The Malik Report
Greetings, dear readers...I've been absent for the past three days and am just calming down at 6 AM for a reason that I'll get to in a minute...
But I was asked to weigh in on this past weekend's games to ground this entry in hockey observations, and all I can say is this: if the Wings miss the playoffs, we'll look at the Wings' bombs against Columbus as the reason--just as much because the Blue Jackets have provided a blueprint for opponents to defeat the Wings via mild annoyance as opposed to St. Louis Blues-style mashing and grinding into pulp.
Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal notes...
The Detroit Red Wings will have to buck up for Jimmy Howard this summer when he’s an unrestricted free agent. Is he worth Kari Lehtonen’s $5.9 million, which starts next season? That’s an overpay by the Dallas Stars. But I’d say Howard should go from $2.25 million to $5 million. They don’t have a backup. He’s their guy. You have to temper Detroit’s excellent first half because they have 14 road games left in their final 22 games.
read on for more hockey topics...
Paul here while George continues to deal with a new laptop issue.
Instead of recapping the OT loss to Columbus today, I thought we could look at what's in the near future.
If unsure, let me tell you:
Wednesday In Calgary
Friday in Edmonton
Saturday in Vancouver
3 games in 4 nights on a tour of western Canada.
The way the Wings are playing right now, this trip could turn into the trip to hell and back or they could perform a compete turnaround and come back home with at least 4 points.
Sit tight folks, the next three games could be the make or break part of the season.
Detroit fans probably have that number embedded in their brains by now...
from Anshar Khan of Mlive,
The Detroit Red Wings play 14 of their final 23 games on the road and need to win a fair share of them to get into the playoffs.
They're going to need a contribution from their power play. They haven't gotten it yet.
Following Saturday's 3-0 loss at Columbus, the Red Wings are 0-for-36 on the power play in 10 road games. They are the only club that hasn't converted on the man-advantage away from home.
They have the personnel. They've shown that at home, where they rank ninth in the NHL at 22.6 percent (14-of-62).
George picked a good day to deal with a computer issue with his new laptop so you have me with this recap.
I am going to make like Mike Babcock during his first period timeout and say nothing.
That's it, I have nothing to say about this game but on the other hand you may have a lot to talk about, so the floor is yours.
From the Red Wings' PR department:
RED WINGS FAN DAY AT THE JOE SET FOR SATURDAY, APRIL 6
… Fun-Filled Event Presented in Partnership with Meijer and Coca-Cola;
Free Tickets to be Given Away at Upcoming Events at Various Meijer Locations…
Detroit, MI…The Detroit Red Wings, Coca-Cola and Meijer have teamed up to present the 2013 edition of Fan Day at Joe Louis Arena from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 6. This year’s Fan Day at The Joe will feature photo opportunities with Al Sobotka’s famed zamboni, autographs and a Q&A session with former Red Wing Tomas Holmstrom, autographs from members of the Red Wings Alumni Association, multiple interactive hockey zones, an open skate (bring your own skates) and a wide variety of prizes and promotions for fans of all ages.
The Detroit Red Wings begin the second half of their 48-games-in-99-nights demolition derby with a pair of games against the Columbus Blue Jackets today (2 PM EST, FSD/FS Ohio/97.1 FM) and tomorrow (5 PM EDT--yeah, spring forward, bleh--FSD/FS Ohio/AM 1270), and the Wings spent Friday's post-practice media availability suggesting that, all things considered, they're happy with the way the 2013 season's gone thus far.
Heading into game 25, the Wings possess a 12-8-and-4 record--essentially, they're at .500--and their 28 points are good for 4th in the Western Conference, likely the highest spot they can possibly finish given the Chicago Blackhawks' first-half record.
For all the Wings' dominant play of late, Thursday's 3-0 win over Edmonton and Tuesday's 2-1 win over Colorado included, the Wings flew to Columbus separated from the 15th-place Blue Jackets by all of 8 points, and the 9th and 10th-place Phoenix Coyotes and Nashville Predators have 25 points.
Updated 12x at 5:05 PM: The Red Wings are back on the ice at Joe Louis Arena following their 3-0 win over the Edmonton Oilers last night, and MLive's Ansar Khan reports that all is...predictable, all ahead of the Wings' slate of back-to-back matinees against Blue Jackets (who've won 3 in a row, including a 2-1 OT win over Colorado, a 4-3 shootout win over Edmonton and a 2-1 OT win over Vancouver last night) Saturday at 2 PM at Nationwide Arena, and Sunday at 5 back at JLA (the Wings are scheduled to fly to Columbus just before 3 PM today):
Very interesting stuff: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall spoke to ESPN's Craig Custance for an ESPN Insider blog entry, and the Red Wings' NHLPA player representative told Custance that the NHL provided the PA with multiple mock schedules which illustrated the travel teams would have to face, satisfying the players at least to the point that they chose to consent to the league's plan for two seasons:
"Compared to last year, they didn't have anything really mocked up. That was our concern. If [travel] is not going to get much worse, how much worse is it going to be? It was hard to make a call without seeing any numbers whatsoever," Kronwall said when we chatted following Detroit's win over Edmonton on Thursday night. "This time around we did get to see some numbers. It felt like the league wanted to work with the PA on a completely different level. It wasn't just, 'Here it is, take it or leave it."
And in very deliberate Donald Fehr-type fashion, the players took it, reviewed it and gave every player an opportunity to have their say through conference calls with player reps. Along the way, they found a counter-argument to the notion that the West has a playoff advantage.
"People were saying that well maybe in the East maybe you'll have a little bit easier schedule," Kronwall said. "That would make up for the advantage."
Kronwall also told Custance that the NHLPA hopes to convince the owners that shutting down the season and placing players at risk to take part in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi is worth their time, headaches involving the International Olympic Committee and the IIHF included:
From the Red Wings' PR department:
RED WINGS FOUNDATION, TIM HORTONS CAFE & BAKE SHOP BRING BACK ANNUAL WINGS DONUT
... Red Wings Defensemen Brendan Smith To Hold Daily Twitter Contest ...
Detroit, MI… The Detroit Red Wings Foundation and Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop are pleased to announce the return of the “I Love the Red Wings” Donut, a specially-themed, heart-shaped donut decorated with red and white sprinkles. The Red Wings Donut will be available in all Michigan Tim Hortons Cafe & Bake Shop restaurants beginning Friday, March 8 through Sunday, March 17. Proceeds from the sale of the special donut will benefit The Detroit Red Wings Foundation
As part of this special fundraiser, Red Wings defensemen Brendan Smith will encourage fans to tweet a picture of themselves with the “I Love the Red Wings” donut to @TimHortonsUS, @DetroitRedWings and @bssmith7. All participants will be entered for a chance to win a $20 Tim Card, and Brendan will personally pick a winner each day of the fundraiser.
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.