The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings managed to do something on Thursday that only the Red Wings could do, at least from this partisan fan’s perspective: the Wings expended even more energy than they did in their 2-1 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks while overcoming yet another “incidental contact” waved-off goal, an early 12-to-1 shot disadvantage, a 1-0 first period deficit and a furious assault from a very motivated San Jose Sharks team…
Before dropping a 3-1 decision thanks to a bang-bang play, a big boo-boo by Joey MacDonald and the kind of frantic, jittery and unfocused game—playing the Sharks’ game instead of slowing the pace of play down, establishing possession and control of the puck and using strong positional play and winger support to attack the Sharks’ net via sustained pressure and secondary and tertiary scoring opportunities. The Wings didn’t look quite like themselves for the second consecutive night, and they boarded an overnight flight to Phoenix sitting only 3 points ahead of the Sharks on a road trip that’s yielded a 1-1-and-1 record and enough bad breaks of the “earned” variety to drive the bleary-eyed fans who’ve stayed up to watch the Wings to the kind of distraction and agitation that the Wings have displayed on the ice of late.
Updated 3x at 9:41 with comments from Keith Primeau, Sheldon Kennedy, Red Wings GM Ken Holland, Stu Grimson, Marty McSorely and Rob Ray: The reaction to Boston University’s researchers’ news that former Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert’s brain showed signs of a degenerative neurological condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy has split the hockey world as even the doctors at the Sports Legacy Institute have proffered suggestions that concussions suffered from fighting contributed to Probert’s condition.
Probert’s widow, Dani, however, tells the Windsor Star’s Chris Thompson that she wants to make one thing very clear—she has no agenda other than to fulfill her husband’s wishes and further the science of studying brain injuries in competitive sports so that they can be better diagnosed and, hopefully, prevented:
“I’m not taking on the NHL and I’m not wanting to talk about eliminating fighting from the league,” she said.“I just wanted to raise awareness, basically. It’s part of the science. Bob wanted to donate his brain for a reason, to get the results put out there, so this is following through with that.”
Mrs. Probert suggests that there were signs that her husband was suffering from a classic symptom of anyone who’s sustained a severe or repeated traumatic brain injury in progressive memory loss and an increasingly shortening temper:
TSN’s Darren Dreger brought up a topic close to many bleary-eyed Red Wings fans’ hearts these days, but I want to state, on the record, that I don’t think it’s ever going to happen:
For years, discussion on realignment in the NHL has included the Detroit Red Wings shifting to the Eastern Conference. In the event the National Hockey League considers restructuring, Detroit has suggested they would like first consideration.
Moving to the East and playing in their own time zone would help with travel and television, plus the natural rivalries the Red Wings would quickly develop with Toronto, Buffalo and others make such a move attractive to Detroit. This week, the Wings are on a West Coast swing with all three weekday game broadcasts at 10pm et or later - tough sell in an Eastern time zone.
With Herm 2 Hockeytown 2 only eight days away, and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in line for as big a donation as possible, I hope today’s third interview with one of H2H2’s principal organizers compliments those with Jen MacRostie and Big Red Machine’s Ellen Mantusak:
The Production Line’s Michael Petrella took up The Chief’s cause in his absence and has been one of the primary web promoters of H2H2, working Twitter, Facebook and the interweb to facilitate pledges on the Production Line’s website (and tonight’s game against the Sharks and Saturday’s game against Phoenix are still “pledge games”). Petrella and Chris Hollis are the pied pipers of the Wings’ blogosphere, the Casual Friday to my I-hate-ties-but-am-a-bit-stuffy-intellectual, so no profile of the H2H2 principals would be complete without including TPL.
Updated 6x at 6:59 with No Rafalski from the Mercury News: As the Detroit Red Wings and San Jose Sharks prepare to face off tonight (10:30 PM EST, FSD/Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area/WXYT), the Red Wings chose not to engage in a morning skate as they took a morning flight to San Jose, but the rhetoric level is cranked up significantly. ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun spoke to both Red Wings coach Mike Babcock and Sharks coach Todd McLellan about tonight’s match-up, noting that the Wings are at a slight disadvantage in the crease against a team that’s gone 12-and-2 over their past 14 games, including a 7-game winning streak, and a team that has February “second star of the month” Antti Niemi tending their net:
Updated 3x at 6:50 PM with the full press release, a CBC posted a video discussing this story in depth and a note from the Free Press’s George Sipple stating that Probert’s drug abuse did not affect the results of the study of his brain: On the heels of yesterday’s twin bombshells from the New York Times and Globe and Mail, which stated that Boston University researchers discovered that former Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert’s brain showed signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative neurological condition found in persons who have suffered repeated traumatic brain injuries, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly filed a somewhat predictable reply to the Associated Press’s request for an official NHL response to the news:
“The findings are interesting and certainly something we’ll add to a much broader body of knowledge,” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told The Associated Press in an e-mail. “But we’re not going to react or make changes based on findings related to one player, especially when it’s impossible to identify or isolate one of many variables that may have factored into the conclusions reached, and when there is no real ‘control group’ to compare his results to.”
The detailed findings of Probert’s brain tissue won’t be released until they are submitted to an academic medical journal. His family requested the diagnosis be made public so awareness could be raised of the dangers of brain trauma in sports and encourage greater efforts to make sports safer for the brain, [the Sports Legacy Institute] said.
The Detroit Red Wings dropped a 2-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday night in spectacularly frustrating fashion, playing what I can only describe as a classic Red Wings home-game—an over-complicated, fancy-pants version of Red Wings hockey in which the Wings allow their inner Van Gogh out of his cage in the basement and let their inner artistes run wild.
The Wings essentially earned their result by going a horrific 1-for-10 in 12:07 of power play time, including 1:33 of 5-on-4 time and 1:47 of a 4-on-3 man advantage to start overtime, firing a miserly one shot on Dan Ellis in OT—and only 3 shots in the first period, four power plays and a 5-on-3 included—because they endlessly looped back through the middle of the ice, sending one player up against 3, 4, or 5 Ducks stacked at their blueline, and when they did gain possession and control of the puck in the offensive zone, their endless side-to-side passing and unwillingness to shoot or do anything less than attempt to set up a classic back-door-open-net passing play, all with no traffic in front of Dan Ellis and few attempts to retrieve the 18 shots they fired wide of Ellis (the Wings fired 29 pucks on the net and 31 wide or into Ducks players) yielded jack and you know what.
Updated at 10:10 with a parallel article from the Globe and Mail: The New York Times has posted a pair of articles discussing the possibility of the NHL banning fighting as part of the league’s crackdown on blows to the head, and, as the Times’ Jeff Z. Klein notes, the crux of their argument surrounds Red Wings enforcer Bob Probert:
Efforts to outlaw fighting in hockey go back decades. But though the number of fights in the N.H.L. has dropped significantly in recent years, fighting persists, preserved by the idea that it is a deterrent against cheap shots, a safety valve against more serious mayhem and something that fans like to watch.
This core belief in the value of fighting may prevent the league’s general managers, when they meet this month in Florida, from reacting decisively to the latest research findings, including the determination announced Wednesday that the longtime enforcer Bob Probert had chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative disease of brain tissue associated with repeated concussions. Probert, who retired in 2002 after a 16-year career with the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks, died last year at 45.
Updated 3x at 9:15 PM with USA Today’s Kevin Allen on WDFN, Wings-Sharks hype and other notes: According to the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens, the Detroit Red Wings will face an Anaheim Ducks lineup including Corey Perry when the two teams tangle tonight in Anaheim (10 PM, FSD/FS West/WXYT):
Corey Perry said he will play against Detroit after coming off the ice early during Tuesday’s practice due to an apparent lower-body injury. Though banged up, Perry has played in all 63 games this season and hasn’t miss one dating back to 2008-09.
The Ducks will not, however, have Saku Koivu in the lineup…
Via Greg Wyshynski jogging my memory: Paul sent this press release to me probably knowing that I still peruse the toy aisles at Wal-Mart and Meijer and may purchase the occasional GI Joe or Hot Wheels car from time to time…
thenewtoy.com Gears Up To Release NHL®-Licensed Version of the Award-Winning Hockey Guys Sports Action Figures
Paying homage to hockey’s history with teams sporting the uniforms of the six original NHL®Teams
CHICAGO, IL— From the “Miracle On Ice” to its disappearance as a national sport during the 2004/2005 season, ice hockey has had a storied history in the United States. Now experiencing a resurgence, what better way to commemorate part of this sport’s history than with a set of sports action figures bearing the colors and logos of the six original NHL® teams: Chicago Blackhawks®, Detroit Red Wings®, New York Rangers®, Boston Bruins®, Toronto Maple Leafs®, and Montreal Canadiens®.
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.