The Malik Report
from Brendan Savage of Mlive,
The problems continue to mount for the Detroit Red Wings.
The Red Wings suffered their sixth loss in seven games Friday night and many of the same issues that have contributed to the slump were present in a 3-1 setback against the Ottawa Senators at Joe Louis Arena.
• The offense continued to struggle, getting 30 shots on goal but only a handful of quality scoring chances.
• The power play was 1-for-5, making the Red Wings 4-for-28 – that's a 14.3-percent success rate – during the seven-game skid.
• Against the Senators, the Red Wings were outmuscled in front of the net at both ends of the ice – something they put an emphasis on trying to avoid entering the game.
• And they're having trouble getting the puck out of their own zone to avoid costly turnovers while creating chances at the other end.
Add it all up and the Red Wings (4-5-1) are off to their worst 10-game start since 1993-94, when they went 3-7 during Scotty Bowman's first season behind the bench.
The Red Wings flew to Ottawa on Friday night facing a near-must-win situation, having dropped the first half of a back-to-back series against the Ottawa Senators by a 3-1 margin. The teams will face off again this evening (7 PM EDT on FSD/City/TVA Sports/97.1 FM).
The Wings haven't really played well since Game 3 of the regular season--going into tonight's Game 11--and the Wings rather desperately need to break their 1-5-and-1 slide by executing on the damn ice, from Petr Mrazek (tonight's starter) on out.
The Senators knew that they'd salvaged their October on Friday night, as they told the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan...
The Red Wings are in a bad spot right now. The Grand Rapids Griffins are in a worse one. The Griffins dropped a 6-1 decision to the Toronto Marlies on Friday, and the loss drops the Griffins to 1-and-6 on the season.
The Griffins' website posited a recap:
There are a whole bunch of fancy ways to suggest that the Red Wings' young season may hinge upon tonight and tomorrow's games against the Ottawa Senators, but at the 10 and 11-game marks, Detroit has to take at least one of the two games between the pair to even marginally salvage their October.
On Friday, in the first of five games between teams who may decide each other's playoff fates, the Red Wings were just error-prone enough and just flat enough to allow the Ottawa Senators to score 2 easy goals on an otherwise stout Jimmy Howard, and the Red Wings were just soft enough in front of the opponent's net and just absent enough confidence that they dropped a 3-1 decision to the Ottawa Senators...
Making Saturday's game a must-must-win.
Updated 2x at 6:08 PM: Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Red Wings' game-day preview video:
Ken Holland was just on TSN1200 in Ottawa.
Wings happy with goaltending but Wings relying on Z, Abby and Pulky to score, need more from the youngsters. Thought Franzen, Richards and Green would help but they are not available now.
Said Larkin has played pretty well and he is not surprised. Not sure how many points he will get but a top line player.
Has been involved in many of the scoring chances the Wings have had.
Will make a decision on him in mid-December about World Juniors but looks like he will stay with the Wings the full year.
Holland says just said hope Franzen gets better and is looking for the youngsters to become important to the team. Still shooting for the playoffs.
Wings have to find ways to win and get some points, injuries not an excuse.
Holland responded to the remarks by Erik Karlsson on OT being a "bag skate". Holland said GMs want to settle on a winner before the shootout and then tossed out some stats regarding OT/shootout.
Every player is not going to be happy but he thinks 3-on-3 is exciting and has accomplished what they set out to do. Holland says the beauty of OT is you don't know what is going to happen next. Skilled players making it happen. Most of the things you see in 3-on-3 you don't see during the first 60 minutes.
Gave an update on Datsyuk, says sometime next week he will be involved in practice and hopes he is back within two weeks.
Update: Here's the interview:
Updated 8x at 2:35 PM: The Detroit Red Wings host the Ottawa Senators in the first half of a set of back-to-back games this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/TSN 5/RDS I/97.1 FM), and the morning skate revealed that Jimmy Howard will oppose Andrew Hammond in the crease, and that the Wings will go with Joakim Andersson over Landon Ferraro on the fourth line.
The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with the Wings about their attempts to stop their 4-out-of-5-game slide against a stingy Senators team:
"They are don't give you anything easy, it is tight, for sure," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I think they have got lots of talent. (Erik) Karlsson is one of the best offensive defensemen in the league. He will make you pay if you are not doing a good job of making it harder on him."
Updated 4x at 12:03 PM: The Detroit Red Wings hope to finish off October on a high note as they begin a set of back-to-back games against the Ottawa Senators this evening (7:30 PM on FSD Plus/TSN 5/RDS I/97.1 FM), and the Senators' beat writers actually scooped the Wings in terms of the starting goaltender, with the Ottawa Citizen's Wayne Scanlan reporting the following:
Jimmy Howard starts tonight for Wings; Mrazek in Ottawa Saturday.
The skate continued...
Ansar Khan of Mlive answers questions from the fans....
Q: If the Wings are going to start sitting a D-man like Brendan Smith as a healthy scratch, then why don't they put him on the block and see what kind of return they could get for him? Does Smith have a long-term future with the Wings? – Saskatoon Wingnut
A: I think it's fair to wonder about Smith's future with the organization, especially with defensemen like Alexey Marchenko (recalled last week), Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul in the system.
This is a big year for Smith, who needs to show marked improvement by cutting down on mistakes and making better decisions with the puck.
I doubt they would trade a defenseman mid-season unless they're getting one back in return. Even though they have some in Grand Rapids who could step in, injuries can take a toll and you don't want to risk being short on the blue line.
more Q & A...
Of prospect-related note:
In the SHL, Christoffer Ehn played 8:36 in the Frolunda Indians' 3-2 win over HV71. Ehn's slowly but surely earning a full-time role with Frolunda;
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi finished at -1 with 2 shots in the Flint Firebirds' 2-0 loss to Windsor;
And in the BCHL, Chase Perry stopped 17 of 17 shots in the Wenatchee Wild's 3-0 win over Prince George.
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.