The Malik Report
From the Free Press's Helene St. James:
One of the objectives for the Detroit Red Wings is to get a better sense of the top defense prospects.
Alexey Marchenko and Xavier Ouellet both are in their last seasons of waiver-exempt status. The Wings need to decide if either or both are building blocks, which will shape decisions heading into next season.
To some degree, both already have auditioned to positive feedback. Marchenko got the first call-up, and is eyeing his third appearance of the season Friday when the Wings host the Ottawa Senators. The Wings took today off, their first real break in 10 days.
Marchenko topped 15 minutes of playing time in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, credited for one takeaway and one hit and earning a "pretty well" performance review from his coach.
"The one thing with Marchy, he seems to find a way to win little stick battles in critical areas," Jeff Blashill said. "Sometimes it looks like he is going to get beat, but he ties up a stick and doesn't. When Marchy is playing his best, he does a couple of things - he gets you out of your zone lots because he is a great passer of the puck. He doesn't feel forecheck pressure; he is willing to take big hits to make plays. Then his elite defensive smarts allows him to be a real good defender."
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan discusses the Red Wings' turnover-prone status in an off-day article:
[It's] a key reason the Red Wings are sitting with a mediocre record (4-4-1) and in need of turning this tailspin around quickly.
“The biggest thing for us is we have to figure it out in here,” defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. “Be better with the puck, better decisions, make sure that we don’t have as many turnovers.”
Tuesday’s statistics were certainly alarming and eye-opening. The Red Wings were credited with 12 giveaways, the Carolina Hurricanes only one. That went a long way toward the Hurricanes’ 3-1 victory.
“They’ve been a concern most of the year,” coach Jeff Blashill said of the turnovers. “We’re a team that historically in Detroit, and myself as a coach as well, wants to use the ‘pop’ play. By pop I mean pop it to the middle of the ice, go tape to tape. Everybody talks about puck possession, historically it’s been judged on being able to use each other and handle the puck up the ice. You’re going to have some turnovers but it’s got to be manageable and we have to get better at it. We’re not good at it.”
Part of the problem can be attributed to execution, or lack thereof. But there’s also mental errors, where mistakes with the puck have been costly and leave everyone wondering what’s going on?
“It’s just mental errors,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said after Tuesday’s loss. “We either tried to do too much or tried to make the right play but we don’t execute. We’ve talked about it. We just have to get better at it.”
From MLive's Peter J. Wallner:
The last time Daniel Cleary played in an AHL game was in the 1999-2000 season. The veteran doesn't remember it but he does know how he feels about playing Friday in Toronto – that's against the Marlies, not the Maple Leafs.
"It's like anything that's new; you're nervous," he said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I wouldn't say uneasy, but you're excited, nervous, you don't know how it's going to be."
Cleary did not skate in the team's Wednesday morning practice and did not travel on the team bus that departed from Van Andel Arena shortly before noon. He was expected to join them near Port Huron where he is getting treatment.
Coach Todd Nelson, who OK'd the move, said Cleary's treatment is not injury-related but rather preventative.
The 36-year-old veteran of 17 NHL seasons has had just over a week of practice with the Griffins to shake off the rust. He last played during a Red Wings preseason game on Oct. 3.
"I think I'm ready," Cleary said. "I had a couple good days of practice to get my legs back under me."
Among ESPN's John Buccigross' Twitter questions:
Dustin Byfuglien will be a free agent after this season. He turns 31 and is making $6 million this season. He will get big contract offers this summer; someone will give him $7 million per year. He's viewed as an in-and-out kind of player, not an organizational pillar. The Wings are set up well salary-cap-wise, but I don't think they will go in this direction. I do think Detroit is a playoff team.
I don't see any scenario where Dylan Larkin plays another game in the AHL for the rest of his life. Pavel Datsyuk should be back in two weeks.
Of Red Wings-related note this afternoon:
The Wings were mentioned in TSN's power rankings...
Detroit Red Wings
4-3-1 This Week: 14 Last Week: 17
TEAM STATS: GPG 2.63 GAPG 2.63 S.A. CORSI% 45.0% PP% 17.2% PK% 76.7
Detroit's possession numbers have crashed and that's definitely a concern, but it's not all bad news. rookie C Dylan Larkin is looking like a future star and, along with Tomas Tatar and Gustav Nyquist, represents the next generation of Red Wings scorers.
Key Injuries: LW Johan Franzen (concussion), D Mike Green (upper body), C Pavel Datsyuk (ankle), C Brad Richards (back).
As well as SI's Allan Muir's power rankings...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
2. NHL.com's Rob Vollman examined Alexander Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov's respective scoring prowess from an analytical perspective, and this was done as Ovechkin's set to pass Fedorov's all-time leading goal mark among Russian-born NHL'ers:
Fedorov may have been the more complete hockey player. He drove possession, had superior assist numbers, won the Selke Trophy twice because of his elite defensive play, and won the Stanley Cup three times. When estimating a player's overall contributions using a catch-all statistic like Goals Versus Threshold (GVT), a measurement of a player's contributions in terms of goals scored or prevented above that of a replacement-level player, Fedorov remains safely ahead of Ovechkin, 255.9 goals to 206.8.
When it comes to pure goal-scoring, on the other hand, Ovechkin is clearly the superior player. He has reached every goal-scoring milestone in fewer games than Fedorov, and at a younger age. He has won the Maurice Richard Trophy five times and accomplished all of it on a less-dominant offensive team in a lower-scoring era.
With several more seasons as one of the top goal-scorers, it will be exciting to see how high Ovechkin can set the bar for the next superstar Russian who comes along.
3. The Free Press's St. James penned an article about Tomas Jurco...
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
"It's just mental errors," said captain Henrik Zetterberg. "We either tried to do too much or tried to make the right play but we don't execute. We've been talking about it. Just gotta get better at it.
"I think we don't execute as much as we need to do. I think some mistakes will happen when you try to do the play and the other player make a good play. But there's a little bit too many easy mistakes, easy turnovers, and that definitely cost us today."
The Red Wings had high hopes they might have built some momentum in Vancouver after erasing a 2-0 deficit in the third period before winning in overtime.
The victory over the Canucks was their fourth straight road game but they finished that stretch with a 1-2-1 mark after starting the season with three straight victories.
"It's definitely frustrating," said forward Luke Glendening. "It's not what any of us wanted, what any of us had in mind. With that being said, we've got to find a way to put the puck in the net, to keep it out of ours, to stop turning the puck over.
"We've really got to clean up our game."
more on last night's game,,,
To those of you for whom following Detroit sports teams must equal some sort of sense of endless crisis, if not a sense of righteous indignation directed toward those who coach and manage teams you believe would experience unparalleled success if only you were the ones making the proper choices, especially instead of those buffoons in the coaching and front offices:
I have no concerns about the Detroit Red Wings that the Detroit Red Wings' players cannot fix on their own, and I feel even more strongly so after witnessing the Red Wings drop a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. The possession problems, the turnovers, the lost faceoffs, the lack of "flow" in terms of the team's outlet passes and transition game, the indecisiveness in the offensive zone and the unforced errors that wind up in the back of the net...
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahtalo played 13:21 in TPS Turku's 4-0 win over JYP;
In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn took 2 shots and won 50% of his faceoffs in 7:48 of ice time in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 win over Modo;
And in the WHL, Joe Hicketts didn't register a point in the Victoria Royals' 4-3 shootout loss to Lethbridge;
The Grand Rapids Griffins also posted their weekly release:
The Red Wings faced off against something of a nemesis in the Carolina Hurricanes this evening, hoping to continue to show improvement against a team that's dismantled Detroit's puck possession system over the course of two meetings.
The Wings didn't get dismantled per se, but the Red Wings were just mentally tired enough to be exploited by the Hurricanes, and in a clutchy-grabby-drab night, the Wings were roped and doped into handing the Hurricanes a 3-1 decision.
Unforced errors, forced errors, a lot of turnovers (12), bad faceoff percentage and a team still seeking its identity = the Red Wings are in tough at 4-4-and-1 with a CBA-mandated day off coming tomorrow and then two games against Ottawa in the offing on Friday and Saturday.
The Red Wings have to put their work boots on and find a full-team effort. They haven't gotten one since the Tampa Bay 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.