The Malik Report
The time between the quick take, the Toews entry and the time that this recap hits the web has been an uncomfortable one for me (the norovirus apparently has death throes), so I feel like being a smarmy *#$%@&, and I'm gonna be one. Jonathan Toews most certainly let it be known that his team was hacked, whacked, hooked, held, touched, looked at and otherwise thought of in space-limiting terms, and much to the amusing chagrin of both Toews and his Hawk colleagues, the Red Wings played this mysterious game called puck possession hockey to its hilt over the course of a 4-1 win that shocked all the experts picking the Blackhawks in 2 games.
I'm not saying "seemed to pick the Blackhawks," because I sure as shit could swear, at least by what I read from everywhere on the internet and heard on the TV and radio, that there was going to be a handshake line after Game 2, when the Blackhawks would advance to play for the Stanley Cup against the Los Angeles Kings, and I was quite happy to hope that the Red Wings went out onto actual ice after a two-day break and, with determination, grit, poise and attention to detail, told the hockey world to go *#$%@& itself.
Now I don't believe that the team's really that tuned into what's being said about them--if the 48-games-in-99-nights marathon taught me anything, the players are so damn busy playing every other night that it takes a tremendous amount of effort to pay attention to what's being said about them...
Okay, trying something different: in addition to quick takes, I can generally get multimedia out of the way pretty quickly...And the crush of press interest in the Red Wings-Blackhawks series is forcing me to toss off the various multimedia offerings related to the Red Wings' 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday into a separate post. Enjoy post-break high-bandwidth fun. The wrap-up is still in progress at 4 in the morning (it's been a long night)...
Of Red Wings prospect-related note this evening:
The Grand Rapids Griffins will have to head back to Toronto for the last third of their 2-3-2-format series with the Toronto Marlies after dropping a 4-1 decision to Toronto on Saturday night. The Griffins lead the second round series 3 games to 2, and Games 6 and 7 take place and may take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Griffins' website hasn't posted a recap yet, but here's a highlight clip (and it ruins the atmosphere of a superb pre-game video homage to the team's goaltenders) and post-game interviews...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke to the Griffins about their difficult game:
The Detroit Red Wings elevated just about every aspect of their game during their 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, but while Henrik Zetterberg told the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus that his somewhat personal battle with Jonathan Toews (and more than a few Blackhawks who tried to take the heads off of Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Valtteri Filppula, among others) was just the way things go come playoff time...
“It’s part of playoffs,” said Zetterberg, who pointed out that the Hawks had control of who matched up against whom, not the Red Wings. “I think he plays better when it’s a little physical and I think I play better when it’s a little more physical. So there’s a lot of give and take.”
Toews complained loudly about the officiating, or the perceived lack thereof:
“I’m not going to go off and complain about some calls that I thought should have been called or whatever,” Toews said, before essentially doing just that. “If that’s the way they’re going to play, we need to play the same way. There’s a lot of clutch and grab, a lot of interference, and if [the refs] are going to let that go, that’s something we need to know and maybe do to them a little bit. It’s just tough to understand sometimes why we get roughing penalties and hooking penalties, whatever it is, [and] doesn’t go both ways. It is what it is. If that’s the way it’s going to be, we need to understand that and play more physical and be tougher on them. We’ll know that going into the next one.”
Updated 3x at 4:50 PM: The Detroit Red Wings just turned the table on the Chicago Blackhawks, who were supposed to absolutely steamroll the Wings, delivering a puck possession clinic of their own in a 4-1 victory that evens the series 1-1 and at least ensures a fifth game.
From start to finish...Well, save the first shift of every period...The Wings played at least solid hockey, and after the inevitable Brendan Smith gaffe yielding a Chicago goal, the Wings rebounded with hard work, effort, attention to detail, silky smooth tranistion game passes from defensemen to forwards skating with speed through the neutral zone, and instead of trading chances with the Hawks, the Wings slowly but surely abandoned the one-and-surrender-one tendencies to begin to absolutely pound the snot out of the Hawks in terms of possession, control, "zone time," slot penetration and anything else you'd like to describe as a metric of a strong team and individual game.
Yes, yes, it was Brendan Smith again, with a doofy gaffe that yielded a Patrick Kane goal 14:05 in, negating a strong and stronger start, and the Wings were unable to cash in on double minors to David Bolland (in fact, the Wings have yet to dent the Hawks' 4 penalties), but one could also argue that Smith was rather deftly tripped by Patrick Sharp, and Kyle Quincey's block of Michal Handzus' shot placed the puck on Patrick Kane's stick.
Updated with AHL news at 12:19 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to right their ship by bouncing back from Game 1's third-period meltdown today as they face the Chicago Blackhawks in a matinee affair (1 PM EDT, NBC/CBC/97.1/post-game on WDIV and FSD), and there's little news on the player personnel front save the Chicago Tribune's Brian Hamilton, NHL.com, the Chicago Sun-Times' Mark Lazerus, ESPN Chicago's Scott Powers, Comcast Sportsnet Chicago's Tracey Myers and probably seven or eight other Chicago sources stating that Michal Handzus (back) will play for Chicago today, but Viktor Stalberg (healthy scratch) will not...
So enjoy Ken Kal's game-day preview from the Wings' website. It features Drew Miller, who may or may not play today, depending on whether coach Mike Babcock believes he's ready to go based upon his play in warm-ups...
And it's a day late, but Wings coach Mike Babcock's colorful and somewhat combative Friday afternoon presser should put you in the mood for hockey:
The Detroit Red Wings will attempt to assuage a third-period meltdown as they face off against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their second-round series today (1 PM EDT to accomodate the Preakness Stakes on NBC, also on the CBC, 97.1, and WDIV and Fox Sports Detroit will air post-game shows in Michigan). If the teams' recent history (and the experts) are to be believed, as noted by the Chicago Daily Herald's Mark Lazerus noted, the Wings may as well give up now...
The Blackhawks have won eight consecutive games against the Red Wings. That’s their second-longest winning streak against the Wings in the 87-year history of the rivalry. The Hawks won 13 in a row during an 18-0-1 run from April 8, 1970, to Jan. 17, 1973.
The Hawks were 4-0-0 against the Red Wings in the regular season. Since 2005-06, teams that have gone 3-0 or better against an opponent in the regular season are 10-1 against that team in the postseason. In 2008, the Canadiens went 4-0-0 vs. the Flyers, then lost 4-1 to Philadelphia in the second round of the playoffs.
And Corey Crawford's record vs. Detroit in the regular season and playoffs is an equally scary 12-2-and-2, but the Hawks don't expect the Wings to give up easily. Instead, the Hawks told the Sun-Times' Mark Potash that they're expecting the Wings to literally and figuratively push back:
The Grand Rapids Griffins have been playing lights-out spectacular hockey while I was away, and on Friday night, the Griffins took a 3-1 lead over the Toronto Marlies in their second round AHL series, defeating Toronto 4-1. The Grand Rapids Griffins' website provides a recap of the game...
The Grand Rapids Griffins pushed the Toronto Marlies to the brink on Friday night with a 4-1 victory at Van Andel Arena, taking a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Semifinals.
Landon Ferraro banked the game-winning goal off a Marlies defenseman and past former Griffin Drew MacIntyre with less than 10 minutes remaining, a rare reward for the home team on a night in which Grand Rapids outshot Toronto by a 2-to-1 margin (36-18).
The Griffins will have a chance to close out the Marlies and advance to their first conference finals in seven years on Saturday when they host Game 5 at 7 p.m.
If the Griffins win tonight, they'll advance to play the Oklahoma City Barons, the Edmonton Oilers' AHL affiliate...
I've not wanted to step into this minefield since the summer of 2009, but the Free Press's Helene St. James is a seasoned pro in navigating these sorts of things, so she went out and plainly stated that, for the Red Wings-Blackhawks series, anyway, Detroit needs Johan Franzen to match or eclipse the play of one Marian Hossa, and this is just a snippet from a much longer article:
Franzen himself repeatedly has said this time of year is, for him, “more fun. It’s tighter out there. More energy out there, and that’s fun. When you win, it’s fun. That’s all I care about, is if we win.”
It seems incongruous that Franzen doesn’t care more whether he scores, that he doesn’t connect him scoring with the team having success. It’s how it works, especially this time of year: Star players have to be star players. Like Hossa, who has seven points in six games.
The Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks will resume their "commuter" series (at least by Detroit-to-Anaheim-and-back standards) tomorrow at an early CDT hour (1 PM EDT, 12 noon CDT, on the CBC, NBC and 97.1 FM, with post-game shows on WDIV and Fox Sports Detroit), but if we are to believe everybody from Chicagoland's best to Jimmy Devellano, the Wings are down by more than a single game, and have a vertical climb in attempting to rally against the much-heralded Hawks.
NHL.com's Brian Hedger suggests that the Blackhawks have not only "surpassed" the Wings, but as their ascent has taken place amidst salary cap-era constraints, that the Hawks may in fact serve as the real model franchise going forward:
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.