The Malik Report
It's hard to separate out the concept of the Red Wings trying to defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Babcock Bowl, but a month into the regular season, the Red Wings plain old needed a win amidst the distractions of the Hockey Hall of Fame induction weekend and the every-day Babcockian soap opera.
On Friday, the Red Wings played a terrible and terribly boring game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, surrendering an essential point with only 1:02 remaining, but Henrik Zetterberg still scored his 300th goal, Petr Mrazek was ALMOST perfect (save the shaft of his goal stick), and JAKUB KINDL went END TO END to ensure that Mike Babcock's Maple Leafs would surrender a 2-1 OT decision.
This game was a farce by Hockey Hall of Fame night standards, and the Red Wings have still been out-shot, out-chanced and out-faceoff-won by disturbing margins this season, but the Red Wings willed a win out of this shitty game, and I'm proud of them for having done it.
Here's Henrik Zetterberg's 300th goal:
Kris Draper spoke with The Fan 590's Brady and Walker this afternoon, discussing the imminent induction of his friends Sergei and Nick as well as the current-day Red Wings, all over the course of a 13-minute interview:
From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
The best defense is spending time in the offensive zone. [Luke] Glendening and company, at even strength or as penalty killers, often start shifts with faceoffs in their own zone, but there is a focus within the group to try to contribute more than being shut-down guys.
"I think the biggest thing right now is, we have to find a way out of just playing defense and try to find some offense for the team," ]Drew] Miller said. "That is something we are talking about and working on in practice, so hopefully it becomes a reality soon."
If not, there are other numbers in which to take satisfaction.
"I want to look at the guys I play against and keep their shots down, keep their scoring chances down, see if I was physical and did well on faceoffs," Glendening said.
[Coach Jeff] Blashill said he was "not worried necessarily, especially after this few games, to where his goal production is at. I want them to continue to spend as much time in the other team's zone as possible. They have taken steps in that direction but they need to continue."
At the Hockey Hall of Fame's ring ceremony, the Hockey News's Ken Campbell asked Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov if the Red Wings could assemble a team of any caliber close to the 2001-2002 team, which Campbell believes might yield one more Hall of Famer in Pavel Datsyuk:
Fedorov was at the tail end of his career in Detroit, but was also in the midst of four straight 30-goal seasons. He was part of an interesting mix of players at different stages of their careers. Datsyuk was a rookie; Fedorov, Lidstrom and Chris Chelios were as productive as ever; while Yzerman, Hull, Dominik Hasek, Larionov and Robitaille were in their twilights.
“It’s an experience that, from the outside world, everybody sees that experience differently,” Fedorov said. “But when you show those results like nine Hall of Famers and a few of Stanley Cups, you know inside-out how to do it again. I think the Wings will do it again.”
But in the next breath, Fedorov acknowledges that Holland, “is not made out of steel,” and there are realities facing teams today that did not in the past. As the GM of the CSKA Moscow team in the Kontinental League, Fedorov understands intimately how difficult it is to build a winner. “Hockey is a very creative game and if people work hard, anything is possible,” Fedorov said. “But I know economics comes into play, politics, finances, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.”
For his part, Lidstrom thinks it will be almost impossible for teams now to duplicate what the Red Wings did. Having a guy like Lidstrom, who is almost impossible to find, is a good place to start. But Lidstrom said acquiring players of that caliber together is difficult enough, but getting them to mesh together as a cohesive unit is not as easy as it seems.
“Scotty was behind that,” Lidstrom said. “He was the mastermind of making players be happy with the roles they had. That was important for that team to be successful, for everyone to accept their roles.”
from Ken Campbell of The Hockey News,
Whether or not the 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings enter the annals of the most decorated teams in the history of the game is now up solely to Pavel Datsyuk. The Magic Man must be inducted after he retires for that team to join the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs with the most players who reside in the hallowed hall.
With the additions of Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov, that Red Wings team now has a total of nine Hall of Famers, which currently stands just one behind the standard bearers in that category, the 1955-56 Canadiens and the 1966-67 Maple Leafs. How good was that team in Detroit? Well, consider that team had a fourth line that consisted of Igor Larionov centering Luc Robitaille and Tomas Holmstrom. Their fourth line. Think about that for a minute.
(So will Datsyuk get in? Probably, but it’s not a complete slam-dunk at the moment. From a personal standpoint, I’d have no problem with Datsyuk being a Hall of Famer, but I can also appreciate the sentiment that he might not be one, too.)
Lidstrom and Fedorov were both lynchpins for that team, complementing a ridiculous amount of talent, the levels of which we might never see again.
from Adam Proteau of TorontoMapleLeafs.com,
As the Maple Leafs prepared to take on Detroit Friday night, Red Wings legends Scotty Bowman and Nicklas Lidstrom strolled through the lower sections at Air Canada Centre. Toronto head coach Mike Babcock will always have an association with the Wings, but he’s left those allegiances in the past and his current players are well aware where his allegiances lie now.
“It’s obviously special anytime you play your old team, whether that’s player or coach,” Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf said after the pre-game skate. “But I know that Babs is about our team here. He’s focused on our team and our organization. I think he was pretty clear he’s moved forward from there. Obviously, that’s a big part of his career and his past, but he made that clear that he’s all in here and we’re working for him. And we definitely want to win every game. But playing Detroit, it’s a big game, big points for both teams, and we understand that.”
Leafs winger Joffrey Lupul echoed Phaneuf’s sentiments, noting that Babcock got his first game against the Wings out of the way Oct. 9 when Toronto fell 4-0 to Detroit at Joe Louis Arena. As far as Lupul is concerned, Friday’s tilt will be like any other.
“I think we’re just preparing the same way,” Lupul said. “He already had the one game in Detroit, they did a nice little tribute to him. And for us, it’s just another game, and we need the points.”
Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom received their Hockey Hall of Fame rings today:
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with The Fan 590's Darren Millard, John Shannon and Rich Sutter this afternoon, discussing the Red Wings' start to the season, Dylan Larkin's impact and Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov's legacies:
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.