The Malik Report
I hate to agree with the Canadian Press's Stephen Whyno, but despite HBO 24/7's best efforts, the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs may be one of the NHL's most historically bitter rivals, but they are not rivals in the present-day sense of the term, and when Whyno spoke with the Leafs and Wings at last weekend's game at the Air Canada Center (and the Leafs at their practice in Toronto on Monday), he found that both the Leafs and Wings agreed that their status as division rivals is great and all, but you've got to play playoff hockey to truly rekindle what really was--and hopefully will be--an absolutely vicious hate-hate relationship:
It was the hope for HBO’s “24/7” and the Winter Classic, that the Leafs and Red Wings would rekindle their old rivalry now that they’re division rivals for the first time since 1998. But it will take more than just an internationally televised regular-season game to drudge up a lot of hostilities between Toronto and Detroit.
“Maybe the ‘24/7’ and maybe the Winter Classic can help with all that,” Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “To have a rivalry to me, what you do is you meet in the playoffs, you have two really good teams, you have hard series and you build up some animosity for one another. That hasn’t been possible.”
I may be covering the Red Wings-Predators game as best as possible and am monitoring the Winter Classic stuff going on at U of M (NHL.com's Dan Rosen reports that the weather forecast looks good) and the Alumni Showdown news--and this is a good question...
I'm actually at Comerica Park today to take part in the Grand Rapids Griffins-Toronto Marlies game taking place at 5 PM (on FSD and Sportsnet). If you want to follow along, the Griffins, the AHL, the Marlies, the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, Fox 17's Steve Amorose, WOOD TV's Larry Figurski and of course Kukla's Korner's woman on the street, Monica McAlister, are all here Tweeting away, and so am I...
And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner spoke to the Griffins after their morning skate:
This is a little campy, but the NHL (via RedWingsFeed) posted a 4-minute video offering a "Tale of the Tape" regarding the Red Wings and Maple Leafs as the "numbers" pertain to the Winter Classic:
Update: The NHL just posted its final 24/7 teaser, too:
The Red Wings and Maple Leafs' alums skated at Comerica Park prior to tomorrow's Alumni Showdown (the games start at 1 and 3:30 PM on FSD and the CBC, but NBCSN will air the second game at 4 PM for some reason), and in absence of anything more substantive to do, I'm going to Tweet the pertinent pictures that I've spotted (and there are more, many many more):
Upated 3x with some Leaf stuff at 4:30 PM: As Paul noted, the Red Wings received mostly good news at today's morning skate ahead of tonight's Red Wings-Predators game (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/1270 AM). The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that both Darren Helm and Jimmy Howard will return to the lineup this evening:
A couple more regulars are coming back for the Detroit Red Wings, with Jimmy Howard and Darren Helm on deck tonight.
The Wings close out 2013 with a game at Bridgestone Arena against the Nashville Predators (8 p.m., FSD), looking to build on a 3-1 run.
Howard and Helm have each missed about three weeks, Howard with a sprained left knee and Helm with an injured left shoulder.
Helm will center Justin Abdelkader and Tomas Jurco, a line with good speed and scoring skill. Henrik Zetterberg is with Daniel Alfredsson and Gustav Nyquist, and Pavel Datsyuk with Todd Bertuzzi and Tomas Tatar. Joakim Andersson is with Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller.
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms (and notes that Patrick Eaves and Mikael Samuelsson will sit out), noting that Red Wings coach Mike Babcock was particularly effusive in his praise for Howard:
Updated at 5:03 PM: As I watch a team wearing an incredibly ugly uniform skate on the ic...Oh wait, I mean the Maple Leafs Alumni take part in their final pre-Alumni Showdown practice, I found good news via the grapevine:
Red Wings prospect Anthony Mantha scored a comeback-making 2-3 goal and registered 2 assists in Canada's 5-3 win over the Slovaks at the World Championships in Malmo, Sweden. Mantha now has 8 points (4 goals and 4 assists) over the course of 3 games played for Canada.
And Zach Fucale stopped 16 of 19 shots in Jake Paterson's stead.
Paterson Fucale will go against the Americans, per TSN's Mark Masters:
George is out and about for the next three days, covering all the action at Comerica Park and Michigan Stadium.
So you have me pluse George will be filing reports too.
Let's start off with some good news and I will update this post as needed...
added 12:32pm, MSM report Franzen skating too.
added 12:37pm, Kulfan tweets,
Jimmy Howard looks good to go
added 12:39pm, Khan tweets,
Based on the skate it looks like Helm is in tonight, skating with Jurco and Abdelkader.
added 12:41pm, St. James tweets,
Lines from #RedWings skate are: 44-13-21, 14-40-11, 8-43-26, 20-18-71.
added 12:48pm, Khan with a tweet,
Power-play units: Datsyuk-Zetterberg-Bertuzzi with Kronwall-Alfredsson at points; Tatar-Cleary-Nyquist with Kindl-DeKeyser at points.
If you have not yet visited the Coke Zero Fan Zone outside of Comerica Park's gates, if you aren't interested in the steady stream of alumni signing autographs, the Hockey Hall of Fame exhibit that contains just about every individual NHL award, the Wings and Maple Leafs "locker rooms," street hockey, food, bands, the bouncy castle and slide for kids, skating on a synthetic rink or any of the other events taking place for all of a $5 admission fee, please take note of the following:
The Stanley Cup® will make appearances inside the Molson Hockey House during the below dates and times ONLY:
Monday, December 30th, 2:30-4:30pm
Tuesday, December 31st, 12:00-2:00pm
Following those two appearances the Stanley Cup® will move inside Comerica Park for the remainder of the day (Dec. 30 & 31). There will be a $5 charge for all photo opportunities with the Stanley Cup®. All proceeds from this photo opportunity go directly to the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. Guests must provide their own camera.
The Stanley Cup® appearance is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
Only one Red Wings prospect took part in the Great Lakes Invitational at Comerica Park this past Friday and Saturday, but defenseman turned checking forward Mike McKee's Western Michigan University Broncos won the GLI, and the Red Wings posted a wonderful video recap of the fesitivities:
Updated 3x at 11:57 AM: With the Grand Rapids Griffins-Toronto Marlies game taking place later today and the Alumni Showdowns taking place tomorrow, Winter Classic hype's taking over both Southeastern Michigan and Toronto, and the spectacle of a be-all-end-all Biggest Hockey Game Ever that will theoretically reignite the rivalry between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs is justified...
But the reality of the non-hype situation is that it turns out that both tonight's game between the Red Wings and Predators (8 PM EST, FSD/FS Tennessee/1270 AM) will matter quite a bit, and Wedneday's game will matter even more in terms of two points that both teams rather desperately need to earn in the standings.
The Maple Leafs' 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes last night gave the 20-16-and-5 Leafs 45 points earned over the course of 41 games--and while the Red Wings have won 3 of their past 4 games, including Saturday's 4-3 win over Florida, the 18-13-and-9 Wings have amassed 45 points over the course of 40 games, so they're technically sitting in 4th place in the Atlantic Division because they've got a game in hand, but would have to win both tonight's game and the Winter Classic itself to emerge from both teams' 42nd game of the season to come out on top.
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.