The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/09/12 at 07:05 AM ET
The Detroit Red Wings earned a measure of redemption for two nights’ worth of self-inflicted wounds, to the tune of a pair of 2-0 deficits and two penalty shots called against the Wings in their loss to Toronto and Sunday night’s Fathers’ Trip finale, but the Wings team that shook off its poor start in Chicago was more willing to get its hands dirty in out-grinding and out-hustling their opponent, allowing them to earn a gritty 3-2 overtime win which had NBC Sports’ broadcasters steaming, or at least one Chicago Blackhawks employee named Eddie Olczyk…
And you know how there are occasions when Mickey Redmond’s bombast perfectly predicts the temperature and/or level of sarcastic snark we Wings fans are going to hear from coach Mike Babcock and his charges? Let’s just say that Mr. Olczyk’s temperament was equally indicative of a Blackhawks team which believed that the Red Wings very literally won dirtily, accusing the Wings of both intentionally injuring Patrick Sharp(the unspoken insinuation is that Pavel Datsyuk slashed Sharp above his left wrist before he scored the 2-0 goal) and receiving unearned favor from the referees on the plays which resulted in all three Wings goals, the Holmstrom-inflicted penalty shot, and more.
Let’s start with the game-tying goal, which Corey Crawford protested while speaking to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Tracey Myers:
It was a crazy ending with Henrik Zetterberg scoring with less than five minutes in regulation to tie it and Pavel Datsyuk getting the game-winner in overtime. Corey Crawford wasn’t happy with the Wings’ second goal.
“A guy came in and lifted my stick before the puck was even near there. That’s how it went under,” he said. “I guess they just don’t pick up on that stuff. We should’ve won that game. The guy came in and interfered. It’s embarrassing.”
When asked if there should’ve been some Detroit penalties late, Quenneville talked of the opportunities the Blackhawks did have and didn’t capitalize on.
“We had a couple of power-plays that would have been nice; would have been nice to score on the penalty shot,” he said. “That’s what it is: tight game, a couple of rolling pucks, one went in and one didn’t go in.”
Defenseman Duncan Keith concurred.
“We get another (goal) there and it definitely helps us out and puts us in a better spot,” he said. “We had chances to score. It was close the whole way and they ended up finding a way at the end.”
And at the other end, as the Chicago Daily Herald’s Tim Sassone noted, the Hawks weren’t happy with the officiating, either:
Crawford was down and out on Datsyuk’s winner that the Red Wings’ star banked in off Leddy from a horrible angle. Crawford was bumped on the play, but it was by teammate Steve Montador wrestling with Tomas Holmstrom.
The Hawks wasted two power play chances in the third period leading 2-1 and had rookie Jimmy Hayes stopped on a penalty shot by Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin. The penalty shot was awarded when Holmstrom covered the puck with his hand in the crease on the goal line. The Hawks thought the puck was in the net, but a video review was inconclusive and the referees had ruled no goal.
“It wasn’t a great (camera) shot,” Quenneville said. “We couldn’t get a good view. The guys all thought it was in.”
Because Quenneville had to pick someone who was on the ice at the time for the penalty shot, he went with Hayes in the clutch situation.
“Jimmy’s a scorer, he’s out there and he’s been playing well,” Quenneville said. “Plus, it’s a fresh look, too. There’s not a lot of history to go on. It was a guess.”
Hayes shot the puck right into Conklin’s pad.
“It was a little surprised (to get picked),” said Hayes, who admitted he was nervous. “I tried to go upstairs on it and didn’t get enough of it.”
Unless choose to listen to the leading questions in the post-game clips below, however, maybe I ought to turn the whole, “The Spirit of the Thing” part of the recap to the Chicago Tribune’s David Haugh:
Seconds after Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk turned his hockey stick into a magic wand and scored the game-winning goal standing behind the net in a 3-2 overtime victory Sunday, Blackhawks defenseman Steve Montador hit the ice hard.
Down go the Hawks indeed. Johan Franzen apparently felt like celebrating the Red Wings’ come-from-behind win with a retaliatory haymaker that dropped Montador, whose stick had tangled with Franzen’s legs. How would Franzen have reacted if the Wings had lost, hit a teammate? The cheap shot drew Franzen a 2-minute roughing penalty.
It was a right hook to the jaw for Montador following a punch to the gut for the Hawks, who blew a 2-0 lead and experienced the pain of their fourth straight loss. They had not lost more than three consecutive games since a five-game skid in March 2009. That was 217 games ago, B.C. according to the Blackhawks calendar — Before the Cup.
These Hawks possess too much talent and experience to set the low-water mark of the post-championship era. That was obvious during a 10-2-1 December. So far in January, they have been as useless as that shovel in your garage. Datsyuk’s goal with 1:52 left in the extra session made the Hawks 0-for-2012 at the United Center.
It has been an unhappy new year for the team with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations, so naturally pessimism wasn’t hard to find in the losing dressing room.
“It’s not going to get any easier for us,’’ said captain Jonathan Toews, who was right.
And we’ll ignore the obligatory, “Detroit Sucks!” comment from Haugh while moving on to Comcast Sportsnet Chicago’s Chris Boden‘s take…
The Blackhawks fell to 0-3-1 in 2012. They were better, but not as good for 60-plus minutes as the team that just passed them in the Central - a Detroit club that played its second road game in as many nights.
The Hawks had their beefs with some non-calls on the game-tying and game-winning goals. As you’ll recall in the first meeting two Fridays ago - the Red Wings created chaos around Corey Crawford, and this time it paid off, legal or illegal. Crawford and his teammates weren’t happy about it, but they also had three other power play chances after converting their first, plus a penalty shot, and couldn’t add on.
Nick Leddy, coming off his minus-6 the previous two games, was solid all night, but was also right there amidst the chaos on the final two goals getting cross-checked into the crease on Dan Cleary’s equalizer.
This was also the fourth loss in the last five home games, and the Hawks haven’t been cashing in on this home-heavy schedule of late that continued into this month/year. That kind of stretch is all it takes to drop you into third place in this division, and that’s where they find themselves with Columbus and Minnesota coming in Tuesday and Thursday.
As well as that of ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers’ “Rapid Reaction”...
How it happened: The Hawks led for most of the contest, but couldn’t hold on. Henrik Zetterberg tied it for the Wings at 15:15 of the third period as Nick Leddy was cross checked in the crease, and Pavel Datsyuk scored the winning goal shorthanded when the puck bounced off Leddy in overtime. Things looked good for the Hawks early in the first period when Dave Bolland scored on a power play and then 44 seconds later Patrick Sharp tallied his 20th goal of the season. Sharp later left with an injury. Detroit’s first score came in the first when Valtteri Filppula scored on the continuation of a 5-on-3 power play. The Hawks played in Detroit’s zone most of the night, limiting the Wings chances and their shots on net. They had 27 for the game. Jimmy Hayes missed on a penalty shot in the third when Tomas Holmstrom covered the puck with his hand as it lay in the crease.
Who continued his partisan tack (which is fine and all) in his recap:
The Hawks led for nearly the whole game, but some questionable non-calls by the referees gave Detroit a chance to win and they took it. After the game, the Hawks wouldn’t use that as an excuse. They’re just happy they had a positive effort, if not result.
“It’s been a tough stretch for us,” Jonathan Toews said. “We played better tonight. More deserving of two points. It’s tough to protect a one-goal lead for as long as we did.”
The Hawks scored twice before the first television timeout, but had nothing for the rest of the night. Detroit had little in the way of offense as well until Nick Leddy was hammered from behind in the crease on the tying goal and then the Wings may have gotten a break with a non-call of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty on the winning score.
“I don’t want to blame the refs,” Viktor Stalberg said. “We did that the last couple of games and it seems like that’s not helping our cause.”
So the Hawks were focusing on themselves. Despite getting a point, they’ve dropped a season-high four in a row.
“We’re going to stick with it,” Toews said. “We’re not getting on each other. It’s one of those things that happens like once a year. We know we didn’t play well the last couple games but tonight we turned it around and focused on the details and started doing the things we have to do to be successful.”
They played just fine. In a close game, bad officiating can’t be swept aside. Not when it comes on scoring plays. Even on the first Red Wings goal, Brent Seabrook was tripped before he was sent to the penalty box, allowing a 5-on-3 power play. The Red Wings scored. So a trip, a crosscheck and a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. All missed, and all led to goals.
The Hawks can at least take solace in the fact that they’re actually tied in points with the Wings and Blues—the Wings have 26 wins to the Blues and Hawks’ 24—and the fact that all three teams are two points behind the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks, but the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Kuc suggests that these divisional points are, quite accurately, becoming crucial in January:
A four-game losing streak is bad enough, but watching teams glide past them in the Central Division standings is something the Blackhawks are having the most difficult time stomaching.
The Hawks dropped their fourth game in a row — and fifth in their last six — when they fell to the Red Wings 3-2 in overtime on Sunday night at the United Center. When the dust settled, the Hawks found themselves in third place in the Central after seemingly being poised to run away with it just two weeks ago.
“That’s the tough part,” Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said after Pavel Datsyuk scored with 1 minute, 52 seconds remaining in overtime in front of a crowd of 21,858. “You have to stay positive but at the same time wins are at a premium. Losses can be costly, day-to-day, game-to-game. It’s such a tight race we need to win and you can’t afford several losses in a row.”
The several have turned into four for the Hawks, who hadn’t lost that many consecutive games since March 2009. They trail the Blues and Red Wings in the Central as all three teams have 53 points but the Hawks have played one more game. The Hawks’ recent lead in the Western Conference has turned into a fifth-place standing after falling to a Wings team that was playing the second of back-to-back games.
“I see this (division) battle going on all year,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “We did give away a lot of ground here this week and it’s up to us to regain where we were at.”
And while Quenneville reiterated his latter point—that the three-team Central Division dogfight won’t end unless one goes on an eight or nine-game winning streak and the other loses more games than the Hawks have of late, without gaining a single point in the process, to the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan…
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville has watched his team lose a slim lead in the standings but also expects a tight race to the end.
“That race we’ve had, we might have been ahead of those teams, but it wasn’t like we were light years ahead of them,” Quenneville said. “It’s one, two-point swing here, everybody’s in the mix. I see this battle going on all year, and the (Western) Conference is tightening up as well. But we did give away a lot of ground here this week, and it’s up to us to regain where we’re at.”
And the Hawks’ bottom line remained a pissed-off one, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Adam L. Jahns suggested:
Pavel Datsyuk’s game-winner came on a slow-developing play that looked more and more ominous as it unfolded. A loose puck came out to the left of goalie Corey Crawford (24 saves) as he tangled with defenseman Steve Montador and the Red Wings’ Johan Franzen.
Datsyuk, who had taken the original shot, actually fanned on his first attempt at a wide-open net, but his second try deflected off Nick Leddy and into the net with 1:52 left in overtime.
In many ways, it was a position the Hawks never should have been in. They failed to capitalize on key power plays to increase a 2-1 lead, and the Red Wings got some help when the officials determined a near-goal by the Hawks early in the third period was ‘‘inconclusive’’ after Tomas Holmstrom grabbed the puck just as it appeared to roll across the goal line.
The Hawks opened a 2-0 lead with a first-period flurry that looked like a good omen. Dave Bolland scored from the slot on a
power play at 3:35, and Sharp made it 2-0 with a blast 44 seconds later.
The Red Wings pulled to 2-1 when Valtteri Filppula scored at 13:29 of the first, three seconds after their two-man advantage turned into just a man advantage. Danny Cleary tied the score with 4:45 left in regulation when his shot trickled past Crawford. Leddy was cross-checked on the play and was down on ice with a good view of the slow-moving goal.
‘‘I don’t want to blame the refs,’’ forward Viktor Stalberg said. ‘‘We’ve done that enough in the last couple of games. It seems like that’s not helping our cause to get calls for us.’’
‘‘It’s been a tough stretch for us the last couple of games,’’ center Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘We played better tonight. We were more deserving of two points; we just didn’t find a way to close it out. It’s tough to protect a one-goal lead for as long as we did. We just have to be smarter and try to limit those mistakes against that team. They found a way.’’
And it should be noted, per Jahns, that the refs didn’t take kindly to the fact that Franzen reacted to a blow to the head as he tends to react to a blow to the head thanks to one Gary Roberts…
Johan Franzen got 2 mins for roughing—or punching Steve Montador in the face—at the end of the game. #Blackhawks #RedWings
Though I suppose we should end our survey of the Hawks’ press via a Twitter update from Tim Sassone...
Crawford wanted interference on 2nd goal: “They come in, do whatever they want and nothing gets called. It’s (bleeping) brutal.” #blackhawks
Before shifting focus to the Red Wings. A night after the Wings had 85 shot attempts but fired only 40 of them on Jonas Gustavsson, the Wings again sent 27 shots on Corey Crawford and another 26 blocked or wide, but they also had to block a remarkable 23 shots and gave up a total of 62 shot attempts by the Blackhawks, who, despite their protests regarding officiating, didn’t take a penalty after the first period and were awarded four power plays in addition to the Holmstrom penalty shot (that’s the third Wings penalty shot opportunity surrendered over the last five games, and the second in two nights with Mike Hasenfratz refereeing) and Franzen’s last-second minor.
For whatever reason, even with Tomas Holmstrom and Darren Helm returning to the lineup, the Wings gave up a two-goal lead within under a minute’s worth of time in the first period, and they definitely needed Ty Conklin to deliver what he did in a possibly job-saving performance to hang on, out-grit the Hawks and salvage a split on their Fathers’ Trip before flying home to say goodbye to their fathers/mentors/pals and then hop back on Red Bird III to head to Long Island, having earned a welcome day off from practice as the Wings continue to play on slightly over an every-other-night basis from now until January 25th.
Conklin had no problem accentuating the positive while speaking to the Associated Press about his team’s scrappy win...
“We showed a lot of character,” said Detroit backup Ty Conklin, who made 29 saves. “It could have been easy to quit, I guess, or not pull it out like we did. We worked ourselves back into last night’s game, too. This was a good win.”
The Red Wings were coming off a 4-3 loss in Toronto on Saturday. Detroit rallied from a 3-0 deficit to tie it, but lost after Joffrey Lupul scored late following a Red Wings turnover.
“The way we had to play (Saturday) night, I didn’t think we’d have much energy (Sunday) - and we sure didn’t early,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. “Our guys stayed with it and dug in. This is a big win for us.”
And Babcock gave Conklin due praise while speaking to NHL.com’s Brian Hedger:
“It was great for Conks, because for him it’s been a long time coming,” said Babcock, who intimated he would ideally like to play Conklin in 20 games this season. “It gives him confidence and it gives me confidence to use him and it gives our team confidence. This is a big step for Conks here, personally, for himself.”
It didn’t start out that way. After giving up the two quick goals, Conklin looked unlikely to go the full 60 minutes. Instead, he righted himself and made 29 saves to keep the Wings in a game they were out-skated and outplayed for long stretches.
The penalty-shot save – made with his right pad 7:53 into the third – was a turning point in the game. It kept the Hawks within striking distance at 2-1 and kept the door open for Cleary’s game-tying goal about seven minutes later. However, the call for a penalty shot itself was a bit controversial. After a scramble in the crease, with Conklin sprawled, the puck hit the right post and caromed off Conklin’s pad back toward the goal line.
Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom – playing for the first time in five games because of a groin injury – stuck his hand out and illegally touched the puck with a closed hand. He also appeared to pull the puck back after crossing the goal line, but it was ruled “no goal” on the ice and could not be reviewed. Instead, Hayes was chosen by Quenneville to take the penalty shot and Conklin came up big to stop him.
Detroit’s play got a lift from it and that led to Cleary’s goal – which was also a little controversial. The Hawks thought a crosschecking penalty should’ve been called on a hit against defenseman Nick Leddy before Cleary jammed the puck through traffic and watched it just barely slide over the goal line. Regardless, it counted and the Wings tipped the momentum towards the away team.
“I thought the turning point was the penalty shot,” Cleary said. “It gave us a chance to stay in the game and Conks settled in real well and played a (heck) of a game for us.”
The Wings didn’t understand why they gave up another two-goal lead early, as Pavel Datsyuk told the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
“We had a bad start for two games in a row, but today was better than yesterday,” said Datsyuk. “We kept playing and played better.”
But the Wings didn’t particularly care for style points, from Conklin—who seemed to struggle to simply pick up pucks early on but found his footing as the game went on—on out:
“I don’t play that much, so any time I can give Jimmy (Howard) a rest, and can get a win in a building like this against a team we’re always battling, it makes it nice,” Conklin said. “But frankly, I don’t care who we play. It’s nice to get a win.”
Conklin made a good save on the Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane with time expiring in regulation, Kane wiring a shot from the circle that glanced off Conklin’s shoulder.
“That was the only place he could shoot at where our defensemen were,” Conklin said. “I got a good look at it.”
Valtteri Filppula (power play) added the other Wings goal, his 14th. With the victory and Chicago’s one point, there’s a three-way tie atop the Central Division with St. Louis, the Wings (26-14-1) and Chicago (24-13-5). Each have 53 points. Dave Bolland (power play) and Patrick Sharp had Blackhawks goals.
“We’ve played great at home but not so great on the road, but here we are tied for first in a great division,” Cleary said. “Games like this make it a fun game to play in.”
The Free Press’s Helene St. James made sure to point out that Datsyuk, who joked with reporters after the game, played an equally large part in the Wings’ ability to wrestle two points away from the Hawks:
Pavel Datsyuk grinned as reporters approached him while he was riding a stationary bike following Sunday’s game, immediately leaning forward and pretending to be out of breath to show off. He’d just done so on the ice, of course, minutes earlier, sealing a three-goal rally in overtime to lead the Red Wings past the Blackhawks, 3-2, at the United Center. The Wings improved to 11-12 on the road and tied Central division leaders St. Louis and Chicago with 53 points.
In their second road game in as many nights, the Wings killed off three straight Chicago power plays after allowing a goal on the first one, got a power-play goal from Valtteri Filppula and a game-tying goal from Danny Cleary, and most encouragingly of all, a solid performance out of Ty Conklin that got him his first victory since Oct. 8.
The Wings trailed, 2-0, a little after 4 minutes, falling into a similar hole as the three-goal deficit they’d faced by midway through the first period in Saturday’s loss at Toronto. But 11 saves from Conklin in the second period and a denied penalty shot on Jimmy Hayes in the third period—the second straight night the Wings had to face a penalty shot—backed up a resilient show from the skaters and left guys in a good mood.
“Yeah, it’s funny, now every game we have penalty shot,” Datsyuk said. “And we have bad start two games in a row. But today is better than last night, 2-0 not 3-0.”
Though they got two fresh bodies back in Darren Helm and Tomas Holmstrom, who’d both been out with groin injuries, coach Mike Babcock cited the start as par for the course on a second night. “The way we played last night where we got behind and you had to blow it out, I didn’t think we’d have much energy tonight, and we sure didn’t early, it took us awhile to get going.”
The Wings got what they needed from their big players: Henrik Zetterberg set up Filppula, who used Todd Bertuzzi as a screen; then Filppula got the puck to Cleary, who sent it out front to Zetterberg and then got into position in front of the net to jam in Zetterberg’s rebound.
“I thought they dug in,” Babcock said of the team’s stars. “I really thought they dug in hard. Whether they had any energy or not, when I’d ask them, they said they did, so we tried to play them accordingly and I thought they played well.”
So did Conklin, as St. James noted...
“It was nice,” Conklin said. “To be honest, I’ve felt pretty good. I feel like I’ve played one poor game this year and the rest of the games, I feel I’ve played pretty well or haven’t played poorly. But the wins haven’t come, and it was nice to get a win, and nice to get it in overtime, and here, too.”
Dave Bolland beat Conklin during a power play 3:35 into the opening period, and Patrick Sharp made it 2-0 inside another minute.
“I didn’t like their first goal obviously, but then Conks played real well for us, made a big save on the penalty shot,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It was great for Conks because, for him, not games-wise, but year-wise it’s been a long time coming. It gives him confidence, and it gives me confidence to use him, and gives our team confidence. Big win for him, he probably feels great.”
It was only Conklin’s seventh game as the season reached the midway point. Babcock hasn’t hesitated to use Jimmy Howard in back-to-back games before, so for Conklin to pull out a victory against a Central division rival on their home ice was huge. He made a big save on Patrick Kane in the waning seconds of regulation and denied Jimmy Hayes on a penalty shot at 7:53 of the third period, a momentum-turner for the Wings.
And after that, the Wings got to work, as Danny Cleary told MLive’s Ansar Khan:
The Red Wings got stronger as the game progressed and tied it on Cleary’s 10th goal of the season.
“Fil put it behind the net and I got it,” Cleary said. “I put it out to (Henrik Zetterberg). He shot it, it went off my skate and I just jammed at it and got it past him.”
“The start was pretty similar to the night before,” Cleary said. “I thought the turning point was the penalty shot, it gave us a chance to stay in the game. Conks played a hell of a game.”
Said Conklin: “I knew it was going to take me a little bit to feel like everything wasn’t going twice as fast as it should be going. It felt a little fast early, but I felt better and better as the game went on. The more shots, the more you get into the game, too.”
“A lot of character,” Conklin said of the comeback. “Certainly not a very good first goal by me and then, right away, they make it 2-0. It could have been easy to not pull together like we did. It was a good win.”
As for Datsyuk’s gamer? Well…
“Mule (Johan Franzen) and E (Jonathan Ericsson) did a good job. They do good screen,” Datsyuk said. “I have the puck, the goalie falls on the ice. I need just shoot, make sure I don’t miss.”
Datsyuk definitely earns the last word, via St. James’ Twitter account:
More from Datsyuk: Russian Orthodox Christmas may be over but “we can keep drinking.”
Something tells me that Datsyuk summarized the Blackhawks’ refrain.
Highlights: ESPN posted a 1-minute highlight clip;
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted a 3:10 highlight clip;
TSN posted a 1:04 highlight clip;
And I can’t help you regarding the fact that even the Wings’ website’s highlight clip is narrated by the NBC Sports crew:
The Chicago Tribune posted a 1:06 clip of Jonathan Toews speaking to the media;
NBC Sports posted a 1:58 clip of Mike Milbury and Keith Jones complimenting Pavel Datsyuk;
And I do not have access to these files independently, but the Windsor Star’s Bob Duff has access to the Hawks’ Media Relations Department’s audio website, and he posted a few audio clips via Twitter, including Quenneville’s presser…
And comments by Ty Conklin…
And Wings coach Mike Babcock:
Comcast Sportsnet Chicago posted an 8-image gallery;
The Chicago Tribune posted 15 images from the game in its “Blackhawks in Action” gallery;
The Chicago Sun-Times posted an 18-image gallery;
The Detroit Free press posted a 28-image gallery;
The Detroit News posted a 17-image gallery;
Fox Sports Detroit posted a 10-image gallery;
They’re not all from the game, but CBS Detroit posted three very much so wallpaper-sized photos of the Wings and Hawks battling on the ice;
Yahoo Sports posted a 39-image gallery of AP and Getty Images photos, and Daylife.com’s Wings gallery posted 9 more Reuters photos;
Shots 31-27 Chicago overall. Chicago and Detroit were tied 9-9 in shots during the 1st period; the Hawks out-shot Detroit 11-6 in the 2nd period; the teams were tied 9-9 in shots in the 3rd period; Detroit out-shot Chicago 3-2 in overtime.
Ty Conklin stopped 29 of 31 shots; Corey Crawford stopped 24 of 27.
The Hawks went 1 for 4 in 6:54 of PP time; the Wings went 1 for 2 in 2:03 of PP time, including 10 seconds of 5 on 3 time.
The 3 stars, per the “Chicago media,” were Danny Cleary, Marian Hossa and Valtteri Filppula.
The Wings’ goals: Filppula (14) from Zetterberg (23) and Hudler (15), power play;
Cleary (10) from Zetterberg (14) and Filppula (21);
Datsyuk (13) from Ericsson (7) and Franzen (20).
Faceoffs 32-20 Chicago (38% won by Detroit);
Blocked shots 23-13 Detroit;
Missed shots 13-8 Detroit (total attempts 62-53 Chicago);
Hits 37-29 Detroit;
Giveaways 8-4 Chicago;
Takeaways 19-8 Chicago, and the Leafs had a similar number of takeaways, which concerns me big time.
Faceoffs: Datsyuk went 11-and-8 (58%); Zetterberg went a staggering 2-and-15 (12%); Helm went 3-and-5 (38%) in his return; Abdelkader went 1-and-3 (25%); Emmerton lost his only faceoff; Cleary, Filppula and Franzen won single faceoffs.
Shots: Filppula led the Wings with 5 shots; Datsyuk and White had 4; Zetterberg, Miller, Helm and Bertuzzi had 2 shots; Abdelkader, Cleary, Stuart, Ericsson, Franzen and Holmstrom had 1.
Blocked attempts: Lidstrom fired 3 shots into Blackhawks players; Datsyuk and Stuart had 2 attempts blocked; Abdelkader, Cleary, White, Helm, Emmerton and Ericsson had 1 attempt blocked.
Missed shots: White missed the net 3 times; Miller and Stuart missed the net 2 times; Abdelkader, Datsyuk, Stuart, Filppula, Kronwall and Franzen missed the net 1 time.
Hits: Kronwall led the Wings with 6 hits; Helm had 5; Datsyuk and Hudler had 4; Bertuzzi and Ericsson had 3; Lidstrom, Abdelkader and Filppula had 2; Cleary, White, Commodore, Zetterberg, Franzen and Holmstrom had 1.
Giveaways: Datsyuk, Commodore, Stuart and Ericsson had giveaways.
Takeaways: Datsyuk had 5 frickin takeaways; Zetterberg, Ericsson and Kronwall had 1.
Blocked opponent shots: Lidstrom blocked 4 shots; White, Commodore and Kronwall blocked 3; Abdelkader, Cleary, Miller and Zetterberg blocked 2; Emmerton and Ericsson blocked 1.
Penalties taken: Cleary, Ericsson and Kronwall were tagged for minor penalties.
Plus-minus: The Wings finished at a collective +4. Stuart, Hudler and Kronwall finished at -1; Cleary, Datsyuk, White, Ericsson and Franzen finished at +1; Lidstrom finished at +2.
Points: Filppula had a goal and an assist for 2 points; Zetterberg had 2 assists; Cleary and Datsyuk scored goals; Ericsson, Hudler and Franzen registered assists.
Ice time: White led the team with 25:14 played; Kronwall played 25:02; Stuart played 24:51;
Lidstrom played 23:51; Datsyuk played 21:25; Filppula played 19:10;
Zetterberg played 19:06; Cleary played 17:59; Franzen played 17:51;
Bertuzzi played 17:19; Ericsson played 16:06; Hudler played 15:48;
Abdelkader played 14:01; Miller played 12:29; Helm played 12:25;
Commodore played 10:26; Holmstrom played 7:27; Emmerton played 5:18.
Part II: Red Wings notebooks: On the injury front, from the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
Stuart OK: Brad Stuart sported a few stitches on his upper lip after getting hit during the first period by an errant stick courtesy of Filppula but only missed a few shifts and said afterward he felt fine.
• St. James also offered a classically Babcockian comment about Johan Franzen from none other than Mike Babcock:
Johan Franzen set up the game-winning goal Sunday and set up two goals Saturday to reach 20 assists for the season; he’s also got 16 goals. These are the types of performances the Wings say Franzen capable of regularly.
“I think the Mule is just one of those guys who is blessed,” Babcock said. “He’s a huge body; he’s got great hands; he can shoot the puck. We think Mule can be one of the best two-way players in the National League.”
• The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan reports that the Wings will have the day off, and he offers a short take on Justin Abdelkader’s success while substituting for Darren Helm on the Miller-Cleary…Or is that Miller-Hudler line?
“For sure it’s definitely an opportunity,” Abdelkader said. “I just want to make the most of it.”
Abdelkader scored two goals in the last four games before Sunday, worked seamlessly into Helm’s spot between Drew Miller and Danny Cleary and relished the chance to play a few more shifts. He had one shot in Sunday’s win over Chicago. Abdelkader was centering the fourth line before Helm got hurt. The responsibilities didn’t change by moving up to the third line.
“It’s pretty much the same. But the big difference is you know you’re going to get more minutes out there and that could be a big difference for sure,” Abdelkader said. “I just try to make the most of the opportunity while it’s there.”
Kulfan also spoke to Chris Conner about the fact that the Wings chose to send him down, then call him back up, after he was cleared to play when his broken hand healed:
“I don’t ask questions,” Conner said. “Just whatever they say, I’ll be happy to do.”
The Wings kept bigger forward Joakim Andersson for a game against Dallas on Tuesday, sent Conner to practice with the Griffins, but had the two players trade spots a day later.
“I’m just happy to be back,” Conner said. “I just want to continue where I left off (before the injury) and continue to keep winning.”
• This kind of sort of counts as a notebook as it popped up right before the game. The CBC’s Cassie Campbell-Pascall profiled Ian White...
When I asked Ian White on Saturday what it’s been like to play with Nicklas Lidstrom, the smile was instantaneous.
“I have learned so much from him, he slows the game down and is always in the right position,” White said from inside the visitors’ locker room at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
It was around this time last year while playing in Carolina, having not scored a goal in 39 games, when White began wondering what was next for his hockey career. He spent the first 16 games playing for the Flames, the next 39 in Carolina and the last 23 plus playoffs in the Sharks organization. He wondered if being on three teams in one year meant that his time was coming to an end in the NHL. The Flames did communicate to him that he was traded simply because ownership wanted to get rid of some payroll, and White (without a no-trade clause) was an easy solution.
But this summer, the phone rang and a two-year deal from the Detroit Red Wings was on the table. The first year at $3 million US and the 2nd at $2.75 million. But, believe it or not, things got even better. It was on the first day of training camp, and coach Mike Babcock told him he would be paired with Lidstrom.
White admitted that the Detroit system is more suited to his game rather than the dump and chase he has played in the past. He was very gracious when he spoke of his other defence partners in the league like Luke Richardson and Hall Gill in Toronto, and Robyn Regehr in Calgary, but really he knows he will learn more in two years with Lidstrom than he probably did his entire NHL career so far.
• And this aired on Saturday on Sportsnet, but didn’t get posted until the duration of the game on Sunday night. Here’s Babcock speaking to Sportsnet’s Christine Simpson, and he chatted about realignment, fighting and/or team toughness, Jimmy Howard and Nicklas Lidstrom’s future in a 3-minute interview:
Part III: In the ECHL: The AHL chose to nix three-game-in-three-nights slates last summer, but the ECHL still has ‘em, and the Toledo Walleye went 0-for-3 this weekend despite a goal from Andrej Nestrasil in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the South Carolina Stingrays.
The Walleye’s website’s recap notes that Toledo surrendered 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the process, and the Toledo Blade’s Mark Monroe notes that while the Walleye have lost five straight, they’ve also got 10 missing bodies in the form of AHL call-ups by the Rockford IceHogs and Griffins.
Part IV: Also of Red Wings-related note: Here’s that damn lingering Leaf crap, via the Toronto Sun’s Terry Koshan, who asked a stupid question:
The 2013 NHL Winter Classic could very well include the Maple Leafs — provided a work stoppage doesn’t impact the 2012-13 season. But the club, apparently, remains unsure at this point.
“We have not been invited,” Leafs general manager Brian Burke reiterated in an e-mail message on Sunday.
There is speculation that the Leafs and Detroit Red Wings will play in the annual game next winter at Michigan Stadium. A hockey game at the stadium between Michigan and Michigan State in 2010 drew more than 104,000 fans.
The Leafs want to play host to a Winter Classic, but settling for a game against the Wings at Michigan wouldn’t be a problem.
It could be a while before the details and the teams for the 2013 game are clear. The participants in the 2012 Winter Classic, the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers, were not announced until this past September.
• We shall get this out of the way early as well, per Puck Daddy’s three stars:
No. 2 Star: Pavel Datsyuk, Detroit Red Wings
He was kept in check by the Chicago Blackhawks all game, but Datsyuk sprung loose when it counted: At 3:08 of overtime, when he shook a Patrick Kane check, collected a rebound and then sent home the winning goal from a tough angle for his 13th of the season. Detroit won in OT, 3-2.
Dishonorable mention[:] Replays on NBC showed the Red Wings got away with a too many men on the ice violation just before they scored the game-winning goal. But the game had its share of missed calls overall.
• In the prospect department, part 1, from RedWingsFeed, the Ottawa Sun notes that Petr Mrazek pitched a 29-save shutout in his return to the Ottawa 67’s crease. The 67’s defeated the struggling Erie Otters 4-0;
• In the prospect department, part 2: The Sault Star’s Peter Ruicci suggests that Soo Greyhounds defenseman Ryan Sproul’s teammates would be in better shape if they emulated Sproul’s show of character in returning to the Sault instead of recuperating from jaw surgery at home:
If only more members of the Soo Greyhounds exhibited the consistent commitment and character of Ryan Sproul? Despite all the second-year defenceman has gone through — fracturing his jaw in a Dec. 28 game and undergoing surgery to have a plate inserted one day later — he’s back in town, doing all he can to support his teammates.
In what came as a complete surprise to almost everyone associated with the team, Sproul flew into the Sault Friday. He was in attendance at both weekend games, offering his teammates support.
While still feeling some pain and being unable to eat anything other than very soft foods or liquids, Sproul is here to stay. In other words, he’ll continue to recuperate in town, while staying close to his teammates, who’re now fighting for their Western Conference playoff lives.
“This has been the hardest experience of my life,” Sproul said.
And, he added, that’s not because of the injury or the surgery.
“The hardest part for me is missing hockey and not be out there with my teammates,” he continued. “I’m happy I’m back here with the boys, but it’s still hard for me to sit in the stands and watch the games.”
• In the prospect department, part 3: Hockey’s Future’s Brandon Peleshok tried to profile each and every Red Wings prospect playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins or Toledo Walleye as part of Hockey’s Future’s de-facto audit of every team’s depth at the AHL and ECHL levels. Amongst his observations…
Landon Ferraro, C, 20 Landon Ferraro remains a bit of a mystery when it comes to labeling what type of player he is. When the Red Wings drafted him, it was for his goal scoring prowess, coming off a 37 goal 2008-09 campaign. His next two seasons of junior play were a bit underwhelming to say the least, so it was difficult to know what to expect out of him for his first year of professional hockey. While his numbers will not jump out at you, nine points through 28 games, Ferraro has shown himself to be a versatile player. He has shored up his defensive and physical game, turning himself into a multi-dimensional player. If Ferraro can continue to work hard and do all the little things right, there is a good chance the offensive numbers will follow.
Brian Lashoff, D, 21 The 2011-12 campaign is not likely the bounce-back year that Brian Lashoff had envisioned. After ankle and shoulder injuries derailed his rookie season, Lashoff was to be given a new chance to prove himself for the 2011-12 year, hopefully working himself into the top four defensemen. However, he has just five points through 31 games and a team minus-12 rating. At just 21 years old, Lashoff is still going to have time to prove himself in the coming years.
Logan Pyett, D, 23: While his offensive numbers are not he would have once hoped for, Logan Pyett’s 2011-12 season could prove to be his best one yet. Entering his fourth year as a member of the Griffins, he knows that his time to impress the Red Wings’ brass is running out. In 34 games with the team he has one goal and 15 assists. He also is among the leaders on the team in shots, while also spending ample time on the powerplay. Though his offensive game has taken awhile to find, Pyett is showing that he is better than his play in previous years has suggested.
Tomas Tatar, LW, 21: Tomas Tatar is on pace to match his previous season’s totals, scoring 10 goals and 19 assists, for 29 points in 34 games. While he started off the season in a slow manner, his play of late has been inspired. Playing on a line with Pare and Jamie Johnson, Tatar has caught on fire. In spite of his slow start, Tatar is still one of the best offensive tools the Griffins have to offer, and still projects as a top six forward for the Red Wings in the future.
• I believe this counts as “found content”: Ken Kal spoke to WBBL’s Bakita and Bentley on Friday morning, and while the interview seems like it’s from the distant past as they relate to the state of the Wings after two difficult weekend games, his insights have no expiration date:
• And the Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle offers one more take on the realignment issue in light of the comments made at length by Niklas Kronwall (whose Red Wings were one of two teams to actually vote to approve the NHL’s plan) and David Steckel prior to Saturday night’s Wings-Leafs game (you can read more player comments here), noting that the PA wanted nothing less than a playoff play-in for the teams which were to play in uneven “conferences”:
The NHLPA’s solution was to have a wild-card format for the postseason, something that would allow teams from the larger conferences to cross over to the smaller ones if they had a better record. According to union sources, the league rejected that proposal outright.
The NHLPA felt the league issued an ultimatum on realignment talks and then didn’t budge when suggestions were made.
“There was no willingness on the other side to have a conversation about how to possibly tinker with that,” said Ron Hainsey, player rep for the Winnipeg Jets.
The union’s travel concerns, however, seemed to arouse the most derision from fans and media, with talk of charter flights and spoiled athletes out in full force. Unsaid, however, is that the NHL had its schedule guru, Steve Hatze-Petros, calculate some estimated mileage figures for all 30 teams, the results of which troubled the union. Under the league’s planned realignment, many teams would have had more travel, not less, including some already burdened with too many hours in the air.
In addition to the San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks adding more miles to their already lengthy schedules, the Jets were also expected to rack up even more travel time, a stunning revelation given that realignment was in part aimed at getting the recently relocated team out of a division with two Florida teams. Which may help explain why Jets co-owner Mark Chipman was muted in his disappointment that the deal was nixed.
But the sense seems to be that teams weren’t exactly enamoured with the proposed realignment to begin with. Four voted against it in December when it was first approved by the board of governors, and many more were merely lukewarm about the idea, willing to go along for the betterment of the league. And because the Phoenix Coyotes could be the second relocated franchise in two years next summer, putting off realignment another season made sense.
That’s true, but as Mirtle suggests, the NHL’s decision to force the PA to nix the issue on a drop-dead date instead of addressing any of the players’ (or owners’) concerns was pretty clearly designed to serve as a first punch in the CBA public relations war, and the NHL delivered a much harder blow than Johan Franzen did to Steve Montador after, well, let’s allow We All Bleed Red to show that it was in fact Montador who cross-checked and punched first:
If that’s the way Franzen’s going to respond whenever someone punches him in the head, or, as Gary Roberts might suggest, “elbows” Franzen, I’m fine with that.
I’m also quite comfortable suggesting that the Blackhawks, like the Canucks, seem to have a very hard time even winning when a team plays it as rough and tumble as they do. As a partisan Wings fan, it’s nice to be going to bed after what was a very hard and very grinding weekend on the winning side of what Mike Babcock used to call watching “greasy” play prevail.
Update: One more thing—According to the Plymouth Patch’s John McKay, the Red Wings’ Alumni Association raised $30,000 for juvenile diabetes research during Saturday’s game against the Detroit Moose.
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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.