The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings took a very short, 27-minute flight to Columbus to prepare for tonight's game against the Blue Jackets (7 PM on FSD, FS Ohio, 97.1 FM) a world away from the team that had its collective ass handed to it on opening night, courtesy of the St. Louis Blues.
The Wings' 5-3 victory on Friday night was an identity-defining one and then some.
The Wings definitely received a fortunate "bounce" in what may have been the strangest miscalculation by officials on Joe Louis Arena ice since Tomas Holmstrom saw a goal waived off against the San Jose Sharks on the night before Thanksgiving, 2008, when he was 10 feet away from the crease--while David Backes definitely hit Kent Huskins, and apparently hurt Huskins, there's no way in hell that Backes should have been assessed a 5-minute major and a game misconduct for a hit to the head--but the Wings also needed it to some extent, and just as no team gave the Wings any sympathy when Holmstrom's goals were waived off, legal or not, the Wings can't afford to not take the breaks afforded them.
As noted in the quick take, and as just about any Red Wings fan will tell you, the penalty assessed to St. Louis Blues David Backes for what was most assuredly a hard and was probably an intent-to-injure hit on Red Wings defenseman Kent Huskins--who did leave the game, and does have an "upper-body injury," according to Helene St. James and Ansar Khan--may have been the worst match penalty for a hit to the head ever assessed.
Late hit? Sure. Intereference call? I'm pretty sure that's what those "late interference" calls were designed to do, punish late hits where players in vulnerable positions are taken out (and as much as I dislike the Blues, I can't help but admit that Backes is remarkably efficient at being viciously predatory in that department) for the sake of hurting them.
But a 5-minute major and a game misconduct? Seriously? I don't think that any Wings fan would decline the penalty, even as bad as "our" team's power play has been, but jeez...This was horrible, just horrible. Yahoo Sports' Greg "Puck Daddy" Wyshynski offers a video of the hit...
Updated 3x at 11:05 PM: Kent Huskins did get hurt, Howard starts on Saturday, and you can watch the goals below: That was bizarre...The Red Wings' 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues may go down in "Weird Game" history, but it was nonetheless incredibly satisfying to watch the Wings both overcome the Blues and themselves as this team in progress attempts to claw out an identity for itself.
The Wings absolutely raced out to a two-goal first period lead thanks to a PP and then even strength goal by Henrik Zetterberg within the game's first 8:07, but all of five minutes later, the Blues had tied the game 2-2, and by the 4:30 mark of the second period, the Blues had taken a 3-2 lead on a Red Wings team that first went into neutral and then reverse, simply backing off and allowing the Blues to fire shots and screens and then Patrik Berglund's body into Jimmy Howard, and by the end of the second period, Wings fans were booing the power play (justifiably so) and were worried that the Blues would take another game from 'em...
If you're interested, from the Plymouth Whalers and the Plymouth Examiner:
If fans attempt to donate blood on Friday afternoon at Compuware Arena, they'll get a chance to see the first place Plymouth Whalers host the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in an Ontario Hockey League game later that evening.
The Whalers are teaming up with the American Red Cross for a blood drive Friday from Noon to 6 pm at Compuware Arena (located at 14900 Beck Road in Plymouth Township).
Anyone attempting to donate blood will receive a $12 ticket for the Whalers game Friday evening against the Soo.
Friday's game is also a $5 Friday value. Seats in sections 105-110 of Compuware Arena are offered for $5 on specific Friday nights.
Wings prospect Ryan Sproul plays for the Soo...And while I can't donate blood due to the medications I take to deal with my illnesses, doing so is obviously a pretty dang noble and selfless gesture.
Updated 6x with a Blues update and Ken Kal's game-day preview at 5:45 PM: The Detroit Red Wings face a stiff test tonight in the St. Louis Blues (7:30 PM, FSD/FS Midwest/NHL Network--again, that means Center Ice and GameCenter Live subscribers who don't get the NHL Network are blacked out tonight/WXYT AM), but there is good news in the player personnel department, per MLive's Ansar Khan...
The Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues face off tonight (7:30 PM, FSD, FS Midwest/NHL Network--sorry, Center Ice and GameCenter Live subscribers, if you don't get the NHL Network, you're screwed/WXYT AM) with the Blues continuing to absolutely steamroll their opponents, and the Wings feeling very determined to make amends for their 6-0 shellacking by St. Louis on the 2013 season's opening night.
The Wings, who will presumably have Henrik Zetterberg in the lineup despite the fact that he missed Thursday's practice,are beginning a February schedule in which they'll play 15 times over the course of 28 nights, including 4 sets of back-to-back games--starting tonight as the Wings will head to Columbus and tangle with the Blue Jackets on Saturday--and the team currently sits in third place in the Central Division with 7 points and a 3-2-and-1 record.
The Blues, who are much healthier, have 12 points and boast a 6-and-1 record, including four straight wins and a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets on Thursday evening.
Updated 6x with a bunch of stuff at 4:52 PM: Henrik Zetterberg will play tomorrow against St. Louis: The Red Wings began practice at 11:30 this morning, and there's been a bit of a "rut roh" moment already, per the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan:
Zetterberg's parents are in town, and the Free Press's Helene St. James assures us that the Wings' captain is simply suffering from what may be some imported boogers...
Even I will admit that, until Tuesday night's game against Dallas, anyway, I was scratching my head a bit about Jordin Tootoo. For somebody who supposedly came to Detroit to play more regularly and to register points, Tootoo had been playing anywhere between 7-10 minutes over the Wings' first five games, and he was registering a couple of hits and a shot here and there, but wasn't doing much else.
While Damien Brunner's dazzled us all on the scoresheet and aesthetically speaking--and again, I have to offer the, "It's early yet" caveat--I had begun to think, "Geez, here's another physical player brought into Detroit to be physical, and here he is being used in an extremely limited role, penalty parade included, and he can't seem to get his checking timed right or really get on the forecheck with the time he's getting. Are we seeing another Mike Commodore situation in the making here?"
Apparently not! Tootoo is being paid the 48-game equivalent of $1.7 million this season and will be paid $2 million over the next two seasons to play for 7-9 minutes a game, while Brunner's scoring goals while earning his pro-rated $1.35 million to deke and dangle and score.
Who's really giving the Wings bang for their buck?
It's still early in terms of the time having passed in Red Wings' 2013 season--the Wings have been playing for a week-and-a-half now, so we're 12 days into the schedule--but six games played represent 1/8th of the 48 games the Wings will play, or 12.5% of the Wings' schedule.
Many issues still ail the 3-2-and-1 Wings, even after their superb 4-1 victory over Dallas on Tuesday, and as the Wings will face off against the St. Louis Blues three times in February (starting on Friday), the Nashville Predators twice, the hungry-for-redemption Kings twice, the spoiler-happy Blue Jackets twice and a mixed bag of six other teams (Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim, Vancouver, Minnesota and San Jose) during a month in which the Wings will play 15 times over the course of 28 nights (three sets of back-to-back games included): the power play is still awful, the penalty-killing unit isn't much better--and is having to kill far too many penalties--the Wings have yet to score a first-period goal...
And in terms of the team's injuries, Jonas Gustavsson (groin) is the player closest to returning this weekend. The team may have to wait at least another 7-10 days to get Darren Helm (back), Mikael Samuelsson (groin) and Ian White (lacerated quadriceps) back into the lineup, and Carlo Colaiacovo (shoulder), Jan Mursak (shoulder) and Joey MacDonald (back) are at least two weeks away, if not longer in some instances.
This isn't exactly another, "Girls' guide to Watching the Rangers"--and kudos to Stanley Cup of Chowder's Sarah Connors for issuing a stern and thorough rebuttal to both the concept that women somehow can't be passionate sports fans, or those who believe that anyone who sees an athlete and is attracted to them suddenly becomes a sports "bunny"--but this well-intentioned article by MLive's Karen Dybis, offering a parent's guide to bringing children to Red Wings games has me a bit perplexed.
I had parents who were very thorough about going to public places or attending public events when I was growing up--they'd walk me through the routine, how long we'd be staying, where we were going to eat, how long a walk it would be to where we were parking, what constituted appropriate conduct, etc.--and if I or my friends started misbehaving, we were told to zip it and usually did.
Here are some of Dybis' points...Parents, what do you think about these suggestions?
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.