The Malik Report
The Red Wings have a significant amount of work to do when they return to practice today, and they've got some 'splaining to do, too.
The Wings didn't anticipate facing "must-win" situations during what's going to be a particularly difficult Western Canadian Swing (the Wings play 4 games in 4 different cities over the course of 6 nights, starting with Wednesday's game in Vancouver and continuing on Friday in Calgary, Saturday in Edmonton and next Monday in Winnipeg), but dropping consecutive games to Phoenix, San Jose (albeit via a shootout), Ottawa and the Rangers--with three of those losses coming a home-stand--means that the 6-4-and-2 Wings need to right their listing ship as soon as possible.
As noted in the Wings-Rangers wrap-up, coach Mike Babcock was particularly disappointed with the high number of turnovers the Wings are committing between their own blueline and the opposition's blueline, suggesting that the team's tendency to give up 30+ shots an evening has everything to do with the team's inability to move the puck up ice without surrendering possession and control to their opponents.
This morning, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness notes that Niklas Kronwall seconded his coach's remarks:
Red Wings prospect news: McCollum backstops back-to-back wins for Griffins; Mantha, Bertuzzi roll on
The Detroit Red Wings' prospects wrapped up a busy weekend in mostly winning fashion, and a Red Wings prospect who's essentially on "probationary" status via an AHL-only contract took two big steps foward over the past two days.
The Grand Rapids Griffins lost a 5-0 home decision to the Charlotte Checkers on Friday night, and then they headed on the road for what will end up being a thousand-plus-mile bus trip across the midwest.
The Griffins' website provides a superb game recap:
The Detroit Red Wings' schedule ahead is a busy one: they'll leave town on Tuesday to take part in what is now a once-yearly Western Canadian swing, playing the Canucks on Wednesday, October 30th, heading to Calgary on Friday, November 1st, battling the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday the 2nd, heading to Winnipeg to finally play the Jets on Monday the 4th. Then the team returnshome for a 4-game home stand and a month in which the team will play 8 of their 11 post-Western Canadian swing games at home.
Something tells me that some of the Wings' players wanted to leave for Vancouver immediately after Saturday's game given the eggs the Wings have laid over the past week. The Wings followed up their 5-2 loss to Phoenix a week ago Saturday with at least something of an improvement, opening their 3-game home stand with a 1-0 shootout loss to San Jose, but the bottom's fallen out over the past two games.
Getting whacked 6-1 by Daniel Alfredsson's former employer on Wednesday was bad; I hate to say it, but surrendering 40 shots en route to a 2-1 OT loss to the moribund Rangers--with the Wings frittering away 1-0 and 2-1 leads, and yielding the final goal with all of 12.9 seconds left in OT--may have been worse.
As the subject suggests, Fox Sports Detroit's Chris Osgood held a Twitter Q and A on Fox Sports Detroit's Twitter account during the second period of the Wings' 3-2 OT loss to the New York Rangers on Saturday.
As some of you are not Twitter fans, I'm dedicating an entry to it instead of jamming it in the overnight report so that you may read it if you wish to do so, and avoid it if you wish to do so:
The Grand Rapids Griffins have had a pretty bumpy start to their season, but the Griffins may be starting to turn things around. The team rallied from a 2-1 deficit to defeat the Chicago Wolves 3-2 at the Allstate Arena on Saturday night, bouncing back from a 5-0 loss to Charlotte on Friday.
They'll continue their slate of 3 games in 3 nights (they lost to Charlotte on Friday) when they travel to Des Moines, Iowa to tangle with the Wild tomorrow night, and by the time they head back to Grand Rapids on Monday morning, the team will have endured a little over a thousand miles on their bus.
The Griffins' website provides a game recap:
Frustrating. Frustrating as hell. The Red Wings have lost four straight games now, having dropped consecutive games to Phoenix, San Jose, Ottawa and now a 3-2 overtime decision to the New York Rangers that was anything but fair to Jimmy Howard, who was absolutely sensational in the loss for the now 6-4-and-2 Wings.
Something is bugging the Wings, just as something was bugging Todd Bertuzzi enough that he had to be sat for the third period, and the Wings either can't or won't hold on to a lead.
Detroit got off to a good enough start, trading chances with the Rangers but getting the first goal in what was more of a penalty-free "feeling-up" than feeling-out process in the 1st period, with Drew Miller chipping in a slick goal on a 2-on-1 with 2:48 left in the 1st...
This isn't good: Red Wings prospect Phillipe Hudon's been trying to crank up his physical game of late, engaging in fights and taking more penalties due to his scrappy play, but he was ejected from the Victoriaville Tigres' 5-3 loss to Drummondville due to an illegal check to the head of an opponent, and as such, the QMJHL reports that it's suspended Hudon:
The Director of Player Safety of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Raymond Bolduc, announced today that player Philippe Hudon of the Victoriaville Tigres is suspended until further notice for a check to the head. The incident will be studied further before a final decision is rendered.
The Director of Player Safety will be able to take his final decision once he has viewed the videos of the incident, taken into consideration the medical report, spoken to the players and organisations involved and after consulting the disciplinary committee.
Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod was suspended for 5 games for a check to Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall "in the numbers," and while McLeod suggested that he never meant to hurt Kronwall, and Kronwall, who missed two games with a concussion, insisted that he "put himself in a bad spot," he deferred to the NHL's Department of Player Safety as to whether the hit was clean or illegal.
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater's weighed in on Kronwall's comments, and I really don't know where to begin here:
When Cody McLeod made that hit on Detroit’s Niklas Kronwall, a lot of people got silly with their over-reactions, some calling it “inexcusable” and “indefensible” and others who don’t know much about hockey going into more hysterics. At the time, I said that it was a late hit and would likely result in a suspension, which turned out to be the case. I also said that Kronwall put himself in a bad spot by keeping his head low around the dasher while playing a puck, then shifting his direction. And of course, all that got me was a hail storm of nasty Twitter invective from Wings fans and other high-horse knights of the keyboard.
That "others who don't know much about hockey going into more hysterics" link goes to Deadspin's take on the Avalanche's announcers' insistence that Kronwall got a taste of his own medicine, and that McLeod had to "finish" his hit to take out the Red Wings' top defenseman because that's what hockey players are supposed to do.
Updated 9x at 6:05 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to snap a 3-game winless streak when they face off against the New York Rangers this evening (7 PM, FSD/MSG/NHL Network U.S. with the usual Center Ice/GCL blackout/97.1 FM; tonight is Hockey Fights Cancer night at the Joe, and the Wings are holding a bone marrow registry this evening), and the Wings are all about purple and pink this evening:
The Plymouth Whalers are holding their "Pink Out!" game as they host Sarnia this evening, too, and the Toledo Walleye's home opener takes place tonight when the Walleye host the Wheeling Nailers, so it's a busy hockey Saturday all around.
The New York Rangers settled their legal differences with NHL.com, but they still post most of their content at BlueShirtsUnited.com, not their website, and here's what they recommend we "Watch For" this evening:
The Red Wings kind-of-sort-of pre-revealed that a limited number of single-game tickets for the Winter Classic were going on sale on Tuesday, October 22nd during an episode of Wingspan, three days prior to the actual press release stating as much, and 97.1 the Ticket, in announcing a contest for tickets to the Alumni Showdown on the Stoney and Bill Show, reveals when the Alumni Showdown's single-game tickets will be released to the public:
Listen to Stoney and Bill all week long for your chance to win a pair of tickets before you can even buy them to the 2013 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park on December 31!
Come be part of hockey history at the 2013 Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings Alumni Showdown™ December 31 at Comerica Park™. Tickets go on sale Monday, November 4 at 10 a.m.
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.