The Malik Report
from Sean McIndoe of Grantland,
It’s one of the most impressive streaks in recent NHL history: The Detroit Red Wings have gone to the playoffs in 21 straight seasons. In the 30-team era, it’s a huge (some would even say impossible) feat that speaks to the consistency of one of the league’s model franchises.
But heading into the season’s final weekend, that streak is in jeopardy. After Thursday night’s action, the Red Wings are still fighting for one of the final spots in the West.
As we try to wrap our heads around the prospect of witnessing our first NHL playoffs without the Detroit since 1990, let’s take a look back through all 21 seasons of the streak. Here are five playoff moments that Red Wings fans will remember forever, and five more that they’d probably rather forget.
In a paid subscription article, Craig Custance of ESPN had this to say about Valtteri Filppula.
Regardless of the frustrations he causes Red Wings fans at times, if Filppula goes to the open market, he'll get paid. No doubt about it. There aren't many centers hitting the market, and even fewer in his age range (29). Keep in mind that he's represented by the same agency (Acme World Sports) that got Ville Leino a six-year, $27 million contract from the Sabres in free agency.
This certainly hasn't been a contract year for Filppula, but he's just one year removed from a 23-goal, 66-point season. Considering the lackluster free-agent class, the Red Wings' cap room and even the possibility of Datsyuk leaving down the road, I think Ken Holland finds a way to get this deal done. He has to.
Agree or disagree?
Paul here for George, who believes he has a case of food poisining.
Josh Cooper of The Tennessean talked with the Predators after the game last night.
Does Weber ever get rid of his game-face?
FYI: The Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Thursday night, so the Detroit Red Wings (23-16-and-8, 54 points, 21 regulation-or-OT wins) will have to at least earn one point in Saturday's road game against the Stars--because Columbus (23-17-and-7, 53 points, 18 ROWs) can max out at 55 points if they defeat Nashville at home.
In such a situation, Columbus would have 24 wins and a maximum of 19 regulation-or-OT wins, but even with an OT or shootout loss in Dallas, the Wings would have 21 ROWs, so they'd win the tiebreaker.
The Blue Jackets asked the Stars for a favor...
The Detroit Red Wings' 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators began with the team frustrating the hell out of its mostly-full rink's worth of playoff-ready fans at Joe Louis Arena and ended properly, with a standing ovation in the home finale...
And somewhere in between, despite the fact that the Columbus Blue Jackets could force the Wings to beat Dallas outright to earn a playoff spot, the Wings slowly but surely found their form, found themselves and just absolutely dismantled the Nashville Predators.
Mr. Hockey: the Gordie Howe Story will air on the CBC this Sunday at 8 PM EDT, and will air on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, May 4th at 9 PM (before going straight-to-DVD on Tuesday, May 11th). Ahead of the film's debut, the actor playing Gordie Howe, Michael Shanks, has made the rounds discussing his role in the film, but as the movie's premiere approaches, the Canadian Press's Victoria Ahearn notes that the movie's about the partnership between Mr. and Mrs. Hockey as much as it is about the elder Howe's time spent playing for the Houston Aeros aside his sons, Mark and Marty:
"Gordie was this giant on the ice and this giant figure in the hockey world but he'd spent so much of his life devoted to that, that I think even in their later years without her he was kind of lost because she handled everything else," Vancouver actor Michael Shanks, who plays Howe in the film, said in a telephone interview.That's one of the reasons the movie is dedicated to her. It demonstrates this unsung hero, Mrs. Hockey, who was really where everything flowed back into."
"She was doing things that women just didn't do at that time," said Hamilton-born "Beverly Hills 90210" star Kathleen Robertson, who plays Colleen. "She was very involved and very influential in all the business dealings of what it was to be Gordie Howe in that time period. She was very protective of her sons, she basically negotiated their deals, she was their manager and she was really smart and really tough."
Updated 10x with the Wings' game-day video at 4:06 PM: The Detroit Red Wings still face a must-win situation against the Nashville Predators tonight (7:30 PM EDT, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM) despite defeating the Los Angeles Kings last night, and at least initially, the morning skate gave no indications as to Johan Franzen's status for this evening...
The theory goes something like this: as the Red Wings' 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings gives the 22-16-and-8 Wings both 52 points and 20 regulation-or-OT wins, if the Wings earn a win over the Nashville Predators tonight (7:30 PM, FSD/FS Tennessee/97.1 FM) and the Dallas Stars (48 points, 20 ROWs) defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets (51 points, 17 ROWs), the Wings will make the playoffs outright, and won't have to worry about Saturday's regular season-ending match-up with the Stars (and all three teams have 2 games left to play).
But the Red Wings don't want to count on anybody but themselves controling their playoff fate, especially playing on back-to-back nights against a spoiler-happy Predators team--possibly without the services of Johan Franzen--and especially given the way the Blue Jackets have been winng, Detroit still wants to "win out."
There's no doubt that the Wings received an assist from the NHL in the form of Dustin Brown's suspension before tanling with the Brown-less Kings, and it's Brown's suspension that the Los Angeles Times' Lisa Dillman's recap focuses upon...
If you missed it in the quick take, Red Wings forward Johan Franzen suffered some sort of injury ("undisclosed") during the Red Wings' 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings, and he's iffy for tomorrow's game against Nashville, as MLive's Ansar Khan reports:
Coach Mike Babcock and general manager Ken Holland said Franzen's status for Thursday's home finale vs. Nashville will be determined in the morning.
“He's been real good for us,'' Babcock said. "He didn't finish the game, but hopefully he'll be fine for tomorrow.''
Babcock added, “Don't know a whole bunch. They just took him off the bench, or made him sit on the bench. I couldn't use him down the stretch. I'll find out tomorrow.''
If I were to guess, I'd go with Franzen possibly tweaking his hip flexors toward the end of the game. But that's just a guess.
The Detroit Red Wings may have made their biggest "statement" of the season when they needed it the most. They may have played the best playoff hockey they have in over a year, defeating the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 on a night that the team desperately needed to remain in control of its fate.
But it didn't start out "pretty," at least as far as finishing was concerned.
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.