Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 10/20/11 at 11:48 AM ET
Are we on strike? Oops. I mean “they.” Sorry. Seriously. This is beyond stupid.
Making it even more unusual is that their games have been bunched up on weekends.
Games 1 and 2 against Ottawa and Colorado were played on a Thursday-Saturday. Games 3 and 4 against Vancouver and Minnesota were also played on a Thursday-Saturday.
Game 5 is Friday against Columbus, with Game 6 on Saturday against Washington.
Quirky, wacky scheduling as a result of happenstance and computer coincidence? Oh, I’m sure.
But, computer-generated or not, someone still has to approve this garbage. Someone still has to answer the bell when asked how such obvious idiocy is allowed to just…happen. And, hmm, that someone is the 7-million dollar build-a-bear commissioner. Sure, you (or…“we”...we’ll get to that in a bit) hate it, but when has Gary Bettman given a shit what Wing fans think? Guess who started counting the bucks as soon as this schedule was released? Yep. Count ‘em: Ownership in Denver, where a trifecta of circumstances should have made for a tidy bundle—opening night, the mean old Wings in town and the annual jersey retirement ceremony of a Dive “legend”.
Washington this weekend? Think Ted Leonsis is bothered by a home game against the Wings on a DC Saturday night? Talk about transplants. If you haven’t seen a Wing/Caps game in Washington, imagine the glass plastered with Detroit fans, three rows deep during warmups. Cha-ching for Leonsis and cha-ching for the bar owners around the Verizon Center. Hell, they’ll make a couple grand off of RWBill alone. Think those turnstiles and registers would be humming at the same pace if the Blues happened to stroll into town on a Saturday?
Here’s where the murmurs start Gary. This is where the brows get furrowed and the pitchforks come out. You want to continue the charade? Go ahead. Keep on keepin’ on. Shrug those padded shoulders and give us the innocent, stricken look. But at least try some subtlety. Make this whole thing a little less obvious. You’ve made a tidy living with the Red Wings as your show pony, trotting them out in far-flung places where hockey is weird; like Phoenix.
Your pals in the owners’ boxes keep grinning and writing those checks with Little Gary in the to line. Wings memorabilia in every city, jacked prices when the Wings are in town. TV revenues that skyrocket when Detroit’s on tv (especially the local stuff, eh Gary..where they really need that ad money?). And if all that money means the team itself, the team that has carried this league like no other team in any other sport, gets a little shaft now and then along the way? That’s cool, a small price to pay.
And, oh yes, the shaft is coming. All is well now as the Wings get that all-important pre-Halloween rest. But what about in January, Gary? Kulfan…
The frustrating part for the Red Wings is, as the season progresses and the schedule becomes compressed, an extra day off would be welcome — and there won’t be many.
There are 14 games in November and 15 in December, with 10 of those 15 on the road.
Then there’s a stretch of 12 games in 23 days in January before the All-Star break.
Subtle, Gary. Tactful. An agenda to competitively damage the Wings? Nope. Just the obvious routine of getting every buck out of the most valuable franchise in professional sports—when you consider that team’s value to every other league member.
And it takes us back to the realignment thing. Do you really expect the easy solution, Detroit for Winnipeg? Come on. Not a frigging chance. It’s got to be a win-win-kinda win. Owners in Bettman-created markets need Detroit worse than ever. Traditional market owners don’t want to see the Wings 8 times per year because they don’t relish the ass-kickings and the problem of actually trying to win hockey games. And it’s kinda-win for Detroit, especially those of us naive enough to clap when change is made for the sake of change.
Three conferences, equal amount of games against every team in the league, crazy playoff schedules. All sorts of theories are being discussed, every one of them with the Detroit Red Wings as a top-3 bullet point. If it was as easy as Nashville to the East and Winnipeg to the West, it would have happened already. Nobody…cares. Nobody. But throw the Dynasty in the mix and there are layers. Dozens of layers and collateral effects.
Meanwhile, it’s October 20th and the Wings have played 4 hockey games. They’re shooting guns and bagging groceries. In October. While everyone else is on the ice, the Wings are waiting around for the next weekend to come so Gary will let them play.
A few other topics: On XM the other day, the idea of Brunnstrom was brought up. I casually mentioned that our Uncle Mike might be playing mind games with him, but when I started to explain further I forgot how to form a sentence and the point was lost. I think it’s because I was talking out loud and concentrating on not dropping an F bomb every few words, which is kinda how I talk when I use my voice. Anyway, yes, I do believe there is some famous Babcock psycho-strategy going on here. I think Brunnstrom is the kind of player who we’ll see flashes from, but not consistency. And I think Uncle Mike is letting him understand completely what life will be like when and if he coasts through a single shift. However, the question now becomes…who do you sit and do you mess with an undefeated lineup? I don’t know and probably not. Either way though, when Brunnstrom does finally play, energy won’t be a problem.
And, finally, I’m a “we” guy. I’m the guy that people like to ask the question to, “we…are you playing?” Personally, when arrogant, know-nothing, antagonistic dicks ask me that question I want to punch them in the face. No, I’m not playing. But considering the emotional investment I’ve made in this team over my entire life, I have no problem with “we”. And if you’re one of the insane bastards at Ford Field who’s caused one of the 14 enemy false starts in the last two weeks, you get to be a “we” too. Hell, if you’ve stuck with the Lions over the last decade, you damn well deserve a “we.”
What I won’t do, though, is use first names or nicknames other than the ones we invent ourselves. “Pasha” and “Lidas” and “Huds” and “Clears” all make my skin crawl when I see them in print, electronically or otherwise.
As for “we”, though? Yep. I’ve sacrificed at least four pets and thousands of alimony dollars for the Wings. I’d say I’ve earned a “we”.
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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