The Malik Report
From the Grand Rapids Griffins:
McCOLLUM NAMED GRIFFINS’ 2014-15 IOA/AMERICAN SPECIALTY AHL MAN OF THE YEAR
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Grand Rapids Griffins are proud to announce that Tom McCollum has been named the team’s winner of the IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year award for his outstanding contributions to the Grand Rapids community during the 2014-15 season.
This season, McCollum helped found the TLC Club (Tommy and Lando Care Club), which provides Griffins season tickets to the Boys & Girls Club of Grand Rapids in order to help spread the fervor for hockey throughout West Michigan. On his own accord, he also conducted a free one-hour clinic in February for more than a dozen 4th-to-12th grade goalies from the Griffins Youth Foundation, with help from teammate Jared Coreau. After the on-ice session, they held a 30-minute Q&A with the goalies and their parents. McCollum is just the second two-time IOA/American Specialty AHL Man of the Year nominee in the Griffins’ 19 seasons, joining current Detroit Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard.
via the Boston Bruins,
With the Eastern Conference playoff race heating up, the Bruins are set for a tough matchup against the Red Wings on Thursday night.
Update: And here's the Red Wings' game day preview:
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will thank the fans of Hockeytown by hosting its annual ‘Fan Appreciation Night’ on Tuesday, April 7 at 7:30 p.m.when the Red Wings take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the final regular season home game of the 2014-15 campaign.
Fans in attendance at Joe Louis Arena for Tuesday’s game, along with those following the Red Wings social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) and fans who subscribe to the team’s text alerts, will be eligible to win exciting giveaways, prizes and unique Red Wings experiences. In addition, FOX Sports Detroit, which has exclusive broadcast rights to Tuesday’s game, will also be issuing prizes to lucky fans during the game through its Twitter account.
"Good news, everyone":
Updated 11x at 2:23 PM: The Red Wings face an incredibly stiff challenge in besting the Boston Bruins this evening (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/NESN/NBCSN/TVA Sports/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM), and the morning skate did not deliver good news regarding Riley Sheahan (has to pass a baseline neurological test before being cleared to play), Tomas Jurco (out with an upper-body injury), Pavel Datsyuk (still out with an ankle injury) or Erik Cole (still out with an upper-body injury), though it appears that Drew Miller (facial laceration) and Joakim Andersson (Mrs.-to-be had a baby girl) will play tonight.
As TPL Hockey on Twitter has noted, unless Sheahan does not pass his baseline neurological test, the Wings still have enough healthy bodies on defense (7) that the Wings can't make an emergency recall from Grand Rapids as adding Jakub Kindl to the lineup = 11 forwards + 7 defensemen + 2 goalies = 20 players, but the Wings' lines were a bit odd during the morning skate, as DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reported...
#RedWings lines at morning skate: Abdelkader-Zetterberg-Nyquist Helm-Sheahan-Tatar Cleary-Weiss-Pulkkinen Miller-Glendening-Jurco
And MLive's Ansar Khan spoke with Pavel Datsyuk regarding his ankle issue:
In the "a little different" category, Wood TV8 posted a clip of the Grand Rapids Griffins' trainers discussing the fact that the Griffins are using helmets that the University of Virginia determined are not particularly protective...
According to the Orangeville Banner's Chris Halladay, Orangeville, Ontario may earn a "Day With Henrik Zetterberg"...
Updated 6x at 11:34 AM: It's an understatement to suggest that tonight's game between the Red Wings and Boston Bruins (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/NESN/NBCSN/TVA Sports/Sportsnet 360/97.1 FM;; Steve Kozari and Francois St. Laurent are scheduled to ref the game) could determine the course of the Red Wings' post-season. If the Bruins win, there's a real possibility that Detroit will end up as a "wild card" team; if Detroit wins, their chances of taking the 3rd Atlantic Division playoff spot remain strong.
The Red Wings hit the ice just after 10:30 for their morning skate, as MLive's Ansar Khan reported...
Wings filing onto ice. Players that didn't skate yesterday are practicing: Datsyuk, Zetterberg. Helm. Sheahan, Miller also skating.
Cole and Andersson are not skating.
Datsyuk not skating in line rushes, not a good sign.
And the Bruins said, "Hello":
from Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News,
The Wings and Senators have six games left for a possible 12 points.
The Red Wings would accomplish a lot by earning six of the possible 12 points. It almost certainly would eliminate the Senators and deliver the Wings to the playoffs.
The Senators would need all 12 points available to pass the Red Wings.
Because the Wings command a five-win gap over the Senators in the first tiebreaker, regulations and overtime wins (ROW), the Senators almost certainly must avoid a tie with the Red Wings. (The shootout was eliminated as a factor in breaking a tie because the skills competition was deemed ill-suited for determining playoff position in the NHL.)
If the Red Wings earn four of 12 points, the Senators almost certainly would require 10 of 12 points to pass them.
Even if the Wings got only two of the last 12 points available, the Senators most likely would require eight of their possible 12 to eliminate them.
While the math is much stronger for the Bruins overtaking the Red Wings, if only Boston does it, Detroit is still a wild card.
The Wings lead the Bruins by two points. The Bruins have five games left for a possible 10 points.
Again, if Red Wings garner six of the possible 12 points, the Bruins would need four wins in their last five games to tie.
In the land of (mostly) playoff prospect news:
In the Swedish SHL, Axel Holmstrom registered 2 assists in 16:38 played, including an assist on the series-winner, as Skelleftea AIK defeated Mattias Backman and Linkopings HC 3-2 in overtime on Wednesday (click the link for highlights), taking a 3-0 series lead in the SHL semifinal series;
Back over on this side of the pond, in the OHL, Tyler Bertuzzi had a goal and an assist to Zach Nastasiuk's goal as Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm defeated Nastasiuk's Owen Sound Attack 2-1 on Tuesday, and neither player scored in Guelph's 3-2 win on Wednesday. Guelph leads the best-of-seven series 3-1;
Jake Paterson is, like Nastasiuk, a game away from being assigned to Grand Rapids. He gave up 10 goals on 33 shots as his Kitchener Rangers were shelled 10-6 by London on Tuesday, yielding a 3-0 series lead for the Knights;
Hello. George here. I've been without internet service for the better part of the last two days (thanks, WOW), so my apologies for the service interrputions, and many thanks to Paul for keeping TMR going.
This note from the Ottawa Citizen's Ken Warren slipped under the radar yesterday, and I'd hoped to post it earlier today, but it's still worth noting because it's a wonderful summary of the reasons why the Red Wings' coach is the man he was raised to be--mostly by his father, Mike Sr., who passed away on Sunday at 78 years of age:
“The last time I visited him was March 3,” the Red Wings coach said before Tuesday’s game against the Senators. “I always make notes in my phone and there was a note there that said it would be the last time I see to my Dad.”
Babcock says he talked to his father every day following morning skates and now “I’ve got to find somebody else to call.”
At the same time, Babcock says his father is in a better place.
“I’m a guy of faith anyway and since I lost my mom, I pray differently. The same thing is going to happen for Dad. It was time for him to leave. He was struggling. To be honest, as sad as it is, it’s a great, great thing.”
Babcock says his father would not want him to stop working.
“In my family, you’re expected to do your job,” he said. “There are expectations. My Dad would expect me to be doing this and do it to the best of my ability and that’s how you honour him.”
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Boston, which trailed Detroit by 12 points on March 4, suddenly is two points behind. And while the Red Wings need only stay ahead of the Ottawa Senators, who are five points back, to secure a playoff berth, finishing the season on an upswing and beating a nemesis team would provide a confidence boost.
"It doesn't matter how much we look back we have to look forward," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "Try to get energized and get back to playing the way we want to be playing. March has been a bit of a struggle for us. We have to find our legs again. Focus on the things we need to do and do them right."
The Bruins have won three in a row against the Red Wings after Detroit won the season open at home. Including last year's playoff series, Boston has won seven of its past eight against the Red Wings.
"They're a team that plays hard," Detroit's Justin Abdelkader said. "We know the positions in the standings. We know how important a game it is for us. It'll be fun, a good test."
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