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Abel to Yzerman

You Wanted The Best? Well You Got The Best

It’s funny.  Almost every series we’ve heard the same thing.  Columbus fans, thinking they were going to witness the birth of some new rivalry….they “wanted the Wings.” 

Then the Poultry.  Strange but they, and their fan Earl Sleek, may have been the only smart ones…I never heard them utter a word, never read a sentence, that would have indicated they “wanted the Wings.”

The Hawks? Oh yes.  They craved that matchup.

And now?  Pens fans will tell you they’ve “wanted” Detroit.  They “wanted” that rematch, that shot at redemption toward Hossa.

It goes back to what we said here Friday, this “tongue in cheek” comment…

Here’s what I expect out of fans of a team playing the Red Wings for the Stanley Cup:  humility, reasonable public expectations, admission and submission.

They all say it.  Their fans chant it.  The hockey Gore is pulsing with it.  Everybody “wants” the Wings.  But in the room? I’m betting Columbus would have preferred San Jose. Anaheim would have liked to have seen Calgary.  And the Blackhawks would have preferred anyone but the team that reminded them of their place in life.

And looking back at the way he conducted himself last year, you’d have to think Sidney Crosby wanted no part of the Wings again either.  Why?  Because they stifle him.  They frustrate him like no one ever has and they turn him into the little bitch we’ve seen again and again.  We haven’t seen Kirk Maltby get under anyone’s skin in a long time.  It’s almost like the league has tuned him out.

Not Sid though boy.  Not Sid.

Kirk was doing what he does, he was giving guys lip service and stuff like that and so I two-handed him on top of the foot, he felt like it was necessary to keep talking after the game and I felt I’d whack him and that was it.

They “wanted” Chris Osgood.  Read the blogs, the message boards, the MSM.  Osgood’s mediocrity would win the day for the Pens, eh?  Well, you wanted him. You got him to the tune of 31 saves and another night where he drastically outplays the opposing goaltender.  Mason, Hiller, Khabibulin and now Fleury.  17 games Osgood has played now and he’s been the best goalie on the ice for at least 14 of them.

Less than 24 hours between Games 1 and 2 and a real quick turnaround for some tired, battered Wings.  A split from the Pens is entirely possible and it would mean a very different series than last year’s.

But.  But if the Wings can do this tonite?  If they can repeat last year’s series start and take a 2-0 lead to Pittsburgh?  Then we’re staring 12 right in the face brother.  Right in the face.

A few observations from last night….

—Darren Helm is a Wing for life.  He’ll never wear another jersey except for the Canadian national team.  And I’ll bet you they’re talking about that lately.  I’ll bet Steve Yzerman is thinking real hard about what that kid could bring to that team.  Answer me this and be honest…if you’re in Canada, looking toward Vancouver in ‘10, would you rather have Joe Thornton on that team or Darren Helm? 

—So the whole “depth” thing wasn’t just some urban legend, eh?  Justin Abdelkader from Ville Leino.  Abdelkader from Leino. 

—I’m not so concerned about the Wing PK anymore.  Looked great last night.  Looked great in Game 5 against Chicago.  Even without the Selke winner, it’s coming around. Finally.  But if last night is any indication, that may not be the issue we expected.  Four total minors last night? Is that right?  Interesting.  In my opinion, Pittsburgh got a way with a lot last night.  I’ll reserve judgment on that for now.

—Back to Crosby.  It really is a joy to see the Wings frustrate him.  He’s truly a whining little bitch and that really comes to the fore with every game against Detroit.  Zetterberg knows exactly how to play him and the Wings know that when he gets flustered, it affects his game to a great degree.  I’m kinda lazy so I’ll just throw this question out there.  How many times this postseason have opponents held Malkin and Crosby to zero combined goals?

Here’s the thing with the Wings, and if Pens fans recognize it they have to be nervous.  When the Wings start to sniff it, when the Cup is this close and there is chum in the water…they’re a very tough team to beat.  The whole “winning the Cup twice in a row is the hardest thing in sports” deal is shifting.  Right now, only 3 wins away? It very well could be this: Defeating the defending champions when they have the Cup in their sights again is the toughest task in sports. 

But hey, you “wanted” us, right?



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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