The Malik Report
The Detroit Red Wings played a game against teh Chicago Blackhawks in which the team never really engaged until the 3rd period, in which 99% of the "bounces" went Chicago's way, as did what Ed Olczyk would describe as the "good non calls," and in a game where the Chicago Blackhawks fired the puck at or near the Wings' net over 70 times...
Detroit charged out to 2 leads, gave them up within a minute of scoring the 1-0 and 2-1 goals, and somehow, thanks to some amazing goaltending from Jimmy Howard, heady play by Darren Helm (1G 1A) and gorgeous goals by Tomas Tatar, the Wings emerged with a hard-fought 3-2 shootout decision over the Chicago Blackhawks that was earned, deserved and felt really *#$%@& good.
I usually take a short nap before games (the life of a blogger does not involve more than five or six consecutive hours of sleep at a time), but a little booger-related tossing and turning had me thinking about this quip from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, at the start of his weekly 30 Thoughts column:
[Sergei] Fedorov has two years remaining on his contract as general manager of CSKA Moscow in the KHL. The “Red Army” (as we knew them in North America) was the dominant force in Russian hockey through the Soviet era, culminating its run with 13 championships in a row from 1977 to 1989.
The fall of the Iron Curtain brought a fall in its influence, as the organization floundered and ceased to be an on-ice success. That continued after the formation of the KHL, since CSKA Moscow is the owner of just two playoff wins in six seasons.
Things are changing, however. CSKA currently stands No. 1 in the KHL, with 132 points in 56 games. (Regulation wins are worth three points.) Fedorov hired John Torchetti — now back with the AHL’s Iowa Wild — as coach last season, a move that stabilized things and set a foundation for the future.
Friedman asked Fedorov if he'd jump at the chance to become an NHL GM when his contract expires, and this is the answer he received:
Updated 2x with a whole lotta Helene St. James @ 6:58 PM: The Red Wings didn't hold a morning skate ahead of tonight's game between Detroit and Chicago (7:30 PM EST on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM), but Wings coach Mike Babcock spoke to the media around 5:30 PM EST...
NHL.com's Brian Hedger penned an "At the Rink" article that includes both probable Wings and Hawks lineups, as well as a discussion of the special teams battle...
ESPN's Craig Custance penned an Insider-only entry about the most common teams on no-trade lists, and in speaking about one of my favorite cities, Winnipeg, Custance's discussions with player agents found that it's not just the cold Canadian markets (Winnipeg and Edmonton), the disasters on ice (Buffalo), ownership-scary teams (Phoenix) or the big Canadian media markets (like Toronto) that scare people off...Or would if they're not winning:
Another agent pointed to Detroit, a town not known for its great winter weather or vibrant nightlife but one that’s become a destination all the same.
“Why do people want to go to the Detroit Red Wings? They win,” said the agent. “They have a proud organization. Players want to play there because they have a chance to win. They’re proud to play there.”
Still, that Winnipeg weather.
“If you think it’s cold in Detroit, it’s like that for four months in Winnipeg,” said the agent. “If you have a family, you’re a shut-in. The kids can’t go outside and play. You go outside for 15 minutes and it’s frostbite.”
Custance continues, and I have no doubt that between the city's weather, the city's reputation (even though the vast majority of the nearly 5 million people who live in Metro Detroit don't live in Detroit), the Joe's reputation and the pluses and minuses of playing for the coach (as spread around by a certain former Wing who wore #22) yield a "harder sell" than we've assumed...
But the Wings do win and the Wings do treat their players like kings.
That, and the Metro Detroit area is far more lively and provides more anonymity than anyone really expects at first blush.
Per Sportsnet's Luke Fox, Pavel Datsyuk wants to help young players learn how to roof shots to defeat butterfly goalies:
An assistant coach of an NHL team and his business associates have developed a new and improved Shooter Tutor (yes, that guy) with the objective of upping the number of goals scored through properly training shooters where to aim.
And the inventors’ response to big-pad goalies has now secured the endorsement of a bona fide superstar, Pavel Datsyuk.
With goaltenders increasing their athleticism, training and equipment size, it’s no secret that NHL scoring has become more and more of a premium at high levels of play. Only 5.34 goals were scored per game last season, and the scoring rate has only popped over six goals per game once (2005-06) since 1995-96. That’s way down from the trigger-happy ’80s. In 1981-82, the league averaged more than eight red lamps per game.
“We don’t have a large enough base to test at this point, but my indication is that [the tutor] does increase scoring,” says co-creator Tom Bahls, who developed the Bar Down Shooter Tutor with an NHL coach who requested he and his team not be named in this article, in the spirit of competitive advantage.
My apologies for yesterday's absence...Sinus infection, definitely.
In any case, the Red Wings' prospects did engage in games on Tuesday, and the Grand Rapids Griffins posted their weekly release, so it's time to catch up a bit.
In the SHL, Axel Holmstrom took 2 shots, won 50% of his faceoffs and finished at -2 in 21:16 of ice time as Skelleftea AIK dropped a 5-1 decision to Farjestads BK;
Mattias Janmark took a shot, finished at -1, won 57% of his faceoffs and played 16:36 as the Frolunda Indians were shut out 3-0 by the Vaxjo Lakers;
Updated 14x at 3:06 PM: FYI, no morning skate for the Wings today.
Tonight's "Rivalry Night" game between the Blackhawks and Red Wings is a massively important game for both teams (7:30 PM EST on NBCSN/TVA Sports/97.1 FM; according to the game notes, Francoois St. Laurent and Ghislain Hebert will referee tonight's tilt), but the Chicago Tribune's Mark Lazerus reported that the Hawks chose to "take an optional":
It's an optional morning skate for the #Blackhawks. Eleven skaters and Antti Raanta.
#Blackhawks roll call: Bickell, Carcillo, Cumiskey, Erixon, Hartman, Kane, Kruger, Raanta, Rundblad, Sharp, Shaw, Smith. #Alphabetical
In lieu of Hawks lines, NHL.com offered a wide-ranging set of "Rivalry Night" articles, including NHL.com's Paul Harris' discussion of Henrik Zetterberg's resurgent play a year removed from having back surgery:
I've gotten over two hundred email alerts regarding comments made on TMR over the past day, and that many comments tends to mean that there's some sort of argument going on--and as I was absent yesterday,
I'm assuming that the Wings' 3-game losing streak and decision to demote Petr Mrazek out-weighed the team's decision to surprisingly recall the AHL's leading scorer, Teemu Pulkkinen, to add some secondary scoring to the lineup.
This evening, the Red Wings begin their monster 6-game road trip with a "Rivalry Night" game against the Chicago Blackhawks (7:30 PM on NBCSN).
Ahead of the affair, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville appeared on WGN Radio's Steve Cochran show to discuss the rivalry with the Wings and his "strategy" for tonight's tilt (regrettably, I can't embed it)..
And a certain Mickey Redmond appeared on Detroit Sports 105.1 FM's Drew Lane show to discuss all things Red Wings-related, losing streak included, yesterday afternoon:
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
With his team winless in three games (0-2-1), coach Mike Babcock said it's time to elevate their play.
"The league's picked up pace and we got to have our players keep up as well, so we got to elevate here and this trip's a good opportunity for us," Babcock said.
After returning home from Chicago, the Red Wings will visit Dallas on Saturday, Anaheim on Monday, Los Angeles on Tuesday, San Jose on Feb. 26 and Nashville on Feb. 28.
"You always want to measure yourself against the best teams in the league, that's where you really get a feel for where you stand," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "And we're going to be playing some of the best teams coming up, so it should be a good road trip for us."
The Red Wings are six points behind division-leading Montreal and trail Tampa Bay by four points, but have four games in hand on the Lightning.
from Peter J. Wallner of Mlive,
The fifth-year NHL veteran had not been in a game since Dec. 27, a day before he suffered a sprained elbow in practice. He said the elbow is fine - and he was cleared to play two weeks ago- but he has remained inactive with the Red Wings.
So, he asked.
"I actually went to talk to the coaches and asked what they recommend or suggest," Kindl said. "And when this came up, I said, 'Yeah, I'll come down for that.'"
Kindl played with the Griffins on Sunday in Chicago and is scheduled to remain for the next three games, all at home - Wednesday (Milwaukee), Friday and Saturday (both against Hamilton).
"Obviously, the team (Red Wings) is playing well and there haven't been a lot of changes, so this came up and I said I'm going to go," Kindl said....
Kindl said he doesn't think about where he might fit in with the Red Wings, who have been giving Alexey Marchenko an extended look on the blue line - and that after they had up another promising prospect in Xavier Ouellet.
"Some things you can't control and you can't spend a lot of time on that," he said. "Right now I'm in Grand Rapids and here to help as much as I can. And what happens next, I'll just let it be."
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.