The Malik Report
It was past Gordie and Murray Howe’s bed time when they arrived in Saskatoon. But even at that late of an hour, Gordie Howe still demonstrated his sense of humour.
Updated with more videos at 4:03 AM: The Red Wings and their fathers/mentors boarded a late-night flight to Phoenix sitting two points behind the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning thanks to Detroit's 8th win in their last 9 games.
While the Wings' 3-0 victory over the Colorado Avalanche was both a 1-0 win in spirit and required a surprisingly correct no-goal call by officials to secure (bailing out shitty positioning by Mrazek on Gabriel Landeskog's shot and both Kyle Quincey and Darren Helm literally spinning their wheels)...
The Wings made up for their slow start with a strong 2nd period and a dominant 3rd against the speedy and turnover-happy Avs, giving Petr Mrazek every opportunity to stop single, unobstructed shots when Detroit wasn't blocking 16 Avs attempts--or forcing the Avs to try and catch up while defending against the Wings' transition game, forecheck and strong, efficient cycling game some 200 feet from Mrazek.
Gabe Polsky's documentary chronicling Slava Fetisov and the Soviet ice hockey team, Red Army, is slowly making its way into theatres across the U.S. and Canada, but the most important part of the film to fans like you and me has received afterthought treatment. Red Wings fans remember Fetisov, Sergei Fedorov (who will be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame next weekend), Slava Kozlov, Vladimir Kontstantinov and Detroit area resident Igor Larionov as members of the Russian 5 and pioneers who broke down international borders.
The Motor City and Arsenal of Democracy was very proud of "our Russians"--they won 3 Stanley Cups and earned a total of 11 Stanley Cup rings in Detroit--and while Hockey Night in Canada would insist that the Maple Leafs were playing the Soviets when Detroit came to town, and while St. Louis and sometimes Chicago would chant, "USA, USA!" when a team of still mostly Canadian Wings would play another American-based team consisting of mostly Canadians, the Russian 5 were our players.
According to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Tracey Myers, Scotty Bowman and his son, Blackhawks manager Stan Bowman, have finally seen the film, and Scotty both addressed finally getting to see behind-the-Iron Curtain footage of players who "got away"...
Three Red Wings prospects played hockey on Thursday, but box scores are what I've got for you, so:
In the OHL: Tyler Bertuzzi registered an assist in the Guelph Storm's 9-4 win over Peterborough, which is good, but Bertuzzi also earned 11 minutes in penalties--taking a double-minor for roughing in the 2nd period and 2-5-and-a-game for instigating in the 3rd--which isn't so swell.
Bertuzzi's continued to score in bunches during his last year in Major Junior Hockey, registering 34 goals, 38 assists and 79 points in only 50 games played, good for 6th in OHL scoring, and his penalty minutes are "down" at 69, but he continues to get in fights, and given his concussion and/or neck injury issues, that's dangerous.
Guelph's fallen off a bit and sits in 4th place in the OHL's Western Conference, but it's still a stacked team despite World Junior Championship absences and injury bug issues, so the OHL's 2014 champions will be defending their title this spring.
Update: 1. FYI:
2. Technically, Thursday was the birthday, and the boss gave me the option of writing the quick take and going to bed instead of staying up till 5 AM to cover the late-breaking stuff. I am not sure what I'll do; I'll take a nap and see how I feel at 3 AM.
The scoresheet lies from time to time, and in the case of the Red Wings' 3-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche, there should be a big asterisk after the 3*.
The Red Wings were in fact tied with the Avs--as in a scoreless tie--for over half the game, and after the Wings scored the game's first goal, they nursed a one-goal lead for another 25 minutes before scoring two empty-netters;
Realistically speaking, the same shaky Petr Mrazek who gave up a squeaker negated by an accurate hand pass call ended the game making smart saves instead of a sound, stout defense, and while the Wings weren't able to turn Semyon Varlamov into Swiss cheese, Justin Abdelkader's power play goal is all Detroit needed to stifle the high-scoring Avs and their high-speed attack while playing clean, efficient hockey against a team that loves to muck and grind.
I hate posting filed-directly-before-the-game articles because I think they're bad luck, but MLive's Ansar Khan adds a twist to the Helene St. James, Bob Duff and Gregg Krupa's takes on Henrik Zetterberg and Mike Babcock's trade deadline-related comments by speaking to Ken Holland about his thoughts:
"If we can't upgrade - and I'm not talking a little bit - I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense," general manager Ken Holland said. "There isn't one move I can make that can guarantee any playoff round wins. I have to gauge the cost and the impact they're going to have. The word I'm using is 'upgrade.' Are there players available at a price you think you can live with?"
The Red Wings would like to upgrade their defense, ideally with a right-handed shooter who can generate offense for a unit that doesn't score a lot. But the Red Wings have flourished on the power play (they ranked first in the NHL before Thursday's game in Colorado), so perhaps it isn't a pressing need.
"We were looking for a right-shooting defenseman that could play on the power play and generate points," Holland said. "We made pitches in the summer. Part of that desire was to have him play on the power play. Mike Babcock and the coaches have made adjustments. Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser have done a good job (as point men on the units). I don't know that we need a right shot D to be on the power play anymore.
Tonight's Red Wings-Avalanche game isn't far off (9 PM EST on FSD/NBCSN and NBCSN's web service/Sportsnet 360/97.1 M); the 9 PM EST start = early notebooks and miscellaneous articles have already been posted as part of the evening and/or "early overnight" news cycle, an incredibly diverse set of stories constitute what I can only describe as a scattershot entry.
First, let's get the elephant in the room out of the way: I was as surprised as anyone to read Henrik Zetterberg and Mike Babcock's very measured, balanced takes on the Wings' need to trade or not make a trade while speaking with the Free Press's Helene St. James and the Windsor Star's Bob Duff; the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa also took note of the pair's remarks, and Zetterberg's, "We know the window is closing" [for himself and Pavel Datsyuk] comments are still a little jarring:
The Grand Rapids Griffins now have Tom McCollum and Jared Coreau tending their net again, so the team's chosen to release interim back-up Pat Nagle, who will head back to the ECHL's Fort Wayne Komets, but the team took a novel approach in addressing the fact that both Xavier Ouellet and Alexey Marchenko are on Detroit's "Fathers' Trip."
Instead of recalling Richard Nedomlel, the Griffins signed a Toledo Walleye defenseman to a pro try-out for tomorrow and Saturday's home games against the Rochester Americans, and they signed a veteran who may be getting a try-out because he's a veteran who can help the team should Detroit need to either recall several defensemen...Or make a trade:
NIGHTINGALE SIGNED TO PTO, NAGLE RELEASED
The Grand Rapids Griffins on Thursday signed defenseman Jared Nightingale to a professional tryout and released goaltender Pat Nagle from his professional tryout.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Nightingale is a 10-year veteran of the AHL, having accumulated 51 points (14-37—51) and 888 penalty minutes in 413 career games between the Springfield Falcons (2005-06), Iowa Stars (2006-07), Hartford Wolf Pack (2007-11; 2014-15), Chicago Wolves (2007-08), Connecticut Whale (2011-12), Syracuse Crunch (2012-13), Rockford IceHogs (2013-14) and Norfolk Admirals (2014-15).
Updated 2x with some intriguing trade talk at 4:11 PM: The morning skate prior to tonight's Red Wings-Avalanche tilt (9 PM EST on FSD/NBCSN/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM; Justin St. Pierre and Brad Watson will referee tonight's game, with Pierre Racicot and Andy Galloway working the lines) yielded some serious-ass jitters when the beat writers reported that Pavel Datsyuk skipped the morning skate, but the vast majority of today's talk involved the Wings-Avs rivalry's current form and next year's Stadium series game.
On the Avs' side of the ice, the "big story" involved a single personnel swap, as noted by the Denver Post's Mike Chambers...
Updated 2x at 2:16 PM: OH THANK GOODNESS, Datsyuk is OK.
The timing of tonight's game between the Red Wings and Avalanche (9 PM EST on FSD/NBCSN/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM) is a little strange, and the "morning skate" is just starting for the Avs as I write this at approximately 12:30 EST, so we're going to do some "articles first" in what is usually a Twitter post (and you can also have fun reading The Hockey News's Lyle Richardson's summary of the Wings-related trade rumors if you wish).
Most of you will be watching the game on NBCSN, so here's Pro Hockey Talk's Ryan Dadoun's game set-up:
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.