The Malik Report
The overnight report: On bridges unburnt, net-front players, Ouellet, Weiss and praise for the Isles
If you need a little "light reading," if not a change of pace given the Wings' 5-game losing streak, and we're going to do via yet another two-or-more-sport-referencing article from the Free Press's Evil Drew Sharp, mostly because his comparison of Jim Harbaugh and Mike Babcock's respective contract situations is...Thoughtful? Yes indeedy:
Babcock's apparent reluctance in committing to the Wings beyond this season easily could have turned ugly. Everyone understands how thin-skinned Detroit gets if it thinks its shiniest sports baubles want out at their earliest convenience.
But general manager Ken Holland isn't panicked. There's no rush. More important, there's no rancor. Holland fully appreciates what Babcock has brought to the Wings since his arrival for the 2005-06 season. Holland knows he has the best coach in the NHL as well as the best owner in Mike Ilitch, who's unafraid to spend premium dollars on premium talent. He can wait. Holland knows that if Babcock leaves after the season, it won't be because the Wings turned miserly.
I'm just not surprised. The Red Wings' 2-1 loss to the New York Islanders, punctuated by Jimmy Howard's "lower-body injury" exit necessitating the recall of Tom McCollum and demotion of Xavier Ouellet due to roster space reasons...
It was coming, as was the Wings' 0-2-and-3 slide. This team is still just young enough, just thin enough in terms of depth or the lack thereof and just still working out its identity as a recharged, reloaded team on an upward trajectory to allow a set of injuries that disrupted team continuity to screw everything up--via a cascading series of self-inflicted wounds.
The 7-1-and-1 run sewed the seeds for both a probable rebound performance during January and February's road-heavy schedule, and the temporary losses of Johan Franzen's production, Danny DeKeyser, Stephen Weiss, Justin Abdelkader et. al. (and even Pavel Datsyuk's return) jostled the Wings just enough to put them on their back foot before tumbling a top-heavy team right over.
It was a good news-bad-news night for the Red Wings' prospects, and these tidbits = the bad news:
The Detroit Red Wings have fallen into the worst drought of their season, unable to score, unable to defend, and unable to move the puck efficiently up or down the ice between their and their opponent's goals. As a result, the Red Wings dropped a 5th straight defeat, losing 2-1 to the New York Islanders, on Friday night.
The fact that this was only the team's first regulation loss among their 5 (0-1-and-3) seems near-miraculous given how lost the Wings look on the ice, given how much of disaster Jonathan Ericsson has become and given how plain old dumb the team is playing, working to be as inefficient as humanly possible while sending one skater into two, three or four opponents with no support and no outlets for the puck.
Turnovers result, goals against result, and now Niklas Kronwall is making that face he made during the Wings' no-Datsyuk-and-no-Zetterberg losing streak, looking lost and distant.
That's very bad for a mostly healthy team in December, even if Jimmy Howard left the game early due to "precautionary" reasons.
I've never seen so many Tweets hoping and nearly praying that a goaltender has the stomach flu, and the stomach flu of the violent kind, but this is the mump era:
Crappy news from the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner. The Darren Helm of the Grand Rapids Griffins, Andreas Athanasiou, has suffered a broken jaw:
The 6'2," 200-pound center was earning top-line duty between Anthony Mantha and Andy Miele, and had registered 7 goals, 9 assists and 16 points over the course of 25 games played. He'd also earned gushy praise from coach Jeff Blashill, who suggested that "AA" ws the Griffins' best, hardest-working player more nights than not.
DETROIT – The following statement was issued today by the Howe family regarding improvements to the condition of Gordie Howe:
“Following the press coverage of our father’s deteriorating medical condition, the Howe Family was contacted in late November by Dr. Maynard Howe (CEO) and Dave McGuigan (VP) of Stemedica Cell Technologies. McGuigan knew our family as a result of his previous employment with the Detroit Red Wings. Stemedica is a biotechnology company that manufactures allogeneic adult stem cells in its U.S. government licensed, cGMP facility in San Diego, California. Although no relation, Dr. Howe and his brothers Drs. David and Roger are hockey players and big Gordie Howe fans, having grown up in Minnesota. They wished to help our father by generously facilitating Dad’s participation in a stem cell clinical trial at Novastem, a licensed distributor of Stemedica’s products in Mexico.
This is...different...from the Hockey News's Ken Campbell:
Update: The Hockey News has received this press release:
Detroit, Michigan & Lubbock, Texas. December 19, 2014
Gordie Howe “Mr. Hockey” Makes an Amazing Recovery
Following the press coverage of our father’s deteriorating medical condition, the Howe Family was contacted in late November by Dr. Maynard Howe, (CEO) and Dave McGuigan (VP) of Stemedica Cell Technologies. McGuigan knew our family as a result of his previous employment with the Detroit Red Wings. Stemedica is a biotechnology company that manufactures allogeneic adult stem cells in its US government licensed, cGMP facility in San Diego, California. Although no relation, Dr. Howe and his brothers Drs. David and Roger are hockey players and big Gordie Howe fans, having grown up in Minnesota. They wished to help our father by generously facilitating Dad’s participation in a stem cell clinical trial at Novastem, a licensed distributor of Stemedica’s products in Mexico.
Novastem is currently conducting federally licensed and Institutional Review Board approved clinical trials for several medical conditions, including stroke, using Stemedica’s stem cell products. At the time we were contacted, Mr. Hockey had been rapidly declining and was essentially bedridden with little ability to communicate or to eat on his own.
Updated 7x at 3:52 PM: The Red Wings and Islanders' morning skates ahead of tonight's tilt between the teams (7:30 PM EST on FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM) were very quiet affairs news-wise. Johan Franzen's back in the lineup for Detroit, Travis Hamonic and Johnny Boychuk will rejoin the Islanders' defense, and Jaroslav Halak will oppose Jimmy Howard as their respective teams' starting goalies.
The Wings are of course opening up a set of 3 home games in 5 nights (vs. the Isles tonight, the Avs on Sunday and the Sabres on Tuesday) amidst a 4-game winless streak (0-1-and-3) and amidst a schedule in which the team will have 1 more home game in 2014, New Year's Eve's game against New Jersey, before embarking on a road trip that lasts until January 17th, admist a crapton of January and February road games.
DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose posited a pair of Tweets of team-vs-team-statistical note...
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.