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Abel to Yzerman

Statistically Speaking

Looking back at Thanksgiving 2007 and the only thing more painful than watching our Czech Miracle of Insanity try to get off the ice in the last 90 seconds was the 23 second shot Fox gave us of William Clay Ford attempting to put his glasses on.  Again and again the old man tried to find his nose, and it just wasn’t happening.  Riveting. 

Tonite the Wings wrap up a 9-game stretch against the division that Gary built. We can be thankful for that.  Why?  Not because the hockey’s been boring, as in previous years, but because Detroit’s performance has been mediocre—at best—against teams we’ve traditionally owned.  Detroit’s now lost five times to teams within the Central, the same number they pointed to in April of last year.  Only Columbus has yet to defeat Detroit.  And they probably won’t tonite either.


Because Osgood’s in net.  Osgood’s your starter.  Tonite anyway.  Uncle Mike seems to be comfortable with the rotation thing. Personally, I think it’s frigging stupid.  Babcock clearly doesn’t care what I think.
Macomb Daily News

“It’s amazing in this business you need a long-term plan and you stick to it,” Babcock said. “But it’s amazing how that plan becomes day-to-day because of health, injuries and how well players are playing.”

Yeah. Amazing.  And no, that wasn’t a Mike Babcock Consolidated Quote of the Day (MBCQOTD). We may get to one of those in a few, but the “amazing” quote…all Mike.  What he’s saying, I think, is that the original plan centered around Hasek staying healthy, and gradually working his way out of his traditional early season malaise.  In the meantime, the Wings would win in spite of his average play.  Then, as Hasek heated up rainbows would appear and joy would ensue.  Yeah. Kinda.  Hasek has struggled.  The Wings have played well.  They have won despite the “starter’s” injuries and poor play.  But the monkey wrench is that those victories have come with Chris Osgood in net. Ten of them. 

Statistically the two don’t compare.  That’s actually too mild.  The difference between the two in GAA and save percentage is practically obscene.  1.65 to 2.90 in GAA and .864 to .930 in save percentage.  In one more game than Hasek has started Osgood has allowed 12 fewer goals

But those twelve goals aren’t the statistic that matters most.  The only number that really counts is the one in the W column and that difference is huge. It’s epic.  If the other stats were closer and the win totals were a little more equal, we’d be cracking knuckles and pacing, making multiple excuses, counting the minutes until the Czech was fully healthy, in a rhythm, somewhat sane, happy…anything.

But there is just no comparison right now.  There is no reason why these two should even be alternating.  And it doesn’t matter if Babcock declares Osgood the starter.  All that counts is who gets the nod consistently.  Keep calling Hasek your “guy”.  Keep telling Ansar that Hasek will get the majority of the starts when Jimmy Bedard says he’s ready. In other words, lie to us as usual.  It’s ok. We like it…as long as the wins keep piling up.

Oh, and those wins…kinda tough against the Central?  1-4-1 is Hasek’s mark inside the division.  Osgood’s 3-1-1.

Did Hasek look better against Bubba? Sure. 26 saves, many of them floppers…which is a good sign.  But good signs don’t mean much when accompanied by an L.  Good signs are for Columbus and St. Louis.  And if Hasek’s improved play was such a “good sign”, why isn’t he starting tonite?  Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?  Hasek plays better, shows indications that he’s snapping out of it, improves more with more minutes, plays consecutive games, then a few more, Osgood shuttles in on the back end of a back-to-back thing? 

On the surface, there is no better goaltending tandem in the league. It’s not even close.  It’s a luxury every team would love to have.  Peel back a layer though, and there’s trouble coming.  Sooner or later the Wings are going to lose one with Hasek in net and the questions from within the room are going to start. 

Does Babcock even have to make the public declaration? That’s been a topic of discussion here for a few days.  Does he even have to say, “we’re making a change”?  Yeah, he does.  Because the minute you declare Osgood your guy, then it’s understood he gets the majority of the starts.  It’s understood by us, the media and, most importantly, the players.  The same players who have given up five shorthanded goals with Hasek in net, and zero with Osgood.

Do it Mike.  Say it.  Put this thing to rest even if it means bidding farewell to Hasek.  The bottom line?  The Wings win with Osgood and lose at least half the time with Hasek.  It’s the only stat that matters.  Chris Osgood’s your starter.  Tonite, after another win over the BJs, wait for the mics to gather round and tell us what we already know.



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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