The Malik Report
NHL.com posted two very late-breaking Wings stories ahead of the Stadium Series, and while Shawn P. Roarke's take on Niklas Kronwall's mentorship of Danny DeKeyser is intriguing, this story from NHL.com's Dan Rosen both fits the subject at hand more readily, and it also serves as a reminder that this year's Red Wings team really is leaning on younger hands:
There are eight outdoor-game rookies who could play for Detroit on Saturday: Ericsson and fellow defensemen Alexey Marchenko; expected starting goalie Petr Mrazek, and forwards Dylan Larkin, Andreas Athanasiou, Teemu Pulkkinen, Riley Sheahan and Tomas Jurco.
Larkin, the 19-year-old who is expected to play on the right wing with Richards and Athanasiou, said he never pictured himself playing in an NHL outdoor game.
"No, but it was a dream," he said. "I remember back to the first [Winter Classic] in Buffalo, and it was like a holiday. Our whole family got together to watch it. It was so cool. For me, I never really thought I'd be playing in one so it's cool just to be here."
Although he was quite wide-eyed in practice and in the clubhouse after practice Friday, Larkin said he's taking his cues on how to approach the outdoor game from veteran players such as Richards.
"For me, it's easy to look around and get excited, be a rookie, a first-time outdoor game guy, but the guys are doing a great job of treating it normal," Larkin said.
Rosen continues, discussing Brad Richards and Mike Green's comparative experience at playing outdoors...
Updated 5x at 12:13 AM: As the Free Press's George Sipple notes, the Red Wings-Avalanche alumni game went the way of the home team:
The Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche brought back a lot of memories. They did not bring back the fighting that helped make their rivalry one of the greatest in sports.
The Red Wings never had the lead and went on to lose, 5-2, to the Avalanche on Friday night in the NHL Stadium Series Alumni Game in front of 43,319 at Coors Field.
The best moment of the night came with 5:21 left, after Brendan Shanahan scored to cut the deficit to 4-2.
A message on the video board read “Thanks for the memories.” The crowd gave a standing ovation and all of the players on the ice raised their sticks in acknowledgement. Colorado fans then broke out into a “Red Wings suck” chant.
“It’s such a good rivalry, their building, very pro Avs,” said Steve Yzerman, who scored the other goal for the Wings. “In the Joe, it’s pro Red Wings. You get both groups cheering at the same time, that’s never happened before. So it was a good moment.”
The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan took note of some of the more memorable points of the game (which will re-air at 12 AM EST on FSD)...
I'm still trying to get up to speed blogging-wise after (well, during) a bit of a depressive episode, so:
If I were to suggest that there might be a hiccup in the Stadium Series game that you might want to account for in your Saturday night planning, I would suggest that you add an hour to 90 minutes to your scheduled viewing window (the game is on NBC, Sportsnet and TVA Sports at 8 PM EST) for a weather delay.
The Free Press's Helene St. James reports that the alums were quite happy with the ice on Friday...
And the Wings and Avs won't be holding a morning skate to keep the ice under wraps (literally), but it's going to be 70 in Denver on Saturday, and the Wings held a short practice on Friday because the ice was too goopy to use. As the Windsor Star's Bob Duff noted, the team was concerned about the playing surface's condition:
I'm guessing that no matter what I post that has something related to Ken Holland these days, there's going to be some yelling and there's going to be some expression of frustration, so let's just get this quip out of the way given that the Wings probably won't make a deadline deal.
The Toronto Sun's Michael Traikos penned a column about Lee Stempniak's probability of getting dealt, and this quip from Holland stuck out:
“You believe you’re getting better and you believer you’re getting deeper, but there’s a certain chemistry that’s been there for 60 games in that locker room that you’re changing,” said Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, whose team went 8-10-2 after adding Erik Cole and Marek Zidlicky at the deadline. “I don’t think our team played as well after we made the deals, but I don’t think it had anything to do with those players. It’s just that the chemistry changes.”
Traikos continues, and I've said it before and will say it again: if KH is really committed to the "transition," I would rather see him not make a move this year and force unerachievers like Tatar, Nyquist and Green to deliver on their primise--if not the current roster as a whole to come together.
The Avalanche defeated the Red Wings 5-2 in the alumni game, mostly because of Patrick Roy's goaltending (ugh, to bring up a dead horse and beat it)...
And the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla makes sure to let us know that the Draper-Lemieux spat isn't going away any time soon, either:
"I went on to play 1,000 games in the National Hockey League. I won four Stanley Cups. Did I expect what happened for our team and organization after I took that hit? Not at all. But if I had to take that hit to win four Stanley Cups, I'd do it again," said Draper, who blew a big bubble of pink gum as he was booed during introductions for the Stadium Series alumni game.
"You can tell this hit won't ever be forgotten. My teammates love me. And a lot of people hate me. I'm OK with that. For my teammates to like me and my opponents to hate me, I guess I did things right."
After all these years, the hate between the Wings and Avs is real. It's as impossible to erase as the scar still evident near the right eye of Draper. It was never Lemieux's intention to start a blood feud by smashing a foe's face. But apologize for the hate? Forget that.
"When the incident happened, people told me to apologize. And I said: 'An apology is not going to fix what has been done.' It's way too big," Lemieux said.
"I disliked a lot of guys. Hate is a big word ... Regardless of what happened on the ice, I never held grudges. But people tell me: 'That's easy for you, Claude. You were the one always causing the problem.' "
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek penned a lengthy column about trade deadline deals, and this one remains my favorite--as a biased observer:
Arguably, the most cost-effective trade-deadline deal was engineered back in 1997 by the Detroit Red Wings, when they landed defenceman Larry Murphy from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for future considerations. Murphy, who had previously played for Red Wings’ coach Scotty Bowman in Pittsburgh, helped the Red Wings win back-to-back Stanley Cups in his first two seasons with the team.
Nill, who was an assistant to general manager Ken Holland with the Red Wings when the deal went down, remembered how anxious the Leafs were to move Murphy.
Of all places, Denver's KUSA 9 posted some fantastic interviews with Wings alums, including Nicklas Lidstrom...
Darren McCarty--10 minutes' worth of "Mac"...
The Red Wings-Avalanche alumni game is on Fox Sports Detroit, Altitude, the NHL Network (outside of Chicago for some reason) and Sportsnet, and these may be the only highlights of the night, but they're good ones after 1:
Here are the player introductions, with Chris Chelios's, "Boo" and Darren McCarty's salutes peppering the mix...
And did someone say, "Goal, Yzerman?"
According to the Detroit News's Ted Kulfan, Friday's Red Wings practice at Coors Field was cut short due to very poor ice conditions, and while the captain and the coach put on brave faces about tomorrow night's local 6 PM Mountain Time-starting game--and the 70-degree forecast...
If the game Saturday were to be postponed, it would be made up Sunday evening. But no one expects that to happen — at this point.
“It should be fine, it cools down to game time and no one will be on the ice (during the day Saturday) either, so it’ll be much better,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said. “If we can’t pass the puck, we don’t really care. But if it’s bad so we could end up injured, that’s when we have to have discussion what what to do. (But) I’m pretty confident that the ice will be good. I have no plans or thoughts about a postponement or moving it, or anything like that.”
Said coach Jeff Blashill: “I have no concern to be honest with you. We knew today was an impossible situation with the sun. They wouldn’t have scheduled a game during the day for that reason. We had to try to get a practice in and be able to walk on the ice, (but) we knew it was going to be impossible. We knew that when the sun is up and it’s 70 degrees, it was going to be hard to manage but we fully expect 100 percent the ice to be good tomorrow.”
The Wings did voice their concerns about the ice, with Darren Helm leading the way, as Yahoo Sports' Greg Wyshynski noted:
The Colorado Avalanche preceded the Red Wings onto the ice at Coors Field in Denver--with today's practices serving as the only opportunity for the teams to acclimate to the outdoor ice surface--and the Avs reported that the glare from the sun and ice conditions were slight issues for an Avs team that will stick with its lineup from Wednesday's shootout win over San Jose.
The Red Wings hit the ice just after 1 PM MT to prepare for tomorrow's game...
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.