The Malik Report
There is a massive elephant in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room.
“No,” rookie forward Dylan Larkin says, “we’re not talking about it.”
“I don’t think anybody’s talking about it,” adds defenceman, Danny DeKeyser. “I don’t think he wants anyone to talk about it—he wants us to stay focused on the playoffs.”
He is Pavel Datsyuk. And the elephant in the room, of course, is that this is likely his final season in the NHL.
Ahead of Tuesday night’s Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena, there’s a chance Red Wings fans may be seeing the last of The Magic Man on home ice, too.
From the Windsor Star's Bob Duff:
Updated 11x at 2:11 PM: The Red Wings held a full morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports 2/97.1 FM). The Lightning held an optional skate, and as I'm typing this, they're just wrapping up said skate.
MLive's Ansar Khan leads us off with a video of Justin Abdelkader's morning skate comments...
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke with WDFN 1130 AM The Fan this morning, giving Matt Sheppard 12 minutes of his time and addressing the Wings-Bolts series at length:
From an Insider-only blog entry by ESPN's Craig Custance:
Move your hands across the cinder block walls in the visitors’ dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, and you can feel a bit of history. The holes and lines on a normal cinder block wall have all been just about smoothed over. The many coats of paint on those walls are like the rings of a cut down tree. The ones buried the deepest tell the best stories.
Gone are the days when Scotty Bowman would order those dressing room walls painted just in time for the visiting team to arrive but, thankfully, those stories are not.
“It wasn’t the paint that bothered you,” said Stanley Cup winning coach Mike Keenan during a Monday phone conversation. “It was the smell. You know what paint smells like. That was just to throw our team off, finding any possible competitive edge.”
When those rooms were painted just in time for the visiting team to arrive, it wasn’t some Joe Louis Arena worker messing with the opposition. This was Scotty Bowman at his finest.
“Scotty loved that stuff,” said Detroit Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano. “He didn’t just order it done, he would be in there supervising.”
And Keenan can’t say for sure who was behind the theft of one of the St. Louis Blues' playbooks from their Atheneum Suite hotel in 1996, but he knows a portion of it ended up in the local Detroit paper.
The Detroit Red Wings face what may be the most important game of their 2015-16 campaign tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/NBCSN/CBC/TVA Sports 2/97.1 FM). Detroit can either tie the series at 2 games apiece or fall into a 3-1 deficit depending on the outcome of tonight's game.
The Red Wings took to the ice at Joe Louis Arena just after 10:30 AM for their morning skate, as noted by Fox 2...
The Detroit Red Wings hope to even their first-round series with the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/CBC/NBCSN/TVA Sports 2/97.1 FM)
The Lightning were grumpy after going through a full practice on Monday and then being asked about the "chicken dance" scenario and its beer-throwing dressing--something the sports talk radio gents and public radio folks had fun with--and it clearly annoyed Brian Boyle, as the Free Press's Brian Manzullo noted...
Jeff Blashill made some intriguing comments about his coaching background during Monday's media availability, and the Free Press's Helene St. James wrote a fine article about Blashill...
“I learned in coaching a long time ago, you better not be afraid to make decisions,” Blashill said. “So you make decision and you learn from them, but it can’t hinder you from making decisions in the future.”
Blashill, 42, reflected on lessons learned earlier in his career.
“I started coaching as a college recruiter,” he said. “So, you’re recruiting college, you go out and you make decisions about which players you’re going to bring in, and they’re with you that next year. So, if they’re bad decisions, you’ve got to live with it. And your head coach is asking for your (resignation). Then you go out the next time you recruit, if you’re afraid to make a decision and you get paralyzed, then you have no chance.
“Bottom line, we’re paid to make decisions. We make the best educated decisions we can. I say all the time, we’re going to make some good ones, and we’re going to make some bad ones. We better learn as a coaching staff and get better, and we’re going to continue to do that.”
St. James continues, and both she and MLive's Ansar Khan, who also wrote a superb article about Blashill, noted that the Wings' players are happy with their coach's job--and Lightning coach Jon Cooper vouches for his friend's credentials:
"I thought it was time for a change for everyone," Zetterberg said. "Jeff came in from Grand Rapids. He coached a lot of the guys that we had on the team already. I thought it was a smooth transition. He's been good. I think the line of communication has been really good between coaches and players. So I got nothing really bad to say. We found a way to get into the postseason. That was our goal and we just got to have a good playoff."
Blashill has juggled his lines frequently this season.
"I think he's done a good job all year of trying to mix and match some different combos, some different lines and D pairings, pretty much whatever he's got to do," Danny DeKeyser said. "(In Game 3) he switched some things up a bit and I thought we played a lot better. It might have been a little bit of home ice and the lift we got from the crowd, but he did a good job of getting the right pairings together."
This profile of Luke Glendening, written by NHL.com's Nicholas J. Cotsonika, is superb:
Joe Day, who played 72 NHL games for the Hartford Whalers and New York Islanders in the 1990s and lives in Grand Rapids, worked with Glendening on his skating. A business consultant, he also put him through a test used to identify personality traits of executives and athletes. Glendening scored like a top prospect.
"Coaches want aspirins, not headaches," Day said. "He's an aspirin."
So Day called NHL executives, including Red Wings assistant GM Ryan Martin, who watched Glendening play in college and invited him to Red Wings development camp in the summer. Martin thought Glendening could provide depth in the minors and approached Jim Nill, then a fellow Red Wings assistant GM, now the Dallas Stars GM.
Nill agreed to sign Glendening to a two-way deal -- an AHL/ECHL two-way deal. The Red Wings ended up signing Glendening to a one-way AHL deal because Glendening received a similar offer from another NHL team, but they worried they wouldn't have the budget to carry his AHL salary in the ECHL if he were demoted.
And sure enough, he was demoted.
When Glendening arrived for AHL training camp in 2012, Blashill, then coach of Detroit's affiliate in Grand Rapids, wasn't impressed. Glendening lacked puck skills and was a drill-killer. Blashill couldn't see value in him.
"I cut Luke as quick as I could," Blashill said. "He was our first guy cut and sent down."
From the Tampa Bay Times' Tom Jones:
So, what's next?
The assumption is Yzerman is eventually going to go back to the place where he is king: Detroit.
"I want to win a Stanley Cup as a general manager of the Tampa Bay Lightning," Yzerman said. "We started something. We're trying to win a Cup. That's my goal. I take pride in what I do. I want to be successful and I hope I can be successful with the Lightning."
Yzerman thinks back to Game 2 last week at Amalie Arena. The building was full with Lightning fans. The game was exciting. Tampa Bay won. This was what he envisioned when he took the job. Detroit is special, yes. Always will be. But maybe going back to Detroit wouldn't be such a great idea. Why risk ruining the pristine legacy he has in Motown?
Anyway, Tampa Bay is his home. For now. Maybe for a long time.
"I hope so," Yzerman said. "That means I'm doing a good job and I'd be very happy with that. I'm worried about right now, the next few years. And if I'm the GM of the Lightning in 20 years that means I've done a good job."
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.