Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

Wings’ Compete Level Started Out Slow Last Night But Did Improve

 Angelique S. Chengelis of the Detroit News normally covers U of M football but last night she was on the Wings' beat...

"A shootout is like a roulette," Tatar said. "We don't have a good stat this year, but we're glad we beat them. I don't get (the 3-8 record) either, to be honest. I'm surprised with the skill we have, it's kind of weird. It seems like we can do lots of things on the ice when we play five on five and all of a sudden shootouts come, and we have a tough time scoring a goal."

The Red Wings opened the game sluggishly, while the Blackhawks outshot them 17-6 in the scoreless first period....

"We played really tight, they played tight, as well," Tatar said. "There wasn't many great chances. We had leads twice and we let them tie the game real fast, which put them back on the horse."

The Wings were aggressive in overtime, attacking Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford with a flurry of three shots, including a strong attempt by Helm.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn't thrilled with how the team started, but liked how well Howard, in his third game since returning from injury, played and how the team got stronger as the game wore on.

"Once we started getting competitive and got heavy on our stick and won some battles, I think we got a lot better," Babcock said. "It was one of those games that they were way heavier on their stick. They skated and won more races early, and we watched them. Once we got competing, things went better for us.

"We were fortunate we had some guys really dig in for us, including (Howard), but we have to be better than we were tonight."

more and below watch Babcock post-game...

added 9:33am, Watch Joel Quenneville post-game below...

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Quick take, Red Wings vs. Blackhawks: Detroit Sacks Chicago in shootout

The Detroit Red Wings played a game against teh Chicago Blackhawks in which the team never really engaged until the 3rd period, in which 99% of the "bounces" went Chicago's way, as did what Ed Olczyk would describe as the "good non calls," and in a game where the Chicago Blackhawks fired the puck at or near the Wings' net over 70 times...

Detroit charged out to 2 leads, gave them up within a minute of scoring the 1-0 and 2-1 goals, and somehow, thanks to some amazing goaltending from Jimmy Howard, heady play by Darren Helm (1G 1A) and gorgeous goals by Tomas Tatar, the Wings emerged with a hard-fought 3-2 shootout decision over the Chicago Blackhawks that was earned, deserved and felt really *#$%@& good.

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Could Sergei Fedorov become an NHL GM, somewhere, someday? I suppose so..

I usually take a short nap before games (the life of a blogger does not involve more than five or six consecutive hours of sleep at a time), but a little booger-related tossing and turning had me thinking about this quip from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, at the start of his weekly 30 Thoughts column:

[Sergei] Fedorov has two years remaining on his contract as general manager of CSKA Moscow in the KHL. The “Red Army” (as we knew them in North America) was the dominant force in Russian hockey through the Soviet era, culminating its run with 13 championships in a row from 1977 to 1989.

The fall of the Iron Curtain brought a fall in its influence, as the organization floundered and ceased to be an on-ice success. That continued after the formation of the KHL, since CSKA Moscow is the owner of just two playoff wins in six seasons.

Things are changing, however. CSKA currently stands No. 1 in the KHL, with 132 points in 56 games. (Regulation wins are worth three points.) Fedorov hired John Torchetti — now back with the AHL’s Iowa Wild — as coach last season, a move that stabilized things and set a foundation for the future.

Friedman asked Fedorov if he'd jump at the chance to become an NHL GM when his contract expires, and this is the answer he received:

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Red Wings-Blackhawks pre-game Tweets and notes

Updated 2x with a whole lotta Helene St. James @ 6:58 PM: The Red Wings didn't hold a morning skate ahead of tonight's game between Detroit and Chicago (7:30 PM EST on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), but Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to the media around 5:30 PM EST...

NHL.com's Brian Hedger penned an "At the Rink" article that includes both probable Wings and Hawks lineups, as well as a discussion of the special teams battle...

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Do Detroit’s warts scare away players?

ESPN's Craig Custance penned an Insider-only entry about the most common teams on no-trade lists, and in speaking about one of my favorite cities, Winnipeg, Custance's discussions with player agents found that it's not just the cold Canadian markets (Winnipeg and Edmonton), the disasters on ice (Buffalo), ownership-scary teams (Phoenix) or the big Canadian media markets (like Toronto) that scare people off...Or would if they're not winning:

Another agent pointed to Detroit, a town not known for its great winter weather or vibrant nightlife but one that’s become a destination all the same.

“Why do people want to go to the Detroit Red Wings? They win,” said the agent. “They have a proud organization. Players want to play there because they have a chance to win. They’re proud to play there.”

Still, that Winnipeg weather.

“If you think it’s cold in Detroit, it’s like that for four months in Winnipeg,” said the agent. “If you have a family, you’re a shut-in. The kids can’t go outside and play. You go outside for 15 minutes and it’s frostbite.”

Custance continues, and I have no doubt that between the city's weather, the city's reputation (even though the vast majority of the nearly 5 million people who live in Metro Detroit don't live in Detroit), the Joe's reputation and the pluses and minuses of playing for the coach (as spread around by a certain former Wing who wore #22) yield a "harder sell" than we've assumed...

But the Wings do win and the Wings do treat their players like kings.

That, and the Metro Detroit area is far more lively and provides more anonymity than anyone really expects at first blush.

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Sportsnet: Pavel Datsyuk endorsing a top-shelf/bar-down shooter tutor

Per Sportsnet's Luke Fox, Pavel Datsyuk wants to help young players learn how to roof shots to defeat butterfly goalies:

An assistant coach of an NHL team and his business associates have developed a new and improved Shooter Tutor (yes, that guy) with the objective of upping the number of goals scored through properly training shooters where to aim.

And the inventors’ response to big-pad goalies has now secured the endorsement of a bona fide superstar, Pavel Datsyuk.

 

With goaltenders increasing their athleticism, training and equipment size, it’s no secret that NHL scoring has become more and more of a premium at high levels of play. Only 5.34 goals were scored per game last season, and the scoring rate has only popped over six goals per game once (2005-06) since 1995-96. That’s way down from the trigger-happy ’80s. In 1981-82, the league averaged more than eight red lamps per game.

“We don’t have a large enough base to test at this point, but my indication is that [the tutor] does increase scoring,” says co-creator Tom Bahls, who developed the Bar Down Shooter Tutor with an NHL coach who requested he and his team not be named in this article, in the spirit of competitive advantage.

Continued...

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Prospect news: Results from Tuesday’s game; Griffins to rotate 3 goalies, recalled Frk

My apologies for yesterday's absence...Sinus infection, definitely.

In any case, the Red Wings' prospects did engage in games on Tuesday, and the Grand Rapids Griffins posted their weekly release, so it's time to catch up a bit.

In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took 2 shots, won 50% of his faceoffs and finished at -2 in 21:16 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK dropped a 5-1 decision to Farjestads BK;

Mattias Janmark took a shot, finished at -1, won 57% of his faceoffs and played 16:36 as the Frolunda Indians were shut out 3-0 by the Vaxjo Lakers;

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Red Wings-Blackhawks morning skate Tweets and articles: Hawks take an optional; NHL, NBCSN previews

Updated 14x at 3:06 PM: FYI, no morning skate for the Wings today.

 

Tonight's "Rivalry Night" game between the Blackhawks and Red Wings is a massively important game for both teams (7:30 PM EST on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; according to the game notes, Francoois St. Laurent and Ghislain Hebert will referee tonight's tilt), but the Chicago Tribune's Mark Lazerus reported that the Hawks chose to "take an optional":

It's an optional morning skate for the #Blackhawks. Eleven skaters and Antti Raanta.

#Blackhawks roll call: Bickell, Carcillo, Cumiskey, Erixon, Hartman, Kane, Kruger, Raanta, Rundblad, Sharp, Shaw, Smith. #Alphabetical

In lieu of Hawks lines, NHL.com offered a wide-ranging set of "Rivalry Night" articles, including NHL.com's Paul Harris' discussion of Henrik Zetterberg's resurgent play a year removed from having back surgery:

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Joel Quenneville, Mickey Redmond discuss Hawks-Wings, Detroit’s 6-game road trip

I've gotten over two hundred email alerts regarding comments made on TMR over the past day, and that many comments tends to mean that there's some sort of argument going on--and as I was absent yesterday,

I'm assuming that the Wings' 3-game losing streak and decision to demote Petr Mrazek out-weighed the team's decision to surprisingly recall the AHL's leading scorer, Teemu Pulkkinen, to add some secondary scoring to the lineup.

This evening, the Red Wings begin their monster 6-game road trip with a "Rivalry Night" game against the Chicago Blackhawks (7:30 PM on NBCSN).

Ahead of the affair, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville appeared on WGN Radio's Steve Cochran show to discuss the rivalry with the Wings and his "strategy" for tonight's tilt (regrettably, I can't embed it)..

And a certain Mickey Redmond appeared on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Drew Lane show to discuss all things Red Wings-related, losing streak included, yesterday afternoon:

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Wings Need to Improve Their Play

from Ansar Khan of Mlive,

With his team winless in three games (0-2-1), coach Mike Babcock said it's time to elevate their play.

"The league's picked up pace and we got to have our players keep up as well, so we got to elevate here and this trip's a good opportunity for us," Babcock said.

After returning home from Chicago, the Red Wings will visit Dallas on Saturday, Anaheim on Monday, Los Angeles on Tuesday, San Jose on Feb. 26 and Nashville on Feb. 28.

"You always want to measure yourself against the best teams in the league, that's where you really get a feel for where you stand," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "And we're going to be playing some of the best teams coming up, so it should be a good road trip for us."

The Red Wings are six points behind division-leading Montreal and trail Tampa Bay by four points, but have four games in hand on the Lightning.

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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.

 

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