The Malik Report
Due to a nasty bug I've been out of the loop for a couple of days, and during that time, the Grand Rapids Griffins learned who they'll be playing in the first round of the AHL playoffs. The Griffins' PR department reports that Grand Rapids will battle the Houston Aeros in a best-of-five series which will commence on Friday, April 26th:
The Grand Rapids Griffins, champions of the Midwest Division and a No. 3 seed in the Calder Cup Playoffs, will face the sixth-seeded Houston Aeros in the best-of-five Western Conference Quarterfinals.
The Griffins (42-26-4-4, 92 pts.), who are in the postseason for the first time since 2009, will begin their chase for the cup by visiting the Toyota Center for Games 1 and 2 on Friday, April 26 and Sunday, April 28, before returning to Van Andel Arena on Wed., May 1 for the first of as many as three straight home games. The complete schedule is as follows:
When you meet volunteers assisting charitable endeavors on the concourse at Joe Louis Arena, it's highly likely that they're members of the Red Wings' "For 'em Club," and my friend Courtney wants you to know about the hardest-working Wings fans you don't know too much about:
Here is how the Western Conference playoff race looks like after all the games on Sunday.
Detroit still controls their destiny, win their last four games, the next three at home against Phoenix, Los Angeles and Nashville and the last game in Dallas and they are in the playoffs.
From We All Bleed Red on YouTube, Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to the CBC's Scott Oake and Craig Simpson on After Hours, and the interview's worth watching:
The Red Wings have apparently lost one of their steadiest players for the remainder of the year, per DetroitRedWings.com's Bill Roose:
I've been sick for the last 36 hours but managed to drag myself out of bed to watch the Minnesota Wild defeat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in a shoootou...Wait, what?
Those were the Canucks getting out-shot 34-14 in regulation and OT, including 17-2 in the 3rd and 4-1 in OT, but earning a shootout win because not even Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg can score these days for a team that's 2-and-5 in shootouts? The Canucks defeated the Red Wings 2-1, not the 2004 Minnesota Wild, gratuitous gropes, grabs, leg-humping and hockey molestation included?
Franzen, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Babcock talk about making the playoffs in this Detroit Free Press video.
Also, I posted this in the wrong blog earlier today with a mini-update on the Wings.
We have to play with more desperation and put ourselves in a good spot,'' Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said.
The Red Wings have been outscored 33-28 and outshot 426-414 in the first period this season.
“It's sort of been like that all year. I can't put a finger on it,'' goaltender Jimmy Howard said. “We're a team that can start and dictate the play early. When we've done that this year we've been a lot more successful.''
The above via Ansar Khan of Mlive where you can read more on what we all know, Wings need a good start and need to maintain a high level of play throughout the game.
Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun with an article regarding the pressure the Wings are feeling...
“Mike,” a reporter ventured, when the Wings practised Friday at Rogers Arena in preparation for Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, “your team has gone 20 seasons without missing the playoffs ...”
“21,” Babcock corrected him.
But who’s counting, right?
Don’t kid yourself: they all are. And they all feel the pressure to keep the string alive.
“Have I ever been asked that by a reporter?” Babcock said, chuckling.
“It’s kind of like when I put up the schedule today for the players, and we put up everyone’s (standings), they probably sat there and thought: ‘I wonder if he knows we can read, too?’
“What 21 years in the playoffs means is, it’s a sign of greatness over a period of time. If you’re Henrik Zetterberg and it’s your first year as captain, you don’t want (missing the playoffs) on your watch. If you’re Mike Babcock in your eighth year of coaching the team, you don’t want it on your watch. If you’re any one of these players that has any stake in the Red Wings, especially the ones who’ve put in a ton of time, they don’t want it on their watch, either.
Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated takes a look at the Western Conference playoff race and writes this about the Wings...
The possibility of their 21-year playoff streak ending became a statistical probability after that loss to Calgary on Wednesday, but the schedule could be the difference-maker for Detroit. With five to go, the Wings face two road games — Saturday in Vancouver and the season finale in Dallas — and have Phoenix, Los Angeles and Nashville coming to the Joe. That’s a finish that puts the team’s fate in its own hands.
But can these Wings be trusted? They’ve struggled this season not so much because of the loss of Nick Lidstrom, but because too many young players have been asked to fill roles they’re just not ready to handle. Is there any reason to think they’ll suddenly answer the call now?
Detroit needs to go at least 3-1-1 over these games, with one of the regulation wins coming against the Stars. Dallas holds the tie-breaker, so that one is imperative. The odds are against them, but it says here the team’s veteran stars step up and get the job done.
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.