The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/06/12 at 11:08 PM ET
On a slightly lighter note given that the NHL has all but declared war on the PA via their realignment press release (no hockey next October, folks? Ken Holland told the Free Press’s Helene St. James that he’s just as bummed out about this news as we are), given what Brian Burke had to say about the demise of the enforcer yesterday and Mike Babcock’s rebuttal thereof (which you can listen to via the off-day updates, or, more simply, at The Fan 590), something told me that we were going to get a Canuck-press-like, “No, the Maple Leafs aren’t a Burkeian team, in fact, Burke’s building them to be more like the Red Wings”...And here’s that suggestion from someone who sat through Burke’s lament, one Mike Brophy:
[W]hile Brian Burke rants about ‘rats’ ruining the game and bemoans the fact he had to send enforcer Colton Orr to the minors, the truth is the Leafs GM has done a nice job of following the Detroit model when constructing his team. And that will get the Maple Leafs back to the playoffs eventually.
The Red Wings opened the season with five straight wins, but then lost six in a row. However, as of late, the Wings have found the consistency in their game that has been their calling card since they went to the Stanley Cup final in 1994-95 and then won back-to-back Cups in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
“When you know that team is in town, you know what to expect right away,” said Leafs left winger Joffrey Lupul. “On Thursday Winnipeg comes to town and they’re unbelievable at home and can’t win a game on the road. You’re not exactly sure how they’re going to play coming into your building. With Detroit, you know how they’re going to play. They’re going to play the same way they’ve played for the last 15 years. They’re going to try to control the puck, move the puck, be hard on the puck and be a hard-working team. For us it’s something we can learn from; watching a team like that. But you don’t want to get into that state of mind where you’re getting caught out there watching what they do. We have to go out and compete and play physical against a lot of their guys.”
You might be surprised what Leafs coach Ron Wilson thinks about the Wings’ size up front, too:
“The one difference is the Red Wings have drafted and developed big, power forwards - Johan Franzen, Tomas Holmstrom and guys like that,” Wilson said. “We’re still a little bit away from that, but we have speed and we keep improving our skill. I think a lot of teams look at the Red Wings as the blueprint for having success in this league.”
Continued, and the article’s worth your time.
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.