The Malik Report
The Red Wings have apparently lost one of their steadiest players for the remainder of the year, per DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
I've been sick for the last 36 hours but managed to drag myself out of bed to watch the Minnesota Wild defeat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in a shoootou...Wait, what?
Those were the Canucks getting out-shot 34-14 in regulation and OT, including 17-2 in the 3rd and 4-1 in OT, but earning a shootout win because not even Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg can score these days for a team that's 2-and-5 in shootouts? The Canucks defeated the Red Wings 2-1, not the 2004 Minnesota Wild, gratuitous gropes, grabs, leg-humping and hockey molestation included?
Franzen, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Babcock talk about making the playoffs in this Detroit Free Press video.
Also, I posted this in the wrong blog earlier today with a mini-update on the Wings.
We have to play with more desperation and put ourselves in a good spot,'' Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.
The Red Wings have been outscored 33-28 and outshot 426-414 in the first period this season.
“It's sort of been like that all year. I can't put a finger on it,'' goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “We're a team that can start and dictate the play early. When we've done that this year we've been a lot more successful.''
The above via Ansar Khan of Mlive where you can read more on what we all know, Wings need a good start and need to maintain a high level of play throughout the game.
Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun with an article regarding the pressure the Wings are feeling...
“Mike,” a reporter ventured, when the Wings practised Friday at Rogers Arena in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, “your team has gone 20 seasons without missing the playoffs ...”
“21,” Babcock corrected him.
But who’s counting, right?
Don’t kid yourself: they all are. And they all feel the pressure to keep the string alive.
“Have I ever been asked that by a reporter?” Babcock said, chuckling.
“It’s kind of like when I put up the schedule today for the players, and we put up everyone’s (standings), they probably sat there and thought: ‘I wonder if he knows we can read, too?’
“What 21 years in the playoffs means is, it’s a sign of greatness over a period of time. If you’re Henrik Zetterberg and it’s your first year as captain, you don’t want (missing the playoffs) on your watch. If you’re Mike Babcock in your eighth year of coaching the team, you don’t want it on your watch. If you’re any one of these players that has any stake in the Red Wings, especially the ones who’ve put in a ton of time, they don’t want it on their watch, either.
Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated takes a look at the Western Conference playoff race and writes this about the Wings...
The possibility of their 21-year playoff streak ending became a statistical probability after that loss to Calgary on Wednesday, but the schedule could be the difference-maker for Detroit. With five to go, the Wings face two road games — Saturday in Vancouver and the season finale in Dallas — and have Phoenix, Los Angeles and Nashville coming to the Joe. That’s a finish that puts the team’s fate in its own hands.
But can these Wings be trusted? They’ve struggled this season not so much because of the loss of Nick Lidstrom, but because too many young players have been asked to fill roles they’re just not ready to handle. Is there any reason to think they’ll suddenly answer the call now?
Detroit needs to go at least 3-1-1 over these games, with one of the regulation wins coming against the Stars. Dallas holds the tie-breaker, so that one is imperative. The odds are against them, but it says here the team’s veteran stars step up and get the job done.
Bertuzzi talked to the Detroit Free Press today after practice in Vancouver and hopes to return soon. He will speak with doctors when the Wings return from Vancouver and maybe, just maybe, return on Monday against Phoenix or Wednesday against LA, both are home games.
Also, Samuelsson did not practice with the Wings and no mention of Darren Helm in all the reports I read.
As Wings coach Mike Babcock might say, the Red Wings (20-16-and-7, 47 points, 18 Regulation-or-OT Wins, 5 games left) sit in 10th place in the Western Conference standings because the Dallas Stars defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-1 on Thursday (Dallas is 22-18-and-3, has 20 ROW's and the same 47 points and 5 games remaining as the Wings, so they're in 9th place now, and the Wings play in Dallas during the regular-season finale), the Columbus Blue Jackets at least remain within reach thanks to a 2-1 loss to LA but remain ahead of the Wings (21-16-and-7, 16 ROWs, 49 points, 4 games remaining, yay), and the Phoenix Coyotes inched closer to the Wings via a 2-1 shootout loss to St. Louis (18-7-and-8, 15 ROWs, 44 points, 4 games remaining, including Monday vs. Detroit), "And that's the facts."
If I may take off my pretend professional blogger's hat and speak as a fan, the facts *#$%@& suck donkey balls.
The Wings really do need to win 3--or preferably 4--of the team's remaining 5 games, starting with a big ol' Hockey Night in Canada game against Vancouver on Saturday (10 PM EDT, FSD/NHL Network U.S./CBC), to make the playoffs.
We'd heard this from the CBC's Elliotte Friedman, but it's great to have a Wings beat writer confirm it: According to MLive's Ansar Khan, Red Wings GM Ken Holland has indeed "touched base" with Pavel Datsyuk's agent, Gary Greenstin, and while the Wings can't formally re-sign Datsyuk (whose situation is "complicated" given that, after the 1 year remaining on his $6.7 million contract, the Chief says he's not keen on playing in the East or playing with the personnel he's playing with, and the Chief's source is bedrock-solid; I'm going with the, "His daughter's enrolled in primary school in Yekaterinburg, which is usually a sign that a player's planning on 'going home' after his career is over, and family tends to win" angle)...
But given that the franchise's lack of meaningful off-season or in-season acquisitions has the fan base (myself included) frustrated as all *#$%@& get out, it's wonderful to hear that the one contract Ken Holland is willing to hammer out as long as the Wings are playing hockey involves fighting to keep Datsyuk in Detroit:
I haven't slept since a pre-game nap prior to the Red Wings' rather wretched 3-2 loss to the Calgary Flames last night for reasons mostly not involving the game, but given that I came home from a 100-mile round trip of ferrying the mom to an appointment with 60+ "You've Received a Comment" notifications, I'm just going to guess that more than a few of you are still mightily pissed off about the Wings' struggles, and that you're not thrilled with my, "Last night's loss is on the players" take on the defeat.
Regardless of who is or isn't held responsible for in-game situations and who is held culpable for making or not making the personnel tweaks available and/or necessary to provide the coaching staff and players with the best possible opportunity to win, the Wings face an incredibly stiff task ahead.
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.