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Abel to Yzerman

Thursday Digging

0629: A quick note.  The Dive sit, once again, in the 9 spot this morning.  What a shame.  And hey…how bad are they defensively? This bad.  Of the 8 teams ahead of them in the West, 7 of those teams have scored fewer goals than Denver.  Of those eight teams, wanna guess how many have let in fewer goals?  Good job.  7.

0547: Updated below to include Gramps’ new additions to the HockeyTown Todd stable of writers and a number of stories from the Canadian media.


Today’s a good day for the Diggers.  A good day.  Collectively they show a little spine, a little initiative. 

Khan(!), still sad and confused about the lies Mike Babcock told him earlier this week, tries to redeem himself with a good piece on the ease with which thousands of people are taking their home-state Wings for granted.  I read the article about fifteen minutes ago and it hasn’t been deleted from MLive yet, so that’s a good sign.  Helene St. James causes a bit of an uproar with her interpretation of Uncle Mikey’s comments to the media yesterday and Ryan The Temp (John Niyo) returns to the Detroit News cycle of brilliance. 

We’ll have those stories and more, next, on this edition of Thursday with the Diggers.

First of all, we head out of town, into St. Louis, the land of bitterness and dashed hockey hopes.  Manny Legace’s the starting goaltender there.  Were you aware of that? Not real fond of Manny in these parts, not around here.  Didn’t like his martyrdom or his tendencies to run his frigging trap to the press.  Talented? Yes.  But just real dumb.  Sound familiar?

St. Louis Blues goalie Manny Legace surprised the franchise’s front office Tuesday, saying he’ll probably need additional surgery on his right knee after the season.

“To be honest with you guys, I have to say I heard that for the first time tonight,” Murray said. “I have no idea what Manny was talking about.

“It’s possible he could require some minor surgery, but I don’t know where Manny was coming from.”

Team president John Davidson also said Legace’s comments came as a surprise to him.

“I would think that at the end of the season, he’d re-evaluate the situation and see if he needs surgery or not,” Davidson said. “As far as I know, I don’t think there’s anything in stone.

“Manny said what he said. If he thinks at the end of the year he’ll need surgery, he’ll have surgery.”

Woops. Kinda saw that coming didn’t we? It was around Christmas two years ago that The Mouth revealed an injury to the Detroit press then politicked with the Diggers to get his starting job back, letting Mike Babcock know through the media the condition of his injury.  It was the beginning of the end.  But as it turned out? That was just Manny being Manny.  He likes him some microphones.  Have fun Blues fans.  The real Manny Legace just stood up.

On to Detroit, the hockey town that can’t sell out, the hockey town that Michigan forgot.  Too strong?  Maybe.  Khan(!) does a nice job of recognizing some factors that have kept the Detroit sports fan away from the JLA this season.  I’ve got my own reasons that we’ll get to in a minute.


Last week, on the same night the Red Wings played in Montreal for the first time in four years, the Tigers shocked the baseball world with a blockbuster trade that landed them Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis. And the Red Wings’ current seven-game winning streak has been overshadowed by the Michigan football coaching search-turned-soap opera and the Lions’ collapse. If that wasn’t enough, the Pistons are also off to a hot start.

It’s a sound argument, one that carries a little more weight with me than “the economy.”  Khan(!)‘s telling us the attention span of the Michigan sports fan is a little too short to expect them to be able to focus on the Wings and all else that’s going on around town these days.  Well?  Who determines the priorities?  Do you, the sports fan?  Naturally, you have the final say so, but who sets the agenda?  The columnists, that’s who.  The guy with the big ears, the other one with the big gut, the bitter one who’s relegated to covering prep sports now.  Albom, Wojnowski, Foster, Parker, Sharp, Rosenberg.  Six columnists in Detroit.  You may not agree with what they write, but you read it. And what you read affects your level of interest.

Having made that startling claim, I’ll give you something else to think about.  Of the last 65 columns written by Albom, Wojo, Parker, Sharp or Rosenberg…guess how many have been Wing-related.

Yep.  Zero.

And here we are, full circle.  Time for my yearly rant.  The columnists in Detroit can all kiss my ass.  April hockey writers..all of them.  Who the hell is Bob Wojnowski to even discuss Red Wing hockey on the radio when he won’t waddle down to the Joe to write about the best team in hockey—by a long shot.  We won’t even dwell on The Delicate Genius.  Maybe Oprah can pry a few Wing observations out of him next time they’re crying together on TV.  Rosenberg?  That’s the biggest disappointment because I like the way he writes.  But…too bad, because he ignores your Wings too.

Best team in hockey.  Arguably three of the five top players in hockey.  A dynasty.  The most successful sports team in the state’s history.  Zero columns out of the last 65.  And that’s just as far back as I looked.  It’s not like 66 was devoted to the Wings.  I’d be surprised if that number wasn’t closer to 100.  You want a reason for Wing fan apathy, take a look at that gaggle of “journalists.” 

John Niyo?  He’s not included in that.  I like that kid.  You know who he is?  He’s frigging Ryan from The Office, the funniest show ever invented.  He’s Ryan the temp to Ted Kulfan’s Michael Scott.

Niyo’s the occasional Wing writer, and it’s too bad that’s not more permanent.  I think he avoids it because he doesn’t want to be associated with the Diggers, but he pops in from time to time like he does today—discussing the fact that the Wings have stolen from Bubba to cure some woe.

Times are tough. Tough enough, in fact, that the Red Wings, the standard-bearers for success in the NHL the last two decades, have turned to a teetering expansion franchise for help.

In an attempt to halt sagging attendance at Joe Louis Arena and reclaim the “Hockeytown” crown Sports Illustrated unceremoniously bequeathed to the Minnesota Wild last week, the Wings have hired a new vice president of business affairs. Enter Steve Violetta, who leaves a similar position he held with the Nashville Predators?

“It’s Hockeytown instead of Honkytonk town, right?” Violetta joked Monday, shortly after meeting the staff at Joe Louis Arena.

Idiotic joke from Violetta aside, it’s a good article that betrays the Kulfan style of Digging.  Niyo actually, sit down, talks to more than one person to write his story.  Fans, Pistons execs, Wing staffers…real digging, instead of the surface garbage Michael Scott throws at us thumb tapping his stories from his couch on his Blackberry. 

Helene St. James had her speakerphone going yesterday, listening in on the Babcock press conference.  Man, a Digger’s dream.  News coming to you.  Can’t beat that.  She posted part of the transcript last night and this statement’s causing a bit of a ruckus.

Kenny often jokes about it, the day Nick retires, he’s going to have a press conference about six seconds after him to announce his retirement. Nick drives the bus here.

Comments at the Freep from genius readers lead me to believe a few think Uncle Mike may have been serious, that Ken Holland has tied his future plans to Nick Lidstrom’s.  Logical? Perhaps.  But, let’s remember a couple things: (a) who was doing the talking and (2) who was doing the talking.

More to follow later today.  Edmonton in town tonite.  Live blog? Most definitely.  Rumor has it the Oil bloggers may be dropping in.


A few updates for you, because I like you all.  First, let’s head to Gramps’ place where the cranky SOB has gone ahead and stolen more A2Y readers. 

Nathan’s been a valuable contributor to the A2Y wit machine for several months.  Now he writes for Gramps.  Neat.

You know who I used to hate? The Edmonton Oilers. I’m not old enough to be upset at them for keeping a budding Steve Yzerman out of playoff history (at the time, that is), but I sure as hell will never forget the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs where some snaggle-tooth from Eastern Europe kneed the puck into the collective face of Wings fans across the globe. And before the comments come pouring in, I’m well aware that the Wings have more than a few Europeans with dental problems of their own.

Now though? Not so much hate. You could say that I am grateful for the Oil for a couple of reasons…

First, anything that had any impact on kicking Manny Legace out of town is noble in my book.

There are more than a few statements in that post I wish I’d come up with myself, which is the most fantastic compliment I can give anyone ever in history.  Good catch Gramps. Nathan’s a huge addition. 

Dougie? He’s been there for a few days.

On a blog where I can operate without the need to be particularly insightful, deal with statistics, think deeply, use more than four syllable words, or be “nice” three days in a row, ya know,this might work out OK.

Add Baroque’s frequent manifestos and Gramps’ statistical pessimism and all of a sudden HTT has become a force to be reckoned with.  Dammit.

Plenty of Canadian praise headed to Hockeytown today, most resulting from the Uncle’s presser yesterday.  Read shockingly similar stories at the links neatly listed below:

Peter West, CanWest

Dave Waddell, CanWest

Jim Matheson, Edmonton Journal






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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