this leads.  Lebda’s safer with the puck, obviously faster, clearly better in the transition game and improving defensively.  Ken Holland seemingly, like us, couldn’t care less if Andres Lilja feels politically victimized.

Helene St. James/Freep

“We’re very happy with his play,” general manager Ken Holland said.. “He’s coming off a year where he played 20 minutes a night with Nick and did a good job for us. He understood he got that opportunity because of injuries to Kronwall and Fischer. Now we’ve got seven defensemen that we like.”

Newsflash Andres: you’re expendable.  Kyle Quincey can do your job for about 500K less than you make. 

* Nik Kronwall played just over 12 minutes last night.  His groin tightened up after the second, again. Looks like Lilja may be a political hostage a while longer.

* Deja frigging Vu.  Last weekend Mike Babcock elected to sit Dominik Hasek against Bubba rather than play him on consecutive nights.  He started him Friday against the little Blues, then sat him for the biggie the next night.  Here we are again.  Tougher call, since Minnesota’s obviously better than St. Louis.  But, San Jose is the marquee matchup of the weekend and we could very well see Joey MacDonald in net against the Sharks.  I’m going out on my little limb and predicting again that Hasek’s in net tonite.


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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