Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

You Just Can’t Please Everybody

Oh, here we go. It was bound to happen and it naturally has. The complaints are filtering in from the early-to-close precincts. And what are those complaints? That the Wings are winning, but winning ugly. I'm going to revise the lead. The "complaint" I'm referring to is not really a gripe, but a statement that the Wings are playing a slowed-down, tight checking game in a new NHL that was supposed to be rid of such tactics. I'm toning it down because I think I'm still a little irritated with Jamie Fitzpatrick of Pro Ice Hockey for his "it's just a game" statements regarding Oiler fans and the McGeough incident. In this case, Fitzpatrick is probably voicing a view we're bound to hear more and more. The Ghost of NHL Past
They aren't the second coming of the old New Jersey Devils. But many Detroit games are methodical, low-scoring affairs lacking in end-to-end action. The Wings allow fewer than two goals per game, and most of those come on the power play. When it’s five-on-five, the opponents are lucky to get a sniff of the net. Edmonton came to town last week and didn’t manage a shot on goal for the entire first period.

You can’t really argue with what he says. It’s true. Detroit’s philosophy is 180-out from what it used to be. Mike Babcock has made sure of that. Look at the Vancouver game.  Filpulla on a wrister through traffic.  Franzen on a weak goal, shorthanded, through the 5-hole of a top-five goalie.  The only “scorer’s goal” of the night was Zetterberg’s.  Very few odd-man rushes, and equally few chances resulting from a polished possession in the Canuck zone. 

It’s a different game in Detroit, but you can’t tell me this style isn’t going to be successful in May and June.  Last year, when the goals were piling up and one third of the team had 20+ goals something nagged at you the entire year.  The regular season was fun to watch, but that nagging doubt was always there…what would happen in the playoffs, when the intensity gets ratcheted up?  What would happen when grit was more important than flash? 

A Punch In The Face is what happened.

So, now the Wings are playing a playoff style in November.  And the feedback has begun from the far corners.  Can you imagine the outcry if they maintain this success, the defense gets even tighter, Hasek gets even better? 

Fitzpatrick is right. It’s a different game in Hockeytown.  It’s Spring in November.

Now, if you want to argue with something he has to say, there’s always this…

The Detroit captain, Nicklas Lidstrom, is probably the league MVP so far (Though if I had a vote it wouldn’t go to him, simply because so much of what he does - breaking up chances; closing off promising rushes - makes the game less exciting.)

I thought you’d like that.


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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