Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

We Complain, But We Love It

It’s been a full day.  One full of many choices.

The first choice, how to act.  I told Paul I didn’t want to go as a journalist.  I’m a fan.  That is key.  I also told him that I wouldn’t do anything to take food off his table.  I’m given a long leash here, but I know better than to bite the hand that feeds.

The second choice, what I was going to do.  My initial plans didn’t work out.  I’ve engineered hundreds of press conferences, and have access to some pretty interesting toys.  Initially, I was going to bring a friend with a broadcast HD video camera.  I would have had better video and sound gear than most of the media had, and bingo-bango “A2Y in HD” is born.

Fortunately, my videographer buddy made a run for the Mexican border yesterday, a long story, and I realized it was an omen.

I am not a journalist, I’m a fan.  Fans don’t bring professional cameras or recorders to games.  We’re fans, we bring passion.  And a lot of noise.

So I decided to ditch the gear and ride dirty.  I brought what I normally carry in my pant and blazer pockets:  an iPhone, a pen, and a small notepad.  And no research in advance.

I don’t need any fancy toys to show the Deep Diggers how it’s done.

Below the jump, summary of the second session of rule changes, more from Jim Nill, and Bettman talks about A2Y.

Let me start by briefly describing the rule changes for session #2:
1)  Bigger crease.  crease 3” larger in all directions
Tough to notice this one.  I’d interview Holmstrom about it, but no one would understand what he’s saying anyways, so why bother?  Jim Nill commented that goalies will often act like they get shot when touched no matter what goaltender interference rules are.  If they can exploit the advantage, they will.

2) Wider blue lines.  24” vs 12” wide. on entering the zone, the line is the same, once you are in the zone, you get an extra foot before being offside.
This works, but looks goofy painted on the ice.  Bettman pointed out to Mike Murphy the first instance of this happening quickly.  Say what you want about Gary, he pays attention to almost everything.  Except the spelling of Lidstrom/Lindstrom.

3) Line change zone in front of bench.  a painted area 5’ out from the bench to assist official’s in making too-many men violations
Looks really ugly reminding me of Darren Garcia’s makeup.  Officials should be able to visualize 5’ well enough and make good judgement calls.  Unless it’s the Penguins in the SCF against Detroit, then fuch it.

4) 1 face-off circle in the middle of each zone - defensive / neutral / offensive - 3 overall.  Imagine a stoplight arrangement of faceoff dots down the ice.
Garbage.  Moving on…

5) Face-off variation: penalty line 1’ back from dot for faceoff violation where face-off offender would have to stand instead of being thrown out.
The problem with faceoffs doesn’t need more lines and stupid rules to solve.  The solution requires consistent delivery of both the puck and calls for faceoff violations.

6) Overtime variation: benches like in 2nd period where long change necessary
There is a lot of merit to this idea.  Ken Hitchcock, in between scarfing down dozens of TimBits, commented that this was the only fix he thought necessary to O/T.

7) Shoot-out variation: something, something this fan didn’t care about.
Instead I was lecturing Terry Mercury from XM Radio’s Ice Chips on why his opinion about Chris Osgood is deeply flawed.  Stay tuned for the rest of this.  Terry is a good guy, but way wrong on many things, including why Lidstrom shouldn’t have been a Norris candidate.  A debate is brewing.

8) Nets: Red mesh and white posts.  Idea is it’s easier for shooter to see mesh when shooting.
Guess what, fashion reports ARE in, bitches.  The reverse colour scheme totally does not suit the goal’s looks.  And guess what, girlfriends, the guys still shot wide of the target, like my date last night.  Oh snap, I didn’t just go there.

I’m not going to get too deep into my interviews, yet, as there is more to come tomorrow.  Unlike a Deep Digger, I don’t get giddy over quotes and access.

Today I kept my eyes and ears open and my mouth shut, for the most part.  Learned that from Yogi Berra.  I listened for the things that others may not notice.  I looked for details that others might miss.  RWBill taught me reconnaissance well outside of Karen Newman’s window.

I did have a chance to talk to Li’l Gary, as I alluded to earlier in the comments section here.  6 minutes on tape, and hopefully more tomorrow.  I didn’t mince words, but I knew I was in for a large challenge interviewing Gary.

I have experience in extremely sensitive media training through working events I can’t talk about.  I’ve studied the media most of my life, and Bettman’s interviews are no different.  Gary is a brilliant man who makes horrible decisions.  A big mistake is to underestimate him.  He has never been effectively backed into a corner as he can find even the tiniest bit of wiggle room in a question to redirect his answer from the crux of the question.

Bettman is a lawyer and a radio host.  He knows how to spin and waltz around questions.  Be too insulting or aggressive and he will walk away as his handler swoops in.  Give him a softball or two, which I did, and he will take up your short time with long, prepared, answers, which he did.  So we danced, but I led while he tried to waltz around me.  And I started out our conversation laying my dance card on the table:

VooX: So I write for a blog called “Abel to Yzerman”, you may or may not know about us.  I will say this, I respect you coming and talking to me, because we have said some pretty mean things about you in the past.

Gary:  I hadn’t noticed.

VooX:  That’s okay.  We’re not looking for any extra viewers, we’re okay with 19.

And that’s all you get tonight from Li’l Gary, 19, there’s some great stuff about the KHL, Vers.Ass, Shanahan, and if Gary ever bought an NHL ticket before he was commissioner.  But that will have to wait until another post.

I will leave you with the first thing I heard Jim Nill say today to a reporter asking about how things were going:

We complain, but we love it.

Much, much more from Jim later.  A completely classy guy, like so many in the Wings organ-I-zation, he spent a lot of time answering my, and our, questions about the team.  A quick teaser: Nill actually reads A2Y and is a huge Malik fan like the rest of us.  But more later.  I Pinky swear like the faux journalist I am.

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Comments

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Andy from FightNight's avatar

LOVE that Nill reads A2Y and is a fan of Malik! Great work Voox! Can’t wait for what is coming up. And thanks for giving us all blue balls mate.

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 08/19/10 at 12:48 AM ET

jennyquarx's avatar

I have loved all of these posts.  Can’t wait for more.  Thanks VooX.

Posted by jennyquarx on 08/19/10 at 12:54 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Keep up the great work, Voox.

Just got done watching an interview with Bettman on NHLN.  He has all the mannerisms of a man coached on how to give an interview.  This one was a bunch of softballs, but he handled them exactly as he was supposed to have.  I look forward to reading your interviews.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/19/10 at 12:59 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

This will be very interesting.  Can’t wait to read more.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 08/19/10 at 01:17 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

I just want to say AWESOME JOB VOOX (and Hello Mr. Nill!)

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 08/19/10 at 01:23 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

So it turns out that Gary Bettman and Sidney Crosby are indeed quite alike.  They can deke and dangle past questions and opposing players, they’re slick and smooth and polished, and when they get caught, they dive and complain!

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/19/10 at 01:25 AM ET

sjketcheson's avatar

Absolutely fantastic work VooX, I have to say. I don’t post here often but I read religiously, and I can’t wait to read your next post. Thanks!

Posted by sjketcheson from the floor of the Hasek on 08/19/10 at 01:32 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

The idea that people are reading my ramblings freaks me out a little, quite honestly (except for you wackos, of course).

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 08/19/10 at 01:33 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

So today’s proposed rule changes would add a wider blue line, a line in front of each bench identifying a 5’ “safe” zone, an extra line in each face-off circle, plus an additional face-off circle in the center of each zone. Super. The average viewer already has a hard time following the rules – and the puck. Those kinds of “cosmetic” changes would only serve to make the sport less accessible.

As for making the crease larger by 3” in all directions in order to keep players farther away from the goalies? Fine. It won’t hurt Homer any. His ass already hangs at least that far into the current crease area. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/19/10 at 01:42 AM ET

VooX's avatar

So today’s proposed rule changes would add a wider blue line, a line in front of each bench identifying a 5’ “safe” zone, an extra line in each face-off circle, plus an additional face-off circle in the center of each zone.

No not three additional face-off circles.  Only three.  In the middle of the ice.

I’d hate to think how bad some of the ideas were that didn’t make the cut.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 01:44 AM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

Yeah, there are some bad ideas on there. Also:

HI MR. NILL!

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 08/19/10 at 01:46 AM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

Egg-sselent posts!

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 08/19/10 at 02:04 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

Great work VooX…always suspected Lil Gary had something of the mentality of a ferret…tough to corner those little fuchers…couple that with the overtly political tone of corporately, lawyerly verbal gymnastics he has learned along the way and well your up-close observations of the man confirm many of our worst fears.  Clever.  Not necessarily brilliant and certainly in no way a visionary, but just cunning enough to have tap-danced his way into a position of great prominence, and probably well-prepared enough in the art of self-preservation to survive whatever shit storm he brings down upon himself.  Cuts right to the heart of the problem now doesn’t it?

We have two posting from PortLand?  West Wing & Hippy Dave…..is that legal?

Posted by Rumbear from a boat MFr’s, take a look at me…... on 08/18/10 at 07:39 PM ET

A quick check with the justice department reveals that this is indeed illegal in thirty-eight states and Canada.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/19/10 at 02:20 AM ET

WestWing's avatar

So it turns out that Gary Bettman and Sidney Crosby are indeed quite alike.  They can deke and dangle past questions and opposing players, they’re slick and smooth and polished, and when they get caught, they dive and complain!

Posted by George James Malik from South Lyon, MI on 08/18/10 at 11:25 PM ET

I think that sums it up pretty well.  Strike another blow against everything good and decent about our game.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/19/10 at 02:28 AM ET

Brooklyn Deuce's avatar

Jim Nill reads A2Y? I’m both appalled and tickled at such a thing.The power of the 19 is great indeed.

VooX, Lil G’s answer sounds as if he too has read/reads A2Y. Was this the impression you got (I could also wait for your post on the interview but inquiring minds and all that)?

Good job bruh. Way to represent.

Posted by Brooklyn Deuce from Fauborg Marigny on 08/19/10 at 02:41 AM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Think Jim Nill is going to H2H2?

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 08/19/10 at 03:33 AM ET

Twig in Houston's avatar

That’s okay.  We’re not looking for any extra viewers, we’re okay with 19.

bartender, if i ever have a daughter, she’s all yours. you are the man.

Posted by Twig in Houston from Houston, TX on 08/19/10 at 04:01 AM ET

Alzy's avatar

Man, the revelation that Jim Nill reads A2Y is exciting, humbling, embarrassing, and a bunch more adjectives all at once. I wonder if he thinks we’re all nuts LOL. Hi Jim!

I just saw part of a recap package on the day on the NHL Network, and in regards to the new faceoff method, apart from looking really, REALLY, beer league, it seemed like every player that had inside position won the draw. so all the talk about trying to take away advantages, well, the advantage will just be who gets to choose inside position.

Bigger crease? Meh, I can’t see this really affecting anything, positive or negative. However, bigger crease combined with the crease reset rule? That could definitely play to goaltender’s strengths.

Bigger bluelines I think could be okay. More room for offense is always ok by me.

the line change lines around the bench, even though it likely looked ridiculous, I’m honestly convinced needs to be put in. Too many times the puck just happens to bounce off a guys skate as he’s hurdling himself over the boards.

The three faceoff dots down the middle just sounds stupid. And also, assuming the current faceoff drop format remains, it could potentially give an unfair advantage to the defending centreman. If the offensive team chooses to have their D-men set up in a centre ice formation, then the defending centre can shoot the puck forward off the draw to easily clear the zone. And in addition, if the offensive team decides to have one D-man directly behind his centre, then whichever side his partner lines up on, the opposite wing will be wide open for the defensive team to clear the puck. I’d say stick to the current faceoff dot formations.

I have to agree with our faux-journalist bartender on the faceoff line penalty. How about just a clear definition of what a faceoff infraction actually is. I think it may have been Nieuwendyk on the NHL Network who said half the times guys are getting thrown out, and you’re wondering why.

I’d love to see the 5 mins of 4-on-4 followed by 5 mins of 3-on-3 in OT, as well as the long line change. This would virtually guarantee an OT victor, and would eliminate the fuching abomination that is the shootout.

I would think the reverse colour scheme for the nets might acutally make it tougher to score. Combined with the backboards, which I believe are white in every arena, to the player shooting the puck, from about 20 or more feet out it’s likely going to look like the mesh is just floating there. I’ve always thought the red posts sent the signal to the player to shoot between the red pipes, kind of like a kicker in football.

Keep it coming bartender, ya lucky son of a bitch!

Posted by Alzy from Cambridge, Ontario, Canada on 08/19/10 at 05:37 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Say what you want about Gary, he pays attention to almost everything.

They say the Devil is in the details…

(Boy, I’m satanically-obsessed this morning.)

Nill actually reads A2Y

Great, now I’m terrified to say anything at all.

Absolutely stellar work VooX, you’re a credit to The 19.  Keep it up and keep the info trickling in here.  We all appreciate the work you’re putting into this—thanks man.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 06:39 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

Man, the revelation that Jim Nill reads A2Y is exciting, humbling, embarrassing, and a bunch more adjectives all at once. I wonder if he thinks we’re all nuts

Wouldn’t you? LOL

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 08/19/10 at 06:40 AM ET

SYF's avatar

A quick teaser: Nill actually reads A2Y and is a huge Malik fan like the rest of us.

big surprise

Whoa.  The 19 must have had a lot of great things to say to catch that man’s attention.  Hi, Jim!

VooX, keep up the terrific work in TO, man.  Can’t wait for more.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/19/10 at 08:06 AM ET

monkey's avatar

JIM NILL READS THIS?  Well, it’s too late to clean up our act.  Might as well just roll with it.

Posted by monkey from Finland on 08/19/10 at 08:55 AM ET

Avatar

Very witty, Malik.  Wow - another Crosby bash.

Posted by Arnold Slick on 08/19/10 at 09:03 AM ET

Andy from FightNight's avatar

Jim Nill is definitely welcome to have a brew or 140 with us all at H2H2 haha

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 08/19/10 at 09:10 AM ET

yzer19man's avatar

6) Overtime variation: benches like in 2nd period where long change necessary
There is a lot of merit to this idea.  Ken Hitchcock, in between scarfing down dozens of TimBits, commented that this was the only fix he thought necessary to O/T.

Pure Gold hahaha…as well as everything else…Great read, Thanks much

Posted by yzer19man from Chicago, IL on 08/19/10 at 09:24 AM ET

Cwix's avatar

Great stuff, VooX. We’re lucky to have you there.

Posted by Cwix from Grand Rapids, now Chicago, IL on 08/19/10 at 09:27 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

VooX—you are killing it up there at the camp. Thanks a million to you and Paul for this. This is great stuff!

And I don’t care what anyone says, the v-neck and blazer was the right choice.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 08/19/10 at 10:02 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I think it may have been Nieuwendyk on the NHL Network who said half the times guys are getting thrown out, and you’re wondering why.

That was Pens’ GM Ray Shero.  I’m very happy that one of the smarter GMs in the league is as confused about what constitutes a faceoff infraction as I am.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/19/10 at 10:10 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Well, it’s too late to clean up our act.

That’s what you think.  Quick, wave away the smoke and hide the bong, the GM is coming!

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 10:22 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

Gary: I hadn’t noticed.

So he reads A2Y, but he couldn’t get his mind past the delectable jacketoreum images to the actual words on the blog.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 08/19/10 at 10:51 AM ET

Twig in Houston's avatar

damn, the things i say when i’m blitzed. sorry aboot that…

go wings!

Posted by Twig in Houston from Houston, TX on 08/19/10 at 11:06 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

So he reads A2Y

Reads?  Mark, I’m making no assumptions about Gary’s literacy.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 11:15 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Gary can read.  For instance, he’s read the CBA.

Ken Holland can read between the lines.  There’s a difference.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 11:42 AM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

Gary can read.  For instance, he’s read the CBA.

That’s no proof.  As we all know, the CBA is written in Lawyerese, which is a language that has more in common with bastardized bartering pidgins, the made-up gibberish languages of children, and the mating calls of howler monkeys than it does with any legitimately useful form of communication.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 08/19/10 at 11:48 AM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Gary can read.  For instance, he’s read the CBA.

Ken Holland can read between the lines
.  There’s a difference.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 09:42 AM ET

Tick-Tock is the master of the art of the deal.

Thanks VooX. You are doing a bang-up job on the front lines.

I wonder if Lil’ Gary has said you’re welcome in response to Thanks, Gary. Ass. Bitches.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 08/19/10 at 12:05 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Nill actually reads A2Y and is a huge Malik fan like the rest of us.

!!!

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/19/10 at 12:18 PM ET

dougie's avatar

I think we can safely assume than Mr. Nill has forgotten more about hockey than many (but not all) of us on A2Y will ever know .

I can’t imagine he reads this for our strategic insight into what Wings management needs to do next.

It’s gotta be the dick jokes and the Photoshops.

Posted by dougie on 08/19/10 at 12:59 PM ET

ITDeuce's avatar

Voox, you’re a fricking stud.  This shit is all crazy.

Posted by ITDeuce from The Sunny High Desert on 08/19/10 at 02:42 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Gary can read.  For instance, he’s read the CBA.

Ken Holland can read between the lines.  There’s a difference.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 09:42 AM ET

I’ve likened Ryan Martin to Stevie Ray Vaughn because like SRV, Martin can shrink the CBA into a mere toy.

Looking forward to the final day of Shanny’s Jig, VooX.  I can see that H2H2 is going to be a seriously epic event.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/19/10 at 04:38 PM ET

VooX's avatar

Looking forward to the final day of Shanny’s Jig, VooX.

Post is up, bitches.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/19/10 at 04:42 PM ET

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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