The Malik Report
Rematches can be overrated, and it's hard to say whether the Red Wings could take any solace in defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning during the regular season after being eliminated from the playoffs in a bitter seven-game first-round series--that kind of revenge takes until April to truly earn.
That being said, the Red Wings' 3-1 win--in all its gloriously ugly nature--felt pretty damn good, from Nyquist's 2nd-period, playoff-game-un-tying snipe to the goalpost that Ondrej Palat hit in the game's final seconds, with a little luck and a little lucky goodness separating Detroit from what could'a been and maybe should'a been overtime had Detroit not played so damn well defensively (mostly), from Mike Green of all people (and we need to get his Stealth CNT collection going, folks) on out to the Glendenings, Ferraros, Jurcos and Larkins.
This was the kind of game where Nyquist and Zetterberg carried the day, but Kyle Quincey got two points, and Jeff Blashill's ever-slightly-more aggressive structure seemed to give the Wings just enough of an edge to out-compete an incredibly-talented Lightning team.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
2. The Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson spoke with Brad Richards regarding a particularly momentous summer preceding his signing with the Red Wings:
via the Detroit Red Wings,
Comerica Bank GameDay preview featuring Ken Kal, Jeff Blashill, Brendan Smith and Teemu Pulkkinen.
Updated 6x at 3:21 PM: The Red Wings took to the ice for their morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the skate revealed that Darren Helm isn't quite ready to return from his concussion, that Tomas Jurco will play in Landon Ferraro's place, and that the Wings have tweaked their power play ahead of tonight's match-up against Ben Bishop and the Bolts (7:30 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
The Lightning "held an optional" morning skate as they're playing their 3rd game in 4 nights this evening, but the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith offered a notes and a zinger from coach Jon Cooper:
Cooper said Bishop is starting
Cooper said rest of lineup is game time decision. Guessing Nesterov could get in
#TBLightning Cooper playfully kidding about good friend @DetroitRedWings Jeff Blashill. "Aside from me, he's as good as it gets."
The Tampa Bay Tribune's Erik Erlendsson confirmed the possibility that the Bolts might make a change on defense:
Among Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman's "30 Thoughts":
18. In a conversation last week, Henrik Zetterberg confirmed (sort of) a story I’d heard about him. In 2013, as the Detroit Red Wings scraped to prolong their two-decade playoff streak, word was that, down the stretch, he launched into a passionate, slightly profane speech during a team meeting, basically saying that missing the postseason “was not going to happen on my watch.”
“I didn’t use the language you described,” he said last Thursday. “But I didn’t want to be on the team that missed the playoffs. The standard that was set by the players before me. Stevie [Yzerman], Nick [Lidstrom], [Kris] Draper, [Chris] Chelios. Playing with them, I learned how much it meant. I wanted the new guys to know it matters.” Zetterberg revealed it happened before the final game of the season, a must-win in Dallas. Detroit shut out the Stars, 3-0.
From the Red Wings:
RED WINGS PINK THE RINK FOR NINTH ANNUAL BREAST CANCER AWARENESS NIGHT ON FRIDAY
… Red Wings Invite More than 60 Breast Cancer Patients as Special Guests on Oct. 16; Fans Encouraged to Wear Pink for Chance at Team-Signed Jersey …
DETROIT – The Detroit Red Wings will host their ninth annual Breast Cancer Awareness Night, on Friday, Oct. 16, when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Joe Louis Arena at 7:30 p.m.
When doors open at 6:00 p.m., the Joe Louis Arena concourse will be home to a variety of activities, including a silent auction, mystery puck draw and a special sale of Red Wings baseball hats with all proceeds benefiting the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute. The funds raised will help alleviate the costs of breast cancer screening and treatment for uninsured and underinsured women in the Metro Detroit area. Additionally, the first 5,000 fans in attendance on Friday will receive a BCA Night themed T-shirt.
Fans who wear pink to the game will be entered to win a 2015-16 team-signed jersey by picking up a raffle ticket on the concourse behind Section 126. There, fans can also participate in the puck draw or bid on a wide collection of unique Red Wings items at the silent auction.
Via RedWingsFeed, ESPN's Craig Custance penned an Insider-only entry regarding Dylan Larkin's quick adaptation to NHL play, and both Custance and Wings director of player development Jiri Fischer believe that Larkin's play in the World Championships--and his work in the weight room afterward--gave Larkin a leg up on his competition:
Larkin finished the Worlds with just one assist in 10 games. By comparison, another impressive rookie, Jack Eichel, had seven points in 10 games.
“Dylan held his own,” said Fischer, who spent time in the Czech Republic scouting Larkin and other young players.
But the growth came in the off-season. He’s notably stronger now than he was in the Czech Republic. Fischer said his lower body has changed the most.
“He is physically our most improved athlete from the end of the season last year to the beginning of the season now. He just wants to be great,” Fischer said. “You look at him and there’s a reason why he’s in the NHL that he made the team out of camp because he added strength and he can keep up with anybody. People don’t bounce him off the puck.”
This was a kid who saw a sliver of opportunity and seized it.
“Every summer you want to get stronger and better at hockey,” Larkin said. “I think just going to Worlds -- I thought I held my own there. I just wanted to be as ready as possible to make the team this fall. I worked pretty hard and happened to put on weight naturally.”
As tonight's Wings-Bolts game is an NBCSN affair, NHL.com's spotlighting a Red Wings player ahead of said game, and NHL.com's Paul Harris decided to discuss Justin Abdelkader's superb start:
A couple of seasons ago, then-Red Wings coach Mike Babcock began using Abdelkader on offensive lines with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg when they were playing together, and with Datsyuk at center when he and Zetterberg played on separate lines.
"I think every player has different assets, and I think he's got great combination of physicality and skill set and he's got offensive smarts to go with it," current Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think one of those things of having a physical type presence on a line, sometimes those guys don't have offensive smarts to play with elite offensive thinkers. He does."
With Datsyuk still recovering from surgery on ruptured tendons in his right ankle on June 26, Abdelkader has played on a line with Zetterberg at center and rookie Dylan Larkin on right wing for most of the first two games, and the unit has been dominant.
Zetterberg has a goal and four assists and is plus-5. Larkin, 19, has a goal and two assists and is plus-6.
"Obviously, [Zetterberg] being the centerman, controlling a lot of the play, [Larkin] skates so well and has a great skill set," Abdelkader said. "I'm just trying to be around the net, be on the forecheck for those guys. I think we all bring something different to the line and that can make for some good chemistry."
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.