The Malik Report
Updated 9x at 2:24 PM: The Detroit Red Wings begin a difficult slate of back-to-back games against the Nashville Predators tonight (7 Pm, FSD Plus/FS Tennessee/NHL Network/1270 AM), hoping to end their 5-game slide (0-3-and-2) against the team that swiped two points from the Wings on Tuesday, and MLive's Ansar Khan's offering no supririses from the morning skate...mostly...
The Detroit Red Wings will face off against the team that defeated them on Tuesday when they welcome the Nashville Predators to Joe Louis Arena tonight (7 PM EST, FSD Plus/FS Tennessee/NHL Network/AM 1270), beginning a back-to-back slate of games that would have been more tolerably approached had Detroit not come into the weekend on an 0-3-and-2 slide.
Tonight, the Wings will play a pissed-off Predators team that dropped a 1-0 decision to the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night, and has won only one of its last four games (with that win coming against Detroit, of course). The 8-5-and-5 Predators have quite the record against Detroit of late, as you probably already know...
And tomorrow, the Wings face the Canucks, who sit 3rd in the West with a 10-3-and-4 record, and have won two straight. The Canucks will be practicing in Nashville today before heading to Detroit for tomorrow's late afternoon-and-or-early-evening tilt (5 PM, FSD/Sportsnet West/97.1 FM).
As the Detroit News's Ted Kuflan notes, to some extent, this little two-games-in-two-nights stretch (the Wings will have also played 3 in 4 nights, 4 in 6 nights and 5 in 8 by the time the weekend's over) is the easy part of their upcoming schedule, and that's scary:
The Vancouver Sun's Elliott Pap spoke to Chicago Blackhawks legend Bobby Hull about his NHL career, his WHA career, the state of his Chicago Blackhawks and Hull's status as an honored guest of a birthday party held by one of his biggest rivals in the NHL and WHA.
On Friday, March 1st, the WHL's Vancouver Giants will celebrate the 85th birthday of Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, and Hull won't be alone on the guest list:
On March 1, the Vancouver Giants will throw an 85th birthday bash for minority owner Gordie Howe at Pacific Coliseum. Among the invited guests are Bobby and Dennis Hull, Johnny Bower, Marcel Dionne and Orland Kurtenbach.
Sun hockey reporter Elliott Pap caught up with The Golden Jet in Chicago Friday and the two chewed over a variety of topics, including Bobby’s relationship with Gordie — calls him ‘Gordon’ — his own career highlights, his one regret, the current edition of the Blackhawks and the state of the ’Hawks-Canucks rivalry.
Question: You played against Gordie for 14 years in the NHL and another six in the World Hockey Association before finishing your careers together in 1980 with the Hartford Whalers. What was your relationship with Gordie like?
Answer: I believe we had a mutual admiration society going. He knew that I was out there to play the game within the rules, to try to out-skate him, out-think him, out-pass him, out-shoot him and out-score him. And I felt the same way. Consistency is the mark of a true professional and Gordon was a true professional. He was consistent from the day he began playing in the league until he and I both retired from the same team in the same year. He was an amazing man to be able to play as long as he played and as well as he played.
Updated 5x at 4:15 PM: The day after the Detroit Red WIngs' 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets, it's not exactly a stunner to hear the Free Press's Helene St. James state that the Wings chose to "take an optional" as the team's going to be playing 2 games over the course of 2 nights this weekend (against Nashville and Vancouver) and will be wrapping up slates of 3-in-4, 4-in-6 and 5-in-8 nights...All with the team sporting some truly poor statistical (and otherwise) performances during their 0-3-and-2 stretch....
That's a lot of games, so while the Wings' waiving of Jan Mursak seems a bit off, though he definitely needs to play, the Wings received some good news in the injury department, as. St. James reported:
The rationale for waiving Mursak is to allow him to play...Somewhere...Again, per St. James...
This speaks for itself, and it's honestly good news given how hard Red Wings defenseman Kyle Quincey went down in his collision with Artem Anisimov last night, from the Free Press's Helene St. James:
Updated at 12:32 PM: Slightly strange news from ESPN's Pierre LeBrun regarding Red Wings forward Jan Mursak:
I'm guessing that the Wings want Mursak to get playing time, but potentially losing a warm body given the injury parade of late seems strange.
Update: St. James reports that the Wings want Mursak to play...somewhere else...
On the heels of the Red Wings' 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, 97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger took a look at the statistical storylines underpinning the Wings' underwhelming performances of late, and as you mgiht imagine, Detroit's 0-3-and-2 record since February 10th has yielded numbers to match said record:
-They are 1 for 17 over the last 5 games on the power play. If you are into the percentages, that’s not even 6%. A successful PP hits around 25%, the Blues, the best in the game right now, are almost at 32% for the season while the Wings are not even at 13%.
-They allowed 3 PP goals in 17 chances.
-They are outshooting the opposition in those 5 games 136-135 but they have been outscored 19-12.
Update: for the record, I just noticed that MLive's Ansar Khan (per RedWingsFeed) also posted the image...I was just poking around online and found the link on my own, and did not know that others had picked up on it, so I didn't try to steal this from anyone without credit given!
As noted in the overnight report, Chris Creamer from Sportslogos.net believes that a possible Toronto Maple Leafs Winter Classic jersey was spotted on eBay, and today, Creamer believes that the Red Wings' version has been spotted as well:
Like the Leafs jersey, this Red Wings uniform matches exactly what we had seen in the phantom Winter Classic merchandise that made it’s way around the SportsLogos.Net Message Boards back in December.
The Detroit Red Wings have lost 5 straight games (0-3-and-2) and have given up three consecutive 2-0 leads over the past 12 days, with the latest loss coming in the form of a disappointing 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
Given some TMR readers' comments in the quick take, Vaclav Prospal's game-winning goal scored with 24.7 left in regulation, combined with Kyle Quincey's loss to what Wings coach Mike Babcock's calling a "rolled ankle," may or may not have marked death-knells for the Wings' playoff chances, or issued firing notices for Ken Holland, Mike Babcock and every player on the roster, depending on which player Wings fans like the least...
But for the Red Wings themselves, whose 7-7-and-3 record yields a 10th-place status in the Western Conference and a 5-point lead over the 15th-place Blue Jackets, the startling collision between Quincey and Artem Anisimov (who is okay) seemed to stop the team's momentum on a dime, and their inability to recover--with the obvious and necessary qualifier being that kids' games played by professional athletes are less important than people like Anisimov recovering from his injuries--from the shocking incident and plain old out-work the Blue Jackets for the remainder of the game yields us to a simple equation:
The Detroit Red Wings now sit at 0-3-and-2 since their rope-a-dope win over the Los Angeles Kings way back on February 18th, thanks to a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
The game-winning goal was a microcosm of the season thus far: with time ticking down, the Wings pressed deep, and instead of shooting, Damien Brunner tried to pass the puck to the slot, despite the fact that both Henrik Zetterberg and the goal-scoring-but otherwise-nonexistent Valtteri Filppula were covered. James Wisniewski picks the pass off, skates it up ice, gives it to Derek Dorsett, and as Ian White and Brian Lashoff don't play together, but were the #2 defensive pairing thanks to Kyle Quincey's injury, Dorsett's lateral pass to Wisniewski from the left faceoff dot wasn't so much as sneezed at....
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.