The Malik Report
The Red Wings wrapped up a set of 5 games in 8 nights and 7 in 12 with a 4-3 shootout loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, and going into a 4-day break...I didn't think I'd be so pissed off with or upset by a Wings team going 3-1-and-3 over the past seven games, nor with the Wings' 7-3-and-5 record after 15 games played.
I am indeed pissed off with and upset by the team's record, however. I knew that the Wings were going to have some hiccups (as we've seen on line changes and the power play) due to Mike Babcock breaking in three new assistant coaches, video coordinator included; I knew that the Wings' defacto sophomore players (DeKeyser, Smith, Sheahan, Jurco, Tatar, Glendening, Andersson and Nyquist) were going to struggle to find consistent form, and especially that Pavel Datsyuk's shoulder injury for the vast majority of training camp was probably going to beget a groin issue, I understood that "shooting for .500" was probably all I could hope for.
The Grand Rapids Griffins rather mysteriously reassigned Jared Coreau to the Toledo Walleye on Sunday, but they apparently did so for a very good reason. The Wings' ECHL affiliate was playing in the second half of a back-to-back set against the Evansville IceMen, and Coreau didn't play for Grand Rapids in Friday or Saturday's games--and given that the Griffins don't play again until Wednesday--he was more than ready to give Jeff Lerg some relief.
Coreau stopped 24 of 27 regulation-and-OT shots and 10 of 13 shootout shooters as the Walleye defeated Evansville 4-3. Marek Tvrdon also registered an assist and 3 shots (as well as a -1).
The Walleye's website posted a recap...
The Wings wrapped up a set of 5 games in 8 nights and 7 in 12 by rallying from a 3-1 deficit against the Tampa Bay Lightning, only to drop a 4-3 shootout decision, and...While it was swell and all that the Wings rallied, and while going 3-1-and-3 over the course of 7 games isn't terrible...
It feels like the Wings have once again forgotten how to play a north-south game, and bringing a wonky-ankled and wonky-brained Kyle Quincey back into the lineup didn't help a team that really didn't get sustained offense from anyone but the Franzen-Zetterberg-Nyquist line and didn't recieve strong defensive play from anyone not named Kronwall, Ericsson or DeKeyser. Jimmy Howard was tested far too regularly because the Wings stood around and watched (or piled off the bench on a bad line change to watch) the Tampa Bay Lightning deke, dangle, SHOOT THE PUCK and PURSUE REBOUNDS on a SCREENED goaltender, all while the Wings were far too happy to be one-and-done or none-and-done in the offensive zone.
As such, even scoring 2 power play goals and stopping 4 of 5 doofy penalties against didn't really yield anything more than what felt very much like a loser point.
I don't like posting in-game articles, but this news from the Free Press's George Sipple is both noteworth and less than surprising. Sipple reports that Red Wings GM Ken Holland is considering Tomas Jurco down to the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins for confidence's sake (and the fact that the Griffins are winless in six plays into the equation, too):
Neither the Red Wings nor the Lightning skated ahead of today's early-evening match-up (6 PM EST on FSD/Sun/97.1 FM); the Lightning won their 5th straight game via a 7-4 win against Columbus on Saturday, and Wings head into their 5th game played over the last 8 nights tonight.
As I wrote, I was waiting waiting for pre-game comments from Lightning coach Jon Cooper and Wings coach Mike Babcock, and they popped up around 4 PM:
You might also want to know that Brad Meier and Mike Leggo are refereeing tonight's game, with Scott Driscoll and Greg Devorski working the lines.
In article form:
from Paul Harris at NHL.com,
The Detroit Red Wings want to continue to take advantage of tired teams.
Detroit plays the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday at Joe Louis Arena after Tampa Bay defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 7-4 in Columbus on Saturday.
It will be the Red Wings' sixth game against teams who have played the previous day. Detroit is 4-0-1 in those games.
"We've all been there ourselves; it's always tough to get the legs going in the beginning and we need to get better starts than we've had," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told MLive.com after practice Saturday. "If we can take care of that we'll be just fine."
Neither team skated Sunday morning. Detroit coach Mike Babcock and Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper are scheduled to meet with the media before the game.
Below, Ken Kal with a video preview of the game...
I've got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that Kyle Quincey will probably return to the Red Wings' lineup as they wrap up their stretch of 7 games in 12 nights (and 4 in 6) against the Tampa Bay Lightning early on Sunday evening (6 PM EST on FSD Plus/Sun/97.1 FM), the Wings get a 4-day break after today's game, and the Wings could very well have a team ripe for the picking as the Lightning come in on a winning streak.
The bad news is that the 7-3-and-4 Wings are hosting a 10-3-and-1 Lightning team that's won 5 straight and 7 of 8, including Saturday's 7-4 win over Columbus, and Evgeni Nabokov was very purposefully started on Saturday night so that Ben Bishop, who's 4-and-1 against the Wings, will start opposite Jimmy Howard today.
That Valtteri Filppula guy has 13 points (3 goals and 9 assists) in 14 games, too, so, uh...How about that whole maybe Stephen Weiss might play his first game since last December in a week or so thing ?
Prospect news: Griffins drop 6th straight game; Tvrdon helps Walleye win; Subway Super Series on tap
It may officially be time to worry in Grand Rapids.
The Griffins have undergone some pretty dramatic changes, welcoming 2 new assistant coaches, 6 turning-pro or turning-North-American-pro players and a total of 9 new faces, but Grand Rapids' 3-1 loss to the Rockford IceHogs represents their sixth straight defeat (0-5-and-1 since October 24th), and the Griffins are now 3-8-and-1 overall.
At the AHL level, assistant coaches certainly play a bigger role; last year's first line in Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan and Gustav Nyquist are in Detroit, as are Andrej Nestrasil and now Petr Mrazek, but the Griffins have surrendered 4 or more goals in 6 of their nine losses, so the Backmans, Jensens, Marchenkos, Ouellets and Sprouls aren't delivering, and while the Griffins haven't been able to get into a rhythm because they've only played weekend games (for the most part)...
Updated 4x at 3:34 PM: The Red Wings hope to build upon last night's 4-2 win over the New Jersey Devils when the Tampa Bay Lightning, who are playing in Columbus tonight, come to town tomorrow (6 PM EST start on FSD Plus).
As home is definitely where the winning is, it would behoove the Wings to wrap up this nasty stretch of 7 games in 12 days (and what will be 4 games in their last 6 nights) with a win against a Lightning team that's won 4 straight games and 6 of their past 7 games. After Sunday's game, the Wings will receive an overdue 4-day break, but that precedes a stretch in which the Wings will play 13 games over the course of 3-and-a-half November and December weeks, so going into the "break" at 8-3-and-4 would give the Wings some margin for error.
Friday night's game involved a special set of warm-up jerseys that will be auctioned off for a good cause, as a certain Pavel Datsyuk noted on Twitter...
from Joe LaPointe of Mlive,
The Wings turned up the pressure with younger, fresher skating legs against an older team that had lost the night before in St. Louis. Detroit scored the next four goals and took a 4-2 victory in the first game of a four-game home stand that stretches for 10 days.
It is one of several schedule oddities that have helped the Red Wings get off to a strong start (7-3-4), despite the recent winless three-game road trip (0-1-2) of earlier this week. The Wings are now 5-1-1 at home and play the next three downtown on the riverfront.
"To be back home with this interesting schedule, I think it's beneficial," said defenseman Brendan Smith, who scored his first goal of the season in the final minute of the first period to break a 1-1 tie. "(Joe Louis) is definitely special. Everyone in the league knows it's special. It's Hockeytown. It's quite a thrill to play in front of them."
It was another packed house at The Joe with a raucous, payday crowd, the kind of beer-waving fans who sing along and act out Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Fat-Bottomed Girls" when the speaker system blares them before faceoffs.
Technically, it's a doomed arena, noted Jakub Kindl, who scored the first Detroit goal, on the power play.
"We don't have a lot of years left to play in front of this crowd," he said. "It feels good."
Anyone else notice the Wings are now 4-0-1 when facing a team which is on the 2nd game of back-to-back games and they host Tampa on Sunday after the Bolts play in Columbus tonight.
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.