The Malik Report
Tomas Tatar's Slovaks kept their hopes of making the World Championships' quarterfinals alive today via a 4-1 victory over Italy, but the Good Tatar and the Bad Tatar were equally visible in the parts of the game I was able to watch (thanks to a wonky feed of a Polish broadcast).
The good Tatar scored the Slovaks' 3-0 goal, had an assist on their 4-1 goal, and he co-led the Slovaks with 6 shots in 15:39 of ice time, including a significant amount of time on both the power play and penalty-kill.
The bad Tatar, however, deked himself and Italian goaltender Daniel Bellissimo out of a penalty shot attempt which Tatar literally had to stop because he'd lost control of the puck four feet in front of a slowly-opening net (Bellissimo bit on deke 15 or 16)...
And the bad Tatar took an incredibly stupid penalty with all of 1:25 left in the game, chasing an Italian player up the ice and grabbing and shoving him--while the Slovaks were already down a man--giving Italy a 5-on-3 to close out the affair.
Jakub Kindl's already wrapped up his World Championship game (a loss vs. the Danes), so today's Red Wings-player-or-prospect-playing schedule now reads as follows:
At the World Championships: Tomas Tatar's Slovaks are battling Italy presently--Slovakia's up 2-0 halfway through the game, but Tatar hasn't registered a point yet;
And at the Memorial Cup in London, ON: Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm vs. the Edmonton Oil Kings @ 4 PM (on the NHL Network and Sportsnet).
This entry's going to be even ramby-er than usual, so please bear with me.
As has become usual in Red Wings-at-the-World Championships recaps, I've got some good news and some bad news regarding Jakub Kindl and the Czech Republic's game against Denmark this morning (Tomas Tatar's Slovaks will battle Italy at 1:45 PM EDT, too):
The good news is that the beleagured Red Wings defenseman scored the Czechs' 3-1 goal, he took 3 shots and played 22:17.
The bad news? The Czechs, who are battling the same stomach bug that's ailing the Slovaks, surrendered their 3-1 lead and ended up losing 4-3 in a shootout, which is...a bit of an upset, to say the least.
The IIHF's Peter Westermark describes Kindl's goal as follows:
At the buzzer [ending the second period], Morten Green was called for handling the puck, giving the Czech’s their fifth opportunity of the night with the man advantage to start the third. The Danes survived, but the Czechs sustained their pressure even after Denmark had returned to full strength, and five minutes into the third, it was 3-1 after Jakub Kindl’s shot from the point sailed past a screened Nielsen in the Danish net.
via the IIHF,
Abdelkader will miss his team’s next game on 18 May against Finland.
The infraction occurred at 11:05 of the game against Kazakhstan on 16 May. With the score 0-0 Kazakh forward Konstantin Pushkaryovbegan to move with the puck toward his defending blue line, passing the puck forward to a team mate just as he crossed the blue line. After Pushkaryov released the puck, Abdelkader began his approach on his opponent, starting approximately half way between the Kazakhstan blue line and the center ice red line.
As Abdelkader closed the gap between himself and Pushkaryov he maintained a wide stance. Pushkaryov, anticipating body contact moved to his right in an attempt to avoid the check. Abdelkader makes no attempt to play the puck, further widening his stance and initiating knee-to-knee contact with Pushkaryov when the two players met.
Today's schedule of Red Wings-related events goes as follows:
At 9:45 AM EDT, Jakub Kindl's Czechs will battle Denmark at the World Championships;
At 1:45 PM EDT, Tomas Tatar's Slovaks will play Italy in Minsk (no TV for either game but they can be...found);
And at 4 PM EDT, Tyler Bertuzzi and the Guelph Storm will battle the Edmonton Oil Kings at the Memorial Cup (on Sportsnet and the NHL Network).
I'd argue that Friday involved far too much discussion of Mike Babcock's future as it relates to a certain team in Pittsburgh, and it turns out that Babcock was in London, ON on Friday to watch Anthony Mantha score the only goal the Val-d'Or Foreurs needed to defeat the London Knights in the Memorial Cup's opening game, but he wasn't in the mood to talk...
And Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner believes that the Red Wings, and Babcock, need to let the Pittsburghs, Torontos, and the players of a youthful Red Wings team what's going to happen regarding any possible extension or exit as Regner believes that the team's relative youth might yield a performance-dropping distraction:
Red Wings playoff prospect news: Griffins on the ropes; Mantha helps Val-d’Or win first Mem Cup game
Updated substantially at 2:27 AM: Posting this and will flesh it out with recaps shortly:
In the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins are on the ropes now, facinga 3-games-to-2 deficit and possible elimination from their attempts to "Defend the Cup" thanks to a 3-2 OT loss to the Texas Stars. The Griffins had to rally from a 2-0 deficit in the goals department, and they out-shot Texas 40-29, but lost early in OT.
The Griffins will have to win Games 6 and 7 on Sunday and Monday in Austin, Texas to advance.
And at the Memorial Cup, Anthony Mantha scored the only goal the Val-d'Or Foreurs needed to open the tournament with a 1-0 win over the host London Knights.
Val-d'Or won't play again until Monday's match-up with Tyler Bertuzzi's Guelph Storm on Monday, giving the team two days ot recover from their seven-game QMJHL championship series; Bertuzzi's storm will take to the ice tomorrow to battle the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Update: Regarding the Griffins, I'm gonna be honest: I don't know whether Grand Rapids can match the Stars. When Bob Kaser suggested that the Stars might be the best team in the AHL left in the playoffs, I didn't think he was wrong, and even though Jordin Tootoo, Landon Ferraro and Tomas Jurco returned for Friday's 3-2 OT loss, I have this unnerving feeling that the team's missing Adam Almquist and Alexey Marchenko's puck-moving skills on the blueline to the point that the Griffins can't answer the Stars' lightning-fast transition game.
The Griffins must, must, must shut the Stars down on Sunday and Monday if they are to advance, and they need some help from their third and fourth lines in the scoring department, but the unsaid statement needs to be made, too: Petr Mrazek's got to be better. He's let some goals go by him on the rush that have to stay out.
Anyway, the Griffins' website posted a recap...
Tonight at 7 PM EDT, the Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to break their 2-games-to-2 deadlock with the Texas Stars at Van Andel Arena (on WOOD Radio and the AHL Live; box score will be available here) and Anthony Mantha's Val-d'Or Foreurs will open the Memorial Cup by battling the host London Knights at the same time (on Sportsnet and the NHL Network U.S., though some of us receive neither network; it'll be streamed online for a fee; box score likely to be available here).
If you wish to weigh in on one or both of the games taking place tonight, here's an open post to suit your needs.
Regarding the Griffins game, Fox 17's Steve Amorose provides lineup news...
And here are some of the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's "10 storylines to watch" regarding the Griffins game:
Update: Sorry about posting "Tatar's Czechs." Was probably thinking about the Saturday Night Live Czechoslovakian Brothers sketch or Vaclav Havel and the Velvet Divorce (better writer than politician).
Gustav Nyquist scored the game's first goal and should've had an assist on Sweden's third marker as the Swedes defeated Tomas Tatar's Slovaks 3-1 (Tatar had an assist on the Slovaks' goal, too).
Sweden dominated the first half of the game, and then the Slovaks built upon successive power play opportunities to give the Swedes a run for their money. Anders Nilsson was strong in goal, however, and was one of the main reasons Sweden prevailed...
Though Jaroslav Janus was far, far better than Jan Laco in the Slovak crease, giving coach Vladimir Vujtek's team sound netminding for the first time in the tournament.
Just as I went with some "good news and bad news" regarding Team USA's 3-2 OT win over Kazakhstan, here's good news and bad news regarding Nyquist and Tatar, as well as their teams as a whole:
Hockey's Future paid the Red Wings quite the compliment today. HF has been revealing its rankings of each and every one of the NHL's 30 teams' prospect pools. Today, they revealed their list of the league's top 10 teams, and while they gave the Buffalo Sabres the top nod, the Wings didn't finish far behind:
3. (9) Detroit Red Wings
Strengths: The Detroit Red Wings continue to have an excellent development strategy for their prospect group. Their patient approach paid dividends this year, as numerous prospects contributed to the NHL club, including forwards Tomas Jurco and Riley Sheahan. The Wings are particularly strong at forward, with a mix of players who bring high-end skill and good hockey sense. Despite several graduations this year, the defensive group is still a very solid mix of good all-around talent and depth.
Weaknesses: Outside of Anthony Mantha, the Wings do not have a particularly big group at forward. There is little goaltending depth behind Petr Mrazek.
Top 5 Prospects: 1. Anthony Mantha, RW; 2. Petr Mrazek, G; 3. Tomas Jurco, LW; 4. Riley Sheahan, C; 5. Xavier Ouellet, D.
Key Additions: Colin Campbell (free agent).
Key Losses: Gustav Nyqvist (graduation), Tomas Tatar (graduation), Brian Lashoff (graduation), Dan DeKeyser (graduation), Calle Jarnkrok (trade-NAS).
I've got some good news and some bad news about Team USA's World Championship team.
The good news is that the Americans assuaged their 6-5 loss to Latvia, defeating Kazakhstan 3-2 in overtime today. The Americans now get a day off to prepare to play Finland on Sunday. The good news also involves Danny DeKeyser having an assist on the game-winning goal, Justin Abdelkader playing very well, DeKeyser earning oodles of ice time in a 3rd period shut-down role, and Tim Thomas looking like less of a trainwreck than usual.
The bad news involves the bottom line: Team USA's management picked a team that's very young, very mediocre in goal and marginally coached by Peter Laviolette, and as such, Justin Abdelkader's status as a cat-herding captain (who's going to the front of the net and staying there, like he should all the time as a WIng) will probably come to a close during the World Championship's quarterfinals next Thursday.
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.