The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/06/12 at 09:20 AM ET
Updated #2: Now Ericsson’s injury is being described as a “sore hip,” according to Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros: After two very busy days at the World Championships (see last overnight report and Saturday post for news and, surprisingly enough, mysterious links to web streams that just might help the geo-blocked watch the Worlds…how did those get in there?) the Red Wings’ participants—which now number an even dozen players with Kyle Quincey joining Team Canada—will receive something of a “slow day” as the six-game slate only includes two Wings players participating in games in Valtteri Filppula (Finland) and Pavel Datsyuk (Russia).
From the schedule post, here are today’s games, with their starting times updated and translated to Eastern Daylight Time:
May 6: 9:15 a.m. – Finland vs. Slovakia; [10:15 AM] – Russia vs. Norway
As Saturday’s post covered most of the results I’m about to discuss again, I will readily admit that, from a Wings fan’s standpoint, the fact that the Worlds’ schedule essentially has players playing two out of every three days between now and May 15th is what worries the hell out of me.
Two out of three days from May 4th to 15th equals seven games over the course of 12 days for each and every one of Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen, Calle Jarnkrok, Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg (all playing for Sweden), Valtteri Filppula (Finland), Pavel Datsyuk (Russia), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Justin Abdelkader and Jimmy Howard (both playing for the U.S.), with Petr Mrazek not likely to earn the opportunity to play in as many as three more games from May 17-20 (which would be a total of 10 games played over the course of 18 days for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place-finishing teams) as he’s the Czech Republic’s third goalie, and Kyle Quincey only likely to play in a sum total of 8 games as he’ll join a Canadian team that’s already played two games on an “off day” today.
In terms of Saturday’s action, Pavel Datsyuk was held scoreless but went 9-and-5 in the faceoff circle and played 15:38 in Russia’s 5-2 win over Latvia. Datsyuk looked very good while readjusting to big ice, and it was Uffe Bodin of Hockeysverige.se who got the only fireworks from Datsyuk (the Free Press covered this, too, but I saw it on Twitter just like they did, so I’m not stealing their intellectual property by doubly mentioning it) when asking him about ticket prices (cue the “Fiaskot!” headlines in Swedish) among other things…
With the obligatory, “You’re not going to get much out if it,” and the, “It’s Russian, dear God, there’s spyware galore over there” warnings, you can watch Datsyuk speak to Sovetsky Sport on video and check out their goal-by-goal highlights if you wish, and Sports.ru posted a nice photo gallery from the game, but the game’s star and media’s focus involved Evgeni Malkin, who scored two goals.
Datsyuk is playing on the second line, with Yevgeni Kuznetsov and Sergei Shirokov, and he spoke to Sportbox.ru’s Denis Gusev (as usual, this is very, very roughly translated) after the game…
Question: The first half-period was worrisome, the team didn’t really start to play…
Datsyuk: “Of course, it was difficult because this was the first game. It’s a good thing we picked the Latvian national team.”
Question: You were occasionally produced on a line with Evgeni Malkin….
Datsyuk: “You wrote it, and I was produced with Malkin…”
Question: What’s the difference between the levels of play of KHL and NHL players?
Datsyuk: “There’s no level that’s important, but team play. It’s necessary for the good of the whole team—we were brought on the ice together.”
Question: Previously, the team played a more aggressive style, and now it’s different. Do you like it?
Datsyuk: “The main thing is the result. We’ll need at least seven people to defend.”
Question: Do you feel the opposition gave you special treatment?
Datsyuk: “Of course, because the game was about power.”
Question: Tickets to games are expensive, so the crowd’s small. How do you feel about the empty stands?
Datsyuk: “It’s okay, it’s the beginning of the championship. They’ll all catch up.”
And Sport-Express’s Mikhail Zislis and Andrei Kuznetsov about the game:
Russian forward Pavel Datsyuk said that the difficult start—Latvia took a 1-0 lead—was understandable.
“We still had the entire first game of the tournament, but it’s always difficult to start,” said Datsyuk. “Moreover, the Latvian national team looked very good. Only in the second period, we could say, we picked up the key to beating the Latvian goalie and were able to eventually win.”
Question: Sometimes you were produced with Malkin…
Datsyuk: “You can throw produce over the fence.” (laughs) “But I still played with Evgeni.”
Question: How big is the difference between those on your line who’ve played in the NHL and those who’ve played in the KHL?
Datsyuk: “No need to compare, we’re all one team and we came here for our common good.”
Question: Previously, the Russian team played more attacking hockey, and now one thinks more about defense. How comfortable are you personally?
Datsyuk: “For me, the main thing is the result. And if you need to play seven defensemen, then so be it.”
Question: Do you feel you received special treatment from your opponent?
Datsyuk: “Of course, the sides of my game, where am I without them?”
Question: In general, did you appreciate the Latvian tea because it’s clear that they’re not the strongest contender?
Datsyuk: “I’m still in the tournament, and I haven’t played anyone but them. It’s hard to say. The main thing is that we won.”
Question: Even the Swedish leader and your teammate in Detroit, Henrik Zetterberg, complained about the half-empty stands. Today’s game had very few fans. How do you feel about going on the ice in that kind of situation?
Datsyuk: “I don’t know, I thought there were enough people in the stands. But the most important thing is that we had a full bench, so everything is fine.” (laughs) “But seriously, it’s only the beginning of the tournament. I think everyone will catch up.”
For the record, VLT.se’s Kevin Johansson took a little offense to the fact that Datsyuk answered a question about playing against his Swedish teammates with, “I’m here to play hockey, and it doesn’t matter where I’m doing it,” but that seems like…just something Pavel might say.
In Saturday’s second game, Jimmy Howard stopped 30 of 34 shots and Justin Abdelkader went 10-and-10 in the faceoff circle, took 5 shots, played 14:32 and crashed, banged and even dove in Team USA’s 5-4 OT victory over Canada.
“It’s an easy game to get up for,” said Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, who stood on head for Team USA. “You’re having fun out there, and that’s exactly what it was today — fun.”
And while Hockey Canada and Teem USA’s website’s recaps, as well as the CP’s Chris Johnston’s recap, note that it was an up-and-down affair—the U.S. led 1-0, trailed 2-1, and then took 3-2 and 4-3 leads, before surrendering a late game-tying goal, Howard played well in what he told USA Today’s Kevin Allen was a freewheeling tilt, Jack Johnson’s 2-goal performance and OT winner included:
“There was a lot of scoring chances at both ends,” Howard said. “If you look at our lineup, everyone can skate really well, and that’s what you need on the big sheet (of ice) over here.”
Johnson’s winner came on the power play because Canada was charged for delay of game for batting the puck out of play in the closing seconds of regulation.
“I saw (U.S. forward) Bobby Ryan standing in front of the net all by himself,” Johnson said. “I wanted to get it to the big guy with great hands, and fortunately it just snuck right through.”
MLive’s Brendan Savage’s Day 2 wrap-up summarizes the significance of the game for the Americans…
“It’s an easy game to get up for,” said Howard. “You’re having fun out there, and that’s exactly what it was today, fun. It’s great to get a good start. We’re now 2-0, and we just have to build off it.”
Abdelkader did not figure in the scoring but his five shots on goal shared the team lead with Kyle Palmieri of the Anaheim Ducks and Alex Goligoski of the Dallas Stars.
Abdelkader, playing on Team USA’s third forward line, saw 14½ minutes of ice time.
The victory was Team USA’s first over Canada in two years and just the second in 18 games dating back to 1985.
Jim Slater of the Winnipeg Jets and Michigan State, Patrick Dwyer of the Carolina Hurricanes and Nate Thompson of the Tampa Bay Lightning also scored for the Americans, who play Slovakia Monday.
For the Canadians, team GM Kevin Lowe explained why the Canadians chose to add Kyle Quincey to the roster:
[L]ate in Canada’s 5-4 overtime loss, the braintrust saw teenager Ryan Murray on the ice in a critical situation. Used sparingly with [Marc] Methot back in the lineup, Murray was filling in for the injured Marc-Edouard Vlasic .
“Vlasic suffered an undisclosed lower-body injury,” said coach Brent Sutter.
Quincey, 26, is expected here Sunday morning. He’s played 257 games with the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche and his current club, the Detroit Red Wings.
“Murray’s still young; we needed a guy with experience,” said Lowe of the replacement for Montreal Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban who injured his right knee in a pre-tournament game in Switzerland last week.
“You need an insurance policy over here,” said Lowe, who put the 18-year-old Murray on the roster and in the lineup for Canada’s 3-2 win over Slovakia Friday while Methot sat out with a minor groin injury.
If it matters, while we’re talking about palyer personnel, Tomas Tatar’s Slovaks received a big boost in the form of Michal Handzus joining the team on Saturday….
And the final game of the day involved strong contributions from many Red Wings players. Jonathan Ericsson didn’t play in Sweden’s 4-1 victory over the Czech Republic,, but boy howdy: Johan Franzen scored a goal, Niklas Kronwall scored a goal and Henrik Zetterberg registered 2 assists the Swedes’ 4-1 win.
Zetterberg was named the team’s best player as he registered 2 assists, went 9 and 7 in the faceoff circle and played 16:48;
Kronwall scored a goal on 2 shots and played 19:42;
Franzen scored a goal on 2 shots, lost his only faceoff and played 17:05;
And Calle Jarnkrok occasionally got a boost to play on Sweden’s 2nd line instead of its checking line, registering 1 shot and going 6 and 5 in the faceoff circle in 15:19 of ice time.
As IIHF.com’s John Sanful noted, Franzen kicked off the scoring...
Sweden got on the board at 2:42 into the first period when Johan Franzén scored his first of the tournament. With a good second effort, Franzén outmuscled Miroslav Blatak in front of the net to put in the rebound off Jakub Stepanek. Loui Eriksson and Henrik Zetterberg added assists.
“There was a loose puck there in front of the net that I tried to get to,” said Franzén. “I had to move the defenceman. It wasn’t a cross-check. It’s part of my game, trying to be in front and be a big body.”
And the Swedes went from there:
Sweden continued to attack and almost added another goal at the halfway point of the period. Franzén, who had an outstanding game, set Zetterberg up for a quick snapshot that Stepanek turned aside and minutes later Niklas Kronwall deked a Czech defender for a shot that was also turned away. Finally, Erik Karlsson sent a booming slapshot on goal that hit Stepanek in the mask.
Fifty seconds into the second period Niklas Kronwall scored a fluky goal to up the Swedes up two. Kronwall had the puck at a sharp angle and took a shot that somehow found its way through Stepanek’s pads on his stick side and went into the net. Zetterberg and Eriksson both earned their second assist apiece in the game.
Sweden nearly added a third, which would have put the game clearly out of reach when Victor Hedman’s slapper squeezed through Stepanek’s pads. Stepanek had come out to challenge the shooter and was well out of this crease. The puck was almost put into the empty net by Gabriel Landeskog but a late challenge by Petr Caslava deflecting it over.
The Czechs cut the lead to 2-1 when Jakub Petruzalek scored off a bad giveaway by Viktor Fasth. The Czechs dumped the puck to the left of Fasth who tried to clear it out of the zone but didn’t get enough on the attempt. The errant pass went directly to the stick of Petruzalek who converted on his chance.
Joel Lundqvist tipped a Niklas Persson shot into the net to make it 3-1 at 10:24 of the period and Persson added an empty netter in the waning minutes of the contest.
The Czech and Slovak press’s contributions to telling the Czech-Sweden tale come in the form of a photo gallery from iSport.cz, a photo gallery from iDnes.cz, for the gents, a cheerleader gallery form Hokej.sk and iSport’s Frantisek Suchan reporting that the Czechs felt that Franzen should have been penalized on the goal because he got his stick up on a Czech defender.
ST.nu’s Goran Sundberg took note of something Kronwall said during an interview on TV4 (sorry, the Kronwall interview is Geo-blocked, like everything else, it seems) about the game getting away from the Swedes after their scintillating start…
“-We lost the initiative and couldn’t quite get back into the game [the way] we wanted,” said Kronwall.
But Hockeysverige.se’s Peter Sibner noted that the Czechs did try to mix things up physically, and that the Swedes felt that they stood up to the challenge solidly enough—as they did to the Czech criticism of Franzen’s goal:
Sweden changed their grip at the start of the game, and Johan Franzen skated in between the first players and ran into a Czech defenseman on the goal line before sending the puck to a 1-0 score.
“Sweden’s goal shouldn’t have counted,” said Czech coach Alois Hadamczik. “But there’s no excuse. I think that Sweden was in front of us throughout the game and they deserve the win.”
“Well, I kind of checked their player into the goalie there,” grinned the scorer, Franzen. “We were a bit more aggressive today, I think.”
Niklas Kronwall scored the 2-0 goal with a randomly-taken shot at the start of the second period, a shot that Czech goalie Jakub Stepanek should have stopped. Apart from a couple of hectic final minutes in the 2nd period, the victory was placed in a safe desposit box, but it was needed most when [goalie] Viktor Fasth received necessary security.
“We stood up for each other well throughout the entire game, there was a strong team spirit today.”
And Kronwall’s goal? Well, I get to smile on this one, because Marie Hallman’s a long-time friend of TMR and someone who’s been very kind regarding ferrying Swedish news my way in the summer, and when I suggested that Kronwall may have learned to shoot at holes in goalies’ armor on Twitter, Marie took note of the comment on Twitter and asked Kronwall about it—and as I usually need to state, this is roughly translated:
It was the goal that perhaps shouldn’t have entered the net. But the puck snuck in behind Stepanek and the right goalpost anyway.
“Yeah, that was the case, yes. It wasn’t something to immediately write home to mom about,” said victorious shooter Niklas Kronwall with a laugh.
And it wasn’t so much thought behind the goal, but that’s what counts after all, and it gave Sweden a small-sided lead to build upon 50 seconds into the middle period.
“Yes, it was a bit lucky, sending the puck just—it got into the goal. If it hadn’t been aimed for probably my teammates would have wondered what I was doing. Now I was lucky that it went in…”
George Malik, who writes a lot about Detroit, tweeted: “The Wings’ players have learned it from Shanahan and Yzerman: that if a goalie cheats off the post, you try to put it in the hole.”
Well Kronwall heard it with a smile as he was addressed.
“Yes, ha ha, it is. But did we talk a lot about it in Detroit? No, I can’t say…But we we may try to take that shot more there (than in Europe)...But we didn’t shoot enough today, though. We will need to shoot more, get more pucks on goal, get more traffic. Make it a little harder on our opponents. We stayed in the corners too much. On the other hand, we kept the puck well in our own zone, so that…There was a lot that was good today.”
From the stands you will see one of those shots—along the goal line and in behind the goalie—is it difficult to do?
“It is? Ha ha. Yeah, there’s hardly one in a hundred that go in there, so I have nothing to complain about, it went in, but…”
Was it a crazy position to shoot from?
“Yeah, it shouldn’t go in, but sometimes they do, you never know when you send the puck into the bag,” says Kronwall, who shines up again like the sun.
Sweden has two straight wins, and Kronwall has been on the ice for a total of 42:42 (21:21 played on average), has taken 5 shots on goal, scored a game-winning goal (against the Czechs) and gone plus one. And to rate his own performance thus far:
“It’s a little half-rusty like this, especially on the large ice with gap control from the neutral zone and stuff like that, there’s a lot that can be better.”
You had to change from your brother today and play with Erik Karlsson?
“Yeah, that’s right…”
What was it like playing with Staffan in the premiere then?
“It was a blast, it was an absolute blast. It was a while ago and we have never played in the national team together before, so it was a lot of fun, but on the other hand, we’re here for a task, we’re here to win games and it doesn’t matter who you end up with out there.”
Not even time to take a second and say, “Hey bro, here we are?”
“No, I don’t know, I haven’t been there yet anyway!”
Franzen was in an equally good mood while speaking to Corren.se (no author listed?):
The former Linkopings HC player, now a member of the Detroit Red Wings, didn’t shoot a shot on goal during the opening game against Norway. Against the Czech Republic he was the first, and that meant a 1-0 lead after just three minutes. Henrik Zetterberg found Loui Eriksson with a brilliant pass in front of the goal. Eriksson’s shot was saved, but the rebound was pushed in by the 101-kilogram Franzen’s strength.
“The puck was there. I bumped into their defenseman and managed to get the puck,” said Franzen.
It was an absolutely acceptable premiere game against Norway (3-1 win), but they played a really good second game against the Czech Republic. The 4-1 victory (1-0, 1-0, 2-1) was a stable one.
“Well, the legs felt better to some extent, although I felt quite the contrary before the game, I must say,” said Franzen.
He praised linemates Zetterberg and Eriksson.
“The line is two very good players…and me. We want to play hockey the same way. It was better today than it was against Norway and hopefully it will be even better in the future,” says the Smaland native Franzen, humbly.
He, like the rest of the Tre Kronor, was critical of the ticket prices that caused the audience fiasco, with half-empty stands, against Norway. On Saturday, after organizers lowered the prices of some tickets, against the Czech Republic, there was a good atmosphere over the 10,000 in the Globen.
“It was fun. The wave went on late and so on. A half-empty Globen is a bit of a bummer.”
Did you have affect the change a bit?
“Well I don’t know. Maybe through the media, then. But they understood very well that they must do something.”
If you don’t mind as I started this entry at…3:30…I can tell you that Franzen said mostly the same thing, save suggesting that he’s got good chemistry with his linemates, while speaking to Aftonbladet’s Hans Abrahamsson Tomas Ros, and I found a wee bit of Kronwall speaking to the IIHF’s website in a rare non geo-blocked slate of post-game interviews as well:
Regarding Ericsson, he told Aftonbladet’s Petter Ohrling that he’s not sure that he’ll be able to recover from the lower-back bruise he suffered on Friday—due to a cross-check, apparently—by Monday’s game against Norway, but Expressen’s Jonatan Lindquist received a different answer, with Ericsson (note that his team Sweden gloves are embroidered with “Big E”) saying that he’s essentially day-to-day, and that he hasn’t had a back problem like the one he’s experiencing now before.
And the Swedes are practicing presently, and Zetterberg was able to take the day off (hopefully that’s all it is), but maybe he earned the day off: Expressen’s Henrik Sjoberg reports that Zetterberg and Franzen took the initiative and called as many Worlds-eligible NHL’ers who might play for Sweden as possible after the Wings were eliminated, working with GM Johan Garpenlov to stock the roster.
Biggy update: SVT.se’s Marie Lehmann reports that Zetterberg is fine, and that he was given a day off to rest. Ericsson will decide whether to play on Monday but Lehmann says he didn’t practice today.
Back on this side of the pond, the Saint John Sea Dogs took a 2-0 series lead over the Rimouski Oceanic via a 3-2 win, and Jurco scored the 2-0 goal. The Sea Dogs built a 3-0 lead and sat on it, but this time they didn’t have to go to overtime, and they’ll get two days to rest up from their double OT thriller on Friday and Saturday’s affair before resuming the series on Tuesday.
And Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager gave Jurco an “honorable mention” for his goal:
Honourable mention: Tomas Jurco, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
Ol’ Tommy Toe-Drag scored his 10th goal of the playoffs and second of the President’s Cup final during the Sea Dogs’ first-period flurry which gave them control of the contest. Less than a minute after Danick Gauthier opened the scoring, Jurco pulled a rebound to his backhand and lifted it high over Océanic goalie Jacob Chouinard’s glove from the slot to double the margin. Coyle has drawn most of the attention in the Port City, but Jurco’s had a superb playoff as well, with 22 points in 14 games. That’s an improvement the Detroit Red Wings second-round pick’s output last spring, when he had 18 in 19 QMJHL post-season games.
In the reiteration department, the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan expands upon MLive’s Brendan Savage’s clean-out-day interview with Kyle Quincey by adding more context to Qunicey’s difficulties in re-acclimating to the Wings’ system of play:
“There’s a huge transition,” Quincey said of being traded. “Just coming in fresh next year with the training camp and seeing where you fit in from the start will be a big difference and hopefully a lot better.”
“It’s just a different role (after a trade),” Quincey said. “You get a role on any team. You come here, and you have to find your new role. Every team you go on, you’re going to be in a different role. That’s part of the game. That’s why they pay you. After a while you kind of see where you fit in. Special teams are where I fit in here the most. You know your role. You come to the rink every day and you know what you have to focus on.”
But finding that role on the fly wasn’t easy, especially being bothered with some groin issues shortly after joining the Wings. In the final week of the season, Quincey was a healthy scratch for one game and was suspended for another game for a hit on Florida’s Tomas Kopecky. Everything added up.
“It’s important for (Quincey) to have a good summer, come back healthy and in great shape, and come here and be the Red Wing he’s capable of being,” coach Mike Babcock said.
Quincey is a restricted free agent, meaning his contract likely won’t get done until later this summer. Where Quincey exactly fits into the lineup next season depends on several variables. Does Nicklas Lidstrom retire or return? Do the Wings sign a free agent to replace free agent Brad Stuart — or does Stuart surprise everyone and re-sign with the Wings?
“Just because of all the decisions they have to make, I have no clue,” Quincey said. “Your guess is as good as mine.”
And finally, in the Sunday rumor category, from the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch, we receive a Parise rumor…
The suitors will line up for New Jersey C Zach Parise on July 1. Detroit is going to make a pitch along with Minnesota. Don’t be shocked if the Bruins try to find a way. They haven’t got much room under the salary cap but GM Peter Chiarelli has a history of shrewd moves
Some gabba from the New York Post’s Larry Brooks...
The Wild, we’re told, plan to pony up for both Zach Parise and Ryan Suter if the pre-eminent impending unrestricted free agents get to July 1, which should make for an interesting competition if the Red Wings join the fight for both, as they are likely to do, whether or not Nick Lidstrom retires.
And this from the Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson:
The Detroit Red Wings loved Darren McCarty’s pugnaciousness as the fighter on their Grind Line with Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby. They’re definitely looking to find a reasonable facsimile of McCarty when the free-agent marketplace opens on July 1. They need some sandpaper in the bottom six. The best UFA out there is Rangers’ Brandon Prust, who can play, fight and disturb. He’s represented by local agent Ritch Winter, who funnels lots of clients to the Wings. Jordin Tootoo, Travis Moen, Cody McLeod, Tom Kostopoulos, Adam Burish and Greg Campbell are also unrestricted. Heck, Tootoo might look good on the fourth line with the Oilers next year as an energy guy.
Update: Geez oh Pete, it never ends.
• In news regarding prospects, part 1: Non-Wings prospect but former prospect camp invitee Derek Roehl, who I mentioned yesterday, is headed to France to continue his playing career, according to Eliteprospects.com;
• In news regarding prospects, part 2: Moving slowly but surely closer toward actual Wings news, the Toledo Blade’s Rachel Lenzi...Wait, she writes for the Bangor Daily News, doesn’t she? Anyway, she profiled the Toledo Walleye and their status as an ECHL team as opposed to an AHL team…
Transitioning from an ECHL team to an AHL team is not an arbitrary decision by organizations and their ownership, or by either league. It takes a certain set of circumstances to make that transition, including finding a suitable parent club in the NHL and being able to fulfill an AHL vacancy if it is available. The Walleye’s private, not-for-profit ownership group purchased the franchise from the owners of the Toledo Storm, which was struggling financially, and considered AHL membership during two seasons of dormancy from 2007-09. The ownership elected to join the ECHL, which was originally known as East Coast Hockey League but changed to just ECHL in May, 2003.
Joining the AHL is still a possibility, but a far-fetched one at this point, as the AHL’s membership is currently capped at 30 teams.
“Right now, I think we’re pretty comfortable that we’re going to be in the same 30 markets that we were in last year,” said Jason Chaimovitch, the AHL’s vice president of communications.
Toledo Arena Sports, Inc., chairman Mike Miller said that Walleye ownership has and would continue to examine AHL ownership opportunities, but acknowledged that AHL ownership comes with higher annual operating expenses. An NHL organization’s AHL farm team is responsible for player salaries, workers compensation and travel expenses. (By comparison, Major League Baseball organizations absorb the cost of minor league player and coaching salaries and compensation, as well as worker’s compensation.)
In addition, joining the AHL costs an ownership group a $3 million entry fee, as opposed to a $500,000 ECHL entry fee, and a larger debt gap would mean consumers make up the difference in the form of higher ticket prices, higher food and beverage prices, and higher souvenir costs.
“We have to proceed with the perspective of, you have to purchase it, operate it, and maintain it successfully,” Walleye general manager Joe Napoli said. “Looking back, there’s a rich tradition of following hockey here. But all of the franchises that have folded, they’ve folded under the pressure of making ends meet.”
• And a Red Wings prospect who did attend a prospect camp, played in the AHL but not the ECHL and happened to play for the Wings this past season spoke to the Bangor Daily News’s Larry Mahoney about his first season after leaving the University of Maine to “turn pro.” Nyquist was apparently back in Maine to attend his alma mater’s awards banquet:
“If you had told me before this season that I would play in the [Stanley Cup] playoffs, I probably wouldn’t have believed it,” said the 22-year-old Nyquist. “So it has been a fun year, for sure.”
He appeared in four Stanley Cup playoff games, but didn’t have any points. Detroit was eliminated in the first round by the Nashville Predators in five games.
“It was a great experience,” said Nyquist. “Obviously, we didn’t perform the way we wanted to. We thought we had a great team and would make a [deep] run. But Nashville is a tough team and they had a great goalie [Pekka Rinne]. The playoffs are so tight. It’s crazy out there. Everyone has to work for every inch of ice,” added Nyquist.
He had 22 goals and 36 assists in 56 games for Grand Rapids and had a goal and six assists in 18 regular season games for the Red Wings. He scored his first NHL goal on a pass from Pavel Datsyuk on March 26 against Columbus.
“It wasn’t a bad score sheet with assists from Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi,” quipped Nyquist. “It was a lot of fun. It was a real nice pass.”
What’s the difference between college and AHL or NHL level hockey?
“There’s definitely more speed [in pro hockey]. It’s a faster game. You can’t be out of position. It’s more structured,” said Nyquist. “You can’t give up the puck in certain places on the ice. It’s important [to avoid turnovers]. Another big difference was the strength of the players. You’re playing against men. It’s a big adjustment,” said Nyquist, who added that playing in Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena was “unbelievable. It’s sold out every night.”
I’d strongly encourage you to continue reading the article as it’s superb…
• And in the personal interest category, part 1: the Free Press’s Zlati Meyer suggests that you haven’t lived in Michigan until you’ve decorated your home with certain types of furniture, including…
IF YOU’RE A RED WINGS FAN: You’ll have to head to eBay if you want to snag a piece of furniture from the Steve Yzerman Collection that Art Van sold. The commercial included jokes about his “working with a lot of different lines” in his job and it possibly being the only furniture “ever designed around a cup holder.”
• And in the personal interest category, part 2: the Detroit News’s Chris McCosky wrote a really amazing article about his own battle with depression in light of Junior Seau’s passing, and the last few paragraphs are essential:
We don’t know exactly what causes the sickness, his or mine. It’s a chemical imbalance or some other malfunction of the brain. Mine may be genetic. His may have been triggered by two decades of head-bashing on the football field.
We don’t know.
But what we had better figure out quickly is a way to educate people and remove the negative stigmas attached to depression. We have to make it easier for everybody to reach out and seek help, but especially for macho, Alpha-male types like Seau, Dave Duerson and Ray Easterling and the three NHL enforcers who recently took their own lives — Wade Belak, Rick Rypien and Derek Boogaard.
There is no shame in getting sick. I know there are other people out there like me, athletes or otherwise, who are fighting this battle silently and alone, without therapy or meds. We may think we got it licked. But we don’t.
Getting through life isn’t the same as living life.
Take it from me, stubbornness and stupidity, vanity and pride serve only as barriers to good health.
Write this number down: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It’s the National Suicide Prevention call line. Nobody is tougher than this disease.
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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.