The Malik Report
from Chris Boyle of Sportsnet,
Playoff hockey always breeds unlikely heroes. Many of these heroes are little known goaltenders who rise from obscurity to lead their teams on unexpected playoff runs.
Last night Petr Mrazek raised his hand and pushed Andrew Hammond aside as this seasons top candidate.
One week ago Jimmy Howard gift wrapped a victory for the Montreal Canadiens and assured the Red Wings of a first-round meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mike Babcock didn’t offer his vote of confidence and it opened the door for the little known Mrazek to run with the playoff starters job.
I looked at this last year in regards to coaching decisions and how sometimes it is easier to go with the unknown because of the chance of greatness then to roll with what you already know is mediocre. Jimmy Howard hasn’t really proven himself to be among the elite of the league, so Babcock’s decision is totally defensible.
Defensible turned to apparent genius on Thursday. Mrazek seemingly stole a Game 1 win vs the Lightning. But did he really?
from Bill Roose of DetroitRedWings.com,
Luke Glendening has all the necessary attributes that any NHL coach could ever want in a fourth-line grinding center.
He’s tenacious, abrasive, and finds way to get under the skin of most everyone he plays against. All of those traits were front and center in Thursday’s 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the opener of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series.
“The more guys like that you can have on your team the better chance you have to have success,” said coach Babcock, following the Wings’ Friday afternoon practice at the Ice Sports Forum in suburban Tampa.
While Glendening’s shorthanded, spin-o-rama goal stood as the Game 1 winner – earning accolades on ESPN as SportsCenter’s top play from Thursday – it was his relentless defense, particularly on the penalty kill that led to his goal that helped the Wings steal a win.
Glendening admitted Friday that the move he made on Lightning center Valtteri Filppula wasn’t anything fancy. “I was just out of gas actually so I didn’t have enough speed to get to the net so figured if I turned back, I might have a chance.”
continued plus more Detroit topics...
Updated 18x at 4:12 PM: The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning got off a bit of a late start in terms of practicing after Thursday's 3-2 Wings win, and given that there will be no morning skate ahead of tomorrow's 3 PM-starting Game 2, the Wings and Bolts need to get their work in today in terms of making pre-Game-2 adjustments.
The Wings actually preceded the Lightning onto the ice in Brandon, FL, per ESPN's Joe McDonald...
So the Flyers fired Craig Berube, the Leafs and Sabres are looking for a head coach and Todd McLellan's on thin ice in San Jose.
I get the concept that other teams--and especially deep-pocketed ones like Philly and Toronto--believe that they can sway Mike Babcock to leave the Red Wings and join their cause with a combination of millions of dollars and some say in player personnel, but if you were to ask me, the Flyers' circus is the last place Babcock would want to go.
In Philadelphia, the general manager and the owner rather regularly override the coach's player personnel decisions, and I simply cannot imagine Mike Babcock and Ed Snider getting through the first, second, third or fourth time that Snider wants Babcock to start goalie X over goalie Y, to bench player Z over player A or B, or to give more ice time to player C over player D. Babcock wants to be the damn coach, and in Philadelphia, the coach is not always the coach.
It just doesn't make logical sense. So the rumormongers will go back into Babcock overdrive today, he may be asked about the Flyers' situation by a Tampa or NHL beat writer who doesn't know that there is an embargo on coaching questions per the coach himself, but this concept that Babcock can be swayed to head to Philly...It ignores the job hazards that Babcock simply cannot stand.
No surprise here, however:
Update #3: Have fun with the Free Press's Steve Schrader's summary of Babcock rumors on your own.
Updated 4x at 11:52 AM: As we wait for the Red Wings and Lightning to take the ice at Amalie Arena subsequent to last night's 3-2 Wings win, several articles popped up between the overnight report and this morning, so:
Per the Free Press's Steve Schrader:
Glendening spoke with the media after the game, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
The things that didn't quite fit, the playoff notebooks and miscellany will constitute "overnight report" material for the playoffs, and I can't think of a better way to start this misfit montage than with this little exchange Henrik Zetterberg had with NBCSN's Andy Brickley:
In an article about the Lightning's playoff preparation, the Toronto Sun's Terry Koshan also gave Mike Babcock a bit of a stump upon which to issue playoff philosophy...
Sometimes the stats DO tell the story:
Coach Jon Cooper was fuming after the game, as the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith noted:
The Detroit Red Wings began their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday evening, entering their playoff run as massive underdogs to the high-flying Lightning, and "stealing a game" at Amalie Arena was to be absolutely essential for the Wings to shake playoff rookie Ben Bishop's confidence and give NHL playoff rookie Petr Mrazek some swagger.
The Wings got a whole shitton of swagger from Petr Mrazek--to the tune of 44 saves on 46 shots--as Detroit was out-shot ridiculously (46-14) and out-attempted worse (68-28), but won 3-2 thanks to two glorious Pavel Datsyuk goals, a Luke Glendening backhand and an astonishing amount of penalty-killing and even-strength work against the shot-happy, penalty-drawing Bolts.
This was anything but a textbook example of "how to win game 1," but Detroit took it, and they made Ben Bishop look shaky as Petr Mrazek put on a damn clinic.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave a very extensive interview to Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery this afternoon, speaking with Dery about the state of the Wings pre-playoff time for over 16 minutes:
RED WINGS PLAYERS DONATED $312,590 TO SUPPORT CHARITABLE PROGRAMS IN 2014-15
... Red Wings Players and Head Coach Mike Babcock Made In-Kind Ticket and Monetary Donations to 31 Michigan Nonprofits…
DETROIT – In partnership with the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, 24 players on the Detroit Red Wings roster and head coach Mike Babcock participated in a charitable program during the 2014-15 season, ranging from ticket and financial donations, meet and greets with hospitalized children and military members, volunteering at charitable organizations and serving as spokesmen for community relations theme nights during Red Wings games.
Seven players made donations based on personal statistics achieved over the course of the season, generating a total donation of $24,975 to seven Metro Detroit-based nonprofits.
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.