The Malik Report
My overriding thought regarding the Red Wings' 3-2 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers, at least when I was trying to curl up in bed until my, "Be a responsible adult with a bad virus and write up a wrap-up, dammit" voice in my head won out, had little to do with the Wings' litany of 3rd-period collapses, their 10 straight shootout defeats, Jimmy Howard's up-and-down performances or my crazy theory about the Wings adding a #3 defenseman (and I like Alex Edler of Vancouver, who may only be tradeable because his $5 million cap hit belies $6 million in total compensation this season and then
$8.5, $12, $12, $12 and $8.5 million $4.25 million, $6.25 million, $9 million, $9 million, $6 million and $4.25 million in total-compensation investments over the balance of his deal).
It was this: Holy shit, we're 2 months and 11 days into the season, and 15-9-and-8 equals the Red Wings having played 32 games already, and when the Winter Classic takes place three weeks from today, the Wings will be playing in game 42.
Amongst this morning's Red Wings prospect-related news:
The Grand Rapids Griffins possess a remarkable 17-4-1-1 record, and that record stands despite having dealt with both a revolving personnel door due to the Red Wings' injury situation and an influx of AHL demotions which have pushed the Griffins to involuntarily sit 2 and sometimes 3 of their 7 "veteran" players (they're down to six due to the Wings' recall of Cory Emmerton) because the AHL prohibits teams from playing more than 4 players who've played in 320 or more pro games and 1 player who's played in 260 or fewer pro games.
As the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner notes, even the Griffins' captain, Jeff Hoggan, has sat out pretty regularly of late, but the Griffins' veterans are both making the best of a difficult situation and they're keeping the winning machine humming despite the fact that the four vets who are sitting out in Patrick Eaves, Jordin Tootoo and Emmerton's stead--Hoggan, Brennan Evans, Nathan Paetsch and Triston Grant--were very specifically brought back to the AHL's defending champions to lead on an every-night basis:
So I have a theory, and if it sounds too preposterous even for TMR, so be it.
Instead of pondering what would have happened had Tim Thomas not conveniently negated 2 Red Wings goals over the course of Saturday night's loss and Tuesday's disappointing 3-2 shootout loss to the Panthers (who will head to Tampa Bay to face the Lightning, who dropped a 6-5 shootout decision to Washington on Tuesday evening, when the teams tangle on Thursday) I'm going with this:
I believe that the Red Wings desperately miss having a veteran #3 defenseman who could be thrown over the boards to right a listing ship the way they could toss Kris Draper over the boards when the forwards were struggling, and even given that Danny DeKeyser's injured, I would suggest that the team needs to do what's necessary to find an established second-pair defenseman to both help the team's puck movement and especially to steady the Wings defensively.
That was awful. Just as the Panthers lulled the Red Wings to sleep on Saturday, they pulled the sleeper hold on Detroit on Tuesday night, and a Red Wings team that built a 2-0 lead and had the advantage for 35:26 of the game...
Blew their 2-goal lead and lost 3-2 to the Plywood Panthers in the shootout.
Was Howard sub-par? In the shootout, sure. But the Red Wings seemed to all but quit playing after the Panthers allowed Detroit to rope itself out cycling, dekeing and dangling their way through the latter half of the second period, and the 3rd was all Florida.
I don't know what to say about this. It is...remarkable. With 14:11 left in the 3rd period, the Florida Panthers lost a pane of glass behind Jimmy Howard, and they replaced it with...Plywood?
EDIT: It's glass, but the rink crew left the backing on it. Charming. Stopped the game to put it up but didn't stop the game to give the fans a view.
Update #2: Here's the Panthers' official explanation, per the Miami Herald's George Richards:
The 'plywood' was actually a piece of plexiglass with its protective backing still affixed.
According to a Panthers spokesman, the original piece of replacement glass broke on its way to the ice and the 'third string' piece wasn't fully ready to go.
Another piece - minus the paper backing - was put up before the overtime.
The Russian press has been very busy lately in terms of engaging in pre-holiday interviews with potential Olympian NHL'ers, with Sport-Express's Slava Malamud spending a couple of days in Detroit recently--and Sport-Express just posted the 2-part result of Malamud's efforts which could use some serious Russian-native-speaker's aid...
According to Yahoo Sports' Dmitry Chesnokov, Sovetsky Sport's Pavel Lysenkov also spoke at length with Datsyuk. The Magic Man addressed the "24/7" phenomenon with tongue planted firmly in cheek...
But you also have to participate in the filming of HBO’s 24/7.
“I am very doubtful that a person with a camera will follow me around for 24 hours. But of course HBO will take a peek into the Detroit locker room. I watched some episodes when other guys were filmed… It is always interesting how other teams live.”
Ilya Bryzgalov was the main star [last series]. Who will be Detroit’s showman?
“Everyone on our team can realize himself on TV. The team is very open, friendly… I bet Dan Cleary will show himself better than others.”
Datsyuk also talked about the recent filming of Russian cell phone commercials in Metro Detroit, as Datsyuk's about to launch a partnership with a large cell phone company to help beenfit his hockey school...
Via Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples, Red Wings prospect Andreas Athanasiou was named the Ontario Hockey League's player of the week on Monday, and today, the player Wings director of amateur scouting Jiri Fischer compared to Darren Helm (while speaking with RedWingsCentral) was named the player of the Canadian Hockey League's player of the week:
The Canadian Hockey League today announced that Detroit Red Wings prospect Andreas Athanasiou of the Barrie Colts is the CHL Player of the Week with seven points in two games scoring twice with five assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-4 for the week ending December 8.
Athanasiou recorded back-to-back multi-point games helping the Colts earn a pair of road victories to improve their record to 16-11-1-2 where they rank second place in the OHL’s Central Division. He earned first star honours on Saturday night scoring a shorthanded goal that held as the game-winner plus two assists in a 5-1 win over the Belleville Bulls, then claimed first star honours for the second consecutive game on Sunday with a goal and three assists in a 7-2 win over the Ottawa 67’s.
Athanasiou, a 19-year-old from Woodbridge, ON, is playing in his fourth career OHL season and second with the Colts. Recently signed to an entry-level contract by the Red Wings, Athanasiou was selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Draft and leads the Colts with 39 points in 28 games after recording 67 points in 66 games last season.
He may need a pair of skates too...
Update: The Free Press's Helene St. James spoke with Yzerman about his participation in the event, and she raises a red flag about Sergei Fedorov's participation...
Wow. The man's barely skated since he retired, but the Red Wings are reporting that Steve Yzerman will play in the Alumni Showdown:
Here comes a press release:
Oh, Pavel Datsyuk...
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.