The Malik Report
by George Malik on 05/12/12 at 05:43 AM ET
The Red Wings’ players at the World Championships will engage in a weekend slate of games which will help determine their final rakings in the Helsinki and Stockholm group standings as round robin play slowly progresses toward its conclusion on Tuesday. Here’s what’s on tap for this weekend, per the schedule post and MLive’s Brendan Savage:
May 12: 5:15 a.m. – Slovakia vs. Belarus; 1:15 PM Canada vs. Kazakhstan : 2:15 p.m. – Italy vs. Sweden
May 13: 9:15 a.m. – USA vs. Finland [on the NBC Sports Network]; 10:15 AM– Russia vs. Czech Republic; 1:15 p.m. – Switzerland vs. Slovakia
In theory, anyway, the Canadians (Kyle Quincey) and Swedes (Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall, Calle Jarnkrok; they probably won’t have Johan Franzen, who suffered a broken nose on Friday, in their lineup) should prevail easily on Saturday, but as the Americans’ (Justin Abdelkader, Jimmy Howard—Howard sat out Friday’s game) OT win over Kazakhstan and Finns’ (Valtteri Filppula) loss to Canada illustrated on Friday, never mind the dive-fest Russian (Pavel Datsyuk) win over Sweden—and the subsequent disciplinary actions which may hamper the Russians’ cause on Sunday—all illustrated that nothing is a given at the Worlds, and that, to put it impolitely…
Cheaters win, favorites tend to take their opponents too lightly, and, on occasion, the home team implodes.
In terms of the standings, with most teams having played five of their seven round-robin games (and a regulation win yielding points, and an OT win counting for 2 points):
In Group Helsinki, Canada (Kyle Quincey) leads the group with 3 wins, an OT loss and 13 points;
The Finns (valtteri Filppula) also have 12 points but now have a 4-and-1 record;
The Americans (Jimmy Howard, Justin Abdelkader) sit in third place with 2 wins, 2 OT wins, and a loss and 10 points;
And the Slovaks (Tomas Tatar) sit tied for 4th place—and the last quarterfinal spot—with a 2-and-2 record and 6 ponts.
In Group Stockholm, Russia (Pavel Datsyuk) now sits in first place with 5 wins and 15 points;
Sweden (Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen, Niklas Kronwall, Calle Jarnkrok, Jonathan Ericsson) sit in second place with a 4-and-1 record and 12 points;
The Czechs (Petr Mrazek) sit in third place with 3 wins—they defeated Italy 6-0 on Friday—a loss and 11 points;
And Latvia sits in 4th place and final quarterfinal spot with a 2-and-2 record and 6 points over 4 games played.
Friday’s games including Red Wings players, with perhaps the exception of the Czechs’ rout of Italy, were anything but predictable. With Jimmy Howard sitting on the bench as the Americans were playing their second game in two days (Stars goalie Richard Bachman started instead), Team USA won a 3-2 decision over Kazakhstan—in overtime, surrendering a 2-1 lead and rope-a-doping their way to a 2 instead of 3-point win.
IIHF.com’s Risto Pakarinen both discussed the mismatch in historical terms…
Justin Faulk scored two, including the OT winner for Team USA. Vitali Kolesnik made 47 saves for Kazakhstan.
“You have to tip your hat to [Kolesnik], he played an amazing game,” said Team USA goaltender Richard Bachman.
“We did everything we wanted, but we just couldn’t score. Their goalie played well, but we were giving him the easy saves a lot of the time,” said Team USA captain Jack Johnson.
The last time these two teams met, in May 2010, Team USA beat Kazakhstan 10-0. It was the first game of the relegation round. This year, Team USA is still in the hunt for the top seed in the Helsinki group, while Kazakhstan was in a desperate need for points, should they want to return to the World Championship in the Nordics next season.
And described the goal which Abdelkader assisted on—the 2-1 goal:
Just when Scott Gordon started to look a little troubled behind the American bench, J.T. Brown chased down a puck that Justin Abdelkader had chipped out of the zone, drove to the net and fired an excellent wrist shot that beat Kolesnik high on his glove side, at 16:35 into the second period.
As for the rest of the story, USA Hockey’s website (which includes a photo gallery, sidebar story on Bachman and YouTube interviews with Max Pacioretty, Justin Faulk and coach Scott Gordon) and USA Today’s Kevin Allen all provide narrative recaps, as does NHL.com, but in terms of what Wings fans like you and me might want to know…
Abdelkader finished even—he was on the ice for and assisted on J.T. Brown’s goal by taking a check to make a play but pushing the puck forward at the U.S. blueline, but was also on the ice for a PK goal against and the Kazakhs’ 2-2 goal (Abdelkader won a faceoff in the offensive zone, but the Kazakhs mucked it up ice and Talgat Zhailauov put a puck off the post and behind Richard Bachman to tie the game with only 4:06 remaining)—and he went 6-and-6 in the faceoff circle, had 3 shots and played 17:42, starting the game between J.T. Brown and Cam Atkinson, but playing the 3rd with Kyle Okposo and Craig Smith, and earning OT time and a nasty shoving match with Kazakh goalie Vitaly Kolesnik while flanking Okposo during the 4-on-4 extra session.
NBC Sports posted a very, very, very brief highlight clip….
Later on Friday in Helsinki, things went from very very good to awful for Valtteri Filppula and Finland, or, as the Canadian Press’s Chris Johnston would suggest, very very good for Kyle Quincey and Canada:
Trailing 2-0 after the first period in hostile Hartwall Arena, Canada appeared to be cowering in the face of its most difficult test yet. The score was 3-1 as the midway point of the game ticked by and you had to wonder if time was becoming a factor, particularly against such a stingy opponent.
Momentum turned quickly. [Jeff] Skinner found [John] Tavares on a 2-on-1 to make it 3-2 at 14:31 before jumping off the bench, collecting a loose puck and skating right around the net to score on a wraparound at 18:18. It was a breathtaking play.
[Evander] Kane finished off the comeback by quickly snapping home a Corey Perry pass at 6:04 of the third period to stun the sellout crowd, which chanted “Su-o-mi! Su-o-mi!” all night, for a team that had won 10 straight world championship games heading in.
Alex Burrows and Jordan Eberle also scored, while Cam Ward was sharp in stopping 35 shots for Canada (4-0-1), which moved atop Group H and now controls its own destiny moving towards the medal round.
Antti Pihlstrom, Mikko Koivu and Jussi Jokinen replied for Finland (4-1-0). The host country went from looking like it was on a path to repeat as champions, to being a team trying to explain how it let a pair of two-goal leads slip away in the span of a couple hours.
After weathering some Canadian pressure in the early minutes, the Finns took advantage of a neutral zone turnover by Kyle Quincey to make it 1-0. Niko Kapanen found Pihlstrom all alone at 5:33 and the building was rocking. To make matters worse, Quincey was soon sent to the penalty box for cross-checking and teammate Dion Phaneuf followed, resulting in a 5-on-3 disadvantage. After Canada killed the first penalty, Koivu knocked home a rebound at 10:31 - prompting Sutter to call a timeout.
“We just needed to settle down,” Skinner said. “We all believed that we had a lot of time to play, we just needed to stop forcing plays. Maybe get a little bit (simpler) and get back to playing the way we wanted to.”
Filppula and Finland were baffled by their loss, as he told IIHF.com’s Andrew Podnieks:
The win moves Canada to 13 points, one ahead of Finland. Canada now has a 4-0-1-0 record while the Finns suffer their first loss and drop to 4-0-0-1. The game was by far the biggest test for both teams and also the most exciting, played against a blue and white backdrop of 13,059 screaming, pro-Finland fans at a sold out Hartwall Arena.
“The first period was great, even the second, but when they got the lead in the third, we just couldn’t get back,” said Valtteri Filppula. “We couldn’t play full 60 minutes the way we wanted, but I don’t want to take anything away from Canada.”
Statistically, Filppula finished at a -2, winning his only faceoff, taking 2 shots and playing 20:09;
Quincey was paired with Kris Russell instead of Luke Schenn for this one, and he finished even in 12:13 of ice time.
If you’re interested, the Edmonton Sun’s Terry Jones penned a recap and sidebar story on Cam Ward, but TSN carries the mail here in terms of a 2:08 highlight clip, an extended 6:07 highlight clip and post-game Canadian interviews (no Quincey)...
And to say that the Finns were pissed off is an understatement, but this is the only Finnish I could find that involved Filppula speaking, via Ilta Sanomat’s Tuomas Nyholm (and this is very roughly translated), who noted that the Filppula-Mikko Koivu-Jussi Jokinen line was perhaps Finland’s only really solid line:
“We had a lot of chances, and some good ones. But the finish was annoying, we could have won today,” Filppula said. “Canada doesn’t have to score many goals to win. They’re very strong in the vicinity of the crease. It’s a learning experience for us. We lost many little games during the match. We played other than the way we intended to. But we can’t take anything away from Canada, they moved more systematically and began to play better.”
And in Stockholm, the Swedes definitely lost their nerve and focus over the course of surrendering a a 3-1 lead and losing 7-3 to hat-trick-registerer Evgeni Malkin and the Russians is an understatement, but to say that the Russians won cleanly is utterly ridiculous—and only RT’s recap engages in a Vladimir Putin-esque level of glossing over the “unfortunate parts” of the game in English.
IIHF.com’s John Sanful’s recap captured both Pavel Datsyuk’s praise for his current teammate...
“Today he played unbelievable,” said Pavel Datsyuk. “He did a good job.”
And the manner in which Russia, and especially Alexei Emelin and Dmitri Kalinin first baited, and then dove their way to penalties, and Kalinin ended up breaking Franzen’s nose:
Sweden responded by adding another in the middle frame that extended their lead to two when Johan Franzén scored to make it 3-1 at 9:36.
Emotions ran high between the two teams throughout, particularly near the end of the second period when Franzén was called for interference on Alexei Yemelin.
Malkin took advantage of the man advantage to score a power play goal. His shot squirted through Fasth’s pads and through to cut the lead to one.
Clearly out of frustration with Russia scoring that second goal, Franzén was called for a double roughing penalty at 18:06. This time, Yemelin made Sweden pay with a goal in the remaining 1:33 of the period to tie it at 3-3.
Russia dominated the third, taking its first lead of the game some 15 seconds into the period when Alexander Perezhogin batted a puck out of the air and into the net.
Things became even more heated when Dmitri Kalinin cross-checked Franzén in the face, earning him a match penalty. Franzén would not return to the game and it is feared he has a broken nose. Sweden would get their share of opportunities with the five-minute advantage but could not score, which proved a pivotal juncture in the game.
As noted in the recap, here’s Emelin’s spear on Franzen—and Emelin dove, dove and dove some more on the penalty Franzen was assessed…
And via Andrew Johnson, here’s Kalinin’s nose-breaking slash:
Marie Hallman reported that Franzen was taken to the hospital with a broken and dislocated nose, and while the Free Press’s Helene St. James reported that Sweden GM Johan Garpenlov believes that Franzen will return for Tuesday’s game against Italy, and St. James reported that Wings GM Ken Holland also stated that Franzen would be OK…
“I just talked to Mule,” Holland told the Free Press. “He has a broken nose, but otherwise (is) OK.”
Asked whether a concussion had been ruled out, Holland replied that Franzen, “sounded good. Never really sure till the morning after.”
Swedish team manager Johan Garpenlov told Radiosporten that Franzen will return later in the tournament. Sweden plays Italy on Saturday but has no games Sunday nor Monday, the last days of the preliminary round.
As did the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan...
“I just talked to him, (he has a) broken nose,” said Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, who is in Helsinki, Finland, watching the other bracket of the tournament. “He sounded OK otherwise.”
Sweden’s next game is Saturday against Italy. Franzen could sit out the next game, with Sweden off for the next two days after that. Holland and Swedish media covering the game were uncertain as to whether Franzen would play against Italy.
There may yet be ramifications for at least two players on a team that dove like soccer players and hacked, whacked and speared like lacrosse players—Russia’s perpetrators, if you will—as IIHF.com’s Szymon Szemberg reported:
On the heels of Russia’s 7-3 preliminary round win over Sweden, the IIHF Disciplinary Panel will be reviewing two incidents that occurred during what was a heated match between the two hockey powers.
The first incident involved a slash on Johan Franzen by Alexei Yemelin, which occurred when Sweden scored its second goal to go up 2-1 in the first period.
The second incident under review again involved Franzen, who received a cross-check to the face from Dmitri Kalinin in front of the Russian net in the third period.
The Swedish forward left the game following the cross-check, while Kalinin received a match penalty. Franzen later went to the hospital after the game with what is suspected to be a broken nose.
Statistically, and in terms of player performance: Pavel Datsyuk had an assist and went 12-and-9 in the faceoff circle, taking 1 shot, finishing even and playing 18:45 alongside Nikolai Kulemin and Yevgeni Kuznetsov, but Datsyuk looked like a player with a sore knee and a sore wrist again. He wasn’t explosive and while he’s playing in a more defensive role, he didn’t dazzle in a big game;
Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist for 2 points, went 18-and-7 in the faceoff circle, took 4 shots and finished at a -2 in 21:09 of ice time. He was wonderful;
Johan Franzen had a goal, 6 penalty minutes, won one faceoff, took 3 shots and played 14:37 in about a period and a half of hockey. He lost his temper, but he was dominant and went to the net with gusto;
Niklas Kronwall finished even, but he had a difficult game, finishing with no points, no shots, and no big hits in 16:56 of ice time. He was on for the 3-2 and 3-3 goals;
And Calle Jarnkrok had an OK game, playing half the game with Daniel Alfredsson and Jakob Silfverberg (who won the Guldpucken award as Expressen’s fan-voted player of the year) and half the game with Viktor Stalberg and Gabriel Landeskog. He finished with a 5-and-3 record in the faceoff circle, 1 shot and 10:31 in ice time.
I did find a highlight clip from the game, but it’s in Russian, and is 12 minutes long…
While MLive’s Brendan Savage offered the only non-geo-blocked highlight clip from the IIHF, a “daily recap” and montage of highlights from all of Friday’s games:
The Russians have something in common with those of you who believe that it’s OK for Red Wings fans to hate a member of their own team, and cheer when he is injured—they thought that the Russian win was awesome, and that Franzen deserved everything he got.
Allhockey.ru’s Igor Kakurin and Ivan Medvedev praised the Russians’ poise and “character,” Sports.ru’s Ilya Elchaninov thought the Kalinin-Emelin pair was excellent, Vladimir Krutov of all people told Sportbox.ru that the Swedes displayed inferior character, and coach Zineutla Bilyaletdinov offered this take on Kalinin’s cross-check to Sportbox.ru’s Denis Gusev…
Your view of the impact of Kalinin on Franzen?
“It’s a coincidence.”
When Emelin was penalized for hitting Franzen, was it justified?
“I don’t think so. I talked to him, and we didn’t need it.”
“What happened with Franzen?” Alexei Emelin was asked. “Nothing that wasn’t there. In hockey, your mileage varies, and in the game with the Swedes, there were many emotions, a lot of fighting, lots of penalties. Today the defense worked very hard, and one would expect as much. Not to say that I personally battled Johan. There was a struggle at the net, no one wanted to concede. I’m sure that any other player would have done the same thing.”
“I’m not pretending. I really got a stick on the chin,” Alexei Emelin admitted. “But in the first period he nearly led the team in penalties. It’s his own fault, he got caught up in his emotinos. Of course, what happened—that didn’t repeat, but you can’t do that. After the 3-1 goal, we played harder, and, most importantly—we ceased to yield to their provocations. Because of this penalties came from their owners. It should be noted that the majority of the Swedes are very good. They stand up well near the goalie. So we had to exclude the penalties. Am I surprised at Evgeni Malkin’s game? Well, not for anything because he’s the best hockey player in the world”
And Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov comes in at a close second:
Emelin: I just fought the piglet
Question: What kind of skirmish occurred between Franzen and you?
“Well, nothing like that. It was a struggle for space. Nobody wanted to give. There was a conflict. I tried not to lose position.
Question: You drew two penalties on Sweden. Were they true?
“Of course. Once Landeskog got me in the chin.”
Question: Did you fear that you might get punished for your hit on Franzen?
“Such was my apprehension. Yes, but he didn’t keep his emotions. He can only blame himself. But this game, he didn’t do it again.”
Question: Don’t you think that once the score was 3-1 the Swedes traded penalties and lost the fight?
“We became harder to play against, and the Tre Kronor succumbed to it. They began to lose enough that we had it in hand.”
Sweden was up 3-1 and led with confidence. Afterward, Russia scored six goals and got a major victory.
“It’s hard to say why. We’re pleased that we completed the…The game,” said Pavel Datsyuk.
“Yes, we controlled the game. Then because of penalties they tied it at 3-3. In the third period, we gave up two more quick goals, and we couldn’t save the game,” Henrik Zetterberg said.
“Maybe the scoreboard, and it said 7-3, but the game, the game was very close. A lot of things that could have been goals,” continues Datsyuk.
Which moment was decisive in the game, in your opinion?
“When the reporters started asking me…
I see. In the second period, the actions of Franzen…
“No, no, I think it’s the five minute penalty. It’s great that we survived.”
It seems that the Swedes couldn’t keep their nerve. Returning to Franzen, and the fact that more of their team just collapsed…
“Honestly, I can’t speak for them. For myself, I don’t always say.”
Was it brought because they started to play rough, toss at Malkin?
“In principle, it’s supposed to be our leader all the time, who’s jabbed and disturbed. But in spite of that, today, myself, I can say he showed a bit.”
Do you give that the team didn’t react to provocation?
“Kashpirovsky didn’t give.”
In the third period, what was the difference?
“Only the victory>”
But one didn’t know that you could quickly score two goals, and the score was tied 3-3.
“No one knew, but everybody hoped. All believed.”
Zetterberg was asked about the “comeback” which began with the Russian team when Malkin and Franzen fought and Franzen received a four-minute penalty, and he didn’t answer: “I didn’t see any of this, and I can’t comment on it.” For reference, Zetterberg and Franzen played on a line, and at the time Zetterberg was on the ice.
Can you say that this was the biggest test at this point of the championship? Prior to that, because the games were more checkpoints—the question to Datsyuk.
“If you look at all the bills into one—two goals. All games are given to working. So I think the test is still ahead.”
But many NHL players from Sweden came to the World Championship…
“And you don’t share, NHL player, no NHL players, on the ce, the team plays, and everything depends on it.”
Finally, Niklas Kronwall had this to say about Emelin to Sportbox.ru’s Denis Gusev...
“Emelin is a very good hockey player. I know his playing style, I’ve seen him in games between Detroit and Montreal,” said Kronwall to our special correspondent in Stockholm. “But what he did during the game, it’s disrespectful to his opponent, and you can’t act that way.
We’ll come to the conclusion of the discussion of the Wings at the Worlds via the Swedish press.
Viktor Fasth criticized is own terrible effort—Semyon Varlamov was far superior—and Swedish coach Par Marts told TT’s Petter Nilsson and Aftonbladet’s Mats Wennerholm that penalty trouble—in the form of “taking the law into their own hands”—doomed his team (but he told Aftonbladet’s Mats Wennerholm and Emil Karlsson that while Fasth played poorly, he’ll probably start him against Italy today), but it’s also worth noting that Expressen’s Mattias Ek reports that coach Marts chose to bench Zetterberg for the final 8 minutes of the game so that he wouldn’t get hurt, and I’ll start with Goran Sunberg’s recap from TT to set the mood, if you will:
It was connected to when Zetterberg shot the 2-1 goal for the Tre Kronor into the net in the second period. Around the same time linemate Johan Franzen received an ugly spear from the defenseman Alexei Emelin. An assault which should have been given a match penalty. Instead, Emelin survived with a two-minute penalty.
“The referee was standing right there. I just waited for him to give him a match penalty,” said Zetterberg.
That didn’t happen. The referees Antti Borman, from Finland, and Keith Koval, from the U.S.A., let Emelin remain.
Instead, the Montreal defenseman was one of the authors of the victory, along with superstar Evgeni Malkin, who had 3 goals and 5 points.
Two Russian power play goals—3-2 and 3-3—occurred after Emelin drew a penalty (on Johan Franzen) and reinforced it with another (Gabriel Landeskog).
In the power play, he shot the 3-3 goal and had a dream game. That was with 1:33 left in the 2nd period.
“So he is in the NHL as well, filming and making himself [?]” said Tampa defenseman Victor Hedman.
The Tre Kronor have not defeated Russia in a championship since 2004, and this was their eighth straight victory. Russia took its grip on first place in the group and may, if they maintain their lead, earn an easier quarterfinal against team number four. Sweden’s runner-up team will be waiting in the quarterfinal, probably against the Czech Republic.
“Yes, now it’s hard to win the group.”
The Tre Kronor also lost Johan Franzen to an injury. Not the spear, but a cross-check to his face from Dmitri Kalinin in the third period. Kalinin was given a match penalty and Franzen had to leave the game with a broken nose.
The Russians decided the game early in the third period with two goals in just over two minutes. Alexander Perezhogin scored a 4-3 goal when Viktor Fasth didn’t have his eye on the puck. Then Fasth gave up an unfortunate 5-3 goal from Evgeni Malkin and then 6-3.
“He’s a divinely gifted hockey player, but he has a little poor balance at times,” said Zetterberg of Malkin.
SVT.s Anna Blomqvist confirms the news about Franzen’s nose…
“It’s unfortunate for Johan. He received a cross-check right across the nose,” said Johan Garpenlov to TV4.
Management expects that Franzen will miss this weekend’s game but may come back for later games.
“It’s possible to play with a broken nose, and hopefully he’ll be back after the weekend,” says Garpenlov, who’s had many severe injuries during Swedish championships
Swedish coach Marts admitted that his team didn’t shut down Malkin at all, but when Hockeysverige’s Peter Sibner asked Marts about Franzen’s nose, he said…
“It didn’t look so good with Johan,” says Par Marts. “His nose…It points to the east.”
The Swedes readily acknowledged that the loss was their fault in every aspect—poorly-timed penalties, a lack of focus, mediocre goaltending, poor defense, you name it, but as Nyheter24.se’s Olle Liljebad noted, the Swedes were still furious over what happened to Franzen, and Swedish trainer Tommy Boustedt offers more context to that situation:
“I’m not a doctor, but when you get a cross-check like that and the nose points to one side, it’s something bad,” said manager Tommy Boustedt.
Boustedt also spoke to Expressen’s Mattias Ek about Franzen’s injury:
“It was bleeding a lot, it wasn’t good. What it means, I don’t know,” says Boustedt.
“They went to specialists.”
Johan Franzen wasn’t feeling well after the hit on the nose, and could miss several games now.
“I feel like we have to bring in a forward, but we must try to survive the game tomorrow in any way, says Par Marts, talking about Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist coming for Saturday’s game against Italy
Garpenlov did tell SvD.se’s Janne Bengtsson that the team will give Franzen a few days off…
And Zetterberg told Liljebad and hockeysverige’s Isabel Boltenstern that he didn’t understand why the best refs aren’t at the World Championships, and Gabriel Landeskog told both Expressen‘s Axel Pileby and Marie Hallman that he was disgusted by Emelin’s Hollywood-worthy acting, as Expressen’s Mattias Ek notes:
“if I should be totally honest, I think he should be an actor in Hollywood. He does it well and then he won the game for them. It should be well if they give him a call,” says Landeskog, and continues: “If I gave my mother that kind of nudge, she would stand up. That doesn’t belong on a hockey team. It’s sad to see.”
Victor Hedman wasn’t surprised that it was Montreal’s Emelin who caught the Tre Kronor’s focus.
“I’ve played him four times and so I’ve seen him in other games and we know how he is. He managed to be here today and draw penalties and not receive a match penalty,” says Hedman.
Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall was critical of Emelin.
“He’s a better player than that. He’s a talented defenseman. Those kinds of things don’t belong here. I think it’s a little disrespectful,” said Kronwall. “On the other hand, they won the game, we did not.”
Kronwall continued while speaking to Expressen’s Jonatan Lindquist...
“He’s one of those great players who can keep doing other things, it’s disrespectful to the sport”
Emelin’s spearing of Johan Franzen was not popular in the Swedish camp.
“I’m glad that none of us did it. There weren’t pretty words [about it],” said Kronwall.
“We hung out Fasthen’ to pretty good. There were far too many open shots. They came in wave after wave,” said Kronwall to Hockeyexpressen.se. “I think we gave away this game, if I’m honest. We had a 3-1 lead, and had chances at 4-1. We took some stupid penalties and became frustrated.”
Kronwall was self-critical and touched on some of the goals the other way.
“They’re toxic on the power play and I must find a way to block those two shots.”
Regarding Emelin’s comments, I don’t want to give them more shrift, but when he was asked if the “Russian bear falls easily,” he smarmily told Expressen’s Lindquist that “The Swedish bear falls easily,” and aside from noting that Zetterberg repeated his comments to Aftonbladet, it wasn’t just Emelin who accused Franzen of bringing the spear upon himself.
KHL president and Russian Hockey Federation bigwig Alexander Medvedev had this to say to Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros, Emil Karlsson and Patrik Sjogren:
Nor did KHL boss Alexander Medvedev understand the Swedish criticism.
“It’s difficult for the visiting team to play before a home crowd. I would say that the Swedish players, who are always very honest and strong, began to complain to the crowd and referees for no reason,” said Medvedev to Sportbladet.
“I don’t think anyone was acting. There were hard checks from both teams but a hard and good game.”
Medvedev also regretted that Johan Franzen was injured, but believed that the hit from Dmitri Kalinin, who received a match penalty, was involuntary.
“We saw the replay. Kalinin wasn’t conscious of the injury. There was no conscious hit to his face. But he is sad that he did badly.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is that…and that’s why Medvedev gives Bettman a run for his money.
Also of Red Wings-related note this morning: If you missed it, the Red Wings will hold their equipment sale today from 11:30 AM to 7 PM at Hockeytown Authentics;
• If you missed it, Pavel Datsyuk advanced to the top 8 of EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote, and he’ll face off against John Tavares between May 18th and 23rd;
• If you want to read Yevgeni Kuznetsov gushing about his teammate, Pavel Datsyuk, to RIA Novosti, you can do so on your own;
• Regarding this video of Valtteri Filppula?
It appears to have been made by Nike, which used to own his equipment sponsor, Bauer, for Finland—because the “curse” being broken is a 25-year stretch of the country hosting the World Championship’s playoff rounds (which Helsinki will do this year and Sweden will do next year)—and it was clearly filmed in the Foxtown area, around and in the Hockeytown Cafe, and I believe the street hockey game might have involved either kids coming to the Joe to play and/or the Wings’ outdoor practice.
• And finally, Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to IIHF.com’s Andrew Podnieks in the first part of a 2-part interview on Friday, and in the second part, he speaks about his experiences at the 2010 Olympics, and what it felt like to beat the U.S. to capture gold in Vancouver:
“I said put your foot on the gas and let’s go get ‘em. It wasn’t about gambling. We just thought this was our opportunity and this was our time. That was our mantra the whole tournament. It doesn’t mean you’re not patient or you’re not diligent, but let’s let it go. To me, being cautious never got me anywhere. I don’t think that the people who are pushing it every day as the best of the best are going about it with caution. I think the first two shifts were fairly even, and from that point on we took over and won the game.”
In retrospect, no Canadian would have wanted the game to end after regulation and the score 2-1 when they could have had a Crosby golden goal as an alternate ending. Not so for Babcock and the team.
“I think for the people involved, it wouldn’t have mattered how it went. It was the process. Your Olympic dream, your Olympic opportunity, has to do with getting to camp, with representing your country, getting better as a team every day. In the end, Sid is one of those guys who was able to deliver, but there were lots of guys who were able to deliver under the scrutiny and under the pressure in Canada.”
Babcock expanded. “The thing for me is that being an Olympian is beyond special. Even people who aren’t sports fans, like my wife, watch the Olympics. You’ll see this summer for two weeks [during the London Olympics] people will catch themselves watching fencing – and they don’t even know what fencing is. It’s an Olympic sport. And so, to share that with your country, and to do it in hockey, which is the pulse of Canada, made it spectacular. But I don’t know that winning in overtime made it any more special for us. We just wanted to win.”
With all of his success, Babcock hasn’t developed particularly close relationships with his players, but he acknowledges there is something there, something special, something forever. Nonetheless, Babcock had the misfortune of being the only member of the team whose NHL team, Detroit, played the next night following the gold-medal win. His celebrations were short-lived.
“I went out with the staff, had a nice dinner and a few drinks, got back to my hotel room about three-thirty, got in a cab at five-thirty, and took a flight to Colorado [for the game]. My assistant coaches ran the morning skate, and our team proceeded to go 16-2-1 so we could make the playoffs. You just get on with your life. When you take your equipment off and it’s over, it’s really over. You have all these memories. If you win the Cup, they can’t take it away from you. If you win the Olympics, they can’t take it away from you. You see the guys that you won with, and there’s a bond there forever.”
The residual effect is strong with Babcock. He may live in the present and move on with his life every morning he gets out of bed, but he knows what’s important and what’s not.
“I remember moments – the goal, the celebration, being in the dressing room afterwards and the players not wanting to take their equipment off, the loss to the U.S. and our meeting after, the day before the preparation for the Russians, when Tessa [Virtue] and Scott [Moir] won gold, the day before the gold-medal game going to watch [Canadian curler] Kevin Martin and see the ice water run through his veins and see him deliver, just made the hair on your back stand on end – these are all moments that stand out for me.”
Continue reading it if you wish. It’s worth your time.
One more thing; I will not be here for today’s World Championship games. One of my dearest friends is graduating from college with her master’s degree, and I will be gone from 10 AM until at least 6 PM. Paul will provide you with pertinent updates and I will post a short update when I get home.
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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.