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Abel to Yzerman

Leino’s Coming Up…Nevermind

Interesting day in Hockeytown as we waited for the word on the severity of Johan Franzen’s knee injury.  Bob McKenzie first reported around 1300 EST that the Mule’s dealing with a Grade 2 MCL and that he’d be out three to four weeks.

From then?  The Diggers went all crazy.

Helene St. James, Teddy Kulfan and Bruce MacLeod all posted similar reports, some citing a GR press release claiming Ville Leino’s been called up.  In fact, MacLeod posted a ditty confirming the original Griffin report.

Leino could be used as a top-six forward or he could go on the third line with countryman Valtteri Filppula if Coach Mike Babcock decides to put Dan Cleary or Jiri Hudler up on Henrik Zetterberg’s line.

Here’s the press release from the Griffins’ excellent PR staff ...

The Detroit Red Wings on Sunday recalled left wing Ville Leino from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League.

Since then, all the diggers have refuted it and correctly pointed out the Wings don’t have the space to bring up Leino unless Mule’s put on the long term IR, unless they decide to send down McCarty.

St. James

Contrary to a report put out by the Grand Rapids Griffins, Ville Leino has not been recalled by the Wings. The Wings are hoping that in 2-3 days, it may emerge the injury is only three weeks, in which case they don’t want to put Franzen on long-term injury reserve, which would need to be done in order to call someone up. The Wings already have 12 forwards ready to go.

No one to blame for the confusion, really.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings hadn’t technically called him up then rescinded it when they looked closer at the Cap/IR situation. Or maybe they were kindly reminded of it by Gary’s bitches in Toronto.  Not sure.  Either way, it brings up this.

Leino probably belongs on the roster a hell of a lot more than McCarty does.  In case you hadn’t noticed, the Finn’s on fire in Grand Rapids.  He’s got nine points in five games and his four goals are second only to Home Keys who’s got frigging six. 

Of course, even with Franzen out for a month or so, none of you are concerned with offense.  What are you sad about?

This: 3.12 goals against per game.  18th in the league.  29.8 shots against per game.  14th. 

That, as pointed out by most of the 19 in the comments here, is just not Red Wing hockey.  The 39.8 shots/game for?  That is.  But the numbers of goals and shots against after six games is a little disturbing.

However, we are talking six games.  A few of you have mentioned the fact that Brad McCrimmon may be preaching something different thant Todd McClellan did.  Perhaps.  Others have said that Babcock’s success could be tied directly to the little dude I assumed did little else than make him tuna melts after every game.  A possibility.  But…it’s six games.  What can we safely assume?  I think it’s a fair bet that the defense will work itself out.  Mainly because Nick Lidstrom is the most positionally sound player in NHL history.  And last time I checked, he’s still a Wing.

But he’s a Wing playing fewer minutes than ever.  Uncle Mike’s limiting his ice time to the tune of a 25:39 average, a full minute less than last year.  And that average includes the 32 minutes he played Saturday night.  Wait.  Hold on.  Despite his drop in minutes, Lidstrom’s playing 29.5 shifts per game, as opposed to 29.1 last season.  You figure it out. 

Either way, this defense will right itself because Lidstrom’s still there, so is Rafalski.  Almost as importantly, so are Zetterberg and Datsyuk.  And Hossa is still learning the system.  Offensively, he’s got it. Defensively? Maybe he’s still catching on.

And here’s something else.  Offense is fun.  Guys like to shoot and they like to score.  Defense is not as fun.  Backchecking and shot blocking and keeping up with other guys who don’t want you to have the puck they think they deserve…not fun, but necessary.

If there’s a “hangover”, the effect is going to be felt on the defensive end, where guys have to work real hard to ensure those stats are as low as we expect them to be.  They’ll come around, because defense is about hustle and Uncle Mike demands hustle.  We’re not really doubting our Uncle Mike are we?

Back to Leino for a second.  He’ll be up soon enough. Maybe the middle of the week.  But if you’re in Grand Rapids, or around there?  We’ve said it before.  Go watch some hockey.  That team is going to be amazing this year. 



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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