The Malik Report
From the Red Wings:
Here's the press release:
I know that there are a substantial number of you who are hoping that the Wings miss the playoffs so that the team is forced to make massive player personnel and coaching changes, but I cannot state this enough:
Knowing everything that I know about the standard operating procedure of Ken Holland and the Red Wings' management, I do not expect the Red Wings to make any drastic changes if the Wings miss the playoff cut. Holland has always preached a steady hand, and in a "parity league," he, Kris Draper, Ryan Martin and the rest of the management team are not going to abandon their approach because of one missed playoff run.
It is foolish--nothing less than foolish--to expect Steady Kenny to suddenly toss the assistant coaches, the head coach, to make gigantic trades or to suddenly become incredibly active in a free agent market during a flat-capped summer simply because the Wings miss the playoffs. Holland has never operated that way, and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the managerial "process" will change.
Of Red Wings-related note this morning:
1. The Wings' players and coach told MLive's Ansar Khan that "freebies" doomed them against Tampa Bay...
"I thought we came out fine but we talked about not giving up any free chances and we gave up free chances for two goals, so you can't give up free goals like that," Blashill said. "They're going to create enough on their own. You can't end up giving those free type looks.
"They're a good team, so they do lots of things well and they can make plays out of nothing, but I thought on a couple of them (their quickness) didn't really have much to do with it, I thought it was more us not playing to the top of our game."
Said Howard: "They're a good team. You've got to give them credit," Howard said. "They came out and they're flying from the start. When you give them opportunities they're going to bury them."
2. Khan also posted a clip of Blashill's post-game remarks:
The Red Wings posted post-game comment videos from last night's 6-2 loss to Tampa Bay after I went to bed at 2 AM, so here they are now:
Here's Justin Abdelkader...
The Red Wings' 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning was both embarrassing and costly.
Despite help from the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Philadelphia Flyers passed the Wings in the standings with their point-total-tying 3-2 shootout loss, and while the Wings have 34 Regulation-or-OT Wins to Philadelphia's 33, the Flyers still have a game in hand.
Now the Red Wings face their final 9 games of the regular season needing to win somewhere between 6 and 7 of them--while getting a little help from the Flyers' opponents, and most certainly defeating the Flyers when the teams meet on April 6th.
For Tampa Bay, the win afforded the Bolts a 6-point cushion on the Wings, and more or less assured that the Lightning will be battling for an Atlantic Division playoff spot instead of possibly tangling for a Wild Card position, so the win was equally essential...
But the way the Bolts puffed out their chests might rub you the wrong way.
The Lightning were very proud of their ability to take care of the Wings in the first game back from a long road trip, as they told the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson:
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff hockey, in the KHL, Alexander Kadeikin didn't play in SKA St. Petersburg's 3-0 loss to CSKA Moscow. SKA trails the KHL's Western Conference Final 1-0;
In the Finnish Liiga, Julius Vahatalo finished at -1 with a lost faceoff in 9:52 of ice time as TPS Turku lost 3-0 to Karpat Oulu, falling into a 2-1 deficit;
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took a shot, won 66% of his faceoffs and played 14:16 in Skelleftea AIK's 1-0 win over HV71. Skelleftea advances to the SHL semifinal via a 4-game sweep;
The Red Wings face nothing but must-win games over their final 10 regular-season tilts. Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning offered the opportunity for the Wings to do far more than keep pace with the Philadelphia Flyers, as a win could've pulled the Wings to within 2 points of the Lightning in the Atlantic Division race, but Detroit had a 5-game winless streak at Amalie Arena to overcome.
On Tuesday night, Detroit just plain old fell on their faces, losing 6-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning, and they were afforded a tie with the Flyers in the standings--though Philly has a game in hand, and is thus in the final Wild Card spot--via a 3-2 Columbus shootout win over the Flyers, who have 1 fewer ROW than the Wings.
Detroit was plain old poor against the Lightning, struggling to keep the puck out of Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek's nets almost equally, and there is no reason, absolutely no reason, for the Wings to continue to start so very flat and to finish scrambling to eke out a tie. This is far too late in the season for that to ever happen, never mind happen on back-to-back occasions.
Now the Wings have 9 opportunities to win the 6 or 7 games they need to win to make the playoffs, and they've got 2 or 3 losses left to burn after this debacle.
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Here's the Red Wings' Game-Day Preview video, which includes appearances by Jonathan Ericsson, coach Jeff Blashill and captain Henrik Zetterberg:
2. The Grand Rapids Griffins are in San Antonio to battle the Rampage tonight, and they posted a game-day preview video as well:
Updated 9x at 3:14 PM: The Detroit Red Wings held an optional morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning (7:30 PM on FSD/Sun/Sportsnet Ontario and Pacific/Yahoo Sports/97.1 FM).
The beat writers reported that Jimmy Howard would start opposite Ben Bishop, and that there would be "no changes" to the Wings' lineup, so Detroit's player personnel should look something like this, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
And TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns reports that the Filppula and Callahan-less Lightning will dress the following lineup:
From the Free Press's Helene St. James, as the Wings' morning skate wraps up (no changes for Detroit, Callahan and Filppula out for Tampa, Bishop vs. Howard in the nets), the Lightning spoke very respectfully of the Red Wings' playoff streak and the team's attempts to extend said streak:
"I don't know if that makes them even more dangerous, that they are on the brink of another playoff spot right now, obviously with that consecutive streak," [steven] Stamkos said after the morning skate. "If you look at their group, they have a great mix of veteran guys and some great young talent that's come in this year and played extremely well. We've had tight games with them all year."
The Wings are 2-1 against the Lightning this season. They took Tampa Bay to a seven-game playoff series last spring, one that Stamkos called "arguably our closest and toughest series, with the exception of Chicago.
"They had a big comeback win in Florida. They are feeling good about their game. We have to be a team that comes out and matches their effort level."
The Flyers beat the New York Islanders on Monday, edging back within a point of the Wings for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers play again tonight, at Columbus, and still retain a game in hand on the Wings.
Tampa coach Jon Cooper said the Wings "are a veteran team, and they have made the playoffs 24 straight seasons for a reason. They are four lines deep. There is no room out there. They play well defensively. They are hard games to play."
St. James continues, and there is one worrisome stat about tonight's game:
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.