My problem with Abdelkader is he hasn't gotten any better. Datsyuk and Lidstrom became gym rats and honed their crafts as the seasons went by. Abdelkader is the same player he was when he broke in.
Abdelkader actually is a gym rat, I think.
I dunno. I have a hard time giving him a hard time for not suddenly becoming a 30-goal scorer. (Actually, with ten in this shortened season, he's projecting pretty positively for an 82-game campaign.) Bottom line: he's a bottom-sixer, basically a fourth-liner, and he's being asked to be a first-line power-forward, because our GM has dropped the ball on the we-need-a-big-mean-scoring-winger-who-can-complement-Datsyuk's-playmaking-skillz front.
Thing is, this year is seeing something of a role reversal of previous seasons. I think its no longer a case of the Ducks brawn vs the Wings skill. Just look at our D corps - they're all big boys. Kronwall is our smallest guy at 6-0 190. Whenever Perry and Getzlaf are on the ice, so will be Ericsson and Abdelkader, so if they start trying to pull their usual crap we've got a couple of players who can stand up to them.
The 3rd line are in for a shock to the system though, they'd better be prepared to stand up to it.
I dunno if I'd call it a reversal. We're still a puck-possessing, puck-moving, kill-with-skill unit. And not many on our back-end play an especially mean, physical brand of hockey.
But, we showed earlier this season that we can walk into the Honda Center and school some fools. And, yes - definitely give-'n'-take better than we have in awhile. Which is very nice to see.
I think that first goal last night, Hank actually using Dillon's workover to his benefit - that's sort of us in microcosm.