The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings’ captain turns 41 today, and in light of this fact, Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner profiled “The Perfect Human,” who at least sounds like he’s got a season or two left in his legs, family willing…
“I have no control whatsoever over this one (laughs), but I don’t feel my age,” he said. “I still feel younger. I think it helps being part of a team, especially where some of the guys—actually all of the guys—are younger than me. That helps me, that’s the mindset for me. I don’t feel my age, but I’m not going to be like a Chelios (play until he’s near 50), but I’m trying to stay in shape like Chelli did.”
But over the course of Steve Yzerman’s tenure with the Red Wings as a player an executive, Regner duly notes that Yzerman believed the team wasn’t built around #19—it was the concept of a puck-moving defense anchored by #5 that Ken Holland and Jim Nill chose to use as their blueprint for success, and that’s the truth, plain and simple:
After the Detroit Red Wings took part in a late-morning practice at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, the equipment truck headed to Metro Airport and was closely followed by the players, who took a five-hour flight which didn’t land in San Jose until nearly midnight Detroit time, and on Thursday, the Wings will hit the ice today—on Nicklas Lidstrom’s 41st birthday—in San Jose to prepare for Friday night’s series opener (click for the TV schedule: FSD won’t carry games 4 or 5).
Per DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose, the NHL has released its schedule for the Red Wings-Sharks series, and the Wings have firmed up the TV details as well:
Game 1 Fri., Apr. 29 10 p.m. at HP Pavilion on Versus/TSN/FSD
Game 2 Sun., May 1 3 p.m. at HP Pavilion on NBC/TSN
Game 3 Wed., May 4 8 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena on Versus/TSN/FSD
Game 4 Fri., May 6 7 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena on Versus/TSN only (no FSD)
Game 5* Sun., May 8 8 p.m. at HP Pavilion on Versus/TSN only (no FSD)
Game 6* Tue., May 10 TBD at Joe Louis Arena on Versus/TSN/FSD
Game 7* Thu., May 12 TBD at HP Pavilion on Versus/TSN/FSD
Fox Sports Detroit’s confirms that the fourth and fifth games are Versus exclusives in the U.S., and all Fox Sports Detroit telecasts will be broadcast in HD.
As noted by the Red Wings’ website, Pavel Datsyuk was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy as the league’s best defensive forward, and Sports Illustrated’s Brian Cazenueve profiled the Wings forward in nothing less than a frame-worthy article:
THE RED WINGS discovered Datsyuk as a teenager quite by accident in 1997, when their chief European scout Hakan Andersson went to Moscow to watch someone else. Instead he saw the 19-year-old Datsyuk, then about 5’7” and 150 pounds—he goes 5’11”, 194 now—but with magic hands and hockey sense beyond his years. Andersson convinced Holland to take the wispy sprite with the 171st pick in the 1998 entry draft. Datsyuk was certain his Dynamo club teammates were kidding when they told him he’d been drafted into the NHL. “They showed me the newspaper two days later,” Datsyuk says, “And I thought, ‘O.K., printing mistake.’”
Updated 8x at 3:43 PM Brodie Brazil reports that Versus might claim “exclusivity” rights for Game 1; Franzen and Salei are good to go for Friday: Per the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness, the Selke Trophy finalist and SI-profiled forward Pavel Datsyuk and the Detroit Red Wings have one big piece of the playoff puzzle answered ahead of their cross-continental flight to San Jose:
The Wings and Sharks will start their Western Conference semifinal series Friday night at the HP Pavilion.
Game 2 will be Sunday.
Game 3 and 4 will be in Detroit next Wednesday and Friday.
MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms:
Game 1: Friday night at San Jose.
Game 2: Sunday at San Jose, 3 p.m. (presumably on NBC)
Game 3: Wednesday, May 4 at Detroit
Game 4: Friday, May 6 at Detroit
As does the Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan.
I’m never sure whether to take these “studies” at face value. The IIHF’s Andrew Podnieks and Szymon Szemberg claim that the number of European players participating in the NHL has declined for yet another season, because as they publis their report/statistical analysis, there’s an implicit dig being levied at the NHL for completely draining the Czech and Slovak republics of any hope of a developmental system, which was the charge levied at the NHL by the IIHF at the “World Hockey Summit”:
The number of Europeans in the NHL in 2010-11 continued the steady decline and is now the lowest in eleven years. The only country which goes against the trend is Sweden. There were a whopping 63 Swedes in the NHL this season, the highest number ever for the blue and yellow. In all, there were 978 players who played at least one game in the National Hockey League during the 2010-2011 regular season. Of that number, 224 were Europeans, a 22.9 percentage share.
As well, there were only 36 of 139 players in the league this year from Europe who played their first NHL games (25.9 per cent). Most disturbing is that some of hockey’s traditional centres were so poorly represented. For instance, of the 139 first-game players only two were from the Czech Republic and Finland, and only one from Slovakia. There were just six Russians, and again Sweden led the way with 16 newcomers to the NHL, almost triple second place Russia.
The Detroit Red Wings will probably start their second-round series against the San Jose Sharks on Friday, but before the Wings probably went to bed early and popped up for the overtime period of Tuesday night’s Canucks-Blackhawks game, they talked to the Wings’ press corps about both potential second-round opponents.
The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan, who reports that the Wings were told to pack for a Wednesday flight just in case, notes that the Wings have all sorts of respect for the opponent which they hope to gain a measure of revenge against, especially given that the Wings didn’t do very well against San Jose during the regular season:
Updated 3x at 1:59 AM: The Detroit Red Wings will head to San Jose to play against the Sharks in the second round of the playoffs.
We’ll find out shortly whether the NHL is nuts and wants them to fly to San Jose today for a Thursday night start, or whether they’ll give the Wings a break and let them start the series on Friday.
A Calgary colleague watching tonight’s games says that CBC is reporting it’s a 99 percent certainty that Vancouver-Nashville series will open Thursday night, giving the Hockey Night in Canada crew it’s preferred Saturday night start without back-to-backs. And that makes Sharks-Detroit that same 99 percent certainty to open at HP Pavilion on Friday night with Sunday the logical time for Game 2.
The NHL won’t be announcing anything until tomorrow and nothing from the Sharks until that happens. Still, there’s an early heads-up. But nothing set in granite and nobody should be booking any flights just yet.
Updated at 10:57 PM with a written story from WDIV: I had planned on getting a little pre-doubleheader nap and was watching WDIV Local 4’s evening news when I shook myself up with a start, because WDIV reported that a second Red Wings fan had his day in court after throwing an octopus, and as it turns out, the new City of Detroit rule against throwing octopi, c.i. 38-5-4, is not like a traffic ticket for going 10 over the speed limit, the kind of civil infraction where you can just pay your fine and go on your way.
The City of Detroit’s $500 fine comes with a disorderly conduct charge on the side. In other words, it’s a misdemeanor, and if you throw an octopus at Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Police won’t look the other way just because you’re a Red Wings fan, nor will they look the other way if you, as the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa suggested, show good taste in the timing of your octopus throw.
You will be charged with a misdemeanor, you’re going to be tried in court, and you will face possibly paying court costs, community service, and possibly even jail time if you tick off the judge who sentences you for a charge that’s hard to disprove. Just as importantly, you’re all but certain to be not only removed from the game you’re attending, but also booked (and possibly even have a mugshot taken) at the main police department branch on Beaubien Street.
Updated 2x at 5:52 with video and stuff: After today’s crop of practice updates popped up, Fox Sports Detroit’s Dana Wakiji’s posted a mid-afternoon column which includes a Chris Osgood update (coach Mike Babcock says he’s too rusty to back up Jimmy Howard) and a dissection/analysis of the Wings’ possible goaltending opponents, but as the Wings have both a 10 AM practice on Wednesday and may end up having to hustle home to pack up for a cross-continental trip…
Wakiji’s main focus involves the fact that most of the Wings’ players don’t plan on watching tonight’s Canucks-Hawks game, which will determine whether the Wings end up playing the Sharks (if the Canucks win) or Predators (if the Canucks lose). The Wings ended up sounding like they were ten years old, with the exception of coach Babcock:
“I stayed up late and watched the games (Monday) night,” Babcock said. “The one thing about it, like I said (Monday) is after you watch them, you can’t sleep anyways.”
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to,” Niklas Kronwall said. “It’ll be tough not to, I think. It’s a big game, especially with the comeback that Chicago’s had so far. It’ll be definitely interesting.”
“We’ll see if I can stay up,” [Nicklas] Lidstrom said. “I’ll start watching it anyways. I’m afraid they (his four sons) will, even though they have school tomorrow. They might sneak up and watch it.”
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.