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Abel to Yzerman

DD’s Dig In On Implosive Rumor

Updated 0650:  After a month-long walkabout, the Acid Queen has returned and returned with a flourish.  I mention it here because her first post-walkabout topic is the generator of this particular disussion, Boy Bander Dwayne Klessel.  Read her thoughts here and take note of her pointer to a recent bloggers’ access conversation at the Atlanta Journal Constitution web site.  I think you’ll find that interesting.

Oh, the drama.  When Klessel’s boy wonder, Andy Strickland, posted his anonymously-sourced report of continuing friction in the Wings room yesterday a variety of reactions ensued.

First: we read it and wondered, naturally, if there was any truth to it whatsoever.  We’ll get to that.

Second: the A2Y correspondence staff went into overdrive, contacting Strickland and the DD’s, sharing a block of pleasing cheddar, and considering how to present the info flooding our Commodore 64’s.

Third:  we waited for the fallout from Hockeytown.

Immediately after the “report” was posted on Dwayne’s retail rumor site, I dropped a note to Strickland, asking him if he’d care to share with us any more details he may have left out.  Here’s his response:

Strickland email, 29 Jan

What are your questions? I’ll be happy to answer any questions that you have as long as you understand I will not tell you who told me what. Please don’t try to guess what player told me what. It’s not fair to a Manny Legace to throw his name out there just because he played for the red Wings. I have been covering the NHL and International hockey for several years and know people throughout the NHL. If you live in detroit and cover the club you should poke around.

Yeah, I’ll poke around a bit.  And as for not guessing?  Guessing’s what you do when reporters resort to anonymous sources.  One time…ok.  Twice…irritating.  Consistently?  Something stinks. 

Not fair to Legace?  Jeez Andy.  Ask around…errr, poke around.  Some will say I haven’t been fair to Manny for at least a year now.  And how fair is it to he and Jamie Rivers to write about friction in Detroit, while covering the Blues, claiming “sources”, but not naming them?  Is there anyone else we should consider, other than Legace and Rivers?

So, I replied.  And here’s what I asked him.

Is your source of information on discontent among the Wings a current Detroit player?

What prompted you to follow this story in the first place, considering your affiliation with the Blues?

How does this differ from the friction common to all the Bowman teams, even those prior to the Wings?

You mention Robert Lang, Chris Chelios and Matt Schneider as leaders of a group of players dissatisfied with the coaching staff.  How are they making their voices heard? Have they addressed management?

Does your source indicate Steve Yzerman’s feelings regarding the current situation?

Have you and Manny Legace discussed the Wings room? If so, does he concur with your assessment?

It’s been just under 24 hours since I posed those questions and I haven’t heard back yet.  Nor do I really expect to.  Why?  Thank you for asking.

Because DD captain Ansar Khan(!) blew him out of the water yesterday.  First, in response to an email we sent him asking for reaction.

Khan(!) email, 29 Jan

It’s crap. I’ll just say this: Sure, Babcock’s not the loveable sort, but isn’t that why they hired him? They didn’t want another players’ coach like Dave Lewis, they wanted someone to kick these guys in the pants after two playoff flops. I can tell you this: The front office is very happy with the way the team has played this season. They really thought they’d be struggling to make the playoffs and they feel they’ve overachieved, that Babcock has gotten the most out of them.

But Khan(!) was just starting, and I’ll tell you I’m proud of the young man.  He took to his blog and let loose the hounds.

I got a couple of e-mails today asking about a “report’’ from a St. Louis radio guy who apparently is spending too much time talking with Manny Legace and Jamie Rivers. He writes in his blog (I’m not giving it any credibility by providing a link) about widespread dissension in the Wings locker room, painting a picture of an impending mutiny against Mike Babcock.

Khan(!) writes best when he’s got that sarcastic anger thing going on, and this is good stuff.  Every reference to Strickland’s piece is as the “report.”  Nice.  He picks it apart line by line, pointing out the idiocy of it.

The “report’’ also claims that Chris Chelios, Mathieu Schneider and Robert Lang are leading the insurrection. OK, so Lang and Babcock aren’t exactly best buddies, but to label Chelios and Schneider as malcontents is laughable.

Ted Saskin might differ with that, but the point is there.  Khan(!) wasn’t the only DD to get in on the act.  Both Kulfan and St. James added a few lines this morning in their game-day stories.

Ted Kulfan/Detroit News

The Wings were shocked to hear about an Internet report out of St. Louis that said there’s widespread dissension and a revolt against Babcock.

“There’s no truth to it,” said Draper, who the story stated had a loud argument with Babcock after the Colorado loss Jan. 20. “That kind of caught me off guard. I haven’t seen the story, but there’s nothing to it.”

Babcock said there was no truth to the report.

Helene St. James/Detroit Free Press

Draper was surprised to hear of an unsubstantiated Web report Monday out of St. Louis. In a blog on the Website hockybuzz.com, Andy Strickland wrote, “Sources tell me Babcock and former Selke Trophy winner Kris Draper had a major blowup in Colorado in which the two exchanged one curse word after another.”

And from Andy?  Crickets.  Here’s the real crux of the whole thing.  The guy has allowed his name to be associated with a fraud, then publishes (posts) explosive accusations about a team his fan base despises, refusing to provide anything other than “sources” as his provider of information.

And, meanwhile, Klessel is laughing all the way to the bank as Wing fans the world over click over to his site.  Young Andy said in the email I referenced above that “he’s covered the NHL and international hockey for several years”.  He says he “knows people around the NHL.”  Well, that’s nifty.  At what point are you going to start acting like the responsible journalist you wish us to believe you are?  You want credibility Andy?  How about backing up your “report” with some substance?

Needless to say, if Strickland chooses to reply to our questions, we’ll post them here.


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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: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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