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Abel to Yzerman

How’s Your Uncle Now?

Good morning.  Uncle Mike says the doubters can go ahead and suck it. 

Chris McCosky

“We are now 9-3-3 since coming back from our trip (to Sweden),” coach Mike Babcock said. “We aren’t winning games in the same fashion that we used to, that’s pretty obvious. But we are finding ways to grind games out and that’s what we have to do.”

I guess, and I’m no pharmacist, that what Babcock has the Wings doing now…is winning games in playoff-like fashion.  Is that gonna be ok with you, or do we need to whine now about how Babcock is winning?

There are a few among us who seem to be happiest when it appears Mike Babcock is failing.  Well, it would appear that those folks are just gonna have to start twiddling and humming.  Because we may be seeing our Uncle’s finest performance to date.  Babcock’s roster has been ravaged by knees, wrists and ankles, concussions and flu-like symptoms.  Ravaged.  Where last year he relied on a Franzen and a Filppula, plus a Hossa and a Hudler?  Now he’s tightened up the system in November, turning a screw he’d typically leave alone until April. 

He’s already benched four guys for not performing:  Helm, Leino, Maltby and Draper.  And in each case, they’ve come back stronger. 

He knows as well as we do that the Lebda/Ericsson pairing was not…good.  In fact, he assuredly saw flaws that most of us just aren’t trained to notice.  Yet, he’s stuck with them and you might want to review last night’s game one more time…because both looked composed in their own end.  Trouble free? Nope.  But better.

Babcock’s team, the one the MSM had no problem counting out in October, is playing as well as anyone in the league two weeks into November.  But still…

For the Wings, it means coming face-to-face with a reality every other NHL team is intimately familiar with — that being the fact the playoffs aren’t actually an automatic extension of the league schedule, but something you must qualify for.

Senior vice-president Jim Devellano conceded as much during a radio interview a few weeks back, noting the Wings have simply lost too much scoring to expect regular season results like they’ve posted ... well, seemingly forever.

That was Fox Sports (and The Hockey News’) Ryan Dixon and Christ if it isn’t the same garbage we’ve seen everywhere else, especially since Jimmy D ran his mouth…a move that is looking more and more strategic with each angry victory the Wings grind out. 

Dixon’s telling you not to panic.  He’s urging Wing fans (along with Carolina fans in the same article) to stay the course.

Don’t patronize me bitch.  Staying the course is what we do.  Four Cups in 11 years guarantees that we’ll stay the course.  Doesn’t mean we won’t stress a little, but don’t climb up on your all-knowing tower of lazy journalism and try to preach to me about maintaining faith in my team. 

9-3-3 since the Swedish Suckfest.  One or fewer goals allowed in five of their last six games. 17 out of their last possible 24 points.  No implosions.  No collapses due to a heavy emphasis of youth.  The sky hasn’t caved because Chris Chelios and Mikael Samuelsson left.  Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves are as valuable as players we’ve come to appreciate over a decade. 

Somebody seems to know what they’re doing.  There are other coaches around the league getting plenty of credit for winning with far fewer problems than Babcock’s facing.  There’s even a coach with a recent Cup on his resume who might realize more than most that winning without health is damn hard.  Hell, that guy’s won one time since Halloween and their bandwagon is hemorrhaging fans by the assload.

A lot of coaches could have guided last year’s team to a whole bunch of regular season wins.  There was too much talent to deny them that kind of easy success.  This year’s turning out differently though, eh?  And I wonder who is gonna be better for it come April when Franzen’s back (at around 80 percent probably) and Filppula’s back and Williams.  Consider how good this team could be when and if they’re healthy and Uncle Mike’s led them through some adversity? 

Bring on the poultry, but beware.  Saturdays bring sadness it seems.  But if that’s Uncle Mike’s only bad day of the week?  We’ll deal with that.


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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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