Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 08/31/08 at 09:20 AM ET
First off: how long do you think it will be before RWBill tells us Sarah Palin is hot?
Second? There’s a core characteristic of a true rival that we haven’t touched on with our first two entries. Fear. There is nothing to be scared of when we discuss St. Louis or the girls in Denver. You can’t look at either team and fathom a scenario where they’d beat the Wings in a seven gamer. It just can’t happen.
The Poultry? They scared me last year. Imagery of the fluttering puck from Game 5 Hell wouldn’t leave me. Destiny promised me we’d see them in the playoffs. She guaranteed it. But she lied and I wasn’t sad.
But that doesn’t mean Anaheim doesn’t frighten me. They do. Fetally? No, but I still fear the Duck.
And so we embark on our third leg of the ten stage tour through the various teams who want to be our Number 1 Rival.
First, a reminder of how we developed The Formula.
Six categories, each with a 1-5 numeric point value.
Quality of team (QT). Depth of hatred the fans of that team have for us and the Wings (HF, for “hate factor). Past playoff adventures (PPA). Quality of bloggers who may choose to say bad things about us (BQ). Opportunity that team has to make us sad during the regular season (RSSF, for “regular season sadness factor”). Miscellanilarity. Figure it out.
Colorado. St. Louis. Chicago. Pittsburgh. Nashville. Columbus. Toronto. Dallas. Anaheim. Carolina.
(QT) This is a good team. A solid team with danger at every position. Their QT score is bound to be high and deservedly so. Neidermayer, Sasquatch, Beauchemin and Schneider (for now) on the back end. Punk-ass bitch Corey Perry, Getzlaf, Kunitz, Pahlsson and Morrison up front. And you know as well as I do that Selanne will be back. A good team that would make me nervous even with Manny Legace in goal.
But it’s not Legace back there. It’s a French guy who owns us. I don’t like the name “Sebastian” and I don’t like men who use initials for names. I also don’t like thinking about this.
Sure enough, the Wings dominated play, outshooting the Mighty Ducks 171-120 in four-plus games (including a triple-OT and a single-OT). And yet, with all those snipers taking all those shots, they managed to score only six goals. Six. Goals.
That’s our pal Earl Sleek talking about Jay Ess GeeGaire’s performance against the defending champs in 2003. A first round sweep. Do you remember that pain? I do. The frustration? Maddening.
In ‘07? Not quite as dominating. In fact, not even that intimidating. But irritating none the less. And of all the goalies we’d have to face in the playoffs next season? He’d be the one I’d prefer to avoid. It’s a talented frigging team. A Cup champion one year removed, one who would tell you—to a man—that they’re hungry for some redemption. Our science offers them a QT score of 4. And it’ s only that low because Schneider will probably be gone. Talent? Yes. Heart and willingness to sacrifice everything for another Cup? Not so sure.
HF It’s hard to separate this criteria from PPA (Past playoff adventures), but I’ll try. I despise this team. It’s different than the hate you feel for the Dive. That’s directed mainly at their fan base, and it’s a funny hate. A wholesome, family fun kind of hate. Anaheim? I don’t care about their fans. Not even sure they have any. Don’t mind their bloggers, either. We’ll get to them in a bit. It’s the team I take issue with. More than that, it’s Pronger I take issue with.
It could be Pronger and 22 silent guppies swimming in the pond, quietly going about their business…and I’d still hate me some Duck. Sasquatch is in a class by himself. Well…a small, challenged class that also includes Claude Lemieux and Mike Keane. But Pronger’s definitely the apple shiner.
Is the Sasquatch talented? Of course he is. But he’s also dirty, stinky and incapable of speaking more than six words consecutively without resting. Plus, he went after the Captain and we’re not real fond of that in these parts.
My family doesn’t like Corey Perry either. And we don’t like Rob Niedermayer, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Burke or the French fella. Let’s be honest with ourselves for a moment. I know that’s not exactly a strict criteria for the 19, but we’ll give her a go. We hate the Poultry because they’ve given us bad thoughts and images. Real bad. Our science leaves little doubt. HF: 5.
And it leads us right to PPA. The late 90’s saw the Wings dispose of the MIGHTY Ducks twice. Both sweeps. Sweeps, but tight. Many overtimes, but never a real concern. Oh, but that changed.
‘03 and ‘07 were bad years. Each painful in their own special way. Coming off a Cup. A first round loss to a Babcockian bunch of bastards who had no business in the same arena, if not for their goalie. Perhaps the most frustrating playoff series any of us can remember suffering through. But ‘03 has faded a bit. Five years is a long time and most of us have soaked our brains in so much alcohol since then that the images are all blurry. We know Giguere owned us. We know Cujo was the scapegoat when he actually played well enough to win. We got it.
But 2007? Now that’s fresh brother. That’s current pain, pain that even a Cup can’t diminish completely.
You think Game 5 in the ‘08 Final was tough? Yeah. I know it was. But I’m telling you now that 34.7 comes in second to the fluttering puck from Hell. That game rocked us. It deflated us and it deflated the Wings. They couldn’t recover until the third period of Game 6 and by then it was too late. Niedermayer knocked us down. Then Selanne (and Lilja) kicked us until we were curled up and covering our heads.
The toughest Wing loss, as Balboa would say, in the history of my life.
We wanted Anaheim last year. Does the Cup feel half full without that matchup? Nope. Overflowing with joy, thanks. But we wanted them. And still do. There’s unfinished business to tend to. Like my irrational fear of San Jose the year before, there’s still some trepidation where the Poultry are concerned. But I’m willing to deal with that because I think the Wings are better in almost every phase.
But that “almost” is a big French factor isn’t it? PPA: I’m giving them a 4.
Regular season sadness factor (RSSF): How’s this for fun Gary? Three of the four times we play Anaheim, it’s the first of a two night, back-to-back. Last season? Split. Hasek won 2. Lost 1. Osgood lost another. Records mean nothing, last year or this. Not head to head anyway. What we’re looking at, though, is overall. If any team in the West has a chance to unseat us as the number 1 seed, it’s probably Anaheim. And we just can’t have that. It wouldn’t be fair. Actually? Who the Hell cares? Home ice means a whole lot of jack squat in the playoffs, at least to the Wings. Aforementioned Game 5’s would underscore that, eh? No team outside our division is getting an RSSF higher than 3. That’s a rule. Duckies are no exception. Fun games to watch? Yep. Violent? Most likely. Scary? Nope. RSSF: 3.
I see a few in there I’ve visited from time to time. But only two who have updated since frigging January. I won’t stand for that. But the two who have remained consistent? BoC and Girl With a Puck. Girl/Puck is pretty good on analysis, and we know all about quality analysis here. But along with the hockey knowledge, you do have to put up with a little of this:
Once the deal was done, I got a lovely text from Rebecca, one of my HLOGsisters, saying that I had just acquired one of her cutie patuties via trade.
Oh. Stop. She’s not all puck bunny. She did a great post on the Lowe/Burke spat, and it was as objective as possible.
And he doesn’t let the matter drop. He doesn’t let it stay focused on the what-happened-with-Penner-thing-that-screwed-this-whole-relationship-up part. He was in attack mode.
“I’ll tell you this, they have not much coming. Bobby Ryan has been a questionable pick at No. 2 (overall in 2005), and up until this draft, they tried to move down and did a nice job of trying to replenish their depth chart. They had nothing coming, and that appears to be his M.O.”
—Kevin Lowe, Oilers GM
quote courtesy: TSN
Well, I don’t even know if I can defend that bit against B-Ry. I haven’t been particularly thrilled with his performance despite the fact that I know the kid’s probably got it in him (somehwere). I’d have to see more of him in order to really assess his worth, but so far, he’s not living up to what some might’ve expected (myself included).
Overall…a good blog. One of the few. Actually, one of the two. The other? Battle of California.
We’ve come to appreciate Earl Sleek here. He’s a frequent commenter and knows what buttons to push. Plus, he’s a smartass and we dig that. By now, you’ve read his manifesto, his justification on behalf of the Poultry for their placement as the Wings’ Number 1 Rival.
BoC is not all Sleek though. Rudy Kelly and James O’Brien make up a trio of great writers. Throw PJ Swenson and, I believe, Mike Chen from time to time, in the mix and you’re talking an all star lineup. And, oddly..almost disturbingly, they don’t really hate the Wings.
It’s ridiculous how much holding Nashville is getting away with in their attempt to physically dominate the Red Wings. The best part? Datsyuk is still dominating. Maybe you should try having actual tough guys on your team, Nashville.
Yeah, Bubba. Try that…bitches.
BoC’s a great blog. Hilarious and smart. Occasionally obscene and always witty. We dig it. But it’s just not enough. Not enough to garner the coveted BQ rating of 5. No, no. Multiple dormant blogs and a barrelful of bunnies doesn’t do the trick. Our science? Yes, our science affords the Poultry a BQ of 3.
Now, Miscellanitivity. These teams have seen so much cross pollination the last few years that it’s starting to look like West Tennessee in the springtime. Babcock to the Wings. Schneider to Anaheim. Bertuzzi to Anaheim. Pronger back to third grade…again. The whole Schneider thing bothered me. I guess it served as a reminder that a lot of players do it more for the cash than the glory of the Cup. We’d fallen into a blissul, naive state where our Wings were concerned. After so many years of players taking less for the sake of team…Schneider went all mercenary.
And it wasn’t so bad that he just left, it’s that he went to the team that had stolen our cheddar the year before. As of today, and before I check Eklund to see if he’s been dealt to the KHL for two fifths of cheap ass Wodka that Burke will down during the first intermission of their first exhibition thriller, he’s still a Duck. Which means he’s still the enemy. Edit: the original Misc score was a 3, but commentary below points out that I forgot a few key factors that could easily ramp that score higher. And so it shall be. Misc: 4.
The Final Tally! God, this is so frigging exciting. 23. And that gives Anaheim the top spot for now. After three rounds?
Edit 2: Check out Wyshynski’s Mighty Duck (yep, I’m liking that idea) preview at Puck Daddy.
As much as the Western Conference has improved, this is still a playoff team, although one I don’t expect to earn home-ice advantage or last more than a round. The salary cap will likely restrict what Burke can do at the deadline to make this squad championship-caliber again.
Next week: Cerrrlina.
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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