Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 11/16/06 at 10:05 AM ET
Ted Kulfan reports the Wings should be healthy and happy for tomorrow’s game in Calgary. He says Williams, Kronwall, Holmstrom and Osgood should all be “available.” Frankly, I don’t buy that. I didn’t buy it when he said Kronwall’s injury was minor, after sitting out the entire third period against Nashville, and I don’t buy the fact that all four injured players are going to return on Friday.
What I do buy, and the subject is touched on by all three Deep Diggers this morning, is that this team is far different than any we’ve seen in Detroit since before the Yzerman era. Little star power, lots of hustle and playing a brand of hockey similar to some of our rivals of the last twelve years: Dallas in ‘98, Jersey ‘95, Calgary ‘04, Anaheim
, errrr…‘03 (Thanks Earl).
Ted Kulfan/Detroit News
“A hard-working team,” said Draper, adding other characteristics of the red-hot Wings. “Our goaltending is very good. Teams have tried to be physical against us, but we’ve answered that.
“We don’t have big, tough guys, but we play hard and compete every night. We have speed. We don’t rely on one line to carry this team. That’s the important thing. Different guys are chipping in every night, and that’s the way we’re winning.”
Recently, someone (oh yeah, it was me) said that referring to the Wings as a “puck possession” team is an easy label and one that no longer strictly applies the way it has in recent years. Frankly, it’s kind of a slap in the face and it always has been. It got to the point the last few seasons that when we read quotes from opposing players there was always a line missing. Like: “They’re a great puck possession team…but they play like a bunch of school girls.”
Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press
“We say we’re a puck-possession team, but we’ve changed that quite a bit over the past year and a half,” defenseman Chris Chelios said. “We play a system where the forwards really have to come back hard. It makes it tough for them to create offense on the rush. We get a lot of help on defense from the forwards and I’m sure it’s tough—our transition game isn’t what it was last year.”
Yep, now there’s the rub. With this commitment to grit and defense, the offense is suffering. We knew that would happen and it’s a concession that seems acceptable in mid-November, in the midst of a franchise-best winning streak. And, that will be solved once the power play gets going. This five-on-five behavior is the type successful playoff teams exhibit. In other words, Babcock likes what he’s seeing and nothing’s going to change at even strength. Goals will come when the power play comes around, and it will.
Babcock’s quoted by Khan(!) as saying the team is playing well now, but “I think we’re going to get a lot better.’‘
And yes, he means the power play.
Finally, a jab from Gramps that arrived in my inbox last evening.
Those wannabe GM’s, you remember the ones that insisted if Luongo, and Willie Mitchell weren’t wearing the winged wheel by training camp, that Ken Holland’s head be delivered Rumsfeldlike on a silver platter. Where are these guys now? Oh, that’s right…They are bragging about the Wings as if they had something to do with it.
While we are on the subject: Gerbers gerbils in HockeyTown are still chirping (you did mention chipmunks) away about how he could win us a Stanley Cup. Go figure….
Apply to any of you? Raise your hand if it does. Mine can’t possibly be the only one up there.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org