The Malik Report
Updated 16x at 3:08 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a stiff challenge in battling against the Los Angeles Kings tonight (7:30 PM EDT, NBCSN on TV and online/TSN2/97.1 FM), and the Wings hit the ice just before 10:30 AM for their morning skate with Todd Bertuzzi in tow:
Ahead of tonight's "Rivalry Night" game against the Los Angeles Kings (7:30 PM EDT, NBCSN/TSN2/97.1 FM), the Red Wings received help from one team they're battling with for a playoff spot and none from two others.
The 21-17-and-6 Wings still sit in 9th place in the Western Conference with 50 points and 19 regulation-or-OT wins, 1 point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets (51 points, 21-17-and-7, 17 ROWs, 2 games left, at Dallas on Thursday and home vs. Nashville on Sunday).
With three games remaining on Detroit's schedule (tonight against LA, tomorrow against Nashville and Saturday in Dallas), the Wings have almost no chance of catching the St. Louis Blues (56 points, 2 games remaining) thanks to St. Louis' 3-1 win over Colorado, and the Minnesota Wild now sit 3 points ahead of Detroit after pissing off Kings via a 2-1 win on Tuesday evening (Minnesota's got 53 points, a 25-18-and-3 record and 21 ROWs with 2 games remaining)...
This made the rounds on Twitter last night, but it's worth repeating and seeing in its larger form on the Detroit News's Red Wings blog, as intrepid Detroit News sports photographer David Guralnick captured a rather remarkable moment during last night's Red Wings win over Phoenix:
I haven’t seen a replay of this moment from the second period last night but after Justin Abdelkader sent Phoenix’ Zbynek Michalek into Detroit’s bench it looks like Mike Babcock is fortunate to have his head still on his shoulders this morning.
Tomorrow's game between the Red Wings and Kings (who are trailing 2-0 vs Minnesota, in St. Paul,as I write this) is an NBC Sports Network exclusive, and they're drumming up the "Rivalry Night" Game through a press release...
OS ANGELES KINGS ATTEMPT TO HOLD HOME ICE ADVANTAGE AS DETROIT RED WINGS FIGHT FOR POSTSEASON SPOT, ON NBC SPORTS NETWORK’S “WEDNESDAY NIGHT RIVALRY” AT 7:30 P.M. ET
NEW YORK – April 23, 2013 — Henrik Zetterberg and the Detroit Red Wings (50 pts.) host Dustin Brown and the Los Angeles Kings (57 pts.) at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mich., on NBC Sports Network’s Wednesday Night Rivalry at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Kings, who are in fourth place in the Western Conference, have clinched a spot in the playoffs and are fighting to keep their home-ice advantage on the San Jose Sharks (55pts.), who are in fifth place in the conference standings. The Red Wings, currently ninth in the West, have lost six of their last 10 games, and need as many points as possible to keep their playoff hopes and 21-year postseason streak alive. Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, analyst Eddie Olczyk and ‘Inside-the-Glass’ analyst Pierre McGuire will call the game.
Updated at 9:16 PM: Tough decision if he is healthy, but my heart and mind say play him, could certainly help if the game goes to a shootout.
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
Bertuzzi, who hasn't played since Feb. 7, will be evaluated after Wednesday morning's pregame skate and could possibly be back in the lineup when the Red Wings host the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena.
"He's close," general manager Ken Holland told MLive.com in a text message. "Will discuss after practice if he's possible."
Update: The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness confirms (and I'd play him [George here]--the Wings need all the size they can get against LA, even if he and Jordin Tootoo ride shotgun on Cory Emmerton's wing)...
Now, one big win does not blot out the issues that have plagued the Wings for most of the season. First, they have been unable to get into a real groove when it's mattered, failing to win back-to-back games in nearly a month. The offense has been spotty at best, and Monday's outpouring of goals was the first time Detroit scored more than three times since March 22. On Monday, the Wings relied heavily on the heroics of netminder Jimmy Howard, who recently signed a six-year contract extension. Howard stopped all 34 Phoenix shots, including 12 in the first when the Coyotes outshot Detroit 12-4 but closed out the period down 2-0.
The Detroit Red Wings at least nudged a little closer to the Columbus Blue Jackets and kicked off a stretch of four crucial games (with three remaining, against LA on Wednesday, Nashville on Thursday and in Dallas on Saturday) on the right foot via a 4-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night, a game in which the Wings' power play, goaltending and positional and/or puck support allowed the Wings to secure their first home victory in SIX, "Coming home from a West Coast swing" tries.
I'm getting a little tired of doing the who-sits-where-with-which-games-remaining math, but NBC Sports' James O'Brien postulated statistical permutations as Monday's game was an NBC affair (be warned, Wednesday's game is NBC Sports Network-only in the U.S.):
You know the math and the, "Wings need to win out" blather, but I'm not sure if you or I are particularly familiar with the Red Wings team that won a first-game-home-from-the-West-Coast game for the first time in five tries, defeating Phoenix 4-0 and really manhandling the Coyotes while extinguishing their playoff hopes in every category save shots.
The Wings came out strong--with Johan Franzen deftly tipping a Damien Brunner shot on the power play, all of 2:37 in--and, despite the Coyotes' near-ridiculous 12-4 shot advantage and the Wings' baffling 9 giveaways during the first period, Jimmy Howard played like a wall, the Wings killed off two penalties, and Damien Brunner scored a power play goal of his own via a slick diagonal pass from Henrik Zetterberg to essentially close out the first period.
Winter Classic ticket packages are now on sale! Now Global Event Forum is giving fans the opportunity to witness history when the Red Wings host the Maple Leafs at The Big House.
Click here for more details on available packages, which include hotel accomodations, tickets to the Classic and Alumni Showdown, and more: http://www.globaleventforum.com/nhl/winter-classic
The prices (anywhere between $395 and $1,995 per ticket/package) are something I guess we'll have to get used to, and while the pricing "levels" aren't indicated, the website includes diagrams of Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium's seating. The redder the color, the better (and more expensive) the seat, or so it seems.
The Grand Rapids Griffins won't have to worry about the course of the Red Wings' last four regular season games, including tonight's tilt against Phoenix, because the Griffins clinched an AHL playoff spot over a week ago.
The Griffins will open their first playoff run in three years when they travel to Houston to kick off a best-of-five first round series against the Aeros on Friday, and the Griffins' Twitter account points us toward an article in which the Grand Rapids Business Journal's David Czurak reports that the Red Wings' AHL affiliate's excellent season--and its first under coach Jeff Blashill--has yielded huge gains in attendance and a very positive bottom line:
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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.