Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Second (line) Helping

Yep, that's a Skynyrd reference to start your day. And one line from one tune off the "Second Helping" album seems to fit nicely. "People said he was useless, them people all were fools." Now who would we be referring to, and is our claim foolish? Your call, Lang or Samuelsson. Something's gotta be done about the second line and it needs to happen tonite. All the diggers are scratching their heads, and we'll bring you their riveting game-day stories, followed by a little IwoAnalysis. Oh...and name the song.

The Wings are sticking up for Lang, or at least Bertuzzi is.  The Diggers are hinting at his issues.  The Coach is claiming hard work is the cure-all, despite the fact that “hard work” and The Enigma aren’t exactly bedfellows.  Bottom line: he’s had one nifty backdoor pass in three games.  His linemates are dying on the vine.  Calder, at least, makes up for it in other areas.

Samuelsson has flat-out sucked.

But, hey, at least the second line recognizes the fact that they need to turn it around, right?  They see the need for that “hard work”, right?

Wrong.

Khan(!)

Lang, Calder and Samuelsson weren’t among the four regulars who took part in Wednesday’s optional practice.

Naturally, because it’s what I do, I made too much of that.  But, it’s interesting if nothing else.

We know the solution.  We all know the solution. Mike Babcock knows it, too.  But will he act?  Does he have the sack to sit a player the Wings just re-signed for 3 years, who has the potential to get hot when you least expect it, in favor of an oompa-loompa who’s constantly improved and showed some serious heart?

Kulfan

The line had one shot (Lang) and wasn’t weren’t active physically (one hit, Lang).

Whether they remain the line stays intact remains to be seen. There’s a good chance Todd Bertuzzi could replace Samuelsson, either shifting Samuelsson to the fourth line (with Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen) or scratching him could be scratched (in favor of Jiri Hudler).

What is a good reason to keep that line together? Anyone?  Samuellson’s dead in the water.  Done.  He has been all year and so has Lang, but Babcock’s not benching Lang.  He’s gone this summer, that’s for certain.  But for now, the unrealized potential is too damn tantalizing to sit.

So you break up the dirty second, you implode it.  And here’s what you get in return:

Hank/Dats/Homer—Zetterberg is NOT a concern. He’s active. He’s hitting. He’ll get his.

Calder/Lang/Bertuzzi—Ok. But Bertuzzi has to arrive angry and stay that way.  Hopefully someone’s showed him the tape of Game 2 and the way he was treated like a prison door prize.

Maltby/Draper/Cleary—Obviously, we change nothing.

Franzen/Filppulla/Hudler—The only issue with that line is that there is no veteran presence, and that could be a problem when it gets tight tonite…and it will.

So, maybe….

Hudler/Lang/Bertuzzi on the second and Franzen/Filpulla/Calder on the fourth.  I like that even more.

Do it Mike.  There is no unwritten Wing regulation that directs you to play every healthy Swede.  Roll the dice and sit Sam.

That’s the gut reaction we, the fans, are supposed to howl for.  Lose one game and you start tinkering.  That’s how we are and how we’ll always be.  Is there merit to standing back and saying, “it’s one game, and a game we definitely could have won”?  Yeah.  There is.  What if the Wings had won Game 3.  No difference in performance, just a typical Lidstrom play instead of an atypical one.  Would we be calling for Samuelsson’s benching this morning with a 3-0 series lead, or would we be content to let Babcock ride him out to see if he picks up steam?

Don’t know because it’s more than Samuelsson.  It always is when the Enigma’s concerned.  He sets the tone for that line.  And his tone has sucked.  Samuelsson, if I had to guess, is press-box bound tonite.  But part of the blame for his lack of visibility can be laid at the feet of Bobby Lang.  Unfortunately,  you just can’t bench The Enigma.

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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