The Malik Report
Red Wings overnight report: Griffins take Game 3, Babcock praises Glendening; are Wings ‘done on d?’
The Grand Rapids Griffins' 4-2 victory over the Syracuse Crunch in Game 3 of the Calder Cup Final had some Red Wings-tinged moments, and some of them didn't recall pleasant memories: on the game's first goal, Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who crumpled to the ice in the Griffins' left corner, and play was allowed to continue until Panik scored.
The same Panik also speared Griffins captain Jeff Hoggan when the game was tied 2-2 in the 3rd period, with Panik's from-behind spear going unnoticed or uncalled by the referees that AHL president Dave Andrews bizarrely defended as near-infallible while speaking to both the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner and the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer...
But in a series where the officiating's been an NHL-quality sideshow, the Griffins slowly but surely simplified what was initially a "put-on-a-show for the home crowd" game, slowly but surely cut down on the number of turnovers they committed in the neutral zone, and they leaned quite heavily upon Hoggan, Petr Mrazek's 26-save performance and a little bit of, "If you start carrying the play in a tied game, you can kick it wide open" moxie to take a stranglehold on the Calder Cup Final against the hard-hitting and high-octane Crunch.
The Grand Rapids Griffins had a rough go at times during their 4-2 win over the Syracuse Crunch on Wednesday, surrendering the game's first goal and a game-tying goal late in the second period, but the tightly-contested game--went the Griffins' way in the end.
The Crunch took a 1-0 lead on what should have been a controversial play halfway through the first period: Richard Panik boarded Adam Almquist, who fell to the ice in a heap, allowing the Crunch to work the puck around on a 5-on-4 advantage as play continued...And Panik jammed the puck past Mrazek to give the Crunch a lead that stood through a first period in which the Crunch dominated play and turned the Griffins into a Wings-like neutral zone turnover machine.
Games 1 and 2 of the AHL's Calder Cup Final series between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch were...An adventure...In terms of officiating, but AHL president Dave Andrews essentially told the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner that his officials totally made the right calls in every aspect (save the whole adding two minutes to the second period of Game 2 thing):
“We’ve been hung out to dry for some reason and the referees have been hung out to dry,” the commissioner said about the referees before Wednesday’s Game 3 at Van Andel Arena before the Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch. “Case closed.”
"This is the best officials available and I believe firmly in games 1 and 2 they did a never good job. They called a very good standard. They let the players play and called penalties when they had to. Believe me, I’m as critical as anybody in the world of our officials in the finals.”
Regarding the specific instances of...controversy...
Updated at 7:58 PM with interview #2: As we await the start of Game 3 of the Grand Rapids Griffins-Syracuse Crunch series (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD Radio), Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on ESPN 96.1 this afternoon, and I'll post that sometime during the game as their podcast page updates...
But he already appeared on WDFN's Matt Sheppard show this morning, and MLive's Josh Slaghter annotated Holland's points of emphasis, noting that Holland tried to explain the rationale behind the concept of "rebuilding on the fly" instead of taking the Big Red Machine apart:
This is coming from multiple sources on Twitter--a bunch of smart people in both the mainstream media and the blogosphere--but this quip from NBC Sports' executive producer Sam Flood, as noted by Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch, is more than a little bit surprising:
• Pierre McGuire's work has drawn very loud supporters and detractors, even though his position in the broadcast would suggest neutrality. Does NBC consider him a polarizing broadcaster? Said Flood: "I consider Pierre to be the gold standard, The position of being inside the glass was created because of Pierre. His skill set is uniquely suited to telling stories on air. His knowledge of the game and background of every player on the ice is incredible. He is a huge asset. He won an Emmy Award this year for obvious reasons. The sad thing about how society is today is there are a small group of people who shout loud and hide behind blogger names and fraudulent titles and attack people. They attack Cris Collinsworth. They attack Al Michaels. They attack Pierre McGuire. They attack Mike Milbury. They attack Keith Jones. They are a bunch of chickens who hide behind their Twitter names and attack people. Shame on them. If you want to say something, say it with your name behind it. But if you want to hide behind funny little names on the Internet, be my guest. But shame on you."
My name is George Malik, and I think that Pierre McGuire is indeed terrible...In no small part because he could be an absolutely fantastic broadcaster if he could dial back his enthusiasm 2 or 3% to not sound like someone who is committing the broadcast equivalent of USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE TIME ZOMG I'M MANICALLY EXCITED and if he could be a wee bit less chummy during the interviews with players and coaches where he comes off as downright cuddly and, as such, slightly creepy.
Updated 4x at 1:40 PM: The stories regarding Game 3 of the Grand Rapids Griffins' Calder Cup Final series against the Syracuse Crunch this evening (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD Radio) got shoved to the bottom of the overnight report, but the Griffins' Twitter account is quite busy this morning with Grifins status updates, including a notice that tickets are going VERY fast for tonight's game, as well as Friday and Saturday's Games 4 and 5...
The Red Wings, Damien Brunner and Brunner's agent, Neil Sheehy have quite the pickle on their hands in attempting to determine what Brunner is "worth" in terms of both importance and monetary compensation thanks to what was an incredibly small sample size of his performance.
Brunner earned a total of $1.4425 million this past season, or at least 48 games' worth of said salary, and in theory, a 27-year-old who scored the 82-game-season equivalent of 20.5 goals and 44 points--or, in Brunner's case, 12 goals and 26 points over the course of 44 games played--should be able to command about $3 million, if not more than that, on the open market...
But the fact that he's played one NHL season and has had one solid playoff run is probably vexing both the Wings and Sheehy, as MLive's Ansar Khan suggests:
Beware: auto-play highlight clips lurk within (sorry): I've at least spent a bordering-on-ridiculous amount of time talking about the Red Wings' possible free agency plans and their possible ramifications for current roster players, and I made sure to suggest that it is entirely possible that the Wings may simply try to re-sign UFA's-to-be Damien Brunner, Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller, ink their RFA's in Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl to new deals, to swing hard at a top-six, goal-scoring forward and/or a top-pair defenseman and, if they strike out...
Do nothing save prepare for Tomas Tatar's graduation to full-time NHL player status, buy out Mikael Samuelsson, and then wait until the eve of the regular season to see how the team's glut of forwards and defensemen (see: the possible returns of Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi possibly making Patrick Eaves, Cory Emmerton and even Jordin Tootoo trade bait, and the incredibly high likelhood that the team moves Carlo Colaiacovo) compete against each other during training camp and the exhibition season, allowing the players to determine who stays and who goes by the time that the Wings have to comply to the $64.3 million upper limit and 23-man roster on "the last day of training camp" (i.e. after the last exhibition game).
Sportsnet's Mark Spector had a conversation with NHLPA special assistant to the executive director and competition committee member Mathieu Schneider about attempts to reduce the number of blocked shots and re-tweak goaltending equipment to increase scroring, and while I'm no fan of the fact that John Tortorella's mandate that each and every member of the New York Rangers block shots, to the point that the Rangers' equipment staff worked with equipment manufacturers to place composite shot-blocking protectors on the backhand of every player's hockey gloves...
The question of decreasing protective equipment is always a delicate one. Sure, as Spector and Schneider note, Gregory Campbell being called a hero for breaking his leg blocking a shot is...Let's say there's a fine line between heroism and stupidity in hockey...
Grand Rapids Griffins Tuesday practice news: Van Andel will be packed Wednesday all’s well otherwise
The Grand Rapids Griffins and Syracuse Crunch (with inspirational material in tow) took to the ice to prepare for Game 3 of the Calder Cup Finals tomorrow evening (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD Radio), but as of 6 PM EDT on Tuesday, the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer offers us a story about scrached Crunch players Jared Nightingale and J-F Jacques trying to keep their heads up while literally playing supporting roles...
As the ice resurfacer circled around them after a Syracuse Crunch practice earlier this week, defenseman Jared Nightingale and Lightning player development coach Stacy Roest moved to the middle of the rink to avoid getting run over.
Nightingale kept asking questions and Roest responded with animated gestures. Roest once played with legendary Detroit blueliner Nicklas Lidstrom, and Nightingale wanted Roest to pass on a few tips from that time.
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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.