Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

On ‘Zetterberg är min favoritspelare’ and living in a hockey bubble

Sometimes doing this job involves living in a little bubble. On game days, like Tuesday, even though I'm not at the rink, I'm up to cover the morning skate, which the Red Wings hold for home games at 10:30 AM, and while I tend to get a "pre-game nap" in, I usually don't call it quits till somewhere between 3:30 and 4:30 AM the next day.

So while I was puttering along covering the Red Wings' morning skate news, following up on that post from 10:30 till about 3 PM, noting stories about Tomas Holmstrom's decision to wear #96, Chris Chelios's coaching aspirations, Ken Holland's stance on when he's going to be ready to make trades during this condensed soup can of a 2013 NHL season, and then watching the Wings play, holding my breath with the rest of you when Todd Bertuzzi took a stick in the eye, writing a quick take, and now, I'm edging toward the end of a Wings-Stars wrap-up and overnight report that I've been working on since I ate dinner at 11 PM (I tend not to eat dinner before games due to the late nights ahead).

Why blather on about this stuff? Well, while spending my day immersed in a little Red Wings news cycle bubble, I missed Wayne Gretzky telling NHL.com's Dan Rosen that Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg is in fact his favorite NHL player...

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Red Wings-Stars quick take: execution, effort, and some style points

Updated 2x at 10:54 PM with some videos and initial Twitter-based player comments: The Detroit Red Wings have not managed to score a first-period goal yet. Their power play still kinda stinks. But the Red Wings managed to secure a 4-1 victory over the Dallas Stars thanks to some inspiring fights by Jordin Tootoo--followed up by some superb play by the Miller-Abdelkader/Emmerton-Tootoo line--fantastic goaltending by Jimmy Howard, and persistent effort in overcoming the Stars' mob-the-puck-carrier defense and sneaky sticks.

Playing on ice that was as sticky as the May day's worth of 60 degrees and thunderstorm-y weather that we had in Metro Detroit, the Wings and Stars played messy hockey for the first 25+ minutes of the game, filled with penalties and phantom calls. The Stars did get the first goal thanks toa colossal mix-up between Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Pavel Datsyuk, yielding Loui Eriksson finding an easy rebound goal past Jimmy Howard, but the Wings responded in a hurry, with Valtteri Filppula depositing the first of two goals behind Kari Lehtonen a little under 3 minutes after Eriksson scored...

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Todd Bertuzzi dodges a bullet

Updated w/ a picture at 9:45 PM: I don't know if we're gonna find a video of the play, but Todd Bertuzzi took a stick to the eye on a follow-through by Stars forward Jamie Benn. The refs called what is not but should be a double minor for high sticking as follow-throughs are exempt from penalties--though Kris Draper was nearly blinded by Paul Kariya on a similar play.

As Wings fans' collective breath was being held waiting for news on Bertuzzi because he dropped his gloves and went off bleeding, we can all exhale now, per MLive's Ansar Khan.

Fox Sports Detroit's Larry Murphy says that Bertuzzi has cuts both above and below the eye, and he's got quite the shiner going, but he's okay. Squinting a bit on the bench, but okay.

Update: here's a picture, via the Twitter community and Fox Sports Detroit's Dana Wakiji:

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Red Wings’ Chris Chelios wants to work toward a different kind of player development job

Red Wings executive Chris Chelios has been mentoring the organization's top defensive prospects for some time now, and over the past two seasons, he's begun to help the Grand Rapids Griffins' coaches hold practice on increasingly regular bases. This week, Chelios is taking partin Wayne Gretzky's fantasy hockey camp in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he spoke to NHL.com's Dan Rosen about his desire to eventually make coaching his full-time job, despite currently spending his time learning managerial ropes in the hockey operations category:

"Basically, I'm learning how to coach," Chelios told NHL.com Tuesday from the 11th annual Wayne Gretzky Fantasy Camp.

Chelios, who turned 51 last week, works primarily with the defensemen for the Grand Rapids Griffins, Detroit's American Hockey League affiliate. His title is Advisor to Hockey Operations, but he sees himself as an on-ice coach, a helping hand to first-year coach Jeff Blashill.

"I spend three or four days a week there, go on the ice with them, work with the young defensemen," Chelios said. "It's been great. I'm really enjoying it. It's one thing to play and it's another to get behind the bench and coach. There's a lot to it. It's been a great experience for me."

Chelios made a pledge to his kids to remain as available as possible for them during their collegiate careers, and but his sons Dean and Jake are a year away from graduating from Michigan State University, where they play on Tom Anastos' team, and Chelios's daughters are of college age as well. As such, Chelios would like to become something more than an informal assistant to Griffins coach Jeff Blashill sooner than later, and within a few years, Mike Babcock may find someone he used to spar with in the locker room and on the bench instead aiding his cause--assuming he doesn't follow his sons along their desired path toward earning a living playing hockey professionally:

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Afternoon diversion: on the draft, a previous Red Wings draft and Ken Holland’s trade trigger point

Because weather issues forced the Dallas Stars to fly into Detroit today, they didn't hold a morning skate. As such, the Dallas News's Mike Heika and DallasStars.com's Mark Stepneski offered their game-day updates within the last hour, and the Wings' website has just wrapped up their game-day coverage. Those stories and videos are located in the post dedicated to the news stories originating from the Red Wings' morning skate ahead of tonight's rematch between a team that wrecked the Wings' home opener and a Wings team absent first-period goals and boasting an underperforming 2-for-26 power play (the game starts tonight at 7:30 PM, and will air on FSD Plus, FS SW Plus and WXYT AM).

This afternoon, we're going to talk about two pertient issues involving the Red Wings' personnel in the present and future tenses (mostly future) for a little bit. According to ESPN's Craig Custance (in his Insider-only blog), the NHL and NHLPA have decided that every team will now have some chance of winning a draft lottery now involving 30 teams instead of 5 [edit: make that 14 teams instead of 5, with every team that doesn't make the playoff cut earning a spot in the draft lottery], and landing the #1 overall pick over the course of the new CBA...

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The real story about Tomas Holmstrom’s decision to wear #96

I'm still positing updates regarding tonight's game between the Red Wings and Dallas Stars tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD Plus, FS SW Plus, WXXYT AM) in a single post, but even though Paul has already pointed KK readers toward the CBC's Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts column, this quip merits mentioning in a stand-alone fashion. When Tomas Holmstrom retired a week ago today, the oft-repeated story that Holmstrom wanted to pick #96 as his number, but was told to pick #98 by Scotty Bowman becasue it would be "the year he was going home to Sweden" is a little bit...Off.

Holmstrom actually wore #15 for his first two years as a Wing--Holmstrom first played for the Wings, wearing his first set of front teeth, during the 96-97 season, thus his status as a four-stine Stanley Cup winner--and there was a reason that Holmstrom ditched the most-used number in Red Wings history (which no one seems to wear anymore). Per Friedman:

Was at a Labatt's event last week with Scotty Bowman. There's a pretty legendary story about Bowman and the newly retired Tomas Holmstrom. Basically, Holmstrom was looking for a new number and Bowman suggested 98. When the player asked why, Bowman said because that would be the year Holmstrom went back home. (He was off by 15 years.) Bowman said that when the Swede first came over, he was from such a remote area that he didn't know much about the Red Wings. When asked to pick a number, he first tried 19. Wasn't getting that. Okay, how about 91? Uh, no. Holmstrom picked 15, later agreeing to give it up to Dmitri Mironov. That's when Bowman made the crack.

When the Wings snagged Mironov from Toronto Anaheim of all places, he started his tenure with the Wings wearing the now-familiar #51, but he asked the team whether he could switch to #15, and that's when Holmstrom picked his famous #96.

Also: This has nothing to do with the Wings, but Friedman's last "Thought" explains why the NHL and NHLPA have not yet released their new CBA to the public. This issue has some hockey fans scratching their heads given that the league and PA eventually released the previous CBA via PDF format way back in 2005, when such disclosures were much less common electronically and otherwise:

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Red Wings-Stars game-day updates: Filppula in, Lashoff out for Kindl’s sake

Updated a seventh and final time at 3:24 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Dallas Stars face off tonight (7:30 PM, FSD Plus, FS SW Plus, WXYT AM) both hope to rebound from losses in their previous games, and there's good news from the Red Wings' morning skate in the personnel department:

DetroitRedWings.com's BIll Roose confirms...

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Red Wings-Stars set-up and overnight report: a pair of ‘teams in progress’ meet for the second time

The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the Dallas Stars tonight (7:30 PM EST, FSD Plus, Fox Sports Southwest Plus, AM 1270) hoping to rebound from a disappointing loss against Chicago while playing a team in somewhat similar circumstances.

The Stars have also undergone some roster revisions (see: Ray Whitney, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy), they've welcomed Jamie Benn back into the lineup after re-signing him, but one of their new additions is on the IR (Roy) and their back-up goalie's banged-up as well.

Both teams are works in progress, and while the Wings' larger contingent of injured players (see: Darren Helm, out till the weekend with a bad back, Ian White, out for at least another week with a lacerated quadriceps, Carlo Colaiacovo, out for two more weeks with an injured shoulder, Jonas Gustavsson, who may return from his groin injury in time for the Wings' back-to-back games on Friday and Saturday, Mikael Samuelsson and Jan Mursak, who did not practice as they are nursing groin and shoulder injuries, respectively, and Valtteri Filppula, who's not practicing to save wear and tear on a still-healing MCL sprain) and incredibly crappy power play (2 for 26 thus far) separate them from the in-progress Stars...

The in-progress Red Wings are also receiving excellent goaltending from their starter in Jimmy Howard, just as the Stars defeated the Wings 2-1 a week ago thanks to a 39-save performance from Kari Lehtonen, and there's one more important difference between the two teams: the Stars are 2-3-and-1 after having dropped a 2-1 decision to Columbus on Monday night, and the 2-2-and-1 Wings don't want to find themselves sporting a 2-3-and-1 after tonight's game.

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JLA garage fall proves fatal for Wings fan

As noted by MLive's Brendan Savage, earlier this evening, WDIV reported that a young man passed away after the Wings' game against Minnesota after a fall from some height in the Joe Louis Arena parking garage. His death was accidental.

I saw the report (which is embedded in the story) on the evening news, and don't know what to say other than to suggest that you read the story if you wish. Pretty awful stuff.

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Red Wings take a line from Slap Shot: ‘Get the power play together!’ ‘Yeah, we’re working on it’

Lost admist the cavalcade of injury updates during and immediately after the Red Wings' practice on Monday (see: Darren Helm (back) needs rest and may return next Tuesday, Jonas Gustavsson (groin) practiced and may play in one of the Wings' back-to-back games this weekend, Mikael Samuelsson (groin) did not skate, Ian White (thigh laceration) is probably a week out, Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder) is probably two weeks away, and while Valtteri Filppula (sprained MCL) skipped practice he'll probably play tomorrow) were the Red Wings' ponderings regarding their attempts to improve their hideous power play.

In terms of the Wings' attempts to dig their 2-for-26 power play out of the gutter, the line goes something like this exchange from Slap Shot:

Fan: "You guys gotta stop losin'. Get the power play together."

Reg Dunlop: "Yeah, we're working on it."

In the Red Wings' case, that involves making some surprising personnel tweaks--including promoting Jakub Kindl to the second power play unit--and something of a difference of opinion between Johan Franzen and Wings coach Mike Babcock.

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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.



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