The Malik Report
GRIFFINS AND SLED WINGS TO PLAY IN 11TH ANNUAL SLED HOCKEY GAME
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Sled Wings will face off in their 11th annual sled hockey game on Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 6:40 p.m. at Griff’s IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE).
The two sled hockey teams will be comprised of players from both the Griffins and the Sled Wings Junior Team.
The doors will open at 5 p.m. Prior to the game, fans can try out a sled on the ice for a minimum $1 donation (5:15-6:25 p.m.) and get autographs from their favorite Griffins players (6-6:25 p.m.). The game will consist of two 20-minute periods with a running clock. At 7:30 p.m., following the Griffins and Sled Wings Junior Team game, the Sled Wings Adult Team will take the ice against Davenport University.
Sportsnet Magazine's Kristina Rutherford engaged in a Q and A with Dylan Larkin at the All-Star Game:
You’re being compared to Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, and you can brush that off? It’s pretty cool but I’m just trying to play hockey, you know?
Do you like pressure? I guess I do. [Laughs.] As a hockey player you like being in that moment. When it comes from outside the rink and outside of a coach or a teammate, it’s something you kinda just listen to, and you have your own opinion about it.
What’s been the biggest surprise for you this season? How close the league is. Every team, no matter where they are in the standings, is a good team. It’s so tight. It’s crazy, you know, you play college and there’re some teams where you know you’re gonna win that game. Here, every game’s a battle.
When you have questions, who do you go to? I live with Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan. They’re pretty young guys but they’ve been around for a few years, so they’re a good help. We share a house; it’s nice. They have two dogs, so it’s a full house.
From the Red Wings:
Update: Here's the text:
Among discussion suggesting that the Wings need to make a big trade (they don't have the cap space necessary to make one unless it's dollar-in-dollar-out), or that they're plain old using players incorrectly (there's a ton of merit to Kyle McIlmurray's argument, but the Windsor Star's Bob Duff offered a rebuttal of the, "Why Pulkkinen's being scratched" discussion, too), I feel that I have to throw my hands up in the air, and wave 'em like I really care...
Before suggesting that it should not be a surprise that Jeff Blashill comes from a similar school of player evaluation and belief system about "team needs" in terms of line match-ups and special teams play, and noting that the latter topic--the Wings' dreadful special teams play--isn't something that can be blamed solely on the players or solely on power play coach Pat Ferschweiler.
Just as the Wings' personnel decisions are made in concert between Blashill, the coaching staff and the management, and then those players have to go out on the ice and execute to make the coaches and management look good, special teams take on a life of their own, and there really is a sense that after the halfway mark of the regular season, there's only so much that can be done to stop a runaway train of bad momentum from propagating itself in a manner that escapes correction.
Zeb Habs from Habs Eyes on the Prize found a video interview with Niklas Kronwall, from Expressen, that he shared with Winging It in Motown. Among Kronwall's comments:
How long do you think you will be going?
NK – That’s a bit early to talk about, but I hope to play as long as possible. I know
it isn’t the best of answers but I haven’t really had that thought (about ending my
career) in my head yet. And I really don’t want to think about it either. But
everyone you talk to that has had to retire early, for one reason or another, all of
them say the same thing; "play as long as you can" because the grey boring life
after your career makes you realize that there is nothing better than to play
hockey. So I will try to hang on to this career as long as I possibly can.
Kyle McIlmurray continues with the transcript...
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
"From a process standpoint, I was happy with lots of areas," Blashill said. "That may sound funny to lots of fans when you lose 6-3, but anybody can come watch the tape and see a lot of the good things we did and the execution that was pretty good, to be honest with you."
2. And the Free Press's Helene St. James noted that Blashill defended his decision to utilize an extra skater twice over the game's last ten minutes, with the Wings scoring a goal and surrendering an empty-netter as a result:
"Anytime they get the puck and come in a score right away, it doesn't look good," he said. "But I would have done it again. We hadn't generated anything for about the five-minute stretch before that. I thought it was the right move. I think time is overrated in terms of if you're not generating, you can have all the time in the world, it won't matter. If we had been generating, I wouldn't have done it. But we weren't generating chances, so I thought it was the right thing to do."
3. Khan also noted that Jimmy Howard was in self-defense mode after the game, suggesting that he didn't surrender any goals due to a lack of self-confidence...
The Red Wings' 6-3 loss to the Florida Panthers gave Detroit an 0-and-2 record during the team's Moms' Trip, and it gave the fan base pause as Detroit fell out of a golden opportunity to gain ground on a Panthers team now 9 points ahead of Detroit, a Tampa Bay Lightning team 2 points ahead of the Wings, and now a Boston Bruins team that occupies the Atlantic Division's 3rd guranteed playoff spot.
Wings coach Jeff Blashill dug his rhetorical heels in after the game:
From WDIV's Jamie Edmonds (with a non-embeddable video attached to the story):
Red Wings fans remember Todd Bertuzzi as the hard-nosed tough guy who scored 314 goals and 770 points in his 19-year career.
Nowadays he’s known as “Coach Bertuzzi” at least to a bunch of teenage hockey players.
“After retiring, I became an assistant coach of the Oakland Grizzly team here, the Junior Grizzlies," Bertuzzi said. "Then this year I decided to take over the head coaching job.”
After hanging up his skates, Big Bert caught the coaching bug and is heading up the midget minor team based out of Troy, which is conveniently close to his home in Bloomfield Hills.
So, two years in, what’s Bertuzzi’s coaching style?
“Oh man, I’ve had some good coaches,” he said. “Mike Keenan, Mike Babcock. I try to take a good mixture or everything.”
The Red Wings needed to win their game against the Florida Panthers to salvage the "Moms' Trip" and to ensure that they at least treaded water in the Atlantic Division standings the day after their 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Kicking off a set of 2 games against Florida in 5 days, the Wings were up against the wall in terms of needing to gain ground on the Atlantic Division's leaders...
And Detroit bombed, surrendering a 3-0 1st period lead, rallying on a pair of Dylan Larkin goals, and surrendering the stinger on a strange play in which Derek MacKenzie may or may not have put the puck in with his hand (replays were inconclusive) and may or may not have stuck Jimmy Howard's skate in such a way as to impede the goaltender (ditto), all en route to a 6-3 loss.
The Wings are struggling mightily right now, and the last two nights have been painful to watch. With the Islanders coming in on Saturday and the Panthers visiting on Monday, Detroit has to get its shit together and get that shit turned around in a hurry.
Of prospect-related note:
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took 1 shot, won 60% of his faceoffs and played 12:38 in Skelleftea AIK's 3-0 win over Malmo;
Christoffer Ehn finally got some ice time, finishing at -1, winning 40% of his faceoffs and playing a solid 8:06 in the Frolunda Indians' 5-3 loss to HV71;
And in the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at -2 in 13:41 of ice time as TPS Turku defeated Assat 4-2.
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