The Malik Report
As tonight's Wings-Bolts game is an NBCSN affair, NHL.com's spotlighting a Red Wings player ahead of said game, and NHL.com's Paul Harris decided to discuss Justin Abdelkader's superb start:
A couple of seasons ago, then-Red Wings coach Mike Babcock began using Abdelkader on offensive lines with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg when they were playing together, and with Datsyuk at center when he and Zetterberg played on separate lines.
"I think every player has different assets, and I think he's got great combination of physicality and skill set and he's got offensive smarts to go with it," current Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think one of those things of having a physical type presence on a line, sometimes those guys don't have offensive smarts to play with elite offensive thinkers. He does."
With Datsyuk still recovering from surgery on ruptured tendons in his right ankle on June 26, Abdelkader has played on a line with Zetterberg at center and rookie Dylan Larkin on right wing for most of the first two games, and the unit has been dominant.
Zetterberg has a goal and four assists and is plus-5. Larkin, 19, has a goal and two assists and is plus-6.
"Obviously, [Zetterberg] being the centerman, controlling a lot of the play, [Larkin] skates so well and has a great skill set," Abdelkader said. "I'm just trying to be around the net, be on the forecheck for those guys. I think we all bring something different to the line and that can make for some good chemistry."
Updated 6x at 11:43 AM: The Red Wings tangle with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time since being eliminated from the playoffs last spring (7:30 PM EDT on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose reports that the Wings are chasing a little history this evening:
The #RedWings host the Lightning tonight at JLA. Detroit is looking for its first 3-0-0 start since 2011-12 when it began the season 5-0-0.
Well, this is a bummer:
Detroit Red Wings
Title track: 12
Fan relations: 8
Stadium experience: 89
Bang for the buck: 38
Change from last year: +6
The Red Wings have long been the gold standard for NHL franchises, in large part because of owner Mike Ilitch, who this year finished as hockey's top owner as well as third-best boss in all of sports. "Not only does [ownership] want to win, they will do everything they can do to win," says Tom Wilson, the CEO and president of Olympia Entertainment, which runs the business side of the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. "As a fan, if you know the owner wants to win as bad as you do, that creates tremendous loyalty."
The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning resume acquaintances this evening (NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and the Red Wings are going to be facing a team that's on quite the roll.
Tampa Bay's gotten off to a 3-0 start, and the Lightning broke a 10-game winless streak against Boston in Boston on Monday afternoon, rallying from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Bruins 6-3--with Steven Stamkos's 500th point serving as the game-winning goal, as NHL.com's Matt Kalman noted:
via Fox Sports Detroit,
The Detroit Red Wings' 4-0 Opening Night win over the Toronto Maple Leafs Friday night saw a 56-percent increase in viewership over last season's home opener.
FOX Sports Detroit, simulcast with WJBK, had an 8.7 household average, peaking at 9:15 p.m. with a 10.17 household average.
"The passion of Detroit fans is incredible. There's been a lot of anticipation for the start of Red Wings hockey," said Greg Hammaren, senior vice president and general manager of FOX Sports Detroit. "This team is exciting to watch, and we can't wait to share the stories on and off the ice all season long."
Friday's game was the highest-rated season and home opener for at least the last 10 years on any network. The previous high was a 6.5 HH for the 2013-14 season and home opener on NBCSN. It was also the highest-rated FSD season opener since at least 2006; the previous high was 5.8 HH for the 2012-13 season. It was the highest-rated FSD home opener since at least 2006; the previous high was 5.9 HH for the 2009-10 season.
From DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji:
Firefighting is a job that Henrik Zetterberg says he couldn't do but he is thrilled to be able to support those who do.
After Monday's practice, Zetterberg presented local fire departments with 2,500 smoke detectors that will be installed in the homes of seniors and low-income families.
In addition, Zetterberg matched donations Red Wings fans made during the preseason and will present a check for $8,800 to purchase more smoke detectors before Tuesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"I can't say enough," captain Christopher Dixon of the Detroit Fire Department said. "We love his commitment to the city of Detroit. He gives of himself every year. This is probably my sixth year of doing this. I come out every year to help collect the smoke detectors, the money, he matches it. It's unbelievable."
Representatives of fire departments from Detroit, Flint, Clinton Township, Macomb Township, Saginaw, Southfield, Taylor and Springfield Township helped pass the collection boot around before preseason games Sept. 24 and 26 at Joe Louis Arena.
Both DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan penned practice notebooks which discuss Tuesday's Red Wings-Lightning match-up, and Kulfan's conversation with Justin Abdelkader regarding the Wings' playoff series against the Bolts last April stands alone as an "afternoon line":
"It's never easy to lose like we did in Game 7 (2-0), and see Tampa do as well as they did hurts that much more," said Justin Abdelkader, who was named the NHL's First Star of the Week for his four goals in two games last week. "We know we're close. We have work to do, maintain the level of play throughout the year and give yourself a chance in the playoffs.
"They're a team that won the conference; they have a big target on their chest. We took them to seven games and we feel we match up real well with them. We play similar type of hockey and systems and it should be a lot of fun."
A year ago at this time, I first reviewed Rob Vollman's Hockey Abstract, and try as I may, I couldn't wrap my head around it.
I knew that Rob was at the forefront of the hockey analytics movement. I appreciated the scope, breadth and depth of Hockey Abstract--which has turned out to be as seminal and fundamental work as I assumed it would be--but I was still wrapping my head around the "analytics" movement.
It took a full season for me and several rinks' worth of people to digest the concepts beyond counting up shot attempts and having a good feeling that the team that attempted more shots was carrying play.
Hockey Abstract itself is a fine gateway leading one toward an analytics-based look at hockey, and Hockey Abstract's 2015 Update, I might argue, is a better way to start one's journey along the analytic route, because it's simply not as literally or figuratively a "heavy read" as Hockey Abstract provided.
Updated 4x at 4:17 PM: The Red Wings' returned to practice today ahead of tomorrow night's NBCSN-aired game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (who play a Columbus Day matinee against the Boston Bruins at 1 PM), and two news items of note were revealed:
First, Jimmy Howard will be starting against Tampa Bay, and second, Darren Helm may or may not be activated to play. If Helm plays tomorrow, the Wings' decision to not place anyone on waivers = Alexey Marchenko would have to be temporarily sent down to Grand Rapids to make room for Helm on the 23-man roster.
MLive's Ansar Khan has confirmed the Wings' options to place Helm (who practiced in Landon Ferraro's spot on the fourth line) back on the roster:
Via RedWingsFeed, Fox Sports Detroit must have listened to the fan requests for this one, because FSD posted the 7-minute interview that Mickey Redmond conducted with Jeff Blashill and Mike Babcock on Thursday evening (the interview aired during Friday's Wings-Maple Leafs game). It's an intriguing "watch" to say the least:
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.