The Malik Report
Sometimes the stats DO tell the story:
Coach Jon Cooper was fuming after the game, as the Tampa Bay Times' Joe Smith noted:
The Detroit Red Wings began their first-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday evening, entering their playoff run as massive underdogs to the high-flying Lightning, and "stealing a game" at Amalie Arena was to be absolutely essential for the Wings to shake playoff rookie Ben Bishop's confidence and give NHL playoff rookie Petr Mrazek some swagger.
The Wings got a whole shitton of swagger from Petr Mrazek--to the tune of 44 saves on 46 shots--as Detroit was out-shot ridiculously (46-14) and out-attempted worse (68-28), but won 3-2 thanks to two glorious Pavel Datsyuk goals, a Luke Glendening backhand and an astonishing amount of penalty-killing and even-strength work against the shot-happy, penalty-drawing Bolts.
This was anything but a textbook example of "how to win game 1," but Detroit took it, and they made Ben Bishop look shaky as Petr Mrazek put on a damn clinic.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland gave a very extensive interview to Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Matt Dery this afternoon, speaking with Dery about the state of the Wings pre-playoff time for over 16 minutes:
RED WINGS PLAYERS DONATED $312,590 TO SUPPORT CHARITABLE PROGRAMS IN 2014-15
... Red Wings Players and Head Coach Mike Babcock Made In-Kind Ticket and Monetary Donations to 31 Michigan Nonprofits…
DETROIT – In partnership with the Detroit Red Wings Foundation, 24 players on the Detroit Red Wings roster and head coach Mike Babcock participated in a charitable program during the 2014-15 season, ranging from ticket and financial donations, meet and greets with hospitalized children and military members, volunteering at charitable organizations and serving as spokesmen for community relations theme nights during Red Wings games.
Seven players made donations based on personal statistics achieved over the course of the season, generating a total donation of $24,975 to seven Metro Detroit-based nonprofits.
Updated 15x at 2:39 PM: The Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Florida/Sportsnet/RDS/97.1 FM), and the morning skate provided two main avenues of information:
1. The Tampa Bay Lightning are healthy enough that everyone but Jason Garrison will play, and Jonathan Drouin will be scratched;
2. And Justin Abdelkader (broken middle or ring finger) won't be able to play this evening.
On the Lightning's side, as ESPN's Joe McDonald noted, Braydon Coburn will be bringing his 6'5" frame back into the lineup...
Updated 5x at 12:17 PM: Abdelkader is out!
The Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning face off in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal tonight (7:30 PM EDT on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/Sportsnet/RDS/97.1 FM), and the Lightning apparently chose to "take an optional" ahead of Game 1--with a healthy roster, as reported by TampaBayLightning.com's Bryan Burns:
Braydon Coburn, Alex Killorn, Jason Garrison and Andrej Sustr are all on the ice in regular jerseys for #TBLightning optional morning skate.
Sportsnet has aired a set of playoff-promoting videos discussing "Anything for Hockey's Ring Legends," and Mike Babcock discussed winning the Cup in 2008:
The Detroit Red Wings on Thursday reassigned left wing Tyler Bertuzzi from the Ontario Hockey League’s Guelph Storm to the Grand Rapids Griffins.
Bertuzzi, , served as an assistant captain for Guelph this season, finishing 10th in the OHL’s scoring race while leading the team with 98 points (43-55—98), 91 penalty minutes and a plus-26 rating in 68 games. On Tuesday night, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds defeated the Storm, 3-2, to complete their Western Conference semifinal sweep and eliminate Guelph from the OHL Playoffs. Bertuzzi tied for the team’s playoff scoring lead with six goals and two assists in nine contests.
In four seasons with the Storm from 2011-15, Bertuzzi has amassed 171 points (71-100—171), 325 PIM and a plus-35 rating. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward’s junior career was highlighted by Guelph capturing the J. Ross Robertson Cup as the OHL’s playoff champions last season, before eventually falling to the Edmonton Oil Kings in the 2014 Memorial Cup championship game. The Sudbury, Ont., native was Detroit’s third choice (58th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and was signed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Wings on Oct. 17.
The Griffins will take on the Lake Erie Monsters at Quicken Loans Arena tonight, before returning to Van Andel Arena for back-to-back games against the Charlotte Checkers on Friday and Saturday to wrap up their regular season. All three games will begin at 7 p.m.
The stuff that "didn't fit in the overnight report" makes its return this morning, because the "overnight report" is so jam-packed with Red Wings-Lighting set-up stuff that I very literally ran out of room with which to operate.
So what didn't fit? To the good, a fantastic article by Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave, profiling one Hakan Andersson...
Karl Goran Hakan Pihl Andersson -- Hakan to family and friends back in Stockholm, Sweden -- won the job. And the Wings, whose lineup heading into Thursday night's playoff opener at Tampa Bay includes 13 Europeans drafted under his watch, haven't missed the postseason since. A 14th European, Marek Zidlicky, was originally drafted by the Rangers during Rockstrom's tenure as their chief European scout.
A lot of people deserve credit for this 24-year postseason run that the Wings and their fans are enjoying. But those who deserve the most recognition get the least -- the ones who beat the bushes, often battling icy roads along thousands of miles to see hundreds of games at tiny, sometimes remote rinks throughout Europe and North America. They include Detroit's 14-man amateur scouting staff.
The Detroit Red Wings battle the Tampa Bay Lightning as the first round gets underway this evening (7:30 PM on FSD/FS Florida/CNBC/Sportsnet/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), but it sure as hell feels like the entire lead-up to the series has involved two topics, with the first being the writing off of the Red Wings as any sort of playoff threat against the Mighty Bolts, and the second involving Steve Yzerman Versus Detroit.
I'm not going to revisit all of Wednesday's Yzerman chatter in this entry--there's just too much of it, and not all of it is relevant to tonight's game--but as I attempt to navigate the series previews and "overnight" Yzerman-related articles, I will suggest that Mike Babcock had it right when he pointed out that the Red Wings aren't playing Steve Yzerman tonight.
They're playing the team he built, with a decent amount of help from the previous administration, and as MLive's Peter J. Wallner notes, the fact that the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the Syracuse Crunch in the 2014 Calder Cup Final means that these teams are more familiar with each other than you or I am familiar with the Lightning...
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.