The Malik Report
I've been dreading this weekend for a while, and I'm seriously considering canceling moderate-to-major plans because of what I'm going to be doing this weekend. I get the feeling that I'm going to be waking up on Monday exhausted and hungover. And I'm a blogger who's allergic to alcohol, not a post-Thanksgiving partier.
Today and tomorrow, members of the U.S. and Canadian media corps alike will descend upon Ottawa, as will some Swedes, following Red Bird III's contrails and the path of a Red Wings team that defeated the New York Islanders 5-0 on Friday evening, all ahead of what's already shaping up to be a dramatic reunion between Daniel Alfredsson and the Ottawa Senators on Sunday (5:30 PM EST, FSD Plus/TSN/AM 1270).
Updated 2x at 6:44 AM: The Red Wings flew to Ottawa ahead of today's media circus and Sunday's Alfredsson reunion game against the Senators (5:30 PM, FSD Plus/TSN) owners of a 5-0 victory over the New York Islanders, and as more than a few numbers will be bandied about over the next day or three, let's get "ours" out of the way:
After an utterly disastrous 3-week November stretch in which the Wings had lost 7 straight and 8 of 9 games as of last Saturday's 4-2, Pavel Datsyuk-concussing loss to the Ottawa Senators (Datsyuk's still out with concussion-like symptoms), the Red Wings came to life in a big way, defeating Buffalo 3-1, taking the Bruins out by a 6-1 tally on Thanksgiving Eve, and heading into Long Island, where the Wings not only celebrated Jimmy Howard's return to the net by serving up a shutout, but also won thanks to Darren Helm making this amazing play:
The Red Wings' prospects were quite busy on Friday night, and the Grand Rapids Griffins' personnel changes caused some hiccups, but not any of the losing kind, as the Griffins opened a two-game series against the Texas Stars with a 5-4 win.
The Griffins' website recounts what was a wild and woolly game's worth of events...
The Red Wings have played particularly well over the past three games, Wednesday's 6-1 win over Boston and today's 5-0 win over the Islanders included, but they're going to face a test-and-a-half both on and off the ice as they attempt to snap a two-game losing streak against Daniel Alfredsson's Senators in what is sure to be nothing less than a wild scene both tomorrow and on Sunday (when the Wings play the Senators at 5:30 PM on FSD Plus and TSN).
Chris Osgood accurately described tomorrow's likely media frenzy as "crazy," and between tomorrow's practice, the fact that Alfredsson's family will be in town, the fact that the Senators are going to posit a pre-game video tribute to their former captain and the fact that the Senators' 6-1 and 4-2 wins over Detroit have been nothing less than dismantlings of distracted-looking Wings teams...
Alfredsson spoke with the Ottawa Sun's Bruce Garrioch about returning to his home for his first 17 NHL seasons, and the Red Wings' #11 suggested that he's going to have to gird himself for some boos:
I can only describe the Red Wings' play over the past two games as..."Something completely different" from what the Wings have delivered their fans for the vast majority of the 2013-2014 season.
The Wings have won their last two games by a combined score of 11-1, defeating Boston 6-1 on Wednesday and roaring into Long Island and taking their first game in...Ten years? Yep, ten years, defeating the Islanders 5-0, thanks to a pair of goals from Daniel Alfredsson, a pair of goals from Darren Helm, and yes, a 29-save shutout from Jimmy Howard, who kept the Wings in it when they were dramatically out-shot early in the 1st period.
So the Wings will descend into the media maelstrom in Ottawa tomorrow, hoping to avenge 6-1 and 4-2 losses against the Sens, and they will do so having played DRAMATICALLY different hockey over the past week than they've displayed over, well, really since the middle of October.
Red Wings forward Darren Helm scored a SPECTACULAR shorthanded goal against the New York Islanders, avoiding an Andrew MacDonald check and then firing the puck--and his stick--toward the net before goaltender Kevin Poulin, who was attempting to make a poke check, ended up kneeing the dekeing and dangling Helm.
Stick and puck score, Helm goes flying, Isles go flying, Wings up 2-0.
And here's his first goal:
I didn't think that the NHL would post it, but RedWingsFeed Tweeted a strange situation in which a player was given significant leeway in terms of "defending himself."
New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck did a fine job of turning Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall's attempt to send Clutterbuck into next week into little more than a missed check, but then Clutterbuck got a gratuitous cross-check in for good measure. Whether it was due to Kronwall's reputation or otherwise, Clutterbuck got quite the free shot in:
I have no problem with a player getting his stick up in an attempt to defend hismelf. I have a problem with him doing it twice.
The NHL "officially" posted a slightly Leafy HBO 24/7 commercial today...
NBCSN posted its first Winter Classic promo, which leaked this morning...
The Triple Deke over at Winging it in Motown penned an absolutely fantastic tribute to The Chief this morning, and the only reason I haven't addressed is is, to be honest...I don't know how to address the magintude of Bill's decision to hang 'em up. I'm still in shock, and I know that the boss and I kind of feel like we've been hit by a two-mile-long Stress Train. We're still stunned.
As Tyler TTD noted, many of us wouldn't be part of a Red Wings community without the Chief having essentially pioneered "what it means" to be a Red Wings blogger and what it means to be a Red Wings fan in the world of blogs, Twitter and Facebook, without the Chief, Herm to Hockeytown 3's imminent December pledge drive might not exist at all, never mind exist in its third iteratation.
There may not be a more influential Wings blogger in interweb history, and as Tyler suggests, the most remarkable part about all of the Chief's bluster, instigating and occasional BS was that absolutely none of it was an act:
Updated 5x at 12:06 PM: The Detroit Red Wings will have their hands full when they battle the New York Islanders this afternoon (4 PM EST, FSD/MSG Plus/97.1 FM; don't expect a "morning skate" for either team), but today's game definitely feels like something of an appetizer for Saturday's media maelstrom in Ottawa and Sunday's Alfredsson Returns to Ottawa affair (5 PM EST, FSD/TSN, and there's some sort of Alfredsson video tribute in the works, too).
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.