The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings did what they tend to do during playoff games. They struggled on the power play (and oh yes, there was an even-up), they battled like mad to play inefficient hockey--firing 24 shots ON Tuuka Rask and another 30 attempts wide/blocked--they freaked the fan base out with frantic defensive mistakes and baffling over-complicating things to the extreme...
But while a certain Danny DeKeyser had to endure a spear to the groin from a team that apparently believes Detroit is guilty of Deception and Subtle Interference (via @myregularface)...
Jimmy Howard was superb--yes, Jimmy Howard--he got a lot of help, and then Pavel Datsyuk did this--with 3:01 left in the game (updated with better video):
All of a sudden, all the jitters, all the kids deferring to the point, all the herky-jerky-ding-dong-diggly-dorking around mattered little to nothing at all, because Datsyuk delivers, and Detroit's taken a 1-0 decision in Game 1 of their 1st round series.
Mike Babcock is up first...
Followed by Darren Helm and Brend Smith below...
I'm heading out to take the mom to the CPA to file our taxes (we received an extension), so, having filed a game-day update post, the Wings' playoff preview video, a Datsyuk Play of the Year, a Ken Holland interview and Craig Custance's feature story on Gustav Nyquist (Custance and the CBC's Doug Harrison wrote tremendous articles about "The Kids" today), I'm about to brave the joy that is 12 Mile and Orchard Lake Road from 3:30-6 on a Friday evening.
As such, I won't be back till nearly game time, and I'd like to use this set of pre-game comments from Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, per BostonBruins.com's Jess Inser (whose notebook also includes a bit about Darren Helm), as the TMR "Afternoon Line":
“We talk a lot about the past in the media — we never talk about the past in our dressing room,” said Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock. “It’s about the present. It’s about right here, right now, and we have a good group of kids. We have good veteran leadership, but our kids have played really well — given us the energy, and they’ve come here and they’ve replaced people and they’ve earned jobs.”
“It’s not like they’re going back to the minors; they’re here. They took jobs, and they’re going to keep jobs. And this is a group here we’re going ahead with now. Obviously, some of the guys that are injured, like Zetterberg, I’m sure can still get a spot on the team. Like Ericsson. I’m sure. But that’s just part of it — they’re not here, [so] what are we going to do about it?” Just play.”
Isner continues at length, and here's Babcock on Helm:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland delivers a game-day ‘state of the Wings’ address on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery today, giving a 15-minute "state of the Wings" ahead of tonight's playoff opener against the Boston Bruins:
Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist played absolutely dominant hockey down the stretch, but proving that he can still score at a good clip while dealing with the intense checking and one-on-one shut-down match-ups of playoff hockey might tell the tale as to whether Nyquist could be another Henrik Zetterberg in the making.
Custance spoke with Nyquist's coach at the University of Maine, Tim Whitehead, the Wings' Swedish super-scout, Hakan Andersson, Griffins coach Jeff Blashill and former Wings assitstant GM Jim Nill about Nyquist's blossoming, but Custance reports that the biggest difference-maker in terms of Nyquist's physical, mental and skill development was and is Nyquist himself:
TSN's latest "Play of the Year Showdown" pits Pavel Datsyuk's superb pass against the Boston Bruins...
Against a shorthanded goal by T.J. Oshie:
I would expect Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond to say something similar regarding the Red Wings, but in case you're interested, the Boston Bruins' play-by-play man and color commentator, Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley (respectively), told the Boston Globe's Chad Finn that they expect the B's to make quick work of the Wings:
“I don’t think this is a lengthy series,’’ said NESN color analyst Andy Brickley, who will join Jack Edwards for the call of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series Friday. “I don’t see it going six or seven. I think the Bruins take care of business in five games. I think they’ll win a game in Detroit and hold serve at home. I think there will be some really hard fought, close games in this series. But I also see a 4-0 win, a 4-1 win, a game that’s in [the Bruins’] control for most of it.
“I try to be as objective as I can, but when you try to project it, that’s how I see it evolving. I’m not ignoring what Detroit brings to the table, I think the Bruins strengths are stronger than Detroit’s strengths.”
Updated 8x at 2:34 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to upset the mighty Boston Bruins as the teams' first-round playoff series gets underway this evening (7:30 PM on FSD and NESN locally, NBCSN and TSN nationally and on 97.1 FM; does Octopi Hockeytown extend to Boston?), and while the Bruins skated quite early...
WEEI's DJ Bean reports that Claude Julien took a page out of Mike Babcock's book and "held an optional":
Burning hot take: If today's morning skate is an optional, perhaps Bruins just had Paille do his before. Would throw folks off the scent
Or he was just skating before because that's what injured players do. That's the more likely, but I'm not assuming anything. #Bruins
Which means that, as the Boston Herald's Steve Conroy notes, more than just Daniel Paille's status remained up in the air:
Grand Rapids Griffins assistant coach Spiros Anastas will leave the team after the Griffins attempt to defend their Calder Cup championship this spring, and Anastas is going to a lesser-known institution that's a familiar place to the Wings' former coach.
Anastas is going to take over as the University of Lethbridge's (Alberta) coach, taking a position once filled by Mike Babcock, and Anastas spoke with the Lethbridge Herald's Dylan Purcell about his new challenge:
He’s still an assistant coach in the American Hockey League, preparing for the playoffs for the defending league Calder Cup champion Grand Rapids Griffins.
He’s recruiting players for the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns men’s hockey team as part of his new head coaching duties.
He has to find a place to live in Lethbridge, and has to evaluate the players he is inheriting and determine what resources he has at his disposal.
And he’s planning to get married this summer.
If it sounds like Spiros Anastas needs a couple of extra hours in the day, don’t worry, he’s found them.
“It’s been really busy. We’ve got the playoffs ahead for the Calder Cup defence. They say sleep is a weapon but I am going to have to use it wisely but I think I can handle it, I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Purcell continues, and Anastas is truly somebody worth rooting for, so I wish him all the best.
Meanwhile, in Grand Rapids...
Update: The Wings posted an "Octopi Hockyetown" video, too:
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.