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Abel to Yzerman

Sunday Odds and Ends

More Sundin talk.  A must-win for the Wings?  Street hockey in DC and mind games from Uncle Mike.  These stories and more right here on A2Y: Fair and Balanced.

Mats Sundin is Swedish, so therefore he must waive his NTC, willingly leave a place he’s poured his heart and soul into and publicly claimed he has no wish to leave, head slightly south to Detroit and sign a three year deal that would still allow the Wings to make Hank Zetterberg a rich fellow Swede for seven-to-ten years.

Easy.  In fact, it’s a “given” that the Wings are on the prowl.

The powerhouse Detroit Red Wings will have $5 million in cap money to spend on a top-six forward at the trade deadline, but they’ll have to be careful because they surrendered Team Canada junior star Shawn Mattias last February to get Todd Bertuzzi.

It’s a given that they’ll take a run at Mats Sundin with all the other Swedes in their lineup if the Maple Leafs captain waives his no-trade clause and the Leafs are out of the playoff picture by then. But nobody’s giving up first-round draft picks in 2008, not with this June’s draft crop being the best in the last 15 years. So what would it cost them? Jiri Hudler? Farm goalie Jim Howard? One of their young D-men (Kyle Quincey, Derek Meech, big Swede Jonathan Ericsson)?

Further examination required?  Sure.  It’s more than five million. Closer to six.  This is the first year in three that I can’t see Hudler being traded, so that should give you plenty of reason to expect he will be.  Jim Howard?

Now that is interesting.  Just named the AHL goalie of the month.  Playing very well after a terrible start.  But put that aside. 

We may not need Jim Howard because Chris Osgood could very well be your starter for the next two years, if not three.  I’m just sayin’.

Homer claims Uncle Mike’s playing mind games, holding him out longer than necessary to help him fully recover from his “bruised knee.”  Is Babcock pulling a Bowman?  Sorta, but not quite.  He’s being cautious and he obviously can afford to based on the 20 point divisional lead and the way the Wings have played without 96.  I’m cool with that.  In fact, I’d like to see Babcock start resting players (ie: Zetterberg) on back-to-backs starting, oh, tonite.

Babcock, according to the Diggers who legally must believe every word he says, says he wants an angry Swede in the lineup Tuesday against the Dive in Detroit.

“He’s snarly now,” Babcock said. “I like him when he’s mad. But why wouldn’t we be cautious? Just give him and Malts two more days to skate.”

Holmstrom didn’t quite snarl, but he did suggest there were mental tactics at play.

“I’m ready to go, but they pulled the chute on me again,” he said. “Let’s see Tuesday. I don’t know now. We’ll see what happens. They’re playing mind games right now.”

That’s sarcasm, in case you missed it.  I’m looking forward to Tuesday. Holmstrom’s going to be a demon out there.

Feel like talking about Dallas and Chicago? Sure you do.  Dave Tippets started Mike Smith because Marty Turco goes all Sybil at the prospect of facing his pal Pavel and the Wings.  Naturally, Smith gave up a softie that sealed the deal.

Cleary threw the puck at net from a sharp angle and tied up Smith, who let it slip through.

“That’s a big play,” Babcock said. “That’s why goaltender is the most important position.”

Let’s hope Dallas keeps slipping.  Like all the way to the 8 spot.  Three teams I’d like to see there IF THE PLAYOFFS STARTED TODAY:  Dallas, Minnesota or Denver.  Realistically, none of those series’ should go more than five.  Teams I’d prefer to avoid in the 8 hole: Poultry and Flames.  No need for that kind of matchup after a three month cakewalk to the President’s Trophy. 

Chicago.  Damn Chicago.  Bastard Hawks.  They’re even more banged up than the Wings. Actually, a lot more considering our “injured” players aren’t injured anymore. 

Hawks coach Denis Savard and general manager Dale Tallon claim the Hawks are deep, but are they really in NHL talent? We’ll find out over the next few weeks with Toews, Dave Bolland, James Wisniewski and Kevyn Adams not due back anytime soon.

Martin Havlat, Jason Williams, Brent Sopel and Ben Eager are expected to return soon, perhaps even this week.

Do the Detroit Red Wings need to beat Chicago tonite? Is this a pivotal psyche-solving game that will set the tone for the rest of the year?

No.  But it’s getting a little monotonous, this whole losing to the Hawks thing.  If Mike Babcock has a single resolution (other than reasonably good health for his players the rest of the way), it’s got to be a sharper focus against divisional opponents.

I’m done trying to figure it out. Done with that.  I’ve claimed it was youth, speed, mental breakdowns, Hasek’s poor play.  Whatever. Done with it.  I’m not smart enough and my attention span won’t allow that kind of analysis.  A must-win tonite?  Ummm, no.  Just a game the Wings would like to dominate (and actually win) that would temporarily shoo away one of the fruit flies that is bothersome but not threatening.

Strolled around the capital (capitol) yesterday and stopped in front of the White House.  What did I see?  A street hockey game.  Because I’m daring, I waded out into the middle of it, braved the obscenities and took this photo. 

image

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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