The Malik Report
There's a simple rule about merchandise regarding any large sporting event: If it's priced too good to be true, it's probably fake.
That most certainly applies to the Winter Classic jerseys, hats, t-shirts, banners--hell, WDIV reports that the Detroit Sports Commission is selling the street pole banners currently adorning streetlights on Woodward and Jefferson Avenues for $150 a pop--everything that could possibly have a Red Wings, Maple Leafs and/or Winter Classic logo has been made, but the "real stuff" and the "fake stuff" are surprisingly similar and both mostly made in China these days (easy tip-off #1: Reebok no longer makes merchandise with an "RbK" wordmark; they use a full "Reebok" script, so if you see "RbK" logos, it's fake).
The Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby reports that the NHL's going to conduct a pre-event crackdown on counterfeit stuff sold in both Detroit and Ann Arbor...
HBO posted what's becoming a weekly routine in its press release regarding the 24/7, Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the Winter Classic series (its full name), and it sounds like the Red Wings picked the right game to win:
24/7 RED WINGS/MAPLE LEAFS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC
DEC. 28 EPISODE Episode #3
Debut: SATURDAY, DEC. 28 (10:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT)
Other HBO playdates: Dec. 28 (3:25 a.m.), 29 (8:45 a.m.), 30 (7:00 p.m., 2:30 a.m.) and 31 (2:30 p.m., 10:00 p.m.)
HBO2 playdates: Dec. 29 (11:30 p.m.) and 30 (1:30 p.m.)
Detroit heads to Toronto for the teams’ only head-to-head competition prior to their much-anticipated Jan. 1 outdoor showdown.
Fox Sports Detroit has already announced that it will air the Great Lakes Invitational, the Griffins-Marlies AHL game and the Winter Classic Alumni Showdown games, the CBC has confirmed that it will air the Winter Classic and the preceding Alumni Showdown games, and today, NBC announced its broadcast schedule for the Hockeytown Winter Festival and the Winter Classic itself:
DETROIT RED WINGS HOST TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS BEFORE 100,000+ FANS ON NEW YEAR’S DAY IN 2014 NHL WINTER CLASSIC ON NBC
- World-Record Crowd of 100,000+ Anticipated for Original Six Clash at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day
- Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire to Call Action at Ice Level for First Time in NBC Sports Broadcast-Television History
- NHL Live’s Liam McHugh, Mike Milbury, Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick On-Site From “The Big House”
- Team USA Men’s and Women’s Hockey Rosters to Be Announced
STAMFORD, Conn. – Dec. 26, 2013 – Two storied NHL franchises will face off at one of college football’s most historic stadiums in front of more than 100,000 fans on New Year’s Day, when NBC presents the 2014 NHL Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 1 p.m. ET, from Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. In addition, NBCSN will present coverage of the Maple Leafs-Red Wings Alumni Games on New Year’s Eve, a pre-Olympic exhibition game in women’s hockey between Team USA and Team Canada on Saturday, Dec. 28, and a matchup of the previous two Stanley Cup winners on Monday night, when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Los Angeles Kings.
The Detroit Red Wings will play games 40, 41 and 42 on Saturday (in Florida), Monday (in Nashville) and at the Winter Classic on Wednesday. The team has a 17-13-and-9 record overall, a 6-10-and-6 home record, and the Wings will be both without Jonathan Ericsson's services for the better part of a month and they'll also find themselves hoping to rebound from a humiliating 3-0 loss to the Islanders when the Wings return to practice tomorrow.
The Wings' season has been downright bipolar, with the team vacillating between long losing or "winless" streaks and several stretches of sustained dominance--with the former types of games outnumbering the latter performances--and the Wings had to admit that their fans had every right to boo the team off the ice on Monday.
In an article discussing the thoroughly mixed status of the Wings' 2013-14 campaign thus far, the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan noted that Niklas Kronwall believes his team has much, much more to give...
From the Red Wings' community relations department:
Hockeytown warm up winter clothing collection at the Alumni Showdown doubleheader
Fans who donate can win a team-signed Winter Classic hat on Dec. 31
The Detroit Red Wings are asking fans to bring new or gently-used winter outerwear to the 2013 SiriusXM Hockeytown Winter Festival™ Alumni Showdown games on Tuesday, Dec. 31. The Red Wings vs. Maple Leafs doubleheader will begin at 1:00 p.m.
Volunteers will be on hand at all entrances of Comerica Park to collect adult and children’s winter clothing wear and monetary donations. All items collected on Dec. 31 will be distributed to Detroit Rescue Mission (DRMM) to help keep the homeless warm.
For each item donated or monetary donation, fans will have the opportunity to win a Detroit Red Wings team-signed Winter Classic hat. One winner will be announced at the game and fans must be present to win.
This morning, Sportsnet's Brett Popplewell has penned an article discussing the disconnect between the city of Detroit's financial straits and its fans' passion for the city's sports team (again, it should not be ignored that appxorimately one in every six Southeastern Michiganders acutally lives within the City's limits), the Denver Post's Adrian Dater has suggested that it's in fact the Mile High City that will serve as the "ultimate" location for outdoor hockey, Leafs alums Todd Warriner and Brad May have given interviews about playing for the Leafs' Alums during the Alumni Showdown...
And as the four teams taking part in the Great Lakes Invitational prepare to kick off the Hockeytown Winter Festival tomorrow with a pair of GLI games at Comerica Park tomorrow (Fox Sports Detroit will air all GLI games, the Griffins-Marlies game on the 30th and the Alumni Showdowns: tomorrow's games pit Michigan Tech vs. Michigan State at 3:30 and Western Michigan vs. Michigan at 7)
Time Magazine's Tim Newcomb spoke with NHL VP of events Don Renzulli about the Winter Classic's attempts to generate wider enthusiasm about and support for the game among both dedicated hockey fans and "newbies" who are attending the events for experience's sake:
Updated 10x at 4:21 PM: Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha had a helluva game at the World Junior Championships in Malmo, Sweden today, scoring a hat trick in Canada's 7-2 win over Germany. Jake Paterson also stopped 22 of 24 shots for Canada, and the Canadian Press reports that the game was a bit of a rout (the IIHF's website posted a recap, too):
Anthony Mantha scored three goals, all set up by linemate Jonathan Drouin, as Canada got the world junior championship started with a one-sided 7-2 victory over Germany on Thursday.
Josh Anderson, Bo Horvat, Sam Reinhart and Nic Petan also scored for Canada, which is 12-0 all-time against Germany at the IIHF under-20 event.
Dorian Saeftel and Janik Moser had first-period goals for the Germans.
The announced crowd of 1,831 was mostly fans dressed in Hockey Canada jerseys at the 5,800-seat Isstadion, the smaller of the two tournament venues, but they made plenty of noise.
If you have TSN in Canada, you can watch the entire game online, and the NHL Network's covering most games in the U.S., but as I have neither network, I can only link you to TSN's clips of Mantha scoring the 2-1 goal, the game-winning 3-2 goal and the 6-2 goal.
Yahoo Sports' Neate Sager states the obvious about all the suggestions that Mantha is a "bubble boy" whose competition level isn't up to snuff...
The Red Wings won't "take things outside" until New Year's Eve day, when they'll practice at Michigan Stadium (rather inconveniently, they're scheduled to practice at the same time that the Wings' pair of Alumni Showdown games with Toronto will take place in Detroit), but the Hockeytown Winter Festival unofficially kicks off tomorrow, when the four teams taking part in the Great Lakes Invitational (Michigan, Michigan State, Western Michigan and Michigan Tech) will practice at Comerica Park, and the GLI itself will take place on Friday and Saturday, with the "Coke Zero Fan Zone" outside of Comerica Park opening on Friday as well.
On Sunday, a pair of OHL games will take place (the Windsor Spitfires and Saginaw Spirit will tangle at 1 PM, and the London Knights and Plymouth Whalers will battle at 5), and on Monday, when the Red Wings are in Nashville, their AHL affiliate, the Grand Rapids Griffins, will battle the Toronto Marlies (the Wings game starts at 8 and the Griffins game starts at 5).
By the time Tuesday's Alumni Showdown games (scheduled to take plac at 1 and 3:30 PM) take place, the Red Wings wil have played two post-Christmas games, and Comerica will have hosted over a week's worth of hockey games, but the Detroit News's Melody Baetens suggests that you might want to take in the "Fan Zone" even if you're not attending any of the events happening inside the ballpark:
During my time spent at hockey rinks, I've learned that the best facilities managers--i.e. the men in charge of making ice--are equal parts artists, alchemists, perfectionists, most definitely workaholics, and especially curmudgeons. Al Sobotka, the man in charge of Joe Louis Arena's ice surface, most certainly fits that bill, and tonight, Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika reveals that the man in charge of the ice surface at Michigan Stadium's a man after Sobotka's heart:
Millions will watch on television across the United States and Canada. More than 100,000 will come to Michigan Stadium, almost certainly setting a world record for hockey attendance. CF-18 fighter jets will fly overhead. The Zac Brown Band, Mayer Hawthorne and The Tenors will perform. The Toronto Maple Leafs will face the Detroit Red Wings in the 2014 Winter Classic.
At the center of the spectacle will be this: an inch and a half of ice, atop less than a quarter of an inch of aluminum flooring, atop a chemical solution pumped from a refrigeration trailer, where the temperature can be tuned to within half a degree.
“Everything revolves around that,” said Dan Craig, standing in a fourth-floor club area of the Big House, looking down through a window, literally overseeing the construction of the rink below. “If that doesn’t happen, everything else goes out of orbit.”
Updated at 5:33 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings' present and underachieving roster received a downright remarkable show of support from GM Ken Holland via the CBC's Elliotte Friedman this morning, and given that the Wings have lost six of their past eight games, including last night's ugly 3-0 home "fiaskot" (as they say in Swedish) to the Islanders.
Things have obviously gotten worse now that Jonathan Ericsson will miss 3-5 weeks after suffering broken ribs last night against the Islanders, but I firmly believe that this team will "stay the course," though I hope that Ericsson's injury spurns the Wings to more aggressively pursue the top-three defenseman the team needs even more now that Niklas Kronwall and Danny DeKeyser are numbers one and two.
The blog entry must go on, however, and I also thought that this quip from Friedman was worth mentioning:
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.