The Malik Report
Belarus is, to put things delicately, a strange country, a small former Soviet republic which has become a relatively successful country, albeit under a def-acto and heavy-handed dictator in “president” Aleksandr Lukashenko, and Belarus’s record on pesky issues like free elections, freedom of speech freedom of the press, human rights, women’s rights and fair trials has yielded significant protest to the IIHF’s decision to hold the 2014 World Championships in Minsk.
While IIHF president Rene Fasel told the IIHF Annual Congress in Helsinki that his organization’s moneymaking bread and butter event’s status as pocketing cash from an old-school totalitarian state isn’t a particularly big deal as the Worlds are apparently apolitical (yeah, right), but Ilta Sanomat’s Lotta Lybeck and Helsingin Sanomat’s Survi Turtainen (and one of Belarus’s few non-state-run media outlets, Charter 97) report that a Finnish-based organization, “No to Minsk 2014,” handed the IIHF a petition to move the Worlds somewhere else which happened to include 30,000 signatures, and as part of their campaign, a slate of Finnish celebrities who happen to be women just happened to take part in a strange YouTube commercial that is very much so Not Safe for Work:
This one somehow slid through the radar screen, but if you’ve got lunch free today, Michigan Hockey Now’s Stefan Kubus (via RedWingsFeed) reports that Warrior Hockey endorsees Danny Cleary, Shawn Horcoff and one Nicklas Lidstrom will make an appearance and sign autographs at Warrior Hockey’s “tent sale” at their corporate headquarters in Warren, MI today at noon.
As the Red Wings’ organization engages fans via Twitter, Facebook, a special wallpaper on the team’s official website and via plain old word of mouth (I’m sure the press release is to come), here’s the dealy-o, fellow Wings fans:
Pavel Datsyuk faces off against John Tavares in the semifinals of EA Sports’ NHL 13 Cover Vote from today until Wednesday, May 23rd, and while we may not have lolcats on our side, what we do have is the one NHL player who works his butt off in practice and the weight room to seemingly effortlessly create the kinds of plays that you only see in video games, and Datsyuk does so on a nightly basis. Datsyuk is a video game character come to life:
Updated 3x at 12:02 PM: The vast majority of the Detroit Red Wings’ participants at the World Championships—including Justin Abdelkader, Jonathan Ericsson, Johan Franzen (Expressen, Aftonbladet and Marie Hallman report that he plain old came down with a fever), Jimmy Howard, Calle Jarnkrok, Niklas Kronwall, Kyle Quincey Henrik Zetterberg—were eliminated on Thursday, and were eliminated for a simple reason:
Single-game elimination is a cruel business, so much so that I would very well trade some of the beautifully free-wheeling play I’ve watched at the World Championships for some of the trap-happy hockey displayed in the NHL playoffs, and, well…At the World Championships on Thursday…because bad starts, shaky goaltending, lapses in concentration and plain old puck luck are the reasons why the Semifinals and Medal Round shake out as follows:
I’m writing this from my phone because it’s a stunning result: despite dropping a 3-1 deficit and losing Johan Franzen to an unspecified injury (update: Marie Hallman reports that Franzen became very ill) Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson rallied Sweden to a 3-3 tie against the Czech Republic…But poor decision-making and shaky goaltending from Victor Fasth yielded a 4-3 loss for Franzen, Zetterberg, Ericsson, Niklas Kronwall, Called Jarnkrok and Sweden.
The Czechs advance to face Slovakia in the Semifinals on Saturday, while the star-studded Swedes will face cries of, “Fiaskot!” and questions about what could have been.
Update from phone: Here’s IIHF.com’s recap.
Team USA stopped playing and started trapping halfway through the third period of a game they led 2-1 over Finland, and despite nothing less than valiant goaltending from one Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard, the Americans were lulled into trying to beat the Finnish trap by trying to replicate it, and were defeated by it.
With the Finnish first line of Valtteri Filppula, Mikko Koivu and Jussi Jokinen literally playing every other shift, Koivu tied the game with 6:58 left on a slick Filppula on the right side of the net-behind-the-net to Jokinen to-the-slot for an unmolested (and trust me, the Russian refs let a lot of grabs, gropes, cross-checks and prostate exams go in this one) skate tap-in that Howard had no chance on, and with eight seconds left in regulation, a bizarre carom off the end boards yielded Petri Kontiola finding, again, a wide open Jesse Joensuu in the slot, again, with Howard having as much of a chance to stop the shot as he did so many of those Nashville goals in the first round.
As such, Finland won 3-2 and will tangle with the Russians on Saturday.
Earlier this month, Red Wings alumnus Shawn Burr found a bone marrow match which will help him battle acute myeloid leukemia, but Burr continues to help raise awareness of and promote registration for bone marrow donation banks, and as he prepares for a bone marrow transplant next week, he spoke to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose about his second battle with leukemia, revealing that he found out about his bone marrow donor just like everyone else did:
“I was actually in the hospital for my treatment and they punched it off the computer and told me,” said Burr, who feels fortunate that a match was found so quickly. “I think the emotion of finding a match is more for the people who have been sitting for years, like those people waiting for a liver transplant, those people who have been sitting for months and years of not having a match. … For me, I hadn’t experienced that rejection for very long.”
Even though a donor has been identified, Burr knows that a long road still lies ahead before he receives a clean bill of health.
“I imagine that I’ll have a couple other setbacks somewhere along the way,” he said. “Nothing goes perfect and I think you kind of prepare that way. But you have to know that there are going to be some bumps along the way.
“I fought it before and thought I had it beat, but then it relapsed and obviously you’re emotional when that happens. But it’s like losing a hockey game; you pout about it for a few minutes then it’s over and, ‘What do I have to do now?’ ”
Updated 4x with highlights at 3:01 PM: What a strange day at the World Championships. After Slovakia upset Canada, the Russians played a spotty, sloppy game on sticky, goopy ice at the Globen Arena in Stockholm, and almost played “cruise control” hockey from the outset against an incredibly tenacious, nasty and gritty Norwegian team, emerging with a 5-2 victory (and semifinal match-up against the USA-Finland winner on Saturday) whose score belies an incredibly, incredibly tight game.
As we await the main event, part 1 for North American fans in Finland versus the U.S. at 11:30 AM EDT (on the NBC Sports Network and TSN), and we will soon find out whether, as Fox Sports Detroit’s Art Regner suggests, that RedWingsFeed)...
Updated 5x with highlights at 3:02 PM: Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey and Team Canada tempted fate on Thursday morning and found out the hard way that single-game elimination hockey is a cruel mistress, dropping a 4-3 decision to Slovakia in the Quarterfinals, ending Canada’s World Championship run.
Canada surrendered a 2-0 lead to Slovakia, awoke groggy and rallied to score three straight goals, and nursed a 3-2 lead for thirteen minutes of the third period…
And then Tomas Tatar, who had an astonishingly wonderful game, came roaring up the right wing, and as Quincey engaged him, and the otherwise invisible (in a good way) Quincey took the open man and left the shooter to his goaltender, Milan Bartovic got off a wonky shot and chipped the rebound past a shaky Cam Ward, tying the game 3-3 with 4:35 left in the 3rd.
Updated with Hudler speculation at 8:48 AM: Slovakia and Canada are already playing in the World Championship quarterfinals as I write this (and Tomas Tatar is playing fantastic hockey this morning), and Expressen’s Jonas Solberger and Aftonbladet’s Tomas Ros are confirming that Jonathan Ericsson’s good to go after missing almost two weeks with inflammation to his SI joint, with Ericsson slated to play in the last game of the day—Sweden vs. the Czech Republic at 2:15 PM EDT…
And the NBC Sports Network is indeed airing each and every one of the Quarterfinals via TSN’s broadcast feed this morning, so if you do have a spare moment at work or school, there’s nothing wrong with asking whoever monopolizes your time to check out the Canada-Slovakia game, Russia vs. Norway (8:45 EDT), USA vs. Finland (11:30 AM EDT) or perhaps the Sweden-Czech game.
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.