The Malik Report
The more I think about the Red Wings' 4-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night, and the more that I look at the standings with interest for the first time this season, the more I think that being 12-5-and-5 on American Thanksgiving--a.k.a. Ken Holland's, "If you're in the playoff picture now you're probably going to make it, and if you're not, you're probably not" mark--the more I think that the Wings are where they should be.
I'm still a believer in the concept that the Red Wings needed two full seasons to realize their full post-Nicklas Lidstrom potential and forge an identity as a younger, faster, more potent and yet slightly "thinner" team, and on Wednesday, I thought that the Wings' performance was reflective of a team in the process of finding its edge.
The fact that the Wings took advantage of the struggling Flyers and their absolutely dreadful road record, at this point in the year at least, felt more like something that had to be done as opposed to something to hang one's hat upon.
Wings coach Mike Babcock made a particularly intriguing set of comments after the game, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
The Red Wings' AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, is spending American Thanksgiving engaging in a "road-and-still-on-the-road" series against the Rochester Americans, and Grand Rapids got off to a good start on Wednesday, defeating the Amerks 3-1.
The Griffins' website posted a game recap...
The Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers was sometimes dominating, sometimes scary and sometimes a whole lot of watching gravy grow skin in between moments of individual and team greatness.
Jimmy Howard was incredibly solid early, late and overall, the Wings were dreadful for the first 10 minutes of the 1st period and the first 10 minutes of the 3rd period, and just as half the damn crowd was gone by the 3rd period to enjoy Thanksgiving Eve, the Wings had mentally checked out to the point that one was worried that it'd be another "Ottawa game," if not a carbon copy of the Wings' blow-it game vs. Philly back in October...
But the Wings got their shit together in time to ensure that the Flyers never got any closer than 4-2 in the 3rd, Pavel Datsyuk scored 2 goals in his return from a groin injury, Jakub Kindl of all people had two assists, Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist, Darren Helm had two assists, the PK was 3-for-4 and the PP was 1-for-3 on a night that the Wings needed to persevere against both the Flyers and the bad habits they're still trying to shake on "American Thanksgiving" eve.
ESPN's Pierre LeBrun just penned an article confirming that Daniel Alfredsson will announce his retirement from the NHL next Thursday, and that's yielded some stupidity from Darcy Tucker and what I'd delicately describe as an overly-optimistic set of expectations for December 4th's festivities from the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan:
Alfredsson, the longtime captain of the Ottawa Senators, returns to the fold next Thursday, Dec. 4, to announce his retirement from the NHL during a media conference at the Canadian Tire Centre.
Fittingly, it’s ‘Throwback Thursday’ at the rink, a night for Senators heritage jerseys and now, a Senators legacy player: No. 11, the man affectionately known throughout the community as “Alfie.”
In town for a game that night will be the New York Islanders, a team the Senators used to toy with back in Alfredsson’s tenure (times have changed, the Islanders are a juggernaut, go figure). Expect numerous game night interruptions for chants of “Alfie!” Expect the crowd to monitor the time of each period, counting down the seconds to that moment when the clock shows 11:11.
Knowing Alfredsson, he didn’t ask [Bryan] Murray to “go for a drive” just to talk about himself and his retirement. He wanted to speak to his former GM in the wake of the revelation that Murray’s cancer was incurable. It wasn’t their first conversation in recent weeks, but it was an important face-to-face meeting.
The result – Alfredsson is to be a Senator for life, with a future place in the organization if he so desires. As you were. All is right with the world again.
Alfredsson will be remembered as a Senator, but he lives in Birmingham, Michigan now, and while the ailing Bryan Murray "went for a drive" with Alfredsson last week, I'm sure that Ken Holland, Ryan Martin and Kris Draper will lobby #11 to begin his post-hockey career learning the ropes in Detroit.
That, and he may want to go back to Sweden, too. It's up to Alfredsson, and a year-and-a-half doesn't necessarily mend all wounds.
I don't have a problem with Chris Chelios's take on Brendan Shanahan--given that Chelios, whose book tour for his Memoir, Made in America, will resume in suburban Chicago on December 2nd, was a staunch advocate for the NHLPA during two lockouts, while Shanahan not only reached out to the NHL during the 04-05 lockout but also ended up working for the league...
But Chelios appeared on TSN 1050's Leafs Lunch today, and his suggestion that the Maple Leafs' president is a "politician" of course rankled some feathers:
Hall of Fame defenceman Chris Chelios joined Leafs Lunch to discuss his autobiography “Overtime” sharing some stories from the book and why it was time to write it. He also discussed some candid comments he made about his relationship with Maple Leafs President Brendan Shanahan in the book, and whether Shanahan is suited for the Leafs job.
As far as I understand the situation, Shanahan left the Red Wings in the summer of 2006 because he felt that Mike Babcock gave veteran players no deference and because he wanted to further his post-playing career, which probably was going to be helped by playing in Montreal or New York instead of Detroit, but that was his prerrogative, and it's Chelios's prerrogative to suggest that his former teammate isn't his favorite human being.
And it's Toronto Sports Talk Radio's prerrogative to turn this into an international incident, I suppose:
Updated 4x at 4:23 PM: The Red Wings will attempt to win their
3rd straight game for the first time second straight game when they host the Philadelphia Flyers tonight (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/CSN Philly/NBCSN/97.1 FM), and the Courier-Post's Dave Issac offered a superb set of "5 Things to Watch" regarding tonight's game:
The Red Wings laid an egg when they dropped a 4-2 decision to the Philadelphia Flyers on October 25th, but--in theory--tonight's NBCSN-televised "rematch" (7:30 PM EST on FSD Plus/CSN Philly/NBCSN/97.1 FM) between an 8-9-and-3 Flyers team and the strong-on-home-ice 11-5-and-5 Wings should yield a strong opportunity for the Wings to extend their winning streak to three games for the first time this season (the Wings did go "unbeaten" in 3 via 2 wins and a shootout loss at the end of October).
In practice, the Wings are a team that tends to do a fine job of goofing up when "the odds are in their favor," and while the Flyers have lost 5 straight games, including a 1-0 shootout decision to the Islanders on Monday, Steve Mason stopped 46 shots in that effort, Jakub Voracek is always good against the Wings and is tied for the league lead in scoring...
And this is one of those, "The underdog is due" games that scares me (for lack of a better term).
The Flyers' scribes didn't cover Tuesday's practice (Michael Raffl gave an interview to the Flyers' website, but he's got a "lower-body injury"), and as NJ.com's Randy Miller noted, the Flyers theoretically might be preoccupied with this weekend's games...
I've thought about putting these articles in the overnight report--I was quite frankly not up to an evening entry as this whole physical endurance thing is affected by depression, and I'm still coming up for air as it were--but they don't belong in a Wings-Flyers spiel, not even a rambly one.
This is the best part of my job, reporting on the kind of things that remind us that the players who chase pucks for a living make their biggest impacts off the ice. The Red Wings' Community Relations Department posted several Instagram photos from the Wings' annual pre-Holiday Season visit to Children's Hospital on Tuesday evening...
Updated 3x at 12:28 AM: Because TSN's geo-blocked its "Insider Trading" segment and all its other videos from outside-of-Canada viewing, I guess we've got to go with Bruce:
Last week, Internet reports claimed Daniel Alfredsson has chosen to retire instead of trying to overcome lower-back pain that has plagued him for months.
But Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg says everyone should tap the brakes over those unconfirmed reports.
“So far it’s just rumors,” he said. “I know he’s trying to get his back better, doing his rehab part, skating a little bit. I won’t say that its over until it’s over.”
Update #2: Here's more from Garrioch in article form:
After one game playing for the Carolina Hurricanes, a team that's likely to give the Buffalo Sabres a run in the Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel Race to the Bottom, it's not exactly fair to suggest that scoring a goal in his first game with Carolina = the Hurricanes "fleeced" Detroit by snagging 6'3," 200-pound Andrej Nestrasil on waivers.
As much as I absolutely adore Nestrasil as a player and person, the reality of his "skill set" is that he projects to be what Tomas Kopecky played like in his first season with the Chicago Blackhawks, i.e. a big, dependable 3rd-line forward who can score on occasion, and as much as it sucked that the Canes snagged him off waivers, the Wings will survive without him.
All of that being said, it's good to read the News & Observer's Chip Alexander report that Nestrasil's happy in Carolina (thus far):
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.