The Malik Report
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
The Wings are very wary of facing Alex Ovechkin tomorrow, given that Ovechkin fired 15 shots on Petr Mrazek last week, and Mike Green told MLive's Ansar Khan that there isn't necessarily an easy way of shutting Ovechkin down:
"Even playing with him I don't know what other teams did or said; they tried everything and he would still have chances," Green said. "We talked about it before the game and he still ended up getting 15 shots."
Ovechkin has nine goals and 17 points in 15 career games against the Red Wings.
"I think he plays such a unique game. He finds the openings. He thinks the game a little differently," Green said. "Maybe that creates all those chances because he's maybe a little bit out of position, which for him is in position. He gets a lot of opportunities for sure. We've just got to try to eliminate his time with the puck and eliminate (his center Nicklas) Backstrom that's going to give it to him. He's the key behind that."
That being said, as the Free Press's Helene St. James notes, the Wings want to focus on themselves more than their oppponent, and that means helping Green continue to acclimate to the Wings' lineup:
Dylan Larkin is magnetic. The Detroit Red Wings rookie is a star in the making. At 19, he has the speed of a youngster but also a veteran’s feel for the game. His typical play is to skate up the wing, find a seam in the defence, then when the defence reacts he finds a new seam or passes to an open teammate.
This is a lot harder than it sounds. For most players, that would be a formula for turning over the puck or getting mashed by a defenceman.
But Larkin is hard to hit. He always seems to be at a bit of an angle, never quite erect, and so never in position for an opponent to check him properly. His is an elusive game.
Typical Larkin play, from Friday’s game against the San Jose Sharks: Larkin corrals the puck at his own face-off circle. He zips up the left wing, “and away he goes, Speedy Gonzales!”, gushes the TV announcer Mickey Redmond, himself a Red Wings alumnus.
At centre ice Larkin, in full flight, angles to the right. By the time he is at the San Jose blue line he is in the midst of three Sharks – Brent Burns, Paul Martin, Joe Thornton – all of them wanting to pounce on him.
But before they can do it he dishes a pass to an uncovered Tomas Tatar on the right wing. Tatar has plenty of time to wire a wrister home for the goal.
The Red Wings made a wise decision given that Tomas Jurco isn't playing:
The Griffins play 6 times over the next two weeks, so Jurco will finally get some game action.
Here's the press release:
ESPN's Tal Pinchevsky discusses NHL rookies making an impact only a year or two removed from their draft seasons, and he uses Dylan Larkin as the #1 example of the "philosophical shift" that teams are making from insisting that prospects mature in the AHL before entering the NHL to simply letting the best players skate where they belong:
Perhaps no team better demonstrates this sudden philosophical shift than the Detroit Red Wings. Owners of a league-best 24 consecutive playoff appearances, the Red Wings have become a picture of consistency by being extra cautious when it comes to promoting prospects. But they did an about-face this season when they added 19-year-old Dylan Larkin to their roster.
The Michigan native and 15th overall pick in the 2014 draft didn't just defy the franchise's golden rule. He defied expectations, scoring seven points in his first nine games and inspiring Detroit to keep him aboard for more than nine games, which financially requires the Wings to keep him all season. The last teenager to spend a season with the Red Wings was Jiri Fischer in 1999-00. Fischer is now the Wings' director of player development.
Teams are forced to burn the first season of a player's entry-level contract once they play their 10th game of the season. So the decision to keep Larkin isn't one the Red Wings took lightly, and it's one other competitive teams are making.
MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Mike Green regarding his comfort level with the Wings as it applies to flexing Green's offensive muscles:
[A]fter returning from a shoulder injury that sidelined him for six games, Green seems to be finding his comfort level offensively, with four assists in five games, including two in a 4-3 overtime victory at Ottawa.
"It's good to kind of get back to feeling like you can jump up in the play," Green said. "They encourage that here, which is good. I'm finding that when I see holes I'm able to jump and feel confident that the forwards actually support you. I have all the confidence to do that."
Coach Jeff Blashill said Green is still trying to get his game to the 'A' level after missing some time, including part of camp and preseason.
"When he's on the attack he's great," Blashill said. "He and I talked this morning just about being on the attack all the time and gapping and skating forwards; he's a great forward skater. Let's utilize that. I thought he did a real good job."
"Especially when you're joining a new team you want to help out, contribute, but sometimes it takes a little time to sort of get the feel, the flow, how the team plays," Green said. "I feel like we're really coming along here."
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
It was a clash between the team ranked last in the NHL in shots per game (the Red Wings) and the club that allows the most shots (the Senators). The Red Wings did what they have talked about doing all season but haven't accomplished – get pucks on net.
"I think that's been coming for a while in terms of our shot attempts," coach Jeff Blashill said. "We talked lots about it as a team. We got to do a better job of getting them through quicker, so they don't get blocked. We got to do a better job of getting them on net. I thought we did that tonight."
Said forward Riley Sheahan: "I think we did a good job of what we wanted to do and that was get some pucks to the net and emphasize shooting when you don't have the best angle and try to create a scramble in front."
Sheahan scored his goal during a scramble in front of goaltender Craig Andersson. It put his team ahead 3-1 at 16:24 of the second period.
But Dylan Larkin set the tone on this night by scoring from an almost impossible angle at 9:12 of the first period, when he banked in a shot off Anderson.
"He's so dynamic, that kid, how he can skate and handle the puck and see," defenseman Mike Green said. "Most guys would have kept wheeling (around) the net there. He was almost behind the net and sees that hole. He planned that. It wasn't an accident. That just goes to show what kind of player he is."
The Red Wings flew back to Detroit after snapping a 2-game winless streak in Ottawa, taking a 4-3 OT decision from the Ottawa Senators on Monday, and while the Wings weren't able to keep the hammer down on the Senators in the third period, the Wings played really well for the vast majority of the game, which is something Wings fans haven't been able to say since the beginning of the regular season.
The Wings put in a strong 60-minute performance highlighted by this goal from Dylan Larkin...
And punctuated by Tomas Tatar's OT winner:
It's become a dogfight.
The Red Wings sit amidst the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference's also-rans, trying to get into playoff position or nearly so by American Thanksgiving, and their game against the Ottawa Senators represented an opportunity to claw back toward an Atlantic Division rival.
On Monday night, the Wings gave up a 2-goal lead in the third, which is far from ideal--especially when your fourth-line center gets owned on the game-tying goal--but a Tomas Tatar goal yielded a 4-3 overtime win for the Red Wings, and Detroit desperately needed the two points.
It was disappointing to see the Wings surrender that extra point via an inability to "finish," but on the whole, the Red Wings played a very, very good game against the Senators, mucking, grinding and assaulting Craig Anderson with 65 shot attempts and 37 shots on the net, and Anderson really stole a point for his teammates. This could've been 4-2 or 5-2 easily.
From NBC Sports:
ALEX OVECHKIN AND WASHINGTON CAPITALS VISIT HENRIK ZETTERBERG AND DETROIT RED WINGS ON NBCSN’S WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY
Wednesday Night Rivalry – Capitals-Red Wings – Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Pre-Game Coverage Starts at 7 p.m. ET with NHL Live; Kathryn Tappen Interviews Red Wings Forward Tomas Tatar
Sidney Crosby and Pittsburgh Penguins Host Minnesota Wild Tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
NHL Viewership on NBCSN Up 11% vs. 2014-15
STAMFORD, Conn. – November 16, 2015 – NBCSN presents a Wednesday Night Rivalry showdown from one of the NHL’s most historic arenas, when Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals travel to Joe Louis Arena to face Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings this Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
This week’s NHL coverage begins tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, when Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins host Ryan Suter and the Minnesota Wild. NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs – will stream this week’s NHL action.
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.