The Malik Report
Updated 2x at 6:56 AM. Why the Columbus Dispatch doesn't update its website until 6:30 AM is beyond me.
The Detroit Red Wings took a 27-minute flight back to Detroit from Columbus on Saturday night, perhaps feeling (as well as publicly looking) a world away from the team that happily shuffled off to Columbus after rallying to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on Friday.
The Wings laid an egg on Saturday night, plain and simple, dropping a hideous 4-2 decision to the Blue Jackets, and none of the 19 Wings whose skates hit the ice during Saturday's game had a decent night.
The Wings lost the game, the Wings lost whatever momentum and/or identity-building that the team achieved via defeating the Blues, and the Wings lost the services of Brendan Smith, who suffered a right shoulder injury that will be tested further when the Wings return to practice on Monday. It's assumed that Smith will miss at least two weeks of action, with Brian Lashoff rotating into the lineup--unless Ian White is going to return on Tuesday against Calgary (which dropped a 3-2 shootout decision to Chicago on early Sunday morning Detroit time).
Update: in his post-game interview with Fox Sports Detroit's John Keating, Mike Babcock says that he's "not certain" about Smith but that he has a shoulder issue that he'll get looked at. FSD's Keating said Smith was not wearing a sling at least.
Update #2: From MLive's Ansar Khan:
I don't know what the *#$%@& happened between last night's 5-3 victory over St. Louis and tonight's 4-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets--which was neither the fault of Niklas Kronwall nor Jimmy Howard--but my God, if the Wings think that they can play through the next ten slates of back-to-back games by slaying a dragon one night and being slain the next, they aren't going to get anywhere.
This was a "team" loss from start to finish, with no Wing truly playing particularly well in all three zones save the one who plays in one zone in Howard. The Wings played dumb hockey, they played inefficient hockey, they were unfocused, didn't work hard, didn't compete, didn't care and didn't seem to mind standing around and watching a much hungrier and much more competitive Blue Jackets team hand Detroit its ass.
Red Wings Brendan Smith took a hard hit from Columbus Blue Jackets forward Derek MacKenzie, popped up, either hit the boards with his shoulder or back, and left the ice about halfway through the first period. The injury bug has bit the team again:
Fox Sports Detroit's shown replays of the hit, and it looks like Smith's right shoulder took the brunt of the hit. He then took a spin on the ice and left....Sigh.
Updated 6x with game-day video from Columbus and Zetterberg discussing his status as Wayne Gretzky's favorite active player at 2:45 PM: The Detroit Red Wings and Columbus Blue Jackets will face off tonight (7 PM, FSD, FS Ohio, 97.1 FM) with the Red Wings hoping to sustain the momentum generated by their 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Friday.
There's actual good news on the injury front for the Wings, too: the Free Press's Helene St. James reportsthat David Backes' controversial hit on Kent Huskins did little to no lasing damage:
MLive's Ansar Khan confirms...
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.
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.