The Malik Report
This morning's crop of Red Wings-related news is similar to Monday's in that it's mostly dissimilar "stuff" that is related to the Wings' imminent playoff series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It's not that the "stuff" is anything but good, but it's disparate, a.k.a. "all over the place."
We begin with revisiting Pavel Datsyuk Hedging Day at the Joe with Niklas Kronwall, Henrik Zetterberg, Jimmy Howard and Jeff Blashill's comments to the media about Datsyuk's probable retirement, as posted by MLive's Brendan Savage:
The Free Press's George Sipple also noted their comments in text form:
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, the QMJHL, Evgeny Svechnikov took 3 shots and went 2-for-5 on faceoffs as the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles lost 5-2 to the Saint John Sea Dogs. The Screaming Eagles trail their QMJHL semifinal 2 games to 1;
Nick Cotsonika (his first day at NHL.com) joined NHL Live to talk Wings/Bolts.
Of prospect-related note:
In playoff action, in the SHL, Axel Holmstrom played 5:56 in Skelleftea AIK's 4-3 OT loss to the Vaxjo Lakers. Vaxjo tied the SHL semifinal at 3 games apiece;
In regular season action, in the AHL, the Grand Rapids Griffins play the Iowa Wild tonight, and they're going to have an important observer on their team:
The Griffins also filed a game-day preview video (hello, Anthony Mantha!):
Of disparate Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. The Free Press posted a video of Henrik Zetterberg addressing his friend Pavel Datsyuk's comments made over the past couple of days:
The Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith, the Tampa Tribune's Erik Erlendsson and TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns filed practice reports on Monday, reporting that Ryan Callahan, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman all skated despite nagging injuries, and Tyler Johnson may or may not skate with the team tomorrow.
Burns also offers two quips which will serve as "afternoon lines":
Callahan said the Lightning have been looking forward to returning to the playoffs since the second they lost to Chicago in Game 6 of last year’s Stanley Cup Final. “The first thing you think of (after losing in the Final) is you want to start again and you want to get back to where we are,” he said. “It’s a long 82-game schedule, and now we’ve gotten back to that point. Nothing’s going to be given to us."
Bishop expects Detroit to come out gunning for the Lightning after the Red Wings fell in seven hard-fought games in last year’s First Round playoff series. “They’re going to have a chip on their shoulders,” he said. “We eliminated them in the First Found, and they’re going to have that in the back of their minds, kind of like us and Montreal last year. We know they’re going to have a little bit extra motivation I think. We’ve just got to be ready for Game 1.”
MLive's Brendan Savage penned a long column about Jimmy Howard's resurgent play, discussing Howard's recovery from a serious mid-season slump with Howard himself, with Wings coach Jeff Blashill and with teammates Niklas Kronwall and Henrik Zetterberg:
He blanked the New York Rangers for 60 minutes at Madison Square Garden before the Red Wings lost 1-0 in overtime and the victory drought ended in his next outing, when Howard made 39 saves in a 3-2 OT victory over Western Conference champion Dallas.
But according to Howard, his return to form actually began earlier.
"Everyone's going to point to the Rangers and the Dallas game," he said. "But I think there were a couple games I played even before that where I thought I played some good games but didn't get the results and didn't get the bounces and you end up losing in this league with that. It was just a work in progress.
"I never wavered confidence. If I did that, I wouldn't be in the NHL. It was just a thing of needing to get some puck luck and a couple bounces here and there to go my way and just try and get the ball rolling again.
"It was challenging. I just think it goes to show you can't throw in the towel. If you keep working hard, if you keep doing the little things and stay the course, good things can happen to you out there."
Update: Here's more on Howard from the Free Press's George Sipple:
The Hockey News's Ken Campbell believes that Pavel Datsyuk is being "let off the hook" for what he believes is irresponsible behavior:
I will not be chewing on porcelain anytime soon and I will not back down. What Datsyuk is doing is risking putting the organization in one terrible bind. Because the contract was signed after Datsyuk turned 35, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that could take it off the books. As thn.com pointed out last week, the Red Wings could try to move the contract to a team that needs the cap hit to get up to the salary floor. That team would then agree to terminate Datsyuk’s deal, which would allow him to play in the KHL. The two leagues have an agreement to respect each other’s contracts so terminating his NHL deal is the only way Datsyuk would be able to play in Russia next season.
Datsyuk’s agent, Daniel Milstein, said the Red Wings told him they would not trade Datsyuk’s contract, but the Red Wings haven’t uttered a word publicly about the Datsyuk situation. When asked by thn.com, Red Wings GM Ken Holland would not say what his plans are concerning Datsyuk and reiterated that he would only address the situation after the playoffs. Undoubtedly Holland has a plan here. We just don’t know what it is yet.
Which brings us back to Datsyuk, who apparently ‘earned’ the right to do this, essentially because he’s an all-round good guy and great teammate and has given the Red Wings 14 seasons of loyal service. But what about the organization that has paid him $73.6 million in career earnings to play for it and is fully willing to give him another $5.5 million next season? What about the organization that offered a declining and injury-prone 36-year-old a three-year contract worth $22.5 million. Why is the Red Wings fault for offering him a deal that’s one year too long, but Datsyuk bears none of the responsibility for accepting it, then possibly turning his back on it?
I've included a boatload of Pavel Datsyuk comment videos in the practice post, and if you want to hear Datsyuk's full presser (with the speakers cranked up to 11), WXYZ posted all 6:10 of Datsyuk's media availability...
But Datsyuk's teammates made some intriguing comments about #13 as well, as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
Yesterday, the NHL posted its Wings-Lightning schedule...
Date TIME (ET) #2 Tampa Bay vs. #3 Detroit Networks
Wednesday, April 13 7 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
Friday, April 15 7 p.m. Detroit at Tampa Bay CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Sunday, April 17 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit CNBC, CBC, TVA Sports
Tuesday, April 19 7 p.m. Tampa Bay at Detroit NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
*Thursday, April 21 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
*Sunday, April 24 TBD Tampa Bay at Detroit TBD
*Tuesday, April 26 TBD Detroit at Tampa Bay TBD
It appears that the first four games of the Wings-Bolts series will air on Fox Sports Detroit. A report from the Detroit News and a report from WXYZ that Games 1-4 will be on FSD and that CNBC/NBCSN will be blacked out are enough of an indication that FSD will air said games, as is the fact that Games 1-4 will air on Fox Sports Florida and Sun Sports in Tampa Bay.
Paul reports that there will be a one-hour playoff preview special from 6-7 PM on Wednesday.
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.