The Malik Report
The Grand Rapids Griffins' trip to Syracuse, New York took exactly one hour, and the fact that they flew on Red Bird III didn't go unnoticed by the local media corps. WOOD TV8 will air tomorrow night's Game 6 in Grand Rapids (it's a 7 PM EDT start; if you live outside WXSP's broadcast area like I do, you'll be watching the Crunch's broadcasters on AHLLive.com as the Albany Times-Union reported that Time-Warner Cable will broadcast the game from Syracuse again), and they dispatched a camera crew to Van Andel Arena to get some "pre-flight" comments from the Griffins' players and coach:
Last night's translated article from Sport.ch's Tobias Wust apparently originated from a 10-minute interview that Red Wings free-agent-to-be Damien Brunner gave to Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, and here's a solid translation of their highlighted transcription of the interview (three videos are embeddded in the story, but I'm guessing that you're not going to get much out of them if you don't speak Swiss-tinged German):
Brunner: "The motto is practice, practice and practice."
Damien Brunner registered 17 goals over the course of 58 games played during his first NHL season with Detroit, and he reached the second round of the playoffs. The Swiss forward discussed his future potential and his pals on the Red Wings' [roster].
Updated 2x with a Riley Sheahan story at 1:13 PM: The Syracuse Crunch decided to spend Sunday morning busing back to upstate New York after defeating the Grand Rapids Griffins on Saturday night, but the Griffins were able to take a slightly shorter route as they begin to prepare for Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final:
Busing around the southern shore of Lake Erie takes over 12 hours. Red Bird III ferried the Griffins to their destination in exactly one hour's worth of flight time.
TMR reader Craig from Grand Rapids took this photo of the plane embarking upon its trip:
This entry is going to be a little more rambly than usual, so please bear with me:
First and foremost, Pavel Datsyuk is facing off against St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen in TSN's Play of the Year semifinal, and he is trailing by a SIGNIFICANT margin. Voting ends at Midnight EDT on Tuesday (i.e. 11:59 PM on Monday night).
There is some good news on Datsyuk's goal vs. Jonathan Quick battling Jake Allen stopping a Flames shot with a turnaround save: James Duthie says that Datsyuk's goal through all the Nashville Predators' players will be in the other semifinal.
Here's the goal vs. Quick...
This is a general interest-type story/topic, but I felt that my Wings-centric perspective merited posting it here. Feel free to read or ignore as you wish:
If any consolation could be taken from the Red Wings' second-round loss to the Chicago Blackhawks--and it was somewhat heartening to know that Niklas Kronwall stated that the Wings' collapse still stings when he attended the MIS 400 on Sunday--it's the fact that the Wings' outgoing division rival and their new division rival, the Boston Bruins, can't wrap up their Stanley Cup Final series until at least June 21st, by which time even stragglers like Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk will have headed back to their off-season homes.
The "off-season" term is something of a misnomer for the rest of the NHL.
Tomorrow, the Grand Rapids Griffins will head to Syracuse, New York to begin to prepare for a hopefully Calder Cup-clinching Game 6 of their AHL Final series against the Syracuse Crunch (Game 6 will take place on Tuesday and an if-necessary Game 7 would take place on Thursday, with both games held at the Onecenter War Memorial Arena).
As the Griffins attempt to rebound from losses in Games 4 and 5, they won't have to repeat their 12-plus-hour bus ride around Lake Erie's southern shore and into Upstate New York in a pair of sleeper buses (and it should be noted that the Crunch spent Saturday night and Sunday morning busing back to Syracuse).
According to the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner, the Griffins will traverse the 480-or-so miles between "GR" and Syracuse in a little over an hour thanks to an assist from the Red Wings:
Updated 3x at 1:37 PM: Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall is one of the Grand Marshals at the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. He bluntly assessed the Cup Final and his lingering bitterness regarding the way the Wings' bowed out to Chicago in the second round:
Updated 2x at 9:25 AM. Bleh, why am I still awake? The Red Wings' AHL team so closely resembled its NHL counterpart on Saturday night that I was waiting for Larry Murphy to emerge from the ether, pop up on the AHL Live broadcast and inform me that the Grand Rapids Griffins' 33 shots over the first two periods of their 5-2 loss to the Syracuse Crunch on Saturday night resulted in exactly 4 scoring chances.
It's not that Cedrick Desjardins has been anything less than spectacular as the Crunch walked into Grand Rapids and both averted a sweep on Thursday and forced the series to move back to Syracuse via their 5-2 win (despite being out-shot 42-22), or that Petr Mrazek's been anything other than ordinary at the other end.
It's that the grit, grind and jam that involves going to the net and staying there, obstructing a goaltender's field of vision and driving the other team to distraction while doing so was so absent from the Griffins' penalty-prone, flashy-but-futile efforts on Thursday and Saturday were so absent both an agitant and net-jamming grit that I wonder whether Tomas Holmstrom can suit up for Game 6 on Tuesday or a possible hopefully not necessary Game 7 on Thursday in Syracuse.
The Grand Rapids Griffins ran into a goaltender playing otherworldly hockey in Cedric Desjardins, but also battled against a pair of soft goals given up by their own goaltender (a bizarrely shaky Petr Mrazek), poor defensive play and, despite the wild disparity in shots--42-22 for Grand Rapids--a staggering an inabilty or unwillingness to reduce Desjardins' field of vision as the Syracuse Crunch stuffed the Griffins and took a 5-2 win (Mrazek gave up 4 goals on 21 shots) in Game 5.
I don't have much to say about this one because...It was simply so incredibly difficult to see the Griffins work so very hard for so very little in the Crunch's end, but to play so terribly poorly when they had power plays, to surrender a pair of power play goals against, and to essentially spend their second game in two nights letting a team largely comprised of last year's Calder Cup-winning Norfolk Admirals regain control of the series.
The Grand Rapids Griffins get a second chance to close out the Syracuse Crunch tonight (7 PM EDT, AHLLive.com/WOOD TV8 in Grand Rapids/WOOD Radio), and they'll do so minus Adam Almquist but including Gustav Nyquist, who the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner reports was not suspended for whatever happened between Nyquist and Richard Panik last night.
The Crunch expect to have defenseman Radko Gudas back in their lineup, aiding the Crunch's transition game and already physical bite, and as we wait for the game to start, here are a few noteworthy items to tide you over:
2. If you happen to be heading to the Quicken Loans 400 at the Michigan International Speedway tomorrow, Niklas Kronwall will be the Grand Marshal;
3. In a very different participatory vein, the Syracuse Post-Standard's Don Cazentre reports that the mayors of Syracuse, NY and Grand Rapids, MI have made a sudsy bet regarding the team that will capture the Calder Cup:
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.