Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

Detroit’s Goaltending Coach Jeff Salajko On Jimmy Howard And Jonathan Bernier

from Dana Wakiji of the Wings' website,

With the parity in the league right now, Salajko knows that the Wings will need both goalies to perform at a high level.

"Jonathan Bernier has shown that he has the potential to get hot," Salajko said. "Last year he won nine in a row for Colorado and I think he was the reason they got into the playoffs. I hope Jimmy can come out of the gates (hot).

"I hope we have the best 1-2 punch in the league. They're going to give us a chance to maybe fight for that playoff spot."

more goalie talk...

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Video- 28 Minutes Of Steve Yzerman Highlights

From the 1997-98 season, including the playoffs.

Thanks to awood40 for the highlights.


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The Season Outlook For Jimmy Howard

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2018-19 outlook: Howard started strong last season but lacked consistency from mid-November until the end of the season. If he stays healthy, he's in line for another heavy workload, possibly 50-plus games. But he'll be pushed for playing time by veteran free-agent signee Jonathan Bernier.

Howard's performance will determine whether he earns another contract from the Red Wings. If he plays well, they'll likely re-sign him to a short-term deal (two years). It'll be a few years before any of their prospects (Filip Larsson, Keith Petruzzelli, Joren Van Pottelberghe, Kaden Fulcher) is ready to challenge for an NHL roster spot.

If Howard doesn't perform well enough, he could be shopped at the trade deadline if there is a market for him.


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Young Defensemen Challenged By Jeff Blashill

from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,

Prospects such as Dennis Cholowski, Joe Hicketts, Filip Hronek and Libor Sulak are making concerted runs at roster spots.

One, maybe two, will break through this camp, given the way the defense’s depth chart is constructed.

“It’s easy to say one is going to be on our team and if we have two (young defensemen) push to be on our team, that means they’ve beat out good players and we’re a better hockey team,” Blashill said. “We’re not handing jobs. But if they end up beating players out, the theory is, we’re better because of it.

“There are guys certainly who have put themselves in positions to potentially win jobs. Filip Hronek, Sulak, Cholowski, Hicketts — all those guys have put themselves in position to win jobs.

“Now come to camp, and win a job.”


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Jonathan Bernier Could Become Detroit’s #1 Goalie

from Jared Clinton of The Hockey News,

As he enters the final season of a six-year contract with the Red Wings, it can safely be said that the writing is on the wall for veteran netminder Jimmy Howard. Long considered as a trade chip for Detroit, albeit one that they’ve been unable to move, the Red Wings went out and brought in some insurance for the oft-injured keeper this summer when they inked Bernier to a three-year, $9-million pact. And while Bernier might not seem a sizeable upgrade over the incumbent Red Wings netminder, the numbers suggest differently.

When Howard, 34, has been healthy over the past few seasons, he has managed a halfway decent .912 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against average across 123 games. But Bernier, though in a backup role, has been just as solid with a .912 SP and 2.75 GAA of his own. The difference? Bernier has more consistently average than Howard, who has only eclipsed a .910 SP once in the past five seasons. Bernier, meanwhile, has only one season below the .910 SP mark.

The two are all but certain to split time out of the gates, but if or when Howard stumbles — and if or when he falls injured — the crease is likely to fall into Bernier’s hands and it could remain that way for the next few seasons.

four more goalies who could become the #1 goalie...

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Audio- Jeff Blashill Talks The Past And Future

The boys at SiriusXM NHL radio were kind enough to send me an interview Jeff Blashill did with Boomer Gordon recently.

You can listen here or below.

Continue Reading »

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Should Henrik Zetterberg Hang Up His Skates?

from Jamie Samuelsen at the Detroit Free Press,

If you were able to advise Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg, what would you tell him?

I’m not in the business of telling people when they should retire.

First of all, it’s none of my business. Secondly, I’d never want someone to tell me when I should retire.

Henrik Zetterberg doesn’t seem to be seeking advice on what his next move should be. Or more to the point, he’s not listening to voices as much as he’s trying to listen to his body. And by all accounts, his body is telling him that his hockey career is over.

Zetterberg has been dealing with back issues ever since the Olympics in 2014. He missed stretches of seasons. He lost effectiveness on the ice at times. It got to the point last year where the only time he played hockey was in the games themselves, never in practice. The question is not whether Zetterberg can play in the NHL anymore. Of course he can. The question is whether or not he can play like Henrik Zetterberg again and it sure seems like he can’t.

Nicklas Lidstrom retired from the Red Wings in 2012. At the time, he was still the best defenseman on the roster and still one of the best in the NHL.


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The Season Outlook For Nick Jensen

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

2018-19 outlook: The Red Wings value Jensen's skating ability (for defense) and right-handed shot (for puck-moving). He beat out fellow young defensemen Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko, who are no longer with the organization, for a spot in the lineup and maintained it. Coach Jeff Blashill thought highly enough of Jensen to include him on the U.S. World Championship roster.

But Jensen isn't assured of a spot in the lineup. The Red Wings expect prospect Filip Hronek, coming off a strong rookie season with the Grand Rapids Griffins, to make the roster. Hronek will only stick around if he's playing regularly. If all of their defensemen are healthy, Hronek's best chance for a lineup spot is Jensen's.

The Red Wings must decide whether to re-sign Jensen or trade him by the deadline. With young defensemen like Joe Hicketts, Libor Sulak and Dennis Cholowski waiting in the wings, Jensen could be moved for a draft pick during the season.


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Video- All 58 Goals By The Wings In The 1997 Playoffs

Thanks to awood40 for the 26 minute video.


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Q & A With Jeff Blashill

Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News with questions for Jeff Blashill,

Just returning from a family vacation, Blashill was refreshed and energized. Although the questions about Zetterberg’s availability make for a difficult unknown.

Question: Jeff, certainly there’s a lot of talk right now regarding Henrik Zetterberg. What’s the latest on him? Have you talked to Hank at all, and what do you expect at this point?

A: “As you know, Hank wasn’t able to practice for half the year. He was able to gut it out through those last two months where he wasn’t able to practice. There were nights I didn’t think he’d able to play and he did play.

“He’s had a hard summer and I don’t think his back is reacting great. Certainly we’ll know more in a month (at training camp), but as of today, there’s a lot of doubt as to whether his back will be healthy enough to play.”

Q: You’ve said several times you’ll divide the groups a little differently next month, correct?

A: “I’ve done camp differently at different years. It’s based on where your team is at, and last year I knew to a large degree the guys who were on the inside to make the team and the guys who were on the outside, and divided the teams that way. I felt it gave us a jump-start on practicing as a group.

“This year I would say there’s more competition for jobs. I’ve let it be known both privately and publicly, and I’m going to divide the teams accordingly so we’re going to have three, probably three, even teams and we’re going to compete for jobs.”


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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


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