The Malik Report
From a purely practical perspective, Red Wings coach Mike Babcock’s decision to give his players as many days away from the rink as possible from the middle of February on plain old makes sense. After game 55 or so, even if you’ve got special teams that are as inconsistent as the Wings’ have been, and even if you’re one gritty and ugly win removed from a three-game losing streak, as the calendar turns from February to March…
There are only so many meetings that you can have and so many drills you can run in practice before your players tune you out, and if you keep banging your players’ heads into walls, well…Fans of the St. Louis Blues, a team that now leads the Central Division and will probably lead the NHL by the time the Wings tangle with the Wild on Friday (those are the pratfalls of having a light schedule: for the next week or so, pundits will stare at the standings and lament how the mighty Wings have fallen simply because they have a relatively “light” schedule over the next two weeks), will probably find this out in a Hitchcockian year or two, but we’ll let them learn how’ “Hitch’s” grinding on his players, even as a “kinder and gentler” Hitch, tends to diminish teams’ dominance over time on their own.
Updated 4x with Samuelssen on the trade deadline at 3:43 PM: The Red Wings have gotten to a point in the season where addressing the team’s issues in terms of special teams play, attention to detail and consistency of effort can only be hammered into players who’ve played over 60 games together so much before the coaching staff’s talking to a wall, and as such, while the Wings could have practiced after Updated at 2:31 PM: Tuesday’s 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday evening, MLive’s Ansar Khan reports that sacrosanct no-play-hockey day:
No practice for Wings today. They will skate Thurs. in preparation of Minnesota Friday at JLA.
So we won’t know whether Nicklas Lidstrom’s ankle is better, whether Pavel Datsyuk took a spin on his own today, or whether Kyle Quincey’s groin has healed until tomorrow at the earliest, and probably not until Friday’s morning skate.
The Wings did issue a press release regarding Todd Bertuzzi’s appearance at an elementary school tomorrow…
The Detroit Red wings broke a 3-game losing streak, leapfrogged the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division standings (with the teams now tied in regulation or OT wins) and nuzzled the tungsten carbide-studded treads of their Winged Wheel to within a point of the Western Conference-leading Vancouver Canucks by accomplishing one simple task:
The Wings, who were playing without Nicklas Lidstrom (ankle), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Jonathan Ericsson (broken wrist) and Kyle Quincey (groin) essentially out-spoiled a team that currently exists to shatter other teams’ playoff dreams, or at least make their roads in April and May a little bit harder, by lurking in the weeds and actually surrendering a 2-1 third-period lead to the Columbus Blue Jackets before rallying for an ugly but satisfying 5-2 victory on Tuesday night.
As noted in my little quick take, the Detroit Red Wings were supposedly out-hit 33 to 2 over 60 minutes of play against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the 5-2 winners kind-of-sort-of laughed it off:
Lot of laughter in #RedWings locker room after seeing local stats crew put CBJ down for 33 hits, DET, 2. Wings likely to talk to NHL HQ
For discussion’s sake: what stat do you think is most subjectively kept by your team’s stats crew? I find that the Wings’ crew may or may not occasionally give Pavel Datsyuk an extra takeaway, and tend to record every time the puck hits the end boards as a missed shot, but other than a few deviations from the norm, they’re really excellent. Do you find it a little strange that the home team almost always has both more takeaways and giveaways than its opponent, or that the home team almost always finds its way to register more hits than its opponent, regardless of how physical the game might be?
The Detroit Red Wings’ 5-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets was anything but a thing of beauty for the vast majority of the game, and even the game-winning goal had “flukey” written all over it, but regardless of how it happened, the result is what matters, and the result is huge:
The Detroit Red Wings are now tied in regulation and overtime wins with the St. Louis Blues because they overcame 40 minutes of sleepy, doofy play against a team very content to grind it out and play the spoiler’s role, and, as Ken Daniels said when the game was ticking toward its conclusion, the Wings needed a scare to wake them up. Derek MacKenzie’s shorthanded goal, 2:13 into the 3rd period, was the stick poke at a sleeping bear’s nose that woke the Big Red Machine up from a late-February period of hibernation, and while the Wings are still terribly shorthanded, the Minnesota Wild will have their hands full and then some from a wide-awake and slightly grumpy Wings team come Friday night.
While the Detroit Red Wings face off against the Columbus Blue Jackets minus the services of one Nick Lidstrom about an hour from now, the man who may have been in the Wings’ lineup tonight—alongside a player who’d been called up to “replace” him in Brendan Smith—is instead debuting for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This is a Red Wings blog, but as Wings fans like you and me tended to get to like @Commie22 during his short time spent in Detroit, mostly needling Cory Emmerton and occasionally dropping the gloves while providing blue-collar efforts on defense, Commodore spoke to NHL.com’s Lonnie Herman about playing under Tesla coils tonight, and I guess this is the socially awkward blogger’s version of a “shout-out” to a superbly good citizen to thank him for his time with the Wings. Keep in mind that Ken Holland very knowingly moved Commodore for that very reason, and that’s why Commodore’s grateful to have a fighting chance to extend his NHL career:
“Things didn’t work out in Detroit, I wasn’t getting an opportunity at all, so I’m appreciative that they cut me loose and gave me a chance to play,” Commodore said. “I’m not 22 years old anymore, I’m 32. I’d like to play a few more years if I can, and in order to do that I have to play some games.”
He’ll get that opportunity with the Lightning, who are short players on the blue line. Victor Hedman missed two months with a concussion and returned to the lineup, but was re-injured and is undergoing evaluation for another concussion, while Mattias Ohlund won’t play at all this season after knee surgery. Marc-Andre Bergeron remains sidelined with an upper-body injury.
“The whole idea behind Commodore, first of all we need a defenseman and we don’t know if Bergeron and Hedman are coming back this year. We’ll see,” Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. “Obviously Ohlund hasn’t played a game and won’t play a game this year. So Commodore was a guy with a lot of experience, a big body, and we need more size.”
Updated 10x with pre-game video at 5:57 PM: As the Detroit Red Wings prepare to tangle with the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (7 PM EST, FSD Plus/FS Ohio/WXYT), the Free Press’s Helene St. James reports that the Wings will play particularly shorthanded—sans Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Kyle Quincey (groin) and now Nicklas Lidstrom, whose ankle remains sore after being hit by a puck last Saturday:
Quick update from Nationwide Arena: Nicklas Lidstrom is out tonight for the Detroit Red Wings.
The Wings take on the Blue Jackets at 7 tonight (FSD+). Lidstrom will miss the game because of a bruised ankle suffered when he was hit by a puck Saturday, general manager Ken Holland told the Free Press.
Red Wings trade deadline overnight report, Wings-Blue Jackets set-up and Emmerton’s departing friend
The Detroit Red Wings, who now sit in fourth place in the Western Conference and second in the Central Division thanks to a Blues win on Monday night, will tangle with the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening (7 PM EST, FSD Plus/FS Ohio/97.1 the Ticket) sans the services of Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Pavel Datsyuk (knee) and Kyle Quincey (groin)...
And they’ll be battling a team in going through a very public divorce with the face of the franchise with only one reinforcement: Brendan Smith, who was called up on Monday to play alongside Jakub Kindl. Kindl will be fighting for his future with the Wings as they give Smith every opportunity to steal the #6 spot on defense a few months early, and that’s the case because the Wings’ only trade deadline move involved a thank-you to Mike Commodore for being a good soldier, shipping Commie out of town so that he can at least try to fight for a contract of his own and an NHL future while actually playing for Tampa Bay.
It’s easy to suggest that Ken Holland is the only person who chose not to add at the deadline, and it’s easy to assume that the Blue Jackets, who deem Detroit to be their biggest rival, would have charged Detroit the same price they did Vancouver for Sami Pahlsson (a pair of 4th round picks), but something that Holland told the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness had the three remaining hairs on the top of my head standing on end:
Updated 7x with outside analysis at 11:48 PM: Update precedes the rest: Mike Babcock made a brilliant comment about the deadline to the Free Press’s Helene St. James:
More #RedWings Babcock: The price for other pieces wasn’t what we were willing to pay, or teams weren’t willing to trade them to us.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to 97.1 the Ticket’s Mike Valenti and Terry Foster about his decision to only jettison Mike Commodore at the trade deadline, and 97.1 the Ticket posted a superb summation thereof…
“In most cases, in all cases, the players that were moved, we were aware of, in some cases, we made offers. Ultimately, obviously, we couldn’t, didn’t offer enough or they didn’t like what we were offering,” Holland said, adding that he “would have liked to make a move or two today.”
He added that he was disappointed in the lack of moves, but “there wasn’t anything there that fit.”
97.1 The Ticket’s Jeff Riger reported earlier that Detroit dealt defenseman Mike Commodore to the Lightning for a conditional 7th round draft pick. Commodore played in just 17 games with Detroit, registering two points, and was never really able to make a positive impact on the coaching staff to get consistent playing time, Riger said. Co-host Terry Foster told Holland many fans were disappointed a big move wasn’t made, asking, “Is this team capable of winning the Stanley Cup?”
Updated 9x at 5:53 PM: Lidstrom (ankle) probable for Tuesday, Quincey (groin) out: Per the Free Press’s Helene St. James on Twitter:
Gm Holland to Free Press: #redwings are done, no other moves today
And per ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:
Red Wings inquired on Gaustad but didn’t have what Buffalo wanted: a 1st-round pick (dealt in Quincey deal).
I’ve done my best to cover the news regarding the Red Wings’ trade of Mike Commodore to the Tampa By Lightning and its return—a 7th-round pick and, internally, the opportunity for Brendan Smith to play tomorrow versus Columbus and perhaps steal Jakub Kindl’s spot as the team’s #7 defenseman going into the playoffs, but the Wings’ beat writers are also reporting that neither Kyle Quincey nor Nicklas Lidstrom, who MLive’s Ansar Khan reports was limping badly going into the Joe, practiced with the team. Here’s what Helene St. James reports about Lidstrom:
Holland to Free Press: Nicklas Lidstrom has “bruise, is day-to-day.” Came to Joe limping
More from Holland to Free Press: “Quincey has sore groin and is day to day.” See how Quincey and Lidstrom feel tomorrow morning
I will post the subsequent practice updates in this post, but let’s repeat what Holland had to say about Commodore to DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose before I toss off a, “More to come” line:
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.