Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Trouble Brewing

More analysis to follow over the course of what should be just a fun-filled day.  In the short-term, though, I offer you this ditty from Uncle Mike.

Kulfan

Before the Wings practice Friday, coach Mike Babcock will meet with his team.

“Do we want to be a good team or not?” said Babcock, about what will be the subject matter. “Life doesn’t just go on good for you. You make a decision it’s going to go good for you. You decide for yourself you’re going to be successful. You decide for yourself that you’re going to make a difference and have a good career. No one just gives you stuff.

“The other teams are trying to.”

And then…

“We have to make some decisions.”

Oh yes.  Yes, you do. 

 

St. James

“We’ve just got to stay positive. We have to. There will be people that will be negative enough. Players in here, we have to stick together and be positive.”

That’s Hank Zetterberg, well rested and vibrant after registering zero shots last night.

Zero.

Uncle Mike?

At that point, Babcock started to walk away. Asked about the lack of production from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, Babcock replied, “see you guys.”

Tied to the performance of his two stars, the two guys we used to claim made up the “best twosome in hockey”, that might be a disturbing bit of foreshadowing from the coach.

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Guilherme's avatar

I came home all ready to write a rant about this team, specially Zetterberg (who I’m kinda hating since he mentioned the “playoff switch” last season).

Than I just read that ESPN Brazil will show the NHL again, now I’m not that pissed anymore.

Straight to the golf course, live on ESPN!

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 11/18/11 at 05:51 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

Posted by Joe Z. from Austria on 11/18/11 at 02:03 PM ET

Joe, you seem new to the site, so first let me say welcome.  I can accept some of what you said, but I think you missed what we are all so mad about with Z.

Joe Thornton made him look like an amateur last night, all because he had no awareness of his surroundings.  It was embarrassing to watch.  I don’t expect Zetterberg to throw his teammates under the bus in the media, but he sure as hell could have done a better job with his comments.  That diving piece of shit Thornton tooled Zetterberg, and all Z can talk about is what a great play it was.  Fuch that, and fuch him for being so casual about it that my team looks they belong at open mic night at the hotel bar.

I’m sure he isn’t happy with the way things are going, but what none of these guys seem to understand is that its up to them to find motivation.  What about saying something like this?:”

“We got hosed tonight, I got hosed tonight.  Our effort is unacceptable and I think I speak for all the captains on this team when I say it begins with the four of us.”

I’d be a lot happier today if I had read a comment like that in the newspaper.  Instead the Wings are just going to wait for their luck to change.  Z and the others ought to know by now that you make your own luck in the game of hockey.  Shrugging your shoulders and complimenting the other guys for making you look like a fool is pathetic.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 11/18/11 at 06:03 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I honestly don’t think there’s anyone on the roster that could say anything in the room to change the status quo. This team doesn’t have the chemistry to gel them into a band of brothers like the team was under The Captains watch.
The last 2 years of playoff exits could-would-should be something that this team pulled together and given them something to fight for. It hasn’t happened by now and isn’t going to. Blame injuries, officiating, “hot” goaltending or whatever you want ... this team just doesn’t get “angry” nor play with the determination needed to be a winner.
The ho hum demeanor is maddening and extremely disappointing. Attitude is contagious and the attitude of this team is the kiss of death. I posted earlier this year that this general malaise needs something done about it, it clearly isn’t going to fix itself.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 11/18/11 at 06:04 PM ET

Avatar

“We got hosed tonight, I got hosed tonight.  Our effort is unacceptable and I think I speak for all the captains on this team when I say it begins with the four of us.”

OK, but who says that, ever?

Quotes mean nothing.  For all we know, Z hasn’t slept a wink since he the night after he scored his last goal.  For all we know he’s plastering on a pleasant face as he’s raging or withering inside.

What if he did say what you’re hoping?  Would it mean anything?  All it would mean is that he is indeed different from the guy we’ve had in the past because that guy never ever came out and said stuff like that.

You can be angry with his play or his apparent lack of effort, but it’s completely pointless to be angry at him for not giving the kind of quote you want, because that’s just not who he is.

Posted by Garth on 11/18/11 at 06:09 PM ET

Avatar

... this team just doesn’t get “angry” nor play with the determination needed to be a winner.

See, this I don’t get either.  When was the last time this team was angry?  Was it an angry team in 02 when they won the cup?  Was it an angry team in 08 when it won or 09 when it came within a game?

Posted by Garth on 11/18/11 at 06:11 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

When was the last time this team was angry?

You mentioned in your post the last time this team was angry. 2007/2008…and they played like it. They gave it their all every game because it looked like they were still pissed by getting beat by the Ducks. The last two seasons it should’ve looked like they were pissed by getting beat by the Sharks…yet the same shit still goes on.

Posted by mrfluffy from the phone, calling Detroit, telling them it's on 11/18/11 at 06:19 PM ET

ludmeister's avatar

I was pumped up for last night’s game… I read Chief’s post and watched 10 minutes of March 26, 1997… I was about ready throw down Three-bills-and-I-shred-man-I-feel-alive style.

What has happened to this team?  I just want to see one leader on that team with the kind of stare that Yzerman and Shanahan had when they had a normal shift on the ice.  Never mind Yzerman’s size… his will to win was intimidating.  If Zetterberg is Mr. Captain-in-the-Wings… I want to see Yzerman’s stare in his eyes. 

I want a blazing furnace there.  I want a man who, when he loses his matchup and the reporter questions come, his eyes glower back “I dare you to say one more word to me, f..ker”.  And then come out next game with two goals and an assist, and maybe a ten minute misconduct for yelling at the refs for being stupid.

Zetterberg.  Becoming the Captain isn’t a honor that is given lightly.  You better earn it and you better start now.  Remember when you began a season (2008 if memory serves) on a 24 points in 14 game pace?  Is that man still here?  Damn right he is… prove it to us. 

Prove it.

Posted by ludmeister from Kentucky on 11/18/11 at 06:32 PM ET

Primis's avatar

See, this I don’t get either.  When was the last time this team was angry?  Was it an angry team in 02 when they won the cup?  Was it an angry team in 08 when it won or 09 when it came within a game?

Posted by Garth on 11/18/11 at 03:11 PM ET

Depends.

When was the last time you saw someone get under an opponent’s skin like Samuelsson?

Has Kronwall managed to KRONWALL anyone yet this entire season?

Has Jimmy Howard punched anyone in the face like he did Crosby?

No.

Posted by Primis on 11/18/11 at 06:33 PM ET

ludmeister's avatar

And as much I like Osgood and will defend him…

I’m not sure I dig his “Let’s save my A-game until the playoffs Until The Games Matter™”.  I am a bit concerned that Osgood’s ambivalence about the regular season has rubbed off on more of the team than perhaps I’d like to believe…

I’m looking at Lidstrom and Zetterberg in particular to get angry… someone needs to have a Death Stare™ other than Babcock.

Posted by ludmeister from Kentucky on 11/18/11 at 06:42 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

OK, but who says that, ever?

Quotes mean nothing.  For all we know, Z hasn’t slept a wink since he the night after he scored his last goal.  For all we know he’s plastering on a pleasant face as he’s raging or withering inside.

What if he did say what you’re hoping?  Would it mean anything?  All it would mean is that he is indeed different from the guy we’ve had in the past because that guy never ever came out and said stuff like that.

You can be angry with his play or his apparent lack of effort, but it’s completely pointless to be angry at him for not giving the kind of quote you want, because that’s just not who he is.

Garth that point is frankly assine.  For one thing, I could throw out hypotheticals about Zetterberg’s sleep cycle or his internal dialogue.  But those, actually, would be meaningless.

Here is what I do know.  Zetterberg is dropping the ball on the ice.  He is responsible for that.  He also wears an” A” on his jersey, that makes him responsible for leading his teammates. 

He is failing on both counts.  “Thats just not who he is,” is a lame excuse (no matter who is making it).  If he wears the A on his jersey publicly, he can wear it in his words too.  Expecting him to take responsibility for failures, publicly, isn’t unreasonable.  Complimenting Thornton for making him look like a fool is bush league.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 11/18/11 at 07:10 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

The problem is, that means either Lids is speaking up and is ineffective, or he hasn’t spoken up yet and is ineffective.

The results are all that matter.

No free passes.  He’s wearing the “C” while this is going on.

Or alternatively, he HAS spoken up, yet Babcock still refuses to utilize his players properly or try something different as far as systems go.  The players only go as far as the coach lets them.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 11/18/11 at 07:27 PM ET

Avatar

If he wears the A on his jersey publicly, he can wear it in his words too.

OK, but my point is that he never has talked the way you want him to.  How many times has he come out after a game and said that someone made him look foolish?  That’s not who he is and it’s not how he talks, at least to the media.

He’s never scored a goal and then dropped his stick and fanned it as if it were on fire so therefore yes, it is unreasonable to expect him to.

He’s never seen a defenseman get injured then stuck his hand up in the air and volunteered to play defense while the guy recovers so therefore yes, it is unreasonable to expect him to do that when White goes down to injury.

So yes, it is unreasonable to expect him to speak to the media in a manner that he has never done before.

Posted by Garth on 11/18/11 at 07:28 PM ET

Avatar

Or alternatively, he HAS spoken up, yet Babcock still refuses to utilize his players properly or try something different as far as systems go.

Or Holland still refuses to attempt to actually improve the team in some way.

I wonder what happens when Nashville locks up Suter, ending any “don’t worry about Lidstrom retiring, Suter’s going to beg to play in Detroit” talk.

Posted by Garth on 11/18/11 at 07:30 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

As mindless and frustrating and vindictive as NHL, Inc. is, it’s not the only professional league trapped in its own bureaucracy.

Here are some fines issued by the National Football League and corresponding offenses.

Earl Bennett was fined $10,000 for a uniform violation; he wore dominantly orange shoes. This was his second offense.

Rob Sims was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness; he struck an opponent late.

Matthew Stafford was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness; he grabbed an opponent by the helmet opening.

Kyle Vanden Bosch was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness; he unnecessarily struck an opponent late.

Twisting a helmet with a man’s head inside, hitting a man in a defenseless position or late, those are $7500 fines, but the truly unforgiveable conduct?  Wearing Orange Shoes!  $10,000!  33% more offensive than an act that could seriously injure another player.

“Yeah, but it was the SECOND time he wore orange shoes!”  Well then, that is just serious and unforgiveable.

LMAO, but not from humor.

Posted by RWBill on 11/18/11 at 07:31 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Just wanted to clear something up regarding the Live Blog last night:  I got a little shit-faced
Posted by Mannschaft from the darkest recesses on 11/18/11 at 01:27 PM ET

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that is not the first time that has happened.

Posted by RWBill on 11/18/11 at 07:37 PM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

Or alternatively, he HAS spoken up, yet Babcock still refuses to utilize his players properly or try something different as far as systems go.  The players only go as far as the coach lets them.

Posted by Mannschaft from the darkest recesses on 11/18/11 at 04:27 PM ET

If the plan ain’t panning, change the plan. Babcock is responsible for that.

The players have a responsibility to the fans. To give 100% every game. No matter who is calling the shots behind the bench.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 11/18/11 at 07:42 PM ET

bezukov's avatar

He’s never seen a defenseman get injured then stuck his hand up in the air and volunteered to play defense while the guy recovers so therefore yes, it is unreasonable to expect him to do that when White goes down to injury.

That makes no sense.  Please explain.  Are you saying he has no defensive responsibilities?  Or are you saying that I am expecting him to line up next to Lidstrom?  That isn’t what I am saying at all.  He doesn’t have to call individuals out to make me happy, he just needs to own up to the fact that the team is complacent and that he bears some of the blame for that because he is a team captain. 

He’s never scored a goal and then dropped his stick and fanned it as if it were on fire so therefore yes, it is unreasonable to expect him to.

I expect him to lead.  Not be a jackass.  What Ovechkin did wasn’t leading, it was show boating.  That is in no way comparable to what I am asking of Zetterberg.

OK, but my point is that he never has talked the way you want him to.  How many times has he come out after a game and said that someone made him look foolish?  That’s not who he is and it’s not how he talks, at least to the media.

Hey, thats all fine and good.  Except for one thing.  He is a team captain.  His role is bigger now than it has even been.  A person has to change with the circumstances and thats just tough shit if that isn’t “who he is.”  He doesn’t need to be flamboyant, but he does need to be accountable.  Part of that accountability is talking to the press.  If the guy can’t admit that the Wings stunk up the place and that he shares the blame than he needs to be on medication.  Its not like I’m asking to do standup comedy for Christ’s sake.  If he doesn’t like the lime light, I’m sure Abdelkader or Helm would love to wear the A.

Posted by bezukov from the kids are alright. on 11/18/11 at 07:49 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Focus.  All this talk about demeanor.  As if that ever actually wins games.  Let’s take hockey skills out of the equation for a moment.  Sleepy-eyed captain (small c) Joe Thornton talking to the media in vacuous cliches that make your head spin any time his team comes up short.  Compared to this guy, Hank Zetterberg is a seething vortex of intensity.  Comatose Patrick Marleau.  Does this guy even have a fuching pulse?  Joe Pavelski?  Martin Havlat?  I’ve seen lumps of clay with more active vital signs.  There’s not a more passively un-emotional team in the league than san jose.  They’re near the bottom of the league in hits and I don’t exactly see any rage or fire coming out of that room when things go wrong either.  No broken sticks or tirades.  None.  Todd Mac after a loss is as uninspiring as a bowl of jello.

So why are we to suppose that the difference between these two teams is somehow tied to a supposed lack of fire or whatever?

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 11/18/11 at 07:56 PM ET

ludmeister's avatar

I don’t really care about intensity in the media room.

I want intensity on the ice, like Yzerman brought game in and game out.  Intensity that’s was willing to light into anyone in order to inspire his team to victory.

Intensity like one Pavel Datsyuk exhibited in our most recent series against the Sharks.

“Give up?  NO.  Never give up.”

Posted by ludmeister from Kentucky on 11/18/11 at 08:05 PM ET

Avatar

Babcock DID say he wanted a top-6 forward this past offseason.

Anyone else notice the Wings’ skate over to the visitors locker room entrance after the second period last night? Babcock and Lidstrom were the last two off the ice. Lids skated slowly to the end of the rink with Babcock right next to him, talking at him all the while. I didn’t see Lidstrom say anything, he just nodded several times. Hmmm.

Posted by godblender on 11/18/11 at 08:28 PM ET

Avatar

I wonder what happens when Nashville locks up Suter, ending any “don’t worry about Lidstrom retiring, Suter’s going to beg to play in Detroit” talk.

No worries there. We’ll just replace him with Sami Salo.

Posted by godblender on 11/18/11 at 08:31 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Or Holland still refuses to attempt to actually improve the team in some way.

I wonder what happens when Nashville locks up Suter, ending any “don’t worry about Lidstrom retiring, Suter’s going to beg to play in Detroit” talk.

Posted by Garth on 11/18/11 at 04:30 PM ET

Let’s get something clear.

There is NO “replacing” Lidstrom.  Shea Weber, Ryan Suter…. heck Z. Chara couldn’t do that right now.  Nobody can, ever.  Nobody in the league right now is even close to being able to (just don’t PK Subban that, ok?).

I’m less and less concerned with replacing Nick, because they can’t.  I think we maybe need to move past this notion of replacing him and worry more about the other areas… if anyone here is still thinking about replacing Nick, get over it because you are otherwise going to be very disturbed with the results.

Posted by Primis on 11/18/11 at 09:21 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

So why are we to suppose that the difference between these two teams is somehow tied to a supposed lack of fire or whatever?

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 11/18/11 at 04:56 PM ET

They are pretty much the Wings reincarnate.  I am guessing that all the spent time and emotion analyzing a franchise at the 17 game mark is due to the devotion to the franchise, the availability of the interwebs, and nothing else to do.  That’s why I’m here.

Posted by RWBill on 11/18/11 at 09:30 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I always wondered why they didn’t, maybe they did but not publicly, go after Brad Richards.  I thought after the last season we needed more goal scoring punch, Babs did too.  Money? Ya, a lot. But if we take away Ericccsssson’s $3M, instead use a Commodore and Kindl at what, $1.5M for both?, then there’s money for the only top flight forward of last free agency season.  But, no wiggle room had it happened, and I don’t even think we were even entertaining it.

KH was also keeping mindful that 7 months from now no one knows what the CBA will be.

I like the strength, passion, physical presence, and goal finishing ability of Iginla.  He would cost $7M through 2013.  Although the Wings have more cap space than 17 other teams, Iginla wouldn’t work unless they dumped other money, and then we have a newcomer making more money than Lidstrom.

LIke it or not, the best choice for introducing some damn passion on the ice and the bench?  Todd Bertuzzi.  And no, him getting the flu did not give Nick Lidstrom’s pucks seeing eyes.  Without Bert, they are still counting on pucks deflecting off defensemen into the net for goals.

Posted by RWBill on 11/18/11 at 09:41 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

“$7M per season through 2013”—-

Posted by RWBill on 11/18/11 at 09:43 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Maybe Homer should stand up and take control of the dressing room.  Night after night, shift after shift he sticks his ass in the hardest place on the ice and takes abuse like no mere mortal man should.

Give him the damn “A” for once.

Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 11/18/11 at 09:52 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Red Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi feels good in practice, hoping to return to the lineup on Saturday
Published: Friday, November 18, 2011, 6:33 PM   Updated: Friday, November 18, 2011, 6:48 PM

Right on time. 

The Wings players during the game look like they’re mindlessly going through practice drills.  San Jose looked like they were playing with their heads in the game and anticipating opportunities.

If Bert can play with a burr under his saddle he might prod everyone else along like he did in some games at the end of last year.  If he’s going to play as a zombie we already have enough of those.  Maybe after sitting out so long he’ll play like he has something to prove, which everyone should.

Posted by RWBill on 11/18/11 at 10:06 PM ET

monkey's avatar

I LOVE MY BANK

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/18/11 at 10:41 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I still say it’s high time some of the kids got more ice time and/or spots in the lineup.  You know, the kids that HAVEN’T tasted that supreme SC Final success and are hungry.  Play Fabio, play Tatar Tots, play Nyquil, play Emmers, call up Parm Jr., give Mister Andersson some 3rd and 4th line time, get Hat Trick Dickless on the phone from Europe, call 19 in Tampa about Ritola’s availability, on Donner and freaking BLITZEN for all I care.

Just so long as THEY care too.

I LOVE MY BANK

Posted by monkey from the morel high ground on 11/18/11 at 07:41 PM ET

I love your bank too.  I DEPOSIT ALL NIGHT LONG!

Errr, I mean… uhhh…

Posted by Primis on 11/18/11 at 11:24 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Ya know, as we say in the South

“F*ch all ya’ll”

Ya know, short term difficulties aside, we didn’t exactly back into the longest playoff streak in the history of professional sports by accident.

So, shut the fuch up and know that hockey minds far superior than yours or mine are well aware of the situation, and are considering any options available to remedy the situation.

Also know that I am drunk off my ass, and if it weren’t for spell check, this post would be unintelligible.

See ya tomorrow.

Posted by dougie on 11/18/11 at 11:42 PM ET

calquake's avatar

I vote dougie as the new voice of reason.  Besides being drunk is the best way to discuss the woes of this team.

Posted by calquake from Hoping for the best, preparing for the worst on 11/19/11 at 12:08 AM ET

monkey's avatar

The fundamentals of the economy are strong.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/19/11 at 01:00 AM ET

monkey's avatar

The fundamentals of the economy are strong.

No, seriously:  the Red Wings rank first in shots for per game, second in shots against per game, have a positive goal differential, and rank fifth in goals allowed.  Overall they have seemed inconsistent, but the only aspect of their game that has truly been inconsistent is their offense.  Their offense is as streaky as Hudler and Franzen. 

It’s early still.  I hate seeing them lose but it’s too early to panic.  If they lose tomorrow, then we’ll panic.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/19/11 at 01:23 AM ET

monkey's avatar

“F*ch all ya’ll”

I thought it was “*#$%@& all y’all mother*#$%@&”.

Posted by monkey from Prague on 11/19/11 at 01:24 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Ya know, short term difficulties aside, we didn’t exactly back into the longest playoff streak in the history of professional sports by accident.
Posted by dougie on 11/18/11 at 08:42 PM ET

We are sitting about 5th (technically 6th) in consecutive playoff appearances.
Boston 29
Chicago 26
St. Louis 25
Montreal 24
Montreal 21
Detroit 20

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 11/19/11 at 01:48 AM ET

Nate A's avatar

What a killjoy.  Longest ACTIVE playoff streak.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 11/19/11 at 02:19 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

So now Dougie is the voice of reason and Monkey represents the moral high ground.  This season just gets weirder by the minute.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 11/19/11 at 02:50 AM ET

Avatar

Red Wings’ Todd Bertuzzi feels good in practice, hoping to return to the lineup on Saturday
Published: Friday, November 18, 2011, 6:33 PM   Updated: Friday, November 18, 2011, 6:48 PM

Right on time.

Yesterday after Wing stalking in San Jose, I asked Bertuzzi when he thought he would be back on the ice for a game. He told me next weekend. Sorry to get all Helen St. James on your asses, but that’s the fact, Jack.

Posted by Seaner from San Jose on 11/19/11 at 05:50 AM ET

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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: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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