Abel to Yzerman
by IwoCPO on 12/03/11 at 03:03 PM ET
Never. You’ll never catch Jimmy D or Tick Tock Kenny Holland or, god help us all, Uncle Mike Babcock begging the league to move or not move another team for the sake of “preserving a rivalry.” It’s pathetic. San Jose should have three natural rivals: Anaheim, LA, Phoenix. And a few others, like Dallas or even Vancouver.
Doug Wilson doesn’t care about the “rivalry” or the quality of competition. His concern is the same with every other owner and GM in this league. His concern lies with the dollar sign and how to maximize it through the use and abuse of the Detroit Red Wings.
The Sharks’ desire to keep Detroit in the conference is no surprise because the teams have developed a strong rivalry with five postseason clashes.
Oh, I know. I know. San Jose beat Detroit the last two years and couldn’t Wilson be thinking that he’d like to keep the Wings west to sustain a relationship that’s become one-sided? No.
And don’t think he wants to keep Detroit westward just because the “hockey’s good.” It’s not. It hasn’t been. San Jose beat us behind multiple 5-3s and then almost blew a 3-0 lead, and would have if the home-ice situation was reversed. It’s not about competition. It never is in this urinal cake of a league.
It’s about money and it’s about filling their arenas. There isn’t a single West Coast team who wants Detroit to leave because those are at least two dates per year when they know their arenas will be packed. TV ratings skyrocket. Fake disdain in the media rules the day when the transplants invade with our arrogance and our obnoxious children, our love for cheap beer and our loud mean voices.
The Wings want out of that business. They’ve carried this conference for more than two decades. Now it’s time to move us back East with the other adults. Let the Wings see what it’s like to play in arenas filled with, you know, fans of the home team. Let the Wings feel the seething hatred of a Toronto crowd. Let the Pens fans boo James F. Howard when he’s announced as the game’s number 1 star. Again and again. How much red did you see the day after Thanksgiving? In Boston? Not much. Not much. Last night in Buffalo? No? Good.
Supporting the West should no longer be a Detroit burden. If your franchise is as potent as you seem to think it is, Doug Wilson, then it’s time to support yourself. Build a brand. Better yet, win some games in May. Just a hint.
Typically, when I spout something to start the live blog, it usually comes back to haunt me. Games against the Bitter Bitch Brittle Backbiting Boring Blues have gone that way. I write a ditty blasting them for being stupid and sucking, and then the Wings lose. It’s happened, you know, more than once.
But yesterday, I had no doubt. The headline was, “Hockey’s Best Goalie: James F. Howard”. I had no doubt because I knew for a fact that even if the Wings were to lose last night, it wouldn’t be the fault of the JFH. Why could I say that?
Because it never is. I don’t say that facetiously. Back when Ozzie was manning the fort, he used to hint to the Diggers after losses that it may not have been entirely his fault. Five goals Ozzie? That’s your fault. It just is. Chicago gave up five last night and they’re blaming it on team defense. Sure. But team defense gets better when your goalie plays kinda good, you know?
Chicago’s giving up goals by the ass ton. They’ll deny it’s Crawford’s fault because to admit that would equate to just admitting the Cup is a pipe dream. But here are the facts. His save percentage is .899 to Howard’s .931. His GAA is, uh oh, 2.91 to Howard’s 1.83. Little Brother’s played two more games and given up 29 more goals than Detroit. That’s got to be disturbing if you’re a Hawk fan. Tsk, tsk.
Howard, however, is the best in the business right now. 16 out of 21: less than two goals allowed. That’s disgusting. It’s obscene and to many of us, pornographic. He’s playing better than any goalie we’ve seen in Detroit since Hasek’s playoff run in ‘02. And that was a small sample. For that entire season Hasek’s stats pale in comparison to JFH’s: 2.15 GAA, .917 save percentage and 5 shutouts. Shit. Howard’s got 3 on 3 December. Almost 4 after last night. Go to Hasek’s stat page and compare. Howard’s having a better year, statistically, than Hasek ever had. Ever. He won’t equal the 13 shutouts in 97, but he’ll surpass Hasek’s best win totals.
He’s better than Vernon was in terms of the regular season. Better than Joseph. Better than suicidal Manny and better than Osgood. Better than Chevaldae and Stefan and Hanlon.
You see where I’m going. And if you’re the rest of the league, just go ahead and shiver. This may be the best goalie we’ve seen in Detroit since Sawchuk.
So, when the bitter bitches in Denver and St. Lose and Chicago point to the imminent departure of The Perfect Human as the certain demise of The Dynasty?
James Fuching Howard may have something to say about that.
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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: email@example.com