The Malik Report
The Red Wings were a little less concerned about whether Alex Ovechkin was going to snap Sergei Fedorov's record for goal-scoring among NHL'ers than they were concerned about rebounding from Sunday's loss against a Capitals team that was 10-and-3 going into tonight's game.
With quality of play and "playing the right away" as points of emphasis, the Wings were out-shot by Washington, and Ovechkin had FIFTEEN SHOTS, but the Red Wings managed to defeat Washington 1-0 thanks to an Andreas Athanasiou goal, 38 stops by Petr Mrazek...
And in all honesty, despite the shot disparity and despite Ovechkin's dominance, the Red Wings won because they did the vast majority of the little things well, they managed the puck well, and when Ovechkin had shots, they were single, unobstructed and generally un-pursued for secondary scoring chances.
The Wings still can't quite break the plane of the opposition's net in a definitive fashion (more on the Holtby shenanigans below), but the Wings played damn well during this game, and the stats belie how much better the Wings are getting at playing the old puck possession hockey game.
Joe Hicketts will be captaining the WHL team at the Subway Super Series tonight in Kamloops, British Columbia tonight, but there are several items of prospect-related note tonight, so:
In the Champions Hockey League, Julius Vahatalo took 4 shots in TPS Turku's 4-1 win over Hamar Storhamar;
And Axel Holmstrom had an assist and 3 shots in Skelleftea AIK's 2-1 win over Eisbaren Berlin. Both TPS and Skelleftea advance to the next round of the Champions Hockey League playoffs.
In the OHL, Vili Saarijarvi received praise from Hockey's Future's Chris Roberts as a runner-up prospect of the month:
Of Red Wings-related note this evening:
1. Washington Capitals coach Barry Trotz and defensemen Matt Niskanen discussed the challenges involved in playing at Joe Louis Arena:
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is one of the NHL’s oldest facilities, and it is not without its charms. It’s also not without its quirks, some of which can have an impact on the game.
“Obviously real fast ice and a little bit of the older boards,” says Caps coach Barry Trotz of the Joe, where he has coached dozens of games as an opposing coach. “There are very, very lively boards off the backboards. The Zamboni comes right out, sort of right behind your bench, and there are a few dump-ins and a few shots that come off that backboard and you need body position and good timing. It takes a little bit of timing because that thing comes off pretty lively.
“They’ve got a good winning tradition here over a long period of time. They play fast and they come out fast. The benches are a little bit different; just even getting off and on the ice than some of the new buildings. It’s a good building with fast ice and newer boards.”
Those lively boards are such that they require a bit of an adjustment to a road team’s game at both ends of the ice.
Ken Kal talks with Jeff Blashill, Mike Green and Henrik Zettergerg.
from Bill Roose of the Wings' website,
Pavel Datsyuk has been skating with his teammates since late October, and now it looks like he might actually rejoin the lineup as soon as Friday when the Red Wings host the San Jose Sharks.
“We’re hoping for Pav on Friday, but we’ll see,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I think it’s still one of those things you take day to day.”
When asked if he would be ready to return this Friday, Datsyuk playfully answered the reporter’s question with a question.
“Which one Friday? Friday the 27th?” the Red Wings’ Russian center asked....
“I’m looking like forward,” Datsyuk said. “Now I skate with team and I need maybe more practice, make sure it’s hundred, not hundred but it’s some of the percentage up, and I feel more confidence and at least I can keep up pace with the teammates, who took care of me and maybe somebody can pull piano.”
Updated 9x at 2:05 PM: The Red Wings received a mixed bag of news from the morning skate ahead of tonight's game against the Washington Capitals (7:30 PM on FSD/CSN DC+/TVA Sports/97.1 FM). Pavel Datsyuk is expected to return for Friday's game against San Jose, but Brendan Smith (illness) is out for tonight, and there's been no improvement in the cases of Landon Ferraro (knee) or Brad Richards (back).
The Washington Capitals didn't skate until later in the morning, and the Washington Post's Isabelle Khurshudyan reported that they've got a "game-time decision" player...
AM skate lines:
Beagle is on ice, but not taking rushes. Not sure what's going on. Will update later.
Those lines = Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Oshie, Johansson-Backstrom-Burakovsky, Chimera-Galiev-Williams and Laich-?-Wilson
Holtby in net.
Petr Mrazek is starting for Detroit.
Trotz said Beagle is a game-time decision. Tweaked an old injury. If he's out, don't expect lines I tweeted from morning skate.
97.1 the Ticket's Jeff Riger also spoke with Alex Ovechkin...
Updated 2x at 11:35 AM: The Red Wings hope to avoid history against the Washington Capitals this evening (7:30 PM EST on FSD/CSN Washington Plus/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), and MLive's Ansar Khan reported from the morning skate...
Smith skating as Wings take ice for morning skate. Richards also practicing.
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall, Green
Pulkkinen-Larkin-Tatar, Sheahan (net front), Kindl
Jurco looks to be scratched
In the Hockey Hall of Fame department, via RedWingsFeed, the Detroit News's Gregg Krupa spoke to Ted Lindsay and other luminaries about the Wings' inductees...
"It speaks well of the organization,” he said. “If you figure the Red Wings, where they ended up their seasons, they didn’t get a very good draft. So, their scouting system has to do a good job. That means good management at the top.”
Jim Devellano happened by, quite early on. Like Lindsay, he wore his Hockey Hall of Fame blazer, awarded to him for his considerable contributions to the game.
“Well, they were impactful,” he said of Lidstrom and Fedorov in a bit of understatement.
“In Nick’s case, 20 years, two decades, we lived off his back. Do we ever miss him, right now!
“Fedorov was a great player for 12 years. I’m sorry he left us so soon. We would have liked him to play for 20 years.
“But, it wasn’t our choice.”
As did DetroitRedWings.com's Dana Wakiji...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Justin Abdelkader is mired in a lengthy scoring slump, so Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill wants him to go back to his roots.
"What makes Abby special is he is a big body who when he's at his best is on the forecheck, winning puck battles, skating hard on the track, allowing for good gaps, great net-front presence," Blashill said. "He came into the league as a hard-working guy, kind of a grinder, evolved into a grinder with real good skill, allowing him to play with good, skill players.
"He's got to make sure he keeps that working, grinding mentality as he moves forward in his career."
Abdelkader has gone 12 games without a goal, during which time he has just two assists. He had four goals and an assist in the first two games, earning him the weekly No. 1 star honors from the NHL.
Abdelkader admits he's frustrated.
Sergei Fedorov and Nicklas Lidstrom gave their Hockey Hall of Fame induction speeches on Monday night, and the media did a fine job of distilling 20 minutes' worth of comments into a fine bunch of articles.
We'll start our survey thereof with MLive's Brendan Savage, who took note of Fedorov and Lidstrom's comments...
"Since Day 1 I arrived in Detroit area Michigan, everywhere I went I received warm welcome," Fedorov said. "I play there 13 seasons, we won three Cups. I spent the best days of my life in this organization. I'd like to thank all the fans. They believed in us, they had patience with us, they support us. Those victory rallies will be my memory forever."
Fedorov also thanked the Ilitch family, his parents and his wife, who was unable to attend the ceremony because she is expecting the couple's first child.
He also made sure to thank Bryan Murray, his first coach with the Red Wings who is battling cancer, as well as Bowman, who coached the three Stanley Cup championship teams Fedorov played on in Detroit.
"Bryan is fighting for his life," Fedorov said. "My thoughts and prayers are with him. I also like to thank Scotty Bowman. He's not only the greatest hockey coach but he's a great human being, showed me a lot, taught me a lot. He made me understand and realize what life is all about on the ice and off the ice."
Savage continues, and he also spoke with Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Larry Murphy and Tomas Homstrom on the red carpet...
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.