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Abel to Yzerman

You Got A Schedule?  How ‘Bout Some Venom To Go With It?

Good morning. How are you?  Summer going well?  Mine would be, if not for two factors.

I’m a guy so I refused to ask for assistance the first time I loaded my boat on a trailer from the water.  Also decided not to (a) ask for help, (b) read any material whatsoever that would have given me hints how to do it, (c) remember to lift the motor.  So that was cool.

Oh, and I also watched 44 minutes of an infommercial about Time/Life’s Soft Rock Classics of the 70’s.  I know.  But I couldn’t…stop…watching.  Seals and Croft’s timeless classic “Summer Breeze” lured me in, followed by hit after soft rock hit, including Dr. Hook’s “When You’re In Love With a Beautiful Woman.”

But it wasn’t just the classic Soft Rock of the 70’s, all on eleven cd’s that save you the time of finding it in music stores or downloading it online.  The timeless ballads, the work of Christopher Cross and Robert John?  Oh, that was inspiration enough.  But when it came down to it there was much more to that infommercial than the Soft Rock of the 70’s.

It was the hosts.

You all know I have great respect for the 11 year olds who run The Pens Blog.  That place is a train wreck of juvenility and I dig that. I believe most of you do as well. 

So, imagine my glee when I realized halfway through Time/Life’s Soft Rock of the 70’s that the two fellas strumming impromptu bits of Air Supply ditty’s were actually Adam and Derek, the PB “Staff”.  I checked the Time/Life Soft Rock of the 70’s website to be sure my suspicions were correct and yes…confirmed.

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What does that have to do with the 08/09 schedule?  On the surface? Jack squat.  But we’ll find a tie, don’t you worry.

Now, I’m fully aware that all of you have analyzed every bit of the schedule.  You’ve looked at the way-Western swings (Thanks Gary. Ass) and you’ve circled dates as rivalry games.  You’ve figured out which months will be cakewalks and which will make us sad.  In other words, you’ve done all the hard work and left the fun stuff up to me as usual.

The crack A2Y machine of interns and volunteers have read between the schedule’s lines and come up with a handful of games of great importance to you and your family.  Here are some games that will bring you joy this season, broken down by month.

9 October 2008
The hockey world, plus six or seven fans in Raleigh, Nashville and Atlanta, will tune in to see number 11 sent to the JLA rafters.  The best part?  It gets to happen while the Leafs sit and watch, just before they get pasted.  Oh, the horror.  Wanna take a guess how many TO-driven columns will spring up within 48 hours, columns that compare the Wing fortunes to the Leaf misfortunes?  I’m guessing at least 19. 

13 October 2008
4 days later the Wings return to their second home in The Triangle.  That hockey hotbed.  No one loves their hockey like dem Cane fans.  You’ve seen this.  But we’re all about repeating things redundantly.

• “If offered tickets to any of the following sporting events, which would you be most likely to attend?” Only 10 percent of the 500 respondents chose the Hurricanes.

• “Did you know that North Carolina has a professional ice hockey team, the Carolina Hurricanes?” While 82 percent answered “yes,” that meant 18 percent of respondents were unaware the Hurricanes played in their state after 11 years.

Thankfully, at least on that day, stats like that won’t matter.

Here’s how it will work, according to some of our Cane-blogging pals.  Carolina fans will start fretting around the 10th of October in anticipation.  They really don’t care if the Wings lay waste to the Canes.  What really bothers them?  You do.  Big time.  You’re going to storm the RBC center.  You’re probably going to drink a little.  You might, wait for it, raise your voices in support of your Dynasty.  You’ll wear some red and maybe even wave a flag or two.  And for months afterward the cry from down south will echo.  It will be glorious.

18 October 2008
Rangers come to town.  Nice little event.  Hey.  Got a question for you.  If Shanny re-signs with NYR, as some folks claim could still happen, are the dumpster divers who boo Fedorov going to treat him the same way?  Because, I’ve got a newsflash for you.  91 meant more to three Cups than 14 did.  And he’s a helluva lot more effective player now than Shanahan is.  I’m just sayin’. 

22 October 2008
Ah yes.  The first opportunity for the Bitter Bitch Blues fans to crawl out from under the tires on their roofs and really let you have it with their all new expanded index of wit.  Rumor has it that, in addition to F*** Detroit, they’ve also added F*** “name your team” to honor the other 25 franchises who had winning records against the Blues last year.  Man, that’s fun stuff.

End of the month is a 3 game trip to California with games against LA, the Poultry and Little Todd’s Sharks.  October: 15 out of a possible 22 points. 

11 November 2008
Oh for the love of sweet baby Jesus.  Gary’s Baby Boy returns to the Joe.  That will be exciting.  Also worth noting is the rumor that Malkin may accompany him.  Apparently he didn’t make the trip the last three times Pittsburgh visited Detroit.  The always dangerous Marian Hossa will be a threat.  I’m sure Uncle Mike will make sure Norris and Hank are on the ice each time Hossa is.  So tricky.  Fast.  Tough on the puck.  We gotta watch him or he’ll carry the Pens all by himself.

Oh.  Woops.  Sorry.

13 November 2008
And just two days later, we play them again.  Man, the intensity of a home and home.  Nothing beats that.  Roberts, Malone…two games in a row.  Just like the good old days two months ago. 

What? Oh.  Got it.  Wings in Tampa.  Understood.

28 November 2008
Bring on the BJs!!  For many, it will be their first of the year.  Now that’s fun.  Last year we really believed this was a rivalry in the making.  Didn’t come to pass. Try as we might, it just doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.  At least two teams are tip-tapping their feet in front of Columbus, trying to make their case as the Wings’ new BFF in Gary’s Central.  Bubba and Chicago.  The Hawks? Oh we’ll get to them.

November:  17/24 points.  First time through the Provinces.  Gary did us well with this one.  Three games in six nights with Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.  Then a quick one-day turnaround back to Hockeytown with an O-6 matchup with Montreal the night before Thanksgiving.  We are thankful Gary.  Thankful for you, your luster, your brilliance, your command of a room.  David Stern thanks you.  Mini-David.  He said. “Thank you Mini-me.”  See?  I don’t just make this stuff up. Ass.

1 December 2008
The team we used to hate before they proved they don’t have the staying power.  Sasquatch comes to town.  Yawn.  Last year the Poultry served as the unspoken motivation in the Wing room.  This season? Not so much.  Come on in girls.  We’ll be your huckleberry. 

6 December 2008
Well here we go.  Blackhawks/Wings from Hockeytown.  This could be it.  This could be the divisional rival you’ve been waiting for.  The BBB’s tried but failed.  Bubba had a run then remembered hockey has no business in Nashville.  We talked about the BJs.  All tried, but just couldn’t get there…nor will they.  But Chicago?  Last year they made some statements. Won some games.  The Enigma’s hair was, as usual, perfect.  Now they’ve added Campbell and Huet.  Toews thinks he’s Yzerman and Kane is probably bringing his sisters.  At the very least it’s going to be fun, exciting offensive hockey.  And by the time they play a home/home in late April, we could have a hate-fest on our hands. 

13 December 2008
Wings travel to Phoenix for a pivotal interconference matchup with the Coyotes.  A preview of the WCF?

Just wanted to make sure you’re still paying attention.  Bitches.

15 December 2008
Dammit Gary. You shouldn’t have.  For me? My birthday present?  I’m all emotional now.  Ahhh yes. In come the Dive.  Three hours later, out go the Dive.  Three hours? A little long for an NHL game? Yes.  But just about the amount of time it took us to sweep their asses last May.  Eat it.  Deal with it.  Now get the hell out.  No way the Wings lose to that team on my 40th birthday.  No chance.

26 December 2008
Man. Nothing says yuletide tradition like heading to Nashville on the day after Christmas.  Thursday it’s cranberries and turkey and presents and candy canes with ribbons and wrapping and gifts.  Friday it’s possum and moonshine, Jimmy Johnson PJs and plenty of cousins to choose from.  Yeehaw. 

30 December and 1 January
A throwdown in Hockeytown followed by a Classic at Wrigley.  Yeah, I think Gary screwed us by not giving Michigan the game.  I see at least two natural venues that would have been easily filled: Ford Field or The Big Silent House.  Either one would have attracted at least 80,000 Wing fans with plenty of seats for Hawk fans left over.  And here’s the deal: the Wings deserved that home game.  Like it or not, Detroit has done plenty for this league and gets nothing but the shaft in return.  Whatever. Good for hockey. Good for the Hawks.  I’ll be trying to get tickets.  An impossibility I’m sure.  Thanks Gary. Ass.

December (plus 1 Jan): 28 possible points.  9 home games with trips to Dallas, Phoenix and Denver.  Wings take command of the division this month and don’t look back.  23 out of 28.

January.  I get tired just typing that word.  The longest month of the season.  A few games with Dallas.  A barnburner with Minnesota.  Poultry, BJ’s, another one with little Toddy.  And then it’s over.

But not before the Wings hit DC brother.

31 January 2009
Plenty of us “transplants” here in the capital(ol).  How many? I’m looking at 19 and I’m thinking it may be time for a little bash.  An A2Y get together, a road show, a barn dance.  Right here in DC.  Yep.  Mark your calendars and pick your bar because it’s an all skate bitches.  And don’t think I won’t be bringing all 11CDs from Time Life’s Classic Soft Rock of the 70’s.

January (minus the Classic): 15 out of 24.

8 February 2009
Somewhere, in some dark room at the Joe, known to only Tick Tock, Uncle Mike, Jimmy D, Mr. I, The Captain, the captain, Rich Winter and Hossa himself…there will be a contract with his signature on it.  Hossa’s sticking for a bit longer than many expect and I’m thinking the deal’s done before the deadline but not announced for a bit longer.  Why do I bring that up on 8 February?  Because that’s the day Hossa’s Wings return to Pittsburgh where he’ll be met by cheering crowds, fireworks and frothing Cbloggers.  If it’s possible to build a rivalry between two teams that meet, on average, once a year and maybe, maybe, in the Finals?  This game would do it.  Oh, the possibilities of violence in this one.  Hossa: hat trick.

February’s interesting.  With the exception of games with LA, Phoenix and the BBB’s…every date is with a playoff bound team.  Pens, Poultry, Minnesota, Dive, Bubba, Sharks, Oilers.  Yeah, Bubba and Denver may miss out, but it shapes up as one of the tougher months of the season.  Last February?

Frigging sucked.  Badly.  But that was due to injuries and a positive that came out of it was Franzen’s emergence as a stud. 

18/24 points. 

Early March brings a lovefest with it.  3rd in St. Louis against our friends then the next night in Denver against our other friends.  Back to backs, which Gary has given us 16 times, are the perfect opportunity to whip the Conk out.  Denver, where men like Darren Garcia aren’t exactly opposed to that idea, would seem a natural spot to do so. 

Another back to back on the 23rd and 24th in lovely Alberta and the rest of March bores me. I’m ready for the playoffs.  The Stress Train will be fully cleaned and expanded.  26 possible points in March.  22 points earned.  Time to ramp it up.

An injury free April awaits us.  Back to back to close the year with the, by then, hated Hawks.  Home and home because that’s how Gary likes us.  Saturday afternoon in Detroit. Sunday in Chicago.  With a real possibility of the two teams meeting in Round 1 less than a week later.

Oh yeah. We’ve got ourselves a rivalry brewing there brother. 

I’m going back to my boat.  If I can get it off the trailer.

 

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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