The Malik Report
I have just come back from my first shopping trip in two weeks. I am exhausted (stupid norovirus has taken a liking to its unwelcome abode, and despite casting verbal aspersions its way, it has informed me that it does not wish to leave) and grumpy, so I'm going to proffer a Huge Show-style conspiracy theory--and please bear in mind that I'm saying this with a heavy dose of sarcasm:
Is it just me, or are the NHL's TV schedule-makers trying to milk every last ounce of sleep out of Wings' fans bones before the team moves to the Eastern Conference?
Tomorrow night's game starts at 10 PM EDT, and just as the case was on Monday, the Red Wings will host Game 6 at the time too many lower-bowl fans show up fashionably late to the Joe:
from Kyle Shohara at the Ducks website,
With home ice for two of the next three games (if the series goes seven), the Ducks will be able to get the matchups they desire, but head coach Bruce Boudreau says the advantages are miniscule because of how tight the series has been.
“It’s a pretty tight series,” Boudreau said. “When we’re talking advantages, we’re talking miniscule things here. Home ice allows us to change last and to get the matchups that you would like to do. But quite frankly, the matchups only work if your team is playing well and you get a lead.
“If you don’t get a lead, you may have some great defensive matchups but you’re going to have to change because you need to score goals. We’ll get the last change which will help, because I thought the last game they were definitely trying to get [Pavel] Datsyuk’s line against one specific line and we tried to change it a few times. It’s a difficult thing to do.”
As expected, the mood was somber inside the Ducks locker room last night, but Getzlaf and Boudreau said the key to success is staying on an even keel.
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
What's happening today? Not much. The Wings had a noon flight from Detroit to John Wayne Airport. They aren't planning to skate, which isn't unusual for teams in the playoffs, as many make do with morning skates to prepare for games.
Why not make Eastern Conference teams connect through LAX or something every time they shift locations in the playoffs, just to make them feel what it's like? Seems only fair.
What are the next few days going to be like? Taxing, or rather, taxiing down runways. The Wings and Ducks will be doing a lot of flying: today, from Detroit to Anaheim; Thursday, from Anaheim to Detroit. Depending on what happens, the Ducks might opt to fly back after Friday's Game 6. If there is a Game 7, both teams are likely to overnight in Detroit and then fly Saturday.
From the land of virus fun: a certain coworker forwarded me a column from Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski involving serious criticism of WBBL's Bill Simonson's...Well, serious critique of the 2-game suspension Justin Abdelkader received from the NHL for his high hit on Toni Lydman, and, well...I'd prefer to let you read what Simonson had to say for yourself:
The NHL's mindless cronies loved watching the Los Angeles Kings win it last year. The Red Wings — like most teams from Detroit — get no national media love or attention from the NHL. Bettman is hooked on the big markets. He thinks his sport should be on the same level as the NFL and Major League Baseball in the U.S. He is so wrong.
Beyond the few hockey diehards — and bandwagon fans in the playoffs interested in the Red Wings — ask yourself, what does the NHL do to draw you in? They have no clue how to market the sport in America. Name five stars in the league not in Detroit?
from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,
Pavel Datsyuk has no problem breaking water-bottle holsters, but will he hesitate to break Detroit Red Wings fans’ hearts?
Let’s set aside the future and its unknowns for a second and relish the moment above.
Trailing the Anaheim Ducks in Game 4 and in danger of going down 3-1 in the series, the most magical player on the ice/planet takes the puck at his own blue line and strides down the left wing. Making a swift move to the outside in order to create space from Ducks defender Luca Sbisa, Datsyuk snipes a bullet of a wrister high over goaltender Jonas Hiller’s near shoulder.
The metal ring fastening Hiller’s Gatorade bottle to the roof of his net goes flying off, and the puck exits the cage nearly as fast as it entered — so fast that teammate Mikael Samuelsson thinks the play is still alive and fires the rebound back at the net.
I'm writing the quick take soon, but for now...Talk about it. Smith and Quincey nearly cost the Wings the game on the 1-0 goal, Lashoff checked Howard on the 2-1 goal...
And yet Pavel Datsyuk tied it and Damien Brunner, whose ass was nailed to the bench in the 3rd, scored the OT winner via a Lashoff save and Nyquist-Andersson assist. Detroit wins 3-2 in OT.
2-2 going to Anaheim for Wednesday. *#$%@&' a.
Quick thought: Damien Brunner played 11:16, the least amount of ice time on the team, and his ass barely left the bench in the 3rd period, if it left the bench at all.
This is the only video of Niklas Kronwall's hit on Emerson Etem that I could find. Legal Kronwalling!
Update: It took a while, but the Wings' website posted the hit:
Players from both sides and coach Mike Babcock talk after the morning skate.
Okay, so Justin Abdelkader's hit on Toni Lydman resulted in a predictable probable concussion and, as is customary in Wings-Ducks series, a 2-game suspension (and quite the meandering from one Mitch Albom, which was a good read, honestly), as well as a healthy discussion of the art of hitting in the Shanaban-era NHL.
After Sunday's worth of continued defense of the hit by Wings coach Mike Babcock, from a Wings fan's standpoint, anyway (and those of you who follow me on Twitter between and during games are finding out that I do in fact cheer for the team, rambling like an idiot included), I have to applaud Wings GM Ken Holland for not launching into the typical and almost trite three-paragraphs'-worth of continuing to defend his player's actions while speaking to the Free Press' Helene St. James, MLive's Ansar Khan and the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
"We believe it was not worthy of a suspension for a whole lot of reasons," Holland said. "But we respect the decision because that's what they (the NHL's player safety department) do for a living. We'll dress 20 players (for Game 4) and we have to find a way to win a game."
That is the bottom line here. Abdelkader is out for 2 games, and of the potential 4 remaining in the series, the Wings have to win three of them if they wish to delay their tee times and/or World Championship appearances.
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.