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Abel to Yzerman

The Provincial Ghosts Can Suck It

I'd thought of a more distinguished title for this post, but I've never been a distinguished kind of guy. So, we'll let that stand. Notice I didn't say the Flames can suck it. I think their behavior Saturday would have warranted a recommendation that they do, but it wasn't directed to them. I didn't say the fans can suck it, because I respect those fans just like I do the Oil fans. And I didn't say the bloggers can suck it, because--even you Kyle--I like that group, too. No, only the ghosts. Only those bastard ghosts who threatened to Punch Us In The Face again.

It wasn’t just winning that series.  That probably would have occured tomorrow in Detroit, if necessary (but in a definitionofsuckage Game 7..who knows?).  It was going to Calgary with the opportunity to put the boot to the throat and press down, and then doing it.  The Wings needed that, just like they needed to win a Game 5 at home.  They’re going to have to win games in San Jose or Anaheim or Buffalo.  They needed to prove to themselves yesterday that victory on the road is not impossible.

So they did.

And we shall recap the reactions to it.  But first, some thoughts.

I could have sworn I told the Province that Johan Franzen would be a name they won’t forget.  Didn’t I?  Did I? I don’t recall.  Oh…yes I did.

10 April

-Another Calgary analysis (whether it’s a mainstreamer or blogger) with no mention of Johan Franzen.  His name recognition is going to jump in the next week.

And it wasn’t just the game winner.  Franzen was a presence the whole series.  When you read about the Wings taking the physical game to the Flames, think the Mule.  Was McLennan’s hatchet job pre-planned? No.  Was it deliberate? Maybe.  Was it a result of Franzen’s badgering him to the point of insanity?  Possibly.

And we like that.

And we like Ken Holland, because he had the guts to pull the trigger on the Bertuzzi deal.  As abrasive as the Wings had become over the course of the season, his personality gave them a harder edge and it’s only going to become more obvious as their confidence grows and his game gets better.

We also kinda like our insane Czech goalie.  We like his quotes, calling out Iginla…essentially branding him an adolescent due to his behavior and the way his team followed his childish lead on Saturday.  But we like the fact that he backs it up with his play.  And we like the fact that he’s not Manny Legace, because the team just plays better in front of him.  And when you want to quibble with me about scapegoats and unfair treatment, look at the results.

We’re all Andres Lilja fans now, in case you didn’t know.  Yep. We like the big boy.  He looks composed, fairly quick, confident with the puck, and he’s laying the wood to those who deserve it.

Oh, we even like Mikael Samuelsson today and the fact that his four shots in the 3rd and OT led the team.  We like his grit the last two games.  Anyone besides me sense a patented Samuelsson hot streak coming?

By god, we even like the Enigma plodding down the wing and tossing a soft wrister that somehow beat the menace that was Kipper.

But it was the exorcism of the Provincial ghosts that really has us joyful today, the proof that this team is indeed different from the last three.  I warned you before, and I’ll do so again now….there’s an Yzerman post coming down the pike and you’re not going to like it.  Not today, but soon.

Now? Reaction.

The Real Deal

Mike Babcock in particular deserves kudos for imposing his will upon the Calgary Flames. If you want any more proof of the superiority of his in game systems (compared to Playfair’s joke of a system) then simply look at the shots on net. While Calgary managed 129 shots in 6 games, Detroit managed to put 255 shots on Miikka Kipprusoff and Co. I think if you looked at possession times or in zone times, the results would be just as overwhelming.


“Our fans, the media, they think we have some sort of disease thinking we’re going to fail,” Babcock said. “To me, we carry that around. This team isn’t about ’03, ’04, or ’06, it’s about this year. We have a good team and we have been a determined group from the get-go. People said we weren’t going to be very good, but we are good. We have a shot to be real good.”

Yeah, Mike we did.  Nothing speaks to that feeling of dread more than the empty seats in the upper bowl.  Those fans will come back this round. The sellouts will return (interpret that as you’d like).  But you can’t blame us for being pessimistic.  As for you?  We think you may be on to something.  We think it may have taken you a while to get your stamp on this team, but we believe it may be there now.  We think you had to battle more than a few obstacles to really have an effect, but we think it may be happening now.


I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, there is just a completely different sense about this team with Dominik Hasek in net, a feeling of security for his teammates that not a lot of goalies could provide.

Just say it Ansar.  No? Ok. I will.  This team lost last year because they didn’t have confidence in their goalie.  I don’t care what his GAA or save percentage was, Legace was the weak link because the team didn’t think he’d be there when they needed him most.  Game 6 in Edmonton proved it.  Hasek may be old. He may not have the reflexes he used to. But what he’s lost in flexibility he’s gained in smarts.  Positionally, he’s always there…unless he’s wandering around in places he shouldn’t.  And, the bottom line?  The team loves to play in front of him.


But moving forward, what would that have proved? Nothing. Look at what happened in these six games.

Henrik Zetterberg, who missed so much time at the end of the season, had a few games to get in sync.

Todd Bertuzzi, who wasn’t healthy enough to play the first two games of the series, started to have an impact.

Dominik Hasek, whose health will be a concern for the rest of his career, however long that is, looked like he was 32, not 42.

And mostly, the Wings will get a big psychological boost—not just for winning a series for the first time in two years, but for winning a hard series.

Honestly, I hadn’t given it that much thought.  But the boy’s got merit to his thinking.  Extending this series did a lot of good for a lot of players.  Bertuzzi and Zetterberg…yes.  But also Samuelsson and Lilja, and maybe even Lang.  Did we want a six-game stress fest?  Nope.  But will it help in the long run?  Yep.

Saler/On The Wings

My condolences to Flames fans. Believe me when I say that I know what it’s like to get your hopes up about a team only to have them dashed in a kind of betrayal of trust. And to the Flames bloggers, it was a pleasure reading you guys over the past couple weeks. For whatever reason, I’d not had exposure to the Calgary blogosphere before and it was good to learn about the high quality of it.

Matt’s got something I seem to be missing in most of my rants and sarcasm-filled babble.  What is it? I can’t quite put a finger on it….oh yeah.  Class.  Definitely short of it here.  Thankfully, Matt has enough for both of us.  Despite the ramp-up in tension between the two blog and fan bases over the last 48 hours, that is a passionate group of fans who deserve a Cup…just not at our expense, thankfully, this year.

But, it’s not us they have to deal with now.  Flame fans have to return to what they know best, battling it out with Oil fans.  And, they have no mercy.

We’ll leave them to their own private Provincial war.  Us?  It could very well be about redemption for a few guys who sorely need it.


Robert Lang scored AND screened Kipper on Johan Franzen’s series winning goal? Langer redeemed himself in a big way last night. Plus, both of our trade deadline acquistions (Todd Bertuzzi and Kyle Calder) had assists last night. Oh and one other thing, in the intermission John Keating asked a player (Lidstrom?) where the Wings should try to shoot on Kipper. He didn’t have an answer. I yell out “above his glove - top right corner!” And where does Franzen score? Top right corner. Victory is sweet baby.

And, almost finally, a word on Kiprusoff.  The guy is a miracle in pads is what he is.  That team was outshot, outhit, outplayed and outcoached.  But none of us would have been surprised if we’d lost this series to that one little guy.  An amazing goaltender.

And finally, my fellow empire dweller AlanaH at Canucks and Beyond revealed this morning a little side bet she and I had going for the first round.

The Bet

Incidentally, I agreed to some dumbassed bet on the side with IwoCPO a couple weeks ago… we’re currently at war over the first round point totals of Daniel Sedin vs Pavel Datsysuk.  Well, Dattysucky got 5 points for the first round, and Sedin ground to halt with 2 in his first game. So if that Swedish ingrate doesn’t pick up at least 3 points tonight, I’ll be appearing on this blog dressed in a Wings jersey by next week.

Yes, that picture will be displayed prominently here too.

As you all know, tonite’s Game 7 in Vancouver is huge for us.  Do I have to say who we’d rather see in Round 2?  Yes? Ok.  Dallas.  There is no doubt. None.  Give us Dallas. Give us that slushy ice and that anemic offense.  Give us those redneck fans and a nice little trend we have of kicking their asses in the playoffs.

And give us Turco.  On a platter.  I don’t care what he’s done against Vancouver.  Bring that 2 dollar head into the Joe and watch it implode.

Because we don’t want to discuss the other option, do we?

Sorry AlanaH.  If it meant anything other than a series with The Team We Don’t Speak Of, I’d be rooting for your boys tonite.  But it is what it is.

Go Stars.

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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