The Malik Report
Red Wings mid-day news: Griffins on the bus, end-of-season prospect rankings, tales of playoffs past
Updated 3x at 3:30 PM: How the AHL is not the NHL, chapter 1: the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Oklahoma City Barons in dramatic fashion last night and advanced to the AHL's Calder Cup Final (which begins with games on Friday and Saturday in Syracuse, NY; Games 3, 4 and 5 take place in Grand Rapids next Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, respectively, and no, there are no plans for FSD to pick up any games as of yet), but the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports that the Griffins' players were...Let's say encouraged to curb their post-game festivities...Because there is no Red Bird III available for use by the Red Wings' AHL affiliate:
Updated with Drew Miller talk at 7:07 AM: After doing this blogging thing for six-plus years, I can tell you for an observed fact that the two "deadest" periods of the Red Wings news cycle year involve the first week to two weeks after the Wings' season ends and early August. It's particularly understandable this year as the Wings' press corps suddenly found themselves caught up in a 48-games-in-99-nights demolition derby and then two seven-game playoff series, including one that involved as much time spent flying commercial as it did covering Red Wings stories.
So this week and this month are the busiest of the Red Wings' off-season, with each and every one of the Red Wings' players not still playing for the AHL's Western Conference Champion Grand Rapids Griffins taking part in exit interviews with the team's coaching, training staff and management, the coaches and management reviewing the Wings' regular season and playoff performances, and the management preparing for its annual pre-draft and pre-free-agency powwow, which will include the team's amateur scouts, pro scouts, prospect mentors and everyone from Jimmy Devellano to (possibly) Al Sobotka.
Okay, maybe not Al, but close.
It's been a week since the Red Wings were eliminated from the playoffs, and yet, when a "battle" occurred along the side boards which directly led to Patrice Bergeron's 2OT winner in the Bruins' 2-1 win over Pittsburgh--in a game where I have no allegiances whatsoever, though the natural Wings fan's desire to see the Penguins bent over and broken like so much firewood may have yielded a little sigh of relief when Bergeron put the Bruins up 3 games to zip--the predictable Twitter firestorm followed.
As soon as those who witnessed Jagr "win" the "battle" by jabbing his stick into and under Evgeni Malkin's hands to stop his momentum stated that they felt it was a "hook," so many of the objective media types had a hissy fit, claiming that anyone who deemed the play that led to the goal to be less than 100% legal to be tinfoil hat-wearing lunatics, and others ripped into those who made the observation, lamenting the "whiners" and "moaners" and "conspiracy theorists'" existences.
Updated 7x at 12:43 AM: The Grand Rapids Griffins won a wild and wacky Game 7 of their Western Conference Final series against the Oklahoma City Barons, defeating OKC 5-4, and as such, the Griffins advance to the AHL's Calder Cup Final.
They'll battle the Syracuse Crunch, the Tampa Bay Lightning's AHL affiliate, and the series will begin on Saturday, with Games 1 and 2 to take place in Syracuse, NY and Games 3, 4 and 5 to take place in Grand Rapids.
Update #2: Via We All Bleed Red on YouTube, Tomas Jurco scored the game-winner:
Very briefly given that I'm assuming most of you are watching the Bruins-Penguins game or still arguing about Franzen:
- If you want updates regarding tonight's Grand Rapids Griffins-Oklahoma City Barons game, both the Red Wings' Twitter account and the Griffins' Game Day account are providing updates, and if you are an old fogey like me, you can always hit "refresh" on the AHL's game summary. The 3rd period is underway and things look...worrisome;
- Pro Hockey Talk's James O'Brien read the headline and went, "OooooOOOOoo"--understandably so--but we already heard Damien Brunner offer a very European take on not knowing his place of employment in June (see: "Um...I think I'll be back? Uh...You guys know that training camps in Switzerland open in July, right?" And yes, it's going to take about $3 million to re-sign the unrestricted free agent-to-be), and the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reiterated Brunner's remarks...
After a spirited discussion of Johan Franzen's worth or the lack thereof in the overnight report's comments section, here are a few more tidbits to chew upon as Michigan Hockey and the rest of us start fingernail-chewing (well, maybe you...I just clip mine) in anticipation of Game 7 between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Oklahoma City Barons tonight (7 PM EDT at Van Andel Arena), which will determine the Syracuse Crunch's opponent in the Calder Cup Final...
Coach Jeff Blashill: “We need to make sure that we don’t give up any easy chances. They’re going to earn enough chances; we have to make sure we don’t give up easy ones. We have to get a lot of chances, too."
I've seen this happen, and it isn't pretty, but it's done without much fanfare:
The ice at Joe Louis Arena ends up going down the storm drains next to the Joe and, most likely, into the Detroit River, so it goes back to where it comes from (given that ye olde City of Detroit water is what's used to make it).
Updated, and beware, an auto-play highlight clip lurks within: Just found out about this, recap coming: the Grand Rapids Griffins surrendered 3 3rd-period goals and dropped a 4-3 decision to the Oklahoma City Barons in Game 6 of the AHL's Western Conference Final on Tuesday night.
As such, the teams will play for the right to face the Syracuse Crunch in the Calder Cup Final in a winner-take-all Game 7 on Wednesday night. The game will take place at 7 PM EDT at Van Andel Arena in GR.
Update: Oh, boy. This one was a heartbreaker for the ages. Two goals and 1:33 of playing time in the 3rd period separated the Griffins from the Calder Cup Final...But things went wrong in a hurry with under 4 minutes left to play, as the Griffins website's recap notes:
In theory, this exhausted blogger (still, go figure) has a light morning.
The Detroit Free Press (via photos) and Michigan Hockey (text, video, photos) looked back at the top moments of the Red Wings' 2013 season, USA Today posited a list of the top unrestricted free agents-to-be, and Valtteri Filppula's picture includes a ridiculously astute comment from Matt Kartozian as to why he's going to earn $5 million somewhere that isn't Detroit:
7. Center Valtteri Filppula (Detroit Red Wings): The Red Wings hope they can re-sign him, although teams around the NHL seem to think he will test the marketplace. He has had one noteworthy statistical season, when he had 23 goals and 66 points in 2011-12. But there is a leaguewide romance with his skill set, especially with a shortage of centers with offensive potential.
There is a ridiculous level of romance with Filppula's skill set, and while USA Today's list notes that the kinds of players the Wings need to go to the front of the net, stay there and hack and whack at rebounds--like Nathan Horton, Bryan Bickell, David Clarkson, Ryane Clowe and even Viktor Stalberg--exist on the pre-cap-complaince buy-out UFA market--there's nobody who can replace Filppula's speed (even if he uses that speed to gain territory in the offensive zone before peeling off and trying to back-pass all the God-damned time).
This interview was posted a wee bit late, and it's a classic, "GM speaking from car, on phone, occasionally ear-dialing" interview, but this past Friday, Ken Holland spoke to WBBL's Huge Show's Bill Simonson, and he offered both reflections upon the regular season and playoff run that was, as well as the shape of the roster to come--stating that the Wings fully plan on having Tomas Tatar, Joakim Andersson, Gustav Nyquist, Danny DeKeyser and Brian Lashoff on the roster next year--and that the Wings will attempt to add some "secondary" players through free agency or possibly through trades.
Holland speaks to Simonson for a total of 12 minutes:
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.